Native Lands

What was it like before Europeans settlers arrived here?

Immerse yourself in the world of art, music and ceremony of the Muscogee (Creeks) and Cherokees in Native Lands: Native Americans and Georgia, an Atlanta History Center exhibition on an extended run.

The exhibition shares the history and stories of the state’s original inhabitants beginning with the Mississippian peoples and continuing with their descendants, the Creeks and the Cherokees. Long before the first European settlers came to what is now called Georgia, the Mississippian Indians developed complex societies on these lands – complete with art, music, ceremony, agriculture, architecture and trade industries.

The Creeks and Cherokees left landmarks and cultural legacies prior to their Western relocation – the Creeks via land cession in controversial treaties signed with the federal government, and the Cherokees on the Trail of Tears, both in the early decades of the 19th century. Native Lands explores recent history of these native Americans and their continuing connections to Georgia through the voices of contemporary Creeks and Cherokees.


  • Introductory video chronicling the Mississippian, Creek, and Cherokee cultures on land that is now Georgia
  • Archaeological items speaking to the creative expressions by people within the vast political realms of Mississippian Chiefdoms
  • Rare map of the Dominions of North American published by John Mitchell in 1755 – one of the most accurate maps of its time
  • Vignette expressing the realm of a Creek town unit and portraying the ceremonial green corn “busk”
  • Vignette of a Cherokee household hearth showing the blending of Cherokee and European cultures
  • Beadwork dating from the 1830s, including two Cherokee bandolier bags, and a Creek sash
  • Three important 1830s portraits of Creek and Cherokee leaders by Henry Inman
  • A hands-on activity involving the spelling of words utilizing the Cherokee syllabary invented by Sequoyah
  • Contemporary Creek and Cherokee art including items on loan from the Funk Heritage Center at Reinhardt University
  • Contemporary history provided through video interviews with Cherokee and Creek citizens


Learn. More.