Snowbird Cherokees, Part 10 - Stories and Legends


In the final segment, Snowbird Cherokee share stories and legends.

A Cherokee tradition, now fading but still held by some, concerns the existence of "little people," small bands of elusive, elf-sized people who live in the mountains and sometimes come into contact with children and adults. People relay stories from childhood of these creatures playing with "little people." One of the elders said that they were to be treated with respect, and that you could tell when they were nearby because there was an aroma of fresh cucumbers and watermelon in the rocks.

Belief in Jesus is very strong among the community, which supports four Baptist churches.

Samuel Worcester arrived in 1825 from Boston, representing the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions. He helped to lead the fight against removal and was imprisoned in 1831,  for 18 months, for refusing to take an oath of allegiance to the state of Georgia. He and another missionary found themselves at the center of a national power struggle between the states and the federal government. Georgia refused to recognize Cherokee claims to their land, while John Marshall, Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, did. Former Indian fighter, and now President Andrew Jackson, chose to ignore the Court's ruling. 

When gold had been discovered several years earlier on Cherokee land, Georgia immediately forbade Indian access to it. When Cherokee claims on Georgia land were no longer recognized, Georgia held a state lottery, carving up the Cherokee Nation into parcels for whites, while it was still occupied by the Cherokees.

Members of the Cherokee tribe provide some reflections on all that has been done to their people over the years. Some express forgiveness and the desire for fellowship. The Cherokee try to hold on to their traditions, such as enjoying the beauty of nature.

(Produced in 1995 by South Carolina ETV)