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When people hear the word Indians or Native Americans, they think of the characters in the western films. They think of the warriors who had feathers in their hair and rode around on their horses with bow and arrow or maybe Pocahontas. “But who were they really?”
As you might remember was America a whole continent and there were Native Americans all over from Alaska and Canada in north and all down to the Andes-Mountains in south. The Native Americans were not one nation as many thought, but many nations with different history, culture and languages. Just like the rest of the world. Still there are many comment things between the Native Americans, like the way they lived, how they behave, how they came over to America, the way they got food and clothes.
The Native Americans we know today are those who lived on the prairie. They among the best horsemen on the earth, but they hadn’t have the horse for a long time. The horse came with Europeans in 1519. Before that it was hard to live on the prairie because of missing water, but now they could ride for long distances and get some fish, berries and game.
The most important thing to know about Native Americans is that they respected the nature. That was very hard to understand for the white man. “This land belong to me” was one of the many thing the Native Americans never understood, because they belived that the earth didn’t belong to any man but the man belonged to the earth. All things were connected. The men weave the web of life, whatever he did to the web he did to himself.
Since the day Cristoffer Columbus first set his foot on America in 1492. The “superior” white men had suppressed the Native Americans since then. The white men brought new diseases as chicken pow, measels and small pox to untouched country of the Native American. Diseases like these were harmless to the Europeans, dut were deadly to the Native Americans and caused many deaths.
”To be, or not to be”, said a very wise man once. America is now the only superpower in the world, thanks to Columbus that “found America. Columbus is also responsible for starting 500 years pain and repression for the Native Americans. “Was Columbus a hero or villain?”
Without Columbus U.S.A, would only be a normal country, but without Columbus 80% of the Native Americans.
Cherokee is the name of a Native American tribe. The time before 1675 was Cherokee a big tribe, but epidemics and diseases brought by the De Soto-expedition exterminated almost 75% of the Native Americans, and these probably afflicted the Cherokee as well. De Soto was a Spanish explorer who came to America. He was brutal to the Native Americans and used them as guides and slaves, in addition to rape women. In the year that followed 1675, the tribe were afflicted by the epidemics, particularly chickenpox. The consequences were that around the 1830s there were only 25 000 Cherokees left. There were civil war in the tribe and the American Civil War had left its mark. Once again there were 20 000 Cherokees left in the end of the 1800s.
The Cherokee tribe was divided in to seven clans. Every clan represented a spiritual force, which the Cherokees belived existed in the nature. The clans also represented the ceremonies that were supposed to develop the human from birth until it went over to the spiritual world at dead. As the time passed, the Cherokees became Christian, disappeared the clans significance. Most of the Cherokees became Christian already in the 1700s. Which clan you were member of, were inherited from the mother. The clan real “boss” was The Grandmothers Council, an assembly of older, experienced women. It felt natural for the Cherokees to put the women in a high strain. This tribe was the first to choose a female chief, though this didn’t happened before 1987. Every member in the clan was considered as siblings, so marriage inside the clan was therefore prohibited. At marriage the man had to leave his clan and move into to the woman’s
The Cherokees are divided into clans, and every clan had a special job. There were seven clans.
“Wild Potato Clan” which often were farmers. They were regarded as Earth’s guardians and protectors. Spiritual the clan represented the physical world, the Earth. “The Long Hair Clan” They got the name because clan members wore their hair in elaborate acids.
Many of the chiefs were from this clan. They were teaches and keepers of tradition. Spiritual they represented the human. “The Deer Clan” was the animal and hunters protectors. They acted as runners, messengers, diggers and other hunting-related things. Spiritual the clan represented life-spirit and the planting. “The Bird Clan” was the keepers of birds and the Cherokees holy feathers. The feathers were used during special ceremonies. The Cherokees was famous for their use of meter long blowpipe that they used to bird hunting. Spiritual they represented the intellect development. ”The Blue Holly Clan” was responsible for the medicinal needs, especially to children. They got the name because they made medicines of holly. According to the myth, the animals tried to kill the humans, but the plants helped them. Every disease the animal made, the plants created a medicine to cure it. Spiritually the clan represented the spiritually cleaning, that were performed before the ceremonies. According to the myth, the animals had decided to kill the people but the plants helped them. Every diseases the animal made the plants created a medicine to cure it. Spiritual they represented spiritual cleaning which was used in preparation for the ceremonies. “The Paint Clan” gathered material to produce for colour. Each colour represented a direction. Red (east), for the strength and healing, Blue (north), symbolized struggle and things that hurt them. Black (west), for death and the access to the spiritual world, white (south), for the purity and the good things in life.
Spiritual the clan represented the four world-corners, social structure and the social aspect.
“The Wolf Clan” was seen as the one who protected the human and the tribe’s “holy fire”. Originally they were wolf-hunters and they were the only one who was allowed to kill a wolf. Many of the tribe’s warriors and chiefs were from this clan. Spiritual they represented access to the spiritual world and development of an higher consciousness.
One can say though archeological discovery and studies of their languages, suggesting that Cherokees in prehistoric time lived in the area that today is the Southern part of Texas and northern Mexico. Then they moved over to the area between U.S and Canada, where the met the Iroquois. This tribe affected the Cherokees languages, so they are today members of the Iroquois tribe languages. This suggests influence and stay over several thousand years.
The legends tell us that, people originally lived in one or many island in the Atlantic Ocean east of South America. They were attacked by several tribes, but God helped them. When God created the Cherokees, he gave the “wise” men a mystic power so they could use it the people that live in the cities whit the tall buildings. Some of the wise men used their power on something else that God had in mind. God ordered the people to travel away from the islands. Cherokees scattered around, some in Asia, India, South America and North America. The wise men were still on the island, when the people were gone. God destroyed the great cities by let them sink. This legend reminds of the well known history Atlantis.
The Cherokees Indian dresses in homemade clothes. The women wore dresses and men wore pants, but both wore shoes. The women wore skirts, dresses or close-fitting clothes as a summer outfit. The belts were waved and scarfs of deer were tucked around the neck on the dresses. The young children usually went the older used pants, dresses sweaters and shoes. The men used simple skin as trousers and the belt were waved, they put knifes and tools in them.
The Cherokees have had many chiefs, one of the most famous chiefs is Wilma Mankiller. Wilma Mankiller was the first female to be a chief of the Cherokee nation. While Wilma were chief population rose from 55 000 to 156 000. Mankiller was born in Stilwell. She became to first woman to lead one of the biggest and greatest tribe. In 1986 she was on the hall of fame for women in Oklahoma. She is also a president the Inter-Tribal Council of Oklahoma.
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