Journey to Restore Land in Moravian Falls to the Oklahoma Cherokee
By Alison Muesing
In May 2005, I drove to Lake Junaluska in the North Carolina mountains to seek the Lord for three days. At 8 a.m. the first morning as I was walking around the lake, I noticed a plaque under the statue of Chief Junaluska, a warrior from the Cherokee tribe who was born around 1775. He had saved the life of General Andrew Jackson in the War of 1812. But due to Jackson’s influence later as president of the United States, the Cherokee warrior was forcibly removed with his tribe from his beloved homelands.
The words on the plaque about Junaluska’s life were written graciously, yet I sensed something deeper between the lines, something that couldn’t be expressed openly. In that moment, I felt the grief of the Holy Spirit for the historic injustices against our First Nations. As I continued walking around the lake, I sensed a call from the Lord to “Native American reconciliation.”
I began researching the tribal histories of Southeastern tribes and met on multiple occasions with several chiefs and members of the tribes – to listen and hear their hearts, still feeling the wounds of the past. This led to organizing reconciliation ceremonies with Christian and government leaders to help heal ancient wounds.
Two years later, in fall 2007 I felt a stirring to purchase land in the North Carolina mountains – part of the original Cherokee homelands – to restore to Oklahoma Cherokee whose ancestors had walked westward on the Trail of Tears in 1838-39. When I heard about land for sale in Moravian Falls, my spirit leapt. There was a God-ordained connection between the Moravians and the Cherokee 200 years ago.
Mom and I drove to Pore’s Knob Mountain to explore the possibility of purchasing land. Providentially, after getting lost and being delayed about an hour, we met the developer on the mountain who showed us several lots. If we had arrived earlier, we would have missed him.
We were impressed by the peaceful wooded land bordered by steep ravines on the highest mountain in the area. Then, after several weeks of prayer and consideration, we signed the note to purchase the land. Not long afterwards, the economic downturn of 2008 struck, hindering fundraising for the land and construction of a house for the Cherokee on their original homelands.
My vision was to restore land to the Cherokee from Oklahoma, descendants of the original stewards of the mountain lands of western North Carolina who were forcibly removed from their homelands and relocated to Oklahoma.
There were many times that teams walked, prayed, shared words from the Lord, blew the shofar and poured oil on the land. Not long after the notes were signed, I invited a Cherokee-Brazilian couple to pray with me on the land. Just as we stepped onto the land, the woman had a vision. She saw on the land angry Native Americans dancing in preparation for war. After prayer, she saw another vision – Natives Americans gathered in a circle with peoples from many countries in their national dress. They were rejoicing with their arms around each other’s shoulders.
By 2012, struggling to keep up with monthly payments on the land, I accepted the bank’s offer to settle for 10 cents on the dollar. By God’s grace and the generosity of donors, the funds were raised within the bank’s three-week deadline … and the land was spared from going into foreclosure. At the end of one day when a group of ladies had prayed and made declarations on the land, I returned home and opened my mailbox. A letter was waiting from the bank with the original note stamped “Paid in Full”!
A 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation, The Eagles Return, Inc., was formed. The name was inspired after hearing that the developer near the top of the mountain observed a bald eagle fly by his living room window, followed by another eagle … during the celebration of Purim. He said that after many years living there, he had never previously seen bald eagles on that mountain.
Three years ago, another woman received a vision of the clearing among the trees on the land. She saw people gathering there and forming a circle. She knew they were all Cherokee. She said it was like the “Aliya” (a reference to the Jews return to the land of Israel). In the vision she saw Cherokee who came and enclosed the property like a fortress, similar to a sentry. They just kept coming, like out of the woodwork.
And then in the vision a mighty wind came and – whoosh – blew away all the branches and leaves in the circle. As the wind blew, the Cherokee watched as something was being revealed. The wind was uncovering a beautiful white cross. It had to be 10 feet long and 10 feet wide, like an airport landing strip. The cross was in the earth and it was revealed as the wind removed all the debris and dirt that had hidden it for centuries.
In fall 2020, the board of The Eagles Return felt it was time to transfer the corporation with the land to the Cherokee. Although my vision had been to give the land and build a house for the Cherokee, the funds had not become available. I sensed it was similar to David’s desire to build the temple, but God had ordained that Solomon build it.
Our board voted unanimously for Cherokee Pastor Clifton Pettit of Oklahoma to serve as the new president of the board and then he chose new members. He is a full-blood Spirit-filled Cherokee whose ancestors walked the Trail of Tears. Also, he is a descendant of Peace Chief Yonaguska who lived in the 1830s when he advocated with the North Carolina legislature for his tribe to remain on their homelands in North Carolina.
Clifton and his team from Oklahoma first walked onto the land in 2018 and were stirred by its beauty. He declared the word of the Lord with great authority on the mountain, both in Cherokee and in English.
There have been many prophetic words given to the Cherokee over the centuries. One word several years ago was “Come home. Come home.” Many believe that restoration of land to the Cherokee in Moravian Falls is a strategic and spiritually significant act of restitution, reconciliation and healing.