When James Mooney lived with and studied the Cherokee between 1887 and 1900, they were the largest and most important Indian tribe in the United States. His dispassionate account of their history from the time of their fi rst contact with whites until the end of the nineteenth century is more than a sequence of battles won and lost, treaties signed and broken, towns destroyed and people massacred. There is humanity along with inhumanity in the relations between the Cherokee and other groups, Indian and n-Indian; there is fortitude and persistence balanced with disillusionment and frustration. In these respects, the history of the Cherokee epitomizes the experience of most Native Americans. The Cherokee Nation ceased to exist as a political entity seven years after the initial study was done, when Oklahoma became a state.