Our American ancestors, right from 1776, warred as much as we war now. I hope to give you some brief histories of a few of those wars in the future.
Here are a few lines on the “Chickamauga War:”
History books talk a bit about the Chickamauga War, but I like to say Wars, because the Chickamauga Wars started early and lasted long. Some call them the Cherokee Wars. Chickamauga was, I believe, the name of a patriotic Cherokee town. When Cherokee ancestors there protected their families and territory from the violence of our ancestors: our ancestors killed them; killed them man, woman, and child; killed them and took their homes and land. Ancestors, theirs and ours, killed each other. Our ancestors often proved to be the better killers.
Still the Cherokee people with the sometimes help other peoples, such as the Muskogee and Shawnee, actively resisted for nearly a century. I some history books those wars continued for only 20 years. In fact those wars were over before 1800.
Much of those struggles took place in what became the northern tier of the southern states; states like Tennessee, Kentucky, West Virginia, Arkansas, and North Carolina.
Mostly the Cherokee depended on their native allies, but they also allied themselves with the Kingdom of Great Britain to protect themselves from invasion and occupation by Americans.
The Cherokee, it might well be remembered, are one of those “We” called civilized tribes. They were called civilized for a variety of reasons; reasons such as their life style, their way of dealing with others, their agriculture, and others. They were also one of the first tribes to widely intermarry with Europeans. They may well have begun to intermarry long before the first colonies were established in North America. The Cherokee, I believe, have long established bloodlines with Portuguese, Irish, Scots, Welsh and other Europeans.
During much of the severe strife between Cherokee and American, an important Cherokee leader was Dragging Canoe. I hope to write more about him later. You may tell us some of what you know about him in the comment section below.
The Cherokee are distant relatives of the Iroquoi and and spoke an Iroquoian language. They probably migrated south in per-Columbian times from Iroquois territory around the Great Lakes. So the Cherokee probably dispossessed others to claim territory in what are now southern US states.
I plan to write more short pieces about our wars. I could say more about the Cherokee Wars. I wonder if Nancy Ward wrote about them.
by Richard Sheehan
for Mago Bill