New Echota – Cherokee Capitol

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The Pride and Shame of Two Nations – More
 

The original courthouse where the elders
met still stands at New Echota today.



New Echota, founded in 1825, was the first and final capitol of the “unified” Cherokee Nation. The park, now a Georgia Historical Site, is located just off Interstate 75 on highway 225, about an hour north of Atlanta. Here, in what quickly became a bustling little town, hopes of a sovereign government for the Cherokee were both nurtured, then extinguished. Here is where the leaders of a nation of proud immigrants signed a treaty that surrendered their land to a new breed of immigrants. Yes, you read that right; the Cherokee were immigrants. Cherokee migrated from the north and nudged the Muscogee (Creek) Nation to the south and west. The Cherokee migrated south for the same reasons so many other northerners do: a warmer climate, and seemingly abundant natural resources (and a retreat from the European invasion). In 1825, the well armed and aggressive European immigrants were moving south at a rapid pace.
The 1830’s Cherokee lived in log
cabins similar to this
The landscape and structures of New Echota capture a key period in the history of the Cherokee. A place where they almost overcame (or assimilated). They had a government very similar to the United States: a constitution, a written language, and, as a nation, a relative amount of wealth. There were those that opposed their “progress” and newly adopted European characteristics. The opposition came from the newly-formed state of Georgia, the US government,  and a good number of the Cherokee themselves. When the “friendly” European visitors discovered gold within Cherokee territory, the onslaught began. The end to any hope of peacefully coexisting with the white…