Pub. date: 2008 | Online Pub. Date: April 25, 2008 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412963879 | Print ISBN: 9781412926942 | Online ISBN: 9781412963879| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
The Cherokee make up the largest of the 563 federally recognized American Indian tribes in the United States, with a total population of 729,533 (including over 250,000 enrolled tribal members). Despite the impact of colonization and the long history of formal policies and attempts by the U.S. government to assimilate the Cherokee, they remain a distinct political, cultural, and linguistic group within the United States. Unlike other cultures around the world that were colonized and then regained their independence, the Cherokee and other American Indian nations within the United States remained subsumed under the United States, while at the same time having legal recognition as sovereign political entities and as U.S. citizens. Cherokee identity can be understood by examining the ways in which the culture and its people have adapted to wide-sweeping change and colonization. The ancestral homeland of the Cherokee is in the Allegheny region of the Southeast, in ...