Goingsnake

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Goingsnake (also spelled Going Snake; in Cherokee, I-na-du-na-i) was a respected warrior, gifted orator, and prominent political leader of the Cherokee Nation. He was born in 1758 in the vicinity of present day Nottely Lake, Georgia.[1]

Noteworthy accomplishments[edit]

Goingsnake was a prominent Cherokee leader, initially serving as a town chief in what was called ”Goingsnake's Town”.[2] In 1808 he became the representative in the National Council for the Amohee District[3] (located in southeastern corner of Tennessee). Goingsnake was elected Speaker of the National Council in 1827, serving under John Ross as Chief. Goingsnake developed the reputation as being one of Ross' “right hand men”.[4]

Goingsnake was among the 700 Cherokee warriors who fought with General Andrew Jackson in 1814 against the Creeks in the Battle of Horseshoe Bend.[1]

Under the direction of General Winfield Scott, the army was responsible for the forced removals of Cherokees known as the Trail of Tears. The initial results were so disastrous that Cherokee leaders, including Goingsnake, successfully petitioned Scott for delays and to allow self-leadership of future detachments.[5] Goingsnake left with the first detachment under Cherokee leadership, which departed on September 28, 1838. Arriving in Indian Territory after a 4-month journey, Goingsnake built his cabin on Ward Branch Creek about 6 miles north of present-day Westville, OK. [1]

Goingsnake's last recorded political service was participation in the general convention between the eastern and western Cherokee at Tahlequah, Indian Territory on July 12, 1839[6] He was 81 years old at that time. Shortly thereafter, Goingsnake stepped down and a new speaker was elected.[1]

Recorded events[edit]

William Shorey Coodey, who was present at one of the departures on the Trail of Tears, wrote to a friend describing what he saw: “At length the word was given to move on. I glanced along the line and the form of Goingsnake, an aged and respected chief whose head eighty summers had whitened, mounted his favorite pony, passed before me and led the way in silence. At this very moment a low sound of distant thunder fell upon my ears. The sun was unclouded, and no rain fell. I almost thought it a voice of Divine indignation for the wrongs done my poor and unhappy countrymen, driven by brutal power from all they loved and cherished in the lands of their fathers to gratify the cravings of avarice.”[7]

In a petition presented to Congress and President Jackson, John Ross expressed the inadequacy of the government agent's arrangements for the July 1835 Cherokee Council meeting at Running Waters (current-day Rome, GA). Representatives had to sleep on the ground in close proximity to their hobbled horses. To indicate how severe the conditions were, Ross stated that Goingsnake's horse got loose and stepped on his head while he slept. Although his injuries were initially thought to be serious, Goingsnake eventually recovered sufficiently to continue the meeting.[4]

Death and honors[edit]

Goingsnake died shortly after his arrival in the Indian Territory, although the date is not known.[8] He was buried near his cabin, and the grave site was later marked with a tombstone bearing the inscription: Chief Goingsnake, Famous Cherokee Orator, Born 1758.[9]

When districts were established in the western Cherokee Nation in 1840, the Goingsnake District (now part of Adair County, OK) was named in his honor. A street in Tahlequah, OK was also named after him.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Cherokee Nation: Goingsnake
  2. ^ Malone, Henry T. Cherokee in the old South.
  3. ^ Polk County, Tennessee: In the Heart of the last stronghold of the Amohee District of the Cherokee Indians.
  4. ^ a b [Battey, George M. 1922. A history of Rome and Floyd County, state of Georgia, United States of America.]
  5. ^ Conley, Robert J. A Cherokee encyclopedia: Goingsnake
  6. ^ Starr, Emmet. History of the Cherokee Indians. Muskogee, OK: Hoffman Printing Company (special edition, 1984)
  7. ^ Foreman, Grant. 1932. Indian Removal. Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press. (sixth printing, 1972).
  8. ^ Steele, Philip. 1974. The last Cherokee warriors: Zeke Proctor, Ned Christie. Gretna, LA: Pelican Publishing Company. 111 pp.
  9. ^ Goingsnake District Heritage Association