Monday, August 11, 2008

Chota Memorial on Tellico Lake

Chota Memorial off the Bow

A Bald Eagle over area betweeen Chota and Tanasi

The Chota Memorial
The Tanasi Memorial
Guess where he is buried? Not where you think!

Surreal. That's how I describe a visit to the Chota and Tanasi Memorials on Tellico Lake. When I visited I walked out onto this paddle-shaped man-made body of earth and stood in reverence. I stood in the middle of the Chota Memorial and knew that below my feet, perhaps 20' (?) down is where the actual village of Chota once stood. One of the several "capitals" of the Cherokee Nation was under my feet. Because of the flooding of the Little T, the village is now forever under water. Stand at the gravestone of Oconastota, and know that he is not buried 6 feet under but at the same level of the flooded village. All was quiet and still that day. I peered over the silver flaked waves of the lake wondering what it must have looked like 200 years ago. Lt. Henry Timberlake paddled a canoe up the Little T here to be a peace maker in the early 1800's. Read his account in Timberlake's Journal. I then visited Tanasi. The place where we Tennesseans got our under water. In the picture above you can see the memorial in the foreground and the marker sticking out of the water in the distance. Another Cherokee town separated from Chota by a small creek. Surreal. I appreciated TVA and the Cherokees preserving this area to remember a people with such a connection to the land. You gotta go. There is a nice area to pull your canoe on to the peninsula easily. Surreal. While I was paddling between the two villages I saw two Bald Eagle flying over me. Now that is COOL!

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