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The Oconaluftee Valley, located on the North Carolina side of the Smokies, is home of the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians and part of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park (a UNESCO World Heritage Site). This seemingly isolated valley has an epic tale to tell. Always a desirable place to settle, hunt, gather, farm, and live, the valley and its people have played an integral role in some of the greatest dramas of the colonial era, the Trail of Tears, and the Civil War era. The experiences of turn-of-the-twentieth-century industrial logging alongside the national park movement show how land-use trends changed communities and families. Though the valley saw its share of conflict, its residents often lived like neighbors, sharing resources and acting cooperatively for mutual benefit and survival. They demonstrated remarkable resilience in the face of threats to their existence.

Elizabeth Giddens offers a deeply researched and elegantly written account of Oconaluftee and its people from Indigenous settlements to the establishment of the national park by Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1940. She builds the tale from archives, census records, property records, personal memoirs, and more, showing how national events affected all Oconaluftee's people—Indigenous, Black, and white.

Table of Contents

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  1. Cover
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  1. Half Title, Title, Copyright, Dedication, Epigraph
  2. pp. i-vi
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  1. Contents
  2. pp. vii-viii
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  1. List of Illustrations
  2. pp. ix-x
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  1. Acknowledgments
  2. pp. xi-xvi
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  1. INTRODUCTION. An Inviting Spot
  2. pp. 1-5
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  1. CHAPTER 1. Below the Plow Zone: The Valley's Human Prehistory
  2. pp. 6-14
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  1. CHAPTER 2. The Principal People: Traditions of Harmony and Sharing
  2. pp. 15-25
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  1. CHAPTER 3. Life in the Out Towns: Crises of the Colonial Era
  2. pp. 26-39
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  1. CHAPTER 4. Two Peoples Share a Home: The Early Nineteenth Century in the Valley
  2. pp. 40-63
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  1. CHAPTER 5. Circumventing the Trail of Tears: Lufty Cherokees Hold On
  2. pp. 64-82
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  1. CHAPTER 6. Beginning to Map the Smokies: Famous Men and Mountain Names
  2. pp. 83-89
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  1. CHAPTER 7. An Isolated Valley in Wartime: A Biracial Confederate Force
  2. pp. 90-111
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  1. CHAPTER 8. Separate Realities: Race and Land Ownership
  2. pp. 112-126
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  1. CHAPTER 9. The Established Families Flourish: Farm and Community Upgrades
  2. pp. 127-142
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  1. CHAPTER 10. Migratory Lives: Departures, Returns, and Arrivals
  2. pp. 143-154
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  1. CHAPTER 11. Qualla's Long Struggle for Security: The Eastern Band Is Established
  2. pp. 155-184
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  1. CHAPTER 12. From Birdsong to Train Whistle: The Industrial Age Reaches the Mountains
  2. pp. 185-208
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  1. CHAPTER 13. CCC Transformations: From Logging Camps to Parkland
  2. pp. 209-232
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  1. CHAPTER 14. Cross Jordan into Canaan and I Want to Go: Remnants of a Township
  2. pp. 233-238
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  1. Notes
  2. pp. 239-262
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  1. Bibliography
  2. pp. 263-274
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  1. Index
  2. pp. 275-287
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