Elias Cornelius Boudinot: A Life on the Cherokee Border
Elias Cornelius Boudinot provides the first full account of a man who was intimately and prominently involved in the life of the Cherokee Nation in the second half of the nineteenth century and was highly influential in the opening of the former Indian Territory to white settlement and the eventual formation of the state of Oklahoma. Involved in nearly every aspect of social, economic, and political life in Indian Territory, he was ostracized by many Cherokees, some of whom also threatened his life.
Born into the influential Ridge-Boudinot-Watie family, Boudinot was raised in the East after the assassination of his father, who helped found the first newspaper published by an Indian nation. He returned to the Cherokee Nation, affiliating with his uncle Stand Watie and serving in the Confederate Army and as a representative of the Cherokees in the Confederate Congress. He was involved with treaty negotiations after the war, helped open the railroads into the Indian Territory, and founded the city of Vinita in Oklahoma. He also became a political figure in Washington, DC, a newspaper editor and publisher, and a prominent orator.