The Crooked Trees of the Movers Indian Trail

Indian Trail, a suburb of Charlotte, North Carolina, has seen rapid growth over the past decades. Its proximity to Uptown Charlotte, large properties for a lower price than Mecklenburg County, and a safe, friendly community make it a popular destination among families looking to move to the area.

movers indian trail

In the 1600s, Indians lived along the lands that are now movers indian trail,nc and Union County. But in the early 1800s, the area was inhabited by European settlers who used trails to trade with Native people throughout the state. They named the town Indian Trail because of its placement along an “Indian Trail” trading route that spanned 250 miles and connected the Waxhaw tribe in North Carolina to Petersburg, Virginia.

During the 1800s, white people forced Native American tribes out of their lands to westward destinations. The campaign, called the Great Migration, failed to wipe out all tribes, but it fueled a mass migration that fundamentally changed Indian Country. Today, more than two-thirds of Native Americans live outside reservations. Economic and psychological wounds remain.

The campaign also prompted European settlers to invade and colonize Native American land. They brought diseases and a host of other issues that ravaged Native American culture. Ultimately, the settlers pushed the Natives out of their land and into urban areas, where their language and culture were no longer dominant.

As a result, most of the traditional knowledge, language, and way of life of the Native American tribes was lost. That includes the practice of bending trees to form trails that were a sign of their journeys and an aid in navigation.

Researchers are now studying these crooked trees in hopes of learning more about them and the ancient trails that were used by Native American people. Mountain Stewards, a Georgia-based conservation organization that focuses on the preservation of Native American traditions, is leading an effort to map and document the Cherokee trail tree network. The team has already found a number of crooked trees, including one in Franklin, North Carolina, that traces the path of an old Cherokee trading route.

They have also discovered a crooked tree that marks the site of a battle between the Creek and Chickasaw Indians in what is now the Bankhead National Forest, Ala. And they have discovered stretches of US 441 through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, especially over Newfound Gap, that are on top of Cherokee trail routes.

These trail trees were so important to the tribes that some Indians would place a small stone inside a bend in the tree, symbolizing their intention to reach their destination. They also made necklaces of beads and feathers from the tree, a ritual that helped them remember their paths as they moved from one place to another.

A lot of these trees were shaped in various ways by the tribes, but they all had to be tied down to keep them in place. That included tying them with vines or strips of bark or rawhide.