This chapter examines the complex historical backdrop against which the twentieth-century Cherokee diaspora took shape. It considers how the Cherokee diaspora opened up new geographical vistas and socioeconomic opportunities for Cherokees living in diaspora and outside the homelands in Indian Territory and western North Carolina. It also explores how the intersection of the past and present, the significance of travel and migration, and shifting perceptions of “home,” “blood,” and the value placed on memory and historical narration all helped define Cherokee identity. Finally, it discusses the impact of the federal government’s land allotment and assimilation as well as “termination” and “relocation” programs on life in the Cherokee diaspora.
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