98 Primary Source Reading: “An Address to the Whites”

Elias Boudinot, “An Address to the Whites,” Philadelphia, May 26, 1826


Elias Boudinot (born Gallegina Uwati, also known as Buck Watie[1]) (1802 – June 22, 1839), was a member of a prominent family of the Cherokee Nation who was born in and grew up in present-day Georgia. His Cherokee name reportedly means either ‘male deer’ or ‘turkey.’  Educated at a missionary school in Connecticut, he became one of several leaders who believed that acculturation was critical to Cherokee survival; he was influential in the period of removal to Indian Territory. In 1828 Boudinot became the editor of the Cherokee Phoenix, the first Native American newspaper. It published in Cherokee and English, to showcase Cherokee achievements as well as to build unity within the Nation while under United States pressure for Indian Removal.

Boudinot delivered this speech in the First Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia on May 26, 1826. He described the similarities between the Cherokee and the whites, and ways in which the Cherokee were adopting aspects of white culture. He was fundraising for a Cherokee national academy and printing equipment for the newspaper, support for “civilizing” the Cherokee. Following the speech, he published his speech in a pamphlet by the same title. “An Address to the Whites” was well received and “proved to be remarkably effective at fund-raising”.


Download and read the speech HERE (From the National Humanities Center).


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