Historian Jeff Bishop at Chatt Hills History Club
Please consider joining us September 10th at the Chatt Hills History Club as local historian Jeff Bishop presents "Native American History: The Trail of Tears & Cherokee Indians." The Chatt Hills History Club meets at the Serenbe Community Center (just behind The Hil restaurant).
About Agatahi: The Cherokee Trail of Tears
This summer marks the 179th anniversary of the Trail of Tears, the forced removal of the Cherokee people from their homeland. This new book is the first of its kind, telling the Trail of Tears from the point of view of those who experienced it. While many books have been written about the so-called "Trail of Tears," most contain precious little testimony from the Cherokee people themselves, according to Bishop. When they do include those voices, they typically are those of the political elites of the time such as Chief John Ross, Elias Boudinot, and John Ridge. “And we should include those voices,” said Bishop. “But there’s much more to this story. Where are the voices of the Cherokee subsistence farmer? The widow with young children? The toll collector? The student? The orphan?” This book is an attempt to restore those lost voices, he said, using testimony taken from the Cherokee people themselves during and after their Removal.
The title of the book translates into the English word, "witness." That is appropriate to this story, Bishop said. “The book is comprised primarily of Cherokee stories of their Removal,” said Bishop. “I was trying to focus mostly on Cherokee stories, Cherokee voices, because they really haven’t been heard before, or at least not in great detail. Most of their testimony hasn’t even been transcribed by anyone.” Bishop currently serves on the Friends of New Echota board of directors and he was recently appointed by the governor to serve on the Georgia Historical Records Advisory Council.
About W. Jeff Bishop
W. Jeff Bishop is the executive director of the Newnan-Coweta Historical Society. He has written several books on Newnan and Coweta County history for Arcadia Press, the History Press, and other publishers, and has appeared on national television discussing local oracle Mayhayley Lancaster for "Monumental Mysteries," as well as in the documentary film, "Mayhayley Lancaster: Legend of an Oracle." Bishop served as president of the Trail of Tears Association's Georgia chapter from 2007 to 2014, and co-authored journal articles for Southeastern Archaeology and Dendrochronologia on the Chief John Ross House in Rossville and the Cave Spring log cabin. He has also authored research reports for the National Park Service on the Chief John Ross House, the Cherokee Removal Forts, and the Running Waters council ground. His public history projects have included developing wayside exhibits and road signage that interpret the Trail of Tears in Georgia and authoring a new Georgia Trail of Tears map and brochure, which are now available in welcome centers all over the nation. He lives in Newnan, GA with his wife and five children.