Toward the Cherokee Nation
Wartime disruptions significantly undermined Cherokee localism, as widespread displacement forced Cherokees from different towns and regions into new interactions that challenged local insularities. Equally important, repeated militia invasions prompted Cherokees to recognize that towns made easy targets. The result was the dispersal of many villagers to isolated farmsteads. Individual and family choices relating to these new settlement patterns were bolstered by council policy. Cherokee leaders encouraged dispersed agricultural tracts by directing that Cherokee farms could not be within a quarter mile of each other. The demise of the town—at least as it was known among prior generations—was evinced in Cherokee treaties with the United States. A centralized and institutionally based government accordingly emerged to meet these threats. In the nineteenth century, the Cherokees strengthened the national council, established a National Committee, and elected a principal chief of the Cherokee Nation.
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