Albert Bender. Photo: U. S. Army Corps of Engineers / Flickr

Albert Bender: Indian fighter stole Cherokee Nation's land

Albert Bender shares the background of a fraudulent treaty that resulted in the theft of land from the Cherokee Nation in present-day Tennessee:
The Cherokee Nation, rather than engaging in conflict to remove the invaders, initially elected to rent the land to them in order to keep the peace. But after these settlers began selling the land to other frontiersmen as if they were the rightful owners, the decision was made to serve notice of eviction, which they ignored. Hence, war erupted.

Still, the Watauga settlers were not content with having illegally appropriated Cherokee land in East Tennessee (remember, they already more than enough land to live on), they also wanted Cherokee land in Middle Tennessee. James Robertson was the leader of this insatiable, land-greedy movement. He claimed this land under the fraudulent Treaty of Sycamore Shoals of 1775.

But even under this so-called treaty, white settlers had no legal right to settle on the south bank of the Cumberland River. Robertson knew this, but what does he do? He leads his land grabbers to settle on the south side of this ancient waterway, in flagrant violation of the written terms of the otherwise illicit document of Sycamore Shoals. The land on which they settled was still legally Cherokee territory recognized by prior treaties.

Get the Story:
Albert Bender: James Robertson, invader of Cherokee land (The Tennessean 11/9)

Join the Conversation