Manataka American Indian Council







Chief Kanagagota,

Standing Turkey

Chief of the Cherokee


The Cherokee lands were in South Carolina, Georgia, North Carolina, and parts of Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Alabama. They were spared trouble with the Americans for years because of their distance from the coastal colonies. The tribe stayed loyal to the British during the war even though a small faction led by a chief called "Man Killer" was pro French. Kanagogota was their chief or Head Beloved Man, sometimes called "Old Hopp of Chote". They tried to stay neutral but incursions of Shawnees into their land caused them to help defend Virginia's border and make an agreement with the British to build forts to protect them from their enemies. The English built Fort Loudoun to help protect the Cherokee from the French.

The Cherokee lost enthusiasm for defending the British when a war party deserted the British at Fort Duquesne and returned home. They had built resentment over atrocities English setters had committed against the Cherokees on their lands. In 1759 some English officers led an assault on Cherokee women whose men were away hunting. Pro British chiefs sent a delegation to Charles Town to try to restore peace but were imprisoned by the Governor of South Carolina and sent to Fort Prince George. Other Pro British bargained for their release sending substitute prisoners who were executed. This infuriated the Cherokee and they attacked Fort Prince George and settlements from Virginia to Georgia.

The war lasted into 1760 and the British sent 1200 men into South Carolina burning towns. In North Carolina the Cherokees killed twenty soldiers and forced the Royal Scot and Highland regulars to retreat. The Cherokees led by "Oconostata" captured Fort Prince George, and the British sent five thousand troops in and forced them into the moutains where they faced starvation. The Cherokees sued for Peace and met a new Governor in Charles Town in November 1761 and ended the war.

On July 20, 1777, Chief Oconostata, as one of the chiefs of the Overhill Cherokee signed a treaty at Fort Henry on the Holston River near Long Island with the State of North Carolina.  Chief Standing Turkey died in North Carolina in 1785.  It is generally accepted that Chief Oconostata was the father of Chief Pathkiller (Read the Legend of Pathkiller.)