Historic Cherokee Homeland








about us.

Southeast Heritage was conceived by those born on the land and raised by elders and teachers who instilled in us the importance of remaining close to the earth. 

We have spent our lives searching out and reclaiming the ancient records of our ancestors.

Our focus:

The Cherokee East
1650 - 1900

The Territorial Claim 1700

Covering parts of about nine modern eastern States and multiple ecosystems, the Cherokee enjoyed a freedom that we will never know.

Trails - Towns - Ecosystems

The Historical Geography, ecology and interaction with Anglo-Europeans for two hundred years depicts a form of global enslavement on us all.

Treaties - Boundaries - Speculators

Land speculators drove the political processes far beyond the simple land use of immigrant families seeking freedom abroad.

Cherokee -Anglo Wars

Broken treaties, white intruders and war against European world power...By Right of Conquest!

Explore Our Incredible Archives and Historical Maps

Our team.

Passionate in our quest for preserving the past and passing it to the future
Lamar Marshall

Founder Wild Alabama, Wild South, Southeast Heritage

Records Gathering

National Archives Atlanta
in addition to NARA, Washington, D.C., the North Carolina State Archives, Harvard University and dozens of other national and state repositories.

Jerry Wolfe

Elder & Beloved Man
Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians
He led us up across Rattlesnake Mountain from Big Cove to the waters of Soco showing us Qualla trails and teaching us about Cherokee history and culture as he learned from his father..

The Cherokee People

Those living and those past
My friends and inspiration

Over 200,000 Images

Digital Archive Files

Historic Maps & Rare Surveys

Related to Cherokee History

Reconstructed Historic Landscapes

Southeast Heritage Productions

Cherokee Chronicles Books and Maps Series

by Lamar Marshall





atlas of Cherokee Geography history ecology

Elements & Maps of the Landscape: Place names, Towns, Trails, Fords, Gaps, Hunting Camps, fish weirs…….

Go to Atlas


historic maps related to cherokee history

Beginning with the oldest maps referencing North America from the 1500’s to 1900, we have collected and extracted data and details vital to the reconstruction of the Cherokee heartland and outlying claims. 

With the establishment of the US Army Topographical Engineers prior to the Removal of 1838 and the details maps that evolved during the Civil War 1860-1865, we progressively show how ancient trails became wagon roads and buffalo trails became railroad corridors. 

After the Civil War, the first generation of US Geological Survey maps mapped the primitive wagon road system of the Southeastern United States that was based on the Cherokee trail system.


reconstructed historic landscape maps

Using the collective knowledge of historic maps, rare archives, early surveys, diaries, journals, interviews with the oldest Cherokee elders, and modern archaeological and anthropological research, Southeast Heritage has build a database of reconstructed maps, graphics and stories. 


cherokee chronicles:
the series

The 1700 Cherokee Territorial Claim; Cherokee Trails and Towns; Trader and Traders 1700 to 1850; Treaties and Boundaries; Anglo-Cherokee Wars 1758-1794; Cherokee Citizens 1817-1824; Those Who Remained Post 1838 

Enjoy free, shared History Or Order special maps & books


For sale items from our store will be available in January 2020 – COMING SOON !

1700 - 1850

Cherokee Chronicles

You can't get this anywhere else

I have spent over 50 years immersed in the woods, mountains and swamps of the native American landscape personally visiting place and practicing the skills of primitive technologies or what might better called “natural technologies.” Life was not a romanticized world of Bambi and fairy tale myth as put forth by generations of arm-chair “vikings” and vicarious fiction-peddlers.  It was hard, tough, sometimes painful, but absolutely requiring traditions, skills, arts, crafts, and knowledge learned and passed down from generations of collective ancestors.

Lamar Marshall

Founder & Research Director, Southeast Heritage

The Cherokees Remain!

Southeast Heritage

And their history is being resurrected from dusty archives in the annals of time

1700 The Cherokee
Territorial Claim

Certainly the nethermost outlying limits of the Cherokee Claim was contested by other tribes on which rested the ancient and honorable arts of a feudal, martial contest of warfare.  Hunting and trading from Kentucky, the Virginias, Tennessee, northern Alabama and Georgia, and the Carolinas, they enjoyed a mosaic of landscapes, wildlife and forests. 

Towns and Trails link

The 1700 Ecology of the Southeast Buffalo, Elk; Barrens; Blue Ridge & Carolina Low Country

The lifestyle of the Cherokees was one of independence, freedom and self-reliance. The Territorial Claim was a vast storehouse of natural resources – food – building materials – clothing – and utilitarian craft material. 

Ecology link

Trade & Traders –
European Intrusion &
Frontier Life

From the 1500s, the tribes of Native America were encroached on from the East, North and South  European Countries who established ports on the coastlines of the Gulf of Mexico, and the Atlantic Ocean. The trading center at Charles Town (Charleston) South Carolina proved to be the most profound.  The first institution  by the  British included the Indian Slave Trade. 

Trade & Traders Link


The British strategy included keeping Native tribes busy fighting each other and slowly seducing the Indians with European trade goods such as guns, powder, lead, cloth, iron and brass cooking utensils, beads……many times on easy credit. Rum was used to intoxicate the Cherokee hunters and cheat them of their winters deerskins and furs.

Cherokee Wars Link 


Betrayed by “Skeena” (the devil) Andrew Jackson, the complete forced removal of Native Americans from east of the Mississippi River to its west shore, was orchestrated in Washington, DC and strongly supported by various State Assemblies.  The Treaty of 1817 (Revised in 1819) allowed for some Cherokees to remain in the east via copious land concessions and an promise of American citizenship and land.  What ensued was a civil rights nightmare torpedoes by the States of Georgia, North and South Carolina and Tennessee.

Cherokee Citizens Link


From around 1800, the written records relating to the Cherokee began to proliferate, especially after 1820 when the Federal Government clashed with the State of North Carolina over violations of the Treaties of 1817 -1819 and the rights given to the Cherokees which were ignored by several States.  Affidavits, court cases, claims, letters, fill entire rooms in the National Archives and are prolific in other scattered repositories. In these records are description of both Cherokees and whites, geographical information and a wealth of genealogical revelations. We are mapping and bringing to light what we find.

1824 To 1838 Link

1839 to 1900 Link


Our Blog is progressive

Eight Simultaneous Blog/Essays Unfolding the Past

The Cherokees laid claim to a vast reserve of land covering about eight modern states and multiple ecosystems. Their claim circa 1700 is outlined in red on this EPA map.

LINK:  1700 Cherokee Claim

The ecology of such a mosaic of ecosystems gave the Cherokee access to herds of buffalo, elk and importantly salt springs found principally in northern Tennessee and Kentucky. 

LINK:  1700 Cherokee Ecology

An ancient trail system crisscrossed their claim and was a part of a continental-wide trail network of Native America. By 1700, their towns were clustered around western North Carolina.

 LINK:  Cherokee Towns & Trails

By the 1680’s, the British contact with the Cherokees began to establish a trading system that grew out of Charles Town (Charleston), South Carolina.  It proved to be a two-edged sword.

LINK: Trade & Traders

The British settlements on the Eastern Seaboard of North America expanded and immigrants flooded into the East.  A century of encroachments and wars forced treaty after treaty on the Cherokee.

LINK TO: Treaties, Boundaries, and Land Speculators

The inevitably of war was realized after the Cherokee allowed the British to build forts on the east and west flanks of their country. Two major wars transcended 40 years and decimated the Nation.

LINK: Wars of the Cherokees

The American Federal Government grew at odds with the States Assemblies of North and South Carolina, Georgia and Tennessee concerning Cherokee civil rights. Two significant treaties laid the groundwork for Removal, those of 1817 and 1819.

LINK:  1820 Cherokee Citizens and their Reserves 

The Treaties of 1817 & 1819 allowed for Cherokees in  western North Carolina, upper South Carolina, Georgia, and Tennessee to attain citizenship and a 640 acre tract of land in exchange for ceding vast acreages of lands. The States defied this Federal contract and sold the Cherokees lands out from under them, forcing them to “remove” into their last foothold in the East, the Cheoah, Hiwassee and Valley Rivers of North Carolina and a few others in Georgia, Alabama and Tennessee. Legal battles fill boxes of files in the National Archives dating from 1817 to 1838 when the politics of Andrew Jackson succeeded if forcing most Cherokees west of the Mississippi River.

LINK:  1824 to 1838 – The Removal Period

A remnant of Cherokees hid out and were befriended by a few white friends and supporters who helped them to buy their own lands and retain a presence in their ancestral country. 

William Holland Thomas (photo above) grew up among the future Qualla Cherokees from the time he was a small boy working at the local trading post. He became a self-made lawyer and made many trips to Washington to lobby and intercede for the rights of his Cherokee friends to remain in western North Carolina.

LINK:  Those Who Remained after 1838

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