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This Day in Georgia History

December 29, 1838

Cherokee Indian Citizenship Act

Gov. George Gilmer signed the Cherokee Indian Citizenship Act, which granted full citizenship to twenty-two named families of mixed Cherokee and white ancestry that had been exempted from the force removal earlier in 1838. Many of these families were related and lived in the same community along the southern border of the Cherokee Nation near present-day Suwanee. Prior to the Cherokee land lottery of 1832, most of the families had plantations, while some operated ferries on the Chattahoochee River. Their land was taken from them and distributed to whites in 1832, but by the time of the Cherokee removal, most of the families had been able to repurchase their land Thus, they were allowed to stay in Georgia - but as non-citizens until this act.