In 2015, the Chiefs of various Chickamauga tribes across the Southeast and Midwest were invited to reconvene the National Council of the Chickamauga resulting in the formation of The Chickamauga Nation.
Historically archaeologically, and anthropologically identified as indigenous, the Chickamauga are Mound Builders whose culture and religion are well established, both historically and anthropologically, in what is known as the Southeast Ceremonial Complex. From time immemorial, the traditional homelands and hunting lands of the Chickamauga have been in the Southeast Woodlands along the river systems of the Tennessee River, the Arkansas River, the Ohio River, and the Mississippi River extending from Tennessee to Northern Georgia, Western South Carolina, Western North Carolina, Kentucky, Western Virginia, the Tennessee River Valley in Alabama, the Arkansas River Valley in Arkansas and Oklahoma, and the Mississippi River valley in Kentucky, Tennessee, Missouri, and Arkansas.
The Chickamauga Nation is traditionalistic and follow the ancient laws and religion which demand they are a non-casino Nation; they are opposed to gaming. As such, The Chickamauga Nation is an economic development Nation that seeks to work with federal, state, and local entities to bring economic development to the whole community in which the Chickamauga live. The Chickamauga seek to be placed on the Serviced Tribes Roll to allow The Chickamauga Nation and its citizens the opportunity to qualify for various grants to assist and promote economically disadvantaged communities, cities, and states within their Treaty and Traded Land Boundaries.
Our Culture and Religion: The first written record of our culture and religion is from an archaeological site in Tennessee’s Putnam County comes from William Edward Myer’s unpublished manuscript Catalogue of Archaeological Remains in Tennessee. The archaeological data recovered from the four burial mound sites, called the Officer Mounds, confirm aboriginal occupations dating to the late Paleoindian, Archaic, and Woodland eras.
Our Culture and Religion: The presence of burial mounds in Alabama indicate that the region was inhabited during the Burial Mounds III period (600 – 1000 A.D.). John Wilthal states that “Small conical earthen mounds … are characteristic of this time. Layers or pavements of stone or shell were constructed over individual burials or over the entire structure.”
Our Culture and Religion: An excavation at the site of Tomalty, a Cherokee village on the Little Tennessee River, exposes 98,595 square feet of surface area. Following the removal of the plow zone, 147 features and 18 burials were excavated. A total of 2,198 postmolds were exposed and 19 structures were identified. The assemblage of artifacts collected indicates that the site area had been occupied since the Early Archaic era (7,900 – 6,100 B.C.). Ethnohistoric accounts and archeological evidence suggest that the historic village may have been founded and occupied by Lower, Middle, and Valley Cherokee refugees between 1751 and 1776 A.D
Our Culture and Religion: From the time of their initial discovery in an eastern Oklahoma burial mound, the Spiro materials are recognized as constituting an unusual find that replicated discoveries from the Deep South at Moundville, AL, and Etowah, GA. The art work in stone, copper, and marine shell from the three major locales – Spiro, Moundville, and Etowah – now constitute what archaeologists call the “Southern Cult.”
Our Culture and Religion: Investigations at the Morrison burial mounds site in Spiro, OK, during the 1990s reveal a previously unknown mound center dating to the early Edelhardt phase of the Terminal Late Woodland period (ca. 1000 – 1030 A.D.). The site provides evidence suggesting mound and plaza construction occurred immediately preceding the rise of Cahokia as a sociopolitical and religious center. Excavations in1994 confirmed the presence of one rectangular platform mound and a related residential occupation in close proximity. Due to the presence of a white-on-red seed jar fragment, this site is theorized to have been revisited between 1050 and 1100 A.D.
Our Culture and Religion: While only limited generalizations can be made about the periods of occupation of the surveyed rockshelters found in Cedine Mound, TN, and the activities that occurred there, the presence of limestone-tempered ceramic fragments in both archaeological dig sites TCS #2 (40GY79) and TCS #7 (40GY82) indicate an association with the Woodland period; a period in which sedentary Indian populations manufactured pottery tempered with crushed limestone.
Amatoya Moytoy is given the title “Emperor of the Cherokee” by Sir Alexander Cumming, a businessman from SC. The British Crown is intent on a singular person to deal with as a leader of the various Native American tribes. Amatoya Moytoy is presented with the “Crown of Tannassy” by Cumming to be presented to King George II at the London signing of the 1730 Whitehall treaty between England and the Native Americans west of the Appalachians Including the Chickamauga.
The Chickamauga are the only militant faction battling the revolutionary armies, thus referred to in the Declaration of Independence as the “Merciless, Savage Indians.” A culturally and religiously traditionalist tribe, the Chickamauga join together with the traditionalist Muscogean and Mobillian tribes to fight in the Chickamauga Wars. The cultures and beliefs of these tribes make it impossible for them to surrender their lands to the colonials and Revolutionaries.
In George Washington’s fourth annual address to Congress, Washington states “A part of the Cherokees, known by the name of Chickamagas, inhabitating five Villages on the Tennesee River, have been long in the practice of committing depredations on the neighbouring settlements. . .. It was hoped that the treaty of Holstin, made with the Cherokee nation in July 1791, would have prevented a repetition of such depredations. But the event has not answered this hope. The Chickamagas, aided by some Banditti of another tribe in their vicinity, have recently perpetrated wanton and unprovoked hostilities upon the Citizens of the United States in that quarter. The information which has been received on this subject will be laid before you. Hitherto defensive precautions only have been strictly enjoined and observed. . . . It is not understood that any breach of Treaty, or aggression whatsoever, on the part of the United States, or their Citizens, is even alleged as a pretext for the spirit of hostility in this quarter.”
“Governor Martin (of North Carolina) directs an investigation into the murders committed in the Cumberland Gap. He states that if Cherokee or Chickamauga Indians are responsible for a military expedition will be sent into their nation to obtain “satisfaction” unless they surrender the murderers. Directs that squatters be ordered off Indian Lands.“
“Treaty of Hopewell, 7 Stat. 18 (Nov. 28, 1785) Chickamauga signatories: Koatohee or Corn Tassel of Toque, Gritzs of Chickamaga, Tuckasee or Young Terrapin of Allajoy, Chokasataheor Chickasaw Killer Tasonta, Sower Mush of Kooloque, Umatooetha or Water Hunter Choikamawga, Wyuka of Lookout Mountain, Tulco or Tom of Chatuga. Witness – Author Coody”
Fifteen additional treaties are signed between the United States of America and the Chickamauga tribe in the forty-four years between July 2, 1791, and December 29, 1835. A seventeenth treaty is signed under duress on May 6, 1828, after the signatories were abducted and plied with alcohol until they signed the treaty. Upon release several were summarily executed by their tribes for breaking an 1824 law prohibiting tribal members from engaging in peace talks with the U.S.
“Sevier invited to join council held in Cherokee nation in town of Chota. At council Sevier was notified that the five lower towns had declared war on the United States, J. Watts heads party. Hostile Indians plan on attacking frontier settlements. Assurances that every other part of the Cherokee nation is happily at peace with the United States. Special note on Indian town names and names of chiefs that oppose declaration of war, Sevier provided those chiefs with Indian goods so as to foster good relations.”
“Congress to discuss war and peace with the Chiccamagas. Only defensive action by state to be taken in dealing with Indians.”
“Knox provides Blount with his assessment of the situation with the southern Indians and projected additions to the military establishment in the South. The Indians are not satisfied with the actions of the Cumberland settlements but it appears that the Creek chiefs are willing to council with Seagrove soon. Blount is asked to take whatever action is needed to end conflict with the Chickamaugas. Notable phrase – The Indians are dissatisfied about the Cumberland business and the President is exceedingly desirous of knowing the cause of it. […] In this event Sir, you could not do more acceptable service to the government […] than by terminating the affair with the said Chickamauga without further conflict.”
“Governor Shelby fully expects that the Creek and Chickamauga Indians will attack frontier settlers as soon as winter breaks so he requests authority to take measures for the defensive protection of the frontiers of Kentucky.”
“General Robertson informs Major Ore that he is to defend the district of Mero against a large party of Creeks and Cherokees of the Lower towns. Ordered to ‘destroy the Lower Cherokee towns … taking care to spare women and children, and to treat all prisoners, who may fall into your hands, with humanity, and thereby teach those savages to spare the citizens of the United States, under similar circumstances.’”
“Secretary Knox requests that Mr. Dandridge submit to President Washington the enclosed letter from Governor William Blount of Southwest Territory, regarding the destruction of two Lower Cherokee towns, Running Water and Nickajack.”
“After having corresponded with Double-head, Chief of the Cherokees, Governor William Blount of Southwest Territory orders that General Benjamin Logan immediately desist from attempts to invade Lower Cherokee towns, who are in a state of peace with the United States. Rogue elements of the military had previously destroyed the friendly Cherokee towns of Nickajack and Running Water.”
“Conference between Governor William Blount of Southwest Territory, and several Cherokee representatives: Colenel John Watts of a Lower Cherokee town (Will’s Town), and Scolacutta (aka, Hanging Maw), along with other Cherokee chiefs. […] Briefly discuss the illegal destruction by Major Ore of the friendly Lower Cherokee towns of Nickajack and Running Water, along with illegal aggression by General James Robertson. Blount condemns these actions and stresses repeatedly that he wants permanent, sustained peace with the Cherokee, which the Cherokee desire as well. Both Blount and the Cherokee chiefs discuss hostility by the unfriendly Creek Nation, along with the American alliance with the Chickasaw and Choctaw.”
“Report of Sec. of War on petition: Cantrill requested compensation for services related to expedition in Cherokee nations country. Cantrill ordered by General Robertson to destroy two indian towns (Running Water and Nickajack). Secretary of War did not sanction event.”
In an 1809 letter, Thomas Jefferson utilizes his authority to declare treaties and writes to the Chickamauga chiefs on the Arkansas River instructing them to move further up the Arkansas and White rivers to delay their inevitable conflict with settlers. In typical Chickamauga fashion, the Chiefs went both North and South of the Arkansas River. Upon their settlement in unclaimed lands the United States would thereby render aid and engage in trade with the Chickamauga tribe.
The Chickamauga go into hiding due to state laws forbidding Indians from owning land and having access to the court system, enabling colonists to freely kill or displace them. Cherokee Nation Chief John Ross begins conducting assassinations of prominent Chickamauga chiefs, headsmen, and leaders.
Chickamauga Chief Going Snake, along with thousands of other Chickamauga who remained East of the Mississippi River, was the Speaker of the Council at Rattlesnake Springs and establishes the continuation of the Chickamauga government as continuing in adversity.
The Chickamauga continue to live in small communities and on rare occasions meet to discuss tribal history, culture, religion, and government among themselves. Due to cultural atrophy, much of the tribe’s language, culture, and religion are lost over the proceeding generations.
After over a century of hiding several small groups of Chickamauga across the Southeast United States begin to reconnect in the late 20th century. By 2010, numerous bands of Chickamauga have formed across the region.
The chiefs of various Chickamauga tribes across the Southeast and Midwest regions of the United States meet to reconvene the National Council of the Chickamauga. The council establishes the Governing Document of The Chickamauga Nation, dividing the tribes’ homelands into four ancestral regions: The North (VA, WV), Central (TN, KY, NC), South (GA, AL, SC), and Western (AR, MO, OK, TX) regions.
On July 18, 2019, at the requestof Senator David Perdue (GA) the National Executive Chiefs of The Chickamauga Nation meet with the staff of Senator John Hoeven (ND), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, to petition for placement on the United States Serviced Tribes Roll, civil rights protection, equal protection under the law, and social justice.
The Staffers told the Chiefs that they would have to have their Anthropology and History verified by professionally qualified academics before returning to the Senate.
The indisputable conclusion of academic verifiers confirmed that anthropologically, archaeologically, and historically the Chickamauga are an indigenous people who are ethnically, culturally, and religiously distinct from the Cherokee. The Chickamauga lived in the Mississippi Bottoms consisting of the Mississippi, Tennessee, Ohio, and Arkansas River Valleys in the Southeast Woodlands between 600 – 800 years prior to contact with European settlers. The professionally qualified academic verifiers also concluded that the Chickamauga have been recognized by the Legislative and Executive branches of the United States as well as hold treaties with Great Britain, Spain, France, and Mexico.
The Chickamauga Nation invokes Article XII of 7 Statute 18 of the Hopewell Treaty as well as the totality of the additional 16 treaties and officially petitions the United States Congress to be placed on the Serviced Tribes Roll.