Reflection Post

I think submitting this post last, is a reflection of how I have been able to manage my time this last semester lol. Nonetheless, I think it important to pen some last words at to conclude this semester long project. I first want to thank my project partner Ben Allen, for truly collaborating on this project. I felt no sense of egoism, selfishness, or general unkindness from him at all, which was a breath of fresh air, but also sad because this is the last collaborative project of my undergrad career. My surprise didn’t stop here, the support I got from Dr. Welsh and Dr. Wallace and Leah and Cassidy were more than I could hope for. I believe in my heart of hearts that this feeling of support revitalized my want to not only finish the project, but to finish the project the best way I knew how. The only thing I wish I could have changed about this project, is that I did it in another semester that wasn’t my last, and when I didn’t have to write my Senior Thesis. I think if nothing else, this site will be a testament of the intensive and collaborative scholarship I engaged in during undergrad. I am indeed proud and exited to continue learning about the Eastern Band and its politics. I have been telling people that I am most excited about this post-graduation summer to read recreationally and I don’t doubt that Cherokee history will make the list.

Final Post?

I am currently working on a Presentation Outline for May 2 (this upcoming Thursday), I think coordination will be key between me and Ben for our presentation. I think it will be a little tricky, but that’s why we’re planning it now. I know I will be tempted to try to explain the website rather than the project so I’ll keep that in mind when constructing the outline. Also, I hope we have enough time! We have a lot of content so I think our first step should be to prioritize the information we want to address.

Update 04/14

I have come to the realization that I am not good at editing and customizing the website. So I have decided to focus most of my energy in creating content. I am almost done with the Legal Documents tab and have finished writing out my biographical profiles. Really excited to see the end result of the website as the deadline is drawing near.

Senioritis or Mental Fatigue . . . Or Both?

I’ll cut to the chase, I am very tired, mentally and physically. Thankfully I’m still invested in this research and project but I feel like I’m moving too slow.. I straight up feel like I’m on my last leg of a marathon and I see the finish, I know I’m gonna finish, but literally everyone is passing me lol. As time progresses, I realize how slow I synthesize my research and I have also come to the realization that have anxiety surrounding constructing a compelling narrative of conflict resolution in our project. The conflict is clear as day, but weaving in instances of resolutions has proven difficult. That being said, I have focused a lot on the building blocks, i.e., important people, legislation, etc. whereas Ben has been a God send and has been able to construct a cohesive narrative of the 20th century, where our story ends. I’m pushing through and I am really appreciative of the support they I have received so far from my partner, fellow classmates, and professors.

Visit Recap

I went to the archives on Saturday instead of Friday so I wasn’t able to do a walk-in at the Archives with the photo specialist. The secretary however gave me his contact info as well as the archivist at the Western Regional Archives. I did however get some things downstairs at to the State Library where I got to look at microfilm and get copies of documents (which I’ll share sometime soon).

NC State Archives Visit

Greetings! Didn’t get a chance to post to the blog because I was travelling for Spring Break. I’m back home in Raleigh and plan on going to the NC State Archives to get materials (don’t know what those are exactly, I’m narrowing down my source material as we speak.) Updates will be coming soon.

Long time, No see.

I totally forgot that it was a responsibility to update this blog, so I sincerely apologize (good new is that I have a lot of stuff to catch y’all up on). I have felt re-inspired and reinvigorated in working with this project due largely to the resources I was able to find and utilize. I got a chance to speak with Dr. Christopher Oakley from Eastern Carolina University’s department of History who directed me to the book Who Belongs? by Mikaela Adams. There is a really great chapter titled, “Contests of Sovereignty: The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians of North Carolina” which outlined, in great detail, the political mechanisms of sovereignty, the history of tribal nationhood of the Eastern Band and its leadership. I also got to listen to a podcast about the book titled “Indigenous Intellectuals: Sovereignty, Citizenship, and the American Imagination, 1880-1930” by Kara M. Vigil also hammered the notion of tribal sovereignty as a large force for political and social mobilization and informing the Indigenous Political Imagination that I now have to incorporate in my line of study. The importance of blood and “blood quantum” have lasting affects of how natives conceptualized their own identities and how tribal governments awarded citizenship. And so, this illustrates a multi-tiered and multi-faceted process of citizenship, sovereignty, and enfranchisement within and separate from the non-native U.S. political system.

Also how does the title, Black and White & Red and Blue: The Exclusion of the Eastern Band Cherokee in Electoral Politics and U.S Civic Life sound?

Project Proposal

Early 20th Century Cherokee Disenfranchisement in North Carolina

This project will explore the battle in gaining suffrage of the Eastern Band Cherokee and their illusory status as citizens of the United States of the late nineteenth and early to mid twentieth century. Research will focus primarily on the Eastern Band of Western North Carolina in Jackson and Swain counties, specifically the Qualla Boundary (also known as the Cherokee reservation) as well as surrounding areas. Key political figures of the fight for and against suffrage will be studied. The formally recognized Cherokee government and its actors will be at the fore of our study, alongside local and federal governmental actors of the North Carolina and U.S governments. The role of common people also played a particularly valuable role in the fight for and against Cherokee suffrage and citizenship. Republican and Democratic competition to consolidate power within the region transformed political and race relations throughout the region. Its rippling effects and implications still survive today and inform social relations throughout the region, and to a larger extent, social relations between the state and the indigenous population of the United States.

Electoral participation is central to the responsiveness of democratic governments to the needs of its citizens. In the years following the deadly removal of Cherokee and other Native Americans from the Southeast against their will, the surviving Cherokee in the mountains of Western North Carolina lived in relative seclusion. Their efforts to achieve equal participation in North Carolina society at the end of the 19th century very quickly ran afoul of local electoral authorities who feared their ability to swing elections in counties with regularly thin vote margins. The struggle of the Eastern Band Cherokee to achieve equal voting rights in the face of efforts to reject their citizenship and, afterwards, the same Jim Crow era laws used to disenfranchise other North Carolina minority voters is of particular importance in an era of new laws designed to effectively disenfranchise large numbers of minority voters in North Carolina and many other states.The transient and at times, arbitrary nature of citizenship status impedes upon people’s liberties. This fuels conflict, not only between individuals, but between individuals and institutions. This project attempts to comprehend how mass drives of cooperation and concession enfranchised the Cherokee.

The website will have a lot of images to complement the narratives we present. Although the subject matter is very text based, we want to incorporate pictures from the time, as well as audio of possible interviews, music, and art we come across to contextualize the space and place of Eastern Band Cherokee disenfranchisement and their struggle for suffrage. Primary documents such as court documents, deeds, minutes from meetings, etc. will be utilized. Through further research, we will determine whether or not formatting the information we’ve consolidated should be chronological or sequenced by theme.

TimelinesJS could provide a useful visual aid to supplement the project, though if the website ends up being organized chronologically it may be limited in usefulness. Some form of mapping program would likely aid in the narrative as well, though that may depend on whether we can get access to Google My Maps. Time permitting, the media lab on campus has computers with Photoshop installed, and maps may be able to be produced after some instruction from the staff there. Alternatively, we could explore uses for GIS as a mapping aid for the project. UNCA’s National Environmental Mapping and Analysis Center should be able to help with GIS.

Progress????

It’s been kind of challenging getting into the groove of things and streamlining my ideas to conceive a cohesive plan of execution for my project. I have dedicated most of my time to reading and taking notes on my subject matter. I think another challenge is that I don’t know when to conclude preliminary research. When does research stop being preliminary? I am also in the process of composing emails to send out to libraries, professors, and scholars but I also fear that I don’t have anything concrete to provide them so that they may steer me in the right direction. I think our access to great thinkers and vast amount of primary resources in this area will prove fruitful and I am therefore more excited than anything.