FEBRUARY 21, 1828

FIRST EDITION OF THE CHEROKEE PHOENIX PRINTED—FIRST NATIVE AMERICAN NEWSPAPER

In the 1820s, the Cherokee were pressured to move west of the Mississippi River.  The Cherokee General Council created the Cherokee Phoenix to elicit public support and keep the Cherokee informed.  Having established a bicameral council, enacted a constitution, and developed a syllabary, a newspaper was seen as a next logical step in modernizing the Cherokee.  With Elias Boudinot as editor, the Phoenix printed laws, news, progress in the “arts of civilized life,” short works of fiction, and items from other newspapers. The Phoenix was printed with adjacent columns of English and Cherokee text.  As the paper focused on the removal crisis, Boudinot’s support for removal was opposed by the General Council and principal Chief John Ross.  Since the paper was an instrument of Cherokee leadership, in August 1832, Boudinot was replaced by Elijah Hicks.  The paper ceased printing in May 1834. In 1835, Boudinot signed the New Echota Treaty and the Cherokee gave away all remaining land east of the Mississippi River.

Source:  Angela F. Pulley (original entry), “Cherokee Phoenix,” New Georgia Encyclopedia, 8/28/2002.  Retrieved 6/9/2019,  https://www.georgiaencyclopedia.org/articles/history-archaeology/cherokee-phoenix
Picture:  Cherokee Phoenix, 5/21/1828.  Public Domain in U.S.:  Pre 1/1/1925.  Public Domain elsewhere where copyright term is author’s life plus 100 years or less.

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