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Elias Cornelius Boudinot: A Life on the Cherokee Border (review)

From: Southwestern Historical Quarterly
Volume 111, Number 1, July 2007
pp. 125-126 | 10.1353/swh.2007.0084

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2007Book Reviews125 CD titles are mentioned here and there through the pages, but there is no discography —just a bibliography plus an index. Another problem is that many books are quoted by Wood, but I do not see die page numbers anywhere in the references (see for instance the citations taken from TheNew Handbook ofTexas, pp. 66-67) . fn sum, Texas Zydeco illustrates current Zydeco culture and its legacy as they appear in the early twenty-first century: still living, but also changing from its founding French tradition into a more standardized, commercial music linked in its rural roots. For all these reasons, I believe Texas Zydeco should not be seen as an entry door to the history ofZydeco music or Cajun heritage; however, this accessible book is written (and illustrated) by two passionate lovers of Southern music and will confirm that Zydeco music is still alive in Texas and elsewhere. Québec CityYves Laberge Elias Cornelius Boudinot: A Life on the Cherokee Border. ByJames W. Parins. (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2006. Pp. 262. Acknowledgments, illustrations, notes, bibliography, index. ISBN 0803237529. $60.00, cloth.) Elias Cornelius Boudinot (1835-1890) was the son ofthe Cherokee leader Elias Boudinot (Gallegina or Buck Watie) , who edited the CherokeePhoenixand signed the Treaty ofNew Echota agreeing to the removal ofthe Cherokee from the southeastern United States to west ofthe Mississippi River. E. C. Boudinot's father was later assassinated because many Cherokee saw the treaty signers as traitors. Dr. Elias Boudinot, who served as president of the United States under the Articles of Confederation, offered to financially support Buck Watie's education, and in appreciation Watie changed his name to the doctor's. At the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions School in Cornwall, Connecticut, the elder Watie met a white girl whom he later married. The scandal of this interracial marriage led to the couple being burned in effigy and brought about the school's closing. E. C. Boudinot was the fifth of six children. His mother died in the year after his birth, and his father was assassinated three years later. The treaty signing and subsequent forced removal of the nonsigning Cherokee to Indian Territory led to a deep division within the Cherokee tribe, with the younger Boudinot following in his father's footsteps into the pro-assimilation faction. The Civil War further exacerbated this division with Boudinot's faction taking a pro-slavery position in opposition to John Ross, the first Cherokee elected principal chief, who served from 1828 until his death in 1866. Boudinot passed the Arkansas bar exam in 1856 and entered politics as a pro-slavery politician supporting the building of railroads into Indian Territory. He started a pro-slavery newspaper in 1859 that supported making the Indian Territory into a regular U.S. territory. Parins describes Boudinot as a "territorial missionary" (p. 175) in the last two decades of his life, which only deepened the divisions between him and the Cherokee tribal government. Boudinot's uncle Stand Watie raised a Confederate cavalry troop in which Boudinot worked up to be second in command, and he was also elected as a 1 26Southwestern Historical QuarterlyJuly delegate to the Confederate Congress in Richmond, Virginia, where he helped get his uncle promoted to major general. After the Civil War, in 1868 Boudinot entered the tobacco business, underselling his competitors by manufacturing plug tobacco in Indian Territory, thus avoiding the federal excise tax based on Cherokee treaty rights. The U.S. government responded byarresting him. His legal efforts wentall the way to the Supreme Court, which in an 1870 landmark case ruled that Congress could abrogate treaties. Boudinot spoke widely in support ofrailroad interests, and his support for die railroads helped him get into the railroad hotel business in the 1 870s. He spent considerable time in Washington, D.C., where he enjoyed the cosmopolitan life. He eked out a living by clerking for congressional committees and doing legal work. In 1885 he married a Washington "belle" (p. 212) half his age and moved back to Arkansas where he started a telephone company and owned two ferries until he died from the complications of dysentery. This interesting book would have...