Michael E. Thornton

A Cherokee from South Carolina, Michael E. Thornton’s Cherokee Indians can trace their history back more than one thousand years. Their society was based on hunting, trading, and agriculture, living in towns until they encountered the first Europeans in 1540, when Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto led an exploration through Cherokee Indian territory. By the time European explorers and traders arrived, Cherokee Indian lands covered a large part of what is now the southeastern United States.

Born on March 23, 1949, in Greenville, South Carolina, Thornton graduated from high school in 1967 and en...