Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Love

This is one of my very favorite pieces...I hold this so close to my heart and wanted to share it with y'all...enjoy.
Peace

"Love.

Because of you, in gardens of blossoming
Flowers I ache from the perfumes of spring.
I have forgotten your face, I no longer
Remember your hands; how did your lips
Feel on mine?

Because of you, I love the white statues
Drowsing in the parks, the white statues that
Have neither voice nor sight.

I have forgotten your voice, your happy voice;
I have forgotten your eyes.

Like a flower to its perfume, I am bound to
My vague memory of you. I live with pain
That is like a wound; if you touch me, you will
Make to me an irreperable harm.

Your caresses enfold me, like climbing
Vines on melancholy walls.

I have forgotten your love, yet I seem to
Glimpse you in every window.

Because of you, the heady perfumes of
Summer pain me; because of you, I again
Seek out the signs that precipitate desires:
Shooting stars, falling objects."
- Pablo Neruda

Sunday, December 19, 2010

The little boy and the rattlesnake...You knew what I was when you picked me up...

This is another traditional Cherokee legend

The little boy was walking down a path and he came across a rattlesnake. The rattlesnake was getting old. He asked, "Please little boy, can you take me to the top of the mountain? I hope to see the sunset one last time before I die." The little boy answered "No Mr. Rattlesnake. If I pick you up, you'll bite me and I'll die." The rattlesnake said, "No, I promise. I won't bite you. Just please take me up to the mountain." The little boy thought about it and finally picked up that rattlesnake and took it close to his chest and carried it up to the top of the mountain.

They sat there and watched the sunset together. It was so beautiful. Then after sunset the rattlesnake turned to the little boy and asked, "Can I go home now? I am tired, and I am old." The little boy picked up the rattlesnake and again took it to his chest and held it tightly and safely. He came all the way down the mountain holding the snake carefully and took it to his home to give him some food and a place to sleep. The next day the rattlesnake turned to the boy and asked, "Please little boy, will you take me back to my home now? It is time for me to leave this world, and I would like to be at my home now." The little boy felt he had been safe all this time and the snake had kept his word, so he would take it home as asked.

He carefully picked up the snake, took it close to his chest, and carried him back to the woods, to his home to die. Just before he laid the rattlesnake down, the rattlesnake turned and bit him in the chest. The little boy cried out and threw the snake upon the ground. "Mr. Snake, why did you do that? Now I will surely die!" The rattlesnake looked up at him and grinned, "You knew what I was when you picked me up."

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Reflections

looking in the mirror
noticing your reflection
longing for you
wanting to see you
in
me

I learned it all from you
I learned about you
about me
I learned
about
us

I learned what we could've been
what we should've been
what we would have been
had we not been
so
...

but no more could haves or should haves
we only have not
We are unbroken and perfection still exists
it simply has transformed
into
this

Friday, December 3, 2010

Growing Pains

Its so nice to get someone elses perspective...especially when your emotions are so caught up in something.

When my oldest child was about 4, she started having these horrible pains. Scared the crap out of me!! She would wake in the middle of the night, screaming in agony. Her legs would ache so bad, she could only weep. And I wept. And feared for my child. I called her doctor up in complete panic after about a week of this. They heard the panic in my voice, and said 'calm down Ms., bring her in today' and I did.

I rushed in that day to beg this woman to help my child...(Moms might over react when it comes to their kids, we're lioness' in that way) She did all these tests then came back to me and said 'it's growing pains...massage her legs and it will pass'.
WHAT!?! Wait, what?...
Growing pains...

You see, growth hurts! It actually, physically hurts! Nothing was wrong with my child, she wasn't diseased or harmed. She was developing. And stretching your mind, your body, your being...can be painful. Even when you 'think' you're already grown...you got more room to improve. And guess what? That shit might hurt, it does hurt, I'm telling that from experience. But its worth it! To be better, to live, love, grow.

The truth in actually caring about someone (kids, family, friends, spouse) is loving them in a way that they can be free. Loving them in a way that their needs are being met. Nothing wrong with that. It doesn't mean losing yourself. Its just growth. If you are incapable of loving someone in a way they can flourish, you've lost your own ability to expand.  Love is infinite.  However, once you stop sharing it, it ceases.

Anyway...that was my release, my confession, my relief. Loving someone means letting them grow. Loving yourself means dealing with the possibility of pain!

Peace

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Why the Owl has spots...

The owl had a girl friend that he loved very much and the time had come for him to meet her parents. Now owl knew he was not the best looking creature on this earth and didn’t want anyone to see his face. He thought and thought of a way to hide his face from her parents because he was afraid they might not let him marry her if they saw how ugly he really was.

The time came when he was to meet her parents, on this very important evening he had a plan. As he came into the house he stood in the shadows, just outside the reach of the fire’s light. As the evening progressed he seemed to relax just a bit but he never came out of the shadows.

When the evening had ended and owl left for the night, both parents began to express their favoritism of the owl. They even remarked what a wonderful husband he would make for the young lady. They did have one question and that was why did he not come into the firelight. As the daughter and parents began to talk about the owl the question seemed to drift from their minds and on to different subject. In the shadows of the room stood her two, very mischievous, brothers. They, too, wondered why the owl stood in the shadows and came up with a plan to find out why.

The next day both boys went to gather wood for the fire without being told. The mother was very surprised because she usually had to tell them to do something at least three times before they would do it. They gather enough wood to burn for three nights, this did seem strange to the mother and she wondered what they were up to. She soon forgot her thought as she wondered if the nice owl was coming to see her daughter tonight.

That night the owl came to court her daughter and the two brothers were waiting. The owl moved to the shadows as he did the night before and began to eat his supper. As the mother called for the boys to get more wood for the fire the boys rushed outside and grabbed two armloads of wood and began to throw them into the fire. Now this wood was not just ordinary oak or hickory, it also had wild sumac mixed in, so when the sumac began to burn it would pop, crackle, and throw sparks. This is just what the boys wanted the fire to do so they could see what the owl was hiding in the shadows.

As the fire began to burn, the sparks flew and the wood crackled. The owl raised his wing to shield his face and turned his back. As he did this sparks landed on his back and burned black spots on his beautiful coat of feathers. That is why today the owl has a spotted coat.

He did marry the young lady and she was able to teach him that all creatures are beautiful in CREATOR’S eyes.

Peace :)

Monday, November 15, 2010

Loose grip

Do you know me? I am who you profess Love for
You make me your enemy to even the score

Do you feel me?  I am slipping through your hands
The hourglass shatters, tumbling sand

I couldn't have fit through were your fingers not gaping


Peace

Grape Dumplings...Yummy!!!

My computer has gone on the fritz...I intended to post this days ago and have been unable...I blame it entirely on the electronic device as it could not possibly be the operator of said device.
At any rate, this is a pretty yummy recipe and one you can make any time of the year

First you need to make the grape juice:
Boil 1 gallon possum grapes using just enough water to cover for 20 minutes- don't know what possum grapes are? Look it up! I however, use muscadines, I like them better. Strain through cheesecloth. You may use turbinado to sweeten and if you choose to do so, I would do it while the juice is hot.
You could cheat and use grape juice in a bottle yet it's not as fun and not nearly as good.

Now, knead plain flour(about 5 cups) and some grape juice(about 1 cup) as you would when making bread dough.  Roll this out very thing on a floured dough board and cut into strips.  Drop the strips into boiling grape juice.

Let cool and eat!!! 

Peace

p.s. this recipe is a 'treat' and should be eaten in moderation

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Ani Nulistanidolv (The Legend of Strawberries)

In the Beginning of the Cherokee World, there were two worlds: The heavenly world called ga-lun-la-ti, which was placed high in the heavens, and the lower, dark world where the forces of evil lived. Ga-lun-la-ti was populated with beings in animal, human and plant forms. All creatures spoke the Cherokee language and lived together in harmony. The earth was but a ball of water on which gigantic fish and reptiles lived. The universe of the Cherokees depended on harmony and balance. Light was balanced by dark; things of goodness balanced by things that hid from the light of day in the shadows of the darkness.

In the beginning there was no sun, but a Great Tree of Life grew in the center of Ga-lun-la-ti. It lit the world so all could see and cast its light down on the dark waters below. So it was that the Creator lived by the Tree of Life where he tended the plants and cared for the animals. Sometimes, the waterfowl, the hawks, and eagles flew down in the darkness below; giant turtles and muskrats swam on the water’s surface and bathed in the pale light of the heavenly tree. The Creator led a solitary existence. When his work was done, he sat by the Tree, admiring his world around him and below. Sometimes he became lonely and longed for a companion, perhaps a daughter who would sit beside him in the evening, watching his creation live and grow.

Then, the Creator made a young lady whose beauty and grace touched his soul. He knew that she, too, would long for someone to run and play with so he created a man in his likeness and taught his children the things that he knew.

The Creator found that his daughter laughed and sang too much; and she talked constantly. She asked too many questions. Why do the leaves of the Tree of Life shine? Who created the Upper World? Who named the plants? Creator still loved her, for this was his daughter, but this constant laughter and questions, what could he do? The Creator had told them many times to stay away from the Tree of Life and not to play around its trunk. But like all curious children she had to see why her father said these things. First Man would insist that she not go to the tree but every day First Woman would climb the tree to its highest limbs. One day she found a hole in the bottom of the trunk and started to go in. First Man was again insistent that she stay away from the tree but to no avail. She went in and fell out of the bottom of Ga-lun-la-ti.

Creator returned home to find First Woman was missing. He asked First Man “where is my daughter?” to which the young man replied “I told her not to go into the hole in the bottom of the tree, but she would not listen.” Creator did not know what to do as he peered over the side of Ga-lun-la-ti and saw his daughter falling toward the awesome ball of water.

Creator summoned the birds of the sky, to catch his daughter that she might not drown. They created a great blanket with their wings on which they caught her. But, where should they put her? As they flew above the deep waters, the grandfather of all turtles surfaced. "Here, place her on my back," he said. The birds descended with the young woman, henceforth known as "Sky-Woman," and placed her on the surface of her new home. But it was not large enough, the Muskrat volunteered to find land and dove to the bottom of the waters and brought up mud, which he placed on the turtle's back. When she touched the earth that Muskrat had brought, it grew in all directions, becoming the earth that we know today as Turtle Island. The Creator knew that she would need more and so he sent down the plants and animals to take care of his daughter. He sent down the deer, buffalo, bear, rabbits, and squirrels to provide food and clothing. He sent the medicines of the plant people; cedar, sage, blood root, oak, and most importantly tobacco. Along with many others things, to provide for his future generation, the Cherokee.

When the First Woman, or Sky Woman, was happy with this world Creator sent First Man down to help take care of his creation. First man and First Woman were now husband and wife. They were happy and all things were good, but as in all good things bad will come and First Woman and First Man began to fight and argue.

Harsh words were said on both sides, and finally the wife said that she was leaving. Grabbing a few belongings, she began walking away from First Man. "I am going to find another place to live," she told her husband, "You are lazy and pay no attention to me." In a short time, the husband regretted his harsh words and tried to find his wife so he could apologize. Eventually, he realized that she was too far ahead, and he prayed to the Creator to help him. “Slow her down, Creator, so that I might tell her how much she means to me," he asked. “Is her soul one with yours?” Creator asked. First Man replied “We have been one since the beginning of our time. We have been one since you have breathed life into our souls and we shall remain one until the end of time itself.”

Touched by the man's anguish, the Great Spirit intervened. Seeing the way First Woman was walking he began to make plants grow at her feet to slow her down. To one side grew the blackberries and to the other grew huckleberries, but still she walked on. Again he made the plants grow and to one side grew the gooseberries and to the other grew the serviceberries, but still she walked on. The Creator knew that this would have to slow her down and so he went to his garden and grabbed a handful of strawberry plants and threw them to the earth. When they landed at First Woman’s feet they began to bloom and ripen, First Woman looked down to see the beautiful leaves and berries of the strawberry plant and stopped to taste just one small berry. As she plucked and ate the berries she forgot her anger. Finding a basket among her belongings, she quickly filled it, and longed for her husband once more. First Man, hurrying on his way, was surprised to see his wife returning, and oh! how his heart did soar. She was smiling! She dipped her hand into her basket, and got a berry and placed it in his mouth. He smiled foolishly, and gave thanks to the Creator. Taking his hand, his wife led him back down the path to their home, feeding him strawberries on the way.

Peace :)

Friday, November 5, 2010

I am...

I am...
A lot of things.  Earth is one, Mother is another.  Sister, Lover, Teacher, Friend, Student, Companion.  I am Original.  I am Cherokee.  I am a woman.  I am sometimes selfish and completely selfless and I may be confident or insecure. I will even say as much as stubborn though I prefer strong willed, yet I am far more flexible than many. I just may cycle through all those things and many more within a month...or a minute. I am, for lack of better words, whatever I say I am. And tomorrow, I will be more than I was today.

I was asked this question:
'If you're earth, why do you post stories that speak so heavily of a creator'.  My answer to that is this:

I am a lot of things, these 'traditional legends' that I post are folklore.  They are Cherokee traditions and they are valuable.  I use Supreme Mathematics to extract the good from everything...I'm sorry if some have lost that capability.  There are valuable lessons to be learned from looking at our past while still building for a change in the future.  I appreciate my heritage and I celebrate it.  John Hawkins was not the only trader/traitor, Andrew Jackson did his part on American soil to destroy the very essence of what makes us Original.  I don't take everything, historical text or not, on face value yet I do cling to the beauty of tradition and value.  Take things for their worth.  And as a side note...the creator spoken of in these legends was an Original Man as well...I see beauty AND relevance in that.

Peace

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Origin of Disease and Medicine...another traditional legend

The old ones tell us that at one time, the animals, fish, insects and plants could all talk. Together with the people, they were at peace and had a great friendship. As time went on, the numbers of people grew so much that their settlements spread over the whole earth, and the animals found themselves cramped for space. To make things worse, the people invented bows, knives, blowguns, spears, and hooks, and they began to hunt and kill the larger animals, birds and fish only for their hides. The smaller creatures, like the frogs and worms, were stepped upon and crushed without thought, out of carelessness, and sometimes even contempt. The animals decided to meet in a council to agree on measures for their safety.

The bears were the first ones to meet in a council, at Mulberry Place, or Kuwahi mountain. The old White Bear Chief led the council. After each one had his turn of complaining about the way people killed their friends, ate their flesh, and used their skins for his own purposes, they decided to begin a war at once against man. One of the bears asked what kind of weapons the people used to destroy them. "Bows and arrows!" exclaimed all the Bears together. "What are they made of?" was the next question. "The bow is made of wood, and the string is made of our entrails," replied one of the Bears. They then decided they would make a bow and see if they could use the same type of weapon the people were using. One of the Bears got a nice piece of locust wood, and another bear sacrificed himself for the good and betterment of his brothers of sisters. He offered to let his entrails be used for the string of the bow. When everything was ready, a Bear found that in letting the arrow fly after drawing the string, his long claws got in the way and his shot was ruined. He was very frustrated, but someone suggested they clip his claws. After this, it was found that the arrow went straight to the mark. But, the Chief White Bear objected, saying they must not trim their claws as they needed them to climb trees. "One of us already gave his life, and if we cut off our claws, then we must all starve together. I think we should trust and use the teeth and claws the Creator gave us, and it is plain that the people's weapons were not made for us."

They could not think of a better plan, so the chief White Bear dismissed council and the Bears dispersed throughout the woods without having come up with a way to protect themselves. Had they come up with such a way, we would not be at war with the Bears, but the way it is today, the hunter does not even ask the Bear's pardon when he kills one.

The Deer held the next council, under their Chief Little Deer. They decided they would send rheumatism to every hunter who kills one of them, unless he made sure to ask their pardon for the offense. They sent out a notice of their decision to the nearest settlement of Cherokees and told them how they could avoid this. Now, whenever a hunter shoots a Deer, Little Deer, who is swift as the wind and cannot be harmed, goes quickly to the spot and asks the spirit of the Deer if it has heard the prayer of the hunter, asking for pardon. If the spirit replies yes, everything is in balance. If the reply is no, Little Deer follows the trail of the hunter, and when resting in his home, Little Deer enters invisibly and strikes the hunter with arthritis. No hunter who regards his own health ever fails to ask pardon of the Deer for killing it.

Next, the Fish and Reptiles held their own council. They decided to make their victims dream of snakes climbing about them, and blowing stinky breath in their faces. They also dream of decaying fish, so that they would lose their appetites and die of hunger.

Finally, the Birds, Insects and smaller animals came together for their own council. The Grub worm was the Chief of the council. They decided that each should give his opinion, and then they would vote as to whether or not the people were guilty. Seven votes would be enough for a guilty verdict. One after another, they complained about man's cruelty and disrespect. The Frog spoke first, saying, "We must do something to slow down how fast they are multiplying! Otherwise, we will disappear from the face of the earth through extinction!" The Frog continued, "They have kicked me about because they say I am ugly and now my back is covered with sores." He showed them the spots on his back. Next, the Bird condemned people because, "They burn off my feet in the barbecue!" Others followed with their own complaints. The Ground squirrel was the only one to say something in the people's defense, because he was so small he did not endure the hunting and disrespect. The others became so angry at him, the swooped on him and tore him with their claws. The stripes are on his back until this day.

They began to name so many new diseases, one after another. The Grub worm was more and more pleased as all these new names were being called off.

Then the Plants, who were friendly to man, heard about all these things the animals were doing to the people. Each tree, shrub, and herb, agreed to furnish a cure for some of the diseases. Each said, "I will appear and help the people when they call upon me." This is how the medicines came to be. Every plant has a use, if only we would learn it and remember it. They have furnished the remedy to counteract the diseases brought on by the revengeful animals. Even weeds were made for some good purpose. You must ask, and learn for yourself. When a doctor does not know which medicine to use, the spirit of the plant will tell the sick person.


There is a lesson in there...a few if you can catch them :)
Peace!!!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Anikayosvhi Tsuya

Recently, the God received an entire crate of beans from a farmer at the market.  In receiving this, he requested 1001 string bean recipes precisely.  I do not have 1001, I have 99, however this 1 traditional Cherokee recipe came to mind.  Anikayosvhi Tsuya, commonly known as Leather Breeches and/or Leather Britches was a way to dry beans and store them for use at a later date using THE SUN...not those nasty preservatives.

Ingredients:
1 pound fresh green beans, washed 
2 quarts water 
2 teaspoons salt 
1/8 teaspoon fresh ground pepper 
heavy thread 
darning needle

Snap the ends off the beans and string on heavy thread with a needle.  Hang in a sunny place to dry for about 2 months. 
To cook:  Soak beans for 1 hour in 2 quarts of water.  Add salt and pepper.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for 3 hours, adding more water as needed.
Peace!!!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Go li s di yi

Go li s di yi.  Understanding.  Understanding is clarity, comprehension.  I used to think you had to agree with something to understand it...i.e. hate, war, rape, child abuse, savagery, etc.  Since my mind doesn't naturally go to hate, I never thought I could understand the concept, however, just because I find the concept disagreeable and would choose apathy over it, doesn't mean I can't understand it.  I can understand love, and hate is simply the other polarity.  And that goes with any of the more savage sides of humanity, they are simply the opposite polarities of what we (I) find righteous.  Understanding is being able to look at both polarities, disagreeable or not, and seeing them for what they are...polarities. 

Now, as far as myself, as I said above, because I find the savage side disagreeable, I will choose apathy over hate...anyone who can get a rise from me are people that I love deeply and profoundly.  When an attempt is made to chain or cage my freedom, I fight in a way that most people can't understand because they do what THEY do out of hate, I operate on love.  And I do not allow anyone else's hate to permeate my walls, nor do I allow them to 'guilt' or 'shame' me into submission.  If I can't fight my way, I remain apathetic... 

There are times in life when we ride that middle line so well we seem overly balanced, times when some lose understanding because they can't quite see the two poles off in the distance.  We become numb.  That can be the antithesis of apathy.  So swelled with emotion that we refuse to feel.  And we lose ourselves in a struggle for the only true thing that is sacred.  Our self.   I understand that struggle too, I've been there.  I fought with myself, gave up on myself, didn't love myself...then I woke up, and started to fight FOR myself.  Which is why I refuse to fight anyone else...for ME...

Peace

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Bean Bread (Tsu Ya Ga)

This is a traditional Cherokee recipe:

Ingredients:
1 cup of Cornmeal
2 tsp Baking Powder
1 tbsp sugar *(see below)
2 cups milk *(see below)
1/4 cup melted shortening *(see below)
1 beaten egg *(see below)
2 tbsp honey
4 cups drained brown beans

Mix all ingredients, except beans, thoroughly, and then fold in the beans.  Pour into the greased, heated pan.  Bake at 450 until brown (usually 30 minutes or so)...then cool and eat...Yummy!

*Now, because I don't ingest a lot of the things that are called for in the traditional recipe, my amendments are as follows:

Sugar - I use raw turbinado
Milk - Almond milk
Melted shortening - I use coconut oil
Egg - I use Ener-G egg replacer
Also, I prefer to use a large cast iron skillet to bake in and I oil that with vegetable oil...
In addition, the traditional recipe would call for you to put wood ash into this so that you may leach the lye from it, the belief was that it would prevent worms from growing in your stomach and is a common factor in traditional Cherokee recipes...I would STRONGLY not recommend it and in fact, will probably not mention it in another recipe, I say it now for historical purposes only.
If you try this recipe, I'd love to try it and/or hear about it, especially if you funk it up your own way :)
Peace!!!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Ice Man

Once during the autumn in the Great Smoky Mountains some people were making a fire, some dry leaves caught fire in the woods and before the people could beat out the flames, the fire spread to a big poplar tree. The tree blazed fiercely until it turned to ashes, and then the fire went down into the roots and burned a great hole in the ground. It burned and burned, and the hole grew constantly larger, until the people became frightened and were afraid it would burn the whole world. Time after time they tried to extinguish the fire, but it had gone too deep, and they did not know what to do.
At last a chief said that Ice Man was the only one who could put out the fire, and he lived in a house of ice far away to the north. The chief called the people together for a council to choose two messengers to journey northward in search of Ice Man.
After travelling a long distance the messengers found Ice Man. He was a very small, old person with long hair hanging down to the ground in two plaits. The messengers told him why they had come to ask his help.
"Oh, yes," replied Ice Man, "I can help you put out that fire." He began to unplait his long hair. When it was all unbraided, he took a thatch of it in one hand and struck it across his other hand, and the messengers felt a chill wind blow against their faces. A second time he struck his hair across his hand, and a light rain began to fall. The third time he struck his hair across his open hand, sleet rattled upon the ground, and when he struck the fourth time a heavy snow began to fall, as if it had come from the ends of his hair.
"Go back to your village," Ice Man said, "and I shall be there in a few days." The messengers speedily returned to their people, who were still gathered helplessly around the great burning pit.
A few days later, while they all fearfully watched the fire, a strong wind blew from the north, and they knew it came from Ice Man. But the wind only made the fire blaze brighter. Then a light rain began to fall, but the drops seemed only to make the fire hotter with scalding steam. Then the shower turned into a heavy sleet storm that smothered the blaze but made clouds of smoke rise from the red coals.
While the people fled to their houses for shelter, the storm rose to a whirlwind that drove countless flakes of snow into every burning crevice and covered the embers with a white blanket until the fire was dead. Not even a wisp of smoke could be seen in the deep hole.
When at last the storm ended, the people returned and found a lake where the pit had been. Today some people in the Great Smokies say that below the waters of that lake they can hear the sound of coals still crackling.

Peace

Monday, October 25, 2010

Legend of the First Woman

After the Great One had created the Earth and all the plants and animals, he created a tall brown man with beautiful straight hair to help Him on Earth. The Great One placed the strong, brown Cherokee man in the beautiful Smoky Mountains.

After a time the Great One remembered that although each man sometimes needs to be alone, each man would also need companionship to be his best. When the Cherokee man was sleeping, the Great One caused a green plant to grow up tall over the heart of the man.

The plant had long graceful leaves, an ear and golden tassel. As the plant grew, a beautiful, tall, brown woman began to appear at the top of the stalk. The man awoke and helped the beautiful woman down from the corn stalk.

Over a period of time, the man and woman built a home and planted the kernels from the corn. The turkey, a sacred bird of the Cherokee, showed the woman that the corn was ready to eat. When the man came in for supper, she pulled an ear of roasted corn from the pot and offered it to him. He began to eat the first corn of Spring.

The first woman was called SELU or Corn Woman.

Peace

Cherokee Rose

 This is a Cherokee Legend...one I happen to like...

The Cherokee were driven from their homelands in North Carolina and Georgia over 100 years ago when gold was discovered in their lands. The journey known as the "Trail of Tears". It was a terrible time for the people - many died from the hardships and the women wept. The old men knew the women must be strong to help the children survive so they called upon the Great One to help their people and to give the mothers strength.
The Great One caused a plant to spring up everywhere a Mother's tears had fallen upon the ground on the journey. He told the old men that the plant would grow quickly, then fall back to the ground and another stem would grow. The plant would have white blossoms, a beautiful rose with five petals and gold in the center for the greed of the white man for the gold on their land. The leaves would have seven green leaflets, one for each Cherokee clan. The plant would be strong and grow quickly throughout the land all along the Trail of Tears. The stickers on the stem would protect it from those who might try to move it, as it spread to reclaim some of the lost Cherokee homeland.
The next morning, the women saw the beautiful white blossoms far back on the trail. When they heard what the Great One had said they felt their strength returning and knew they would survive and the children would grow and the People would flourish in the new Cherokee Nation.

Now, the Trail of Tears is a build for another time but I will say over 4,000 Cherokees died. 

Also, an interesting fact, the Cherokee Rose (Rosa laevigata) is native to China, Taiwan, Laos and Vietnam...

Peace

Selu, Kana'ti & the boys

The following legend is from traditional Cherokee oral tellings. It was also recorded in 1888 by James Mooney in a US Government Report titled: "5th Annual Report of the Bureau of American Ethnology".

Long years ago, soon after the world was made, a hunter and his wife lived at Pilot Knob with their only child, a little boy.

The father's name was Kana'ti (The Lucky Hunter), and his wife was called Selu (Corn). No matter when Kana'ti went into the woods, he never failed to bring back a load of game, which his wife would cut up and prepare, washing off the blood from the meat in the river near the house. The little boy used to play down by the river every day, and one morning the old people thought they heard laughing and talking in the bushes as though there were two children there.

When the boy came home at night his parents asked him who had, been playing with him all day. "He comes out of the water," said the boy, "and be calls himself my elder brother. He says his mother was cruel to him and threw him into the river." Then they knew that the strange boy had sprung from the blood of the game which Selu had washed off at the river's edge.

Every day when the little boy went out to play the other would join him, but as he always went back again into the water the old people never had a chance to see him. At last one evening Kana'ti said to his son, "Tomorrow, when the other boy comes to play, get him to wrestle with you, and when you have your arms around him hold on to him and call for us." The boy promised to do as he was told, so the next day as soon as his playmate appeared he challenged him to a wrestling match. The other agreed at once, but as soon as they had their arms around each other, Kana'ti's boy began to scream for his father.

The old folks at once came running down, and as soon as the Wild Boy saw them he struggled to free himself and cried out, "Let me go; you threw me away!" but his brother held on until the parents reached the spot, when they seized the Wild Boy and took him home with them. They kept him in the house until they had tamed him, but he was always wild and artful in his disposition, and was the leader of his brother in every mischief. It was not long until the old people discovered that he had magic powers, and they called him I'nage-utasvhi (He-who-grew-up-wild).

Whenever Kana'ti went into the mountains he always brought back a fat buck or doe, or maybe a couple of turkeys. One day the Wild Boy said to his brother, "I wonder where our father gets all that game; let's follow him next time and find out."

A few days afterward Kana'ti took a bow and some feathers in his hand and started off toward the west. The boys waited a little while and then went after him, keeping out of sight until they saw him go into a swamp where there were a great many of the small reeds that hunters use to make arrow shafts. Then the Wild Boy changed himself into a puff of bird's down, which the wind took up and carried until it alighted upon Kana'ti's shoulder just as he entered the swamp, but Kana'ti knew nothing about it.

The old man cut reeds, fitted the feathers to them and made some arrows, and the Wild Boy --in his other shape -- thought, "I wonder what those things are for?" When Kana'ti had his arrows finished he came out of the swamp and went on again. The wind blew the down from his shoulder, and it fell in the woods, when the Wild Boy took his right shape again and went back and told his brother what he had seen.

Keeping out of sight of their father, they followed him up the mountain until he stopped at a certain place and lifted a large rock. At once there ran out a buck, which Kana'ti shot, and then lifting it upon his back he started for home again.

"Oho!" exclaimed the boys, "He keeps all the deer shut up in that hole, and whenever he wants meat he just lets one out and kills it with those things he made in the swamp." They hurried and reached home before their father, who had the heavy deer to carry, and he never knew that they had followed him.

A few days later the boys went back to the swamp, cut some reeds, and made seven arrows, and then started up the mountain to where their father kept the game. When they got to the place, they raised the rock and a deer came running out. Just as they drew back to shoot it, another came out, and then another and another, until the boys got confused and forgot what they were about.

In those days all the deer had their tails hanging down like other animals, but as a buck was running past the Wild Boy struck its tail with his arrow so that it pointed upward. The boys thought this good sport, and when the next one ran past the Wild Boy struck its tail so that it stood straight up, and his brother struck the next one so hard with his arrow that the deer's tail was almost curled over his back. The deer carries his tail this way ever since.

The deer came running past until the last one had come out of the hole and escaped into the forest. Then came droves of raccoons, rabbits, and all the other four-footed animals — all but the bear, because there were no bear then. Last came great flocks of turkeys, pigeons, and partridges that darkened the air like a cloud and made such a noise with their wings that Kana'ti, sitting at home, heard the sound like distant thunder on the mountains and said to himself, "My bad boys have got into trouble; I must go and see what they are doing."

So he went up the mountain, and when he came to the place where he kept the game he found the two boys standing by the rock, and all the birds and animals were gone. Kana'ti was furious, but without saying a word he went down into the cave and kicked the covers off four jars in one corner, when out swarmed bedbugs, fleas, lice, and gnats, and got all over the boys. They screamed with pain and fright and tried to beat off the insects, but the thousands of vermin crawled over them and bit and stung them until both dropped down nearly dead. Kana'ti stood looking on until he thought they had been punished enough, when he knocked off the vermin and gave the boys a lecture.

"Now, you rascals," said he, "you have always had plenty to eat and never had to work for it. Whenever you were hungry all I had to do was to come up here and get a deer or a turkey and bring it home for your mother to cook; but now you have let out all the animals, and after this when you want a deer to eat you will have to hunt all over the woods for it, and then maybe not find one."

"Go home now to your mother, while I see if I can find something to eat for supper." When the boys got home again they were very tired and hungry and asked their mother for something to eat. "There is no meat," said Selu, "but wait a little while and I'll get you something."

So she took a basket and started out to the storehouse. This storehouse was built upon poles high up from the ground, to keep it out of the reach of animals, and there was a ladder to climb up by, and one door, but no other opening. Every day when Selu got ready to cook the dinner she would go out to the storehouse with a basket and bring it back full of corn and beans.

The boys had never been inside the storehouse, so they wondered where all the corn and beans could come from, as the house was not a very large one; so as soon as Selu went out of the door the Wild Boy said to his brother, "Let's go and see what she does." They ran around and climbed up at the back of the storehouse and pulled out a piece of clay from between the logs, so that they could look in. There they saw Selu standing in the middle of the room with the basket in front of her on the floor. Leaning over the basket, she rubbed her stomach around and around – counterclockwise — and the basket was half full of corn. Then she rubbed under her armpits in the same way and the basket was full to the top with beans. The boys looked at each other and said, "This will never do; our mother is a witch. If we eat any of that it will poison us. We must kill her."

When the boys came back into the house, she knew their thoughts before they spoke. "So you are going to kill me?", said Selu. "Yes," said the boys, "You are a witch." "Well," said their mother, "When you have killed me, clear a large piece of ground in front of the house and drag my body seven times around the circle. Then drag me seven times over the ground inside the circle, and stay up all night and watch, and in the morning you will have plenty of corn." The boys killed her with their clubs, and cut off her head and put it up on the roof of the house with her face turned to the west, and told her to look for her husband.

Then they set to work to clear the ground in front of the house, but instead of clearing the whole piece they cleared only seven little spots. This is why corn now grows only in a few places instead of over the whole world. They dragged the body of Selu around the circle, and wherever her blood fell on the ground the corn sprang up. But instead of dragging her body seven times across the ground they dragged it over only twice, which is the reason the people still work their crop but twice.

The two brothers sat up and watched their corn all night, and in the morning it was full grown and ripe. When Kana'ti came home at last, he looked around, but could not see Selu anywhere, and asked the boys where their mother was. "She was a witch, and we killed her," said the boys; "There is her head up there on top of the house." When he saw his wife's head on the roof, he was very angry, and said, "I won't stay with you any longer; I am going to the Wolf people."

So he started off, but before be had gone far the Wild Boy changed himself again to a tuft of down, which fell on Kana'ti's shoulder. When Kana'ti reached the settlement of the Wolf people, they were holding a council in the townhouse. He went in and sat down with the tuft of bird's down on his shoulder, but he never noticed it. When the Wolf chief asked him his business, he said: "I have two bad boys at home, and I want you to go in seven days from now and play ball against them." Although Kana'ti spoke as though he wanted them to play a game of ball, the Wolves knew that he meant for them to go and kill the two boys. They promised to go.

Then the bird's down blew off from Kana'ti's shoulder, and the smoke carried it up through the hole in the roof of the townhouse. When it came down on the ground outside, the Wild Boy took his right shape again and went home and told his brother all that he had heard in the townhouse. But when Kana'ti left the Wolf people, he did not return home, but went on farther. The boys then began to get ready for the Wolves, and the Wild Boy — the magician — told his brother what to do. They ran around the house in a wide circle until they had made a trail all around it excepting on the side from which the Wolves would come, where they left a small open space.

Then they made four large bundles of arrows and placed them at four different points on the outside of the circle, after which they hid themselves in the woods and waited for the Wolves. In a day or two a whole party of Wolves came and surrounded the house to kill the boys. The Wolves did not notice the trail around the house, because they came in where the boys had left the opening, but the moment they went inside the circle the trail changed to a high brush fence and shut them in. Then the boys on the outside took their arrows and began shooting them down, and as the Wolves could not jump over the fence they were all killed, excepting a few that escaped through the opening into a great swamp close by. The boys ran around the swamp, and a circle of fire sprang up in their tracks and set fire to the grass and bushes and burned up nearly all the other Wolves. Only two or three got away, and from these have come all the wolves that are now in the world.

Soon afterward some strangers from a distance, who had heard that the brothers had a wonderful grain from which they made bread, came to ask for some, for none but Selu and her family had ever known corn before. The boys gave them seven grains of corn, which they told them to plant the next night on their way home, sitting up all night to watch the corn, which would have seven ripe ears in the morning. These they were to plant the next night and watch in the same way, and so on every night until they reached home, when they would have corn enough to supply the whole people.

The strangers lived seven days' journey away. They took the seven grains and watched all through the darkness until morning, when they saw seven tall stalks, each stalk bearing a ripened ear. They gathered the ears and went on their way. The next night they planted all their corn, and guarded it as before until daybreak, when they found an abundant increase. But the way was long and the sun was hot, and the people grew tired. On the last night before reaching home they fell asleep, and in the morning the corn they had planted had not even sprouted. They brought with them to their settlement what corn they had left and planted it, and with care and attention were able to raise a crop. But ever since the corn must be watched and tended through half the year, which before would grow and ripen in a night.

When Kana'ti did not return, the boys at last decided to go and find him. The Wild Boy took a gaming wheel and rolled it toward the Darkening land. In a little while the wheel came rolling back, and the boys knew their father was not there. He rolled it to the south and to the north, and each time the wheel came back to him, and they knew their father was not there. Then he rolled it toward the Sun Land, and it did not return. "Our father is there," said the Wild Boy, "Let us go and find him."

So the two brothers set off toward the east, and after traveling a long time they came upon Kana'ti walking along with a little dog by his side. "You bad boys," said their father, "You have found me when I didn't want to see you again." "Yes," they answered, "We always accomplish what we start out to do — we are men." "This dog overtook me four days ago," Kana'ti said, but the boys knew that the dog was the wheel which they had sent after him to find him. "Well," said Kana'ti, "As long as you have found me, we may as well travel together, but I shall take the lead."

Soon they came to a swamp, and Kana'ti told them there was something dangerous there and they must keep away from it. He went on ahead, but as soon as he was out of sight the Wild Boy said to his brother, "Come and let us see what is in the swamp." They went in together, and in the middle of the swamp, they found a large panther sleep. The Wild Boy got out an arrow and shot the panther in the side of the head. The panther turned his head and the other boy shot him on that side. He turned his head away again and the two brothers shot together — tusssst, tusssst, tusssst! But the panther was not hurt by the arrows and paid no more attention to the boys.

They came out of the swamp and soon overtook Kana'ti, waiting for them. "Did you find it?" asked Kana'ti. "Yes," said the boys, "We found it, but it never hurt us. We are men." Kana'ti was surprised, but said nothing, and they went on again. After a while he turned to them and said, "Now you must be careful. We are coming to a tribe called the Anada'dvtaski ("Roasters"), and if they get you they will put you into a pot and feast on you."

Then he went on ahead. Soon the boys came to a tree which had been struck by lightning, and the Wild Boy directed his brother to gather some of the splinters from the tree and told him what to do with them. In a little while they came to the settlement of the cannibals, who, as soon as they saw the boys, came running out, crying, "Good, here are two nice fat strangers. Now we'll have a grand feast! They caught the boys and dragged them into the townhouse, and sent word to all the people of the settlement to come to the feast. They made up a great fire, put water into a large pot and set it to boiling, and then seized the Wild Boy and put him down into it.

His brother was not in the least frightened and made no attempt to escape, but quietly knelt down and began putting the splinters into the fire, as if to make it burn better. When the cannibals thought the meat was about ready they lifted the pot from the fire, and that instant a blinding light filled the townhouse, and the lightning began to dart from one side to the other, striking down the cannibals until not one of them was left alive. Then the lightning went up through the smoke-hole, and the next moment there were the two boys standing outside the townhouse as though nothing had happened.

They went on and soon met Kana'ti, who seemed much surprised to see them, and said, "What! are you here again?" "0h, yes, we never give up. We are great men!" "What did the Cannibals do to you?" "We met them and they brought us to their townhouse, but they never hurt us." Kana'ti said nothing more, and they went on.

He soon got out of sight of the boys, but they kept on until they came to the end of the world, where the sun comes out. The sky was just coming down when they got there, but they waited until it went up again, and then they went through and climbed up on the other side. There they found Kana'ti and Selu sitting together.

The old folk received them kindly and were glad to see them, telling them they might stay there a while, but then they must go to live where the sun goes down. The boys stayed with their parents seven days and then went on toward the Darkening land, where they are now. We call them Anisga'ya Tsunsdi' (The Little Men), and when they talk to each other we hear low rolling thunder in the west.

After Kana'ti's boys had let the deer out from the cave where their father used to keep them, the hunters tramped about in the woods for a long time without finding any game, so that the people were very hungry. At last they heard that the Thunder Boys were now living in the far west, beyond the sun door, and that if they were sent for they could bring hack the game. So they sent messengers for them, and the boys came and sat down in the middle of the townhouse and began to sing.

At the first song there was a roaring sound like a strong wind in the. northwest, and it grew louder and nearer as the boys sang on, until at the seventh song a whole herd of deer, led by a large buck, came out from the woods.

The boys had told the people to be ready with their bows and arrows, and when the song was ended and all the deer were close around the townhouse, the hunters shot into them and killed as many as they needed before the herd could get back into the timber. Then the Thunder Boys went back to the Darkening land, but before they left they taught the people the seven songs with which to call up the deer.

It all happened so long ago that the songs are now forgotten — all but two, which the hunters still sing whenever they go after deer.

Peace