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The Cherokee Supreme Court: 1823-1835 by Matthew W. Martin

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From 1823 until 1831, the Cherokee Supreme Court met in New Echota, Georgia, until the Cherokees were run out of Georgia. Then for the next four years, it met in Red Clay, Tennessee, from 1831 until 1835 until  the Trail of Tears forcibly removed the vast majority of Cherokees to Oklahoma, and those who remained were basically hiding out from the rampaging racists. During those twelve years the Cherokee Court considered 213 civil cases and 24 criminal cases. How this court juggled American jurisprudence and tribal culture makes for a fascinating study that also illuminates, for example, the role of women and of African-American slaves in Cherokee life. “I recommend Judge Martin’s excellent legal history. Indian law practitioners and legal historians need to know more about the real origins of modern tribal justice, not merely the mythologies perpetuated by the Supreme Court.” -- Matthew L. M. Fletcher. “Judge Martin’s work is invaluable to those who wish to understand the full context of tribal court power and the role of Cherokee Courts in the comprehensive exerciser of Cherokee sovereignty.”-- Stacy Leeds. The author retired in 2013 after more than ten years serving the Tribal Court of the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians.

Durham, North Carolina:

Carolina Academic Press, 2021. 228 pages with an Index, Appendix, and photos. Trade paperback.