28 November 2008

the Cherokee Nation

  • The term Cherokee comes Creek word meaning “people of a different speech”
  • They call themselves the “real people” or the “principal people”
  • They are location in Oklahoma and western North Carolina
  • Population in 1674 was 50,00 and 308,000 in 1990
  • Language is part Iroquoian, because they conquered them


  • The confederacy has about 200 towns and shared a common language and cultural
  • Originally there was no chief but each group had their own ceremonies and wars
  • Each town had a red chief and white chief
  • The red chief the leader during the wartime and the the white chief was for the peacetime
  • Each governed with the consultation with a town council, which had both male and female villagers.
  • They were organized into 7 clans that were basic on their mother’s blood line
  • Language is from the southern branch of the Iroquoian and it very different from the northern Iroquoian languages, like Mohawk
  • 50,000 people owned 40,000 square miles of land, including parts from Alabama to west Virginia
  • It is known as the largest tribe of the 5 civilized tribes


  • Were believed to have migrated from Mexico, Texas and the great lakes region
  • They had conflict and wars with the Iroquois and the Delaware tribes 3-4,000 yrs old
  • They relied on 3 ways for food: farming, gathering and hunting
  • Some of the crops were corn, beans, squash, sunflower, melons, tobacco, nuts, roots, and fruits
  • Food was preserved for winter by drying it out
  • Cherokee women did most of the farming, men were the primarily warriors and hunter
  • They hunted deers, bears, buffalos, raccoons, rabbits, squirrels, opossums, turkeys, and other types of birds
  • Traditionally the Cherokee people never wasted a part of a hunted animal
  • Deer was the most important game for the Cherokee
  • They were use blow guns to hunt them down from about 60 feet away


  • In the 1600’s the tribe was divided into two groups
  • Most people belived that the world was created by the “Being from above”
  • This group worshiped different heavenly bodies, animals, and fire
  • The 2nd group believed in “three beings who were always together and of the same mind”
  • Religion was part of the Cherokee’s daily life
  • Each town’s white chief served as a chief preiest
  • There is a cycle of 6 annual festivals
  • The most important one was the harvest , it was a celebration of harmony and renewal
  • Now days most Cherokee are protestant Christians, but they do have services in the Cherokee language.

Random facts

· A Cherokee townhas a council house, a plaza, and 30-60 private homes.

· The whole town is surrounded by a protective fence

· The circular council house is large enough to hold all 400-500 townspeople for meetings and religious ceremonies.

· Wall were formed by weaving saplings support posts then plastered with mud over the framework

· In 1995 164,000 cherokee claimed to be members of the Cherokee nation of Oklahoma

· While 10,500 belonged to the eastern band of Cherokee in north Carolina

· In 1990 the u.s census recorded that 308,132 people claim themselves as Cherokee, the lasgest native tribe in the United States

· Cherokee is the most completes and different language to learn

· It was created by Sequoyah his father was white and his given name was George Guess.

· It took him about 12 years, he developed 85 systems, which represented all the sounds of his native tongue

· Literary quickly separated among the Cherokee people, once then trust it

Current Tribal Issues

· A big problem for Cherokee today is their lack of tradional culture

· They lost a lot their history, and culture beucase they tried to assima with the white.

· They thought it would help them keep land and it was new and whites had mew technologies


Wilma Pearl Mankiller was the chief of the Cherokee nation of Oklahoma from 1985-1991. her name comes from her antserter who was named that to protect the people in a town. She was the first full blood Cherokee female to be chief in about 200 years. Initially the people of the nation didn’t want to be lead by a women, she was threat, her car tires were slashed. But it didn’t take long for Wilma to win over the respect of the people and she has left her mark on the nation. With her mission to restore the Cherokee cultural and to teach the next generation.

Benjamin Nighthorse Campell is an American politician. He is a senator from Colorado from 1993 till 2005 and for a while was the only native American serving in the u.s. congress. It was the 3rd native American to service in the us.s senate in history, he was also one of the 44 members of the councils of chiefs of the northern Cheyenne Indian tribe.

He was a democratic but later changed to a the republican party in 1995.

Mother was a Portuguese immigrant, and his father Albert Campbell was from the Northern Cheyenne but he was raised in Crow Agenct boarding school.

Wionona LaDuke is a native American activist, environment, economist, and a writer. She ran as the vice president for the green party in the 1996 and 2000 election with Ralph Nader. But in 2004 she supported John Kerry and is currently supporting Barack Obama. She is the current executive director of both the honor the earth and white earth land recovery party. Her father was part Chippewa and from a reservation of Minnesota. Her mother was jewish artist and was a professor at southern Oregon university.

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