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A Visit to New Echota

The Cherokees living in northwest Georgia observed what happened to the Creeks and learned something. They thought if they accepted the white culture and adopted white lifestyles, they could live together in peace with white Georgians. Today, New Echota Historic Site in Gordon County preserves what is left of the Cherokee capital. Ranger Frankie Mewborn guides students on a tour of the site and points out the aspects of Cherokee culture that paralleled that of whites. It was at New Echota that Sequoyah developed the Cherokee alphabet giving Cherokees a written language. There was a newspaper, a constitution that created a government patterned after that of the United States, and a supreme court. However, with the discovery of gold in north Georgia and the desire for land, it was not enough. In 1835, the Treaty of New Echota requiring the Cherokees to leave the southeast was signed by some Cherokee leaders. Chief John Ross spoke against it. While the Cherokee learned many things from the Creeks, they now learned their fate would be the same; the next step was their forced removal to Oklahoma.

Teacher tip: After seeing the examples in the video of Cherokee lifestyles, discuss why their plan to assimilate into the white culture was not enough. Was there anything the Cherokee could have done that would have satisfied white Georgians and allowed them to remain in Georgia?