Saturday, October 15, 2011

October 13, 2011. In Robbinsville, NC. The Grave Of Junaluska.

Junaluska (1779? - 1858) was a leader of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. In 1813, during the War of 1812, Junaluska personally recruited over 100 men to fight in the Battle of Horseshoe Bend. United States forces and Indian allies under General Andrew Jackson defeated the Red Sticks, a faction of the Creek Indians who led a resistance movement against American expansion which resulted in the Creek War of 1813. With Junaluska's help, Jackson defeated the Creeks, effectively ending the Creek War. The tide of the war turned when Junaluska swam the Tallapoosa River retrieving Red Stick canoes and ferrying the Cherokee to the rear of the Creeks. Junaluska is also credited with saving Andrew Jackson's life during this battle. This effort made him a national hero, but Junaluska lived to regret it. In appreciation, Jackson is said to have told Junaluska, "As long as the sun shines and the grass grows, there shall be friendship between us, and the feet of the Cherokee shall be toward the east." In 1830, a year after taking office, Jackson was successful in pushing the Indian Removal Act. Junaluska is quoted as saying, "If I had known that Jackson would drive us from our homes, I would have killed him that day at the Horseshoe." During the infamous Trail of Tears (1838), Junaluska and many other Cherokee were incarcerated and held in nearby stockades. Fort Montgomery was located in present day Robbinsville, North Carolina. Junaluska was forced to march from this stockade to Indian Territory in present day Eastern Oklahoma. About seven weeks into the journey, Junaluska deserted with about 50 other Cherokee. He was captured and returned to Oklahoma, but made the trip back to North Carolina on foot. In 1847, the state legislature rewarded Junaluska for his service by conferring upon him the right of citizenship and giving him land in what is now present-day Robbinsville. Essentially, the government took away Junaluska's land, then magnanimously gave him back a few hundred acres. Junaluska died in 1858 and was buried in Robbinsville on a hill above the town. In traditional Cherokee style, his grave was originally marked with a pile of stones. In 1910, the Daughters of the American Revolution erected a monument at the gravesite.
The script on the bronze plaque, bolted to native stone, reads, Here lie the bodies of the Cherokee Chief Junaluska and Nicie his wife. Together with his warriors he saved the life of General Jackson at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend, and for his bravery and faithfulness North Carolina made him a citizen and gave him land in Graham County. He died October 20th, 1868, aged more than one hundred years. This monument was erected to his memory by the General Joseph Winston Chapter D. A. R. 1910." Rosie Note: Junaluska was not a chief. Most sources list his death in 1858, not 1868. And I don't think he was over 100 years old. Maybe the DAR was tippling when they did the plaque.
Seven markers surround the grave, representing the seven Cherokee clans.
Wolf Clan. By a special Act in 1846, the N.C. legislature recognized Junaluska for his distinguished service to the U.S. and granted him 337 acres, North Carolina citizenship, and $100. Although never a chief, Junaluska was a respected leader who symbolizes the desire of all Cherokees to remain in their Homeland.
Wild Potato Clan. Junaluska (c.1779-1855) was born approximately fifteen miles south of Franklin, N.C. near present day Dillard, Georgia.
Align Center
Deer Clan. A few days after his birth he was given his first name when the cradle board holding him fell over. He was called GU-Ka-Las-Ki (one who falls from a leaning position). Later, after an unsuccessful military venture, he received the name TSU-NA-LA-HUN-SKI (One who tries but fails). Blue Clan. Although Junaluska's meeting with Tecumseh at Soco Gap in 1811 can not be verified, he certainly sent word to Tecumseh that the Cherokees would not join an Indian Confederacy against the Whites.
Long Hair Clan. In 1813, when the Cherokees raised 636 men to aid Americans fighting the Creeks, Junaluska personally recruited over 100 men. At the Battle of Horseshoe Bend, his actions turned the tide when he swam the Talapoosa River retrieving Creek Canoes and ferrying the Cherokees to the rear of the Creeks. He is also credited with saving Andrew Jackson's life during this battle.
Paint Clan. According to the provisions of an 1819 treaty with the United States, Junaluska applied for 640 acres at Sugar Creek near Franklin, N.C. when his land was usurped by white squatters. He moved to the remaining portion of the Cherokee Nation.
Align CenterBird Clan. During removal in 1838, Junaluska was assigned to Jesse Bushyhead's detachment. About seven weeks into the journey Junaluska deserted leading about 50 Cherokees. Although captured and taken to Oklahoma, within a couple of years Junaluska walked back to North Carolina.
The Medicine Wheel displayed at this location is symbolic in nature only. Of all known medicinal cures for illness, spiritual medicine is perhaps the most effective of all. The Medicine Wheel here depicts the basic structure of most medicine wheels. It represents the sacred directions of the Cosmos, East, West, South, and North, then Above, Below, and Within. Medicine Wheel designs vary from Tribe to Tribe and individuality is often intertwined by those constructing the medicine wheel. The designer may sometime only know the design definitions. Again the Medicine Wheel symbolizes the powerful effect of Spiritual Medicine.
Cherokee bear outside of town.

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