By Jeff Goss, President and Creative Director
The Treaty of New Echota was signed December 29, 1835, in New Echota, Georgia, by officials of the United States government and representatives of a minority Cherokee political group, The Treaty Party, headed by Major Ridge, his son John Ridge, and nephews Elias Boudinot and Stand Watie.
The treaty established terms under which the entire Cherokee Nation ceded its territory in the Southeast and agreed to move west to Oklahoma Indian Territory. The treaty was not approved by the Cherokee National Council nor was it signed by Principal Chief John Ross. It was amended and ratified by the U.S. Senate in March 1836 and became the legal basis for the forcible removal and the infamous Trail of Tears. Legitimate Cherokee Chief John Ross’ trip to Washington in effort to reverse the treaty, or at least get a better deal for their land, failed.
Major Ridge and his family moved to Oklahoma in 1837 to start over. On June 22, 1839, Major Ridge, John Ridge and Elias Boudinot were assassinated within one hour of each other, and no one was brought to trial. After the murders, most of the Ridge family and party relocated from Cherokee Territory, Oklahoma.
It was moving to stroll the property in Red Clay, Tennessee, where the last Cherokee council before the removal took place; visit sites of these infamous killings and the grave of John Ross; and think about what the Cherokee at this time must have felt as they were betrayed again and again by the U.S. government, members of their own Tribe, and finally their “friend,” President Andrew Jackson, who took all they had and many, many of their lives.
This campaign is designed to tell the individual truths of the history of the Cherokee Nation and collectively tell the story of the Tribe, thus establishing a meaningful brand.