Jiana L. Lotito

My research will focus on the turbulent relationship between the Cherokee Nation, White Americans, and Black Slaves during the Civil War Era.  Before the war, with the threat of losing their land, many Cherokee tribes assimilated to southern culture and owned African slaves to prevent losing their sovereignty over their lands. Despite their efforts to appease the American government, they were removed from their land under President Jackson’s Indian Removal Act in 1830. Forced west into Oklahoma, many Cherokee tribes brought their slaves and the ideologies they assimilated from southern culture. In a way, this gave them status in the Southern racial hierarchy and allowed the tribes to participate in the American economy. Although they were discriminated against because of their race, many Cherokees treated their slaves similarly to White plantation owners. In my paper, I want to explore why the Civil War caused a split in the Cherokee Nation. Though many were eager to fight for the Confederacy, many desired to remain neutral and some sided with the Union. The question I want to answer is was the resistance to fighting in the war influenced by abolitionists in the nation or was it from the political power struggle between Chief John Ross and Stand Waite?

A Seminar at Keene State College