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JUNALUSKA WREATH LAYING CEREMONY
By Marshall McClung
A wreath laying ceremony to honor Junaluska was held November 10 by the Junaluska Friends and the VFW. Participating in the program were Jim Bowman Co-Chairman of the Junaluska Friends and Bill Anderson, historian from Western Carolina University. Iva Rattler, Edna Chekelelee, and Lois Calonhuskie sang "Amazing Grace" in the Cherokee and English language. This song was also sung at the original dedication of Junaluska's grave in 1910. Larry Jenkins of the R.H.S. Band played Taps and Josh Crisp participated in the laying of the wreath. The VFW presented the colors and performed a 21 gun salute.
Jim Bowman and Bill Anderson reflected on the history of Junaluska in their remarks. Junaluska is credited with saving the life of General Andrew Jackson in the Battle of Horseshoe Bend in Alabama in a battle with the Creek Indians on March 27, 1814. Junaluska, like many other Cherokees were removed to Oklahoma around 1838. Junaluska walked back to North Carolina, a distance of around 800 miles. In 1846, the N.C. Legislature passed a bill granting Junaluska North Carolina citizenship, 357 acres of land, and $100 cash.
In 1910, the Daughters of the American Revolution erected the monument to Junaluska at his gravesite on a hilltop in Robbinsville. A team of oxen pulled the large stone to its present location at the gravesite.
Considerable improvements have been made to the Junaluska gravesite and adjacent area including improved access. More improvements are planned in the near future. The Cherokees have purchased around three acres of land and two houses nearby. Plans including use of one of the houses as a museum and construction of a trail to Junaluska's grave.
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This page is maintained by Tom Livingston, Robbinsville, North Carolina