American Indian; Eastern Band of Cherokee Nation Member; Medal
of Honor Recipient
|Medal of Honor Recipient
Charles George is the only Eastern Band of Cherokee
Nation member to receive the United States' highest award: The Medal of Honor.
Charles George: Cherokee from North
Carolina, hero of the United States, and valorous American soldier in Korea. George was killed in action on 30 November 1952.
During battle, George threw himself upon a grenade and smothered it with his body. In that act, he sacrificed his own
life but saved the lives of his comrades. For his brave and selfless act, George was posthumously awarded the Medal of
Honor in 1954.
Interesting Fact: The first known use of Native Americans in the American
military to transmit messages under fire was a group of Cherokee troops ("Cherokee Code Talkers") utilized by the American
30th Infantry Division serving alongside the British during the Second Battle of the Somme. According to the Division Signal
Officer, this took place in September 1918. Their unit was under British command at the time. (Stanley, Captain John
W. Personal Experience of a Battalion Commander and Brigade Signal Officer, 105th Field Signal Battalion in the Somme
Offensive. U.S. Army, 1932.)
Viewing: The Trail of Tears: Cherokee Legacy (2006), Starring: James Earl Jones and Wes Studi; Director: Chip Richie, Steven R. Heape.
Description: The Trail Of Tears: Cherokee Legacy is an engaging two
hour documentary exploring one of America's darkest periods in which President Andrew Jackson's Indian Removal Act of 1830 consequently
transported Native Americans of the Cherokee Nation to the bleak and unsupportive Oklahoma
Territory in the year 1838. Deftly presented by the talents of Wes Studi
("Last of the Mohicans" and "Dances with Wolves"), James Earl Jones, and James Garner, The Trail Of Tears: Cherokee Legacy
also includes narrations of famed celebrities Crystal Gayle, Johnt Buttrum, Governor Douglas Wilder, and Steven R. Heape.
Cherokee Nation members which add authenticity to the production… A welcome DVD addition to personal, school, and community
library Native American history collections. The Trail Of Tears: Cherokee Legacy is strongly recommended for its informative
and tactful presentation of such a tragic and controversial historical occurrence in 19th century American history.
Reading: 1491: New Revelations
of the Americas Before Columbus.
Description: 1491 is not so much the story of a year, as of what that year stands for: the long-debated
(and often-dismissed) question of what human civilization in the Americas
was like before the Europeans crashed the party. The history books most Americans were (and still are) raised on describe
the continents before Columbus as a vast, underused territory,
sparsely populated by primitives whose cultures would inevitably bow before the advanced technologies of the Europeans. For
decades, though, among the archaeologists, anthropologists, paleolinguists, and others whose discoveries Charles C. Mann brings
together in 1491, different stories have been emerging. Among the revelations: the first Americans may not have come over
the Bering land bridge around 12,000 B.C. but by boat along the Pacific coast 10 or even 20 thousand years earlier; the Americas
were a far more urban, more populated, and more technologically advanced region than generally assumed; and the Indians, rather
than living in static harmony with nature, radically engineered the landscape across the continents, to the point that even
"timeless" natural features like the Amazon rainforest can be seen as products of human intervention. Continued below...
Mann is well
aware that much of the history he relates is necessarily speculative, the product of pot-shard interpretation and precise
scientific measurements that often end up being radically revised in later decades. But the most compelling of his eye-opening
revisionist stories are among the best-founded: the stories of early American-European contact. To many of those who were
there, the earliest encounters felt more like a meeting of equals than one of natural domination. And those who came later
and found an emptied landscape that seemed ripe for the taking, Mann argues convincingly, encountered not the natural and
unchanging state of the native American, but the evidence of a sudden calamity: the ravages of what was likely the greatest
epidemic in human history, the smallpox and other diseases introduced inadvertently by Europeans to a population without immunity,
which swept through the Americas faster than the explorers who brought it, and left behind for their discovery a land that
held only a shadow of the thriving cultures that it had sustained for centuries before. Includes outstanding photos and maps.
Recommended Reading: James Mooney's History, Myths, and Sacred Formulas
of the Cherokees (768 pages). Description: This
incredible volume collects the works of the early anthropologist James Mooney who did extensive studies of the Eastern
Cherokee Nation (those who remained in Appalachia) at the turn of the century. The introduction is by Mooney's biographer and gives
a nice overview of both Mooney and the Cherokee Nation, as well as notes on Mooney's sources. It then goes straight into the
first book "Myths of the Cherokee", which starts with a history of the Cherokee Nation. Continued below...
It progresses from the earliest days, through de Soto, the Indian wars,
Tecumseh, the Trail of Tears, the Civil War and ultimately to 1900. Continuing, it explores Cherokee mythology and storytellers.
This book is truly monumental in its scope and covers origin myths, animal stories, Kanati and Selu, the Nunnehi and Yunwi'Tsundi
(little people), Tlanuwa (thunderbirds), Uktena (horned water snake), interactions with other Nations and numerous other myths,
as well as local legends from various parts of the Southeast (North Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia, etc). There is also a section
of herbal lore. Mooney closes with a glossary of Cherokee terms (in the Latin alphabet rather than the Sequoya Syllabary)
and abundant notes. We advance to the next book, Sacred Formulaes of the Cherokee, which covers a number of magical texts
amongst the Cherokee Nation. This book does a wonderful job talking about such manuals, mentioning how they were obtained,
going into depth about the Cherokee worldview and beliefs on magic, concepts of disease, healing ceremonies, practices such
as bleeding, rubbing and bathing, Shamanism, the use of wording, explanations of the formulae and so forth. It then gives
an amazingly varied collection of Cherokee formulae, first in the original Cherokee (again, in the Latin alphabet) and then
translated into English. Everything from healing to killing witches, to medicine for stick ball games, war and warfare. Both
books include numerous photographs and illustrations of famous historical figures, Cherokee manuscripts and petroglyphs and
a map of Cherokee lands. Again, this is a truly massive book and even today is considered one of the essential writings of
Cherokee religion. Anyone with an interest in the subject, whether anthropologist, descendant of the Cherokee or just a curious
person interested in Native culture, should definitely give this book a read. I highly recommend it.
Try the Search Engine for Related Studies: Famous Cherokee, Charles George Eastern Band of Cherokee
Indian Nation Medal of Honor Recipient (Winner), List of Famous Cherokee Indians Accomplishments, Achievements in American