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 his people who had repudiated the Confederate alliance, left the Nation under federal guard. Until the Confederate surrender at Appomattox, the Cherokees fought their own civil war. The Treaty of 1866 with the United States confronted the Cherokees with several difficult issues. In particular, the land grants for railroads, the emancipation and enfranchisement of slaves, and the partial transference of legal jurisdiction to the United States produced an influx of American citizens into the Nation and caused dissension among Cherokees, who feared that they were losing control of their Nation.1 Their inability to regulate alcohol epitomized the erosion of Cherokee institutions, values, and sovereignty.
The Treaty of 1866 presumably placed further restrictions on the sale of alcohol. Before the Civil War, when George M. Murrell, a wealthy merchant who married a niece of Chief John Ross, asked permission to bring a small quantity of intoxicating liquors to his house in Park Hill for his private use, Commissioner of Indian Affairs James W Denver rea-