Who Was Stand Watie?

Stand Uwatie was a Brigadier General who fought in the Civil War on the side of the confederates. You might say…well that’s no big deal, hopefully they buried him with his boots off and now that he is down in hell, the devil is making him do the Electric Slide on a bed of hot coals and burning sulfur. Well there are two things about Stand that makes him “stand” out.. the pun was not intended but I’ll take it… 1. He was the very last Confederate General to surrender and 2. He was a full blooded Cherokee Indian!! That’s right… him and Tonto was probably neighbors. Okay, before we continue, I’m applying the 1/16 rule.. that rule says if you got 1/16 drop of it den… Well I am just saying… don’t hate the player, hate the game. Stand’s father was a full blooded Cherokee and his mother was half Cherokee. I could take that to court in 1822 if I was a white man in Virginia. 1822: “Judge dis be a full blooded injun here.” Judge: “Okay, take em out and shoot him..” Back in those times the settlers were at war with many of the Native American tribes, but the Native Americans lot was a little better than blacks. For one thing the one drop rule did not apply to Native Americans because most of the towns were surrounded by thousands of big and strong half naked men with sharp hatchets hiding in the woods behind every tree wishing a #@!! would. You think to yourself.. “didn’t Sedgewick have a full head of hair when he left this morning…? Now he running around heh looking like Jean Luc Picard…” so yeah… most of the time they was trying to be cool with them. Anywho..

Stand was born in 1806 in what is now known as Calhoun, Georgia. Calhoun is named after John C. Calhoun, a virulent pro slavery advocate who’s rhetoric and policies lead to the secession of the southern states in the Civil War. Stand was born with the proverbial silver spoon in his mouth. His father was a wealthy planter who owned African Americans which he used for slave labor. After converting to Christianity the family dropped the “U” from their surname. Stand along with his brother were then enrolled in a missionary school where they learn how to speak and write English. Missionary: “Stand?” Stand: “No dug’s, no mepakin’s and no nika’s!!” Missionary: “that’s great… A+ ” After completing school he worked for the the Cherokee Phoenix, one of the first Native American newspapers. His brother Elias served as editor. The papers articles were published in both English and Cherokee. His first article “Pale Face”, didn’t go over that well and that’s where I think he turned… Pale Face: We gonna kill every $#@!! bird around heh within a hunert miles!! Ain’t now a %$$# wearing a mf##@! feather around heh ever again!!”… Okay.. I’m kidding… It was at the Phoenix that he became involved in politics. Now I said earlier that Native Americans had it better than African Americans.. but not that much better. After gold was discovered in northern Georgia, white settlers came by the hundreds. The year was 1828 and the gold was on Indian territory.

It only took a hot New York minute relatively before Congress passed the Indian Removal Act, which basically said, ” If we see one feather after midnight tonight, then you will face the wrath of the great spirit, White Bear and his twin sons… Shooting Colt and Wondering Bullet. You got 24 hours to leave!.” In 1832 Georgia took the land reserved for the Indians and moved them to the lands west of the Mississippi River which according to the present day map is out of Georgia. But not before they sent some good ole boys to burn down the offices that housed the Cherokee Phoenix, which had published articles against the Indian Removal Act. Because Stand and his brother thought that they didn’t have a chance to win, they eventually signed a treaty relocating the Cherokee’s in Georgia to the new Indian territory which is in present day Oklahoma. Now Stand and his brother although being the signatories to the treaty, did not represent the majority of the Cherokee tribe. Those who defied the treaty and stayed were forcibly removed. You may have heard of the forced migration… it was called the “Trail Of Tears.” Over four thousand people died in the forced marched. The total migration affected over 60,000 Native Americans. Of course after the Native Americans got settled in their new area, it was time for a reckoning. Chief Burning Testicles: “And I mean both of them !!!” As I said earlier Stand and the men who signed the treaty did not represent the majority of the Cherokee Nation. They were a small political party out of several political parties, all of whom were against the treaty except for Stand and his political party called the “Treaty Men.” After the forced migration, members of the government of the Cherokee Nation sentenced Stand and members of the Treaty Men to death. Stand, his brother Elias, their uncle and several other members were accused of giving up tribal lands which was a “blood” offense under Cherokee law. Only Stand survived. So I’m not sure how the executions were carried out.. but I surmise that after Chief Burning Testicles said “That fire ain’t hot enough!! ..” a bunch of men with hatchets carried out the sentence. Anywho.. Stand survived. A few years later he recognized one of the executioners and killed him. He was tried for murder and acquitted on self defense.

In 1861 a year after the Civil War started, a federal governmental entity known as the Principal Chief (PC) signed an alliance with the Confederates to avoid issues with the Cherokee nation. The alliance proved to be a total failure and forced the PC to flee to Union controlled Kansas. The PC’s job was to guide the tribe through US government land acquisitions and Indian removals. Of course thinking the Confederates would honor an agreement they made to Native Americans was like Marse Lee asking for the Queen of Sheba hand in marriage.. wasn’t gonna happen. When the PC fled to Kansas another pro-Union PC took his place and when Lincoln sign the Emancipation Proclamation, well he called for a special session of the Cherokee National Council. On February 18, 1863, it passed a resolution to emancipate all slaves within the boundaries of the Cherokee Nation. When the Council declared all slaves on Indian lands were free, open warfare broke out between the Cherokee Nation and the Confederates. Of course many Native Americans fled north or either south to avoid the conflict. It was during this time the pro confederate faction replace the PC with Stand. Stand: I say once and for all and swear by the chicken feathers in my bonnet and the cold hatchet in my crusty hand… “No dug’s, no mepakin’s and no nika’s!!” Now I would be remiss not to say that Stand took sides with the Confederacy for pragmatic reasons… as a matter of fact the majority of the Cherokee nation that stayed in the south was pro-confederacy. They hoped that after the Civil War the south would create a state out of Oklahoma of which most was Indian territory. Stand organized a regiment of mounted infantry and in October of 1861, he was commissioned as colonel in what would become the 1st Cherokee Mounted Rifles. Stand was an equal opportunity warmonger. He not only attacked Federal troops, but he also attacked other Native American tribes, including other Cherokee’s who supported the Union.

Stand and his men fought in numerous skirmishes and battles in the western Confederate territories including the Indian Territory of Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas, and Texas. But his most famous battle was The Second Battle of Cabin Creek. Cabin Creek is located in Oklahoma. “He and General Richard Montgomery Gano led a raid that captured a Federal wagon train and netted approximately $1 million worth of wagons, mules, commissary supplies, and other needed items. Stand Watie’s forces massacred black haycutters at Wagoner, Oklahoma during this raid. Union reports said that Watie’s Indian cavalry “killed all the Negroes they could find”, including wounded men.” Now I said that “most” of the Cherokee that stayed in the south were pro-confederates… but that was not most of the Cherokee. A lot of time was spent by Stand attacking and defending confederate territories from pro-union native Americans. The confederate put him in charge of the Indian Division of Indian Territory in February 1865. Of course as far as the war was concerned it was all said and done by then.. Marse Lee surrendered at Appomattox Courthouse on April 9, 1865. On June 23, 1865 Stand signed a ceasefire agreement with his Union counterpart, the First Indian Brigade of the Army of the Trans-Mississippi. He was the last Confederate general in the field to surrender. So after the war there was another sticky problem the US government and Native Americans had to decide… what to do with the freed slaves on Indian territory. Technically Indian lands were not part of the United States and therefore not subject to federal law… back then. When Lincoln freed the African Americans from their captors through a congressional amendment to the Constitution, it was not binding in the Indian territories. The freed African Americans who were on Indian property had to be freed through treaties. So before you start throwing out your refer pipes.. I mean peace pipes.. all of the Native American tribes on Indian reservations in the US outlawed slavery in their respective territories before or either after the Civil War. Of course there were glitches..

The Southern Cherokee wanted the government to pay to relocate the Cherokee Freedmen from their lands. The Northern Cherokee suggested adopting them into the tribe, but wanted the federal government to give the Freedman an exclusive piece of associated territory. The federal government required that the Cherokee Freedmen would receive full rights for citizenship, land, and annuities as the Cherokee. It assigned them land in the Canadian addition. This treaty was signed by John Ross on July 19, 1866, and ratified by the U.S. Senate on July 27, four days before his death. Ross was the PC that fled to Kansas after he said all slaves on Cherokee territory were free. (You bedda flee.) One more thing I want to say about PC’s… they were all Native Americans as far as I can tell… including Ross. Anywho after the treaties were signed Stand went into exile, but eventually returned to the Cherokee. I mean Stand wasn’t the most popular guy around… selling out to the confederates and killing your own people and all… but that’s what family does. Stand Watie died in Honey Creek, Oklahoma on September 9, 1871. He is buried in Polson Cemetery as a citizen of the Cherokee Nation.

On June 13, 2020, following the George Floyd protests, a 1921 monument to Stand Watie and a 1913 monument to Confederate soldiers was removed from the Cherokee Capitol Grounds in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. insisted the reason was because it was the Daughters of the Confederacy, and not the Cherokee Nation, who had commissioned and erected the monuments. The monuments were placed in storage by the Cherokee Nation.

Although Stand Watie was the last confederate General to surrender, he was not the last confederate to surrender. That honor goes to Captain Waddell of the CSS Shenandoah. He along with his crew surrendered to the British in Liverpool, England on November 6, 1865.

Dedicated to David Chappelle and the right to laugh. So before I get a whole lot of grief and name calling, I just want you to know, that my great grandmother was a full blooded Native American and I have Native American relatives that live in Virginia to this very day. I know I make make a lot of fun at our collective contrived differences… and they are contrived… but we are all human and it’s okay to laugh at ourselves.

This is the full photo of the featured image.

Update: My Native American relatives do not live in North Carolina. They live in Virginia.

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