Clingmans Dome (Also known as Clingman's Dome) marks the highest point of the Appalachian Trail located in the Great Smoky Mountains. The Dome stands at 6,643 feet and overlooks the Great Smoky Mountains, giving view as far as 100 miles spanning as many as 7 states on a clear day. These mountains were home to the Cherokee Indians who were displaced after the Indian Removal Act of 1830. The mountains housed European settlers who left behind their homes and land after the establishment in 1934 of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
Backstory and Context
Clingman's Dome is the highest point in the Smokey Mountains National Park and the Appalachian Trail. The Cherokee Indians valued this point as a place to fast and pray. It was a sacred place.1 The rugged slopes around Clingman’s Dome served as hiding places for those Indians who avoided the Trail of Tears forced removal. Some Cherokee Indian remained behind and their ancestors inhabit the area today.
The Trail of Tears is the pathway in which the Native American Indians traveled when forced to relocate from their homes east of the Mississippi after the Indian Removal Act of 1830. The forced journey using over 2,200 miles of trail, was long and brought death to many people. Unable to have basic-necessities such as adequate clothing, shelter, and food, the Native American Indians suffered great death. Some people were even without shoes and the harsh winter weather took its toll killing thousands of people, especially the elderly, sick, and the young.
President Andrew Jackson led the Trail of Tears Indian removal and relocation. He used negative propaganda to empower this historical tragedy. Included in this Clio is a photo of such propaganda. There were as many as 45,000 people relocated and they were not of only one tribe or of one state. The Cherokee, Muscogee, Seminole, Chickasaw, and Choctaw nations were forced against their will to leave their homelands which were lands that were carved by the wings of a bird.2
During the Trail of Tears journey, the Native American people left behind their homes and the only life they knew. They also had to leave behind their source of traditional medicine. This contributed to their deaths as well. Some estimate that there was a loss of as many as 6000 Cherokee alone. Along with the other mentioned tribes, there were also other people included in these relocations, such as “European Americans and African Americans.”3
In 1831 the Choctaw were the first Native Americans forced to relocate. The other tribes followed from 1831 to around 1837. The Choctaw Indians described the relocation with the phrase “Trail of Tears.” 4
You can also contact the National Park Service for more information by Mail at:
Great Smoky Mountains national Park, 107 Park Headquarters Road, Gatlinburg, TN 37738