Friday, October 3, 2008

The Cherokee Nation and the Cardwell Cabin

Unfortunately, we were not able to take photographs inside the Great Smoky Mountain Heritage Center in Townsend, TN, which housed the Native American Gallery. So, I can only mention a few of the points about the Cherokee Nation that don't require photos.

We have become very interested in the Cherokee because of their development of a printed language and adoption of a a constitution and code of law. As a result of Sequoyah's invention of an alphabet, almost all of the Cherokee Indians could read and write by 1810. Each tribe elected two chiefs--a Peace Chief who counseled during peaceful times and a War Chief who made decisions during times of war. However, the Chiefs did not rule absolutely. Decision making was a more democratic process, with tribal members having the opportunity to voice concerns. Cherokee Indians society was a matriarchy, and women had an equal voice in the affairs of the tribe.

And in the brutal winter of 1838-39, the majority of the Cherokee Nation were removed to Oklahoma. About 4000 Cherokee died as a result of the removal. The route they traversed and the journey itself became known as "The Trail of Tears."

Outside the Museum, were some original outbuildings that had been moved from the Maryville-Townsend area to the Heritage Center. The Cardwell Family Cabin, built between 1892 and 1895, is shown above. The next three photos show three views of the interior of the one-room cabin.

The white marks on the wall are all that remains of the "wallpaper" for the cabin. Newspapers and other salvaged scraps of paper were used as wallpaper. Water was mixed with flour to make a paste that would hold the paper to the wall when it dried. This wallpaper added color to the cabin and provided material for games like "Word Search."

When Kate saw this red piece of equipment (left) near the barn, she asked the guide who was leading a group of elementary students on a tour of the buildings what it was. He admitted that he did not know, since it had just arrived.

If you know what this is, please let us know (add a Comment or write We don't like incomplete entries. (In a correspondence, Katherine Prince, Curator, Great Smoky Mountains Heritage Center, identified this as a cream separator. We are grateful for her assistance.)

Lastly, an interesting addition to some of the area's early homesteads--a still (right).

The more homes we see and living conditions we learn about the more respect we have for the resourcefulness and range of skills our great grandparents and grandparents possessed. Their level of self-sufficiency surpasses our generation's by far.

No comments: