Cherokee women did most of the farming, harvesting crops of corn, beans, squash, and sunflowers. Cherokee men did most of the hunting, shooting deer, bear, wild turkeys, and small game. They also fished in the rivers and along the coast. Cherokee dishes included cornbread, soups, and stews cooked on stone hearths.
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The Cherokee tribes settled in a large area that included the Carolinas , the Virginias , Kentucky , Tennessee , and Georgia and Alabama. The Cherokee Indians lived in villages. They built circular homes made of river cane, sticks, and plaster. They covered the roofs with thatch and left a small hole in the center to let the smoke out. The Cherokees also built larger seven-sided buildings for ceremonial purposes. At a site called Garden Creek, scientists found additional evidence for the social, political, and ceremonial features of Pisgah culture.
There are two villages near there and both have earthen mounds that possibly were platforms upon which civic or ceremonial buildings stood. Of the three mounds, an even more ancient people probably constructed two before the Pisgah phase. Archaeologists say construction of the third mound began during the Pisgah phase, but it was originally partly below ground. It was an earth-covered structure called an earth lodge. The Amonsoquath Band of the Cherokee people website states:. Not all Pisgah sites included mounds and it is likely that their presence at Garden Creek indicates it may have served as a central town with respect to social and political alliances and ceremonial activity.
Pisgah tools and other artifacts were made from wood, shell, bone, clay, and stone. Their ceramics were jars and bowls, pipes, small gaming discs, and beads. They made their small, triangular arrow points, drills, and scrapers of chert and quartz. They made axes and chisels of granite and gneiss.
The Pisgah Cherokee made pipes, gorgets, hammer stones, mortars, and gaming stones of stone. They quarried and cut mica for ornaments. They also made beads and gorgets out of animal bones and marine shells. Walls of conch shells were fashioned into circular gorgets, many incised with a stylized snake design. They also made ear pins, beads, and ceremonial bowls of conch. Shell artifacts were used in burials. Cherokee clothing was made of animal hides in the prehistoric era.
In the early 16th century, the Cherokee made contact with Spanish explorers. This is the beginning of a new historic era, of which the Amonsoquath Band of the Cherokee people website says:. Qualla is identified with the historic period Cherokee Indians. Because of similarities of artifact styles, house and village structure and burial patterns it is quite clear that the Pisgah folk were direct ancestors of the Cherokee people. However, it is also likely that other peoples from east Tennessee and north Georgia also contributed to the historic period Cherokee culture.
The Cherokee started adapting European building styles and woven European clothing. They even owned slaves for a time. They began intermarrying with British traders and using firearms. The Cherokee took advantage of the deer hide trade that the British wanted for making clothing and shoes. A fascinating list of trade goods is at the Cherokee Nation website. After the Anglo-Cherokee War, bitterness remained between the two groups.
In , Henry Timberlake took three of the former Cherokee adversaries to London to help cement the newly declared friendship. The Cherokee could get a gun for 30 hides, and 50 bullets for one deer hide.
A hatchet or a narrow hoe could be had for two hides, and a wide hoe for four. A pistol cost 20 hides, and a cutlass sword was worth eight, to name a few examples. By the early s, the British government of South Carolina defined five groups of Cherokees.
One was in east Tennessee, another in north Georgia, and three in North Carolina. The Amonsoquath Band site states:.
It was a period of shifting alliances formed to protect their lands and preserve trading relations. The Cherokees were often more favorably disposed towards the French, who were less interested in land than in trade; however, the Cherokee Indians often found themselves allied with the English against their traditional enemies, such as the Tuscarora and Creek Indians, in the early s.
By , the British reached out to the Cherokee to see if they could persuade the Indians to form an alliance. Fort Yargo Cabin. John Ross. Oothcaloga Moravian Mission. Cherokee Trail of Tears.
New Echota Dedication. Further Reading. William G. Princeton, N. Theda Perdue and Michael D. David S.
Cite This Article. Omniglot: Cherokee Syllabary and Language. Georgia Historical Society: Jacob R. Brooks Cherokee Language Lexicon. Georgia Historical Society: Cherokee Bible. Georgia Historical Society: John A.
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Cuthbert Letter. Georgia Historical Society: J. Price Letter. Georgia Archives: Treaty of Augusta Battle of Bloody Marsh. Welfare and Poverty during the Civil War. Battle of Kennesaw Mountain. Herman Talmadge Joseph Vann Macon Trading Post. Stephen Heard Federal Road. January in Georgia History. Mary Telfair Raphael Moses Freedmen's Education during Reconstruction. Carl Vinson Harrison Berry ca. Irene Mounds. Georgia History: Overview. NGE Topics. From Our Home Page.
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