every citizen and their families an equal share in all our lands, privileges, and rights as Cherokee citizens; and all he proposes to give us for the surrender of our nationality, lands, and homes is, that we will be granted one brigadier general, one more colonel, a few favorite positions in office, and a ruined people.
We were the first of our Nation to take up arms in favor of the rights of the South. It was by our exertions, and through circumstances we brought about, that caused our chief Ross to treat with the Confederate States Government. We were present when the treaty was made, were a party to it, and rejoiced when it was done. In that treaty our rights to our country as a Nation were guaranteed to us forever, and the Confederate States promised to protect us in them. We enlisted under the banners of those States, and have fought in defense of our country under that treaty and for the rights of the South for nearly two years. We have been driven from our homes,and suffered severe hardships, privations, and losses, and now we are informed, when brighter prospects are before us, that you think it best for us to give part of our lands to our white friends; that, to defend our country and keep troops for our protection, we must raise and enlist them from our own territory, and that it is actually necessary that they are citizens of our country to enable us to keep them with us. To do this would be the end of our national existence and the ruin of our people. Two things above all others we hold most dear, our nationality and the welfare of our people. Had the war been our own, there would have been justice in the proposition, but it is that of another nation. We are allies, assisting in establishing the rights and independence of another nation. We, therefore, in justice to ourselves and our people, cannot agree to give a part of our domain as an inducement to citizens of another Government to fight their own battles and for their own country; besides, it would open a door to admit as citizens of our Nation the worst class of citizens of the Confederate States. In our opinion inducement sufficient has already been offered to cause all good men and true patriots to enlist; those that are yet out of the service are nearly all deserters, of doubtful patriotism or of the lowest character. To admit such as these, our country would soon be filled with the worst citizens of the Confederate States, and they a majority over us. Our elections and councils would be controlled by them, and any measure brought up for the protection and interest of the Indian, unless it was also to the interest of the white citizen, would never be passed, and the Cherokee would soon be a stranger at his home and in his own country. Against such a scheme we respectfully, earnestly, and solemnly protest, and in doing so we express the sentiments of two-thirds of our people.
We have no longer any confidence in our delegate, and take this means of expressing to you our disapprobation of his course and the propositions made in convention upon his return.
In the plan of again creating this a separate and distinct department, we heartily concur. While it has been connected with Arkansas and the Trans-Mississippi District, we have suffered most severely; but in carrying it out we have our doubts and fears, as we have great reason for suspecting that there may be some political understanding with our member and others from the border States for effecting this scheme, and promoting to high position some commander, who would favor the downfall and destruction of our nationalities. Should you deem it necessary to appoint for this division a commanding general for the Indian Department, we hope and pray that it will not be one of partiality and prejudices, to our total ruin; while [we have] men in whom we have
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