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Native American Day
"May the Warm Winds of Heaven Blow softly upon your house. May the Great Spirit Bless all who enter there. May your Moccasins Make happy tracks in many snows, and may the Rainbow Always touch your shoulder."
~ Cherokee Blessing
Scottish Highlanders and Native Americans encountered each other frequently on America's wild frontier - fighting, trading, and living together. While Highlanders had been traveling to America since the 1600s, one of the first major waves of migration came after the Jacobite defeat at Culloden in 1745. Native Scots became particularly active in the fur and deerskin trading areas occupied by the Creek, Choctaw, and Cherokee tribes. Alexander McGillivray, the son of a Scottish trader father and a Creek-French mother, was a dominant chief of the powerful Creek confederacy in the late eighteenth century, and played a pivotal role conducting the tribe’s foreign policies with Britain, Spain, and the United States. Scots-Indian John Ross was the principal chief of the Cherokees during the era of Indian Removal around 1830, when tens of thousands of tribal peoples were expelled from their homelands east of the Mississippi to new lands in the West. DNA research suggests that a large percentage the Cherokee Nation could be descendants of Ludovick Grant, a laird’s son from Creichie in Aberdeenshire, who was captured while fighting for the Jacobite army, due to be hanged, but instead was transported to South Carolina where he eventually began working as a trader for the Cherokee people and married into the tribe. His daughter is believed to be the ancestor of a huge proportion of Cherokees. This tartan was presented to the Cherokee tribe by Scottish Heritage USA at Grandfather Mountain Games in 1996.
Art Notes for "Warriors" by Robert Griffing: "When the Highlander was summoned to the American frontier to fight on behalf of The Crown, he formed an instant kinship with his Native American counterpart. Tribe and clan were remarkably similar in temperament and philosophy and both cultures produced highly skillful and courageous fighters. In this scene, a Cherokee warrior and Highlander scout in advance of Grant's disastrous expedition against Fort Duquesne. Sadly, both cultures eventually crumbled beneath the oppressive weight of British expansion."
Albert Newsam, 1842
Native American Day is a holiday in the states of California and Nevada celebrated annually on the fourth Friday of September, as well as in South Dakota on the second Monday in October in lieu of Columbus Day. It honors Native American cultures and contributions to their respective states and the United States. The state of Tennessee observes a similar American Indian Day each year on the fourth Monday of September.
Designed by Phil Smith in 1995, this was the winning design of 12 entries for a tartan to be presented to the Cherokee tribe (Echota and Chickamauga are alternative names the tribe uses) by Scottish Heritage USA at Grandfather Mountain Games in North Carolina in 1996.
The Cherokee are one of the indigenous peoples of the Southeastern Woodlands. Prior to the 18th century, they were concentrated in what is now southwestern North Carolina, southeastern Tennessee, and the tips of western South Carolina and northeastern Georgia.
In the 18th century, traders and British government agents dealing with the southern tribes in general, and the Cherokee in particular, were nearly all of Scottish ancestry, with many documented as being from the Highlands.
A few were Scots-Irish, English, French, and German. Many of these men married women from their host peoples and remained after the fighting had ended. Some of their descendants would later become significant leaders among the Five Civilized Tribes of the Southeast.
Notable traders, agents, and refugee Tories among the Cherokee included John Stuart, Henry Stuart, Alexander Cameron, John McDonald, John Joseph Vann (father of James Vann), Daniel Ross (father of John Ross), John Walker Sr., John McLemore (father of Bob), William Buchanan, John Watts (father of John Watts Jr.), John D. Chisholm, John Benge (father of Bob Benge), Thomas Brown, John Rogers (Welsh), John Gunter (German, founder of Gunter's Landing), James Adair (Irish), William Thorpe (English), and Peter Hildebrand (German), among many others.
Some attained the honorary status of minor chiefs and/or members of significant delegations.
Visit the online Museum of the Cherokee Indian here.
For more on the interesting association between native Americans and Scots, click the painting "Warriors" from Robert Griffing's series of paintings from the French-Indian wars.