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The Battle for Nickajack Town '98

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The Battle for Nickajack Town '98

The struggle began when the monolithic TVA (Tennessee Valley Authority) decided to sell off lands containing all that remains above water of old Nickajack Town. A little background here might be helpful especially for those who believe the stereo type of the "peaceful Cherokee". Dragging Canoe (173? - 1792) removed from the more peaceful elements of the Cherokee Tribe hoping to prevent innocent bloodshed, yet knowing the encroachment on Cherokee hunting grounds needed to be stopped. For awhile, he and the warriors that followed him with their families moved to the area of Chickamauga Creek in Chattanooga Tennessee. From current day 'Hooters' to Lovell Field Airport. From this location the warriors staged lightning swift raids on the illegal settlements that were springing up on Cherokee land. Soon the location of Chickamauga Town was found out and the village was burned in an act of revenge for punishing the white squatters on our lands. This sequence of events was repeated several times, & every time, the villages on the Chickamauga were rebuilt. Finally more secure habitations were secured from an alliance with the Redstick Creek. One of these habitations is called in our tongue "Anicoosawetiyi" or Old Place of the Creeks, which is known to whites as Nickajack Town.

It is now the Twentieth Century seven generations since our forefathers the People of the Lightning fought to save the sovereignty that the Cherokee Chiefs were so quick to abdicate. The TVA in the sixth generation, built dams that flooded most of those habitations that were obtained from the Creek.

It is now the '90s and TVA, having used the law of Eminent Domain to acquire the land of the People of the Lightning, is in a financial bind because of mismanagement. They wanted to sell Nickajack Town and its associated burials. But they did not count on the Children of the Lightning confronting them. And confront them we did. On July 5, 1997, The Tennessee River Band of Chickamaugan Cherokees staged a march in downtown Chattanooga, TN in front of the TVA complex. This was followed by other demonstrations, organized by the Chattanooga Inter Tribal Association, in which Children of the Lightning also participated. Finally, in the Spring of '98, the TRBCC hosted a powwow to save Little Cedar Mt. at nearby Marion County Park. It was well attended by Native people but there were not many 'tourists' and I fear many vendors went away unhappy. At the same time, E. Raymond Evans informed us, AIM was staging a protest in front of Hines Ltd., Little Cedar Mt. project office in Atlanta, GA. Soon intelligence reports from Mr. Evans confirmed that Hines LTD had closed their Atlanta "project" and moved it to Chicago IL.

We also had reports that the Eastern Band of Cherokees chief Dugan was going soft on us. Secretly agreeing with TVA to remain silent on LCM in exchange for a small piece of shell midden downstream from Nickajack Dam. Mr. Evans and Mr. James Bumpas discovered this in a fund-seeking trip to the N. C. reservation. It must be said here that the Council EBCI knew nothing of the soft position and in Mr. Evans words were "willing to cut a check right then." But the "director of Cultural Resources" cleared her throat and said "the Chief has a plan."

And now, months after TVA's formal abdication announcement, on March 15,1999, we are still celebrating our well-deserved victory over the TVA. Chalk March 15 on your calendars, Children of the Lightning, as the day of a major political coup for the TRBCC and Native America as a whole.


David Brown

Click here to visit the TRBCC website 

PO Box 21293

Chickamauga Station, TN 37424-0293




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