Private First Class Charles George
Private First Class Charles George: "An American Hero"
|Charles George: Medal of Honor Recipient
|Yellow Hill Cemetery, Cherokee, Swain County, North Carolina
An American and member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indian Nation
(North Carolina), Private First Class Charles George was killed in the Korean War on 30 November 1952.
During battle, George threw himself upon a grenade and smothered it with
his body. In the heroic act, he sacrificed his own life but saved the lives of his comrades. For his brave, heroic and
selfless act, George was posthumously awarded the nation's highest honor, the Medal of Honor,
Sources: Department of Defense; National Archives
Reading: The Cherokee Nation: A History. Description:
Conley's book, "The Cherokee Nation: A History"
is an eminently readable, concise but thoughtful account of the Cherokee people from prehistoric times to the present day.
The book is formatted in such a way as to make it an ideal text for high school and college classes. At the end of each chapter
is a source list and suggestions for further reading. Also at the end of each chapter is an unusual but helpful feature- a
glossary of key terms. The book contains interesting maps, photographs and drawings, along with a list of chiefs for the various
factions of the Cherokee tribe and nation. Continued
In addition to being easily understood, a principal strength
of the book is that the author questions some traditional beliefs and sources about the Cherokee past without appearing to
be a revisionist or an individual with an agenda in his writing. One such example is when Conley tells the story of Alexander
Cuming, an Englishman who took seven Cherokee men with him to England in 1730. One of the Cherokee,
Oukanekah, is recorded as having said to the King of England: "We look upon the Great King George as the Sun, and as our Father,
and upon ourselves as his children. For though we are red, and you are white our hands and hearts are joined together..."
Conley wonders if Oukanekah actually said those words and points out that the only version we have of this story is the English
version. There is nothing to indicate if Oukanekah spoke in English or Cherokee, or if his words were recorded at the time
they were spoken or were written down later. Conley also points out that in Cherokee culture, the Sun was considered female,
so it is curious that King George would be looked upon as the Sun. The "redness" of Native American skin was a European perception.
The Cherokee would have described themselves as brown. But Conley does not overly dwell on these things. He continues to tell
the story using the sources available. The skill of Conley in communicating his ideas never diminishes. This book is highly
recommended as a good place to start the study of Cherokee history. It serves as excellent reference material and belongs
in the library of anyone serious about the study of Native Americans.
Recommended Reading: General Stand Watie's Confederate Indians (University of Oklahoma
Press). Description: American Indians were courted by both the North
and the South prior to that great and horrific conflict known as the American Civil War. This is the story of the highest
ranking Native American--Cherokee chief and Confederate general--Stand Watie, his Cherokee
Fighting Unit, the Cherokee, and the conflict in the West...
Recommended Viewing: 500 Nations (372 minutes). 500 Nations
is an eight-part documentary (more than 6 hours and that's not including its interactive CD-ROM filled with extra features)
that explores the history of the indigenous peoples of North and Central America, from pre-Colombian times through the period of European contact and colonization,
to the end of the 19th century and the subjugation of the Plains Indians of North America. 500
Nations utilizes historical texts, eyewitness accounts, pictorial sources and computer graphic reconstructions
to explore the magnificent civilizations which flourished prior to contact with Western civilization, and to tell the dramatic
and tragic story of the Native American nations' desperate attempts to retain their way of life against overwhelming odds.
Mention the word "Indian," and
most will conjure up images inspired by myths and movies: teepees, headdresses, and war paint; Sitting Bull, Geronimo, Crazy
Horse, and their battles (like Little Big Horn) with the U.S. Cavalry. Those stories of the so-called "horse nations" of the
Great Plains are all here, but so is a great deal more. Using impressive computer imaging, photos, location film footage and
breathtaking cinematography, interviews with present-day Indians, books and manuscripts, museum artifacts, and more, Leustig
and his crew go back more than a millennium to present an fascinating account of Indians, including those (like the Maya and
Aztecs in Mexico and the Anasazi in the Southwest) who were here long before white men ever reached these shores.
the arrival of Europeans like Columbus, Cortez, and DeSoto that marked the beginning of the end for the Indians. Considering
the participation of host Kevin Costner, whose film Dances with Wolves was highly sympathetic to the Indians, it's no bulletin
that 500 Nations also takes a compassionate view of the multitude of calamities--from alcohol and disease to the corruption
of their culture and the depletion of their vast natural resources--visited on them by the white man in his quest for land
and money, eventually leading to such horrific events as the Trail of Tears "forced march," the massacre at Wounded Knee,
and other consequences of the effort to "relocate" Indians to the reservations where many of them still live. Along the way,
we learn about the Indians' participation in such events as the American Revolution and the War of 1812, as well as popular
legends like the first Thanksgiving (it really happened) and the rescue of Captain John Smith by Pocahontas (it probably didn't).
Viewing: Indian Warriors - The Untold Story of the Civil
War (History Channel) (2007). Description:
Though largely forgotten, 20 to 30 thousand Native Americans fought in the Civil War. Ely Parker was a Seneca leader who found
himself in the thick of battle under the command of General Ulysses S. Grant. Stand Watie--a Confederate general and a Cherokee--was known for his brilliant guerrilla tactics.
Also highlighted is Henry Berry Lowery, an Eastern North Carolina Indian, who
became known as the Robin Hood of North Carolina. Respected Civil War authors, Thom Hatch and Lawrence Hauptman, help reconstruct
these most captivating stories, along with descendants like Cherokee Nation member Jay Hanna, whose great-grandfathers fought
for both the Union
and the Confederacy. Together, they reveal a new, fresh perspective and the very personal reasons that drew these Native Americans
into the fray.