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Re: Shoe Boots - Does anyone have history of this family

I have read Tiya's book, Ties That Bind," and highly recommend it to anyone wishing to study race relations in the Cherokee Nation. Tiya told me that the idea for her study of ShoeBoots and his slave wife Doll came from a paragraph published in Circe Sturm's book "Blood Politics" where I said in my initial interview with Sturm, "you have to study ShoeBoots if you want to know about race in the Cherokee Nation." Circe's book is another excellent read.

An interesting aside and one that is either denied or ignored by most Cherokees and some scholars is the fact that at the time of ShoeBoot's plea to the Cherokee Nation Council to make citizens of his black children, the children of Cherokee men by any other than a Cherokee woman with a clan were NOT considered Cherokees. In his struggle to protect his children from the institution of slavery, quickly developing in the Cherokee Nation in 1825, ShoeBoots inadvertantly opened the door to citizenship for thousands of future generations of children born to Cherokee men and non-Cherokee women.

Under traditional Cherokee law, a natural born Cherokee (citizen) is only one who is born to a Cherokee mother with a clan. Children born to a Cherokee father and a non-Cherokee mother were clanless and thus outside the law. In other words, they were not citizens and thus not Cherokees.

Clan tradition in the Cherokee Nation has not changed since that time. A child can only inherit a clan by being born to a Cherokee mother with a clan or by being adopted by a Cherokee woman with a clan. It was the law that changed that allowed the clanless children of Cherokee men to be recognized as Cherokee citizens.

The Freedmen are Cherokees by law. They were adopted by a change in the constitution of 1839 that granted them equal rights to Native Cherokees. And by the same token, the children of Cherokee men are Cherokees by law, as their incorporation, adoption if you will, was perfected by a change in the law, rather than a change in tradition, because those children so situated remain clanless, even today. It would have been easy for the Council to pass an act declaring clans passable to children by men. But they chose not to tamper with the tradition and instead altered the law.

Today, the most noted of the clanless Cherokees, whose right to citizenship is rooted in the plea of ShoeBoots, is none other than Chad Smith, whose father is Cherokee and mother is white. In fact, all of the modern chiefs of the Cherokee Nation including J.B. Milam, W.W. Keeler, Ross Swimmer, Wilma Mankiller and Smith, are Cherokees by law, born to white mothers. The only modern chief to be a natural born Cherokee was Joe Byrd whose mother was a full blood with a clan. I too fall into Cherokee by law category, as my father is Cherokee of the Paint Clan and my mother is white. I am grateful to ShoeBoots for having opened the door of citizenship to me. You see, we are a product of our past, all we need do is research to find it.

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Shoe Boots - Does anyone have history of this family
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18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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