Southern Appalachian Digital Collections

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Nickajack

  • wcu_cherokee_traditions-475.jp2
  • The inside front flap of the cover of "Nickajack" by Robert J. Conley (1940-2014) reads: "It is 1841 and the Cherokee Nation has split into warring factions. The group that followed Major and John Ridge signed a treaty with the United States, giving up their lands in Georgia, Tennessee, and the Carolinas and relocated to what would later become Oklahoma. The party loyal to principal chief John Ross, who advocated resistance to the shameful land-grabbing of the federal government, stayed behind and were systematically terrorized until finally they were removed to the West on the Trail of the Tears upon which thousands of their men, women, and children died of starvation, exposure, and government violence./ Nickajack is a Cherokee who joined his friend Coffee Soldier on the earlier migration. His is an honorable man who believes in family and friendship, and his move west was an act of friendship rather than a position on the issues that have split the Cherokee Nation so tragically. Yet his is inexorably drawn into a political web when he is ambushed one night on a lonely road and kills one of his attackers, a member of the John Ross party."