Cherokee environment and climate – Native Americans

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A waterfall in what is now the south-eastern United States

A waterfall in what is now the south-eastern United States

Where people of the Cherokee nation lived, in what is now North and South Carolina and Georgia, was a great place to live. It never got very cold – even in winter it hardly ever snowed – and it never got that hot either. There was plenty of water, all year round.

Mostly people lived in the pine forests, along the Allegheny river and other smaller rivers, and in the Appalachian mountains. There were plenty of deer and small animals like rabbits and squirrels to hunt, and lots of fish in the rivers. Along the coast, you could gather shellfish like clams and mussels and oysters, and soft-shell crabs, too.

Cherokee fishing weir: a sort of stone fish trap in a river

Cherokee fishing weir on the Little Tennessee River in Macon County. (Thanks to Ralph Preston)

But the climate didn’t always stay the same. Around 800 AD, there was a global warming period we call the Medieval Warm Period. The Iroquois moved further north, and maybe the Cherokee did too. Then around 1300, the earth cooled down again, starting the Little Ice Age. The Iroquois moved further south, where they probably got into fights with the Cherokee about land.

Learn by doing: a scavenger hunt
More about the Cherokee

Bibliography and further reading about the Cherokee environment:

Cherokee history
North American Environment
More about Native Americans home

By | 2017-12-27T01:43:06+00:00 August 8th, 2017|Environment, Native American, North America|3 Comments
Cite this page: Carr, K.E. Cherokee environment and climate – Native Americans. Study Guides, August 8, 2017. Web. January 16, 2018.

About the Author:

Karen Carr

Karen Carr is Associate Professor Emerita, Department of History, Portland State University. She holds a doctorate in Classical Art and Archaeology from the University of Michigan. Follow her on Instagram, Pinterest, or Twitter, or buy her book, Vandals to Visigoths.


  1. Marta Sharta November 19, 2017 at 10:05 am - Reply

    Thank you for the very helpful information, I am doing a research project about the Cherokee tribe and this website is helping me do a lot of my research… all of them are!!!

    😀 Thanks again ~Marta

    • Karen Carr
      Karen Carr November 20, 2017 at 3:33 pm

      Wow, that’s great! Thanks for writing to let us know, Marta! I’m sure your project will turn out great.

  2. Marta Sharta November 19, 2017 at 10:03 am - Reply

    This is very helpful, thanks!!!

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