Facts and Events
Attakullakulla (ca. 1708–ca. 1777) or Atagulkalu (Cherokee, Ata-gul' kalu) — known to whites as Little Carpenter — was First Beloved Man of the Cherokee Indians from 1761 to around 1775. Dragging Canoe, war leader of the Cherokee during the Chickamauga wars, was his son. According to James Mooney, Attakullakulla's Cherokee name could be translated "leaning wood", from "ata" meaning "wood", and "gulkalu", a verb that implies something long and unsupported, leaning against some other object. His name "Little Carpenter" derived from the English meaning of his Cherokee name along with a reference to his physical stature.
Attakullakulla was a powerful and influential 18th-century Overhill Cherokee leader who played a critical and decisive role in shaping diplomatic, trade, and military relationships with the British Colonial governments of South Carolina and Virginia for over fifty years. He effectively led and acted as the primary spokesman for the Overhill Cherokees in the 1750s and 1760s, although apparently he never attained the official title of Uko, or foremost chief, within Cherokee society. He was probably born in the early 1700s, most likely along the French Broad River. In 1730 he was one of seven Cherokees who accompanied Sir Alexander Cumming to England.S2 From about 1743 to 1748 Attakullakulla resided as captive among the Ottawas of eastern Canada, where he was afforded considerable freedom and became well regarded among the French.
He returned to the Overhill country about 1750 and quickly became second in authority to Connecorte, or Old Hop, the Uko at Chota, who was probably his uncle. By this time, whites knew Attakullakulla as Little Carpenter. Popular stories attributed his name to his ability to construct amicable relationships with whites, but it more likely referred to his small stature and to his woodworking skills. Early English explorer and author James Mooney suggested the derivation of Attakullakulla from the words for "wood" and for "something long leaning against another object."
Attakullakulla remained an active leader and negotiator for the Cherokees into the 1770s. When American Revolutionary forces under the command of William Christian occupied the Overhill villages in 1776, Attakullakulla arranged for their withdrawal and played a leading role in the 1777 peace negotiated at Long Island on the Holston. His influence diminished as Dragging Canoe, his son, and other young leaders continued Cherokee resistance to the Americans. Sometime between 1780 and 1785 Attakullakulla died.
Attakullakulla, according to his son Turtle-at-Home, wasn't even Cherokee originally; he was from a branch of the Algonquin Nippising up north captured as an infant and adopted by a minor chief.S4 Therefore, it is almost certain his relationship to his parents listed is as an adoptive one.
Footnotes & References
For more information, see the EN Wikipedia article Attakullakulla.