The Peachtree Valley and Valley Town mission : a baptist recategorization of a Cherokee landscape

WCU Author/Contributor (non-WCU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
James Anthony Owen (Creator)
Western Carolina University (WCU )
Web Site:
Andrew Denson

Abstract: Peachtree Valley in Clay county, North Carolina has a long history of diversity in plant, animal, and human habitation. The Cherokee, who have inhabited the valley for thousands of years, have a deep history of relationships with the cultural and biological diversity of the mountains. An intricate web of Cherokee knowledge and ways of thinking once maintained a sense of balance and well-being within existing ecological systems. The arrival of Europeans in the Cherokee world presented challenges in maintaining balance, communicating useful ideas, and establishing functional social and ecological relationships. The Baptists, who established a mission in the Peachtree Valley in 1819, were more successful in navigating Cherokee modes of thinking and communicating than other missionaries. Baptist success was rooted in their eventual willingness to learn from Cherokee systems. Cherokees categorizations of the world and engaged relationships with plants and animals of the landscape came to be connected with biblical ideas and Jesus’ morality through the work of Reverend Evan Jones and a small group of Cherokees he baptized and taught. The history of the Valley Towns Baptist mission demonstrates ways that ecological awareness and landscape-based sensibilities classified Christian and Baptist ideas in uniquely Cherokee ways, even as those same ideas simplified diverse Cherokee categorizations of the world.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2012
Baptist, Cherokee, missionary, rattlesnake
Cherokee Indians -- Missions -- North Carolina -- Clay County
Cherokee Indians -- North Carolina -- Clay County -- Religion
Baptists -- Missions -- North Carolina -- Clay County

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