#2 Mandie and the Cherokee Legend by Lois Gladys Leppard, 1983.
Mandie is going to visit her Cherokee relatives with her mother and Uncle John. Mandie is eager to meet her relatives, and she hopes that they all like her. The Cherokees all knew her father well, and most of them are eager to meet her. All except for her cousin, Tsa’ni, that is.
Tsa’ni knows the stories of how white men have oppressed the Cherokees and forced them to move off of their land years ago, and he resents all white people because of it. The others tell him that he is wrong to hate all white people because of what some of them did in the past and that Mandie and her Uncle John are good people. However, Tsa’ni doesn’t listen to them, and he plays a mean trick on Mandie, Joe, and Uncle Ned’s granddaughter, Sallie. He offers to show them a cave, but then he abandons them inside.
The three kids have to find their own way out, but they discover a fortune in gold nuggets in the process. First, the children have to make it back to Uncle Ned’s house after a frightening night in the woods. Mandie, Joe, and Sallie accidentally stumble onto a still (machinery for making alcohol) that belongs to a white couple while they are wandering around in the woods after leaving the cave. The couple are worried that they will tell people about their illegal still, so they hold the kids prisoner.
Although the kids manage to escape, they must return to the cave to find the treasure again (while dodging Tsa’ni’s tricks to foil their efforts) and keep it safe (from the still operators and anyone else who might want to steal it) until they can decide what to do with it. As far as Uncle Ned and the other Cherokees are concerned, gold is bad luck because it was the discovery of gold which forced the Cherokees out of their old homeland. However, the origin of this gold may help to change their minds.