Cherokee the Impact of Intolerance Term Paper

Excerpt from Term Paper :

For examples, "In Oklahoma the Cherokee live both on and off the reservation scattered in urban centers and in isolated rural regions." (Cherokee)

This also refers to the influence of contemporary industrial society, which has often been referred to as a central cause for the cultural breakdown of religious traditions in the culture. One also has to bear in mind political events and factors in the 1800s, such as the principle of "discovery," according to which "...the Cherokee Nation (and, by implication, all Indian nations) was not fully sovereign, but "may, perhaps," be deemed a "domestic dependent nation." (Newcomb) These factors resulted in a decline of religious culture with many ceremonies and practices becoming." more than artistic conventions" (Cherokee Religion). This also affected the culture in various ways - for example in the loss of the prevalence of their native language.

Acculturation led to a division in the societal and cultural cohesiveness, evidenced by conflict between traditional "medicine men" and elders of the society who opted for western modes of religion and culture. For example, in 1988 Chief Youngdeer stated that, "We hate to lose them, but the old ways don't put bread on the table" (Cherokee Religion). Direct intervention by Christian groups also played a role in dividing the society. In the early years of the nineteenth century a split within the Cherokee nations occurred as a result of missionary interview between "...those who pursued the path of acculturation -- commonly referred to as "progressives" -- and those who clung to traditional religious, social, and political values -- the "conservatives" (Minges 37). This led to a disintegration of cultural cohesion and greater dependence on the dominant white culture. (Minges 37)

3. Conclusion

Religious intolerance and prejudice therefore has had a profound effect on the Cherokee in that it has meant that the cultural foundations of the culture which were essentially religious in nature were virtually destroyed. This in turn meant that the overall structure of the society becomes less cohesive and more susceptible to outside influences.

There are two points-of-view with regard to the causes of this situation. One view that has been discussed above is that religious intolerance was allied with other forms of prejudice that resulted in a decline of the culture as a whole. On the other hand, there is the argument that states that, rather then viewing the decline of the Cherokee culture as a result of prejudice it should be seen as a natural and inevitable social development. In other words, the 'religious intolerance' is seen from this point-of-view as a part of the normal progress of history and the unavoidable results of the interaction with other cultures. In the final analysis both these points-of-view have to be taken into account in the understanding of the way in which various influences led to the decline of the Cherokee culture.

Works Cited

Cherokee. May 11, 2008.

Cherokee Religion. May 11, 2008.

Filler, Louis, and Allen Guttmann, eds. The Removal of the Cherokee Nation: Manifest Destiny or National Dishonor?. Lexington, MA D.C. Heath, 1962. Questia. 13 May 2008


Kreyche, Gerald F. "The Cherokee Nation a History." USA Today (Society for the Advancement of Education) May 2006: 81. Questia. 13 May 2008


Minges, Patrick N. Slavery in the Cherokee Nation: The Keetoowah Society and the Defining of a People, 1855-1867. New York: Routledge, 2003. Questia. 13 May 2008

Newcom. B. Five Hundred Years of Injustice:the Legacy of Fifteenth Century Religious Prejudice. 13 May 2008.

Perlmutter, Philip. Legacy of Hate a Short History of Ethnic, Religious, and Racial Prejudice in America. Armonk, NY M.E. Sharpe, 1999. Questia. 13 May 2008

Sacred Lands and the Right of Spiritual Practice. 13 May 2008.

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