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  • Chattajack

John Ross, History, and CJ

Here’s some history regarding Ross’s Landing, the 2015 Chattajack basecamp....

So a long time ago (actually less than 200 years) Chattanooga was a home for many Native American Indian tribes, especially Cherokee. There’s artifacts from the tribes on the islands you’ll see (Maclellan & Williams Island) in the Chattajack course dating back around 10,000 years. You probably won’t see the artifacts but you’ll see the islands and wonder if you picked the slow way to go around them. Back on point..John Ross.. So he was born in 1790 to a pretty Cherokee Indian lady and Scottish man. Since his mum was Cherokee he was accepted amongst the Indian nation. He grew up running around Lookout Mountain, the big mountain you’ll be staring straight at during mile 3 wishing you were doing a sprint race instead of CJ considering your heart rate’s already in Zone 5 cause you did the same thing all the other bozos did on the start line (John Ross Bridge). Back to John…So he grew up next to this mountain, participating in tribal events yet also acquired a “classical” education. He eventually settled right where Chattajack base camp is this year and started a business running a ferry back and forth across the river. Bridges didn’t exist back then, the river constantly flooded it’s bank consuming the entire valley making life super difficult for anyone who didn’t have a surfski, sup, or fast kayak. John made some really sweet cash with his ferry, then a trading post, and eventually grew to be worth about a half mill in today’s currency. Amongst the high rollers in the Cherokee Nation Ross was top five in his prime. Eventually he got into politics representing the Cherokee Nation in Washington D.C. where he fought white encroachment i.e whiteman demanding the Indians move beyond the Mississippi. John was fluent in English so he was able to make a strong case in Washington, so much so the full blooded Cherokee Nation was totally behind his efforts. In 1828 he was elected the Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation. Eventually the Cherokee Nation split in two, those who decided to give into whiteman and those who opted not. Ross sided with those who opted not. He rejected all the treaties and basically said “What gives you the right?” Unfortunately facing an army and massacre in 1838 John Ross, his family, and the rest of the Cherokee nation were forced to begin to walk away from their home on the side of the river. Something we today call the “Trail of Tears”. One fourth of the Cherokee Nation (4,000) died during this journey including John’s wife, Quatie (Rumored to have died of pneumonia after giving her coat to a child during the walk).

So when your digging deep out there and the inner voice starts complaining…dig harder. And when you get back to basecamp “Ross’s Landing” be proud you met the moment and laid it all out.

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