Voice Recognition

Newcastle Public Schools News Article

Cherokee Facts

Before the forced relocation of most of the Cherokee Nation to Oklahoma in 1838 and 1839 (known as “The Trail of Tears”), the Cherokee’s home was a vast area of woodlands in the mountains and valleys of what are now the states of Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia. From prehistoric days to post-European contact, the Cherokee have been skillful and innovative in their creation and use of tools.

dna testing, dna ancestry testing, ancestry, genealogy, indian genealogy records, paternity testing, turquoise jewelry, native american jewelry

Tools of Written Communication

Cherokee was one of the first American languages to have its own written system. The Cherokee Nation became widely literate in the 17th century after Sequoyah, who was the son of a fur trader and the daughter of a Cherokee Chief, created a syllabary using characters to represent syllables in the Cherokee language. The Cherokee Nation published the United States’ first American Indian newspaper, the Cherokee Phoenix, in 1828.

Tools of Transportation

During the Woodland Period (1,000 B.C. to 900 A.D.), the Cherokee used dugout canoes that were approximately 40 feet long and weighed several tons. The stone tools of this time were not sufficient for the work at hand, so the Cherokee used fire to help fell and carve the mammoth trees.

Before lighting the base of a tree, the workers plastered mud and straw at about head-height to preserve most of the tree. After the bottom section of the tree burned sufficiently, they used stone tools to chip and scrape at the trunk until the tree fell under its own weight. They also used fire and stone tools to dig out and shape the canoe. The other parts of the tree were used for purposes such as bark roofing on Cherokee houses.

Household and Agricultural Tools

During the Archaic Period (8,000 B.C. to 1,000 B.C.), the Cherokee began making baskets and cultivating gourds for containers. The beautifully made baskets held foods and other items. Watertight baskets were used like pots, placed directly over a fire, and then alternatively heated with hot stones placed inside the broth or tea that they held. Baskets were primarily woven from the cane, hickory bark, white oak or honeysuckle that was found in the forests of the Cherokee’s southeastern ancestral lands.

Hunting, Fishing and Weaponry

The Cherokee also created bowls and other housewares out of fire-baked clay. Artistic techniques included using layers of different colored clay and stamping designs on the clay with wood and bone carved boards.

During the Mississippian Period (900 A.D. to 1,500 A.D.), the Cherokee developed a pest control tool for protecting their gardens of corn, beans and squash from crows and blackbirds. They built birdhouses from gourds, which they hung around their fields. Purple martins nested in these birdhouses. The martins ate destructive insects and kept the crows and blackbirds at bay.

Print This Article