Hernando De Soto s invasion of Indian lands in 1540 marked the onslaught of great change in the lives of Tennessee s Native Americans. Although these first Tennesseans boasted a cultural heritage of thousands of years, only three centuries of contact with the white man elapsed before their population was decimated and the remnants driven out. The Indians were a settled people when de Soto visited, not the savage or exotic woods creatures so often depicted. Tennessee s Indian Peoples, then, is a story of men and women human beings. Author, Ronald N. Satz tells how the Cherokees, Chickasaws, Creeks, Shawnees, and other Indian peoples lived, reared families, farmed and hunted, worshipped, played, fought, and governed themselves. He describes also the eventful destruction of their societies destroyed not only by external pressures for Indian lands, but also by internal change wrought by increasing dependence on the white man s trade goods.
Ronald N. Satz is Dean of Graduate Studies and University Research and teaches history at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. In addition to numerous articles and book reviews, his published work includes American Indian Policy in the Jacksonian Era (1975). He has received fellowships from both the Ford Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities. Professor Satz has served as a member of the Editorial Advisory Board of the American Indian Quarterly.