Snowbird Cherokees, Part 5 - Archaeological Dig: Echota


Snowbird Cherokee discuss a historical site that was submerged under water, and the archaeological dig that sought to preserve the site and its artifacts.

In the eyes of European whites, America's land was a commodity to be used and exploited. To Native Americans, land was shared communally by their tribe. Like the new white settlers, the Cherokees were primarily farmers, yet the settlers believed that Indians were simply tenants-at-will upon the landscape of America and should be removed when in the way of progress. This was not the inclusive vision of America shared by Washington and Jefferson and other Founding Fathers. Ironically, in 1803, it was Jefferson who first suggested the ideal solution to the Indian question, their removal to distant Western lands.

Road construction and dams have forever changed the landscape. This segment details this development and some of the environmental consequences.

Before construction of the Tennessee Valley Authority began, an archaeological dig of Echota by John Greene revealed the site where the Council house once stood. Echota was formerly the capital of the Cherokee Nation, and was not only the focal point of business and religious transaction, but it was a city of peace. Anyone who entered the boundaries was safe, regardless of any crime they might have committed. There were no jails, no sheriff, but every Indian acted on his honor.