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Cherokee Tribe

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The Cherokee Indians are a Native American tribe. They are largest tribe in the United States. The name Cherokee comes from a Muskogean word that means "speakers of another language". The Cherokee called themselves the Ani-Yunwiya, meaning "principal people".

Cherokee Flag
Flag of the Cherokee Nation by Muscogee Red

Where did the Cherokee live?

Before the Europeans arrived, the Cherokee lived in an area of the Southeastern United States which is today the states of North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, and Tennessee.

The Cherokee lived in wattle and daub homes. These homes were framed with tree logs and then covered with mud and grass to fill in the walls. The roofs were made of thatch or bark.

What did they eat?

The Cherokee lived off a combination of farming, hunting, and gathering. They farmed vegetables such as corn, squash, and beans. They also hunted animals such as deer, rabbits, turkey, and even bears. They cooked a variety of foods including stews and cornbread.

Cherokee People
Cherokee People from Public Domain Sources

How did they travel?

Before the Europeans came and brought horses, the Cherokee traveled by foot or by canoe. They used trails and rivers to travel between villages. They made canoes by hollowing out large tree logs.

Religion and Ceremonies

The Cherokee were a religious people who believed in spirits. They performed ceremonies in order to ask the spirits to help them. They would have special ceremonies before going to battle, leaving on a hunt, and when trying to heal sick people. They would often dress up and dance to music during the ceremony. The largest of their celebrations was called the Green Corn Ceremony which thanked the spirits for their harvest of corn.

Cherokee Society

A typical Cherokee village would be home to around thirty to fifty families. They would be part of a larger Cherokee clan such as the Wolf Clan or the Bird Clan. The women were responsible for the house, farming, and the family. The men were responsible for hunting and war.

The Cherokee and the Europeans

Living in the East, the Cherokee had early contact with the American colonists. They made many treaties with the colonists over the years. They also fought alongside the French in the French and Indian war in 1754 against the British. When the British won the war, the Cherokee lost some of their land. They again lost more of their land to the United States when they sided with the British in the American Revolutionary War.

Trail of Tears

In 1835 some of the Cherokee signed a treaty with the United States giving the US all of the Cherokee land in return for land in Oklahoma plus $5 million. Most of the Cherokee did not want to do this, but they had no choice. In 1838 the US army forced the Cherokee nation to move from their homes in the Southeast all the way to the state of Oklahoma. Over 4,000 Cherokee people died on the march to Oklahoma. Today this forced march is called the "The Trail of Tears".

Interesting Facts about the Cherokee Activities For more Native American history:

Culture and Overview
Agriculture and Food
Native American Art
American Indian homes and Dwellings
Homes: The Teepee, Longhouse, and Pueblo
Native American Clothing
Roles of Women and Men
Social Structure
Life as a Child
Mythology and Legends
Glossary and Terms

History and Events
Timeline of Native American History
King Philips War
French and Indian War
Battle of Little Bighorn
Trail of Tears
Wounded Knee Massacre
Indian Reservations
Civil Rights

Tribes and Regions
Apache Tribe
Cherokee Tribe
Cheyenne Tribe
Iroquois Indians
Navajo Nation
Nez Perce
Osage Nation
Sioux Nation

Famous Native Americans
Crazy Horse
Chief Joseph
Sitting Bull
Maria Tallchief
Jim Thorpe
Works Cited

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