Tennessee

Seven Attractions That Tell The Story Of Native Americans In Tennessee – Clarksville Online

Tennessee Department of Tourist Development

Nashville, Tennessee – You don’t have to look far to see Tennessee’s enduring Native American heritage – in fact, the name “Tennessee” derives from “Tanasi,” a Cherokee village in what is now Monroe County.

Today, the state is home to more than 20,000 Native Americans and a rich culture and history waiting for travelers to experience. Check out seven attractions below that tell the story of Tennessee’s Native American heritage.


Travel tip: That Trail of Tears National Historic Trail runs east-west through Tennessee and tells a tragic story of the Cherokee Indians’ displacement from their ancestral homeland.

Pinson Mounds State Archaeological Park

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Pinson Mounds State Archaeological Park covers more than 1,200 acres and contains at least 15 Native American mounds that served both burial and ceremonial purposes.

The park’s archaeological features and wildlife can be viewed along six miles of interconnected trails, including paved trails that are wheelchair/bicycle accessible.

The park’s Pinson Mounds Museum offers further insight into these fascinating structures; Designed to replicate a Native American hilltop, it features 4,500 square feet of exhibit space, an archaeological library, an 80-seat theater and a “Discovery Room” for historical exploration.

Mound Bottom State Archaeological Area

(open to the public only through hikes led by Harpeth River State Park rangers)




Visit the seven-acre Mound Bottom State archaeological area in Kingston Springs (west of Nashville), where you’ll find the largest number of Native American ceremonial mounds in Tennessee — more than a dozen.

Researchers believe the area was inhabited between about 1000 and 1300 AD and was an important civic and ceremonial center associated with the Mississippi site of Cahokia, located across the river in present-day St. Louis .

The Mound Bottom site is open to the public only via hikes led by Harpeth River State Park rangers. Check the park’s calendar of events for upcoming experiences.

Audubon Acres

Chattanooga’s oldest wildlife refuge, Audubon Acres offers more than 5 miles of hiking trails across 130 acres along South Chickamauga Creek, as well as plenty of picnic, wildlife viewing and photography opportunities. It’s also a place steeped in Native American history.

The Visitor Center houses an archaeological museum displaying one of the largest publicly accessible collections of Native artifacts in Chattanooga, while the Spring Frog Cabin, a Traces of the Tears site, is a beautifully preserved example of mid-18th-century Cherokee architecture.

Going even further back, Little Owl Village in Audubon Acres is believed to be the site of a 16th-century Napochie village encountered by the Spanish Tristan DeLuna Expedition traveling north from Florida.

Cumberland Gap National Historic Park

As the first great gateway to the American West, Cumberland National Historic Park is a must-see for anyone interested in Tennessee Native American history.

Located an hour north of Knoxville, where the borders of Tennessee, Kentucky and Virginia converge, the 24,000-acre park features miles of game trails originally used by Native Americans, allowing visitors to literally follow in the footsteps of the original stewards of the Country. Later, those same trails became footpaths for more than 300,000 settlers moving west across the Appalachian Mountains.


The Sequoyah Birthplace Museum

Led by the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Nation, the Sequoyah Birthplace Museum is Tennessee’s only tribal historical attraction.

The East Tennessee Museum tells the amazing story of Sequoyah, creator of the Cherokee writing system. Never before or since in the history of the world has a man who knew no language perfected a system for reading and writing a language until Sequoyah.

Located in the Great Smoky Mountains on the shores of beautiful Tellico Lake, the museum recently added the Max D. Ramsey Shoreline Trail, featuring a 1.5-mile (2.4 km) hiking trail along the shoreline, bridges, and boardwalks through the swampy areas.

Red Clay State Historic Park

The tragic Trail of Tears begins at Red Clay State Historic Park. Covering 263 acres of narrow valleys formerly used for cotton and grazing land, the parkland was the last seat of the Cherokee national government before the Indian Removal Act, which resulted in the removal of most of the Cherokee Indians from the area in the 1830s were forced to emigrate west. It was here that the Cherokee learned they had lost their mountains, creeks and valleys forever.

On the 263-acre property you will find hiking trails, reconstructed bunkhouses, homesteads, town halls, the Blue Hole Spring, which served as a water supply during council meetings, and the Eternal Flame, a memorial to the Cherokee and those lost on the Trail of Tears are.


Cherokee Removal Memorial Park and Museum

The Cherokee Indian Removal Memorial on the banks of the Tennessee River in Birchwood was one of the main locations for the Trail of Tears. Thousands of Cherokee Indians camped here before their infamous voyage west.

Located near the center of the Cherokee Nation’s ancestral lands, this area had nine camps with thousands of Cherokees waiting for weeks to be shipped across the river here at Blythe Ferry. Today, a History Wall offers visitors a detailed visual retelling of not only the Trail of Tears, but also the centuries-long saga of Tennessee’s literate and highly civilized Cherokee culture.

A memorial wall, meanwhile, pays tribute to those who died during the Trail of Tears – a necessary reminder of this tragic episode in our nation’s history.

Through the Tennessee Department of Tourism Development

Home of blues, bluegrass, country, gospel, soul, rockabilly and rock ‘n’ roll, Tennessee offers an unparalleled experience of beauty, history and family adventures, infused with music that creates a vacation that is the “soundtrack.” from America. Made in Tennessee.”

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