As I walk the trail of life
in the fear of the wind and rain,
grant O Great Spirit
that I may always walk
like a man
"Much has been said about the want of what you term 'civilization' among the Indians. Many proposals have been made to us to adopt your laws, your religion, your manners, and your customs. We do not see the propriety of such a reformation.
We should be better pleased if we could acutally see the good effects of these doctrines in your own pratices rather than hearing you talk about them, or reading your newspapers on such subjects.
You say, for example, 'Why do not the Indians till the ground and live as we do? May we not ask with equal propriety, 'Why do not the white people hunt and live as we do?"
Old Tassel, Cherokee
When Europeans began colonizing their homeland in the 16th Century, Native Americans had inhabited Eastern North America since the Ice Age.
Having taught the Europeans how to survive in their new environment, Native Americans soon became victims of European diseases and greed as white settlers encroached on their tribal lands, causing violence and bloodshed and generations of fear and resentment on both sides.
Used as pawns by both the French and British, Native Americans were recruited numerous times to fight against American colonists with promises of slowing white advancement into the frontier.
The American Revolutionary War opened the floodgates to pioneer expansion, though. Land treaties continued to be made with Native Americans, but it did little to ease rising tensions between the two cultures.
Frequent, isolated clashes continued between these two groups until the early 1800s. The Indian Removal Act of 1830 ended armed conflict with Native Americans east of the Mississippi River. Tens of thousands of Native Americans were rounded up and herded like cattle to lands west of the Mississippi. Known to the Cherokee as the "Trail of Tears," the event caused thousands to die along the way.
Northern Alabama was a shared hunting ground of the Shawnee, Chickasaw, Cherokee, and Creek nations when the Mississippi and Alabama territories were created in the early 1800s. Cotaco County was formed from treaties with the Chickasaw and Cherokee. Many of the early pioneers intermarried with Native Americans, who were spared the horrors of Indian Removal.
TOP: Sequoyah, Great Smoky Mountains,
MIDDLE: Making a Canoe and Pottery, and .
BOTTOM: Cherokee Cabin, Dancer at Native American Pow-wow, Cherokee, NC.
Photos compliments of Eastern Band of the Cherokee
Allied Families: Allen, Breeding, Draper, Garrison, Grantland, Lyle, McCarley,
Russell, Sharp, Spain, Turney, West & Whitten