The Chickamauga


The two main Chickamauga Chiefs, Dragging Canoe (Tsiyugunsini) son of Attakullakulla and John Watts (Kunokeski) were relatives of Cherokee Nation Principle Chief Moytoy (Amahetai) and may have been advised to leave the Nation so as not to draw the Cherokee Nation's residents farther into a full scale war with the Americans. From 1777, the Chickamauga were not an official part of the governance and policy structure of the Cherokee Nation and through their external military policy, the Chickamauga were an independent Cherokee political entity although not an entity with which the majority of the Cherokee Nation residents were opposed.

There currently exists a community of Cherokee Indians in north Alabama whose national history has been almost erased by the historian's and federal agency's (especially the BIA's) preoccupation with the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma and Eastern Band of North Carolina. The Chickamauga Cherokee of Alabama, located principally in north Alabama are the descendants of the Chickamauga Indians, being those Cherokee who separated themselves politically from the Cherokee Nation in 1777 to establish new towns and a new political relationship with the United States. The Chickamauga Cherokee have survived as an Indian community during a period of time in which the State of Alabama dissolved the legal powers of all Cherokee village Chiefs, thus making Indian government in Alabama functionally illegal.

On the first new moon of spring in the year 2000 at the Kinlock Indian Rock Shelter, the Chickamauga Cherokee of Alabama rekindled the "sacred fire" of this north Alabama community. This was, no doubt, the first time in many years that the Chickamauga Cherokee had observed the festival of "When the grass begins to grow". The Chickamauga Cherokee of Alabama are dedicated to renewing the culture and education of the Chickamauga people. 

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