Native American Heritage Collection


Before Hernando de Soto and after Oglethorpe, Georgia was largely populated by Native Americans. Notable individuals from the Creek and Cherokee, along with their traditions, are rich in culture and history. Their encounters with European settlers and eventual conflict with Georgians led many Native Americans being forcibly removed from the state.

  • Cherokee Myths and Legends | Georgia Stories

    We explore the Cherokee oral tradition, highlighting stories passed down through the generations. Who doesn't like a good story? We learn about the world from the stories-real or made up-that describe the experiences of others. Some stories are funny while others are scary or sad, and still others confirm what we already know. Native Americans used stories, many still told today, to explain the unknowable and to help them understand the world. Because they believed that everything in nature had life, even rocks, clouds, and thunder, many Indian stories or myths personify objects in their explanations of events.

    Grades: 5-10
  • Creek Nation | Virtual Field Trip

    This virtual experience provides students with an in-depth look at the lives of the Creek Indians prior to the arrival of the first settlers in Georgia, the fight to remain on their land, and their removal from Georgia in the 1830s. 

    Grades: 4-10
  • Indian Mounds | Virtual Field Trip

    The Indian Mounds experience includes virtual field trips to Ocmulgee National Monument, Kolomoki Mounds State Park, and Etowah Indian Mounds Historic Site.

    Grades: 4-10
  • Cherokee Nation | Virtual Field Trip

    The Cherokee Nation virtual field trip affords an in-depth look at the lives of the Cherokee Indians, from their first encounters with Europeans to events, such as the Gold Rush and the signing of the Indian Removal Act by Andrew Jackson, that led to their forced relocation to Indian Territory in 1838.

    Grades: 4-10
  • Sequoyah, A Georgia Biography | Georgia Stories

    Sequoyah, a Cherokee Indian with ties to Georgia and Oklahoma, did something no other person in recorded history has done. He created a system of writing for an unwritten language. In 1819, Sequoyah started work on a written version of the Cherokee language. He developed a character for each syllable in the language. A syllable included a single sound, like a vowel, a consonant, or a dipthong. Eventually Sequoyah created a total of 86 characters, devising what's known as a syllabary. Cherokees quickly caught on to Sequoyah's practical system for writing their language.

    Grades: 7-10
  • John Ross, A Georgia Biography | Georgia Stories

    From 1828 to 1860, the Cherokee people were led by the remarkable Native American John Ross. During a 32-year period that ended with his death, Ross presided over the birth of Cherokee Nation, the removal of his people from their homeland, and the founding of a new nation in a distant place. Ten times he was elected chief of the Cherokee Nation. It is no wonder that many regard him as the greatest chief in the history of the Cherokee people.

    Grades: 7-10
  • Chief William McIntosh, a Georgia Biography | Georgia Stories

    William McIntosh tried to walk the delicate balance between the world of the European colonists and the Native Americans. He was the son of a Creek woman and a Scotsman. Chief McIntosh fought with the Americans during the War of 1812 and was given the rank of general. The Creeks called him the "white warrior." McIntosh was a wealthy man and in 1823 built a hotel and tavern at Indian Springs in Butts County.

    Grades: 8-13+
  • Mary Musgrove, A Georgia Biography | Georgia Stories

    Known as Coosaponakeesa by the Creek Indians, Mary Musgrove's mixed heritage, linguistic skills, and intimate knowledge of native culture made her a unique and influential character in early Georgia history. She was a bicultural diplomat, a bridge between the so-called "new" and "old" worlds of the colonists and Native Americans.

    Grades: 7-10
  • The Thirst for New Land | Georgia Stories

    Just as present-day Georgia is experiencing growth as new people move in, a similar spurt in growth occurred in Georgia after the American Revolution. New people poured into central and north Georgia wanting to own land. Federal Indian agent Benjamin Hawkins had the job of implementing the civilization plan among the Creek Indians. The plan, that ultimately failed, was to turn them into farmers so they would no longer need their vast hunting grounds.

    Grades: 7-10
  • Native Traditions, Past and Present | Georgia Stories

    Modern Cherokee Indians struggle to hold on to their ancient traditions and crafts. How can we know anything about prehistoric cultures when written language did not exist to pass information along to succeeding generations? Cherokees Freeman Owle, a stone carver, Amanda Swimmer, a potter, and Driver Pheasant, a storyteller know how. They teach their art and stories to the next generation, passing down cultural traditions so they will survive.

    Grades: 7-10
  • Green Corn, Native American Gold | Georgia Stories

    When you bite into a hot, buttered ear of corn you are enjoying food with an ancient history in Georgia. Corn is the foodstuff responsible for prehistoric Native Americans flourishing in Georgia. Diamond Brown, a Cherokee dancer describes its importance as it is celebrated in the sacred Green Corn ceremony. Through interviews, reenactments, and visits to significant Native American sites in Georgia, the story of the changing culture of Indians from their arrival and existence as wandering hunters to the development of the mound building culture unfolds.

    Grades: 7-12
  • 205: The Westward Movement, Part I | Georgia Stories

    Georgia's economic development was quickly advanced by a gold rush during the 1830s. The first segment of this episode discusses the discovery and methods of that gold rush. The second briefly touches on the modern types of currency, but primarily focuses on the need and use of a local mint for the 1830s gold miners. The episode concludes by explaining how the gold rush led to greater demand for land in Georgia, demand that lead to multiple Native American tribes being sent on the Trail of Tears.

    Grades: 7-12
  • 201: Early Inhabitants of Georgia, Before 1732 | Georgia Stories

    Native American tribes have a rich history and culture. This episode discusses primarily the Cherokee tribe in Georgia and how their traditions and believes shaped their lives.

    Grades: 7-10
  • The Trail of Tears | Georgia Stories

    Even after the treaty ending Cherokee presence in Georgia was signed, many Indians waited, hoping that it would not happen. However, their removal did happen. Cherokee Indians were rounded up by U.S. soldiers under the command of Gen. Winfred Scott and herded into stockades until all were assembled. Mavis Doering recounts the words she heard from her grandmother who was on the Trail of Tears.

    Grades: 8-13+
  • A Visit to New Echota | Georgia Stories

    The Cherokees living in northwest Georgia observed what happened to the Creeks and learned something. They thought if they accepted the white culture and adopted white lifestyles, they could live together in peace with white Georgians. Today, New Echota Historic Site in Gordon County preserves what is left of the Cherokee capital. Ranger Frankie Mewborn guides students on a tour of the site and points out the aspects of Cherokee culture that paralleled that of whites. It was at New Echota that Sequoyah developed the Cherokee alphabet giving Cherokees a written language. 

    Grades: 8-13+
  • The Story of William McIntosh | Georgia Stories

    Living in two worlds and pleasing the inhabitants of both is not an easy task. William McIntosh, son of a Creek woman and a Scotsman, managed to do it successfully for awhile. Chief McIntosh fought with the Americans during the War of 1812 and was given the rank of general. The Creeks called him the “white warrior.” McIntosh was a wealthy man and in 1823 built a hotel and tavern at Indian Springs in Butts County.

    Grades: 8-13+
  • Keeping Cultures Alive Today | Georgia Stories

    This segment shows ways in which today’s Cherokees are transmitting the remnants of their culture to the younger generation in an attempt to preserve what is left. Cherokee cultural traditions in food preparation, language, and songs and dances are shown.

    Grades: 8-13+
  • Tough Choices | Georgia Stories

    We make decisions every day and some are far more important than others–they may determine our future. The Cherokees had an important decision to make. Should they maintain their own culture resisting that of the white man, or should they give up their ways and adopt those of white settlers? The Cherokee tried to adapt to white society with the ultimate result being their virtual disappearance from Georgia.

    Grades: 8-13+
  • Cultures Blend | Georgia Stories

    Learning stories about our past tells us where we came from and it gives us roots. Cherokee John Standingdeer describes how his family was named and why knowing it mattered to him. He explains how Native Americans were self sufficient and lived off the land prior to the arrival of Europeans. As Indians adopted the white man’s way their culture eroded further. Danny Arch explains how the Cherokees’ changing relationship with the deer reflected this cultural transition.

    Grades: 8-13+
  • 103: The Early Inhabitants of Georgia, Part 2 | Georgia Stories

    Segments: Cultures Blend, Tough Choices, and  Keeping Cultures Alive Today.

    Grades: 8-13+

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