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Elias Boudinot's Geni Profile

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Elias Boudinot

Also Known As: "Kilakeena", "Buck", "Gallegina", "Watie"
Birthplace: Oothcaloga, Cherokee Nation, Georgia, United States
Death: Died in Indian Territory, United States
Cause of death: Attacked and stabbed to death
Place of Burial: Park Hill, Cherokee County, Oklahoma, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of David Oo-Watie; David Watie OoWatie; Susannah Charity Watie and Susannah Charity Reese
Husband of Delight Watie; Harriet Ruggles Boudinot (Gold); Harriet Gold and Delight Sergeant
Father of Eleanor Susan Church; Mary Harriette Case; William Penn Boudinot; Sarah Parkhill Boudinot; Elias Cornelius Boudinot and 1 other
Brother of Sarah Susan Watie Smith; Nancy Ward; Stand Watie; Thomas Black Watie; Dawnee Watie and 8 others

Occupation: Editor of the Cherokee Phoenix.
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Elias Boudinot

Elias Boudinot (1802–June 22, 1839) was a Cherokee Indian who started and edited the tribe's first newspaper. He was born in Oothcaloga, Cherokee Nation (now Calhoun, Georgia) as Gallegina Watie (also known as "Buck" Watie or Buck Oowatie), edited the Cherokee Phoenix in the New Echota, and died in Oklahoma. Gallegina means Deer; therefore, he was called "Buck" Watie before changing his name. He took the name "Elias Boudinot" from the man who paid for his education. The newspaper he edited, The Cherokee Phoenix, was the first Indian newspaper in the country. He was a missionary who translated the New Testament Bible and hymns into Cherokee with the help of a missionary friend, Samuel A. Worcester.

Boudinot and the Cherokee Nation

Boudinot was part of a prominent Cherokee family, the son of David Watie (Uwati), brother of Stand Watie, nephew of Major Ridge and cousin of John Ridge. He was also, allegedly, a descendant of Attacullaculla and the chiefs of Chota-Tanasi. Boudinot, the Ridges, John Ross, Charles R. Hicks, and his son, Elijah Hicks formed the ruling elite of the Cherokee Nation, which came to believed that rapid acculturation was critical to Cherokee surivial. Elias' Cherokee Phoenix published partially in Sequoyah's syllabary, but mostly in English, was meant to showcase Cherokee "civilization" including New Echota, the capital.

The United States, particularly the state of Georgia, despite professed aims of "civilizing" the Cherokee by moving them westwards, were only interested in the land the Cherokee occupied. White settlers began to encroach on Cherokee land through violence and quasi-legal actions such as the Georgia land lottery. The Cherokees' defense of their land climaxed in two Supreme Court cases argued by former United States attorney general William Wirt: Cherokee Nation v. Georgia and Worcester v. Georgia. Although the Supreme Court acknowledged the sovereignty of the Cherokee Nation, President Andrew Jackson refused to take action that would force Georgia to abide by the Court's decision.

Boudinot and John Ridge's thinking on relations with the United States were profoundly effected by an unusual meeting in May 1832 with Supreme Court Justice John McLean, in which McLean advocated removal to the Indian Territory and ultimate entry into the United States. On August 1, 1832, Boudinot resigned as editor of the Cherokee Phoenix after Ross refused to allow Boudinot to write editorials which suggested removal as an option for the nation.

Cherokee removal

In May 1834, Boudinot, Major Ridge, John Ridge, and Andrew Ross, brother of John Ross, collectively the "Ridge Party," met with John H. Eaton, secretary of war with the goal of signing a treaty of removal. Unable to bridge their differences with anti-removal forces, the Ridge Party signed the Treaty of New Echota on December 29, 1835.


Elias Boudinot, Major Ridge and John Ridge were assassinated in 1839 by members of the Ross faction, who stabbed them to death. The three had joined the established political structure of the Old Settlers, those who had emigrated prior to the Treaty of New Echota, and their murders cleared the way for the Ross people to step in.

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Elias Boudinot's Timeline

Oothcaloga, Cherokee Nation, Georgia, United States
May 4, 1827
Age 25
Cherokee Nation East, United States
October 5, 1828
Age 26
February 4, 1830
Age 28
February 24, 1832
Age 30