“Friends and Fellow Citizens, We have met again in Gen. Council and greeted each other in friendship; for the enjoyment of this inestimable privilege on the present occasion, we are peculiarly indebted to the dispensations of an all wise Providence, whose omniscient power over the events of human affairs is supreme, and by whose judgements the fate of Nations is sealed.”
-John Ross, opening the last Cherokee National Council meeting, Red Clay, 1837
The visitors center at Red Clay illuminates nineteenth century Cherokee life in the early republic and details the federal removal policy and the 1838 military removal of Cherokees from eastern Tennessee. “The Cherokee Days” festival in August brings members of the Eastern Band here to demonstrate crafts and perform.
The Red Clay hub also provides access to nearby sites in the Chattanooga area: Ross’ Landing and the Brainerd Cemetery. At Ross’s Landing, Cherokee Principal Chief John Ross and his brother Lewis maintained a ferry and warehouse that became one of three major emigration depots during the Trail of Tears. Just downstream, Moccasin Bend, a National Landmark site, was important during the Civil War, the Trail of Tears, Dragging Canoe’s campaigns, and has been used by people for more than ten thousand years. Brainerd Cemetery remains witness to the mission and school of the same name.