The land encircling the confluence of the Hiwassee and Tennessee Rivers, where the Hiwassee Refuge is located, is steeped in Cherokee Indian history. This land lies near the center of the ancestral land of the Cherokee Nation.
Cherokee Indian Removal Memorial, located on the banks of the Tennessee River in Birchwood, Tennessee, was one of the main staging areas for the Trail Of Tears. Thousands of Cherokee Indians camped here before their infamous trip to the west. This area had nine encampments of thousands of Cherokees that waited weeks to be sent across the river here at Blythe Ferry. Some were very sick and many with a sad heart at leaving their beloved homeland.