White man thought he could improve on a system like this.
Old Cherokee Saying
We, the great mass of the people think only of the
love we have for our land, we do love the land
where we were brought up. We will never let our hold
to this land go, to let it go it will be like throwing
away (our) mother that gave (us) birth.
Letter from Aitooweyah to John Ross,
Principal Chief of the Cherokees.
Grown men can learn from very little children
for the hearts of the little children are pure.
Therefore, the Great Spirit may show to them
many things which older people miss.
A very great vision is needed and the man
who has it must follow it as the eagle seeks
the deepest blue of the sky.
I am tired of fighting...from where the sun now stands,
I will fight no more.
The Great Spirit Chief who rules above all
will smile upon this land...
and this time the Indian race is waiting and praying.
Treat the earth well,
It was not given to you by your parents,
It was loaned to you by your children.
All things share the same breath - the beast, the tree,
the man, the air shares its spirit with all the life it supports.
When a white army battles Indians and wins, it
is called a great victory, but if they lose it
is called a massacre.
We are now about to take our leave and kind farewell to
our native land, the country the Great Spirit gave our
Fathers, we are on the eve of leaving that country that
gave us birth, it is with sorrow we are forced by the
white man to quit the scenes of our childhood...we bid
farewell to it and all we hold dear.
Charles Hicks, Tsalagi (Cherokee) Vice Chief
speaking of The Trail of Tears, Nov. 4, 1838
I am a member of Tsalagi (Cherokee) tribe. The seven pointed star in the center of the Cherokee Seal represents the seven Cherokee clans. The wreath of oak leaves symbolizes the sacred fire which the Cherokees kept burning in their land. Oak was the wood traditionally burned.
The Seven Clans
Bird Clan - Their color is Purple, and their wood is Maple
Blue Clan -Their color is Blue and their wood is Ash
Deer Clan - Their color is Brown and their wood is Oak
Paint Clan - Their color is White, and their wood is Locust
Twister Clan - Their color is Yellow and their wood is Beech
Wild Potato Clan - Their color is Green and their wood is Birch
Wolf Clan - Their color is Red and their wood is Hickory
The Cherokee clans were based on a matrilineal system.
(traced thru the mother's line)
Bird Clan, they were messengers and also very skilled in using blowguns for bird hunting. Eagle feathers were presented by them to other members of the tribe because they were only ones able to collect them. They were the keepers of the birds.
Blue Clan, this clan were keepers of childrens medicines and of medicinal herbs. They were named after a plant called a blue holly, which they used for medicine. This Clan has also been known as the Wild Cat Clan or Panther. They were known as a peace clan.
Deer Clan, they were fast runners and delivered messenges from village to village, or person to person and were excellent hunters and trackers. They were known as a peace clan.
Paint Clan, they were the smallest and most secretive clan, and the only ones that were allowed to make a special red paint and dye that are used for ceremonial purposes and war.
Twister Clan also known as Long Hair Clan It is said that those belonging to this clan wore their hair twisted or in braided hairdos. The peace chiefs usually came from this clan and wore a white feather robe. Their members were teachers and keepers of tradition.
Wild Potato Clan were farmers and gatherers of wild potato plants. They used them to make flour for bread. They were keepers and protectors of the earth. Also known as the Raccoon or Clan Bear Clan.
Wolf Clan is the most prominent clan, providing most of the war chiefs, and warriors. They were the protectors of the people and were known as a warrior clan.
The Four Directions
Colors were associated with the four directions.
Blue represented North which meant cold, defeat and trouble.
White was South representing warmth, peace and happiness.
Red was East, the color of the Sacred Fire, blood,and success.
West was black the color meaning problems and death.
Other colors also had special meanings.
Brown was good but yellow meant trouble and strife.
The circle was also a basic symbol for the Cherokees.
The council houses were circular and the fire inside was built so that the fire would burn in a circular path.
The stomp dance and other ceremonies were performed in a circular pattern.
The official flag of the Cherokee Nation was raised for the first time on September 30, 1979. The seal is surrounded by seven stars, each with a point in line with the seven points of the center star. The seven stars and the seven points of each star symbolize the 7 clans of the Cherokees. The orange flag is bordered by a black and green rope along the outer edge.
The seven-pointed black star was added to memorialize the many Cherokees that died on the Trail of Tears.
Cherokee Historical Firsts
1808 The first written laws by an Indian tribe.
1822 The first Indian alphabet written by Sequoyah.
1824 First written law of Western Cherokees.
1827 First written constitution among Indian tribes.
1828 The Cherokee Phoenix was the first newspaper and the only bilingual newspaper.
1844 The Cherokee Advocate becomes the first newspaper in Indian territory.
1957 First Cherokee National Holiday.
Stand Watie was the only Indian to become a General in the Confederate Army.
The first and only Indian tribe with two representatives (Sequoyah and Will Rogers) in the National Statuary Hall in the Nation's Capitol Building, Washington, D.C.
First Masonic Lodge in Oklahoma.
Legend of the Rose Rock
A Cherokee Legend
Photo Copyright 2003
There was once a young Indian maiden who lived with
her tribe in central Oklahoma.The young maiden was always cheerful and singing and was much loved by the people of her tribe. Then one night she became very ill. The medicine man could do nothing to make her well. When she died the tribe was so grief stricken that they
built huge altars made of small sandstone rocks as an offering to the Great Spirit.
After several days the Great Spirit spoke and the sound of his voice turned the little red sandstone rocks into roses, an eternal symbol of the young maiden's spirit.
Another version of this legend says that the rose rocks represent the blood of the braves and the tears of the maidens who traveled the Trail Of Tears.
The rose rock is Oklahoma's State Rock. Rose rocks are actually barite rock crystals and are found in central Oklahoma. They say you can find them laying on the ground but I didn't, I bought the two pictured above in Oklahoma City.
May the warm winds of Heaven blow softly on your home,
And the Great Spirit bless all who enter there.
May your mocassins make happy tracks in many snows,
And may the rainbow always touch your shoulder.
Oh Great spirit,
grant that I may never find fault
with my neighbor until I have walked
the trail of life in his moccasins.
Let us walk softly on the Earth
with all living beings great and small
remembering as we go, that one God
kind and wise created all.
We walk in our moccasins upon the Earth
And beneath the sky
As we travel on life's path of beauty
We will live a good life and reach old age.
End of The Trail
Sculpture by James Earle Fraser
This sculpture, End of The Trail is in my den.
James Earle Fraser was born in Minnesota in 1876. In 1880, his family moved to South Dakota. He grew up with the Sioux Indians. Fraser felt the Indians had been treated unfairly by the white man and developed a great deal of compassion for them. He remembered how badly the pioneers spoke of the Indians and he could not understand why such animosity developed.
In 1915 he completed The End of the Trail, a dejected Indian sitting on a horse. Seneca Chief John Big Tree was the model for the figure, which symbolizes the fate of the American Indians.
Indian City, USA - Anadarko, Ok.
This image is painted on the side of the hill.
The indian village is located on top of the hill.
Indian City is on the site of the massacre of the Tonkawa Indians by a band of Shawnees and other mercenaries during the Civil War. The 200 acre tract, is a small portion of the Kiowa, Apache, and Comanche Reservations established by the Federal Government in Oklahoma.
The village tour features seven authentic villages and lasts about 30 to 45 minutes. (Navajo, Chiricahua Apache, Wichita, Kiowa Winter Camp, Caddo, Pawnee, and Pueblo) Indian guides describe the customs and beliefs of each tribe which is a real treat if you are interested in the way the indians used to live.
Federally Recognized Oklahoma Tribes
Absentee-Shawnee Tribe Alabama/Quassarte Tribe Alabama-Coushatta Tribe Apache Tribe Caddo Tribal Town Cherokee Nation Cheyenne/Arapaho Tribe Chickasaw Tribe Choctaw Tribe Citzen Band Potawatomi Comanche Tribe Creek Nation Eastern Delaware Eastern Shawnee Fort Sill Apache Iowa Tribe of Oklahoma Kaw Nation Kialegee Tribal Town Kickapoo Tribe Kiowa Tribe Miami Tribe Modoc Tribe Otoe-Missouria Tribe Ottawa Tribe Pawnee Tribe Peoria Tribe Ponca Tribe Quapaw Tribe Sac & Fox Nation Seminole Nation Seneca/Cayuga Tribe Thlopthlocco Tribal Town Tonkawa Tribe United Keetoowah Band Wichita & Affiliated Tribes Wyandotte Tribe Western Delaware Tribe