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This analysis examines writings left behind by missionaries living among the Cherokees in the early nineteenth century to tease out the missionary perceptions of their Indigenous neighbors. This approach includes a heavy emphasis on decoding the white lexicon employed to discuss Native Americans to elucidate the broader cultural/racial intellectualism of the time. The utilization of this approach deconstructs a conventional “friend or foe” binary viewpoint of the missionaries, conversely constructing a greater complexity within the interracial and intercultural dynamics of the Early Republic, thereby providing a more layered and broader understanding of early America and, by extension, America overall.