The Cherokees and Their Chiefs: In the Wake of Empire

Article excerpt

The Cherokees and Their Chiefs: In the Wake of Empire. By Stanley W. Hoig. (Fayetteville: University of Arkansas Press, 1998. Pp. xvi, 350. Paper, $18.00, ISBN 1-55728-528-4; cloth, $34.00, ISBN 11-55728-527-6.)

In The Cherokees and Their Chiefs, Stanley Hoig traces Cherokee history from the Spanish invasion by Hernando de Soto in the 1540s to the present. He focuses on the numerous adversities and the resulting political changes with which the Cherokees had to deal. Throughout the book Hoig uses the tribal chiefs as the focal point of his narrative. Although sustained contact between Cherokees and Europeans did not begin until the late seventeenth century, the Cherokees rapidly became dependent on European trade goods. At the time of contact the Cherokees had no cohesive tribal government beyond that of local towns. However, to deal with the Europeans, the Cherokees were forced to adopt a type of centralized government that was familiar to Europeans. Although there was certainly some division among the Cherokees before European contact, Hoig writes that "the duplicity that was often employed in dealing with individual chiefs led to ever increasing divisiveness among the Cherokee people" (p. 16). Significant is his inclusion of the often neglected Arkansas Cherokees, who began moving across the Mississippi as early as 1721 when the Cherokees made their first treaty and first land cession to South Carolina (p. …