“The Cherokees have lived in the Southeastern United States for over 10,000 years.Cherokees developedand cultivated corn, beans and squash – “the three sisters” – along with sunflowers and other crops.
Archaeological evidence, early written accounts, and the oral history ofthe Cherokees themselves show the Cherokees as a mighty nation controlling more than 140,000 square miles with a population of thirty-six thousand or more. Often the townhouse stood on an earthen mound, which grew with successive ceremonial re-buildings.”
In his famous book, “The History of the America Indians” eighteenth century explorer and trader, John Adair stated that several hundred Cherokees, living in the North Carolina Mountains, spoke an ancient Jewish language that was nearly unintelligible to Jews from England and Holland. From this observation, Adair extrapolated a belief that all Native Americans were the descendants of the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel.
Adair genuinely admired Native Americans and was married to a Chickasaw woman. However, his popular theory was twisted during the American Revolution to something else. In the new version, the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel had built the thousands of mounds that dotted the landscape of eastern North America, but the Indians had killed all the “civilized Jews.” Frontier preachers gave sermons which demanded that their parishioners go out and slaughter the evil savages, who had killed the “civilized Jews.”
By the late 20th century, things had gone to the other extreme in North Carolina. In 1976 the North Carolina state government directed a team of professors to prove that the Cherokees had been in their state for at least 1000 years. It was called the North Carolina History Project. The archaeologists and historians justified their bonus paychecks by dutifully re-labeling all Native American archeological sites in the western third of the state as “Cherokee” or “Proto-Cherokee.” The widespread Creek Indian place names were re-labeled “ancient Cherokee words whose meanings have been lost.”
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