Re-discovering Cherokee Trails focus of program

The historic Cherokee trails in Jackson County and the surrounding areas will be highlighted during program held at 7 p.m., Tuesday, March 6 at the Jackson County Public Library.

Lamar Marshall, cultural heritage director of Wild South, will be the presenter. Marshall has researched and mapped historic trails in the Southeast for more than 40 years, and the Cherokee Preservation Foundation has funded the Cherokee trails research in Western North Carolina for the last two years.

The early Indian trails evolved as the result of thousands of years of Native Americans’ interactions with animals, tribal migration, relocations, population shifts and lifestyle changes due to European contact and trade.

Geographical features were the key factors that led to the establishment and development of village sites and trail locations. Dividing ridges, passes and gaps, springs, river shoals, shallows, waterfalls, fords, and valleys all determined ultimately where trails were established.

“Where these trails remain visible today, old beech trees with carvings and trail marker trees might still be found nearby,” Marshall said. “Abandoned segments meander through fields and forests, and loops that followed the natural contours of the land can be found veering off of paved highways.”


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