In “Native American Resilience: A Story of Racism, Genocide and Survival” has two parts. The first focuses on the Cherokee People – their struggles and survival. Cherokee culture is highlighted, including their oral traditions from earliest time to the confrontation between peoples when the New World was discovered. Trade and treaties played important roles from the early 1600s, with several significant Cherokee leaders guiding their interaction with the Europeans. Starting in the 1700s, laws stipulated that Indian children be educated in the white man’s ways. Native religions, languages and cultures were outlawed, with these basic rights only restored in 1990. For example, one of the chapters, Divergent Views on Removal, focuses on the period from the early 1800s until Congress passed a law in 1872 declaring there would be no more treaties. The story of Cherokee removal to Indian territory, their involvement in the American Civil War and the period leading up to Oklahoma statehood in 1907 follows.
In Part II, Native American life through modern times is explored, including issues Natives have within American society and with the government. Although there are treaties still in full force, unless changed by the specific Indian tribe and the U.S. government, many have been abrogated at the government’s convenience, resulting in numerous lawsuits with some significant settlements in money and rights for the Indian people. The government has admitted that terms of treaties have not been upheld and that over the centuries documents were lost or destroyed. Some tribes and/or their languages and cultures have ceased to exist. Yet Native Americans, the First Americans, continue their fight to gain justice for what has been done to them and what has been taken away from them – equality and respect.