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A Cherokee Portrait

Understanding the Cherokee removal requires that you develop a sense of Cherokee culture. You are going to examine a variety of materials related to Cherokee life in the late 1700s and early 1800s. These include written accounts, Cherokee legend, archeological artifacts, as well as photographs and paintings of historical reconstructions. You will find that there is no one clear picture of who these people were. It will be your job to piece together the bits of evidence you have to study and mentally create your own Cherokee portrait.

The list below includes a variety of materials related to the Cherokee. Make copies of the note sheet that you can use with each of the sources that you or your group has been assigned. As you study each document follow the example given below and take notes about the bits and pieces of Cherokee culture suggested by the details of each source. The materials represent characterizations of the Cherokee over a period of about 50 years so pay close attention to the date. Change happens.

To Start You Thinking


1) Share your notes and understanding of the material with others who have studied the rest of the documents. Make sure that you discuss any contradictions that you discover and how you resolve them. Do you find any of the sources unbelievable? Why?

2) Write a one page summary in which you characterize the Cherokee in the late 1700s and early 1800s. Discuss changes that occurred over time.

Last modified in March, 2017 by Rick Thomas