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ABOUT ME

I'm Rose Fontaine: Hi! And welcome to my blog that I have dedicated to sharing my experiences in the little sky valley in the mountains of North Carolina. I have seen groups of friends come to the trails of the Appalachians to have some adventure ever since I was a child. It made me want to share some of the secrets of these valleys with everyone so that they can have a better experience and keep the forest protected. I like to share some of my traditional recipes, special viewing spots, and some of the other interesting things about these mountains with everyone. If you are planning a visit, do not forget to meet me and say Hi!

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Discovering Cherokee Culture: A Journey Through History, Traditions, and Modern-Day Life

Cherokee culture is a rich and fascinating tapestry of traditions, beliefs, and practices that have been passed down through generations. The Cherokee people are Native Americans who originally inhabited the southeastern United States. Their culture is deeply rooted in spirituality, family, and community. In this article, we will explore the history, traditions, and modern-day life of the Cherokee people.

History of Cherokee Culture

The Cherokee people have a long and complex history that dates back thousands of years. Before European colonization, the Cherokee people lived in the southern Appalachian Mountains, in what is now the southeastern United States. They were skilled farmers who grew corn, beans, and squash, as well as hunters and gatherers who relied on the natural resources of the region. The Cherokee people were skilled at building and used their expertise to create villages and towns. They also had a strong system of government that included a chief and council, as well as a written language. In the 1830s, the U.S. government passed the Indian Removal Act, which forced the Cherokee people and other Native American tribes to leave their ancestral lands and move west of the Mississippi River. The Cherokee people resisted the forced relocation, but in 1838, they were forced to leave their homes and begin the journey west. The journey became known as the Trail of Tears, and it resulted in the deaths of thousands of Cherokee people. Despite the challenges they faced, the Cherokee people have persevered and continue to maintain their culture and traditions.

Cherokee Traditions and Beliefs

The Cherokee people have a rich spiritual tradition that is deeply connected to the natural world. They believe that everything in the universe is interconnected and that humans are just one part of a larger whole. Cherokee spirituality emphasizes the importance of balance and harmony in all aspects of life. One of the most important Cherokee traditions is the Green Corn Ceremony. This is a four-day ceremony that takes place in late summer or early fall and is intended to give thanks for the harvest and renew the spirit. The ceremony involves dancing, singing, and feasting. Another important tradition is the Cherokee ball game. This is a game that has been played by Cherokee people for thousands of years and is still played today. The game is a combination of soccer and lacrosse and is played with a ball made of deerskin filled with hair. The Cherokee people also have a rich tradition of art, music, marriage, and storytelling. Cherokee art is known for its intricate designs and bold colors. Cherokee music is often played on flutes and drums and is characterized by its haunting melodies. Cherokee storytelling is an important way of passing down traditions and history from one generation to the next.

Modern-Day Cherokee Life

Today, the Cherokee people continue to maintain their culture and traditions. The Cherokee Nation is a federally recognized tribal government that represents the Cherokee people in Oklahoma. The tribe operates a number of businesses, including casinos, hotels, and retail stores, which help to fund tribal programs and services. The Cherokee Nation also operates a number of cultural centers and museums, which are dedicated to preserving Cherokee culture and history. The Cherokee Heritage Center in Tahlequah, Oklahoma, is one of the most popular cultural centers and features exhibits on Cherokee history, art, and traditions. Despite these efforts, the Cherokee people still face challenges in maintaining their culture and traditions. One of the biggest challenges is the loss of the Cherokee language. Only a small percentage of Cherokee people still speak the language fluently, and efforts are underway to preserve and promote the language. The Cherokee Nation also faces challenges in maintaining its sovereignty and protecting its land and resources. The tribe has been involved in legal battles over issues such as land use, water rights, and environmental protection. In recent years, the Cherokee Nation has taken steps to address these challenges and promote greater self-determination. In 2021, the tribe became the first tribal government to join the Paris Agreement on climate change, committing to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and promote sustainable development. The Cherokee people also continue to make important contributions to American society. Cherokee citizens have served in the U.S. military and have been leaders in politics, sports, and the arts. Notable Cherokee figures include Wilma Mankiller, the first female Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation, and Sequoyah, the inventor of the Cherokee writing system.

Conclusion

Cherokee culture is a complex and vibrant tapestry of traditions, beliefs, and practices that have been passed down through generations. Despite the challenges they have faced, the Cherokee people continue to maintain their culture and traditions and make important contributions to American society. As we learn more about Cherokee culture, we gain a deeper understanding of the interconnectedness of all people and the importance of respecting and preserving diverse cultures and traditions. By honoring and learning from the traditions of the Cherokee people and other Indigenous cultures, we can create a more just and equitable world for all.

The Cherokee Indians Of North Carolina

Grandfather mountain In North Carolina
The Cherokee Indians are Native Americans who originally lived in the Southeast United States. At present, there is a total of three Cherokee tribes that are federally recognized by the United States. First is the Eastern Band which is currently in North Carolina. The next one is called United Keetowah Band which you can find in Oklahoma. Lastly, there is another tribe that’s also found in Oklahoma. They are the Cherokee Nation.

The Largest Tribe

The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians is the largest and most prominent of these three tribes, with over 14,000 members. The tribe has its own government, economy, and healthcare system, and is recognized by the federal government as an American Indian tribe. The tribe’s land base is in western North Carolina near the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

The History

These Cherokee Indians have a long and rich history. The tribe was one of the first to sign the Treaty of Hopewell with the United States in 1785 and played a vital role in the Trail of Tears. The tribe also played a role in the Civil War, with many members serving in the Confederate army.

The Tribe Today

Today, they are a thriving community. The tribe’s economic development efforts have created jobs and businesses, and the tribe’s healthcare system is nationally recognized. The tribe is also working to preserve its cultural heritage and promote the Cherokee language as well as its culture.

Culture And Traditions

They also possess a strong cultural heritage. The tribe is committed to preserving its language and culture and offers many programs and events that promote the Cherokee culture and language. The tribe also has a rich tradition of art and crafts, and many members are skilled in traditional Cherokee arts such as basket-making, pottery, and weaving. They also have a strong tradition of music and dance. The tribe’s traditional music is an important part of its culture, and the tribe sponsors a number of events each year that feature Cherokee music and dance.

7 Activities To Do In Cherokee North Carolina

family enjoying the nature
If you’re looking for a great way to spend your vacation, Cherokee, North Carolina is the place to be. With its stunning mountains and crystal-clear waterways, Cherokee is a nature lover’s paradise. But that’s not all there is to do in this charming town – there are also plenty of fun activities for visitors of all ages. Here are seven of the best things to do in Cherokee.

Visit the Oconaluftee Indian Village

The Oconaluftee Indian Village is a must-see for anyone visiting Cherokee. This living history village allows visitors to experience what life was like for the Cherokee people before European settlement. You can explore the village, meet the villagers, and learn about their culture and customs. The village is located right next to the Oconaluftee River, so you can also enjoy some beautiful views while you’re there.

Go tubing on the Nantahala River

The Nantahala River is one of the most popular attractions in Cherokee. Visitors can go tubing, rafting, or kayaking down the river, and there are plenty of companies that offer guided tours. The river is surrounded by stunning mountains, so it’s a great way to enjoy the outdoors while you’re in town.

Check out the Museum of the Cherokee Indian

The Museum of the Cherokee Indian is a great place to learn about the history and culture of the Cherokee people. The museum houses a collection of artifacts, artwork, and documents that date back centuries. You can also watch a film about the Cherokee people and see traditional dance performances.

Take a scenic drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway

The Blue Ridge Parkway is one of the most popular scenic drives in the country, and it runs right through Cherokee. The parkway offers stunning views of the Appalachian Mountains, and there are plenty of places to stop along the way to enjoy the scenery.

Visit the Unto These Hills Outdoor Drama

The Unto These Hills Outdoor Drama is a must-see for anyone interested in Cherokee history. This historical drama tells the story of the Cherokee people from their arrival in the Appalachians to their forced removal during the Trail of Tears. The drama is performed outdoors, so you can enjoy the fresh mountain air while you watch.

Stroll through the Cherokee Botanical Gardens

The Cherokee Botanical Gardens are a beautiful place to relax and take in the sights and sounds of nature. The gardens feature a variety of native plants, flowers, and trees, as well as a number of sculptures and fountains. You can also purchase plants to take home with you.

Explore the Great Smoky Mountains National Park

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country, and it’s just a short drive from Cherokee. The park offers beautiful hiking trails, stunning views, and plenty of opportunities to see wildlife. You can also visit historic sites like Cades Cove and Mount LeConte. Whether you’re looking for adventure, relaxation, or just a place to eat, Cherokee has something for everyone. So what are you waiting for? Start planning your trip today!

Best Hikes in the North Carolina Mountains

hiking at Blue Ridge Parkway

Driving through the North Carolina mountains is great but remember that it is also a hiker’s paradise, with trails of all difficulty levels and amazing views waiting to be discovered. Whether you’re a beginner just starting out or an experienced hiker looking for a new challenge, these hikes are sure to please. So lace up your boots and get ready for an adventure!

Grandfather Mountain

There are a variety of trails to choose from at Grandfather Mountain, each with its own unique set of challenges and rewards. The most popular trail is the Mile High Swinging Bridge, which is a challenging but rewarding hike that takes you to the top of the mountain. If you’re looking for something a bit easier, the scenic loop around the mountain is a great option. And for the most experienced hikers, the hike to the top of one of the many peaks is a true test of endurance. No matter which trail you choose, you’re sure to enjoy stunning views of the North Carolina mountains.

Rough Ridge (Blue Ridge Parkway)

Rough Ridge is a moderate hike that takes you through a beautiful forest and offers stunning views of the Linville Gorge. The trail is well-marked and relatively easy to follow, making it a great option for beginner hikers. However, there are some sections of the trail that are quite steep and may be challenging for some. But the effort is well worth it when you reach the top and take in the breathtaking views.

Devil’s Courthouse (Blue Ridge Parkway)

Devil’s Courthouse is a strenuous hike that should only be attempted by experienced hikers. The trail is steep and rocky, and the summit is exposed to the elements, making it a challenging but rewarding hike. The views from the top are simply incredible, making it one of the most popular hikes in the North Carolina mountains.

Table Rock (Linville Gorge)

Table Rock is a moderate hike with some sections that are quite steep. However, the reward for completing this hike is an incredible 360-degree view of the surrounding mountains. Table Rock is also a great option for those looking for a bit of adventure, as there are several rock formations along the trail that can be climbed. Just be sure to use caution, as the rocks can be slippery.

Hanging Rock (Hanging Rock State Park)

Hanging Rock trail is relatively short at only 1.3 miles. However, hikers should still be careful because there are still some steep sections. One good thing about this trail is the warm temperature. That means you can enjoy hiking this trail at any time of the year as long as there aren’t any severe weather conditions. There are multiple viewpoints and you can take your time enjoying the view of what each stop has to offer.

Roan Mountain (Roan Mountain State Park)

This is another short hike at 1.5 miles but don’t let the length of the trail deceive you. You will be going up an incline for most of the hike but once you reach the top, you’ll be able to see six different states! That’s right, on a clear day you can see Tennessee, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Kentucky. Can you imagine being able to say you saw all those states in one day?

The Rhododendron gardens at Roan Mountain State Park are a must-see for any hiker. The gardens are home to over 12,000 rhododendrons, making it one of the largest collections in the world. And with so many different varieties to see, there is something for everyone. So be sure to make time to stop and enjoy the beauty of the Rhododendron gardens on your next hike in the North Carolina mountains.

Art Loeb Trail (Pisgah National Forest)

The Art Loeb Trail is a long and challenging hike that spans 30 miles through the Pisgah National Forest. This trail is recommended for experienced hikers only, as it can be difficult to navigate and there are some sections that are quite steep. But the stunning views of the Appalachian Mountains make it well worth the effort.

The best time to hike the Art Loeb Trail is in the spring or fall when the weather is cool and the leaves are changing color. But no matter when you decide to hike this trail, you’re sure to enjoy incredible views of the North Carolina mountains.

There you have it! These are just a few of the best hikes in the North Carolina mountains. So get out there and explore all that these beautiful mountains have to offer. And be sure to take in the breathtaking views along the way.

The Legend Of Uktena

legends and stories
There are many different Cherokee stories. One of them talks about a huge monster snake that has horns and even wings. This is called the Uktena. Today, we are going to tell you about this story and the legend that revolves around it.

The Origin Of The Uktena

Deep in the swamps of the American Southeast, there is said to dwell a giant snake with a jewel in its head. This creature is known as Uktena, and it is said to be able to transform into any other animal. Uktena has been known to kill people who cross its path, and some believe that if you can get the jewel from its head, you will have great power. The legend of Uktena is steeped in mystery and fear. Different stories will talk about their origin. In one of the stories, it is said that “Little Men” were the ones who turned a man into a monster snake. They had to create this monster in order to kill the Sun who became angry with the people of the earth. Due to his anger, there was a sickness that was placed upon the people. Unfortunately, the Uktena wasn’t able to successfully do his mission. They sent a rattlesnake next and it was the one who succeeded. The Uktena felt jealous and mad about his failure. Many people grew afraid of him that’s why the tribe decided to take him away. Some say that the creature is a spirit that has been brought to our world from another realm. Others believe that it is a physical embodiment of evil, a force of nature that should be avoided at all costs. Whatever the truth may be, there is no denying that Uktena is a fearsome creature.

The Dwellings Of The Uktena

According to legend the Uktena dwells isolated in the swamps, away from human contact. It is a solitary creature that only comes out at night when it is said to prowl the forests and wetlands in search of prey. The Uktena is said to be huge, with some reports claiming that it can grow up to 30 feet in length. It is also said to have glowing eyes and a jewel on its forehead. This jewel is said to be the source of the Uktena’s power, and many people have tried to steal it over the years.

Simple And Easy North Carolina Biscuit Recipe

biscuits with gravy
The North Carolina Biscuit is something that everyone in the state of North Carolina knows about, and if you listen to anyone who has ever visited this beautiful place they will tell you that it’s one of the best things on earth. The biscuit has been a staple in the diet of people across North Carolina for generations. They are usually eaten with breakfast along with some type of gravy or sausage. You can also find them at lunch when they are served as a side dish to barbecue sandwiches or fried chicken. Dinner time brings us biscuits covered in meatloaf, smothered in macaroni and cheese, or topped with pulled pork shoulder… Let’s recreate that North Carlina biscuit by giving you this simple and easy recipe. As we all know, mother’s recipes are never shared with anyone outside the family and this is no exception. However, I know how much you want to recreate that amazing North Carolina biscuit and I won’t let you down.

North Carolina Biscuits

First off, preheat your oven to 450 degrees. Gather your ingredients:
  • 2 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 cup of buttermilk (if you don’t have any on hand just add 1 tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice to regular milk and let sit for 10 minutes)
  • 6 tablespoons of cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • Egg wash: Beat one egg with 1 tablespoon water and a pinch of salt.
Put all of these ingredients except for the butter into a large bowl. Mix with your hands until it resembles coarse cornmeal. Add in the cold butter pieces and incorporate thoroughly using your fingers, pinching the dough between your thumb and forefinger to create small pea-sized lumps of dough. The butter should be fully incorporated but you should still see small bits of it in there which will help give flakiness to your biscuit. Keep mixing until you don’t feel any more lumps. On a lightly floured surface, knead the dough 4 or 5 times until it comes together smoothly. Shape it into an even 1/2 inch thick round disk. Make sure there are no cracks so when you release your biscuit dough it doesn’t break apart. Now cut out your biscuits using a 3 inch round biscuit cutter, or the top of a glass if you don’t have one on hand. Do not twist or turn the biscuit cutter while cutting your biscuits! That will only cause them to lose their flakiness. Instead use short strokes so that you can get as many cuts as possible without moving the dough around. After cutting, transfer them directly onto an oven-safe pan with a nonstick surface, such as a cast-iron skillet. Gently push down on the center of each biscuit with your thumb until they look like they are going to double in size, but they won’t because we didn’t overwork our dough and let it get tough. Now brush the tops of your biscuits with egg wash and place them in the oven for 15-20 minutes. Keep an eye on them to make sure they don’t get too brown, remember that you’re cooking at 450 degrees so it won’t take long for them to cook! Remove from the oven and enjoy with whatever you want, or just by themselves! There’s something about these things that are just so addicting… maybe it’s because of all the butter? Although there are lots of great restaurants in North Carolina, it’s still great to create your own homemade biscuits. Bon appétit!

A Lookback At The Native Americans In North Carolina

Traditional native american ceremonial lodging
Many people get bored when we talk about history. Those things already happened and there is nothing else that can be done about them. However, a look at history can still give you valuable lessons just like what you’ve learned from the great Cherokee Indian named Sequoyah. For today’s history lesson, we’ll take a look at the Native Americans in North Carolina. We’ll go through the different periods starting from the Paleoindian up to the Late Woodland period. We’ll see the lineage of the Native American people in North Carolina.

Paleoindian Period

This period is considered the oldest cultural period of Native Americans in North Carolina. It happened around 10,000 BCE. This is when the last ice age happened. At this period, the ocean levels dropped, which resulted in the exposure of land where the Native American ancestors walked on from what is presently known as Siberia to Alaska. From Alaska, the population grew further and they spread throughout the Great Plains, Canada, and the Eastern Woodlands, where North Carolina is included. The Paleo-Indians hunted animals such as wild horses, elephants, giant bison, ground sloths, elk, moose caribou, and porcupines. Archaeologists also discovered that they also used the different parts of the animals not only for food but also for clothing and other needs. Wild plant foods as well as fish and shellfish are also part of their diet.

Archaic Period

The people who lived in the Archaic Period also used tools similar to those used by the people in the Paleoindian period. However, there were also changes. During this period the native people invented the atlatl. This is a spear, which makes it possible to hunt animals from afar. They can throw them into small game or fish. Plants are not only used for food but also as medicine during this period. The stones are used for tools and jewelry as well. They made grooved axes, balance stones for their atlatls, awls, and fishhooks. Decorative pins are also created out of stone. This is also the period when the natives started making woven baskets. Usually, the people traveled to find food and gather them. They also spread out to get raw materials that they use to create various tools or improve their shelter. Some of them also traded with their neighbors. Some of them may also have canoes that they created out of removing the centers of trees.

Woodland Period

Transitioning to the Woodland period from the Archaic period was when bows and arrows, agriculture economy, and pottery was introduced. They still continued to hunt and fish for food whenever it was available. It was also at this time when the bow and arrow were developed so they could hunt more efficiently. However, they also began farming so that when winter comes they would still have enough food to last until the spring comes. They started planting and harvesting maize, gourds, squash, beans, and sunflowers.  Pottery was also developed and clay pots were manufactured. The different styles of their pots were adopted from their neighbors such as those in Tennessee and Ohio. Archeologists have discovered that those Woodland Indians are more likely to settle in a village as compared to their earlier ancestors. There is also evidence that religious and political aspects of their lives are influenced by the Mississippians.

Mississippian Period

This period is also known as the late woodland period. There isn’t a clear distinction between when this starts and when the Woodland period ends. However, during this period, the Native Americans began practicing religious ceremonies. At this time, the diet was mostly made of corn, beans, and squash as compared to meat. Their homes are more permanent in design and are usually in the shape of rectangles and squares. Pottery styles became more complex and the designs were more intricate. These were used either for cooking food or as urns for their loved ones. During this period, the social hierarchy is more organized.

The Native Americans In North Carolina

Way back then, there was a great number of Native Americans living in what is now known as North Carolina. There were more than a hundred thousand but were cut to about twenty thousand as the European settlers came. Europeans brought diseases with them like measles, influenza, and smallpox. The Native Americans didn’t have immunity against those diseases so many of them died. There were also battles that pushed the Native Americans away from their land. Some moved westward while others made treaties. Many also fought back and tried to stand their ground but many were killed in the battles and forced to move out of their land.

3 Overlooks Around North Carolina That You Shouldn’t Miss

scenic overlook along Blue Ridge Parkway
Living in the city is great but sometimes you still crave some greenery. Parks are awesome but seeing mountains filled with lush trees and other plants under the clear blue skies gives a fantastic feeling too. After dining in various restaurants in Cherokee, you shouldn’t forget to enjoy the natural scenic views. The mountains look amazing at any time of day. What’s even better is that you don’t even need to hike to appreciate it. You could simply go for scenic drives to experience it. You can come and take drive tours all year round but one of the best times is during autumn. It’s when the leaves change colors. Get the most out of your trip and don’t miss any of these gorgeous overlooks.

Thunderstruck Ridge

Located on the Blue Ridge Parkway, at MP 454.4, you’d find a somewhat secluded gem, the Thunderstruck ridge overlook. If you go further up the road, you’ll reach the Waterrock Knob, which is a parking lot that is filled with lots more people. The Thunderstruck Ridge is a small overlook but its views are just as good as those in Waterrock. The best thing is that it isn’t as popular so there will be fewer people and you get to enjoy the view more privately.

Richland Balsam

This overlook, found at milepost 431.4, is the highest point in the Blue Ridge Parkway. At 6,053 feet above sea level, you’ll find sites of wilderness that are quite similar to the Canadian wilderness. Fraser fir trees and red spruce are mostly found here. Ferns and a mossy natural surrounding are what you’ll also discover here. For an even better view of the mountains, you can also go for a hike. To get to the mountain summit, you’ll need to pass through an overlook located southeast of the Richland Balsam overlook.

Big Witch Gap

Beautiful colors of fall could also be seen at this overlook. Even if you don’t go here in fall, you’ll still enjoy looking at the wonderful flowers of the rosebay rhododendrons that bloom in the months of May and June. The Big Witch Gap was named after a medicine man of the Cherokee Indians. He had the sacred job of getting eagle feathers for their sacred ceremonies. He died as a 90-year-old man in 1898. Level up your viewing pleasure by packing snacks or lunch. You can comfortably dine at the picnic tables that are conveniently located in the parking lot.

Marriage Tradition Of The Ancient Cherokee

marriage
We’re right of the middle of February, so I thought: what better time to talk about the ancient Cherokee love and marriage traditions that help hold our nation together. While they may be the typical love stories in modern culture of happily-ever-afters or white gowns and wedding rings, they are no less inspiring, lasting, and beautiful. As with any great love story, it begins with meeting and courting your would-be partner…

The Courting And Proposal Phase

All of those who belong in the same clan are considered as near relatives. That means they cannot marry each other. In ancient times, intermarriage within the clan is forbidden. This is to help ensure that hereditary disorders or diseases were avoided. In order to enter courtship, a Cherokee man has to be about 17 and a woman at 15. As we’ve mentioned earlier, they have to belong to different clans. The man has to seek consent from the woman’s parents and his parent’s as well. Marriages for Cherokees don’t only involve the individuals, it also involves the clans. That is why all marriages and courtships are to be negotiated carefully and should be first approved by the clans. If the courtship or marriage is approved, it would be officiated by a priest. However, before that takes place, the priest would first gather two roots and place them on his hand while he prayed. If the roots moved together during his prayer, it means that the marriage would be happy and would be approved. On the other hand, if the roots didn’t move together, or if one root wilted faster than the other, it is considered a bad sign. This would lead the priest to forbid the marriage. During the courtship, the man would also bring an offering of deer meat to the woman’s home or clan as a symbol that he can take care of her. Men were allowed to court one woman at a time, however, there were also polygamist marriages in ancient times. These instances include that of a man that marries his brother’s widow so that someone could take care of her. Additionally, he could also marry his wife’s cousin or niece for the same reason.

The Marriage Ceremony

The marriage took place at the council house. The groom is escorted to either the north or south open space while the bride is escorted to the opposite end. They meet in the middle where there is a sacred fire. The groom’s mother bears gifts symbolizing his ability to provide support for her. Such gifs would include the deer meat and a blanket. On the bride’s side is her mother who is also holding gifts like tanned skin and food. The bride and the groom have blue blankets over their shoulders as a symbol that they are single. After the priest says prayers and blesses the couple, the bride will give the groom a black and red belt and the groom will put it on. The gifts from the mothers will be given to their children and they’ll exchange the gifts for each other. Finally, the couple will join the blankets, share a corn drink from a double-sided vessel. This vessel is broken by the priest to seal the wedding vows. The blue blankets are removed and a white blanket is wrapped over their shoulders.

The Death Penalty

Divorce is allowed but it doesn’t happen often. The blanket shared would be divided to formalize the divorce. What gets you the death penalty is the marriage between two members of the same clan. This death penalty is usually done by the members of the clan themselves. Later on, the death penalty was removed and the penalty for marrying within the clan was abolished.

Sequoyah: A Great Cherokee Indian

Sequoyah Painting Displaying Cherokee Language
There are lots of things in life that we take for granted. We are so used to them being there that we forget how important they really are. Sometimes, we only see their value in their absence. One of which is the written word. As you are reading this post, we’re using written words to convey messages and provide information. Just imagine how our life would be without written words. How would we pass down knowledge from one generation to the other. Would spoken stories passed down to one another be as reliable as a written one directly from the source? For generations, the Cherokee Indians have passed down their knowledge to the next generation without the written word. However, one man has changed the Cherokee history and that man is named Sequoyah. In a previous post, we’ve told you about the mysterious Nikwasi Mound, now let’s tell you the story of Sequoyah.

Who Is Sequoyah?

In the 1770’s Sequoyah was born in Tuskegee, Tennessee. He was called “The Lame One” because he had an early learning disability. He was also half Indian and half white. During his early years, it was a challenge for him to find his identity. Sequoyah joined the American army in the war of 1812 against the Creek Redsticks and the British. Those who were members of the Creek tribe who pledge their allegiance with the British were called the “Redsticks”. It was there that he got exposed to the different documents that the white soldiers had. He was very fascinated with them as he doesn’t have any idea about reading or writing. The American soldiers would receive letters from their wives and other family members so they can also know what’s happening at home. Some of the Cherokees, who knew English, were also able to receive such letters. However, most of them didn’t. When the war ended he went back to Tennessee. It was then when he had one goal in mind and that is to help his fellow Cherokee Indians write and read in their own language. He tried to talk with the tribal leaders and discuss his idea. However, just like other Native Americans at that time, they didn’t think highly of his idea and they wanted to stick to their tradition.

Challenges Are No Match For A Determined Soul

Even if Sequoya was turned down and ridiculed, his spirits are still high. He still wants to create a written language for the Cherokee. Working alone, he tried to turn the Cherokee language into written form. For his first try, he tried different symbols for each word. He did it for months but he just ended up with thousands of symbols and there are still more words to create symbols for. He scrapped that idea and focused on using sound. However, this also proved to be impractical because there are also lots of sounds. The impressive thing about Sequoyah was that he still strived to create a written language even if he didn’t receive support. In fact, he was also ridiculed by his fellow tribesmen. This went on for nine years. He was also labeled as a poor provider because he didn’t spend a lot of time in the farmland. He and his wife would argue and he moved out and lived in a small cabin to continue with his goal. Three more years passed before he figured out dividing the words into syllables. His daughter helped him and now they were able to reduce the Cherokee language into 86 syllables. It was in 1821 when he finally created the Cherokee alphabet. He used the English letters for the Cherokee alphabet by copying them from a newspaper, even if he can’t read them. He also used other Greek letters and added his own designs. However, the alphabet he created wasn’t exactly an alphabet but a syllabary because the symbols stand for combinations of sounds and he had a lot.

The Skeptical Cherokees

Another main problem that Sequoyah has was his fellow skeptic Cherokee Indians. He started by teaching his syllabary to those in Arkansas. They then wrote a letter to their friends in the east of Mississippi. Then he brought back the letters to Tennessee and read it. Everyone was surprised that he was able to convey a message from Arkansas and spoke it precisely as he read the letter. However, this still didn’t change the mind of the Cherokee Indians. He still needed to convince them and he did it with the help of his 12-year-old daughter. He asked the council to create a message for him while he stayed outside and his daughter wrote it down. Once he entered and read the message, the councilmen were in awe. That initiated the start. The councilmen learned the system and taught it to their families. They did this in just a few weeks’ time. Sequoyah even said that he can teach the system to others in just a week. The system spread as someone who knows the system would teach it to another. In just 3 months, almost all of the Cherokee Indians already know the written system. The system was now taught in the schools that the Cherokee Nation set-up for their children. A printing press that uses Cherokee characters was also constructed. In 1828. There were now printed publications, Bibles, magazines and hymn books that are printed using Cherokee characters.

From Being Ridiculed To Being Honored

Sequoyah, who was previously ridiculed, was now honored. He was a member of the Arkansas treaty delegation and there was even a medal struck in his honor. Charles Bird King even painted his portrait. However, the white Americans were still trying to get the lands of the Native Americans. Sequoyah moved before the Cherokee removal. He was also awarded by the Cherokee nation a unique pension of having the right to develop and sell salt that he could get from the mineral spring close to his home. This just proves how much the Native Americans respected Sequoyah’s contribution. He still continued to teach his alphabet to anyone who would want to learn them. At his old age, they moved to Mexico because he wanted to study the language of the Indians there. However, he didn’t meet any Mexican Indians and died in 1843. He has an unmarked grave that hasn’t been found. However, you can still visit his cabin at Sallisaw. There is a stone museum built around it.

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