The Cherokee Indians

.. was the males against the females. The females did get to choose one male to be on their team(Brown 35-6). The Cherokee were divided into seven clans half of which were peace and the other half were war. The different clans did not all live together(Microsoft).

The Green Corn Ceremony was the most important ceremony. It did not have a certain date because it occurred when the corn became ripe. This ceremony marked the end of the old year and the beginning of a new year for the Cherokees(Mails 196). The ceremony was the time of thanksgiving and spiritual renewal(Microsoft). Any mysterious diseases were blamed on a human or animal spirits caused by a witch.

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Priest tried to heal the diseases, but often did not succeed. Everything in daily life in a Cherokee town was based on colors. The colors each stood for something. Red was bravery black was death blue was failure and white was happiness. An example of an item is a club would be painted red for bravery to help the warrior who used it become brave. Members of the same clan were considered close relatives and were not allowed to marry. The men had to get their own families as well as the woman he wished to marry family to give him permission to ask her to marry him.

They did not divorce frequently, but divorces did happen occasionally. There was a small ceremony for naming each child. After a baby was born the priest would purify the child and say prayers for him. After the priest was finished the ceremony began. An elderly woman of the community known by the parents of the child chose a name for the child. The name could later be changed by the actions of the person(Mails 121, 101, 72-3). A Government was established in the early 1800s.

It was set up much like the new U.S. government. The government included a chief, a vice-chief and 32 council members. A constitution of code laws was also drawn up(Cherokee). Sequoyah lived in Willstown, Alabama for most of his life, but he traveled often as he grew older. His father was a German named George Gist and his mother was part Cherokee.

Sequoyah is the only known person in history to single-handedly invent a written language. He had no formal education as a child ,but studied hard to learn the white mens language when he got chances to later form a language for the Cherokee. He was not a warrior because of a hunting accident as a child. He had always dreamed of the language from as far back as 1809 until1820 when it began to take shape and form. Sequoyah first tried pictures as characters in his alphabet, but soon had hundreds of characters and gave up that idea.

He next used his own symbols to form sentences, words, and syllables. His language turned out 86 characters long that represented all the sounds in the Cherokee tongue. Sequoyah was not liked by the other Cherokees at first because they thought his idea was crazy. This soon changed and he even received a silver medal for inventing the language. The language helped the Cherokee become one of the four civilized tribes.

The Cherokee also got a weekly newspaper, the Cherokee Phoenix, and a written constitution. The Cherokee Phoenix was a newspaper written in English and Cherokee print. The paper taught the Cherokees and the white men about the Cherokees daily life and general Cherokee activities(Schlich 1-3). In the struggle for North America by the British and French and in the Revolutionary War the Cherokees generally sided with the British(Microsoft). After the Revolutionary War the Cherokees were generally treated badly by the Americans and what was left of the French since they had sided with the British.

Militias often attacked Cherokee villages(Schlich 1). In 1830 Congress passed the Indian Removal Act. Some senators such as Tennessees Davy Crocket were against the act, but it passed anyway. Even though Cherokees were taking up the ways of the white men , when gold was discovered the white men rushed into the Cherokee lands to try to get rich. In 1835 the administration of President Andrew Jackson produced a fraudulent treaty which was signed by many Cherokees.

According to the treaty the Cherokee were to move west to Indian Territory. The Cherokee refused to go and Federal troops were sent to move them out. At least 25% of the Cherokee died on the way. This was almost 4000 Cherokees that died(Microsoft). The Cherokee were forced to move in the area of Oklahoma north of the Arkansas River(Brandon 227). John Ross, a leader of the Cherokees, had a Scottish father and a part-Cherokee mother.

He tried very hard to keep the Indian lands. When he failed to keep the lands he tried his best to lead his people to their new home. Ross had to make an urgent appeal to Washington to let him lead his tribe west. He did this in hopes of saving as many lives as possible. He saved many lives by putting the Cherokees in small groups to spread out and get their own food(Microsoft) Even though the Cherokee ended up being moved to the west they played a role in colonial history with an alphabet and also becoming friends with some white men. Their two main leaders who helped them succeed were Sequoyah and John Ross who both helped the Cherokees become one of the strongest and most civilized tribes in the United States.

Works Cited Brandon, William. The American Heritage Book of Indians. United States: American Heritage Publishing Co., Inc., 1961. Brown, Brenda, K., and Marcelle S. Edwards. Cherokee and Proud of It. South Pittsburg: Hustler, 1982.

Cherokee. 1998-1999. 18 Feb. 1999 . Mails, Thomas E. The Cherokee People.

New York: Marclove and Company, 1992. Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia 98. C.D. Rom. Canada: Microsoft Corporation, 1998.

Schlich, Kim, and Victor Schlich. Talking Leaves. American History Nov./Dec. 1995. 18 Feb.

1999 . Sultzman, Lee. 22 Feb. 1999 .