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Thursday, January 5, 2012

Cherokee Culture

The Cherokee seal (above) was used on all official documents until the dissolution of the Nation when they were forced into Oklahoma stateship. The seven-point star represents the seven clans of the Nation and the seven characters of the Cherokee alphabet used to say Cherokee Nation. The wreath of oak leaves that surround the star symbolize the sacred fire.The margin contains the words "Seal of the Cherokee Nation" in both English and the Cherokee language. The significance of the date contained in the margin records the date from when the Cherokee Nation's Constitution was adopted.
The Cherokee Indian nation is not well known around the world because of the seclusion and small size of the nation. The nation's rich, diverse culture includes many aspects such as religion, clothing, and government.
The Cherokee religion is based on the monotheistic belief of one God, known as The Creator. Legends were handed down from generation to generation in order to preserve and teach wisdom and knowledge.
Cherokee society is historically matrilineal. It is composed of seven clans: Long Hair, Blue, Wolf, Wild Potato, Deer, Bird, and Paint).
Villages had two chiefs: a "white" chief who lead in times of peace and a "red" chief who lead in times of war.
Though men were priests and chiefs, women played an important role in village politics and even participated in councils.
Power between men and women was divided up equally. The men were in charge of hunting, war, and diplomacy. The women were in charge of family, farming, and property. Both men and women shared the duty of storytelling, artwork, music, and traditional medicine.
Clothing was seasonal. Traditionally, men wore only a loin cloth made of deerskin during the summer. During the winter, men added leggins, shirts, and robes. For decoration men used face paint and tattoos. Women wore dresses made of deerskin with long, fringed petticoats underneath that resembled pants. For decoration, they rubbed their hair with bear grease and decorated it with red or yellow dust. Cherokee Indians did not wear head dresses as some plains tribes are seen to wear. Instead, the men fashioned mohawks and turbans were commonly worn.
Cherokee Indians did not live in tipis like other tribes that lived on the plains. Instead, they lived in mud, river cane, and grass constructed huts.

Children and men played sports, and even gambled, on games such as modern day marbles and stick ball, which is much like the modern day game of lacrosse.

To travel across rivers Cherokees used dugout canoes from hollowed out logs. To travel across land Cherokees used dogs as pack animals and traveled on foot before Europeans brought horses to the new world.

The Cherokees were farming people. They harvested crops such as corn, beans, squash, and sunflowers. The men hunted small game such as rabbits and fish, and large game such as deer and turkey.

Important Fact: The Cherokee nation was the first Native American tribe to have their own written alphabet. It was created in 1821 by a warrior and silversmith named Sequoyah. Because of Sequoyah's great contribution the Cherokee people became literate and published its first newspaper in 1828.


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