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104. The Eastern Tribes

Besides the Iroquois and Shawano, the Cherokee remember also the Delawares, Tuscarora, Catawba, and Cheraw as tribes to the east or north with which they formerly had relations.

The Cherokee call the Delawares Anakwan'`kï, in the singular Akwan'`kï, a derivative formed according to usual Cherokee phonetic modification from Wapanaq'kï, "Easterners," the generic name by which the Delawares and their nearest kindred call themselves.

In the most ancient tradition of the Delawares the Cherokee are called Talega, Tallige, Tallige-wi, etc.[1] In later Delaware tradition they are called Kïtu'hwa, and again we find the two tribes at war, for which their neighbors are held responsible. According to the Delaware account, the Iroquois, in one of their forays to the south, killed a Cherokee in the woods and purposely left a Delaware war club near the body to make it appear that the work had been done by men of that tribe. The Cherokee found the body and the club, and naturally supposing that the murder had been committed by the Delawares, they suddenly attacked the latter, the result being a long and bloody war between the two tribes.[2] At this time, i.e., about the end of the seventeenth century, it appears that a part at least of the Cherokee lived on the waters of the Upper Ohio, where the Delawares made continual inroads upon them, finally driving them from the region and seizing it for themselves about the year 1708.[3] A century ago the Delawares used to tell bow their warriors would sometimes mingle in disguise with the Cherokee at their night dances until the opportunity Came to strike a sudden blow and be off before their enemies recovered from the surprise.

Later there seems to have been peace until war was again brought on

[1. Brinton, Lenape and Their Legends, p. 130 et passim, 1885; Schoolcraft, Notes on Iroquois, pp. 147, 305 et passim, 1847; Heckewelder, Indian Nations, pp. 47-50, ed. 1876.

2. Heckewelder, op. cit., p. 54.

3. Loskiel, History of the [Moravian] Mission, pp. 124-127; London, 1794.]

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by the action of the Shawano, who had taken refuge with the Delawares, after having been driven from their old home on Cumberland river by the Cherokee. Feeling secure in their new alliance, the Shawano renewed their raids upon the Cherokee, who retaliated by pursuing them into the Delaware country, where they killed several Delawares by mistake. This inflamed the latter people, already excited by the sight of Cherokee scalps and prisoners brought back through their country by the Iroquois, and another war was the result, which lasted until the Cherokee, tired of fighting so many enemies, voluntarily made overtures for peace, in 1768, saluting the Delawares as Grandfather, an honorary title accorded them by all the Algonquian tribes. The Delawares then reprimanded the Shawano, as the cause of the trouble, and advised them to keep quiet, which, as they were now left to fight their battles alone, they were glad enough to do. At the same time the Cherokee made peace with the Iroquois, and the long war with the northern tribes came to an end. The friendly feeling thus established was emphasized in 1779, when the Cherokee sent a message of condolence upon the death of the Delaware chief White-eyes.[1]

The Tuscarora, formerly the ruling tribe of eastern North Carolina, are still remembered under the name Ani'-Skälâ'lï, and are thus, mentioned in the Feather dance of the Cherokee, in which some of the actors are supposed to be visiting strangers from other tribes.

As the majority of the Tuscarora fled from Carolina to the Iroquois country about 1713, in consequence of their disastrous war with the whites, their memory has nearly faded from the recollection of the southern Indians. From the scanty light which history throws upon their mutual relations, the two tribes seem to have been almost constantly at war with each other. When at one time the Cherokee, having already made peace with some other of their neighbors, were urged by the whites to make peace also with the Tuscarora, they refused, on the ground that, as they could not live without war, it was better to let matters stand as they were than to make peace with the Tuscarora and be obliged immediately to look about for new enemies with whom to fight. For some years before the outbreak of the Tuscarora war in 1711 the Cherokee had ceased their inroads upon this tribe, and it was therefore supposed that they were more busily engaged with some other people west of the mountains, these being probably the Shawano, whom they drove out of Tennessee about this time.[2] In the war of 1711-1713 the Cherokee assisted the whites against the Tuscarora. In 1731 the Cherokee again threatened to make war upon the remnant of that tribe still residing in North Carolina and the colonial government was compelled to interfere.[3]

[1. Heckewelder, Indian Nations, pp. 88-89, 1876.

2. See Haywood, Nat. and Aborig. Hist. of Tennessee, pp. 220, 224, 237, 1823.

3. North Carolina Colonial Records, iii, pp. 153, 202, 345, 369, 393, 1886.]

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The Cheraw or Sara, ranging at different periods from upper South Carolina to the southern frontier of Virginia, are also remembered tinder the name of Ani'-Suwa'lï, or Ani'-Suwa'la, which agrees with the Spanish form Xuala of De Soto's chronicle, and Suala, or Sualy, of Lederer. The Cherokee remember them as having lived east of the Blue ridge, the trail to their country leading across the gap at the head of Swannanoa river, east from Asheville. The name of the stream and gap is a corruption of the Cherokee Suwa'lï-Nûñnâ'hï, "Suwa'li trail." Being a very warlike tribe, they were finally so reduced by conflicts with the colonial governments and the Iroquois that they were obliged to incorporate with the Catawba, among whom they still maintained their distinct language as late as 1743.[1]

The Catawba are known to the Cherokee as Ani'ta'gwa, singular Ata'gwa, or Ta'gwa, the Cherokee attempt at the name by which they are most commonly known. They were the immediate neighbors of the Cherokee on the east and southeast, having their principal settlements on the river of their name, just within the limits of South Carolina, and holding the leading place among all the tribes east of the Cherokee country with the exception of the Tuscarora. On the first settlement of South Carolina there were estimated to be about 7,000 persons in the tribe, but their decline was rapid, and by war and disease their number had been reduced in 1775 to barely 500, including the incorporated remnants of the Cheraw and several smaller tribes. There are now, perhaps, 100 still remaining on a small reservation near the site of their ancient towns. Some local names in the old Cherokee territory seem to indicate the former presence of Catawba, although there is no tradition of any Catawba settlement within those limits. Among such names may be mentioned Toccoa creek, in northeastern Georgia, and Toccoa river, in north-central Georgia, both names being derived from the Cherokee Tagwâ'hï, "Catawba place." An old Cherokee personal name is Ta'gwädihï', "Catawba-killer."

The two tribes were hereditary enemies, and the feeling between them is nearly as bitter to-day as it was a hundred years ago. Perhaps the only case on record of their acting together was in the war of 1711-13, when they cooperated with the colonists against the Tuscarora. The Cherokee, according to the late Colonel Thomas, claim to have formerly occupied all the country about the head of the Catawba river, to below the present Morganton, until the game became scarce, when they retired to the west of the Blue ridge, and afterward "loaned" the eastern territory to the Catawba. This agrees pretty well with a Catawba tradition recorded in Schoolcraft, according to which the Catawba--who are incorrectly represented as comparatively recent immigrants from the north--on arriving at Catawba river found

[1. Mooney, Siouan Tribes of the East (bulletin of the Bureau of Ethnology), pp. 56, 61, 1894.]

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their progress disputed by the Cherokee, who claimed original ownership of the country. A battle was fought, with incredible loss on both sides, but with no decisive result, although the advantage was with the Catawba, on account of their having guns, while their opponents had only Indian weapons. Preparations were under way to renew the fight when the Cherokee offered to recognize the river as the boundary, allowing the Catawba to settle anywhere to the east. The overture was accepted and an agreement was finally made by which the Catawba were to occupy the country east of that river and the Cherokee the country west of Broad river, with the region between the two streams to remain as neutral territory. Stone piles were heaped up on the battlefield to commemorate the treaty, and the Broad river was henceforth called Eswau Huppeday (Line river), by the Catawba, the country eastward to Catawba river being left unoccupied.[1] The fact that one party had guns would bring this event within the early historic period.

The Catawba assisted the whites against the Cherokee in the war of 1760 and in the later Revolutionary struggle. About 100 warriors, nearly the whole fighting strength of the tribe, took part in the first-mentioned war, several being killed, and a smaller number accompanied Williamson's force in 1776.[2] At the battle fought under Williamson near the present site of Franklin, North Carolina, the Cherokee, according to the tradition related by Wafford, mistook the Catawba allies of the troops for some of their own warriors, and were, fighting for some time under this impression before they noticed that the Catawba wore deer tails in their hair so that the whites might not make the same mistake. In this engagement, which was one of the bloodiest Indian encounters of the Revolution, the Cherokee claim that they had actually defeated the troops and their Catawba allies, when their own ammunition gave out and they were consequently forced to retire. The Cherokee leader was a noted war chief named Tsanï (John).

About 1840 nearly the whole Catawba tribe moved up from South Carolina and joined the eastern band of Cherokee, but in consequence of tribal jealousies they remained but a short time, and afterward returned to their former home, as is related elsewhere.

Other tribal names (of doubtful authority) are Ani'-Sa'ni and Ani'-Sawahâ'nï, belonging to people said to have lived toward the north; both names are perhaps intended for the Shawano or Shawnee, properly Ani'-Sawänu'gï. The Ani'-Gilï' are said to have been neighbors of the Anin'tsï or Natchez; the name may possibly be a Cherokee form for Congaree.

[1. Catawba MS from South Carolina official archives. Schoolcraft, Indian Tribes, III, pp. 293-4, 1853.

2. Ibid., p. 294,1853.]

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Next: 105. The Southern And Western Tribes