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Ties That BindThe Story of an Afro-Cherokee Family in Slavery and Freedom$
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Tiya Miles

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780520285637

Published to California Scholarship Online: September 2016

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520285637.001.0001

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(p.44) Three Motherhood
Ties That Bind

Tiya Miles

University of California Press

This chapter delves into Doll's experience as Shoe Boots' slave and lover. It focuses on her outsider status in Cherokee social and ceremonial life, the birth of her first child, and the convergence of American slave law and Cherokee clan organization in which the child follows the condition of the mother. Analysis of the law and its contradictions with respect to enslaved women provides a way of understanding the structures of power in sexual encounters between master and slave. In the early 1800s, Cherokees did not share the Anglo-American view that racial difference rendered African people subhuman. Instead, they maintained harmony in their towns by upholding an ethos that called for respecting individual autonomy. The chapter also discusses how the inability of the slave to mother her child is imbued with deepening layers of meaning in the cultural context in which Doll conceived her baby girl.

Keywords:   Cherokee social life, American slave law, Cherokee clan organization, master-slave relations, racial difference, African people, slave mothers

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