Fannin Brewing Company
Chief Whitepath IPA
Blue Ridge, GA
Chief Whitepath (1761-1838) was a leader of the Cherokee people during the late 18th and early 19th centuries. His Indian name was Nunna-tsune-ga which translates to “I dwell on the peaceful path”. (The color white has long been associated with peace, purity and goodness.) He is particularly remembered for his outspoken resistance to the Cherokee Indian’s yielding of land to white settlers as well as their acceptance of American culture.
Whitepath was born in 1761 near Ellijay, GA. He joined General Andrew Jackson to fight the Creek Indians at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend in 1814, during which he helped lead 600 Cherokee soldiers in defeating over 1,000 Creeks. His strategy of stealing the Creeks’ canoes and cutting off their escape route helped secure the victory.
Soon after the battle, Whitepath became very vocal in opposition to white settlements in the region but he eventually focused his words directly against now-President Andrew Jackson’s attempts to relocate the indigenous population in the Southeast. Jackson was able to push the Indian Removal Act through Congress in 1830 which essentially negated all land claims Indians had in the region. Between 1830 and 1850, the Creek, Seminole, Choctaw, Ponca and Cherokee peoples were all forced to move west with most ending up in Oklahoma. The Cherokee Indians were the last to relocate starting in 1838 after gold was discovered on their land.
A Supreme Court ruling in 1832 actually supported the Cherokee people and confirmed their right to own land in Georgia, as protected by the U.S. Constitution, but Jackson continued to push for their removal. He negotiated with Cherokee leaders, including Whitepath, and they eventually settled on the Treaty of New Echota in 1835, a treaty Whitepath vehemently opposed along with 16,000 other Cherokee Indians who petitioned against the deal. According to the treaty, the tribe traded all of their land east of the Mississippi for new land in Oklahoma and $5 million. Although Whitepath was given a reprieve due to his military service, he declined and decided to travel to Oklahoma with his tribe. He was 75 years old when he began the journey and only made it to Hopkinsville, KY where he passed away and was buried. He was one of approximately 4,000 Cherokee Indians that died along the Trail of Tears.
Stories about Chief Whitepath are not without controversy as the dates of certain events have led many people to question their authenticity. For example, during the Battle of Horseshoe Bend, Chief Whitepath would have been well over 50 years old, quite elderly for a warrior in those days, but he certainly could have still participated. Many sources also claim that he grew up in a cabin that his parents built but these same sources also frequently claim that the cabin was built twenty years or more after he was born. It may have just been a cabin in which he or his parents lived for a time. Whitepath might have even been born across the border in North Carolina. For some reason, the exact details of his life seem to have become a bit confused and distorted over time.
Warrior or not, Chief Whitepath is remembered as a kind-hearted person who worked tirelessly to help the Cherokee people. His alleged childhood cabin has since been relocated from its original home in Turniptown, GA and now stands as a part of the National Georgia History Center on the campus of Brenau University in Gainesville, GA. Statues of Chief Whitepath can be found at the cabin as well as at his gravesite in Hopkinsville. Chief Whitepath’s legacy of dwelling “on the peaceful path” remains an inspiration to many, including the workers at Fannin Brewing Company who pay tribute to the Cherokee leader with their Chief Whitepath White IPA.
From the Brewer: Refreshing White IPA featuring lime leaf tea, lemongrass, and Mosaic and Calypso hops. ABV 5.8%, IBU 66
Tom Fennell - Founder