Apr 5, 2022 - 8, 2023 - Sovereignty on Trial: The Tragedy at Goingsnake

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This special exhibit looks at what has been called the Goingsnake Massacre during the 150th anniversary year. On April 15, 1872, Cherokee Nation citizen Ezekiel Proctor was on trial in a Cherokee Nation court for the murder of Cherokee Nation citizen Mary “Polly” Hildebrand when a U.S. Marshal’s posse sent to arrest Proctor interrupted the trial. A shootout broke out leaving 11 men dead or fatally wounded, including a deputy U.S. Marshal. Proctor’s trial and its aftermath became the centerpiece of debate between the federal court and Cherokee Nation over tribal sovereignty and jurisdiction. That debate continues to reverberate today.

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