Local Indigenous history in Chattanooga, TN

Read on to learn about the history of Spring Fog Cabin | Photo via npplan.com

It’s Indigenous Peoples’ Day, a day all about celebrating + honoring our Native American communities.

Though not a federal holiday, it’s been made official in many cities + states since 2014. Some states, like Tennessee, honor Native American Day in September.

Today, we’re talking the history of the land at Audubon Acres + where you can learn more.

📍 Audubon Acres

These days, Audubon Acres is a park + nature sanctuary. But before Native Americans were removed from the land in 1838, it was home to the Cherokee + other tribes.

✍️  Spring Frog Cabin belonged to the Cherokee naturalist Spring Frog, an accomplished sportsman + friend of John James Audubon. It was built in 1700’s Cherokee style, and most of its original structure still remains.

✍️  Little Owl Village isn’t a village at all, but the site of a 1990s archaeological dig. Unearthed artifacts reveal the presence of Native Americans as early as the 1500s, predating the Cherokee, and are viewable at the Visitor’s Center.

✍️  Also in the Visitor’s Center is info on the Trail of Tears National Historic Trail, an interstate series of landmarks commemorating the forced displacement of ~60,000 Cherokee, Muscogee, Seminole, Chickasaw + Choctaw natives to Oklahoma.

Today, historians + educators are using this site to teach us all more about the people that owned the land before us. Here’s how you can learn more about it — and honor the history of Chattanooga:

  • Stop by the Visitor’s Center to grab your trail map + learn Audubon’s history.
  • Take the trail to Spring Frog Cabin, then cross the swinging bridge over South Chickamauga Creek to reach the Little Owl Village site (~2 mi.).
  • Call ahead to check the availability of Spring Frog Cabin tours at no additional cost.

Of course, 1 tribe + 1 landmark doesn’t represent the diversity of our local indigenous communities. For more, see Visit Chattanooga’s Native history guide + return to Audubon Acres for Coosa Chiefdom Days on Oct. 23. (Plus, you can check out this handy map showing Indigenous land ownership worldwide.)