Kinship and cultural brokerage went hand-in-hand for native leaders on the Trans-Appalachian frontier during the long nineteenth century. This paper explores how cultural brokers among the Cherokees and Chickasaws contended with others within those tribes for primacy as diplomatic representatives for the tribe. James Logan Colbert and Joseph Martin each married into prominent native families in order to cement political and economic relationships with the influential native clans. These relationships, and the families that grew out of them, served both the men themselves and the British government they represented. This paper investigates the competition between these families as cultural brokers and other leadership within the tribes who promoted contrary courses of action. Although many historians, including Colin Calloway, Susan Sleeper-Smith, and Daniel Richter, have explored the roles of cultural brokers in the nineteenth century, this paper seeks to dig deeper into what made those families, not simply the individuals, influential both within the tribe and in diplomatic roles.
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