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  2. US Genealogy
  3. Native American History in Chattanooga: A Trail of Tears

Long before Englishmen landed at Jamestown on May 13, , Powhatan and 10, of his people lived in the coastal regions of Virginia all the way north to Washington, D.


Powhatan and his famous daughter Pocahontas lived among the Pumunkey Tribe, the most powerful in the Powhatan Empire. Visit the following sites to learn more about the Powhatan:. It was first inhabited by the Appomattocks tribe, where Pocahontas spent her time as a little girl.

Jamestown Settlement in Williamsburg is a re-created Powhatan Village, where visitors can enjoy hands-on activities, such as scraping out a canoe like the Indians did!

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Watch Pamunkey women make the pottery they are famous for throughout the world! Hampton University Museum in Hampton has one of the most extensive collections of Native American art from more than 93 different tribes. Mariners' Museum in Newport News features a dugout canoe that was used around by the Powhatan people. See Pocahontas' necklace here!

The Museum of Culpeper History in Culpeper features Native American life through artifacts, displays and special exhibits. The Monacan also controlled areas of the Blue Ridge Mountains in the Shenandoah Valley during the time of the Jamestown landing in They were members of the Catawba tribe of the Sioux and spoke the Siouan language. The area of Bear Mountain in Amherst County has been their ancestral home for more than 10, years.

Visit the following sites to learn more about the Monacan:. See how their homes were built, what they planted and how they played. They spoke the Iroquoian language.

The Cherokee Nation did not have contact with the English settlers until around , when they began trading with the English who migrated westward. By , the Cherokee Nation claimed most of the land in southwestern Virginia, but they were forced to give up their land to the United States government in under the Treaty of Hard Labor. Thus, the Trail of Tears. But some of the Cherokee hid in the mountains and later became U.

Visit the following sites to learn more about the Cherokee:. Fairy stones are made of iron aluminum silicate and look like little crosses! The Museum of the Middle Appalachians in Saltville features artifacts and an extensive collection of Native American beadwork. Interpretive guides explain the lives of the scattered Eastern Woodland Indians, who spoke the Iroquoian language.

The English loyalists in Georgia now availed themselves of the Indians' old habit of allegiance to the Crown. One of their leading agents took a Cherokee woman as his mistress, placed her at the head of his table, gave her the richest dress and equipage that the country could afford, and distributed through her lavish gifts to all the Indians he could reach. When war actually broke out he retreated with her into the fastnesses of the Cherokee nation, where he swayed them at his will. Attempts to capture him were repelled by the Cherokees with ferocity.

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Prisoners taken by them at this time were tortured with great cruelty; one instance is recorded in a journal kept by another prisoner, who escaped alive of a boy about twelve years of age who was suspended by the arms between two posts, and raised about three feet from the ground.

After these weapons of death were prepared, and a fire made for the purpose of lighting them, the scene of horror commenced. It was deemed a mark of dexterity, and accompanied by shouts of applause, when an Indian threw one of these torches so as to make the sharp end stick into the body of the suffering youth without extinguishing the torch. This description of torture was continued for two hours before the innocent victim was relieved by death. Let us, therefore, set side by side with them the record that in this same war white men British officers confined white men "rebels" in prison ships, starved, and otherwise maltreated them till they died, five or six a day, then threw their dead bodies into the nearest marsh, and had them "trodden down in the mud-from whence they were soon exposed by the washing of the tides, and at low-water the prisoners beheld the carrion-crows picking the bones of their departed companions!

Innate cruelty is not exclusively an Indian trait. The Cherokees had the worst of the fighting on the British side during the Revolution. Again and again their towns were burnt, their winter stores destroyed, and whole bands reduced to the verge of starvation.


At one time, when hard pressed by the American forces, they sent to the Creeks for help; but the shrewd Creeks replied, "You have taken the thorns out of our feet; you are welcome to them. That any of the Indians should have joined the " rebel" cause seems wonderful, as they had evidently nothing to gain by the transfer of their allegiance to what must have appeared to them for a long time to be the losing side in the contest.

For three years and a half Savannah was in the possession of the British, and again and again they had control of the entire State. And to show that they had no compunction about inciting the Indians to massacres they left many a written record such, for instance, as this, which is in a letter written by General Gage from Boston, June, "We need not be tender of calling on the savages to attack the Americans. At the Hopewell council the United States commissioners said: " Congress is now the sovereign of all our country which we now point out to you on the map.

They want none of your lands, nor anything else which belongs to you; and as an earnest of their regard for you, we propose to enter into articles of a treaty perfectly equal and conformable to what we now tell you. This humane and generous act of the United States will no doubt be received by you with gladness, and held in grateful remembrance; and the more so, as many of your young men, and the greater number of your warriors, during the late war, were our enemies, and assisted the King of Great Britain in his endeavors to conquer our country.

They demanded that some of these settlers should be removed; and when the commissioners said that the settlers were too numerous for the Government to remove, one of the chiefs asked, satirically, "Are Congress, who conquered the King of Great Britain, unable to remove those people. New boundaries were established, and a general feeling of good will and confidence was created. One notable feature in this council was the speech of an Indian woman, called the " war-woman of Chota.

All murderers were safe so long as they lived in Chota. Even Englishmen had not disdained to take advantage of its shelter; one English trader who had killed an Indian, having fled, lived there for many months, his own house being but a short distance away.

Native American History in Chattanooga: A Trail of Tears

After a time he resolved to return home, but the headmen of the tribe assured him that, though he was entirely safe there, he would surely be killed if he left the town. The chief who brought this "war-woman" to the council introduced her as "one of our beloved women who has borne and raised up warriors.

I have a pipe and a little tobacco to give the commissioners to smoke in friendship.

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I look on you and the red people as Thy children. Your having determined on peace is most pleasing to me, for I have seen much trouble during the late war. I am old, but I hope yet to bear children who will grow up and people our nation, as we are now to be under the protection of Congress, and shall have no disturbance. In July , General Knox writes as follows of the Cherokees: " This nation of Indians, consisting of separate towns or villages, are seated principally on the head-waters of the Tennessee, which runs into the Ohio.

The commissioners estimated them in November , at warriors, but they were estimated in at ; yet it is probable they may be lessened since by the depredations committed on them.


The negotiations of the commissioners on the part of the United States are hereunto annexed, marked A. It will appear by the papers marked B. The proceedings of Congress on the 1st of September, , and the proclamation they then issued on this subject, will show their sense of the many unprovoked outrages committed against the Cherokees.

Winn, the late superintendent, of the 1st of March, informs that a treaty will be held with the Cherokees on the third Monday of May, at the Upper Warford on French Broad River. But it is to be observed that the time for which both he and Colonel Joseph Martin, the agent to the Cherokees and Chickasaws, were elected has expired, and therefore they are not authorized to act on the part of the Union.

Eastern Cherokee Nation

If the commissioners appointed by North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia, by virtue of the resolve of Congress of the 26th of October , should attend the said treaty, their proceedings thereon may soon be expected. But, as part of the Cherokees have taken refuge within the limits of the Creeks, it is highly probable they will be under the same direction; and, therefore, as the fact of the violation of the treaty cannot be disputed, and as the commissioners have not power to replace the Cherokees within the limits established in , it is not probable, even if a treaty should be held, as stated by Mr.

Winn, that the result would be satisfactory. The details of it are to be read in copious volumes of the early history of Tennessee, North and South Carolina, and Georgia all under the head of "Indian Atrocities. What would a community of white men, situated precisely as these Cherokees were, have done? What did these very Southern colonists themselves do to Spaniards who encroached on their lands?

Fought them; killed them; burnt their houses over their heads, and drove them into the sea! In a later communication in the same year to the President, the Secretary says: "The disgraceful violation of the treaty of Hopewell with the Cherokees requires the serious consideration of Congress. If so direct and manifest contempt of the authority of the United States be suffered with impunity, it will be in vain to attempt to extend the arm of the Government to the frontiers.

The Indian tribes can have no faith in such imbecile promises, and the lawless whites will ridicule a government which shall on paper only make Indian treaties and regulate Indian boundaries.

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