When the great Smoky Mountains were discovered in the 1700’s by European’s they discoverd a tribe of Indians that were one of the most culturally advanced on the continent. They had permanent towns, cultivated croplands, sophisticated political systems and extensive networks of trails.
By the 1830’s the Cherokee had adopted the ways of the whites to the extent of developing a written language, printing their own newspaper, and utilizing the white man’s agriculture and architecture.
However, most of the Cherokee were forcibly removed to Oklahoma in the 1830’s in the tragic episode know as the “Trail of Tears.”
By the 20th Century the agricultrual pattern of the Smoky Mountains changed with the arrivial of lumbering. Within 20 years the self-sufficient way of life was alomost entirely replaced by the dependence on manufactured items, store bought food, and cash.
Loggers were rapidly cutting the great primeval forests that remained on these mountains. These course of events were changed with the intervention and creation of the Great Smoky Mountain National Park in 1934. The forest- at least twenty percent or so that remained uncut within the park boundries- were saved.
The few Cherokee who remained or managed to return to these mountains are the ancestors of the Cherokee living on the reservation near the park today.
photos taken by and are personal collection of The Gourmet Farm Girl