Cherokee Participation in the Southern Slave Society

Author(s): Lance Greene

Year: 2017


On the eve of the Removal during the Early Republic era, most Cherokees still practiced traditional modes of subsistence farming and participated in local economies. At the same time, a small but influential segment of the Cherokee Nation was completely entrenched in the capitalist economy, operating largescale plantations, businesses, and other ventures. These Cherokees were participants in the slave society of the southeastern United States in two ways; they owned African-American slaves, and they produced surplus crops, livestock, and goods that were sold to white plantation owners in the Lowcountry South. Most of these wealthy Cherokees lived in northern Georgia, which held the most extensive agricultural lands of the Cherokee Nation. However, small numbers of Cherokees also participated in the market economy in other parts of the Cherokee Nation. Documentary research on and archaeological investigations at the plantation site of a Cherokee family in the mountainous region of western North Carolina reveal how this family used their wealth to avoid forced Removal, to assist other Cherokees to remain in the area, and, ironically, to maintain some traditional aspects of Cherokee life. Their story reveals local complexities of capitalism, race, and class in the antebellum South.

Cite this Record

Cherokee Participation in the Southern Slave Society. Lance Greene. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 431359)


Spatial Coverage

min long: -91.274; min lat: 24.847 ; max long: -72.642; max lat: 36.386 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 15591