Something a little different today, and a spectacular prize book that matches. See below.
These imposing gentlemen–with their fierce-looking tattoos and exotic costumes composed of a mixture of native American materials like deer skin pants and the latest borrowings from European civilization, like pajama tops– were an anti-war movement. Yes, although the mere sight of them might drive proper London ladies to pull out the smelling salts, they were emissaries of the Cherokee Nation of North America on a mission to seek peace with Great Britain.
The year was 1762 and the Cherokee Nation, still one of the two largest American Indian nations in the United States, will commemorate that historic journey with a group tour this coming summer, June 15-23. Do you like historic travel? Here’s something new for you. (tattoos optional)
The Cherokee Nation Tourism press release says: Long before the Revolutionary War, the Cherokee Nation was a valued trading partner and important political ally with Great Britain. That mutual bond was dissolved during the French and Indian War and led to a three-year conflict between the British and the Cherokees. In November 1761 the Treaty of Long Island resulted in peace between the two nations. That December, Junior Officer Ensign Henry Timberlake arrived in the Cherokee capital, present-day Monroe County, Tennessee, and spent several months with the Cherokee people.
In May 1762, the “Emissaries of Peace” led by Ostenaco and including Cherokee leaders Cunne Shote and Woyi, persuaded Timberlake to escort them to London, where they met with King George III. At the meeting, Ostenaco declared his wish for peace and loyalty to the King.
Starting in Oklahoma, the home base of the largest sector of the Cherokee Nation (the Eastern Cherokees live in the southeast, which was their original homeland), will travel to London and stop off at Plymouth, Exeter Cathedral,Egremont House in Piccadilly Circus, Suffolk Street, the British Museum, Buckingham Palace, St. James Palace, Green Park, St. Paul’s Cathedral, the Tower of London, Westminster Abbey, and Houses of Parliament among other sites. Since the British 18th century version of paparazzi followed the Cherokee closely, every move is documented, and today’s historic travelers can follow closely in their footsteps.
There will be room for 40 people on the tour, and in the spirit of peace, non-Cherokees can sign up for this historic re-enactment as well as Cherokees.
An article on the National Endowment for the Humanities site tells the story of the mission to see King George III, based on an exhibit at the Museum of the Cherokee in North Carolina. Although the article was written some time ago, the exhibit is still there.
“We’re trying to look at both cultures from the perspective of people who were experiencing them for the first time,” says Duane King, director of the Southwest Museum of the Cherokee Indian. (Note: the NEH site gives King’s background incorrectly. Among other things, he was director of the Southwest Museum in LA and of the Museum of the Cherokee Indian in NC, and is now head of Gilcrease Museum in Tulsa, OK) A Timberlake scholar, King is helping to develop the exhibition.
“The Cherokees did not speak English, and Timberlake spoke only minimal Cherokee,” King says. “According to the British press, they made their wishes known by hand signals.”
(Revised)Book this tour by February 1 (FINAL Payment March 1). For additional information or booking for the “Emissaries of Peace” historic tour, please contact Heather Williams at (918) 384-7887 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
This tour came to my attention because I was the guest in late 2010 of the Cherokee Nation for a tour of Cherokee sites in Oklahoma. The Cherokee have an active tourism program and I found their Oklahoma sites absolutely fascinating. What a great opportunity this is to re-enact a little-known incident in American history.
For additional information on the Cherokee Nation Cultural Tourism program, call (877) 779-6977or visit www.CherokeeTourismOK.com.
(The photo used above was supplied by the Cherokee Nation Cultural Tourism office.)
So tell me, do you like historical travel? Do you like following in historic footsteps?
Today to go along with the historic Cherokee trip, I am going to part with an absolutely gorgeous book called Building One Fire: Art + World View in Cherokee Life. The book is even signed by one of its authors, Chadwick Corntassel Smith, who was principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation when I met him in 2010. Remember, there are four ways to win. Check the complete rules here–contest rules. (You must enter by 3:00 a.m., Thursday January 19 the be eligible for this prize, and all entries will be in the running for the two grand prizes.)
Disclaimers: The book was a gift from the Cherokee Tourism Office and the photo to the right is my property. I do not receive any compensation for telling you about the historic tour. I just thought you might be interested.