Elias C. Boudinot. (To accompany bill H. R. 603.) Memorial of Elias C. Boudinot, a Cherokee Indian, for relief against certain proceedings under the internal revenue laws. Elias C. Boudinot, Cornelius.

Important for Native American Sovereignty

Elias C. Boudinot. (To accompany bill H. R. 603.) Memorial of Elias C. Boudinot, a Cherokee Indian, for relief against certain proceedings under the internal revenue laws

Notes: A plea from a Cherokee leader, the son of the assassinated tribal leader and Cherokee Phoenix editor of the same name, to have Congress intervene in support of dropping criminal charges against him lodged in a dispute over tobacco taxes and Native sovereignty. In this statement to Congress, Boudinot protests his poor treatment as one of the first Native Americans to go into manufacturing (the production of tobacco products in present-day Oklahoma), and he makes one of his first pitches for Native citizenship, a cause he would pursue the rest of his life.

"Your memorialist, however, with indescribably mortification represents that instead of receiving the plaudits, congratulations, and commendations of a country for having established the ability of an Indian to manufacture products for his own people, the doors of a penitentiary in a neighboring state are thrown wide to receive him..." He then expresses support for Native American citizenship (which would be granted finally in 1924) on the grounds that the Supreme Court decided they were subject to the laws of the US, "Your memorialist, as a Cherokee Indian, feels grateful... for the recommendation to Congress to establish a territorial government over the Indian country, feeling confident that by such a wise and just course he and all his Indian brethren will be invested with all the rights and privileges of citizens of this great republic, they being already subjected to the responsibilities of such."

Boudinot's mother was white and died soon after he was born; he was orphaned when his father was murdered, and he was raised by his maternal grandparents. Boudinout grew up to become a lawyer and likely wrote this himself.

9 pages. 42d Congress, 2d Session. House of Representatives, Mis. Doc. No. 9. December 11, 1871.

The Supreme Court decision, now referred to as The Cherokee Tobacco, is reprinted in full in this memorial. A discussion of the importance of this case can be found in American Indian Sovereignty and the U.S. Supreme Court: The Masking of Justice by David E. Wilkins (2010), p. 54ff.

Edition + Condition: First edition (first printing). A near fine copy; gatherings stitched, as issued. Never bound. An important document concerning Native American sovereignty; seldom seen in original condition.

Publication: [Washington, DC]: (n.p.), 1871.

Item No: #307487

Price: $350

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