Cherokee Highlands Map

Produced by Marshall A. Wilson

Cherokee Map

Click to download map of the Cherokee Highlands.

The Cherokee nation of people hunted and farmed the woodlands of southern Appalachia. When European settlers crossed the mountains into their lands they traded with each other, fought with each other and learned from each other. Later, the Cherokees lived in contemporary houses, developed their own legal system and read and wrote in their own language. Between 1721 and 1838 their land diminished in a series of treaties and land cessions. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled the Cherokee nation was sovereign and not subject to state laws, but as state territories grew westward and especially after some gold was discovered in their land, the states passed laws to take their land anyway. Eventually, some Cherokee leaders took it upon themselves to sign a treaty in New Echota to accept $5 million for all the rest of the Cherokee land with an agreement to move west of the Mississippi river. The federal government then forcibly moved the native people west in a tragic march known as the "Trail of Tears," in which a fourth of the people died. The survivors rebuilt their nation in this new land. Their descendants are now known as the Cherokee Nation in Oklahoma and the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians in Oklahoma.

Some of the Cherokee stayed in the mountains during the roundup, including Tsali, who had killed a soldier trying to move his family. Tsali became a fugitive but turned himself in to be executed, in return for an agreement that the others scattered in the hills could remain. Those Cherokee purchased land in the Qualla boundary where Cherokee, North Carolina is today. They became the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians.

Marshall Wilson spent years reading books and maps to create this accurate rendition of the lands and treaties of the Cherokee nation. He finished the project in 1980 and has since gone to Heaven. His papers reside at the East Tennessee Historical Society in Knoxville.

You may refer questions and comments to

The map looks best printed at 18"x24" or larger, which Office Depot can do for about $5.