Collections > Electronic Theses and Dissertations > A Struggle for Cherokee Community: Excavating Identity in Post-Removal North Carolina
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The Cherokee Removal of 1838 was intended to remove all members of the Cherokee Nation to west of the Mississippi River. However, a small number avoided forced emigration. After the soldiers had left the region, many of these Cherokees sustained traditional practices in spite of increasing social and codified racism. The undefined status of the Cherokees in North Carolina at this time left them socially and economically marginalized. However, they also found ways to use this liminal space to their benefit. My research uses a combination of archaeological, documentary, and landscape data to investigate how one Cherokee family negotiated this new social terrain. The Welch family embraced alternative concepts of race, ethnicity, and gender to help maintain a traditional Cherokee community called Welch's Town in southwestern North Carolina. They adopted certain aspects of western culture, while maintaining some traditional Cherokee practices. Through this hybridity, they managed to maintain their farm and also their connections to and support of the Cherokee community on their land.