An historic novel, Hiawassee – Child of the Meadow by Doris Gaines Rapp, is written for middle-school and all ages. Hiawassee learned balance from the Cherokee legends of her childhood, peace and forgiveness in the Christianity of her adulthood. She was a Cherokee girl who left the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina before the army forced her people off their land and into the Indian Territory that is now Oklahoma.
Into the mist of time, my heart reaches back to this free and cherished child of the Cherokee Nation. Buckskin clothes and moccasin feet, she ran along the trail next to the forest. No one remembers her Indian name but her story is re-told at the annual encampment of her people. I call her Hiawassee, because it means meadow in her native language. That is where she spent her days, gathering herbs and plants that healed her people.
Her husband, Jacob Meadows, named her Rachel as she hid from bounty hunters who could capture any Native Indians who were off the reservation, and turn them in for the price of a small reward. She lived to be 104 years old and never left her home without her husband or one of her son's at her side.
She was spared the horrible, dangerous walk of her people along the Trail of Tears. But, once in Jacob's home of Indiana, she was shunned by his family, his community and his church. Although she was never invited to anyone's home and no one came to visit her, Hiawassee chose to live a life of balance rather than resentment, and love rather than hate. Let me tell you her story.
Doris Gaines Rapp: author, Hiawassee – Child of the Meadow