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The Cherokee Nation in the Civil War Hardcover – April 15, 2007

4.3 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Clarissa W. Confer is Assistant Professor of History at California University of Pennsylvania.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 216 pages
  • Publisher: University of Oklahoma Press; First Edition edition (April 15, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0806138033
  • ISBN-13: 978-0806138039
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,347,626 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Sylvia Starr on November 11, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Despite the perennial popularity of the American Civil War as a literary/historical subject, by comparison only small attention has been focused on the Civil War in the West - nor on the background of Cherokee Indian removal, or the varied and interesting history of the five civilized tribes in the West and their role in that same war. Truly neglected is the canvas that is the war's devastating effect on them.

Readers of the recent book "The Cherokee nation in the Civil War" by Clarissa Confer will be divided into two groups: those who never knew most of this happened, and a much smaller group who wonder if anything fresh is left to say about it. Native Americans, and most individuals with Native American heritage are, after all, antiquarians...these things are not new; so much here is familiar to them. They are astute in this rich and unique historical/ethnic area, as are so many around them. In Oklahoma state law requires one semester of Oklahoma history for high school graduation, and many college programs also require it. While school textbooks are not a scholarly treatise, they do provide substantial blocks of knowledge on these topics surrounding the Indian and the West and also the Civil War. This serves as a starting point for such an historical work.

Miss Confer narrates for us a story that is sad, rich, and absorbing. She approaches it at times as an essayist, at times in a tighter style. She writes about notable Cherokee leaders; about slaves, women, children, enlisted men, freedmen; about families and factions who participate, willingly or not, in the upset and devastation that was the Civil War as it played out in the West. She makes the point that these people and their lives must also matter to us.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A well researched and beautifully written account of a time in history that usually finds its focus elsewhere. The devastating effects the Civil War had on our Native Nations is sadly overlooked in our study of American History. Ms. Confer does an outstanding job of bringing it to life for us in an interesting and readable work. I highly recommend this book and look forward to reading more from her.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Earth Mother Crying: Encyclopedia of Prophecies of Peoples of the Western Hemisphere, The Cherokee Nation in the Civil War, The Cherokee Nation: A History, Walking on the Wind: Cherokee Teachings for Harmony and Balance and Trail of Tears: The Rise and Fall of the Cherokee Nation were originally purchased as a gift for a friend who is Cherokee/Choctaw. After the books arrived and I perused the book jackets I decided to buy additional copies for myself. I have not read these books yet but I'm sure I will be very happy with them based on other reviews. I think it's very important to know where we all came from and how this country came to where it is today. And, while the wrongdoings of the past cannot be undone I believe it's important to understand them and how such things happened, to understand the contributions of Native Americans to our culture and how they served this nation that did not always serve them.
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Format: Paperback
[...]

Cherokee Declaration of Causes (October 28, 1861)
Declaration by the People of the Cherokee Nation of the Causes
Which Have Impelled Them to Unite Their Fortunes With Those of the
Confederate States of America.

When circumstances beyond their control compel one people to sever the ties which have long existed between them and another state or confederacy, and to contract new alliances and establish new relations for the security of their rights and liberties, it is fit that they should publicly declare the reasons by which their action is justified.

The Cherokee people had its origin in the South; its institutions are similar to those of the Southern States, and their interests identical with theirs. Long since it accepted the protection of the United States of America, contracted with them treaties of alliance and friendship, and allowed themselves to be to a great extent governed by their laws.

In peace and war they have been faithful to their engagements with the United States. With much of hardship and injustice to complain of, they resorted to no other means than solicitation and argument to obtain redress. Loyal and obedient to the laws and the stipulations of their treaties, they served under the flag of the United States, shared the common dangers, and were entitled to a share in the common glory, to gain which their blood was freely shed on the battlefield.

When the dissensions between the Southern and Northern States culminated in a separation of State after State from the Union they watched the progress of events with anxiety and consternation.
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Format: Paperback
The title and subject may give this book less of an audience than it deserves. It focuses, obviously, on the Cherokee Nation (of modern Oklahoma) in the Civil War. Two regiments fought with the Confederacy at first, though one later defected to the Union and fought with them. In addition, the war provided an opportunity for score-settling in the Cherokee Nation, reflecting differences stemming from the Trail of Tears.

This book sheds a lot of light on some unexamined stories of the Civil War, the relationships between soldiers and civilians, between men and women, and between the West and the wider war. It has an entire chapter on Cherokee refugees in Kansas, Texas, and elsewhere. Those refugee communities were often dominated by women as men were absent, and they included many black Cherokees. Confer also provides a valuable overview of Cherokee politics during this period, laying out the social and political differences among both elites and masses. In short, there are a lot of stories here.

Confer is clearly sympathetic to the Cherokees and to Native peoples more generally, but not uncritically so. When she identifies ways in which they suffered more than others in the Civil War, Confer will also circumscribe her story - some groups suffered less, and some whites suffered in similar ways.

The book is well-written, and Confer knows how to tell a story concisely. It should be a part of everyone's Civil War library.

Because the subject *seems* narrow, I fear it will not receive the wider audience it deserves. I hope that you will read this book.
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