The Moon-Eyed People
in the Allegheny Mountains
The Allegheny Mountains
The Cherokees say that before they conquered the country and settled in the valleys, the inhabitants were "moon-eyed" and were unable to see during certain phases of the moon.
The moon-eyed people are known to be physically different from the Cherokee, were short, bearded people having pale white skin, said to have lived in Appalachia until the Cherokees expelled them. These were the stories told by early European settlers in America.
The Moon-Eyed People were said to be physically very different from the Cherokee, being bearded and having pale, perfectly white skin. They were called Moon-Eyed because they were unable to see in daylight, their sensitive eyes being blinded by the sun. For this reason, they were strictly nocturnal; and lived in underground caverns.
It was during a period of blindness that the Creeks swept through the mountain passes, up the valleys, and annihilated the race. The Cherokees in turn conquered the Creeks with a great slaughter. No boundaries can be assigned to the land of any Indian tribe, however, the tribe was distinguished by two great geographical divisions, the *Otari, signifying "among the mountains," and the Arati, signifying " lowland". There were sixty towns and 6,000 fighting men who could at any time be called by the grand chief to the warpath.
* Just before the arrival of the Spanish, the Indians who dwelt in caves were called Otali, or Otari, meaning "Mountaineers). But the oldest ethnonym was Eshelokee (as the English had it) Cherokee. It was a name that appeared as early as Spanish accounts and maps.
Sources: The Heart of the Alleghenies of Western North Carolina by Wilbur G. Zeigler and Ben S. Grosscup (1883).
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