Friday, August 31, 2012

New Echota

Yesterday we visited the New Echota Historical Site in Calhoun, GA.  I had never heard of it before, but our virtual school offered it as a field trip and it sounded interesting.  It was the "capital" of the Cherokee Nation, which at one time included much of north Georgia. 

The site includes a movie about the Cherokee Nation (15 minutes), a small museum, and several outdoor buildings.  One of the things that we learned about the Cherokee Nation is that they were one of the first Native American tribes to develop a written language.  All over the site they had signs in two languages.  The girls loved listening to another language.
The museum included a spinning wheel, which made my children talk about Sleeping Beauty.
New Echota also published a newspaper called the Phoenix, after the mythical bird.  So, they had a huge painting of it.
 The girls wandering onto the farm area:
Catherine standing next to an anvil.  We tried to explain to her what it was for, but I am not sure if she understood.
My dad was able to come on this field trip with us.  There was a lot of walking, as the buildings were very far apart.  This building was a house; you could look in the windows to see how they lived.
This was a "council" building.  Apparently a lot of the governing for the whole Cherokee Nation occurred in New Echota.  These buildings seemed much more like Colonial America than Native America. 
According to the movie, the Cherokees adopted a lot of the "white man's ways," including their architecture.  Here are the girls in front of a fireplace:
This is another view of the council building.  The girls loved that you could go upstairs in many of the buildings:
According to the movie, this location was chosen to be the capital of the Cherokee Nation because it was a large flat area and was centrally located.  It was amazingly flat for north Georgia.
In one of the buildings the girls laid down and tried to nap.  It was a tiring field trip; there was tons of walking and it was hot and steamy.
In the building for the Cherokee Supreme Court the girls pretended to give speeches behind a lectern:

 They giggled over the rope bed:
 The site contained several corn cribs, which you could walk into:
 The Worcester House was quite impressive, although I can't remember who he was:
 This was the New Echota store:
 The interior of the store, which included an old fashioned cash register:
 Probably the most fascinating part of the entire site was this sign which was in the store:
It is such a snapshot of life in the early 1800's.  Clean sheets are extra?  Whisky is sold by the gallon or the shot?  I also thought it is interesting that sugar was so much more expensive than flour.

Here's the interior of the printing press building ...

New Echota is not a very exciting field trip. But, it is a historically significant location.  In the early 1800's, Georgia claimed all the land in the Cherokee Nation and sold it to Georgia citizens.  When the Cherokees would not leave voluntarily, the militia evacuated them from their land and sent them westward.  This was the beginning of the Trail of Tears.  Four thousand Cherokees died on the Trail of Tears, so there is a memorial at New Echota in honor of them.

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