The Modern West brings you heartfelt stories about poignant issues happening today in the rural west. A lot of these issues are also felt in other rural communities, across the country. Today we take you to the foothills of the lush Appalachian Mountains in East Tennessee. There you’ll meet people who lost their way of life when a federal agency decided to take their land and flood their rich river valley, burying beneath the water much of our country’s early history, including many sacred Cherokee sites, and threatening an endangered species. This was all done in the name of progress.

 

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From our good friends at the award-winning podcast Middle of Everywhere, with WKMS in Kentucky, this is The Story of Tanasi, the first of a five-part series following a decades-long battle that took the river’s people all the way to the Supreme Court as they tried to save their way of life in the Little Tennessee River Valley. In this first part, called The Birth of a River, you’ll hear a history of the river valley, and learn about the cultural significance and importance of the river to the Cherokee Nation.

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