Monday, February 9, 2009

The Stories on the Rock

I’ve looked into the theories to explain Judaculla Rock. My favorite is that it reflects prehistoric access to the microscope since the carvings on the rock so closely resemble microorganisms.

I didn’t say that was the most credible theory, but I give it high marks for ingenuity.

It was good to see that some folks met recently with the intention of taking better care of the old petroglyph and I hope their efforts come to fruition. But that meeting got me to thinking again about the origins of Judaculla Rock.

Here’s one possibility:

We’re told that early settlers remember Cherokee elders coming to Judaculla Rock every year to commemorate a battle with the Creeks in 1755. According to that explanation, the various designs on the rock correspond to the events of the conflict.

Well, maybe.

But what of that episode in 1755?

The Battle of Taliwa was fought in Ball Ground, GA to settle a land dispute. The Cherokee war chief, Oconostota, led 500 warriors against a much larger band of Creeks. Despite being outnumbered, the Cherokees scored a decisive victory, with the Creeks retreating to the south of the Chattahoochee River, and relinquishing their former territory.

Assuming Judaculla Rock depicts this episode of history, there should be some image on the rock depicting Nancy Ward (1738-1822). She was, at the time, a teenager known as Nanye-hi. When her husband was mortally wounded in the battle, she took up his gun, sang a war song and led the Cherokees to victory, gaining her the title of “Warrior Woman.”

After the battle, Nanye-hi married a white trader, Bryant Ward, and encouraged peace between white settlers and the Cherokee. She became known as the “Beloved Woman” for her humanitarian efforts. Later in her life, and years before the Removal of 1838, Nancy Ward had this prophetic vision:

A great line of our people marching on foot. Mothers with babies in their arms. Fathers with small children on their backs. Grandmothers and grandfathers with large bundles on their backs. They were marching West and the "unaka” (white soldiers) were behind them. They left a trail of corpses, the weak, the sick who could not survive the journey.

If the elders did gather at Judaculla Rock to share war stories, some of their memories must have included the remarkable Nancy Ward.


lola said...

Thanks for the info. I hate the idea of all those large forest being cut down or whatever they call it. Don't people realize what they are doing?
I would like to know just exactly where you are located as I have some knowledge of that area. I listen & read every thing I can about that area for I love it so very much.

lola said...

I failed to ask just where this rock is located. I have never heard of it before. I think it's amazing the history that is on it.

Anonymous said...

I live in Tuckaseigee, close to the rock, and I've visited many times. I have a background in anthropology, but I am only an amateur - no expert. However, I have a hunch that the rock was decorated by Cherokee children. The images are disorganized and chaotic, and many are drawn over earlier ones. The rock is located near large, flat fields and I imagine that perhaps the little ones were gathered there to be watched over by a few grandmas while their mothers worked in the fields. The rock is soft soapstone and any available pebble could be a "crayon" to draw on it. I know my theory will be scoffed at, but nevertheless...

Anonymous said...

Coast to Coast with George Noory has a picture and description of it up on their website prompting activity by those interested in in the subject - explaining the increased interest in it at this time.

GULAHIYI said...

Thanks for that information. I've had twice the usual number of visitors today. I always enjoyed his radio show, but haven't been able to hear it in a long time.