How did the Cherokee Nation v. Georgia change and impact American life?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I cannot help but feel that one of the significant realities that result out of the Cherokee Nation vs. Georgia is the institutional silencing of Native Americans.  The court ruled in favor of "land hungry" Whites and, in doing so, helped to legimitize the process of silencing and marginalizing Native Americans.  In concluding that the Cherokee people had no legal standing to contest what was happening to their land, the case impacted Americans in believing that the conquest and usurping of Native American lands was sanctioned by the government.  This impacted Americans in moving into lands that were not theirs.  It also impacted Americans in physically and politically relegating Native Americans into a world where their voices were non- existent.  The resulting Trail of Tears is an example of how White America was able to physically, socially, and politically silence the voices of the Native Americans.  The decision ended up sowing the seeds of the relegation that would mark the relationship between White Americans and Native Americans for about a century, if not longer.  In ruling that the Cherokee tribes were not a foreign nation, the Court ended up legitimizing the barbarism and cruelty with which White Americans ended up treating Native Americans, impacting what it meant to be "American" in a highly significant manner.

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