Skip

Alabama Mountains, Rivers and Valleys RC&D Provides Assistance to the Echota Che

 


NRCS-RC&D Coordinator Mike Roden talks about the development of the trails and observation and teaching stations has led to a wealth of Cherokee cultural history.

 

On November 4, 1838, Charles Hicks (Tsalagi) Vice Chief of the Cherokee wrote the following relative to the Trail of Tears:

"We are now about to take our leave and kind farewell to our native land, the country that the Great Spirit gave our Fathers, we are on the eve of leaving that country that gave us birth...it is with sorrow we are forced by the white man to quit the scenes of our childhood... we bid farewell to it and all we hold dear."

 

Restored Cherokee log cabin
Restored Cherokee log cabin. Funded by RC&D.

The past is un-changeable but the present and the future is in our hands. This is the attitude and spirit of the AMRV-RC&D Board as it embarked on a journey with the Deer Clan of the Echota Cherokee in North Alabama. The Echota are a proud people who literally left their footprints all over the mountains and valleys of North Alabama. In an effort to re-connect their people and all of us to these footprints and the Cherokee heritage, the Deer Clan of the Echota Cherokee has established a presence on Lacon Mountain in Cullman County. The AMRV-RC&D Council is assisting them with this quest.

According to the NRCS-RC&D Coordinator Mike Roden, the development of the trails and observation and teaching stations has led to a wealth of Cherokee cultural history. He noted, “of particular interest to me was the development of the trails and teaching stations where the cultural, medicinal and food uses of the native plants was explored and will be taught”. The AMRV-RC&D provided technical and financial assistance that resulted in the following:

  • Teaching Stations - strategically located to provide scenic vistas where Native American culture could be taught. RC&D funded the stations.
  • Cultural Trail Development - A bluff trail was mapped out featuring native plants and bluff shelters that featured the identification of the native plants that the Cherokee used in everyday life for medicinal, cultural rituals, spiritual and food uses. RC&D funded the trail construction and provided technical assistance in plant identification.
  • Establishing a Cherokee Maize Garden - RC&D located a source of Native American maize that it secured from NRCS in Georgia to provide the seed to re-establish a seed source for the tribe.
  • Restroom Facilities - As the land use on the Echota land increased the need for sanitary restroom facilities grew. RC&D provided a grant that facilitated the construction of restrooms.
  • 1800’s Cherokee House Reconstruction
    The tribe located and secured an authentic Cherokee 1800’s log cabin. RC&D assisted the tribe with funding to move and the reconstruct of the cabin.
    Pavilion for all weather Pow Wows and teaching and to allow for a headquarters building the RC&D provided a grant to construct a Pavilion.

"Our Ancestors come to mind when spending time where they once walked....where they once hunted, where they created all they used to survive from within these forest walls. Where they prayed and taught the children the ways of our people to carry on to a new generation. The importance of living in these ways, ones that are close to our earth. When we walk within these sacred places, do we place our footsteps in those where our ancestor's once stood, thanking Creator for all around us as they did, do we walk lightly upon our earth...."

For more information on the Echota Cherokee: http://echotacherokeetribe.homestead.com/about.html

Funding provided through the Alabama Association of RC&D Councils and the Alabama Cooperative Extension System funds.

Plants used by Cherokee
May Apple--Ripe fruit was dried for winter by the Cherokee.  Culturally the root juice was used to soak corn seed prior to planting as an insecticide, fungicide and rodenticide. Medicinally selected parts of the plants were used for intestinal worms, constipation, earaches and to remove warts.   
Teaching Stations 
RC&D funded Teaching Stations were strategically located to provide scenic vistas where Native American culture could be taught.

 

insert photo    insert photo