Bad Fruits of the Civilized Tree: Alcohol and the Sovereignty of the Cherokee Nation

By Izumi Ishii | Go to book overview

CONCLUSION

As the Cherokee experience demonstrates, the story of Native Americans and their relationship with alcohol is a complicated one. Taking the long view—across two centuries— suggests that a single analytical model or a deeply held moral conviction cannot adequately explain the role of alcohol in Native societies. At specific times, alcohol created problems in Cherokee society, but at other times, Cherokees managed to regulate consumption in ways that asserted their sovereignty and demonstrated their morality. That is, among the Cherokees, alcohol in and of itself does not seem to have been an omnipresent, debilitating problem. The construction of alcohol as a problem by politicians, reformers, and scholars, however, has played an important role in Cherokee history, and this study has attempted to distinguish those constructions from the actual history of alcohol among the Cherokees. The history of alcohol in turn reflects the history of the Cherokee people.

Like many goods acquired from Europeans, Cherokees found ways to integrate alcohol into their culture. Gifts to warriors, especially from the British, generally included guns and ammunition, paint, and rum. Cherokees, therefore, came to regard alcohol as one of the accoutrements of war. They used it as a powerful war medicine, drank to excess, and so-

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Bad Fruits of the Civilized Tree: Alcohol and the Sovereignty of the Cherokee Nation
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Indians of the Southeast ii
  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Series Preface ix
  • Acknowledgments xi
  • Introduction 1
  • 1: Alcohol Arrives 13
  • 2: A Struggle for Sovereignty 39
  • 3: The Moral High Ground 59
  • 4: Alcohol and Dislocation 83
  • 5: A Nation Under Siege 111
  • 6: Cherokee Temperance, American Reform, and Oklahoma Statehood 133
  • Conclusion 165
  • Notes 169
  • Bibliography 219
  • Index 245
  • In the Indians of the Southeast Series 261
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