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107. The Lost Cherokee

When the first lands were sold by the Cherokee, in 1721, a part of the tribe bitterly opposed the sale, saying that if the Indians once consented to give up any of their territory the whites would never be satisfied, but would soon want a little more, and a little again, until at last there would be none left for the Indians. Finding all they could say not enough to prevent the treaty, they determined to leave their old homes forever and go far into the West, beyond the Great river, where the white men could never follow them. They gave no heed to the entreaties of their friends, but began preparations for the long march, until the others, finding that they could not prevent their going, set to work and did their best to fit them out with pack horses loaded with bread, dried venison, and other supplies.

When all was ready they started, under the direction of their chief. A company of picked men was sent with them to help them in crossing the Great river, and every night until they reached it runners were sent back to the tribe, and out from the tribe to the marching band, to carry messages and keep each party posted as to how the other was getting along. At last they came to the Mississippi, and crossed it by

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the help of those warriors who had been sent with them. These then returned to the tribe, while the others kept on to the west. All communication was now at all end. No more was heard of the wanderers, and in time the story, of the lost Cherokee was forgotten or remembered only as an old tale.

Still the white man pressed upon the Cherokee and one piece of land after another was sold, until as years went on the dispossessed people began to turn their faces toward the west as their final resting place, and small bands of hunters crossed the Mississippi to learn what might be beyond. One of these parties pushed on across the plains and there at the foot of the great mountains--the Rockies--they found a tribe speaking the old Cherokee language and living still as the Cherokee had lived before they had ever known the white man or his ways.

Next: 108. The Massacre Of The Ani'-kuta'nï