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Chickamauga Cherokee Indian History

(c) 1995-2003 William James Chance

In the late 1700's a young Cherokee boy said to his father, "I want to be a warrior like all these warriors" and the boys father said, "you are too little to be a warrior" but the boy kept after his father. The father took a rope and tied it to a canoe and told the boy to pull the canoe and to stay up with the other warriors and then be could become a warrior too. It was not long before the boy did just that, he was pulling the canoe and staying up with all the warriors. The boy's father said, "from now on you will be known as Dragging Canoe, warrior of the Chickamaugan Cherokee"., and in time he became Chief Dragging Canoe of the Chickamaugan Cherokee.

He made war against the United States army, the women, children and anyone that was a pond in the lands of the Cherokees. He tried to tell the leaders of the Cherokee nation that the white man would never be happy just taking our women and that the white man was after the lands of the Cherokee and would never rest until all the Cherokee were gone from the lands of our forefathers but the leaders of the Cherokee would not believe him so him and the warriors of the Chickamaugan Cherokees were all alone to fight and wage war against the white man. Many of the Cherokee villages were burned to the ground by the white man's army, also the home of Nance Ward. The leaders of the Cherokee believed the white man would never bring his army's against then who had given them their women and was willing to live on the lands of the Cherokee with the white man. The leaders just did not get it, the white man did not wish to live on the land with the Cherokee, they wanted it all for themselves and that was what Dragging Canoe had been trying to tell them but they did not wish to hear.

Dragging Canoe and the warriors of the Chickamaugan Cherokee waged their war against the white man in Tennessee, northern Alabama, North Carolina and north Georgia always moving and attacking. They stayed ahead of the white man's army and most of the attacks against the white man were around Chattanooga, Tennessee.

That is where the Chickamaugan Cherokee first got their name many hundreds of years ago, after a creek just south of Chattanooga, fifteen miles south of Chattanooga, Tennessee.

In a fight, Dragging Canoe was hit with a ball from a rifle but it was not a bad wound. After every fight, the warriors and Dragging Canoe would dance and give thanks to Yowa for looking after them in the fight and give honor to Yowa. This little wound that Dragging Canoe got went unattended; they danced all night and into the days following. His wound ended up causing the death of Dragging Canoe. The warriors of the Chickamaugan Cherokees went on with the fight to save the Cherokee.

But in the end, all the Cherokee but about six hundred, were gathered up like animals and made to walk the trail of tears to the Indian lands in Oklahoma. There were around 13,000 of the Cherokees on the trail of tears and many died. They became known as the Western Cherokee. There were around six hundred of them that hid in the mountains of North Carolina and became known as the Eastern Cherokee and they were finally able to buy the lands of their forerfathers, about 56,000 acres in western Norm Carolina which was turned over to the B.I.A. This became a government reservation for the eastern Cherokee.

Even today, the western and eastern Cherokee will not talk about the Chickamaugan Cherokees, they just cannot bring themselves to face that Dragging Canoe tried to tell them that the way they were going was a loosing fight, that the white man wanted the land not the women and did not wish to live on the lands with the Cherokee, they just wanted us to be gone from the face of mother earth.

Chief Little Red Wolf

Southern Wolf Clan

Chickamaugan, Cherokee


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