LEARN NC was a program of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Education from 1997 – 2013. It provided lesson plans, professional development, and innovative web resources to support teachers, build community, and improve K-12 education in North Carolina. Learn NC is no longer supported by the School of Education – this is a historical archive of their website.

Photograph of French and Indian War re-enactors portraying Cherokee men.

Reenactors portray Cherokee and provincial fighters of the French and Indian War. Photograph by Emily Jack. About the photograph

Colonists on North Carolina’s western frontier wanted to continue expanding westward, and they resented British attempts to keep them out of Cherokee lands. The Cherokee knew that they would be pushed out of the way if the colonists won their war for indepedence. The Cherokee therefore sided with the British, and in the summer of 1776 they attacked white settlers along the frontier.

In response, North Carolina revolutionaries attacked Cherokee villages. Led by General Griffith Rutherford, they burned villages and destroyed crops and food supplies. White settlers and the Cherokee hated each other, and their resentment now turned into barbaric violence. We’ve seen resentment turn to brutality before, and, unfortunately, we’ll see it again in the next chapter.