The  Northern Cherokee

Of The Old Louisiana Territory


The Northern Cherokee Nation is the only tribe of Indians which has been officially recognized by the Missouri government with a Missouri House of Representatives Resolution and a Governor's Proclamation.
In 1721 our forebears, started moving west of the Mississippi as English encroachers began taking away our eastern homelands along with our freedoms.
During the time of French and Spanish occupation of the Louisiana Territory many of our ancestors first settled in the area of what is now southeastern Missouri and northeastern Arkansas. In time our kinsmen who remained in the east referred to us as the "Lost Cherokee."
By 1799, portions of what are now St. Louis and St. Charles counties were deeded to some of our forebearers by Spanish land grants.After the Louisiana purchase of 1803 they were forced from these properties by the United States government (may we add this was in violation of Article VI of the Louisiana Purchase Treaty). Some refugees of this forced removal then migrated into what are now Boone, Howard, Franklin, Randolph, and Macon counties of Missouri.
The thousands of Cherokee people now living in central Missouri represent only a small portion of Lost Cherokee descendants who in  time settled all over the western watershed of the Mississippi.
Because we have long been dispersed throughout what used to be the Louisiana Territory and due to the fact our Nation has lived in this area since Spanish and French occupation, we now call our tribe:
"The Northern Cherokee Nation of the Old Louisiana Territory."
Our effort is to make our people aware that their government west of the Mississippi has continued to exist since before the Louisiana Purchase and that we are eager for all Northern Cherokees to re-identify themselves with the nation of their roots. Twenty years before the "Trail of Tears" (November 2, 1819), John Ross wrote of our Nation in a letter to James Monroe, President of the United States. In the letter Ross referred to our people west of the Mississippi as "The Cherokees on the St. Francis River (located in what is now SE Missouri and NE Arkansas) who  had moved there great many years before." John Ross later became chief of the Old Cherokee Nation in the Southeast.
It should be mentioned that the United States government recognized our nation in the early 1800s. One evidence of this is that Indian Agent Samuel Treat was assigned to our Cherokee people.
Agent Treat was succeeded in 1813 by Agent William L. Lovely. After the Arkansas Reservation was set up in accordance with the Treaty of 1817, the Indian Agents were assigned to the new reservation and the United States government evidently chose to ignore and forget our people. It is our presenteffort to re-establish the forgotten Federal Recognition of our nation.
Soon after statehood, Missouri passed legislation in 1838 which in effect outlawed  Native Americans from living in the state. Rather than be forced to an Oklahoma reservation, many of our people chose to dress and behave like the whites in order to conceal their identity. The many of our nation who continued  to reside in Missouri had to maintain our Cherokee affairs and heritage in secret. Much suffering occurred during the many years this law stayed on the books.
We remain proud of our Cherokee heritage and cannot permit anyone to deny us our birthright, though many have tried to destroy our heritage. From ancient times we call ourselves, "Ani Yunwiya," which means, "The Principal People".
American principles of social and political equality are only part of our ancient Cherokee way. Without Americans like the Cherokee, the world may never have learned the principles of participatory democracy.