Thursday, August 31, 2017

History Rewritten - 10

A serious study of Cherokee origins points toward: the relatively late arrival in the Southern Appalachians of those who could be considered “ancestors” of the Cherokees, and an even later coalescence of various cultural groups into a group distinctly identifiable as the “Cherokee”

Nevertheless, many people are under the impression that any and all native inhabitants of the Southern Appalachians were Cherokees, and that they occupied this region for thousands of years.

I’ve already alluded to many reasons for this line of thought.  The purpose of this post is to focus on one particular phrase:

“since time immemorial”

I’ll admit becoming overly sensitized to the term, seeing how it is used to support a false narrative.  A google search of “Cherokee time immemorial” demonstrates its ubiquity. 

But why this choice of words?

We have a pretty clear idea of how it all got started.  But first, a look at contemporary usage of the term.

In Christopher B. Teuton’s aptly titled book, Cherokee Stories of the Turtle Island Liars’ Club:

I had known Cherokee history mostly through books.  I had learned that since time immemorial, the Cherokees have claimed the mountains and valleys of Southern Appalachia as their homeland….

He would certainly get that idea if he listened to the Cherokee Chamber of Commerce: 

A History Measured in Eons

No one knows exactly how long the Cherokee have lived in Western North CarolinaArtifacts that have been found indicate people lived here more than 11,000 years ago, at the end of the last Ice Age, and ancient Cherokee tales describe hunts of the mastodon that once foraged here….

At the time the first Europeans came in the 1500s, the Cherokee were a settled, agricultural people living in villages consisting of 30 to 60 houses and a large council house.... The large council houses were frequently located on mounds and were also the site of the sacred fire, which the Cherokee had kept burning from time immemorial.

That passage of prose is dissembling of Clintonesque proportions.  Maybe I’m giving the writer too much credit (or blame) but this appears to be a very carefully calibrated statement. It doesn’t actually say Cherokees were the ones hunting mastodons.  And the geographic location of their sacred fire isn’t really specified.  But a casual reader is liable to come away with the idea that Cherokees in Western North Carolina warmed their hands by the sacred fire ever since the Ice Age.

Here’s how Thayer Watkins, an economics professor at San Jose State University, might respond to the implied claims of the Cherokee Chamber:

The image that twentieth century American liberals tried to promote of the native peoples of the Americas living happily where they were from time immemorial until Columbus brought destruction to them is not factually correct. There were many large scale shifts in the populations of the Americas carried out by conquest and as often as not the Europeans displaced not the time immemorial residents of an area but the last conquerors of it.

Though the preponderance of the evidence suggests that Watkins’ description applies to the Cherokee, “time immemorial” is employed in many contexts.

 Last year, officials with the Eastern Band and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park discussed special rules for gathering plants in the Park.  As reported in a local paper:

Cherokee people have gathered traditional plants and medicines on their homeland areas since time immemorial.

The phrase doesn't always apply to their occupation of the Southern Appalachians, though.  In Roots of Our Renewal: Ethnobotany and Cherokee Environmental Governance, Clint Carroll says:

Cherokees have been going to water since time immemorial for purification and renewal.

In a newspaper article last year, women were singled out:

Since time immemorial, Cherokee women have led their people through good times and bad times.

In the year 2000, the phrase was uttered in connection with the Cherokee contribution to the National Millennial Time Capsule (to be opened in the year 2100):

The 85-letter Cherokee alphabet was submitted by Wilma Mankiller, principal chief of the Cherokee Nation.... She called it "the language that has survived on this land since time immemorial.  It is our hope for the future that the Cherokee language will still be spoken 100 years from now."

The Cherokee One Feather’s report on a 2012 archaeological conference is very revealing:

Dr. Brett Riggs, research archaeologist at UNC-Chapel Hill, gave a talk entitled "The Archaeology of Cherokee Life at the Time of Removal."  Dr. Riggs, who has worked for and with the Eastern Band of Cherokee on various projects since the early 1990s, commented, "These mountains, here in southwestern North Carolina, have been the home of Cherokee people since time immemorial."...Tom Belt, WCU Cherokee Language instructor, said of Riggs, "He's such a friend." Jokingly, he then added, "He's the first archaeologist to have a name in Cherokee that's not vulgar."

Well, no wonder, seeing as how he has mastered that "time immemorial" thing.

The phrase is used to alert outdoor enthusiasts to the Qualla Boundary's new mountain bike trail, as reported by Indian Country Today:

The Eastern Band of Cherokee's continued foray into eco-tourism makes sense, considering they've been preserving the land for time immemorial while living in harmony with nature: its mountains, woods, rivers and falls.

Before his death in 1931, Horace Kephart wrote The Cherokees of the Smoky Mountain which included the magic words:

They hold what is known as the Qualla boundary, about ninety square miles of rough country on the southerly slope of the Great Smoky Mountains.  From time immemorial this natural fastness has been a refuge for their people in case of disaster.

In June 2017,  shortly after taking office, Principal Chief Richard Sneed just had to say it:

That is our core value as a people.  It's what has set us apart from time immemorial as Cherokee people, is that we do things the right way...

In 2008, a joint council of the Cherokee Nation and Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians agreed to a resolution opposing “fabricated Cherokee tribes,” the very first “whereas” contains a familiar phrase:

WHEREAS, the Cherokee Nation and the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians since time immemorial have exercised the sovereign rights of self- government on behalf of the Cherokee people…

Some sources indicate usage of the phrase in the early nineteenth century.  In 1809, John Norton wrote of the Cherokees:

They said, that to the country they now possessed, they had an inalienable right, from their ancestors who had possessed it from time immemorial….

A missionary living among the Cherokees in 1823 reported that “the worst crime in the eyes of a true Cherokee has, from time immemorial, been that of infidelity to his native land.”

 In 1826, Charles Hicks wrote a series of letters that included memories of growing up Cherokee, to outline “the traditions of [the Cherokee] nation which have been handed down from our forefathers from time immemorial.  He recalled “orationary discourses” traditionally given at tribal festivals and councils, in which chiefs such as Oconostota, and Attacullaculla delivered “sacred discourse, in a kind of poetic style” for stories of the settlement of the Tuckaseegee and Hiwassee river valleys. 

Around 1830, “time immemorial” took on major significance.  Its usage at that point in history probably explains why it continues to be so popular, whether contemporary speakers are aware of its background or not.

In the face of Georgia’s efforts to evict the Cherokee, tribal leaders submitted a letter to Congress, asserting their sovereignty:

The land on which we stand we have received as an inheritance from our fathers who possessed it from time immemorial, as a gift from our common father in heaven.  We have already said that when the white man came to the shores of America, our ancestors were found in peaceable possession of this very land.  They bequeathed it to us as their children, and we have sacredly kept it as containing the remains of our beloved men.  This right of inheritance we have never ceded, nor ever forfeited.  Permit us to ask, what better right can a people have to a country, that the right of inheritance and immemorial peaceable possession! 

The resistance to removal resulted in legal battles that reached the U.S. Supreme Court.  In the opinion issued for one case, Chief Justice John Marshall repeated the term:

The Indian nations had always been considered as distinct, independent political communities, retaining their original natural rights, as the undisputed possessors of the soil from time immemorial, with the single exception of that imposed by irresistible power, which excluded them from intercourse with any other European potentate than the first discoverer of the coast of the particular region claimed; and this was a restriction which those European potentates imposed on themselves, as well as on the Indians. The very term "nation," so generally applied to them, means "a people distinct from others." The constitution, by declaring treaties already made, as well as those to be made, to be the supreme law of the land, has adopted and sanctioned the previous treaties with the Indian nations, and, consequently, admits their rank among those powers who are capable of making treaties. The words "treaty " and "nation" are words of our own language, selected in our diplomatic and legislative proceedings by ourselves, having each a definite and well understood meaning. We have applied them to Indians, as we have applied them to the other nations of the earth. They are applied to all in the same sense.

Maureen Konkle devotes eight pages to the Cherokee adoption of “time immemorial” in her book, Writing Indian Nations:Native Intellectuals and the Politics of Historiography, 1827-1863.  She opens that section:

A series of memorials that the Cherokee Council submitted to the U.S. Congress from 1830 to 1832 lay out the Cherokees’ position and document the increasing assaults on their autonomy by the government and people of Georgia.  The principles set out in the written texts of the treaties, they argue, validate their understanding of themselves and the existence of their nation, in which they have existed since “time immemorial.”  That phrase becomes a refrain in these memorials, in the cases presented to the Supreme Court, and in Cherokee writing generally…..

“Time immemorial” describes how long the Cherokees had been on the land, and it inevitably contrasts with the timeless, prepolitical state of nature that Indians were supposed to inhabit.  These accounts of Cherokee memory before Congress radically interrupt modern European notions of time and progress, both by insisting on the validity of tradition (the land is a national heritage, not a thing for individual expropriation) and by countering the narrative of U. S. history.  Rather than having abandoned traditional identity, the memorialists…can be seen as having stripped their identity down to its bare bones: existing on particular land, with a particular group of people, over time.

“Time immemorial” had long been recognized as a legal term, going back hundreds of years in English law.  In that regard, it meant “ancient beyond memory or record” or “time out of mind” or “time before legal history and beyond legal memory.”  This somewhat qualified use of the term has some merit, regarding the Cherokees, though in contemporary usage it seems to have taken on a different (more expansive) meaning.

In his book, From Time Immemorial: Indigenous Peoples and State Systems, Richard Perry writes:

[Indigenous peoples] were the prior occupants of the region that subsequently fell within the bounds of a state.  They have been there, as many state documents acknowledge, “from time immemorial.”

That seems to be the most reasonable application of the term.  That is, Cherokees occupied the region before the state of Georgia was established.

The “time immemorial” cliché is bound to crop up in all things Cherokee for a long time to come, whether it is appropriate or not. Even advertising agencies have discovered its potency.  A luxury resort development in South Carolina uses the phrase in its efforts to attract wealthy customers:  

An area sacred to the Cherokee Nation since time immemorial due to its abundant natural resources and mild, four season climate, Keowee Falls and North Lake Keowee have become a more recent recreational paradise while maintaining the scenic, peaceful and rejuvenating way of life beloved of the Cherokee. Now being released to the public for the first time, a select few property owners will become a part of this most sought-after area of Keowee Falls, named in recognition of the Cherokee, at Arrowhead Pointe.

I’m not sure this is what they had in mind, way back in 1830.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

How Revolting!

Helen Raleigh

It has been obvious for some time that America has entered a “Cultural Revolution” not unlike that of 1960s China.  Just imagine what Mao could have “accomplished” with today’s technology!

A Helen Raleigh article posted on The Federalist (8/23/17) details this unfortunate repetition of history.  Excerpts from the article follow:

Both movements started on college campuses, with students who wanted to re-make history according to their own ideology

America is clearly undergoing a Cultural Revolution that is eerily similar to Mao’s Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution which took place in China in the 1960s. Maybe Karl Marx was right after all when he declared that “History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce.”

China’s Cultural Revolution was triggered by a group of students at Beijing University, the most elitist college in China. They called themselves the Red Guards because they worshiped China’s communist dictator Mao and his socialist/communist ideology feverishly. In their manifesto, they questioned the usefulness of knowledge, and condemned their professors and university administrators for harboring “intellectual elitism and bourgeois tendencies” and for stalling China’s progress towards a communist utopia.

Mao immediately realized that he could use these over-zealous and ignorant teenagers as a political tool to purge his enemies and shape society to his own liking. He elevated the Red Guards’ status by appearing at a massive Red Guard rally on August 18, 1966 at Tiananmen Square. This event lent Red Guards political legitimacy, and officially kicked off the Cultural Revolution. The Red Guards’ ideas quickly spread from colleges to high schools.

No one on campus dared challenge the Red Guards. Capitulations from school authorities only emboldened them. They led students to strike, refusing to take classes from people who were deemed less than ideologically pure. Professors, teachers, and school administrators were paraded and forced to make numerous public self-criticisms about “transgressions” against government-sanctioned orthodoxy. Soon, college entrance exams were suspended and many schools, from universities to high schools, were closed. The entire education system was paralyzed….

Like Mao’s Red Guards, some American college students and their supporters have been shouting down anyone who dares to disagree with them. These modern-day Red Guards demand that college campuses be an inclusive and safe place, but are bent on making sure the campus is an unwelcoming and unsafe place for anyone who doesn’t show unconditional support for students’ sanctioned orthodoxy. From Yale to Middlebury, college professors and administrators have caved to these student mobs’ preposterous demands. Exhibit A is Nicholas Christakis, the Silliman master at the center of Yale’s debate over Halloween costumes. His very public self-criticism probably would have won over Maoist Red Guards in China, but failed to gain sympathy from privileged Yale students.

Now that kind of zealous demand for thought conformity has expanded outside campuses to the “real world.” When James Damore, a Google employee, raised questions about Google’s diversity training in a memo, he was fired by Google. As Sumantra Maitra wrote, “Nothing could be more dystopian than the largest information, communication, and documentation hub controlling your thoughts and punishing you for wrong think.”

The Red Guards firmly believed that in order to build a new world, they had to wipe out the old one. So they traveled around the country, eradicating anything representing China’s feudalistic past: old customs, old cultures, old habits, and old ideas. Museums, temples, shrines, heritage sites, including Confucius’ tomb, were defaced, ransacked, or even totally destroyed.

One of the worst instances of destruction took place at the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) tombs near Beijing. The Red Guards dug up the remains of Ming emperors and empresses, denouncing their oppression against Chinese people, before burning the remains with burial treasures, including priceless ancient artifacts, books, and manuscripts….

That intensity and zeal to cleanse the past is repeating itself in America. Since recent events in Charlottesville, calls to remove or destroy Confederate statues in the U.S. have only gotten louder. Some places, such as the city of Baltimore and Duke University, already took actions to remove Confederate statues. Over the weekend, however, more and more historical monuments, some having nothing to do with the Confederacy, were vandalized….

I always believe if we want to define our future, we have to learn from the past. But if we don’t have a complete picture of the past, how can we make sure we learn the right lessons? Every civilization, every country, every generation of people, has its own good, bad, and ugly. “The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history.” We owe it to ourselves and future generations to preserve a full picture of the past and make sure lessons in full context are passed on….

The Red Guards were fanatic about social classes and political identity. They believed they were the rightful heir to Mao’s socialist revolution and that only they and their chairman were on the right side of the history. Thus, they shouted down anyone who dared to show the slightest disagreement with slogans, such as “a complete confession is the only road to survival. Anything less will lead to death!”…

If you think that level of violence and lawless will never take place in America, just watch the videos of violent protests at Yale, Berkeley, and Middlebury College. Fringe groups such as Antifa insist that violence is justified against anyone they deem  to be haters, racists, or fascists….

Mao’s Cultural Revolution movement was the darkest chapter in China’s history. It should be called “Cultural Destruction.” It brought the Chinese people nothing but misery. It did fundamentally transform Chinese society: millions, including a generation of China’s intellectual backbone, perished, and an entire young generation grew up without any formal education. It tore the social fabric that used to unite people, and overturned traditional close relationships among families and communities. Its irreplaceable destruction of China’s cultural heritage left Chinese people in a spiritual and moral vacuum.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

History Rewritten - 9

How can you buy or sell the sky, the warmth of the land? The idea is strange to us. If we do not own the freshness of the air and the sparkle of the water, how can you buy them?  Every part of the Earth is sacred to my people. Every shining pine needle, every sandy shore, every mist in the dark woods, every clear and humming insect is holy in the memory and experience of my people.
-Chief Seattle, 1854*

Truth really is stranger than Fiction. And that explains why tourists insist we keep dishing out a steady diet of Fiction.
-         -Chief Wattalattahahkee

News Flash! Dateline: Franklin, NC.  Eastern Band of Cherokee officials pay $400,000 for tract of land adjoining Nikwasi Mound…

Back in 2012, tribal leaders went ballistic after a well-meaning maintenance man squirted a little Roundup on some weeds that were creeping onto the landmark.  Demands for the Town of Franklin to make amends for the blunder, by donating Nikwasi to the Tribe, went nowhere.

"You Didn't Build That"

So, in the near future, unsuspecting tourists who drop by to gawk at the mound will get a big dose of revisionist history from an EBCI propaganda center next to Nikwasi.  The Cherokees might build a new Misinformation Station, but it won’t change the fact that they didn’t build the mound.  But I digress.

Considering the condition of other mounds in the region, the Town of Franklin deserves credit for preserving Nikwasi…with or without weed killer.  Other mounds did not fare so well.

Fly Like an Eagle

For decades, Kituwah Mound near Bryson City, NC was not much more than an inconvenient bump in the middle of a cornfield.  A few years ago, folks went berserk when Duke Power announced plans for an electrical substation somewhere within the same zip code as Kituwah.  As far as I know, the Cherokee Casino Complex has not gone “off the grid” and hence a much-needed substation ended up in the backyard of some poor sap who lived too far from Kituwah for his own good. 

Personally, I’ve never seen anyone (other than myself) approach Kituwah with hushed reverence, though I’ve seen lots of folks flying their remote control toys over the Mound, as has been the sacred tradition (apparently) since time immemorial.

"Go Thee to a Nununyi"

I’d heard of the Nununyi Mound for years, but had never bothered to track it down.  Located on the Qualla Boundary, it was sure to be a sterling example of how to show proper respect for a cultural treasure. 

By the way, if you want extra points for politically correct virtue signaling, then be sure to spell it “Nvnvnyi.”  Don’t be a blockhead.  All the cool people spell it 

Got it?

To prepare for my expedition, I printed the only photo I covld find of Nvnvnyi.  It was taken more than a centvry ago after loggers, or beavers maybe, had toppled every tree in sight**.  

Armed with the old picture and my Nikon, I went for a stroll in Cherokee, to relocate the vantage point looking toward the distant hills, so I could snap a “NOW” to compare with “THEN.”  Honestly, I’m not svre this picture captvred Nvnvnyi 2017, but if not, it’s pretty close, on an overgrown lot next to a motel near the old high school.

It might be littered with empty beer cans and discarded condoms but, clearly, it hasn’t been svllied by herbicides!

Join Hands and Sing Kum Ba Yah

Admiring the lvsh greenery engvlfing Nvnvnyi, I imagined the idyllic place this was before the arrival of Hernando De Soto and his minions.  Since time immemorial, one and all lived in peace, love and perfect balance with Mother Earth.  No hate, no war, no disease.  Days of playfvl frolic, feasting vpon svccvlent roast venison and wild berries, and gathering arovnd the campfire to bang on drvms and dance and whoop and sing happy songs to the Great Spirit…and pass the pipe arovnd.

It was a Rainbow Family Gathering!

It was Shangri-La!!

It was Vtopia!!!

It was Cherokee Wonderland!!!!

Actually…for a brief time, it really WAS Cherokee Wonderland.  

Inspired by the success of Disneyland in the 1950s, some visionaries set out to build their own magical kingdom on the banks of the Oconalvftee, smack dab at Nvnvnyi.  Here’s the artist’s rendition of what Cherokee Wonderland would have looked like upon completion:

Though it operated for a few years, it was never fully developed.  Still, as the promotional literature exhorted:

Ride the Gondola Lift Up the Mountain…

Ride the ‘Ole-Timey’ Narrow Gauge Railroad Around Oconaluftee River…

Take a Different Ride in the Historic Wells Fargo Stage Coach…

Malice in Wonderland

All these attractions to delight the tourists came at a cost. Nvnvnyi Mound was compromised by excavation for drainage ditches and a canal.  Remains of an ancient village just east of Nvnvnyi posed a problem that was promptly solved by a fleet of bulldozers.

Of course, I didn’t read this chapter of history on an interpretive exhibit overlooking the unkempt mess of today’s Nvnvnyi.

But soon. Very soon. Next door to Nikwasi. You will hear all about “Cherokee Wonderland.”

No, not the failed amusement park.

But the fanciful pre-Columbian paradise in the Smokies.

The one that was here…

,,,since time immemorial.

*As noted here a decade ago, the famed Chief Seattle speech was never uttered by Chief Seattle.  It was penned by screenwriter Ted Perry in 1972:

 **A stunning account of magnificent Oconaluftee forests (and the Cherokee decision to log them) ca. 1916:

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

History Rewritten - 8

They [the Natchez] seem to have been regarded by the Cherokee as a race of wizards and conjurers, probably due in part to their peculiar religious rites and in part to the interest which belonged to them as the remnant of a broken tribe. -  James Mooney, 1899 

In an earlier post, I thought it just a wee bit over the top to say that “the Cherokees” originated as a joint red/white criminal enterprise. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that the esteemed ethnographer of the Cherokees, James Mooney, used similar language to describe what was going on in the Mississippi Valley:

In 1716 the French governor sent an officer with goods to the Natchez to establish a trading post among them, but found already on the ground some English traders from Carolina who were trying to form the Natchez, Yazoo, and Chickasaw into a syndicate for the purpose of making slavehunting raids upon the neighboring tribes, a business which the Carolina people had found extremely profitable in their late wars with the Apalachi and Tuskarora. 

But that is not the primary point of this installment. Much more on that is to come.

Refugees Among the Cherokees

Most folks would be hard pressed to name native groups, other than the Cherokees, that lived in western North Carolina. I knew that the Natchez were on that list, establishing a village near Murphy in the 1700s. And I knew that Natchez were among the last of the native tribes to carry on some of the Mississippian traditions.

But that’s about all I knew of the Natchez until I discovered Mooney’s report, “The End of the Natchez.” (American Anthropologist, 1899)  Here’s the beginning of “The End…”:

When LeMoyne d’Iberville sailed into the Mississippi in 1699, just two centuries ago, he found the Na’tsi or Natchez Indians, from whom the modern town takes its name, settled in nine villages, with a total population of perhaps 2500 persons, along what is now St Catherine creek, in Adams county, Mississippi. Thirty years later their villages had been destroyed, their chiefs and hundreds of their people killed or sold into slavery, and the survivors were fugitive refugees with other tribes. Today there may exist twenty of the name. 

For several reasons a peculiar interest attaches to the Natchez. Their language seems to have had no connection with that of any other tribe, excepting possibly the neighboring Taensa of Louisiana. Their strongly centralized government and highly developed religious ceremonial gave them commanding influence among all the tribes of the region, while their heroic resistance to the French, and their final destruction as a nation, lend their history a tinge of romance which writers have been quick to appreciate. The interest is in no degree diminished when we learn that, contrary to the ordinary idea, they were not exterminated, but rather extirpated, which after all is but another word for the same process…. 

In this short sketch we shall endeavor to throw some light on their history subsequent to 1730, prefacing with a brief statement of the causes which led to their dispersal. 

Tensions Between the French and the Natchez

In the early 1700s the French were consolidating their power in the new province of Louisiana and sought to establish a trading post in the midst of the Natchez. After the Natchez resisted that plan, the French built a fort at the principle village of the Natchez, which only exacerbated the conflict.

With a garrison thus forcibly established in their very midst, the Natchez were soon in a condition of smothered revolt, a feeling which the English traders resident among the Chickasaw strove by every means to nurse into active rebellion. In 1722 a quarrel occurred at the post, in which several were killed on both sides. The French commander attempted to punish the Indians by levying a fine upon the whole population of three villages, with the result that they retaliated, when the French burned one village and beheaded the chief…. 

The climax came in 1729, when the French commander coolly ordered them to abandon their principal village, that he might clear the ground for his own purposes. Engaging the Yazoo, Koroa, and Tioux to their support, and supplying themselves with arms and ammunition by means of a shrewd stratagem, at a given signal they fell upon the garrison on November 28, and massacred two hundred men-only about twenty escaping-besides capturing all the women, children, and negroes, with a loss to themselves of but twelve warriors. While the bloody work was going on, the Natchez chief was calmly seated under a shed giving directions for piling the severed heads in heaps about him as they were brought in. The war was now on…. 

In January, 1730, a force of several hundred Choctaw, led by a French officer, attacked a Natchez stockade, killing eighty men, capturing eighteen women, and releasing a large number of captives taken at the first massacre. The Natchez, and their surviving allies, attempted to flee. But battles, captivity and bloodshed continued. From the first outbreak in 1729 to the final repulse at Natchitoches, two years later, we have a record of about 240 Natchez warriors killed and 40 warriors and about 400 women and children taken arid sold into slavery, with no knowledge as to how many died of hunger and disease in the swamps or were picked off from time to time by the French Indians. 

It is safe to assume that not half the tribe remained alive, and they were homeless refugees. They could not return to their own country, for it was now in the hands of their enemies; neither could they seek an asylum among the Choctaw, Tonika, Attbkapa, Caddo Akansa, or Illinois, for all of those were in the French interest: while the smaller tribes that might have befriended them had been brought as low as themselves. They could go only to the tribes in the English interest, the Chickasaw, Creeks, and Cherokee, or to the English settlers themselves in Carolina. 

North to Carolina

Sometime after 1736, a remnant of Natchez were granted permission to settle among the Catawba on the Savannah River.

The "Nachee" are mentioned by Adair as one of the smaller tribes living with the Catawba in 1743, but retaining their distinct language. The next year the "Notchees," having killed some Catawba in a drunken quarrel, fled down to the white settlements to escape the vengeance of the injured tribe, and the colonial government was compelled to interfere to settle the affair. It is probable that the result of the quarrel was to separate them permanently from the Catawba, as in 1751 we find the "Notchees" again noted as one of the small tribes living in the South Carolina settlements. 

Soon after they seem to have moved up again and joined the Cherokee, for in 1755 they are twice mentioned as concerned with that tribe in the killing of some Indians near the coast settlements. This appears to be the last reference to them in the South Carolina records. Just here Cherokee tradition takes them up, under the name of Anintsi, abbreviated from Ani-Na’tsi, the plural of Na’tsi. From a chance coincidence with the word for pine-tree, na'tsi, some English-speaking Indians have rendered this name as " Pine Indians." 

The Cherokee generally agree that the Natchez came to them from the Creek country. It is probable that the first refugees came from South Carolina, while others say that they came from Carolina, and were joined later by others from the Creeks and Chickasaw. Some of them, we are told by Bienville, went directly from the Chickasaw. They seem to have been regarded by the Cherokee as a race of wizards and conjurers, probably due in part to their peculiar religious rites and in part to the interest which belonged to them as the remnant of a broken tribe. 

The venerable James Wafford, a prominent mixed-blood Cherokee who was born in 1806 near the site of Clarkesville, Georgia, when it was all Indian country, and who afterward removed with his tribe to Indian Territory, informed the writer in 1890 that the “Notchees” had their town on the north bank of Hiwassee river, just above Peachtree creek, on the spot where a Baptist mission was established by the Rev. Evan Jones about 1830, and a few miles above the present Murphy, Cherokee county, North Carolina. On his mother’s side he had himself a strain of Natchez blood. His grandmother had told him that when she was a young woman - say about 1755 - she had occasion to go to this town on some business, which she was obliged to transact through an interpreter, as the Natchez had then been there so short a time that only one or two spoke any Cherokee. 

They were all in the one town, which the Cherokee called Gwalgwa‘hi, ‘‘Frog place,” but he was unable to say whether or not it had a townhouse. In 1824, as one of the census enumerators for the Cherokee Nation, he went over the same section and found the Natchez then living jointly with Cherokee in a town called Gu’laniyi at the junction of Brasstown and Gumlog creeks, tributary to Hiwassee river, some six miles southeast of their former location and close to the Georgia line. The removal may have been due to the recent establishment of the mission at the old place. It was a large settlement, about equally made up from the two tribes, but by this time the Natchez were indistinguishable in dress or general appearance from the others, and nearly all spoke broken Cherokee, while still retaining their own language. As most of the Indians had come under Christian influence so far as to have quit dancing, there was no townhouse. 

Harry Smith, father of the late chief of the East Cherokee, and born about 1815, also remembers them as living on the Hiwassee and calling themselves Na'tsi. From Ganse'tl, or Rattling-gourd, another mixed-blood Cherokee, who was born on Hiwassee river in 1820 and went west at the removal eighteen years later, it appears that in his time the Natchez were scattered among the Cherokee settlements along the upper part of that stream, extending down into Tennessee. They had then no separate townhouses. 

Some, at least, of them had come up from the Creeks, and spoke Creek and Cherokee as well as their own language, which he could not understand, although familiar with both the others. They were great dance leaders, which agrees with their traditional reputation for ceremonial and secret knowledge. They went west with the Cherokee at the final removal of the tribe to Indian Territory in 183s. In 1890 there were a considerable number on Illinois river a few miles south of Tahlequah, Cherokee Nation, several of them still speaking their own language, among whom were Groundhog, John Rogers, and a woman named Kehaka. Some of these may have come with the Creeks, as by an agreement between the Creeks and Cherokee, before the time of the removal, it had been arranged that citizens of either tribe living within the boundaries claimed by the other might remain without question if they so elected. 

 Among the East Cherokee in North Carolina, about 1890, there were several who claimed Natchez descent, but only one of full Natchez blood, an old woman named Alkini, who spoke with a drawling tone said to have been characteristic of that people, as older men remembered them years ago. 

Haywood, the historian of Tennessee, says that a remnant of the Natchez lived within the present limits of the State as late as 1750 and were even then numerous. He refers to those with the Cherokee, and tells a curious story which seems somehow to have escaped the notice of other writers. 

According to his statement, a portion of the Natchez, who had been parceled out as slaves among the French in the vicinity of their old homes after the downfall of their tribe, took advantage of the withdrawal of the troops to the north, in 1758, to rise and massacre their masters and make their escape to the neighboring tribes. On the return of the troops after the fall of Fort Duquesne they found the settlement at Natchez destroyed and their Indian slaves fled. Some time afterward a French deserter seeking an asylum among the Cherokee, having made his way to Great Island town, on Tennessee river, just below the mouth of the Tellico, was surprised to find there some of the same Natchez whom he had formerly driven as slaves. He lost no time in getting away from the place to find safer quarters among the mountain towns. Notchy creek, a lower affluent of the Tellico, in Monroe county, Tennessee, evidently takes its name from these refugees. 

Haywood states also that, although incorporated with the Cherokee, the Natchez continued for a long time a separate tribe, not marrying or mixing with other tribes, and having their own chiefs, and holding their own councils, but their nation had now (1823) yielded to the canker 'of time and hardly anything was left but the name.' 

Natchez Village at Peachtree

As Mooney indicated, when the Natchez first came to North Carolina around 1750, they settled on Peachtree Creek, east of present-day Murphy, NC. Their nearest neighbors were Cherokees at the Peachtree village, a mile or so downstream toward the Hiwassee River. Peachtree had been occupied more or less continuously since the Archaic period, with substantial mounds constructed there during the Mississippian period. After the mounds were excavated in 1885 and 1933, little remained to indicate it had been a village.

Other Remnant Groups

The Natchez represent just one example of remnant tribes that integrated with the Cherokee. John Swanton in his hefty reference volume Indians of the Southeastern United States (1946) names others:

Yuchi “A few Yuchi seem never to have moved out of the Appalachian region, but to have remained among the Cherokee and become gradually incorporated into them.” 

Tuskegee – Originally identified in northern Alabama, one band united with the Cherokees to form a large town on the south side of the Little Tennessee River, just above Tellico Creek. 

Nottoway – Possibly a mixed band of Iroquois, Savannah and Conestoga. Around 1748 they moved from central and lower South Carolina to Keowee (near the mountains) and were absorbed by the Cherokees.

Catawba – After ceding land in South Carolina under terms of an 1840 treaty, they moved to Haywood County but were unable to close a deal on land there. During that time some Catawba went to live with the Cherokee.

Clearly, the native groups of the Southeast were very mobile and very fluid. When the chiefdoms of Mississippian culture collapsed, centuries of instability and regrouping ensued, eventually resulting in what we now recognize as the tribal groups of the Southeast.

Cherokee delegation to England, 1730.  Attakullakulla at far right.

Complicated Family Trees

Let's look at this mobility and regrouping on an individual level. By some accounts, the well-known 18th century Cherokee war chief, Dragging Canoe, had Natchez roots.

From the Black Indian United Legal Defense and Education Fund, here’s one explanation of the parents of Dragging Canoe:

Nionne Ollie, a Black French-speaking Cherokee woman of Keowee, South Carolina (variant spelling, ‘Nani’) [was] the wife of Chief Attakullakulla (Little Carpenter)… Nionne Ollie (described as “Black“) was said to have been from a Band of refugee Natchez (Notchey) born in the old historic Cherokee town of Tomately in 1733. She was captured as a Slave at Goose Creek, SC and sold into Slavery to a couple that took her to the French West Indies. Nionne purchased her own freedom as a young woman, returned to the Cherokee Nation and married Chief Attakullakulla (Little Carpenter). The couple had many prominent Cherokee children whose descendants remain part of the Nations (Black and Red) to date…. 

The couple took in a Scottish (White) Adoptee, named John Stuart [who had been caught up in the conflicts between settlers and natives at Fort Loudon during the 1750s.] Nionne (Nani) died in 1831 at the age of 98, a prominent citizen at Keowee Old Town in the South Carolina’s Low Country, near the area that the fateful Treaties of Hopewell were signed by the Nations that would ultimately comprise the 5 Civilized Tribes (first treaties with the United States). The Seminoles were represented as a sub-tribe of the Creeks. Nionne is buried at Oconee, SC.

I can’t vouch for this version of events - it is tricky business rebuilding these family trees - but numerous genealogies trace back to these individuals in one way or another. (See an earlier post on Fort Osborne and Ephraim Osborne in Virginia.)

So the mother of “Cherokee” war chief Dragging Canoe was not Cherokee by birth?

And neither was the father of Dragging Canoe?  Though we think of Attakullakulla as Cherokee, his son, Turtle-at-Home, said that he was born to a sub-tribe of the Algonquian-speaking Nipissing to the north near Lake Superior. Attakullakulla was captured as an infant during a raid in which his parents were killed, and brought back to Tennessee to be adopted by a Cherokee family, where he was raised as Cherokee.

Dragging Canoe

Father and Son

Attakullakulla was a member of the Cherokee delegation that travelled to England in 1730 and crossed paths with William Bartram in 1775. As a peace chief, he was more conciliatory than his son turned out to be. During treaty negotiations in 1775, a defiant Dragging Canoe was said to have delivered this oft-quoted speech:

Whole Indian Nations have melted away like snowballs in the sun before the white man's advance. They leave scarcely a name of our people except those wrongly recorded by their destroyers. Where are the Delawares? They have been reduced to a mere shadow of their former greatness. We had hoped that the white men would not be willing to travel beyond the mountains. Now that hope is gone. They have passed the mountains, and have settled upon Tsalagi (Cherokee) land. They wish to have that usurpation sanctioned by treaty. When that is gained, the same encroaching spirit will lead them upon other land of the Tsalagi (Cherokees). New cessions will be asked. 

Finally the whole country, which the Tsalagi (Cherokees) and their fathers have so long occupied, will be demanded, and the remnant of the Ani Yvwiya, The Real People, once so great and formidable, will be compelled to seek refuge in some distant wilderness. There they will be permitted to stay only a short while, until they again behold the advancing banners of the same greedy host. Not being able to point out any further retreat for the miserable Tsalagi (Cherokees), the extinction of the whole race will be proclaimed. Should we not therefore run all risks, and incur all consequences, rather than to submit to further loss of our country? Such treaties may be alright for men who are too old to hunt or fight. As for me, I have my young warriors about me. We will hold our land.

We will hold our land!  For the day shall come when our children's children of the seventh generation hence shall raise up great gambling houses upon the bones of their ancestors!  

And so it was...

Friday, August 11, 2017

History Rewritten - 7

I travelled about five miles through old plantations, now under grass, but appeared to have been planted the last season; the soil exceeding fertile, loose, black, deep and fat. I arrived at Cowe about noon; this settlement is esteemed the capital town; it is situated on the bases of the hills on both sides of the river, near to its bank, and here terminates the great vale of Cowe, exhibiting one of the most charming natural mountainous landscapes perhaps any where to be seen; ridges of hills rising grand and sublimely one above and beyond another, some boldly and majestically advancing into the verdant plain, their feet bathed with the silver flood of the Tanase whilst others far distant, veiled in blue mists, sublimely mount aloft, with yet greater majesty lift up their pompous crests and overlook vast regions.
- William Bartram, May 1775

In a letter to Ralph Waldo Emerson, the British essayist Thomas Carlyle commended Bartram’s Travels for “a wondrous kind of floundering eloquence in it.”  Wordsworth and Coleridge were also captivated and inspired by the accounts of the Philadelphia botanist.

Now, in the 21st century, as someone who frequents the upper Little Tennessee Valley, I find it a great joy to see these same landscapes through the eyes of William Bartram.  The Cowee Valley, north of present-day Franklin, NC, was a highlight of Bartram’s visit to western North Carolina.

"Cherokees Are As Ignorant As We Are"

Bartram described in some detail the Cherokee village that sprawled along the river, and also the Cowee Mound, topped by a spacious town-house:

The council or town-house is a large rotunda, capable of accommodating several hundred people; it stands on the top of an ancient artificial mount of earth, of about twenty feet perpendicular, and the rotunda on the top of it being above thirty feet more, gives the whole fabric an elevation of about sixty feet from the common surface of the ground. But it may be proper to observe that this mount on which the rotunda stands is of a much more ancient date than the building, and perhaps was raised for another purpose. 

The Cherokees themselves are as ignorant as we are by what people or for what purpose these artificial hills were raised; they have various stories concerning them, the best of which amount to no more than mere conjectures, and leave us entirely in the dark; but they have a tradition, common with the other nations of Indians, that they found them in much the same condition as they now appear, when their forefathers arrived from the west and possessed themselves of the country, after vanquishing the nations of red men who then inhabited it, who themselves found these mounts when they took possession of the country, the former possessors delivering the same story concerning them. Perhaps they were designed and appropriated by the people who constructed them to some religious purpose, as great altars and temples similar to the high places and sacred groves anciently among the Canaanites and other nations of Palestine and Judea.

This passage is intriguing for what it suggests about the predecessors of the Cherokees in the Southern Appalachians, the comparatively late arrival of the Cherokees, and their role (or lack of a role) in the construction of mounds.

Did Bartram get it right?  Was his source qualified to speak with authority on such matters?  Beyond a certain degree, of course, the answers are unknowable.  And even when archaeology is paired with history as a tool of inquiry, post holes and pottery shards only reveal so much.

"From Time Immemorial"

After revisiting the preceding paragraph from Bartram I stumbled upon its counterpoint, attributed to Major John Norton, who travelled among the Cherokees ca. 1809:

Generally throughout the Nation, emigration was unpopular, and exchanging countries still more so. They said,  that to the country they now possessed,  they had an indisputable right,  from their ancestors who had possessed it from time immemorial . . .

I wish I could dig into the context for the Norton quote.  His journal was not published until 1970 and is not widely available (without shelling out ninety bucks for a copy).  I was not familiar with Major Norton, but he is an interesting character (see note below).  

His quote appeared as an epigraph on a brochure for a 2014 Cherokee ArchaeologicalSymposium.  As I examined the brochure, feelings of anger, sadness and nausea welled up.  Rather than launching into a rant, though, I’ll just say it bothers me to see archaeological expertise subverted to advance a particular political agenda.  

In that regard, the phrase “time immemorial” is of such significance that I will need to devote a future installment of this series to it.   

When influential people have a particular axe to grind, they’ll go to great lengths to manipulate evidence of what actually occurred in the past.  That’s certainly what has happened in the aftermath of a federal law enacted in 1990.

The Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA), requires federal agencies and institutions that receive federal funding to return Native American cultural items (including human remains, funerary objects, sacred objects) to lineal descendants and culturally affiliated Indian tribes.  NAGPRA also establishes procedures for the inadvertent discovery or planned excavation of Native American cultural items on federal or tribal lands.

To the extent that grave robbers desecrated native burial sites and showed something less than respect for human remains, the intent of NAGPRA was worthwhile.  But like other well-meaning legislation, NAGPRA has had unintended consequences. 

Problems With NAGPRA

At best, repatriation of cultural items under the law becomes a cumbersome and costly bureaucratic process.  And there’s this:

The statute attempts to mediate a significant tension that exists between the tribes' communal interests in the respectful treatment of their deceased ancestors and related cultural items and the scientists' individual interests in the study of those same human remains and items….

Archeologists are concerned that they are being prevented from studying ancient remains which cannot be traced to any historic tribe. Many of the tribes migrated to their territories at the time of European encounter within 100–500 years from other locations, so their ancestors were not located in the historic territories….

Fears have been voiced that an anti-scientific sentiment could well have permeated politics to an extent that scientists might find their work to be continuously barred by Native Americans rights activists….

Compliance with the legislation can be complicated. One example of controversy is that of Kennewick Man, a skeleton found in 1996 near Kennewick, Washington. The federally recognized Umatilla, Colville, Yakima, and Nez Perce tribes had each claimed Kennewick Man as their ancestor, and sought permission to rebury him. Kennewick, Washington is classified as part of the ancestral land of the Umatilla.

Archaeologists said that because of Kennewick Man's great age, there was insufficient evidence to connect him to modern tribes. The great age of the remains makes this discovery scientifically valuable. As archaeologists, forensic specialists, and linguists differed about whether the adult male was of indigenous origin, the standing law, if conclusively found by a preponderance of evidence to be Native American, would give the tribe of the geographic area where he was found a claim to the remains. New evidence could still emerge in defense of tribal claims to ancestry, but emergent evidence may require more sophisticated and precise methods of determining genetic descent, given that there was no cultural evidence accompanying the remains.

One tribe claiming ancestry to Kennewick Man offered up a DNA test, and in 2015 it was found that the Kennewick man is "more closely related to modern Native Americans than any other living population." In September 2016, the US House and Senate passed legislation to return the ancient bones to a coalition of Columbia Basin tribes for reburial according to their traditions. The coalition includes the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation, the Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation, the Nez Perce Tribe, the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Reservation, and the Wanapum Band of Priest Rapids. The remains were buried on February 18, 2017, with 200 members of five Columbia Basin tribes, at an undisclosed location in the area.

It is understandable that any tribal organization wishing to claim custody to skeletal remains in their proximity would want to build the case that they have occupied the area for thousands, rather than few hundred, years. 

A Bone to Pick

It gets complicated. 

An essay by Janet Levy in Anthropologists and Indians in the New South describes her experiences as an archaeologist in the Carolinas, both pre- and post-NAGPRA.  While conducting rescue excavation necessitated by construction at a Yancey County  junior high school in 1990, Levy witnessed the problems that can arise:

A burial had been recovered at the site, and negotiations legally mandated by the 1981 [North Carolina] Burial Bill had taken place.  However, a group of individuals who had identified themselves as Indians had gathered in the town to protest the excavation of the site overall, claiming it was sacred ground….None of the protestors were Cherokee tribal members; some were from outside the state, and as far as we know, none were members of another federally or state-recognized tribe.  Nevertheless, they were quite successful in garnering positive media attention and support from some other, non-Indian, groups in the region. 

It is probably lucky for me and archaeology in North Carolina that I was not the person responsible for interacting with the protestors.  My anger and frustration levels were very high…
Although, during this encounter, various threats were made to stop archaeology in North Carolina forever, little came of those statements.  None of the remaining suspected burials were excavated, and later the one excavated burial was reburied under the mandates of the Burial Bill.

Levy went on to describe events at a Macon County site being prepared for an industrial park in 1995.  

Though the Eastern Band of Cherokees was contacted and expressed no objections to the excavation, a religious faction within the tribe protested the work.

Excavations continued but were interrupted and modified by ongoing demands and negotiations; again, there were some verbal challenges to excavators, many of them community and student volunteers.  The situation was complicated by ongoing political competition within the tribal government and by the political needs and concerns of the county government, which was sponsoring the industrial development.  Ultimately, significant parts of the site were cleared and mapped, but not excavated.

After discussing other experiences and her hopes for positive outcomes from the federal law, Levy observed:

NAGPRA shifted the distribution of power in the discipline of archaeology in North America….Problems arise because of factionalism within, and competition between, Indian communities, including local, non-local, and pan-Indian organizations….And there are ongoing tensions in some situations between federally recognized tribes and state-recognized groups….Ironically, perhaps, NAGPRA has encouraged archaeologists to become better anthropologists, because we now have to struggle to understand the cultural values, social organization, and political structure of communities other than our own.

Lost Clues

When the mounds and associated sites in the Southern Appalachians were plundered in the 19th century, we lost many clues to understanding the past.  In the name of cultural sensitivity, NAGPRA has mandated the “return” of the human remains of approximately 32,000 individuals, nearly 670,000 funerary objects, 120,000 unassociated funerary objects, and 3,500 sacred objects (to date).  How does the loss of this evidence impede our ability to understand the past?  And who’s to say that some of these items, surrendered to various tribes per NAGPRA, haven’t been diverted for sale on the black market?

Sometimes, being able to see the world through the eyes of a William Bartram is a very good thing indeed.  It certainly inspired one of Coleridge’s best known works:

Kubla Khan

Or, a vision in a dream. A Fragment.

In Xanadu did Kubla Khan
A stately pleasure-dome decree:
Where Alph, the sacred river, ran
Through caverns measureless to man
   Down to a sunless sea.
So twice five miles of fertile ground
With walls and towers were girdled round;
And there were gardens bright with sinuous rills,
Where blossomed many an incense-bearing tree;
And here were forests ancient as the hills,
Enfolding sunny spots of greenery.

But oh! that deep romantic chasm which slanted
Down the green hill athwart a cedarn cover!
A savage place! as holy and enchanted
As e’er beneath a waning moon was haunted
By woman wailing for her demon-lover!
And from this chasm, with ceaseless turmoil seething,
As if this earth in fast thick pants were breathing,
A mighty fountain momently was forced:
Amid whose swift half-intermitted burst
Huge fragments vaulted like rebounding hail,
Or chaffy grain beneath the thresher’s flail:
And mid these dancing rocks at once and ever
It flung up momently the sacred river.
Five miles meandering with a mazy motion
Through wood and dale the sacred river ran,
Then reached the caverns measureless to man,
And sank in tumult to a lifeless ocean;
And ’mid this tumult Kubla heard from far
Ancestral voices prophesying war!
   The shadow of the dome of pleasure
   Floated midway on the waves;
   Where was heard the mingled measure
   From the fountain and the caves.
It was a miracle of rare device,
A sunny pleasure-dome with caves of ice!

   A damsel with a dulcimer
   In a vision once I saw:
   It was an Abyssinian maid
   And on her dulcimer she played,
   Singing of Mount Abora.
   Could I revive within me
   Her symphony and song,
   To such a deep delight ’twould win me,
That with music loud and long,
I would build that dome in air,
That sunny dome! those caves of ice!
And all who heard should see them there,
And all should cry, Beware! Beware!
His flashing eyes, his floating hair!
Weave a circle round him thrice,
And close your eyes with holy dread
For he on honey-dew hath fed,
And drunk the milk of Paradise.

John Norton

Note on John Norton – To make things easier on myself, my note on Major John Norton is drawn from Wikipedia:

John Norton was likely born in Scotland in the early 1760s to a Scottish mother and a father born Cherokee in Tennessee and raised from boyhood in England. His father had been rescued as a boy by British soldiers when his hometown of Keowee (Tennessee) was destroyed during the French and Indian War, the North American front of the Seven Years' War. The boy was taken back to England and raised in an English family. John Norton was likely educated as a boy in Scotland…

He served an apprenticeship as a printer, but ran away to join the army. He was assigned to Scotland… Next he was stationed in Ireland… In 1785 he was assigned to Lower Canada (Quebec) after the end of the American Revolutionary War….

While stationed with his regiment at Niagara (Upper Canada) in 1787, Norton deserted the army and was discharged. For a time, he taught at the Mohawk settlement of Tyendinaga on the Bay of Quinte, west of Kingston, Ontario. In 1791 he traveled through the Ohio region as a trader, establishing many contacts….

During this time, he became increasingly involved with the Iroquois Six Nations of the Grand River. In 1794, he returned to Fort Niagara, where he served as an interpreter for the British Indian department. He became known to Joseph Brant, the prominent Mohawk people leader who became his mentor. In his early 30s, Norton was adopted into the Mohawk, with Brant as his uncle….

He was given the Mohawk name of Teyoninhokovrawen to mark this passage…. 

He married Catherine, a woman from one of the six Iroquois nations….

Later he was appointed a "Pine Tree Chief," in a public ceremony, according to Iroquois custom. This was an honorary position and was not within the hereditary line….

In 1809-1810 Norton had a lengthy trip to the American Southeast, where he traveled through the still extensive Cherokee territory, in part to try to find his father's people. He did meet relatives and was accepted as Cherokee. The people were under pressure from land encroachment by settlers and state governments, particularly Georgia. He kept detailed accounts of what he saw and described Cherokee towns and culture in his The Journal of Major John Norton, 1816…..

Norton led a handful of Six Nations warriors into battle in Tecumseh's offensive in 1811 against the Americans at Tippecanoe. When the War of 1812 between Britain and the United States began, Norton was quick to join General Isaac Brock at Detroit, despite the official neutrality of the Canadian Six Nations. Following Brock's success at Detroit, more Six Nations warriors joined the British forces as allies. Their timely arrival at Queenston Heights, under the leadership of Major Norton, John Brant (Joseph's son), and Lieutenant Kerr of the Indian Department, was crucial to British victory….

Norton's final years are a mystery. There were suggestions that he had left Canada and moved as far as Laredo, Mexico. His date of death is unknown but his last mention in records was in 1826.