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In the court case Worcester v. Georgia, the U.S. Supreme Court held in 1832 that the Cherokee Indians constituted a nation holding distinct sovereign powers. Although the decision became the foundatio


In the 1830s, the Court heard two cases dealing with conflicts between the state of Georgia and the Cherokee Nation. Although the Court ruled in favor of the Cherokee, Georgia ignored the decision and in 1838 the Cherokee were forcibly relocated to present-day Oklahoma. Above, a rendition of the Cherokee on the "Trail of Tears." Reproduction courtesy of the Granger Collection, New York


Samuel Austin Worcester (19 January 1798 – 20 April 1859), was a missionary to the Cherokee, translator of the Bible, printer and defender of the Cherokee's sovereignty. He collaborated with Elias Boudinot to establish the Cherokee Phoenix, the first Native American newspaper. After he was arrested for disobeying Georgia's law restricting white missionaries from living in Cherokee territory, he was the plaintiff in Worcester v. Georgia.


1. Map of East and West Florida, Georgia, and Louisiana, engraving by John Lodge (London, 1781). Courtesy of the American Antiquarian Society, Worcester, Massachusetts.

Elias Boudinot. Cherokee leader. Editor of the Cherokee Phoenix. Born Gallegina (also known as Buck) Watie, son of Oo-watie at Oothcaloga in the Cherokee Nation in what is now northwest Georgia, he was the elder brother of Stand Watie. Worcester Mission Cemetery, Park Hill, Cherokee, Oklahoma. Find A Grave