Dragging Canoe was one of the Cherokee tribe’s most devoted chiefs. He angrily opposed the terms of the deal in which the Cherokee Nation signed away some of their valuable land to the whites and received very little in return. He broke away from the Cherokees in 1776, forming an aggressive wing of the tribe known as the Chickamauga Cherokees. Dragging Canoe strongly recommended that the patriotic Cherokees part from the tribe. After this episode, they settled at various places along the main stream in the south known as the Chickamauga Creek. Therefore, it was appropriate to call them Chickamaugans.
Dragging Canoe was the son of the famous narrator, Chief Attakullakulla. For his headquarters, Dragging Canoe chose the site of an ancient Creek village on the Chickamauga near present day northeastern Chattanooga, Tennessee. Many well-known chiefs joined him, Chief Ostenaco being among them. This old Indian had fought side by side with George Washington on the Virginia frontiers and knew him intimately. He knew not only our first President but also men such as Thomas Jefferson and Patrick Henry.
The Chickamauga feared that the expansion of the United States spelled doom for the Cherokees and believed that by engaging in war they were protecting their territory the only way they could. After the American Revolution, the majority of Cherokees favored peace and agreed to give up all lands east of the Appalachians. But a small band of warriors, called ‘Chickamauga’ were unwilling to accept a truce and moved their families to northeastern Alabama. (The Cherokee, Perdue, pg. 36) Tecumseh, who was much younger than Dragging Canoe, had a Creek Indian mother and believed that the Creeks would help their Chickamauga brothers in the north. He went south to see the Creeks, Chickasaw, Cherokees and Choctows. He was there for two years. When he returned north, William Henry Harrison had burned the peace town to the ground. Fighting continued on both sides until 1785, with the most stubborn resistance coming from a recalcitrant group of Cherokees who seceded after the Carolina cession in 1777 and established themselves first on Chickamauga Creek and later on the Lower Tennessee River. These diehards became known as ‘The Chickamauga of the Five Lower Towns’... (Cherokees of the Old South, Malone, pg. 10) Hence, the political division between the Cherokee Nation and the Chickamauga Indians occurred as a result of the Carolina land cession and the overall concern of the Chickamauga was that the end of Cherokee independence was coming. The split, which occurred between the Cherokee Nation and the Chickamauga, was political and represented a fundamental shift in international policy. The Chickamauga favored continued conflict with the United States in an attempt to maintain their land base and independence, whereas some influential elements of the Cherokee National Council took a more conciliatory position. In fact, the Chickamauga never laid down their arms. In 1790, the Chickamauga fought General Harmon in the north and less than a year later fought General Clair. They continued the fight into Alabama and Florida. At Fort Mims, two thousand Chickamauga helped Chief Red Eagle take the Fort and after the fall of Horseshow Bend, many moved into Florida. The United States government also recognized the Chickamauga as a separate political entity in the Treaty of 1817 (7 Stat. 156) in which the prologue stated “the establishment of a division line between the upper and lower towns”. The Chickamauga people were historically known as the lower town Cherokees.
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 that the Cherokee Nation’s residents would not be drawn further 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’s residents were opposed.
The fight still continues today for our home land. We are the Chickamauga.
The INDIAN CREEK BAND CHICKAMAUGA CREEK INC. is a 501.3C not for profit organization; we are currently active in the federal recognition process (#278). We are the Wolf Teaching Council for the INDIAN CREEK TRIBE CHICKAMAUGA CREEK & CHEROKEE NATION INC.; Our Principal Chief is Little Red Wolf Chance and our home office is in Deltona, Florida.
In the very early 1800’s Chief Old Billy Bowleggs, designated the Indian Creek Tribe as the keepers of the history for all Chickamauga Cherokee. As an extension of this duty, our tribe has been creating historically accurate educational programs for many years in both Alabama and Florida.
We educate children and adults through school programs, our website, tribal newsletters, public demonstrations, books and story fires that detail the telling of historical actions of this great nation while documenting the unique events pertaining to our people and the United States Government. . We are an independent people who can document our history well before the American Revolution.
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To Council and Members of the ICTCC INC. The Website is constantly updating. It is your responsibility as members to check the website for updates at lease twice a month. All tribal Affairs or posted on the website. Council Members By Federal law need to contact the main office at least once a week.
If you send in photos of yourself to be placed on the council page or event page please be advised that the photos become property of the ICTCC even if you should resign or be banished from the tribe.
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Indian Creek Tribe Chickamauga Cherokee Inc.
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