I thought I knew a lot of Cherokee history but I missed the all important fact of the last Cherokee Council held at Red Clay in Cleveland, TN. This is where they learned the treaties were lies and they were to be “relocated,” in the Indian Removal Act of 1830 signed by Andrew Jackson, who ironically, was saved from death by a Cherokee. This was the beginning of the Trail of Tears.
It was also at Red Clay that The Cherokee Nation from Oklahoma and the Eastern Band ofCherokee Indians came together in 1984 to hold the first joint council session in over 150 years. It is commemorated by the Eternal Flame.I offered tobacco as thanks to the Spirits of the Four Directions, and sat in silent, peaceful meditation for quite some time.
Red Clay has interpretive trails where Cherokee housing is displayed, and the Council house and meeting area. While they are both “federally recognized”—been sanctioned and given labels by the white man—they both call themselves the “real” Cherokee Nation. It’s my opinion, as a portion Cherokee, that the blood is what is real. Although, I must admit, North Carolina Cherokee ARE a bit arrogant and refuse any assistance whatever in researching Cherokee genealogy unless the relative is on the roles. There are MANY reasons a native would not be listed on the rolls, some of their own choosing, and others due to white man policies.
It’s in the blood and spirit, and a printed name proves nothing. My blood and spirit is what brings me home.
|Council Meeting House|
|Council gathering area|
|Cherokee sleeping cabins|
Also at Red Clay is the Blue Hole Spring. The water bubbles up from the ground and ripples away down a cool, clear creek. I took my shoes off and stepped into the water. I was refreshed from the toes up and ready to carry on--seriously!