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Unconquerable: The Story of John Ross, Chief of the Cherokees, 1828-1866 by John M. Oskison.

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Cherokee scholars tend to divide into two camps that mirror the sentiment of others, both native and white, concerned about Cherokee history. They are the Ross camp and the Ridge camp. John Ross was Principal Chief from 1828 until 1866. At first, he opposed the removal of his people from the Southern Appalachians to Oklahoma, but he later actually contracted to take a group of his people west. John Ridge at first was compliant, even signing a removal treaty, but later he opposed removal. He was educated at a white private school in Connecticut and married the headmaster’s daughter which led to the school being shut down. John Ridge was among the rivals to John Ross that were assassinated after they all moved to Oklahoma. The author, John M. Oskison (1874-1947), wrote this book in the 1930s. He was born in the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma and was the son of a part-Cherokee mother and a white father. I have not been able to determine whether he had a tribal number or not. He graduated from Stanford in 1898, and they claim him as their first native graduate. He started graduate work at Harvard, but dropped out and became a writer. He published four novels and biographies of Sam Houston and Tecumseh. He also was a co-editor of the Federal Writer’s Project’s state guide to Oklahoma. The editor, Lionel Larre, is President of Bordeaux Montaigne University in France and edited a previous Oskison book.

Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2022. 276 pages, edited with an introduction by Lionel Larre and with an Index, References, Notes, and Authorities. Trade paperback.