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The Brainerd Journal A Mission to the Cherokees, 1817-1823 by Philip H., Jr. Viles

The Brainerd Journal A Mission to the Cherokees, 1817-1823


Part of the Indians of the Southeast Series


The Brainerd Journal A Mission to the Cherokees, 1817-1823 by Philip H., Jr. Viles

The journal of the Brainerd Mission is an indispensable source for understanding Cherokee culture and history during the early nineteenth century. The interdenominational mission was located in the heart of Cherokee country near present-day Chattanooga. For seven years the Brainerd missionaries kept a journal describing their lives and those of their charges. Although the journal has long been recognized as a significant primary document, it was not fully transcribed or made widely available until now. The journal entries provide a richly textured and sensitive look at Cherokee life and American missionary activities during the early nineteenth century. They shed new light on the daily lives and personalities of individual Cherokees, as well as on poorly understood aspects of Cherokee politics and religion. The journal provides interesting ethnographic details concerning Cherokee council meetings, ceremonial occasions, gender relations, and the internal social and political tensions among families. Of equal interest are the complex and often conflicted attitudes of the missionaries, who were interested in Cherokee traditional culture but simultaneously worked to change it.

About the Author

Joyce B. Phillips is supervisor of the English Writing Center at Grossmont College. Paul Gary Phillips, a member of the Cherokee Nation, is an English instructor at Grossmont College and a descendent of the superintendent of the Brainerd Mission. Philip H. Viles Jr. is Associate Justice of the Cherokee Nation.

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Book Info

Publication date

1st June 1998


Philip H., Jr. Viles

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University of Nebraska Press


586 pages


Biography: general
History of the Americas
Modern history to 20th century: c 1700 to c 1900
Social & cultural history



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