The October luncheon featured guest speaker Bill Anderson, professor emeritus of history at Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, where he specializes in Cherokee history and culture. An author and editor of four books, he received the Gustavus Meyers Award for the study of human rights in the U.S. for his book “Cherokee Removal – Before and After,” which was published in 1991. He has worked with such television productions as Sesame Street, National Geographic, PBS, History Detectives and the Discovery Channel.
His informative presentation was very well-received. It was fascinating, funny, and sad, as he described the history of the Cherokee and what life was like before and after the Europeans arrived. Before, their lives consisted of balance and the harmony of nature. The women were responsible for the raising of crops; the men brought the meat home, and built the houses. They had orderly resolution of their problems; their government was tribal; women had an equal voice; they were able to grow their own food, construct their housing and speak their own language; and had recreation, medicine, hygiene, government, democracy, architecture, and education. It was most important for them to follow the rules. The Cherokee had lived in the interior southeast for hundreds of years, but when the European settlers began moving into the Cherokee territories in the early 18th century, everything began to change. The Cherokee became dependent on the English. The fur traders affected their culture and land use, the missionaries affected their lives, and the Cherokees made every attempt to adapt to the new white ways. The colonial government began to demand that the Cherokees give up their territory. By the end of the Revolutionary War, the Cherokees had surrendered more than half of their original territory to the state and federal government. Smallpox had taken more than half of their population. For them, it was indeed, a very sad time in history. Dr. Anderson received much applause for his presentation.
The Historical Society is a unique opportunity to learn about local history, become involved in the community, and make friends. Visitors and new members are always welcome. To learn more about the Historical Society of Topsail Island, visit topsailhistoricalsociety.org. Contact Director Rose Peters at 910-328-2488 to volunteer as a Docent for the Missiles and More Museum.
The next luncheon meeting will be held at the Assembly building on Nov. 14 at 11:30 a.m. The guest speaker will be Felicia Green from the Poplar Grove Plantation.