This chapter examines the historical and symbolic meaning of intermarriage between Cherokee men and white women, and suggests that the evaluation of these relationships by white onlookers often included a hidden third element: the presence of black slaves. The majority of interracial marriages took place between white men and Cherokee women. In 1819 the Cherokee National Council mediated these relationships, passing a resolution requiring white men to legally marry the Cherokee women they called their wives and making it illegal for a white man to have more than one Cherokee wife. The government also had to address whether and by what means the children of white women would be considered citizens. In essence, the Cherokee government sanctioned marriages between white women and Cherokee men by promising their children an equal place in the nation.
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