Cherokee Nation

The Cherokee Nation – largest of the Five Civilized Tribes of the Southeast – is a people of Iroquoian lineage. The Cherokee, who called themselves ‘Ani’-Yun’ wiya’ – ‘Principal People’ – the ‘Keetoowah’ – ‘People of Kituhwa’ – or Tsalagi from their own name for the Cherokee Nation – migrated to the Southeast from the Great Lakes Region. Cherokee Timeline 1450 – First Cherokee enter the state in the vicinity of Traveler’s Rest. Tugaloo Old Town is the first major Cherokee village. 1540-1 De Soto “visits” the Cherokee and is supposedly one of the first whites seen by the tribe, although written descriptions of the tribe by the Spanish note the wide range of colors in the tribe, from “negro” (black) to light skinned and “fair,” according to Moyano and Pardo. 1650 – Cherokee commanded more than 40,000 square miles in the southern Appalachians by 1650 with a population […] Read More

The Traditional Cherokee Belief System

In a search for order and sustaining that order, the olden Cherokee devised a simple, yet seemingly complex belief system. Many of the elements of the original system remain today. Although some have evolved or otherwise been modified, the traditional Cherokee of today recognize the belief system as an integral part of day-to-day life. Certain numbers play an important role in the ceremonies of the Cherokee. The numbers four and seven repeatedly occur in myths, stories and ceremonies. Four represents all the familiar forces, also represented in the four cardinal directions. These cardinal directions are east, west, north and south. Certain colors are also associated with these directions. The number seven represents the seven clans of the Cherokee, and are also associated with directions. In addition to the four cardinal directions, three others exist. Up (the Upper World), down (the Lower World) and center (where we live, and where […] Read More

MEDICINE OF PLANTS

Once, in the beginning…  animals and people lived together in harmony and talked with each other. However, when mankind began to increase at a rapid pace,  the animals were pushed and crowded into forests and deserts. Man began to kill four-footed’s for their skins and furs,  not just for food that was much needed. The animals… angry at such treatment by those whom they had befriended…  decided they must punish such a greedy mankind. The Bear tribe met in council. This was led by Chief Old White Bear. After many Bears had spoken against humankind and their bloody ways,  war was agreed upon. But what kind of weapons would the Bears use? Chief Old White Bear suggested that the human’s weapon,  the bow and arrow, should be used against him. The council all agreed. While the Bears worked and made bows and arrows,  they wondered what to use for bowstrings. […] Read More

2007: Who is a Cherokee? Many Americans have Indians in the family tree

Steve Hammons March 06, 2007 The Oklahoma Cherokee Nation’s vote last weekend to remove African-Americans from official tribal membership made news in the U.S. and around the world. In a special election Saturday, 76 percent of the 270,000 members of the Cherokee Nation voted to remove the black “freedmen” from official tribal membership. The estimated 2,800 freedman are ancestors of slaves held by Cherokees when they were forced from the Appalachian Mountain region on the “Trail of Tears” in 1838-1839. Over 4,000 Cherokees died from hardships along the way. Although this specific issue of the position of freedmen is interesting and relevant today, the case brings up several related factors that affect a much larger slice of Americans. This is because many Americans have Cherokee or other Native American DNA within their genetic makeup. Some families are aware this, some people have heard rumors or stories from family members […] Read More