CHEROKEE NATIONAL HOLIDAY CELEBRATES THE NATION’S 1839 CONSTITUTION
Signed in Tahlequah, Indian Territory, the 1839 Constitution resulted from meetings organized by Sequoyah to unite Eastern Cherokees led by Principal Chief John Ross which had just moved there in 1839 (Ross Party) with the Old Settlers (settlers of Arkansas & eastern Oklahoma in the early 1800s) and their allies (Treaty Party) who, in 1835, sold the remaining Cherokee lands in the Southeast for $5 million. A July 1839 convention led to a formal Act of Union: The parties became one body politic as the Cherokee Nation. A 2nd convention at Tahlequah in September framed a new constitution with rules for election of legislators & chiefs, holding of lands in common, suffrage for boys over 18 years of age, and division of the Nation into 9 districts. The 1839 Constitution succeeded an earlier 1827 Constitution drafted at New Echota, Georgia. In 1898, the Constitution became ineffective as the Curtis Act dissolved tribal governments. The 1839 Constitution was finally superseded by a new constitution in 1975.
Sources: Will Chavez, “1839 Cherokee Constitution born from Act of Union,” Cherokee Phoenix, 8/26/2014. Retrieved 3/10/2022, 1839 Cherokee Constitution born from Act of Union | News | cherokeephoenix.org “Constitution of the Cherokee Nation,” Young American Republic. Retrieved 3/10/2022, Constitution of the Cherokee Nation · The Cherokee Nation and the Fight Against Removal · Young American Republic (msu.edu) Photo: 1839 Cherokee Constitution. Public Domain. Source: United States Library of Congress.