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Cherokee Time Line

Recommended Reading
What the Textbooks Don't Tell You Comparative Religions


Children's Literature
Nancy Ward Biography
2009 Eastern Division
TN History Day
Sequoyah Award Winner
Beyond the Feathers Power Point

 
 
 
 
 
 

Important Dates in Cherokee History

Time line by John R. Finger, Ph.D., University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN
Revisions by Barbara R. Duncan, Ph.D., Museum of the Cherokee Indian, Cherokee, NC
Printed here with permission.
( Map refers to "Map of the Cherokee Nation" by C.C. Royce, 1884.  It has been reprinted by The Museum of the Cherokee Indian and is for sale in the Museum Gift Shop.)





 Recently, Native American artifacts and hearths have been dated to 17,000 B.C. at the Meadowcroft site in Pennsylvania and at Cactus Hill in Virginia.  Hearths in caves have been dated to 23,000 B.C. at sites on the coast of Venezuela.  Native people say they have always been here on Turtle Island.

 The Cherokee people say that the first man and first woman, Kanati and Selu, lived at Shining Rock, near present-day Waynesville, N.C.  The old people also say that the first Cherokee village was Kituwah, located around the Kituwah Mound, which was purchased in 1997 by the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians to become once again part of tribal lands.

10,000 BC - 8,000 BC - Paleo Indian Period: People were nomadic, present in North Carolina.  Continuous occupation from 10,000 B.C. has been documented at Williams Island near Chattanooga, TN.  Artifacts and hunting camps were found at high elevations throughout the southern Appalachians.

8,000 BC - 1,000 BC - Archaic Period: People had extensive trade networks, gourds, the atlatl.  Basketmaking began as early as 7,500 B.C.

1,000 BC - 900 AD - Woodland Period: People adapted to the environment, developed agriculture, planted corn, built permanent log homes, used ceremonial and effigy mounds, lived at Nikwasi.  Pottery began as early as 9,000 B.C.

900 AD - 1600 AD - Mississippian Period: People built flat-topped pyramidal mounds, lived at Etowah, shared trade and culture with Mississippian peoples throughout southeast and perhaps Mexico.  Carved gorgets and figures, made feather capes.  Lived in villages with agriculture and trade in mountains.

1540  DeSoto expedition, first white contact
1690  "Seraqui" captives sent to West Indies as slaves
1697  First smallpox epidemic among Cherokee
1700  Approximate date beginning deerskin trade from Cherokee to Charleston, S.C.
1711  Tuscarora War
1715  Yamassee War
1721  Treaty with S.C. - first land cession to Europeans (#1 on map)
1725  Cherokees recognize formally arrangements to trade
1730  Alexander Cuming meets with Cherokees at Nikwasi, takes delegation to England
1738  Smallpox epidemic kills half of Cherokee population
          Priber attempts to establish Cherokee utopia
1739  First porcelain made in English speaking world with Cherokee clay - kaolin dug from the banks of
          Cowee Creek in present-day Macon Co., N.C., about 30 miles from Cherokee, N.C.
1753  Fort Prince George established in S.C., rebuilt in 1756
1755  Second land cessions - more land in S.C. given up (#2 on map)
          Battle of Taliwa in eastern Tenn.  Cherokee victory over Creeks includes the regaining of Cherokee
          lands in northwest Georgia, as far south as Etowah.
1756  Fort Loudoun established in Overhill Towns, east Tenn
1759-60 Smallpox epidemic
1760-61 In 1760, General Montgomery and troops destroyed the Cherokee
          Lower Towns, in present-day S.C.  Cherokee refugees fled to Overhill Towns in east Tenn., and then many
          settled in northwest Georgia.  Montgomery's troops were turned back by Cherokee forces at present-day
         Otto, N.C., about 35 miles from present-day Cherokee, N.C.  In 1761 troops led by General Grant penetrated
         into N.C. and destroyed the Middle Towns, along the Little Tennessee River and its tributaries.  Cherokee
         people fought, then hid in the mountains and returned to rebuild their homes.
1761/1765 Henry Timberlake takes Cherokee delegation, including Ostenaco, to London.
1767  Wedgewood expedition led by Thomas Griffith acquires Cherokee clay
1768  Treaty gives up Cherokee land in southwestern Virginia (#3 on map)
1770  Treaty gives up Cherokee land in Va., W.VA..., Ky., and Tenn. (#4 on map)
1772  Treaty with Governor of Virginia gives up more land in Va., W.VA.., and Ky. (#5 on map)
1773  Treaty with John Stuart gives up parcel of Georgia land. (#6 on map)
1775  Henderson land cession gives up the rest of Kentucky and part of Tennessee (#7 on map)
1776  Cherokee, allied with British, attack settlers in their territory.  American Revolutionary War army burns
          some Cherokee towns.
1777  Land cessions in S.C., Ga., Va., and N.C. east of the Blue Ridge (#8 and #9 on map)
1780  Smallpox epidemic
1783  Land cession gives up land in Georgia between Oconee and Tugaloo Rivers
1780s U.S. government attempts to "civilize" Cherokees by providing looms, spinning wheels, plows, and mission
          schools.
1784  State of Franklin is formed by white settlers
1785  Treaty of Hopewell - first treaty with the U.S. government  Tracts in N.C., Ky., and Tenn. (#10a and 10b on
          map)  Nancy Ward, Cherokee Beloved Woman: "Our cry is for peace."  Her cousin, Dragging Canoe,
          continues to lead the Chickamauga Cherokees in warfare.
1791  Treaty of the Holston gives up land along Holston and French Broad Rivers in Tenn. for annuities.  Includes
          civilization clause
1794  War ends for Chickamauga Cherokees
1798  Treaty of Tellico Blockhouse - guarantee of land forever  Cessions of more land in Tenn. and N.C. (#12,
          #13, and #14 on map)
1799  Arrival of Moravian missionaries
1802  Georgia compact regarding future land cessions
1803  Louisiana Purchase by Thomas Jefferson
1804  Land cession in Georgia (#15 on map)
1805  Land cessions in Tenn. (#16, #17, and #18 on map)
1808  First written laws of the Cherokee nation  They formalize a police-free state and approve patrilineal
          inheritance.  Land cessions in Alabama and Tennessee (#19 and #20 on map)
1808-1810 First major Cherokee migration west of the Mississippi River
1810  Cherokee laws forbid blood vengeance in accidental deaths.
1813-1814 Creek War  Junaluska saves Andrew Jackson's life.
1816  Land cessions in S.C., Alabama, and Mississippi (#21 and #22 on map)
1817  Major federal treaty cedes land in Georgia, Tenn., and Ala.  Some of this is in exchange for Cherokee land
          in Arkansas.  Under one of the treaty provisions, Cherokee people receive individual reservations on
          recently ceded land.  Although these reservations are in Tenn., Ga., and N.C., ultimately only N.C. honors
          the terms of this treaty, which is upheld in N.C. court in 1824.  These N.C. Cherokee holding reservations
          become the basis of the Eastern Band.
1819  Major federal treaty cedes remainder of Cherokee land in Ala., Tenn., N.C., and Ga., leaving a small holding
          in western North Carolina, Southeastern Tennessee, and northwest Georgia (#27, #28, #29, #30, #31, #32,
          #33, #34, and #35 on map).
1821  Sequoyah introduces syllabary to Tribal Council, which approves it after a demonstration by Sequoyah and
          his daughter Ayoka.  Within a year nearly all Cherokee become literate in their own language.
1822  Cherokees establish a Supreme Court.
1827  Cherokees write a constitution claiming sovereignty over their own lands.
1828  Andrew Jackson elected U.S. president, pursues "manifest destiny."
          Gold discovered in Cherokee territory, Dahlonega, Ga.
          First issue of Cherokee Phoenix, bilingual newspaper appears.
1829  Jackson announces Removal policy, Georgia extends its laws over the Cherokee.
1830  Indian Removal Act (passed in Congress by one vote.  Controversial throughout U.S. at the time.
          Georgia laws require residents to swear allegiance to Georgia.
          Missionaries to Cherokee arrested and imprisoned.
1831  Cherokee Nation vs. Georgia.  Cherokees defined as a domestic, dependent nation.
1832  Worcester vs. Georgia.  U.S. Supreme Court landmark case upholds Cherokee sovereignty.  Georgia defies
          Supreme Court.
          Georgia holds land lottery, distributes Cherokee land to whites.
1834  Georgia confiscates Cherokee Phoenix, declaring newspaper subversive.
1835  Treaty of New Echota negotiated by a handful of Cherokees without tribal authorization.
1836  Senate ratifies fraudulent New Echota treaty.  Federal enrolling agents and appraiser begin their work.
1838  Removal of Cherokees begins.  May, first round-up.  June, first detachment of Cherokees leave.  Others are
          held in stockades for six months before beginning the trip in October.  Scholars estimate that in the process
          of Removal and the Trail of Tears, one fourth to one half of the nation perish - 4,000 to 8,000 out of 16,000.
1843  William Holland Thomas begins purchasing land for Cherokees remaining in N.C., and holds the deeds for
          them.
1861-1865 Cherokees fight for North Carolina and the Confederacy in the Thomas Legion.
1868  Federal government recognizes tribes, including the Eastern Band.
1876  Qualla Boundary formed and Cherokee lands secured.
1889  Rights of Cherokees established by N.C. legislature.  Charter granted and the Eastern Band of Cherokee
          Indians is formed.
1914  First Cherokee Fair event for the public.
1946  Cherokee people first allowed to register to vote in N.C.
          Qualla Arts and Crafts Co-op established.
1948  Museum of the Cherokee Indian established.
1950  First production of outdoor drama, "Unto These Hills," telling the story of the Cherokee people and the
          Trail of Tears.
1979  Native American Religious Freedom Act guarantees religious freedom to members of Native American
          tribes.  Includes the right to do traditional ceremonies.
1990  Native American Graves and Repatriation Act guarantees protection for remains of native peoples and
          their reburial by their people.
          American Indian Arts and Crafts Act requires that anything labeled as such must be made by a member of a
          federally or state recognized tribe.
1997  Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians makes first major land purchase in more than a century, buying the
          Kituwah Mound near Cherokee, N.C.
 
 









Recommended Reading

 Macfarlan, Allan and Paulette (1958). Handbook of American Indian Games. New York:
    Dover Publications.
This is a book of games selected from various American Indian cultural regions across the United States.  School teachers, scout leaders, and camp counselors will find this book very useful.  The games require very little in the way of materials and can be understood and played with little preparation.
  Weatherford, Jack (1991). Native Roots. New York: Crown Publishers.
When Europeans arrived in America, they found so many strange animals that needed new words, such as caribou, raccoon, and skunk.  They also needed to use tapioca, yucca, and succotash for plants they did not know before.  Even blizzard and hurricane came from native languages.  In this book, Jack Weatherford digs much deeper than just language to show how American Indians have been involved in making the world as it is today.  This is fascinating reading!
  Weatherford, Jack (1994). Savages and Civilizations: Who Will Survive? New York: Fawcett
     Columbine.
This book is, as its cover says, "An illuminating look at the primitive cultures that have given many gifts to the modern world, and how their very existence is now threatened..."
This book, a follow-up to Native Roots, will certainly make you think.
  Erdoes, Richard and Ortiz, Alfonso (Ed.). (1984). American Indian Myths and Legends. New
    York: Pantheon Books.
To quote a part of the book's introduction, "The 166 legends recorded here come from the heart and soul of the native people of North America.  Some have been told for thousands of years, and they are still being told and retold, reshaped and refitted to meet their audience's needs, even created anew out of a contemporary man's or woman's vision."  This collection of stories comes from all across America.
  Duncan, Barbara R. (Ed.). (1998). Living Stories of the Cherokee. Chapel Hill, North
    Carolina: The University of North Carolina Press.
These stories come from Davey Arch, Robert Bushyhead, Edna Chekelee, Marie Junaluska, Kathi Smith Littlejohn, and Freeman Owle.  They were collected by Dr. Barbara Duncan, who is in charge of education at the Museum of the Cherokee Indian in Cherokee, North Carolina.  One thing that makes this book unusual is that the stories were recorded live and presented that way in the book.  In other words, all the "uhs" are there.  This is a really entertaining collection.





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