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Native Americans - Just talking.


Well-known Member
Jan 31, 2009
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Jayman and I started talking about Native Americana and it occurred to me this subject comes up so often on the forum and we were off in another thread where no one was likely to see it. So I moved what we had said to this place. There is no subject except the fact that most of us have an interest in the subject or a common heritage of some sort. I copied what we had said but it's not meant to be a guideline or a starting point, just an opening salvo.

As the Cherokee say: Osiyo, dohitsu? Tsilugi!

JAYMAN: Rifle, thanks for your perspective. It really helped me with this. In life we are all challenged in our own way. Challenge and diversity are a part of our personal and spiritual growth. "It doesn't matter what set us out on our journey; only what lessons we take from it." (an old Irish saying) In life we may say things we don't really mean. Maybe at the time we meant it and we say it; however, in truth we often say things out of: fear, lack of understanding, or misplaced anger, etc... I believe that intrinsically most of us mean well in general. I would like to pass on one of the things I learned the hard way. Sometimes; I remember this lesson other times I may need to be reminded of it.
• When I made a mistake or said something I did not mean to say; I learned that you cannot always take it back. Often times you must move on and grow. When I error as a public speaker I simply apologize once and move on.

Once something is spoken, or it has been said or written and read; the more you apologize, the more fuel you throw on the fire. (yeah, I know I am not following that advice now. LOL) The more you personally dwell on the issue the more you draw attention to the issue. If people are ever going to forgive you they will do it at the first apology. As long as your apology was sincere and genuine it will be accepted by those people willing to allow you to be forgiven. There are some people who will never forgive you no matter what you do. In other words. "That is it, that is all, it is over." You said it. Some people were offended. Finish the presentation and move on. Lesson learned. Mental note don't say that again... LOL

I used to give lectures to battered and abused women regarding HIV and STD's. Every time I passed out evaluations I was given low marks for sensitivity on some papers. Finally I asked the woman in charge if she would like someone other than me to come in. She said, "no, we almost have you broken in." I asked about the sensitivity area of the presentation. She said, "Oh, I that is easy. I keep forgetting to tell you." "Stop using the cliché' "rule of thumb"." We teach them about the history of violence before you ever get here. And we explain where that cliché' "the rule of thumb" comes from.

Come to find out that there used to be a law in the olden days of Old England. That carried over to the states. "The rule thumb" was a law that said a man may beat his wife and or children with a stick as long as it was not thicker than his own thumb to keep them in line.

Biblically speaking the Baptists, Catholics, and Protestants teach that the man is the head of the house and responsible for maintaining order and discipline. (One of my favorite arguments when it comes to the accuracy of the Bible regarding Gay rights. LOL)

Many town halls including ours had laws that allowed men to come down to City Hall and beat their wives and children on the City Hall steps before sundown. Form then on I was careful about that cliché'. Thank God for Power Point presentations...

RIFLE: Jayman, I'm not sure the Cherokee were much better at it, but they were matrilinear and the women ruled the household. When the woman was tired of the husband she simply wrapped his possessions in his half of the bed cover and set them outside the door. He was dismissed. The men even shared power with the women. The Ghigau or Beloved Woman in each village had a strong say in village life and control over captured warriors and slaves. She was almost an equal to the two village chiefs. Needless to say it took only a couple of generations of assimilation into white society for all those practices to disappear.

JAYMAN: I hear you Rifle. One of the things I think is interesting in Native American Society is that it is the Clan Mothers are the ones who decide on who the chief of the tribe will be. It is because of their connection to the Earth Mother. The Clan mothers responsibility is to nurture the Tribe as Earth Mother nurtures us.

RIFLE: Maybe we need to move this to another thread. I think there are a lot of members with interest in this heritage. The only Native Americans with matrilinear societies I'm familiar with, Jayman, are the Hopi and the Navajo, the Huron and the Iroquois Confederation (which, until their expulsion for warring with the Delaware) included the Cherokee. The true clan mothers only existed among the Iroquois and they did, indeed, appoint the chief and the faithkeepers for that tribe. The Cherokee chiefs were elected by vote in the council house and there were two of them, red and white. The red ruled in times of war and the white in times of peace. Each village was autonomous; the tribe was organized like the Greek city states. There was no overall Principal Chief until the British wanted to sign a treaty with the tribe and appointed Moytoy as Emperor of the Cherokee (1730). There are three recognized Cherokee Nations now. The one in Oklahoma is the largest with over a quarter of a million members consists of descendants of those removed to Indian Territory over the Trail of Tears; their chief is Chad Smith. The Eastern Cherokee in North Carolina descended from those who hid during removal and purchased land afterwards for their own tribal lands (thus there is no true reservation for Cherokee) and they number about twelve thousand, and the United Keetoowah Band, or Nighthawk Society, about eleven thousand, also from the removal, and they are Cherokee traditionalists who still practice the ancient rituals and beliefs. They also live in Oklahoma.
Thank you Rifle fo rthis thread. I apprecaited the Cherokee Nation history lesson. I am at least 1/32nd Cherokee myself. As my greatgrandfather was either 1/4 or 1/2. In photos he looks very indian featured.

Last month I had the pleasure of visiting the Smokey Mountains in eastern Tennessee and western North Carolina. I visited the town of Cherokee, North Carolina for the first time in about 20 years. They consider it a reservation although I understand your saying that it isn't one in the strictest legal sense. The town of Cherokee itself is a bit of a tourist trap. Truth be told. But it nonetheless is a personal treat to be in part of the Cherokee Nation. It's part of the ancestral homeland.

I spoke to a handsome Cherokee man there (late 30's, early 40's) who shared some interesting bits of the culture there in the present. They did build a casino there a while back. I didn't know that. He said when he went to school on the reservation years ago as a child that the kids were punished if they were heard speaking any Cherokee on school grounds. He said that if he was heard saying greeting "see oh" (phonetic spelling only) that the teachers would whack his hands with a wooden ruler. And obviously he said it stung and hurt badly.

He says he gets a chuckle out of the fact that now they teach Cherokee language in school. And not only that but you don't graduate high school until you pass the all of the language classes. So it turned to completely opposite of what it used to be. LOL :thumbup:

He talked about how good the schools were there now. He says struggling kids will take all kinds of tutoring offered and do whatever it takes to pass their classes. And he claims that the curriculum is not watered down at all. Why would the kids be so motivated to graduate high school if they were in the group that was struggling? Simple. They won't get ANY checks from the casino profit sharing for their entire lives if they don't have their high school diploma. And although I didn't ask how much the checks came to, I was led to believe that it was certainly significant to those who received them.

I thought that was a brilliant idea on the part of the tribal elders to make a high school a mandatory requirement for the casino profit sharing. The Cherokee guy told me with great pride that their high school dropout rate was zero. I wish we could reach that accomplishment on a national basis. LOL
I think he may have been pulling your leg a bit. By contract with Harrahs, one half of all the profits from the casino have to be divided with the Eastern Band. The first year of operation aabout 6,000 each went to every member of the tribe. Cherokee High School does have one of the lowest dropout rates (about 4.5%) in North Carolina because of its really zealous program, though. You're absolutely right about the touristy nature of the area. They're on the highway from NYC to Florida and they survived on that for decades. Now all three Cherokee bands have casinos and are experiencing economic independence.

My heritage is Western - The Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma - where tribal lands were divided among members in 1907 and are now all individually owned. Actual tribal lands are just those that the tribe has purchased or been given over the years. There are about 260,000 Cherokees in this group who all trace to the Dawes Commission Roll of those removed to Indian Territory over the Trail of Tears. They flourished as an independent nation with their own government, police force, colleges (including the first for women west of the Mississippi), orphanages, highways, public schools, printing presses, at least a dozen newspapers (printed in English and Cherokee), a prison system, and a very progressive outlook. The first long distance telephone line west of the Mississippi was from Tahlequah (the capital) to Fort Gibson. It was nothing to see Shakespeare performed by visiting acting companies on the grounds around the capitol building. Much of this occurred in the mid 1800s. Of course the Civil War decimated it because the Nation tried to remain neutral and finally aligned itself with the Confederacy and was nearly destroyed. Within a year nearly a third of its women were widows and a fourth of its chidlren, orphans. Sorry to be such a bore. I'll shut up. Thought you might enjoy these. One picture is of the old Female Seminary which now houses classrooms for Northeastern State University. One picture is of the old Capitol Building. The house belonged to one of the wealthy Cherokee, John Murrell, and is one of the few antebellum houses still surviving.


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