The Native Americans are composed of different tribes and ethnic groupings; among the ethnic tribes there is a family called Cherokees. Cherokees lived as a family and held cultural, social and administrative collectively; the tribe is one of the first American tribes to become civilized. This paper undertakes a historical of the Cherokees in the 18th century.
In the 18th century, the Cherokees had settled in modern Georgia, the Carolinas, and East Tennessee. Cherokees shared territories with among others Anasazi, hopi, mayan, Swanee, Hohokam, Mogollon and Salado people. During the time the tribe established itself as Cherokee nation and had their capital center located at New Echota in Northern Georgia.
The traditional life of the people before colonization by the Britons can be characterized as that of peace and unity. When making a peace agreement, they would exchange soldiers. When the Britons colonized the Unites States, a number of Cherokees were taken captive as slaves to work in tobacco, rice, and indigo farms; slavery trade marked the start of migration in the community. Cherokees had a system of governance and security where the soldiers were trained on different methods of war, they were expected to protect the community. The soldiers referred to as didaniyisgi were commanded by chiefs or community leaders. Cherokees is one of the oldest communities that had embraced dialogue and communication in case of conflicts; in war, they used their native language of southern Iroquoian to lay war strategies.
After conquering a certain community, the army was expected to come home with gold, animals, and other valuables. The photo below shows a Cherokee soldier:
Before colonization, Cherokees were farmers, they were engaged in crop farming and husbandry; they were also involved in gathering, hunting, and trade. The main diet that comprised their meals was fruits, world vegetables, milk, wild meats, and some farming produce. When they got sick, they had some traditional doctors who were believed to have the expertise to cure diseases using herbs.
In case a disease was in-curable, it was regarded as a bad omen and cleansing of the sick persons family was done through sacrifices. Men were given the task feeding their family; they were expected to farm, hunt, and trade. Boys at the age of fourteen years were supposed to join their fathers to learn how to life as expected by the society.
According to the custom women were not supposed to be in the army; however incase situation allowed, they would were supposed to cook and fetch water for the army. Girls were taught by their mothers, aunts, and grandmother on how to take care of a husband. There were systems of punishing family members when they went against their expectations; generally at young age, mothers disciplined their children.
The following photo shows modern photos of Cherokees:
With then technology, the shelters that the communities made were temporary structures that were made of grass, wood and soil. Homesteads had adopted a design that eased their access from the gate. As a security matter, people used to build in a central place where they would protect each other from wild animal attacks or attacks from enemies.
Cherokees believed that there is a Supreme Being who controls mankind; families and communities in the tribe had their special way of worship the Supreme Being. For example there were some people who believed some herbs such as tobacco, sweet grass or sages were sacred; thus they would be used when communicating with the Supreme Being. Among the Cherokees, there were sweatlodge ceremonies that were accompanied by singing, drumming, fasting and praying; these ceremonies were seen as the way they could communicate with their supernatural being. Before modern Christianity ways came, the natives were practicing Wakan Tanka; according to the practice people needed to treat each other with dignity and respect to please the Supreme Being.
The tradition did not have a strong belief on life after death; after someone’s death, children born in the family were named after him or her as a way of remembrance. The following photo shows a photo of a Cherokee leader:
The Cherokees had families where the roles of men, women, and children were different and well defined; different roles were enacted, for example some families had patriarchal family settings where others had matrilineal and/or matriarchal. Cherokees property ownership ideology empowered women to own property and men were supposed to accumulate them but give full control to women. One custom that empowered women was the Cherokee custom of wives owning the family property; under the custom, the role of the husband is to accumulate and the wife was to take care and manage the properties. During marriages there were some rituals that were headed by an elderly; the culture of the people allowed intertribal marriages.
Cherokee. On-line. Available from Internet, http://www.infoplease.com/ce6/society/A0811701.html, accessed 14th September 2011.
Infroplease.2005.Cherokee. On-line. Available from Internet, http://www.infoplease.
com/ce6/society/A0811701.html, accessed 14th September 2011.