Home Culture 7 Truths About “Cherokee” Everyone Should Know

7 Truths About “Cherokee” Everyone Should Know

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The word Cherokee is believed to have evolved from a Choctaw word meaning “Cave People.” It was picked up and used by Europeans and eventually accepted and adopted by Cherokees in the form of Tsalagi or Jalali.

Traditionally, the people now known as Cherokee refer to themselves as aniyun-wiya, a name usually translated as “the Real People,” sometimes “the Original People.”

1. Who were the Cherokee princesses?

The Cherokee never had princesses. In fact, Cherokee women were very powerful. They owned all the houses and fields, and they could marry and divorce as they pleased. Kinship was determined through the mother’s line. Clan mothers administered justice in many matters.

Beloved women were very special women chosen for their outstanding qualities. As in other aspects of Cherokee culture, there was a balance of power between men and women. Although they had different roles, they both were valued.

2. Did the Cherokee live in tipis?

The Cherokee never lived in tipis. Only the nomadic Plains Indians did so. The Cherokee were southeastern woodland Indians, and in the winter they lived in houses made of woven saplings, plastered with mud and roofed with poplar bark.

In the summer they lived in open-air dwellings roofed with bark. Today the Cherokee live in ranch houses, apartments, and trailers.

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