their zeal for Christianity and "civilization" not only through their support of mission schools and churches, but also by the organization of Bible study groups, prayer meetings, and self-help societies."17
Education was not universally praised or accepted among the Cherokee. The missionaries taught concepts of work that conflicted with traditionalist gender roles. There was considerable conflict between teachers and parents. One factor both groups agreed upon was the instruction of children in the English language. "Bilingualism was important in commercial transactions and in dealing with the US government."18 Bilingualism also had negative drawbacks. It contributed to social stratification and growing class divisions. "Given the opportunity to act as mediators in economic and political affairs between the tribes and the English-speaking White World, those who were bilingual could assure their own economic and political advantges."19 Protestantism conversions were high among the literate, educated, mixed-blood elite. It is doubtful that Protestantism had as much success among the full blood traditionalist proletariat.
Perhaps the least culturally modified of the assimilated domains was that of education. This, of course, was nearly impossible, in that both educators and curriculum were originally white. Rather, the true modification came with what the Cherokee did with this acquired knowledge, both in their government and newspaper.
In 1806, President Thomas Jefferson, writing to the Cherokee Nation, in what must be one of the most ironic statements ever made to Native Americans, treaties notwithstanding, "when a man has property, earned by his own labor, he will not like to see another one come and take it from him because he happens to be stronger, or else to defend it by spilling blood. You will find it necessary to appoint
17. Theda Perdue, introduction to Cherokee Editor, by Elias Boudinot, 12.
18. Spring, 72.
19. Ibid., 73.