The Overhill Nation, and the Clans that make up the Overhill Nation, maintains a system of organization, almost exactly and including, the wording with that of the Cherokee Nation of the 1750-1830's. Their is a modest difference in the manner of legislation. The Cherokee of the 1750-1830's commonly used a system consensus to determine legislation. If there was any dissension, it was dealt with compromise. The Overhill Nation's governing council uses a system of voting. A vote is generally taken with a show of hands and recorded. If need be, a discussion of issues prior to voting is held. This is the current social mechanism of compromise in the Cherokee legislative system, and the Overhill Nation.
The Overhill Clans maintain a system that mirrors the Overhill Nation's governing council system in nearly the same manner. However, the Clans meet more regularly than the Nation's governing council. The Overhill Nation does have it's own Constitution, however, the Overhill Nation does not declare sovereignty or land territory. Despite the hardships of our elders concerning the white race, we try to not be hostile toward America's society at large.
Being a member of the Overhill Nation does not give us magical powers, we are just people. The most important thing in understanding the mandate for being a member of the Overhill Nation, is having a working concept of RESPECT. We must show respect for personal dignity, respect for compassion, and respect of fellowship with other members of the Nation and people at large. We must have compassion for living beings in general, and an appreciation for the Creator or God.
The Overhill Nation of Descendants is one of the few Cherokee groups, or bands, to maintain a fraction of our Ancestor's traditions. The Overhill Nation is not a sovereign body, nor does it have any intentions of becoming one. We as members of the Overhill Nation, must understand that all Cherokee are considered equal...full-bloods and mixed-bloods. This equality is maintained regardless of social station or cultural capital. The Overhill Nation has members of various economic status, such as millionaires, some who receive welfare support, and some who are homeless. However, none of that really matters when we gather at our gatherings, and we must remember that all of our brothers and sisters are equal.
There are three parts of the history of our Ancestors that, now, I would like to touch on. One of those is a place called Coker Creek. A white settler came across a Cherokee girl and noticed that she was wearing a piece of gold around her neck. He asked the girl where she had found the gold and she told him that it came from Coker Creek. In a very short time, Coker Creek, TN was flooded with gold prospectors. The Cherokee families, that lived on Coker Creek, were forced off their land to make way for the gold-diggers. All total, there was $88,000 worth of gold found at Coker Creek. For this small amount of money, our ancestors were driven from their homes by the white gold prospectors.
Two of the other places that I would like to touch on here, are Chota and Tanasi. Tanasi, which means "Beautiful Valley", is located near a larger town called Chota, which means "Peace". Overtime, the white settlers who were led by John Sevier, marched through sixteen towns along the Little Tennessee River. With time, and the expulsion of our ancestors, these two prominent Cherokee towns were abandoned by the onslaught of white settlers. In the 1970's, these Eastern towns were raped and many of our ancestor's remains were dug up by archaeologist in the name of "Progress". There were countless remains of our ancestors removed from their burial sights at Chota and Tanasi. These remains were placed in cardboard boxes and taken to the basement of the University of Tennessee and the McClung Museum, where they still remain.
Today, these two Cherokee towns lie at the bottom of a lake, courtesy of TVA (Tennessee Valley Authority). Although these two great towns of the Overhills are covered with water, they are now immune to any further disturbance from the archaeologist of our State. The area is now a recognized and protected site.
To the people of the Overhill Nation of Cherokee Descendants, I am very honored to be your Chief. As the weeks of the new year come in, I will share what I was taught by our ancestors and their way of life.....Wado, Chief Man Many Trees
Prepared by: Hummingbird Warrior (#5)