Tai Ya Gansi Ni (Tsí-yu-gûnsí-ní) "Dragging Canoe" (Tatsi), Principal Chief (c.1734 - 1792) MP

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Nicknames: "Andrew Brown", "Tsíyu-gûnsíní", "Tsiyu Gansini", "Cheucunsene", "Kunnese"
Birthplace: Overhill Settlements, Monroe, Tennessee, United States
Death: Died in Running Water, Tennessee, United States
Occupation: Principal Chief of the Chickamauga/Lower Cherokee
Managed by: Elizabeth Ann Quick
Last Updated:

About Tai Ya Gansi Ni (Tsí-yu-gûnsí-ní) "Dragging Canoe" (Tatsi), Principal Chief

NATIVE NAME: Tsi'yu-gunsini

ENGLISH NAME: Dragging Canoe; Andrew Brown

ALTERNATE NAMES:Cui Canacina, Savage Napoleon, Dragon (so called by his enemies).

ALTERNATE SPELLINGS: Cheucunsene, Kunnese

MEANING OF NAMES:

  • Tsi'yu-gunsini - Canoe (tsi'yu), He is Dragging It (gunsini).
  • Dragging Canoe - According to Cherokee legend, his name is derived from an incident in his early childhood in which he attempted to prove his readiness to go on the warpath by hauling a canoe, but he was only able to drag it.

BIRTHPLACE / DATE: Attakullakulla resided in the village of Tenase through 1755 so this is likely the place of Dragging Canoe's birth. Dragging Canoe was said to be a few years older than his cousin Nancy Ward (born 1738), daughter of Tame Doe who was the sister of Attakullakulla, Dragging Canoe's father. Estimated date of birth: 1740.

RESIDENCE: Tellico, and Chota, E. Indian Nation, Tennessee. Later, at the outbreak of the American Revolution, Dragging Canoe moves families downriver to Chickamauga and Chattanooga and Running Water Creek (now Whiteside), and Upper and Lower Towns

DEATH DATE / LOCATION: He died March 1, 1792, in Running Waters, Tennessee from exhaustion or an apparent heart attack after dancing all night celebrating the recent conclusion of an alliance with the Muskogee and the Choctaw. He also had a very small cut from a rifle ball on his side that went unattended and became infected. It was normal after each battle that the Chief and his warriors dance and gave thanks to Yowa (God, Creator) for a great victory. This would go on for several days and nights.

BURIAL PLACE: In traditional Cherokee style he was buried in a sitting position, his possessions heaped around him.

http://www.aaanativearts.com/cherokee/dragging-canoe.htm

"Whole Indian Nations have melted away like snowballs in the sun before the white man's advance. They leave scarcely a name of our people except those wrongly recorded by their destroyers. Where are the Delewares? They have been reduced to a mere shadow of their former greatness.

We had hoped that the white men would not be willing to travel beyond the mountains. Now that hope is gone. They have passed the mountains, and have settled upon Tsalagi (Cherokee) land. They wish to have that usurpation sanctioned by treaty. When that is gained, the same encroaching spirit will lead them upon other land of the Tsalagi (Cherokees). New cessions will be asked. Finally the whole country, which the Tsalagi (Cherokees) and their fathers have so long occupied, will be demanded, and the remnant of the Ani Yvwiya, The Real People, once so great and formidable, will be compelled to seek refuge in some distant wilderness.

There they will be permitted to stay only a short while, until they again behold the advancing banners of the same greedy host. Not being able to point out any further retreat for the miserable Tsalagi (Cherokees), the extinction of the whole race will be proclaimed. Should we not therefore run all risks, and incur all consequences, rather than to submit to further loss of our country?

Such treaties may be alright for men who are too old to hunt or fight. As for me, I have my young warriors about me. We will hold our land." - Chief Dragging Canoe, Chickamauga Tsalagi (Cherokee) 1775

http://www.prophecykeepers.com/chickamaugacherokee/dragging_canoe.html

On April 19th, 2010, the Carter County government (representing the people known as the Wataugans) passed a resolution acknowledging the tragedy of broken covenant between themselves and the Cherokee. The Wataugans were the first settlement independent of the crowns of Europe and formed the first democratic government in North American (in what is now Carter County) in 1772, preceding and likely giving birth to the American Revolution of 1776. Some of the Wataugans went on to sign the Transylvania Land Treaty which illegally ceded land in middle Tennessee north of the Cumberland River and most of Kentucky. Chief Dragging Canoe was opposed to the Treaty and released a curse, saying, "You have bought a fair land, but there is a cloud hanging over it; you will find its settlement dark and bloody."


http://www.generals.org/prayer/rpn/root-52/prayer-reports/tennessee-report/

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9. Tai-ya-gansi-ni (he is) Dragging (the) Canoe (Nionne Ollie - of the Paint Clan3, Oconostota , the Groundhog Sausage, who was2, Smallpx Conjeror of Settico1) was born 1730, and died 1 MAR 1792 in Lookout Town, Tennessee. He married U-ga-lo-gv LEAF , Nelly Pathkiller, daughter of Pathkiller I \\ and Peggy. She was born BET 1730 AND 1734.

	 

Children of Tai-ya-gansi-ni (he is) Dragging (the) Canoe and U-ga-lo-gv LEAF , Nelly Pathkiller are:

	19	  i.	Crying Snake.
	20	  ii.	Eyoostee.
	21	  iii.	Little (Dragging) Canoe was born 1748.
	22	  iv.	Little Owl Canoe was born 1750.

+ 23 v. Naky Sarah CANOE was born 1752.

	24	  vi.	Gi-yo-sti was born 1770.
	25	  vii.	Nettle Carrier TALOTISKEE , Hemp Carrier was born 1782.

http://wc.rootsweb.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/igm.cgi?op=REG&db=sandrahunter1&id=I061623

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DRAGGING CANOE

1740-1792

Dragging Canoe, Cherokee warrior and leader of the Chickamaugas, was born in one of the Overhill towns on the Tennessee River, the son of the Cherokee diplomat Attakullakulla. Historians have identified Dragging Canoe as the greatest Cherokee military leader. Even at an early age Dragging Canoe wanted to be a warrior. He once asked his father to include him in a war party against the Shawnees, but Attakullakulla refused. Determined to go, the boy hid in a canoe, where the warriors found him. His father gave the boy permission to go--if he could carry the canoe. The vessel was too heavy, but undaunted, the boy dragged the canoe. Cherokee warriors encouraged his efforts, and from that time, he was known as Dragging Canoe.

As the head warrior of the Overhill town of Malaquo, Dragging Canoe fought a number of significant battles against white settlers. By the 1770s the increasing encroachment by settlers on Indian land concerned Dragging Canoe, and he worked to achieve their removal. In 1776 fourteen northern tribes sent envoys to the Overhill towns to offer an alliance with the Cherokees. Dragging Canoe thought the opening of the Revolutionary War provided the perfect opportunity to strike the isolated white settlements. The Cherokees planned a three-pronged attack: Old Abram led a contingent against the Watauga and Nolichucky settlements; warriors under the leadership of the Raven struck Carter's Valley; and Dragging Canoe fought at the battle of Island Flats, where he was wounded. The settlers suffered heavy losses initially, but the arrival of reinforcements proved too much for the Cherokees, and they were defeated.

Many Cherokee leaders argued against further fighting, but Dragging Canoe refused to submit. He fled the Overhill towns with like-minded Cherokees and established new towns on Chickamauga Creek in the winter of 1776-77. This group, which included discontented members of various tribes, came to be known as the Chickamaugas. Dragging Canoe and his warriors fought the 1781 "Battle of the Bluffs" near Fort Nashborough and defeated American army troops when they invaded the Chickamauga towns in 1788.

As he aged, Dragging Canoe moved from the position of warrior to that of diplomat. He worked to preserve Cherokee culture and establish an alliance with the Creeks and Shawnees. In 1791 a federation of Indian forces defeated General Arthur St. Clair, governor of the Northwest Territory. Shortly after a diplomatic mission with the Chickasaws, Dragging Canoe died on March 1, 1792, in the town of Running Water, one of the towns he had helped to found.

Patricia Bernard Ezzell, Tennessee Valley Authority

http://tennesseeencyclopedia.net/imagegallery.php?EntryID=D051

Dragging Canoe (c. 1738 – March 1, 1792) was an American Indian war leader who led a dissident band of young Cherokees against the United States in the American Revolutionary War.

Biography

Son of Attakullakulla ("Little Carpenter" in English), who was part Shawnee, and a mother who was a Natchez living in a town of refugees from that tribes who had settled among the Overhill Towns on the Little Tennessee River, he contracted smallpox at a young age, which left his face pock-marked. According to Cherokee legend, his name is derived from an incident in his early childhood in which he attempted to prove his readiness to go on the warpath by hauling a canoe, the attempt resulting in him only being able to drag it.

War leader: allied to the British

Dragging Canoe did later get his chance to take part in war, initially against the Shawnee and Muskogee (later his two closest allies), but he gained his first real taste in the Anglo-Cherokee War (1759-1761), along with prior forays into the Ohio country as well. In the aftermath of this war, he became one of the most vocal opponents of encroachment by settlers from the British colonies onto Indian, especially Cherokee, land. Eventually he became chief of Great Island Town (Amoyeli Egwa in Cherokee, written Mialaquo by the British) on the Little Tennessee River.

When the Cherokee opted to join in the fighting of the American Revolution on the side of the British, Dragging Canoe was at the head of one of the major attacks. After his father and Oconostota refused to continue further after the wholesale destruction of the Cherokee Middle (Hill), Valley, and Lower Towns, Dragging Canoe led a band of the Overhill Cherokee out of the towns to the area surrounding Chickamauga River (South Chickamauga Creek) in the Chattanooga area, where they established eleven towns in 1777, including the one named Chickamauga across river from place where the British commissary John McDonald had set up shop, doing so on the advice of Alexander Cameron, the British agent to the Cherokee. From this location, frontiersmen gave his group the name the Chickamauga.

War leader: fighting on after Yorktown

After the Chickamauga towns were destroyed a second time in 1782, Dragging Canoe's band moved down the Tennessee River to the "Five Lower Towns" below the obstructions of the Tennessee River Gorge: Running Water (now Whiteside), Nickajack (near the cave of the same name), Long Island (on the Tennessee River), Crow Town (at the mouth of Crow Creek), and Lookout Mountain Town (at the site of the current Trenton, Georgia). From Running Water, Dragging Canoe led attacks on white settlements all over the American Southeast, especially against the colonial settlements on the Holston, Watauga, and Nolichucky Rivers in East Tennessee, and the Cumberland River settlements in Middle Tennessee (after 1780), sometimes raiding into Kentucky and Virginia as well. His brothers Tachee, Little Owl, The Badger, The Raven, and Turtle-at-Home are known to have taken part in his wars as well.

Dragging Canoe died March 1, 1792, from exhaustion or an apparent heart attack after dancing all night celebrating the recent conclusion of alliance with the Muskogee and the Choctaw, despite a failed similar mission to the Chickasaw, from whence he had just returned, plus a recent victory by a Chickamauga war band on the Cumberland River settlements. He is considered by many to be the most significant Native Americans leader of the Southeast, and provided a significant role model for the younger Tecumseh, who was a member of a band of Shawnee living with the "Chickamaugas" and taking part in their wars.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dragging_Canoe

More About DRAGGING CANOE:

Attended: March 1775, Henderson's Treaty, Sycamore Shoals

Blood: 3/4 Cherokee

Clan: Ani'-Wa'ya = Wolf Clan

A Speech Given by Dragging Canoe

- Chief Dragging Canoe, Chickamauga Tsalagi (Cherokee) 1775

"Whole Indian Nations have melted away like snowballs in the sun before the white man's advance. They leave scarcely a name of our people except those wrongly recorded by their destroyers. Where are the Delawares? They have been reduced to a mere shadow of their former greatness. We had hoped that the white men would not be willing to travel beyond the mountains. Now that hope is gone. They have passed the mountains, and have settled upon Tsalagi (Cherokee) land. They wish to have that usurpation sanctioned by treaty. When that is gained, the same encroaching spirit will lead them upon other land of the Tsalagi (Cherokees). New cessions will be asked. Finally the whole country, which the Tsalagi (Cherokees) and their fathers have so long occupied, will be demanded, and the remnant of the Ani Yvwiya, The Real People, once so great and formidable, will be compelled to seek refuge in some distant wilderness. There they will be permitted to stay only a short while, until they again behold the advancing banners of the same greedy host. Not being able to point out any further retreat for the miserable Tsalagi (Cherokees), the extinction of the whole race will be proclaimed. Should we not therefore run all risks, and incur all consequences, rather than to submit to further loss of our country? Such treaties may be alright for men who are too old to hunt or fight. As for me, I have my young warriors about me. We will hold our land."

From the Cherokee Registry

As a 12-14 year old boy he was told he couldn't go with the war party unless he could drag the fully loaded war log canoe on land into the water. His enthusiasm and endeavors earned him the name Tsi'ui-Gunsin'ni "Dragging Canoe". This was circa 1750 when his father Atakullakulla led war parties against the French & their Native allies, including Shawnee, in the Ohio Valley.

from James Hicks:

Dragging Canoe

Tsi’yi-gunsi’ni

Tsu-gun-sini

Chuconsene

Cheucunsene

Kunnesee

the Savage Napoleon

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from Don Chesnut's web page; www.users.mis.net/~chesnut/pages/cherokee.htm

Tsi’yi-gunsi’ni :

"He is dragging a canoe," from tsi’yu, canoe (cf. Tsi’yu) otter, and gunsi’ni, "he is dragging it." "Dragging Canoe," a prominent leader of the hostile Cherokee in the Revolution. The name appears in documents as Cheucunsene and Kunnesee. (Starr also lists him as Chuconsene)

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As a 12-14 year old boy he was told he couldn't go with the war party unless he could drag the fully loaded war log canoe on land into the water. His enthusiasm and endeavors earned him the name Tsi'ui-Gunsin'ni "Dragging Canoe". This was circa 1750 when his father Atakullakulla led war parties against the French & their Native allies, including Shawnee, in the Ohio Valley.

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1792 February 17; Chickamauga Chief Glass and Dragging Canoe's brother, Turtle At Home, waylaid the John Collingsworth family near Nashville, killing the father, mother, and a daughter, and capturing an eight-year-old girl. Returning to Lookout Town (near Trenton, Georgia), they held a scalp dance, grinding one of the scalps in his teeth as he performed. Dragging Canoe, recently returned from Mississippi after meeting with Choctaws, celebrated the occasion so strenuously that he died the following morning, age ±54.

John Watts of Will's Town (near Fort Payne, Alabama), became the new Chickamauaga leader of the united war effort. Cherokee resistance continued - led a big campaign against settlements in Nashville (Buchanan Station 1793) and in upper east Tennessee led the combined Cherokee-Creek attack at Cavett's Station in 1793 in which there were no white survivors.

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Old Frontiers, pg 5

"Tsu-gun-sini, Dragging Canoe, son of Attakullakulla, was chief of Amo-yeli-egwa, Great Island, one of the smaller Cherokee towns."

March 1775]

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Old Frontiers, pg 161

[1776, Dragging Canoe] "With his followers, he seceded from the Cherokee Nation and withdrew a hundred miles down the Tennessee River where he organized a new tribe. Those Cherokees who met in treaty with the Americans, he denounced as "rogues," or worse, as "Virginians." His own followers called themselves, proudly, "Ani-Yunwiya," the Real People.

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From Kurt Kuhlmann, Dissertation prospectus, November 17, 1994 (http://www.warhorsesim.com/papers/Cherokee.htm):

In 1775, Richard Henderson, a North Carolina land speculator, "purchased" a vast tract of land (essentially all of Kentucky and a large part of Tennessee) from the Cherokee. Henderson's purchase set in motion the last chapter of Cherokee military resistance to European expansion. Land pressure on the Cherokees had increased steadily following the Seven Years War. The Cherokee leadership was reluctant to go to war again after their severe defeat in the early 1760s, but by 1775 European settlers were encroaching on Cherokee lands on three sides. The early 1770s saw the intruders cross the mountains and settle on Cherokee land in the Watauga and Holston valleys to the north. John Stuart, the British Indian agent for the Southern district, had for the most part aided the Cherokee in resisting legal encroachment, but the colonial governments of Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia would not or could not prevent settlers from trespassing on land guaranteed to the Cherokee by treaty. Henderson's "purchase" was tainted in several ways. Not only was it illegal under British law (the Proclamation of 1763 prohibited private land deals with the Indians), other tribes had claims on the land in question (it was used as hunting grounds by several tribes, including the Shawnee), and it was even questionable whether the Cherokees actually sold Henderson the land as he claimed. Worse, the cession was denounced during the negotiations by Dragging Canoe, leader of the militant Cherokee faction and the son of Attakullaculla, one of the chiefs who signed the treaty with Henderson.

Henderson's purchase did not immediately lead to war, but it discredited the leaders who had negotiated the treaty (Attakullaculla, Oconostota, and the Raven), thus strengthening the position of the militant Cherokees. As the turmoil of the Revolution reached the frontiers of European settlement, the militants prevailed and the request for war delivered by a delegation of northern Indians in 1776 was accepted. The result was disastrous for the Cherokee. Three separate militia armies invaded the Cherokee lands during 1776, burning towns and crops and leaving devastation in their wake. At the price of additional land cessions, the Cherokees managed to secure peace with the state governments in 1777. Dragging Canoe refused to accept this policy and his militant faction seceded from the Cherokee, moving west and establishing new towns on the Tennessee River. The Chickamauga, as they became known, remained at war with the foreign settlements west of the mountains almost continually for the next 17 years.

The situation was thus established as it would remain until 1794. The leadership on both sides (the Cherokee chiefs, and the state and federal governments) generally wanted peace, but neither could control their own militants. On the Cherokee side, the Chickamauga provided a rallying point for the disaffected young men of the Cherokee nation proper. The fact that the Chickamauga acted independently of the rest of the Cherokee nation did not stop the frontier settlers from retaliating against the peaceful towns for Chickamauga attacks. On the American side, the settlers constantly violated lands guaranteed to the Cherokee by treaty, and conducted independent warfare against them. During the 1780s the situation was further complicated when several western counties (what became eastern Tennessee) formed themselves into the State of Franklin in open rebellion against North Carolina. When the states' western land claims were ceded to Congress and reorganized into the Southwest Territory in 1790, the federal government became directly involved without having much more control over the situation.

After 1776, the Cherokee were only drawn into general war once more, in 1788-89, when the murder of a negotiating party, including Old Tassel, one of the most distinguished chiefs, inflamed the whole nation. In general, however, the Cherokee as a whole both paid the price and reaped the benefits of the continued Chickamauga warfare. The Chickamauga certainly slowed down the expansion of some foreign settlements, especially the isolated Cumberland towns established in 1779. On the other hand, the Cherokee nation repeatedly suffered for Chickamauga actions, being both easier to attack and in possession of the lands nearest to the expanding settlements of north Georgia, western North Carolina and Virginia, and East Tennessee. Cherokee military resistance finally ended in 1794 when the Chickamauga made peace with the United States at Tellico Blockhouse. Most rejoined the Cherokee; the rest emigrated west across the Mississippi.

view all 23

Chief Dragging Canoe's Timeline

1734
1734
Overhill Settlements, Monroe, Tennessee, United States
1750
1750
Age 16
Tennessee, United States
1751
1751
Age 17
1752
1752
Age 18
1752
Age 18
Cherokee, Swain, Tennessee, United States
1753
1753
Age 19
VA, USA
1755
1755
Age 21
Tennessee, United States
1760
1760
Age 26
North Carolina, United States
1761
1761
Age 27
1765
1765
Age 31
Turkey Knob, Alleghany, North Carolina, United States