Elias Cornelius Boudinot: A Life on the Cherokee Border (American Indian Lives)

Elias Cornelius Boudinot: A Life on the Cherokee Border (American Indian Lives)

James W. Parins

Language: English

Pages: 262

ISBN: 080322074X

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

Elias Cornelius Boudinot provides the first full account of a man who was intimately and prominently involved in the life of the Cherokee Nation in the second half of the nineteenth century and was highly influential in the opening of the former Indian Territory to white settlement and the eventual formation of the state of Oklahoma. Involved in nearly every aspect of social, economic, and political life in Indian Territory, he was ostracized by many Cherokees, some of whom also threatened his life.

Born into the influential Ridge-Boudinot-Watie family, Boudinot was raised in the East after the assassination of his father, who helped found the first newspaper published by an Indian nation. He returned to the Cherokee Nation, affiliating with his uncle Stand Watie and serving in the Confederate Army and as a representative of the Cherokees in the Confederate Congress. He was involved with treaty negotiations after the war, helped open the railroads into the Indian Territory, and founded the city of Vinita in Oklahoma. He also became a political figure in Washington, DC, a newspaper editor and publisher, and a prominent orator.



















delegate in Congress, a position for which the Cherokees and other nations had petitioned the U.S. government for years. While the Confederates granted this request, they did not spell out exactly what the delegate’s rights and responsibilities were until it was time to seat the member. If Boudinot and his fellows in the Cherokee Nation were expecting full membership in the House of Representatives, with voice and vote in all matters considered by that body, they were disappointed. It is very

repeals Article 10 of the 1866 treaty and extends the revenue laws over Indian Territory. This should not be allowed, they contend, as the power of taxation does not give Congress the right to abrogate treaties. They go on to say that if precedence is given to the tax law, it will bring about a sea change in the relations between the United States and the Indian nations. The Native Americans’ “treaties and titles were as worthless as waste paper” if the decision of the lower court is allowed to

given the demands of the postwar treaties. It was a matter of either adapting to the larger, more powerful society or death. He knew, too, that very soon one or the other of the railroads would come down into the Cherokee Nation from the north, creating an artery that would, among other things, carry cattle from Texas up to Kansas and beef out to Chicago and points east. Boudinot seized upon that knowledge and determined to place himself in an advantageous position. Accordingly, he and Stand

cost him six to seven thousand dollars to build and that at the time of its dismantling it was worth twelve thousand dollars owing to improvements made to the structure and the growth of the town. These are almost certainly exaggerated figures, if not wildly inflated ones. At the trial of Henry Eiffert and J. M. Whalen concerning the hotel in 1881, James Barnes, a carpenter from Fayetteville, testified that the lumber in the hotel was worth from $125 the hotelier at vinita 131 [131], (3) Lines:

removal of buildings within the allotted area. Boudinot was not the only opportunist at the site. Many other Cherokee citizens had arrived and erected various business edifices catering to the demands of railroad personnel and anticipating the influx of travelers. These buildings were lined up neatly just outside the one-hundred-foot line, forming a street. All buildings but the hotel were ordered moved. The railroad, desiring a convenient place of 132 the hotelier at vinita [132], (4 Lines: 25

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