By the Fire We Carry: The Generations-Long Fight for Justice on Native Land by Rebecca Nagle

By the Fire We Carry: The Generations-Long Fight for Justice on Native Land

By the Fire We Carry: The Generations-Long Fight for Justice on Native Land

  • Hardcover
  • Harper (2024)
  • SKU: 9780063112049
Regular price $32.00
Available September 10, 2024

A powerful work of reportage and American history that braids the story of the forced removal of Native Americans onto treaty lands in the nation's earliest days, and a small-town murder in the '90s that led to a Supreme Court ruling reaffirming Native rights to that land over a century later.

Before 2020, American Indian reservations made up roughly 55 million acres of land in the United States. Nearly 200 million acres are reserved for National Forests--in the emergence of this great nation, our government set aside more land for trees than for Indigenous peoples. That changed on July 9, 2020, when a high-profile Supreme Court case--which originated with a small-town murder two decades earlier--affirmed the reservation of Muscogee Nation. The ruling resulted in the largest restoration of tribal land in U.S. history, merely because the Court chose to follow the law.

In the 1830s Muscogee people were rounded by the US military at gunpoint and forced into exile halfway across the continent. At the time, they were promised this new land would be theirs for as long as the grass grew and the waters ran. But that promise was not kept. When Oklahoma was create on top of their land, the new state claimed their reservation no longer existed. Over a century later, when a Muscogee citizen was sentenced to death for murdering another Muscogee citizen, his defense attorneys argued the murder occurred on the reservation of his tribe, and therefore Oklahoma didn't have the jurisdiction to execute him. Oklahoma argued that reservation no longer existed. In the summer of 2020, the Supreme Court said: no more; a ruling that would ultimately underpin multiple reservations covering half the land in Oklahoma, including Nagle's own Cherokee Nation.

Here Rebecca Nagle tells the story of the generations-long fight for tribal land and sovereignty in Eastern Oklahoma. By chronicling both the contemporary legal battle and historic acts of Indigenous resistance, By the Fire We Carry stands as a landmark work of American history. The story it tells exposes both the wrongs that our nation has committed in its long history of greed, corruption and lawlessness, and the Native battle for the right to be here that has shaped our country.

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