Cherokee literature still affected by history of removal

A history of psychological, physical and spiritual “removal” from their land continues to have an impact on the literature of the Cherokee people, says Professor Daniel Justice of English at the University of Toronto. Justice, a member of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, says the Cherokee people have historically responded to the forced uprooting of many generations by either accommodating European culture without feeling a sense of sacrifice or by challenging Euro-western mores and philosophies. Justice is currently completing research for his book Our Fire Survives The Storm. From the University of Toronto :Cherokee literature still affected by history of removal

A history of psychological, physical and spiritual “removal” from their land continues to have an impact on the literature of the Cherokee people, says Professor Daniel Justice of English at the University of Toronto.

Justice, a member of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, says the Cherokee people have historically responded to the forced uprooting of many generations by either accommodating European culture without feeling a sense of sacrifice or by challenging Euro-western mores and philosophies. Justice is currently completing research for his book Our Fire Survives The Storm.

The traditional political organization of the Cherokee people, says Justice, had two structures – one for war and one for peace. “In times of peace, the ‘Beloved’ women and men were the primary leaders while in times of war, the ‘red’ or war chief and his warriors became the primary leaders. In my book, I look at the Beloved path of accommodation in Cherokee literature and how it approached the Euro-western onslaught and how this reaction impacts on the people and our literature even today.”

In his scholarship, Justice studies both camps of Cherokee thought. “You can see some very strong accommodationist writers and some who are more resistant. It’s important to note that neither group is more Cherokee. Each gives balance to the other.”

While many may benefit from reading his upcoming book, it is being written primarily for his own people. “It is important that we, as Native people, speak to these histories and respond to them and know that our history of removal is in the background of so much of Cherokee literature. Acknowledging this sense of removal is part of our consciousness even today.”


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