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- Children of Kanati
The history of the Chickamaugans. What we have become.

We are a confederation of families who are of Cherokee descent and who choose to honor, and practice as best we can, the traditions of those who walked before us.

Many of our citizens own their own homes, the others rent. It is our contention that neither Tribe nor State may own The Earth, nor any part of her. We are simply stewards and that is how we look at our scattered land base.
We have family units living in Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama, Oregon, Virginia, New York, Illinois, Texas, Arizona, California, Florida. The population of the Tennessee River Band of Chickamaugan Cherokees (TRBCC) is confidential! (For you argumentative types this is because of the Privacy Act)

The Chickamaugans separated from the Cherokee Nation when the older chiefs were coerced to pursue a path of appeasement with the aggressive colonists. Dragging Canoe (Tsi-yu-gv-si-ni) vehemently disagreed with the assembly of chiefs who signed theTransylvania treaty at Sycamore Shoals.

Many of the young warriors favored Dragging Canoe when they saw the huge pile of trade goods amounted to very little for each warrior. One warrior, upon recieving his lot, a shirt, quipped, "I could have easily have taken enough skins to buy a hundred shirts such as this in one day upon our hunting grounds.".

In the Spring of 1777, Dragging Canoe, realizing that the invasion had to be stopped but not wanting innocent peace faction blood spilt, withdrew completely from the Cherokee Nation and taking his warriors withdrew from the Overhill settlements to Chickamauga Creek, east of Chatanuga (Lookout) Mountain near the present day Brainerd Village where the British Agent, John McDonald, had earlier established his trading post. On foot, by pack horse, canoe, and travois they made their dramatic exodus as a splinter tribe, the Chickamaugas.

Between 1777 and 1794, a band of Creek Peoples from Alabama joined forces with Dragging Canoe's Chickamaugas in their war against White encroachment of Indian lands. There were even numerous white, Irish, Scotts, Africans and Englishmen who were sympathetic to the Indian cause and joined the Chickamaugas. The chances are good that some of those who joined forces with Dragging Canoe's people eventually intermarried with them, thus being accepted and adopted into this splinter-tribe of Cherokee People, and become Cherokee by adoption. At that time, the Cherokee People would welcome outsiders who showed they had a good heart, and a sincere desire to learn the Cherokee Way of Life. Since the "Great White Father" and his agents refused to move settlers from Cherokee lands, Dragging Canoe with assistant chiefs, took it upon themselves to do so. They waged a successful guerrilla war of resistance from 1775 to 1794. After the death of Dragging Canoe, the war of resistance continued until the ammunition from the Crown of the United Kingdom and then Spain ran out. With the armed resistance to the invasion of Cherokee lands crushed, It was a simple matter for the US to find an excuse to expel the Cherokee and take what remained of their land base.There are many who, just prior to the forced march to Oklahoma, remembered the prophesy of Dragging Canoe and headed for the hills (mountain coves, caves, and anywhere else they could hide out). Some were helped by local whites who were sympathetic toward their cause. Some married into white families and eventually lost their Cherokee identities by way of gradual assimilation. Some, who saw the persecution of the Indian brothers and sisters, decided to cover up their Cherokee identities by claiming to be something other than what they were; i.e. Black Dutch (black deutsche), Black Irish, or a mix of Black and White, or just White to avoid removal to Oklahoma and/or the persecution that would have been experienced. Over the years, many of these people descendents of Dragging Canoe's Chickamaugans, over numerous generations, lost touch with their cultural Traditions, clan lineage, and the Sacred Ceremonies. Only a few families carried on traditions, often secretly, or in spite of persecution, and passed on the old Medicine Way, from generation to generation. These few never really forgot who they were. Today there are numerous Chickamaugan descendents spread out over the United States. There are many that still live in the original Chickamaugan homeland. Though some still call us "Red Indians", the Chickamaugans in this area have been like the "colors on a Chameleon's back, altering the larger pattern, surviving genocide because we have to."

In 1838, in fulfillment of Dragging Canoe's dark prophesy, a large number of the Cherokee were force-marched to the Oklahoma Territory. Many men, women and children died along the way. Some escaped and went into hiding in the hills of Arkansas and Missouri. Some who escaped early on in the forced march went into hiding in the foothills and the Smokey Mountains. Many of these continued to resist the pressures of the government to assimilate into white society. They became known as the Snowbird Cherokees.
A group of us reorganized on the third of October 1990. We retain, as Chickamaugans, our native Cherokee (Jalagi) tongue. Those of us who home-school teach the language to our children, as well as the traditional values. We make our own crafts. Our Ceremonies are private, so we will not speak of them. We dance at local pow-wows and all others which are open to non-registered Natives in our area.

There are those of us who can only prove their heritage through Bible Records, family legends of Cherokee Blood, personal records. These are acceptable for our purposes. When a treaty is broken, by one side, the other is no longer obliged to uphold it. We WILL HAVE our lands, one household, one acre at a time.  


We will glide through the darkness like the Nighthawk  until the time is right to strike!

Visit the GADUGI page.