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In Their Own Words

March 08, 1821

John Ridge Letter to President James Monroe

Cherokee leader John Ridge wrote Pres. James Monroe:

“… I rejoice that my dear nation now begins to peep into the privileges of civilization – that this great and generous government is favorable to them, and that ere long, Congress will give them the hand of strong fellowship – that they will encircle them in the arms of love, and adopt them into the fond embraces of the Union… .

“It is a known fact, that those Indians who have missionaries among them, and who live on this side [of] the Mississippi [River], are coming up, with faster steps to civilization, than those who have been enticed to remove to the west… . How different is the condition of that part of my nation, who have been enticed by their foolish imaginations, and particularly by the allurement of the white men, to remove to the Arkansas [Territory]… .”

Source: Thurman Wilkins, Cherokee Tragedy: The Story of the Ridge Family and of the Decimation of a People (New York: MacMillan Co., 1970), p. 129.