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Cherokee Nation adopted racism from Europeans. It’s time to reject it.

As our tribe debates Cherokee history and identity, Cherokee citizens with white privilege carry the most responsibility to move our tribe forward.

Workers remove Confederate monuments in Tahlequah, Oklahoma, on Saturday, June 13, 2020. | Cherokee Nation

On a warm Saturday morning this June, a crane pulled up to the courthouse square in downtown Tahlequah, Oklahoma. As controversial monuments were being taken down by activists and cities across the country, the Cherokee Nation shook two Confederate monuments loose from their foundation, strapped them to a trailer, and put them in storage.

“There are some painful references on these monuments,” Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. said at the courthouse square. “And I think we live in a time when we need to be mindful of the unity we have here on the courthouse Capitol Square.”

One of the monuments, a 13,000-pound slab of granite, was installed in memory of my great-uncle, Stand Watie, who led the Cherokees on the side of the Confederacy. The Cherokee Nation‘s role in the United States Civil War is complex, and Watie was the last Confederate general to surrender. Watie’s monument and a marble fountain memorializing Confederate soldiers were installed by the United Daughters of the Confederacy in 1913 and 1921, at a time when the square was controlled by the state of Oklahoma.

Read more: https://www.hcn.org/articles/indigenous-affairs-race-and-racism-cherokee-nation-adopted-racism-from-europeans-its-time-to-reject-it

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High Country News

High Country News

Working to inform and inspire people — through in-depth journalism — to act on behalf of the West’s diverse natural and human communities.

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