James Robertson Little Carpenter

Attakullakulla (Little Carpenter)

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Attakullakulla (Little Carpenter)

Attakullakulla, also known as Little Carpenter, was a Cherokee leader who was important in land, trade and diplomatic roles in the 1700s in the Virginia and Tennessee region.  He was one of the primary chiefs of the Overhill Cherokees between 1750 and 1775.  In his younger life, he was taken to England by a man named Sir Alexander Cumming.   Attakullakulla was taken to many European cities and treated like a celebrity.  When he met King George, he was in his native Cherokee dress with a painted face and feathers in his hair.  He learned some English during his journey to Europe.  

By 1750, Attakullakulla moved back to his Overhill Cherokee area.  During this time he, then known as Little Carpenter by the white settlers, worked for peaceful trade and negotiations with settlers in the area.  Little Carpenter was a strong and respected leader for the Cherokees into the 1770s.  

Little Carpenter’s son, Dragging Canoe, was a Cherokee war chief who led his tribe against the colonists and settlers in southeastern part of the colonies.  Dragging Canoe always wanted to be a warrior.   At the young age of 12, his father - Little Carpenter, refused to let him accompany the warriors into battle.  His father had told him that the only way that he could go to war with them was to put a fully loaded war canoe in the river by himself.  He did just that and from then on, he was respected as a warrior.  When the Cherokees traded their land for gifts, Dragging Canoe disagreed with the trade.   He left the negotiations very angry and became an opponent of the white settlers moving onto the Cherokee land.  

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