Race and Agriculture during the Assimilation Era: Evidence from the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians
36 Pages Posted: 11 Jun 2020 Last revised: 22 Jan 2022
Date Written: January 20, 2022
The role of race within tribal communities is a contentious topic as some of this acrimony emerged from 19th century Indian policies rooted in scientific racism. In our paper, we link household data from the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians in North Carolina at the turn of the twentieth century to individual two-generational family trees located in legal documents to investigate the link between personal property and whether a household head contained white ancestry. We find that the racial gap in property does not follow simple racial hierarchies but rather depends on gender of the household head. However, once selection into intermarriage is accounted for, the racial gap in property from intermarriage is eliminated and, if anything, households containing a male head with close white ancestors held less property than households containing a male head without white ancestry.
Keywords: Native Americans, Intermarriage, Assortative Mating
JEL Classification: N0, N51, J12, J61
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