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Dahlonega’s Native American Past and Lack of Native American Present


November marks a time for many memorable moments for students such as Thanksgiving, Veterans Day and Black Friday; it’s also a time to recognize and honor the history of Native Americans and how it connects with the University of North Georgia.

Native Americans have quite a history with Dahlonega, such as the name of the city itself. The word ‘dalonige’ in the Cherokee language means “yellow precious metal.” 

The Georgia Gold Museum, located in the middle of the town square, also celebrates the history of Native Americans. states “Twenty years before the 1849 gold rush to California, thousands of gold seekers flocked into the Cherokee Territory of northeast Georgia, beginning the nation’s first major gold rush… The building was restored by the state of Georgia as a State Historic Site and adapted for use as the Gold Museum and is one of the most visited Historic Sites in the state.” The website also has information on the hours and days that the museum is open.

With the city of Dahlonega honoring the culture of Native Americans, students say UNG could do more. Matt Rion, a sophomore dual physics and engineering major, says “They actually offer a Native American Literature class. It shows times that you don’t usually hear about, and it helped me understand a lot about them.”

Asher Dingmore, a sophomore kinesiology major, says “I don’t think Native Americans are represented enough, the only reason I know about some events that happen is because I actively check the events email sent out, and I don’t think most people check that.”

John Hyatt, sophomore history major, says “Understanding what happened when the Europeans came over with their very imperialistic views and how the United States treated them once we became a country, can go a long way in knowing Native American History.”

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the population of Native Americans in Dahlonega was zero in 2020. The World Population Review puts the Native American population at 33, making up 0.51% of the population in Dahlonega. UNG student population statistics say that 0.1% of students self-identify as Native American.

Native American History Month on-campus events can be found on UNG Connect.

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