The Native American Indians
The Native American Indians (First Americans) were the Necostin/Nacotchtanks or Anacostion (Alqonquins) who lived on the mouth of the Anacostia River on the Maryland side and on Analostan, now Theodore Roosevelt Island. The Dogues (Doag, Toag and Taux) lived on what was once called Dogues Neck when Captain John Smith arrived here in 1608. The local villages were the Tauxenent on the Occoquan, the Namessingakent on Doque Run, the Assomeck below Great Hunting Creek and the Nameroughquena on Analostan Island. There were also settlements at Pimmit, Pohick, Accotink and at Little Hunting Creek.
The Cherokee Indians
It was believed that Indians may have lived in the Americas some 12,000 years ago but new scientific evidence suggests that they may have actually arrived in the Americas some 30,000 to 40,000 years ago. The Cherokee occupied North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Georgia, Tennessee and particularly the Buffalo Ridge Cherokee, included in The Eastern Band, who inhabited the western mountains of Virginia and North Carolina.
These Cherokee Indians were also part of the so-called “Five Civilized Tribes”, which consisted of the Choctaw, Chickasaw, Creek and Seminole tribes. During the period between 1831 and 1835, after being the victims of an earlier treaty broke by the settlers after their lands became valuable cotton growing territory and gold deposits were found, these tribes were relocated in the area that is presently Oklahoma in a forced march and migration called “The Trail of Tears.”
Andrew Jackson, known as a fierce Indian fighter, whom the Indians called “Sharp Knife” in the Creek War of 1814, had taken away half of the Creek lands and later as President initiated a federal policy to take away the rest which was continued by his successor Martin Van Buren. During this “removal” some 4,000 Indians died as pneumonia, poor shelter and the scarcity of food took its toll.
The Underground Railroad : The Cherokee Woman and the Runaway Slave
The Underground Railroad consisted of a series of loosely connected “stations” (safe houses) and “conductors” along routes from southern slave states into northern free states and Canada, “The Promised Land”. Its major proponents were Harriet Tubman from eastern Maryland, Thomas Garrett in Wilmington, Delaware and William Still in Philadelphia, PA. The Quakers, or Society of Friends, ex-slaves and other white sympathizers, many known and unknown, also traveled south to help slaves escape, used their homes as “safe houses” and risked their lives in general to end slavery.
The noted abolitionists such as Frederick Douglas, fiery orator, and William Lloyd Garrison, publisher of “The Liberator” in Boston, MA, and David Walker who authored “Walker’s Appeal” and the religious Christian movement called The Great Awakening did much to end the oppressive yoke of slavery. Other influential people such as Arthur and Lewis Tappan, wealthy merchant brothers from New York, joined Garrison and Theodore Weld to form The American Anti-Slavery Society.
Three of the most profound and definitive moments leading to abolishing slavery were Nat Turner’s rebellion in 1831, the publishing of “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” in 1852 and John Brown’s raid on Harper’s Ferry in 1859.
(c) American Heritage Legacy Tour, 2006