Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The seven clans


I wanted to post some info on the seven clans of our tribe because this is vital info that not many people are aware of and is, in fact, a good civilization model where each person plays a role and equally shares the burden. Cherokee culture is matrilineal, meaning your designated clan comes from your mothers bloodline, however, this serves another were often times warriors, it was vital that land and other resources were able to be retained by a woman in order to guarantee your children's future. The people in your clan are your family, your brothers and sisters, thus you can not marry and reproduce within your own clan, this shows an ancient awareness that in order to preserve something change must be introduced...or at least that's how I see it. Clan designation also determined seating arrangements at ceremonial gatherings and was used in medicine...makes sense, don't they always get a medical history for yourself and your fam when you go to the dr?
The clans are as follows:

Anigilohi/Longhair (which is the clan I come from)
These are the peace keepers...the peace chief came from this clan when that type of government was used. Prisoners of war, orphans and those with no Cherokee clan were adopted into this tribe.

This is the oldest clan and those from this clan hold a high responsibility as they are the healers of children and produce remedies for ailments affecting the babies.

These are the protectors...the war chief came from this clan.

Anigotegewi/Wild Potato
These are the land keepers, the gatherers, or as we could call it one, the farmers

These are the hunters, yet they are also charged with the care of animals, insuring that animals are not abused or mistreated. They are also messengers, a sort of mail man...

These are the messengers, yet in a different sense. They could communicate between the mundane and esoteric...sort of a messenger from heaven to earth.

These are the medicine people...remedies were often mixed and then 'painted' onto someone for healing purposes.

Those are the seven...together, they form a perfect balance, a harmony, life sustaining EQUALITY.


Saturday, June 25, 2011


'Sacajawea is most well known for accompanying Meriwether Lewis and William Clark during their Corps of Discovery of the Western United States in 1806. She was born in a Shoshone tribe as Agaidika, or “Salmon Eater” in 1788. In February of 1805, just after meeting Lewis and Clark, Lewis assisted in the birth of her son, Jean Baptiste Charbonneau. Her face now appears in the dollar coin.'

Friday, May 20, 2011

Maria TallChief

Born Elizabeth Marie Tall Chief to an Osage Nation father, she became an eventually well-known ballerina. She was the first American Prima Ballerina.  She was also the first American to dance at the Paris Opera and has danced with the Paris Opera Ballet, the Ballet Russe, and the Balanchine Ballet Society. In 1947 Maria began dancing with the New York City Ballet until her retirement in 1965. Soon after she founded the Chicago City Ballet and remained it’s artistic director for many years. Since 1997 she has been an adviser in the Chicago dance schools and continues to astound future dancers with her always-ahead-of-her-skill abilities and was featured in a PBS special from 2007-2010.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Red Cloud

'Perhaps one of the most capable warriors from the Oglala Lakota (Sioux) tribesmen ever faced by the US Military, Makhpiya Luta, his Sioux name, led his people in what is known as Red Cloud’s War. This battle was for the rights to the area known as Powder River Country in Northern Wyoming and Southern Montana. Eventually he led his people during their time on reservation.'


'Geronimo (Chiricahua: “one who yawns”; often spelled Goyathlay or Goyahkla in English) was a prominent Native American leader of the Chiricahua Apache who defended his people against the encroachment of the US on their tribal lands for over 25 years. While Geronimo said he was never actually a chief, he was rather a military leader. As a Chiricahua Apache, this meant he was also a spiritual leader. He consistently urged raids and war upon many Mexican and later U.S. groups. Geronimo eventually went on to marry 6 wives, an Apache tradition. He staged what was to be the last great Native American uprising, and eventually moved to a reservation.'

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Crazy Horse

'With a name in his tribe, Lakota: Thasuka Witko, that literally means “His-Horse-is-Crazy”, this Native American was actually born with the name: Cha-O-Ha meaning in Lakotan, “In the Wilderness”, and he was often called Curly due to his hair. In the Great Sioux War of 1876, Crazy Horse led a combined group of nearly 1,500 Lakota and Cheyenne in a surprise attack against General George Crook’s force of 1,000 English men and 300 Crow and Shoshone warriors. The battle, though not substantial in terms of lives lost, nearly prevented Crook from joining up with General Custer, ensuring Custer’s subsequent defeat at the Battle of Little Bighorn. Crazy Horse went on to oppose the US Government in their various decisions on how to handle Indian affairs.'

Monday, March 14, 2011

Freedom or Death...Hero with the Horned Snakes

In ancient times, there lived some very large snakes that glittered nearly as bright as the sun. They had two horns on their heads, and they possessed a magic power of attraction. To see one of these snakes was always a bad omen. Whoever tried to escape from one instead ran directly toward the snake and was devoured.

Only a highly skilled medicine man or hunter could kill a two- horned snake. It required a very special medicine or power. The hunter had to shoot his arrow into the seventh stripe of the snake's skin.
One day a Shawnee Indian youth was held captive by the Cherokees. He was promised his freedom if he could find and kill a horned snake. He hunted for many, many days in caves, over wild mountains, and at last found one high in the Tennessee Mountains.
The Shawnee youth made a large circle of fire by burning pine cones. Then he walked toward the two-horned snake. When it saw the hunter, the snake slowly raised its head. The Shawnee youth shouted, "Freedom or death!"
He then aimed carefully and shot his arrow through the seventh stripe of the horned snake's skin. Turning quickly, he jumped into the centre of the ring of fire, where he felt safe from the snake.
A stream of poison flowed from the snake, but was stopped by the fire. Because of the Shawnee youth's bravery, the grateful Cherokees granted him his freedom as they had promised.
Four days later, some of the Cherokees went to the spot where the youth had killed the horned snake. They gathered fragments of snake bones and skin, tying them into a sacred bundle. These they kept carefully for their children and grandchildren, because they believed the sacred bundle would bring good fortune to their tribe.
Also on the same spot, a small lake formed containing black water. Into this water the Cherokee women dipped their twigs used in their basket making. This is how they learned to dye their baskets black, along with other colours.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Cherokees feel they are to be sacrifices...

Published in Cherokee Phoenix and Indians' Advocate Wednesday, March 17, 1830 , Vol. II, no. 48. Page 2, col. 5a-Page 3, col. 2b

The Indian Committees in both houses of Congress have reported, recommending as we anticipated, the removal of the Indians to the west of the Mississippi.  The question is therefore now open for discussion, and soon we shall hear what is to become of us.  The crisis is at hand.  Will justice prevail?  Will honor and plighted faith be regarded, and the poor Indians be shielded from oppression?  These are momentous questions which must in a very short time receive a practical answer.   If justice prevails, the Indians will assuredly be protected.  But if treaties are disregarded and declared of no validity, as many high in office have already done, then indeed shall we be delivered over to our enemies-it matters not whether we hide ourselves in the western prairies-our enemies will have no difficulty in finding us there.  If therefore we are to be sacrificed, let the bloody tragedy be accomplished here on our own native soil around the graves of our fathers & in the view of the people of these United States.  The good people of this boasting republic may stand and gaze on the oppressive acts of Georgia, consenting or not, as they please, to our destruction.  It will not require their aid to destroy us-they need only stand still-Georgia can accomplish her design easily--But there will be a reckoning hereafter.

 It is said, however, that the general Government and the state of Georgia, do not contemplate using force.  We have never intimated that open force will be resorted to--this would be too barefaced.  But measures are in operation whose effects upon us are the same as those of compulsion.  The object is our removal, and if it is ever accomplished, it must be done contrary to our wishes and inclinations, by means which honor and justice must forever reprobate.   It makes no difference whether we are ousted at the point of the bayonet, or by indirect and oppressive measures--it is the same thing with us, and we wish the public to know it.  People of the U. S. our appeal is to you---will you, with a relentless hand, extinguish all our rising expectations?
 The leading men of this nation have been charged with a studied attention to mislead their people in regard to the nature of the country allotted by the government for the future residence of the Indians.  They have said, and repeated a hundred times, that the country was not fit for the Cherokees---it is poor and unhealthy---it is deficient in wood and water.  On the other hand, the agents of the government have extolled it, as being unexceptionable in every respect.  We can answer these men by a retort.  It is their studied attempt to beguile and mislead the Indians and not only the Indians, but the public.  We hope they will never succeed.  We have frequently said that the good land, if any there be in the west, was not sufficient for the support of the Indians proposed to be colonized there.  In this opinion we are not alone.
 We invite our Cherokee readers to whom the deceptive promises have been held out, to peruse the remarks which follow.  They are taken from an article in the Arkansas Gazette, headed " On the purchase of Texas." The writer must be considered a good witness in the case, so far as the nature and extent of the country is concerned.
 The whole country west of Missouri and Arkansas, (including the forth miles severed from the latter,) is already parcelled out to the different tribes who now occupy it.  The Cherokees and Creeks are already murmuring on account of their restricted limits and complain that the Government has assigned to both the same tract of country.  The productions of the habitable parts of the country under the careless culture of the Indians, will be found not more than sufficient to supply the wants of its present population.  And it should be recollected, that, tinctured as the Indians are, with some of the characteristics of civilization, the force of their original habits is broker, which readers [sic] them as little qualified to subsist on the sterile prairies towards the Rocky Mountains, as many of our own citizens.  In meliorating the condition of the Indians, humanity needs no subterfuge; its principles are plain, direct, and unconditional.  The Government is bound to protect the Indians as a separate and distinct people, so long as that protection does not interfere with the rights and interests of its own citizens; but when this sacrifice becomes necessary to keep up the semblance of independence among the Indian tribes, humanity can go no farther.
 The language usually held out to the Indians, by the agents of the Government, to induce them to remove, is, that they are to remain uncontrolled in their habits; that an extensive country will be assigned them, abounding with game and every other advantage suited to their pristine habits.  Without an extended country in the south, the Government cannot comply with those engagements.  It is a mere mockery of humanity to hold such language to the Indians, when under existing circumstances, the promises contained can never be realized. It is like adorning the victim with flowers and fillets, when you are leading it to the altar.  In our transactions with the Indians, as well as others, the scale of justice should never preponderate or the language of humanity be disguised.  In placing them west of the civilization, they must have a country in extent suitable to their roving habits.  It they are all to be crowded into the territory now at the disposition of the Government in the west, the consequence will be, war, starvation, and a total extermination of the race.  If this is to be the case, the cause of humanity would be aided, by compelling them to stay where they are, and submit to the restraints of civilization.
 If the proposition respecting the formation of our Indian colony, without the range of the States and Territories, contained in the report of the Secretary of War, should be adopted by the Government, we will have according to the Secretary's calculation, seventy-five thousand at one litter in addition to those already in the country.  We must acknowledge that the Secretary would be extremely productive in people for his colony, but will he tell us where he will put them? and how he will subsist them, under existing circumstances.  I believe his plan rational and practicable, if the Texas country belonged to the government, but otherwise the restricted limits in which he would have to plant his colony would render it a perfect Indian slaughter  house.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Selu Isa Uganasda (Cornmeal Cookies)

Peace y'all...I've been seriously slacking on the posting...I've had to take care of myself, I'm sure that's understandable.  True to my form I will post the traditional recipe...and then my modifications.  These are so yummy, but should be eaten in moderation.  Enjoy!!!

     3/4 cup margarine* 
     3/4 cup sugar* 
     1 egg* 
     1 tsp. vanilla 

     1 1/2 cup flour 
     1/2 cup cornmeal 
     1 tsp. baking powder
     1/4 tsp. salt*

*My modifications -
Margarine = Earth Balance
Sugar = Raw Turbinado
Egg = Ener-G egg replacer
Salt = Sea Salt, 3/4ths amount listed
Cream together margarine and sugar.  Add egg and vanilla until smooth.  Add the rest of ingredients and drop dough from tablespoon onto a greased cookie sheet. 
Bake at 150 degrees about 15 minutes until lightly browned.
Makes about 1 1/2 dozen.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Removal Act of 1830

The Removal Act
May 28, 1830

An Act to provide for an exchange of lands with the Indians residing in any of the states or territories, and for their removal west of the river Mississippi.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America, in Congress assembled, That it shall and may be lawful for the President of the United States to cause so much of any territory belonging to the United States, west of the river Mississippi, not included in any state or organized territory, and to which the Indian title has been extinguished, as he may judge necessary, to be divided into a suitable number of districts, for the reception of such tribes or nations of Indians as may choose to exchange the lands where they now reside, and remove there; and to cause each of said districts to be so described by natural or artificial marks, as to be easily distinguished from every other.

And be it further enacted, That it shall and may be lawful for the President to exchange any or all of such districts, so to be laid off and described, with any tribe or nation of Indians now residing within the limits of any of the states or territories, and with which the United States have existing treaties, for the whole or any part or portion of the territory claimed and occupied by such tribe or nation, within the bounds of any one or more of the states or territories, where the land claimed and occupied by the Indians, is owned by the United States, or the United States are bound to the state within which it lies to extinguish the Indian claim thereto.

And be it further enacted, That in the making of any such exchange or exchanges, it shall and may be lawful for the President solemnly to assure the tribe or nation with which the exchange is made, that the United States will forever secure and guaranty to them, and their heirs or successors, the country so exchanged with them; and if they prefer it, that the United States will cause a patent or grant to be made and executed to them for the same: Provided always, That such lands shall revert to the United States, if the Indians become extinct, or abandon the same.

And be it further enacted, That if, upon any of the lands now occupied by the Indians, and to be exchanged for, there should be such improvements as add value to the land claimed by any individual or individuals of such tribes or nations, it shall and may be lawful for the President to cause such value to be ascertained by appraisement or otherwise, and to cause such ascertained value to be paid to the person or persons rightfully claiming such improvements. And upon the payment of such valuation, the improvements so valued and paid for, shall pass to the United States, and possession shall not afterwards be permitted to any of the same tribe.

And be it further enacted, That upon the making of any such exchange as is contemplated by this act, it shall and may be lawful for the President to cause such aid and assistance to be furnished to the emigrants as may be necessary and proper to enable them to remove to, and settle in, the country for which they may have exchanged; and also, to give them such aid and assistance as may be necessary for their support and subsistence for the first year after their removal.
And be it further enacted, That it shall and may be lawful for the President to cause such tribe or nation to be protected, at their new residence, against all interruption or disturbance from any other tribe or nation of Indians, or from any other person or persons whatever.

And be it further enacted, That it shall and may be lawful for the President to have the same superintendence and care over any tribe or nation in the country to which they may remove, as contemplated by this act, that he is now authorized to have over them at their present places of residence: Provided, That nothing in this act contained shall be construed as authorizing or directing the violation of any existing treaty between the United States and any of the Indian tribes.

And be it further enacted, That for the purpose of giving effect to the Provisions of this act, the sum of five hundred thousand dollars is hereby appropriated, to be paid out of any money in the treasury, not otherwise appropriated

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Trail of Tears

  • Peace...this is BRIEF history of the 'Trail of Tears' yet I wanted to share it.  One of my goals this year, is to post history of my people on a monthly basis, and though we did not begin with this period in time, it is a good place to start to show the strength of who we are.

Migration from the original Cherokee Nation began in the early 1800’s as Cherokees, wary of white encroachment, moved west and settled in other areas of the country. White resentment of the Cherokees had been building and reached a pinnacle after gold was discovered in Georgia, and immediately following the passage of the Cherokee Nation constitution, and establishment of a Cherokee Supreme Court. Possessed with ‘gold fever,’ and a thirst for expansion, the white communities turned on their Cherokee neighbors and the U.S. government decided it was time for the Cherokees to leave behind their farms, their land and their homes.

A group known as the Old Settlers had moved in 1817 to lands given them in Arkansas where again they established a government and a peaceful way of life. Later, they too, were forced into Indian Territory.
President Andrew Jackson, whose command and life was saved due to 500 Cherokee allies at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend in 1814, unbelievably authorized the Indian Removal Act of 1830. In following the recommendation of President James Monroe in his final address to Congress in 1825, Jackson sanctioned an attitude that had persisted for many years among many white immigrants. Even Thomas Jefferson, who often cited the Great Law of Peace of the Iroquois Confederacy as the model for the U.S. Constitution, supported Indian Removal as early as 1802.

The displacement of Native People was not wanting for eloquent opposition. Senators Daniel Webster and Henry Clay spoke out against removal. Reverend Samuel Worcester, missionary to the Cherokees, challenged Georgia’s attempt to extinguish Indian title to land in the state, winning the case before the Supreme Court.

Worcester vs. Georgia, 1832, and Cherokee Nation vs. Georgia, 1831, are considered the two most influential decisions in Indian law. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled for Georgia in the 1831 case, but in Worcester vs. Georgia, the court affirmed Cherokee sovereignty. President Andrew Jackson defied the decision of the court and ordered the removal, an act of defiance that established the U.S. government’s precedent for the removal of many Native Americans from the ancestral homelands.

The U.S. government used the Treaty of New Echota in 1835 to justify the removal. The treaty, illegally signed by about 100 Cherokees known as the Treaty Party, relinquished all lands east of the Mississippi River in exchange for land in Indian Territory and the promise of money, livestock, various provisions and tools, and other benefits.

When the pro-removal Cherokee leaders signed the Treaty of New Echota, they also signed their own death warrants. The Cherokee Nation Council earlier had passed a law that called for the death penalty for anyone who agreed to give up tribal land. The signing and the removal led to bitter factionalism and the deaths of most of the Treaty Party leaders once in Indian Territory.

Opposition to the removal was led by Chief John Ross, a mixed-blood of Scottish and one-eighth Cherokee descent. The Ross party and most Cherokees opposed the New Echota Treaty, but Georgia and the U.S. government prevailed and used it as justification to force almost all of the 17,000 Cherokees from their southeastern homeland.

Under orders from President Jackson and in defiance of the U.S. Supreme Court, the U.S. Army began enforcement of the Removal Act. More than 3,000 Cherokees were rounded up in the summer of 1838 and loaded onto boats that traveled the Tennessee, Ohio, Mississippi and Arkansas Rivers into Indian Territory. Many were held in prison camps awaiting their fate.

An estimated 4,000 died from hunger, exposure and disease. The journey became an eternal memory as the "trail where they cried" for the Cherokees and other removed tribes. Today, it is remembered as the "Trail of Tears." The Oklahoma Chapter of the Trail of Tears Association has begun the task of marking the graves of Trail survivors with bronze memorials.

Info provided by the Cherokee Nation Cultural Resource Center.