The Cherokee are a Native American tribe indigenous to the Southeastern United States (principally Georgia, Tennessee, North Carolina and South Carolina). The Cherokee language is related to that of the Iroquois. In the 19th century, historians and ethnographers recorded their oral tradition that told of the tribe having migrated south in ancient times from the Great Lakes region of the Iroquois.
By the 19th century, European settlers in the United States called the Cherokee one of the "Five Civilized Tribes", because they had adopted numerous cultural and technological practices of the European American settlers. The Cherokee were one of the first, if not the first, major non-European ethnic group to become U.S. citizens, in the treaty of 1817. According to the 2010 U.S. Census, the Cherokee Nation has more than 314,000 members, the largest of the 566 federally recognized Native American tribes in the United States. In addition, numerous groups claiming Cherokee lineage, some of which are state-recognized, have members who are among the more than 819,000 people claiming Cherokee ancestry on the US census.
Of the three federally recognized Cherokee tribes, the Cherokee Nation and the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians (UKB) have headquarters in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. The UKB are mostly descendants of "Old Settlers," Cherokee who migrated to Arkansas and Oklahoma about 1817. They are related to the Cherokee who were forcibly relocated there in the 1830s under the Indian Removal Act. The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians is on the Qualla Boundary in western North Carolina, and are descendants of those who resisted or avoided relocation. In addition, there are numerous Cherokee heritage groups throughout the United states, such as the satellite communities sponsored by the Cherokee Nation.
Cherokee in "Hail! Hail!"
Under the leadership of Chief Richard Fields and John Dunn Hunter, and the Chreokee agreed to help Haden Edwards and the Republic of Fredonia. In one timeline, the Mexican government convinced the Cherokee to remain neutral, which contributed to the failure of Fredonia. However, that destiny changed when the Marx Brothers arrived from 1934. and Julius Marx convinced the Cherokee to stay in the alliance, thereby changing history.
After the Marx Brothers convinced first Adolphus Sterne and Haden Edwards of their identity, Sterne took them to the Cherokee. At this point, the Marx Brothers' only real plan was to make the Cherokee like them better than the Mexicans. Fields greeted them when they arrived, and Sterne explained who the Marx Brothers were and why they were there to meet. Fields agreed to listen and summoned Hunter.
The group ate a supper of grits and armadillo before talks began. Once again, Julius explained that he and his brothers were from 1934 and offered coins to prove it. A full-blooded Cherokee named Eightkiller also looked at the coins. All saw dates from the 1920s, and Eightkiller observed the "clock" on Julius' wrist as being far more advanced than anything he'd ever seen. Based on this, the Cherokee were tentatively convinced the Marx Brothers were telling the truth. Julius then explained that in the Marx Brother's historical record, the Mexicans convinced the Cherokee not to back Fredonia, and the rebellion failed. He further explained that, despite the Cherokees' change of heart, the Mexican government still mistrusted them, and that Fields and Hunter were hanged in the spring of 1827 as a result. Julius withheld the fact that the Cherokee people themselves did the hanging. Fields reasoned that if they threw in with Fredonia, they had to go all the way. Eightkiller pointed out that they could also just flat out refuse to help now, as well. The Cherokee began discussing in their own language their next course of action.
In order to sway the Cherokee, Sterne explained the white and red strips of the Fredonia flag symbolized whites and Indians working together. In response, the Marx Brothers sang the Freedonia anthem from Duck Soup. The Cherokee weren't wholly receptive to these idealistic exclamations, although the faux anthem didn't hurt. When Eightkiller asked what the best course of action was, Julius simply stated that sitting back as they had in the original timeline didn't work, but he made no guarantees as to what would happen if they backed Fredonia all the way. While the Cherokee had reservations about trusting Haden Edwards, the realized that the didn't really trust the Mexicans either, and so opted to back Fredonia, even chanting "Hail! Hail! Fredonia!" in a show of solidarity.
The group stayed with the Cherokee for the next several days. Warriors started joining the band. On Christmas Day word came that the Mexican envoy, Peter Ellis Bean was on his way to convince the Cherokee to stay away from Fredonia. Fields reiterated his resolve to ignore Bean given his and Hunter's fate.
Bean arrived on December 27. He'd received information about the Marx brothers, and was immediately dismissive of them. Julius Marx began goading Bean in response, reciting the playground song "Beans, Beans, the Musical Fruit". While it didn't exist in 1826 yet, every English-speaker quickly understood the gist. For good measure, the Cherokee warrior Eightkiller even translated for some of the other Cherokee warriors present. One made a fart-noise with his mouth. Bean also understood Cherokee, and this act made him even angrier. Marx continued to taunt Bean, but took things too far by slapping Bean in the face. Bean immediately declared that Marx had challenged him to a duel. As the challenged, Bean selected pistols, and declared the duel would be at sunup the next day. Sterne agreed to be Marx' second, and even provided him a pistol.
The next morning, Bean and Julius Marx met for their duel. Marx had a pistol that had been loaded by Sterne. Bean and Marx agreed to the final rules of ten paces, and one shot only. Bean also made it clear that only this duel could repair his honor. As the sun came up, the duel commenced. After ten paces, Bean turned and aimed faster, but his gun misfired. Marx took aim at Bean's chest and fired. His gun discharged, hitting Bean in the chest. The wound was not immediately fatal, and Bean took an hour and a half to die. Bean's death insured that the Cherokee would stay in the Fredonian camp, as the Mexican government would not believe that the Cherokee were blameless. Cherokee Chief Richard Fields announced that the warriors would head to Nacogdoches after they buried Bean.
Cherokee in "The Pugnacious Peacemaker"
Cherokee in The Two Georges
Under Governor-General George Washington, the North American Union entered into an agreement with various Red Indian tribes to keep their homelands safe from white encroachment. The Cherokee were among the beneficiaries of this policy. Although the tide of white population expansion could not be held back indefinitely, it was delayed long enough for the Cherokee to build and maintain a modernised state, which eventually became the Cherokee Nation, one of the Provinces of the NAU.
- "Hail! Hail!", loc. 393-444
- Ibid., loc. 523-583.
- Ibid., loc. 393-444
- Ibid., loc. 523-583.
- Ibid., loc. 583-666.
- Ibid., loc. 666-696.
- Ibid., loc. 689-739.
- Ibid., loc. 739-782.
- Ibid., loc. 782.
- Ibid., loc. 803-847.
- Ibid., loc 847-867.
- Ibid., loc. 867-877.
- The Two Georges, frontispiece map. The Cherokee Nation plays no role in the novel itself, however its history can be gleaned indirectly from the backstory of The Six Nations, another beneficiary of Washington's agreement.