As part of our Women's History Month Exhibit, there are panels on a protest submitted to the US Congress by the women of Steubenville in 1830. It concerned the government's efforts to move the Cherokee nation from their ancestral land in Georgia for the purposes of settlement - and to seize the gold that lay below it. In the legal battle, the Supreme Court ruled “the Indian nation was a “distinct community in which the laws of Georgia can have no force” and into which Georgians could not enter without the permission of the Cherokees themselves or inconformity with treaties. However, President Andrew Jackson refused to enforce the ruling, instead, using the Indian Removal Act of 1830 to forcibly remove the recalcitrant tribes. There were, however, small pockets of opposition to the removal of Cherokees in Georgia and occasionally groups of people, such as the Quakers and an occasional abolitionist championed their rights. The women from Steubenville, Ohio used their only political right, the right of petition, to protest the Cherokee removal and to argue in favor of Native American natural rights. Their petition was ignored, but has remained a testimony to their commitment to what is right and just.
"We solemnly and honestly appeal, to save this remnant of a much injured people from annihilation, to shield our country from the curses denounced on the cruel and ungrateful, and to shelter the American character from lasting dishonor."