Emissaries of Peace: The 1762 Cherokee & British Delegations

This exhibit tells the story of Henry Timberlake’s visit to the Cherokees in 1762, and how he took Cherokee leaders to London to meet with King George III. Timberlake’s Memoirs come to life through artifacts, archaeological treasures, period artwork, music, video, and life size figures. Experience the two contrasting cultures as they emerge from war and make peace. Special pop-up books and graphic panels tell the story for children.

Emissaries was designated a “We the People” exhibit because of its excellence in telling the story of American history. It has been on display at the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C., and at the McClung Museum at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. Colonial Williamsburg’s documentary film and electronic field trip based on Emissaries received an Emmy for sound production.

Sponsored by: the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Cherokee Preservation Foundation, First Citizens Bank, Harrah’s Foundation, the Cannon Foundation, the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, and the Museum of the Cherokee Indian.

Emissaries of Peace: 1762 Cherokee & British Delegations

Henry Timberlake visited the Cherokees as an emissary of Great Britain  in 1761-62.  He took a group of Cherokees including Ostenaco, Cunneshote, and Woyi to visit King George III in London.  His Memoirs provide a rare first-person account of Cherokee life in the eighteenth century.

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Chota was the capitol and mother town for the Overhill Towns of the Cherokees.  Timberlake witnessed ceremonies in the townhouse, speeches, dances, and daily life there for several months.

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When the Cherokees visited London in 1762 they were both diplomats and celebrities. Their visit confirmed that Cherokees were at peace with Great Britain, and would continue to be important allies in the French and Indian War.  The general public was curious about them and flocked to see them during their six-weeks stay.

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Emissaries of Peace Exhibit Catalog, 2006
Henry Timberlake’s Memoirs, new edition edited by Duane H. King, 2007

Culture, Crisis, and Conflict: Cherokee British Relations 1756-1765 ed. Anne Rogers and Barbara Duncan



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Programs for “Emissaries of Peace” include performances by the Warriors of AniKituwha presenting the dance that Timberlake saw when he visited Chota in 1762.  Additional living history programs include demonstrations of Cherokee arts and crafts traditions of the 1700s including river cane basket making, wood carving, stone carving, flint knapping, pottery making, fingerweaving with beads, beadwork, twining, and clothing construction.  Traditional game demonstrations include stickball, chunkey, and marbles.

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