Memorial of the Cherokees

/tiles/non-collection/r/rr_Cherokee-memorial.xml Image courtesy of the National Archives and Records Administration
Petitions and memorials are requests directed to Congress by individuals, groups, or state and local institutions to entreat Congress to take a certain action. When memorials were received by Congress, they were generally referred to a specific committee with jurisdiction over the related legislation or subject matter. When a matter is “tabled” it means the House has set the matter aside and effectively disposed of it without debate. Overall, the House tabled a relatively small portion of the memorials it received. This memorial was sent to the 21st Congress by the Cherokee Nation, protesting the state of Georgia’s attempt to extend its authority over lands occupied by the Cherokee. It is a plaintive appeal to Congress to remain on their ancestral lands: “[W]e have never ceded nor forfeited the occupancy of the soil and the sovereignty over it, we do solemnly protest against being forced to leave it, either direct or by indirect measures. To the land of which we are now in possession we are attached—it is our fathers' gift—it contains their ashes—it is the land of our nativity, and the land of our intellectual birth.” This memorial, and a number of other memorials sent by members of the Cherokee Nation, was tabled on February 8, 1830, by Speaker Andrew Stevenson. The subsequent passage by the House of the Indian Removal Act on May 26, 1830, precipitated the forced relocation of the Cherokee to lands west of the Mississippi River, the Trail of Tears, in 1838.