TheOneAMPen: Author Robyn Leatherman

Where did the Cherokee come from?

The Cherokee Nation's history began thousands of years before the Europeans ever set foot on North America in the 1500’s, long before Christopher Columbus "discovered" North America.  Textbooks will say that when he and his men stepped off their boat, they encountered "the natives".

Have you ever wondered who these "natives" actually were?

The Cherokee People originated in northeastern North America, but when gold was discovered by the European settlers in Georgia in the early 1800’s, the People were forcibly removed from their homes and relocated to Oklahoma. The state we know today as Oklahoma was simply known at that time as “Indian territory”.

This situation had been brewing for hundreds of years prior to the 1800s; thousands of men, women  and  children lost their lives on the journey now known as The Trail of Tears as they made their way to this unknown land, due to a lack of food or the proper clothing to see them through the harsh southern winter. Neither the elderly nor the very young were spared and were forced to march the one thousand miles to either new lives – or their deaths.

Consider, for a moment, that you and your family have built the home of your dreams on a huge plot of land that your family has lived on for thousands of years. The feeling of security and solitude would be unmatched and undoubtedly, you would feel safe in having a family of your own to carry on the legacy for a great number of years to come. And this would be your right.

Now once again, place yourself in that same dream home, surrounded by your loved ones and all of your belongings-most likely, even items left behind by those family members who had moved on in death.

Your family realizes that there are others who envy your home and land. This envy has moved these people to actually threaten and intimidate every single person living on your land to simply hand over everything they own, walk away from the entire thing, and to harbor no hard feelings as the keys to the family home are being handed over.

Ridiculous! Insanity!

And yet, without cause, these greedy people have banded together and have surrounded your home lands after years of intimidation and threats, armed and ready to take control. They enter your home uninvited, forcing you and your family-children, women, your elderly parents and grandparents-outside of  their home, without so much as allowing anyone to even go back inside to gather their belongings. No personal effects. No memories. No food or blankets or even kibble for your dog.

The Cherokee are a strong people. Strength saw them through a very sad part of American history; it has been determination that has seen this group of people be able to move past the Trail of Tears.

Despite the many challenges and temporary set-backs, the Cherokee Nation remains strong as the second largest federally recognized Indian tribe in the U.S. and boasts more than 300,000 members.

My historical fiction, Summer Rain: Getsikahvda Anitsalagi (The Removal of the People), is a historical fiction novel that reflects my heritage as well as that of my husband. This historical fiction takes a look into a typical family living in Georgia in the 1800’s and culminates with the family – and many others – being affected by The Removal.

If you would like to update your own information or explore your Cherokee lineage, you may do so by clicking
this link to the Cherokee Nation in Oklahoma.




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