Bad Fruits of the Civilized Tree
Alcohol and the Sovereignty of the Cherokee Nation
Publication Year: 2008
Published by: University of Nebraska Press
Series: Indians of the Southeast
Bad Fruits of the Civilized Tree: Alcohol and the Sovereignty of the Cherokee Nation is a sophisticated study of political sovereignty and culture change. In this work Izumi Ishii historicizes alcohol. She examines the ways in which the Cherokees incorporated drinking into their culture in the eighteenth ...
I first encountered Cherokee history in my sophomore year at Sophia University, Tokyo, Japan. Since then, a number of professors, colleagues, and friends have both intellectually and personally assisted me in my efforts to contribute to our understanding of that history. Without their immeasurable ...
Before European contact, Native people of North America, with a few exceptions, had virtually no knowledge of alcohol. 1 Early European accounts of Indian drinking, however, suggest that once Indians acquired a taste for liquor, it functioned as an agent of European conquest. Through the gift ...
1. Alcohol Arrives
The Cherokees had no tradition of alcohol consumption, so the history of alcohol among the Cherokees begins with its introduction by Europeans. To the purveyors of spirits, the Indians' consumption of alcohol appeared to support the Europeans' view of Native Americans as profligate and ...
2. A Struggle for Sovereignty
At the turn of the nineteenth century, Cherokee society began to experience profound changes. A more sophisticated commercial economy emerged, and tribal government began to centralize and assert its sovereignty. Missionaries and U.S. agents attempted to instill a new value system of ...
3. The Moral High Ground
When tribal alcohol regulations challenged the U.S. government and generated interference in Cherokee internal affairs, the Cherokees strengthened their legal claims by asserting moral authority over drinking through their temperance activities. Evangelical missionaries, particularly those of the ...
4. Alcohol and Dislocation
Alcohol took a serious toll on the Cherokees in the years surrounding removal. Unregulated and widely available, liquor offered comfort to disillusioned Cherokees, particularly men. The justice of their cause and the moral fiber of their people seemed to carry little sway in the United States. The Nation ...
5. A Nation under Siege
The American Civil War rekindled old animosities. Chief John Ross's strong plea for neutrality could not offset bitter internal factionalism that ultimately forced him to ally with the Confederate States in the treaty of October 7, 1861. Barely a year had passed when Ross, following a majority of ...
6. Cherokee Temperance, American Reform, and Oklahoma Statehood
Until the 1880s, the consumption and regulation of alcohol had been potent political issues in the Cherokee Nation in large part because they involved the broader question of sovereignty. As Cherokee women, who could not vote or hold public office, became more visible in the temperance ...
As the Cherokee experience demonstrates, the story of Native Americans and their relationship with alcohol is a complicated one. Taking the long viewacross two centuriessuggests that a single analytical model or a deeply held moral conviction cannot adequately explain the role of ...