Written Records:
Cherokee Nation to the President and the Senate

"It is our hunting grounds and we Have no other to get our livings on.

Done in Council at Chota the l9th day of May 1789."

Documenting Diplomacy

At the time of this treaty deliberation, 1789, Cherokee was spoken, only, not written. And, because traditional governmental communication by "remembrancers" delivering wampum belts was in decline, Cherokee leaders in l789 often authorized written English transcripts of their councils for use in diplomatic negotiations with English-speaking governments. "Linguisters," usually mixed-blood individuals who spoke several languages, translated council deliberations. Transcribers, frequently representatives of the English-speaking government concerned, produced from the translation an official record of the Cherokee deliberation.

For the August 22 Senate deliberation, John Sevier had earlier transcribed two Cherokee records, a council by a group of Cherokee headmen meeting on May 19 in the capital town of Chota, as well as a related speech by headman Tickagiska. These records were sent to President George Washington between May and August.

In August, a delegation made up of Cherokee headmen, Nontonakey and Konatota (Sheenuhteetah) or the Rising Fawn of Great Hiwassa, and Bennet Ballew, a Scot and a trader with the Cherokees, was in the United States capital of New York City to lobby for their interests.

On August 22, the delegation waited outside the Senate chamber. As President George Washington and War Secretary Andrew Knox entered the chamber, Ballew handed them an additional document, a "memorial," or letter describing current conditions in a war between settlers and Cherokees on the North Carolina border.