• Chattajack

person, long, he

Greetings Chattajack Friends & Family!

Thank You again to everyone who registered for the 2020 race! We’re grateful for your enthusiastic support and we’re excited as ever to lay the foundations for this year’s race experience. For those who beat the clock and grabbed a bib, congrats! Now make the most of the opportunity, come up with a solid training plan, maybe set a specific goal like PODIUM!!, take a deep breath, commit to the send, and commence on the journey of making it happen! Now’s The Time.

At it’s core, Chattajack was, is, and always will be…. a race. A race taking place at that singular moment when the gun fires. For many the race is a platform allowing athletes to pit themselves against one another, for others the challenge is within or perhaps with Mother Nature’s elements. No matter which of these applies to you, both share one commonality, the timeless and universal test of human against distance and time.

The 31-mile Chattajack course traveling through the awe-inspiring Tennessee River gorge is a world-class location for a race. While deep in the gorge the vastness creates a feeling similar to looking across an open ocean but instead it’s endless trees, towering plateaus, sandstone cliff lines, eagles and ospreys. Also within that gorge remain countless stories, legacies, sacred burial grounds, even ancient art. Through the years Chattajack has enjoyed educating racers on the historically important aspects of the gorge in hopes you have a brief moment to peer into the landscape and say “Wow, that happened here”.

Choosing to honor the legacy of our region’s Cherokee ancestors and that of Chief Dragging Canoe is not something we took lightly. Roots of the decision began to manifest in 2019 with finalizing measures taking place in early 2020. We are grateful for information and guidance provided from resources such as the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Nation as well as members/residents of the Cherokee Indian Reservation in Cherokee, North Carolina (Great Smokey Mountains National Park).

Chattajack is a family & community of paddlers bound by a common thread, water (ama in Cherokee). With homes spread across the U.S. as well as internationally we all share a need for time alone or with friends, on water. Our Cherokee ancestors of yesteryear shared this feeling but on a different level. The river wasn’t a means to an end but instead a place of great spiritual importance. It wasn’t a “thing” or “river” per se but truly a living entity with characteristics and attributes just like a human. It actually was a human. The direct translation of “river” in Cherokee, “person, long, he”

Come October, we will gather for the 9th annual Chattajack race, another race for the ages, and one for the history books. A 31 mile paddle race through the Tennessee River gorge on the “Cherokee River”. The title Spanish, French, and English settlers gave the river before eventually changing it to Tanasi (Tennessee), derived from the Cherokee village, Tanasi.




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