O'Siyo
Hello!

    Welcome to my Native American site.  I remember my mother telling me about this part of my culture and how it was not mentioned within the family.  Now I am returning to this part of my heritage and dedicate this page to all people that changed their surnames in the past to avoid persecution for being something other than European.  My mother's family originates in the south.  North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia.  When the Cherokees were being removed from their land to Oklahoma, many families refused to leave and changed their surnames in order to blend in with the white population.  Their heritage became a secret not to be discussed with others.  I have provided links to sites that I hope will make anyone whose ancesters felt shame for being Native American can finally learn to become proud of who they really are.

Disenfranchised Cherokees

Native American Population

The Modern Warrior - Wa ya Di tli hi


Family

I ran into a stranger as he passed by, "Oh excuse me please" was my reply.
He said, "Please excuse me too; I wasn't watching for you."
We were very polite, this stranger and I.
We went on our way and we said good-bye.

But at home a different story is told,
How we treat our loved ones, young and old.
Later that day, cooking the evening meal,
my son stood beside me very still.
When I turned, I nearly knocked him down.
"Move out of the way," I said with a frown.

He walked away, his little heart broken.
I didn't realize how harshly I'd spoken.
While I lay awake in bed,
God's still small voice came to me and said,
"While dealing with a stranger, common courtesy you use,
but the children you love, you seem to abuse.

Go and look on the kitchen floor,
you'll find some flowers there by the door.
Those are the flowers he brought for you.
He picked them himself: pink, yellow and blue.
He stood very quietly not to spoil the surprise,
and you never saw the tears that filled his little eyes."

By this time, I felt very small,
And now my tears began to fall.
I quietly went and knelt by his bed;
"Wake up, little one, wake up," I said.
"Are these the flowers you picked for me?"

He smiled, "I found 'em, out by the tree.
I picked 'em because they're pretty like you.
I knew you'd like 'em, especially the blue."

I said, "Son, I'm very sorry for the way I acted today;
I shouldn't have yelled at you that way."
He said, "Oh, Mom, that's okay.
I love you anyway."
I said, "Son, I love you too,
and I do like the flowers, especially the blue.

Are you aware that if we died tomorrow,
the company that we are working for could easily replace us in a matter of days.?
But the family we left behind will feel the loss for the rest of their lives.?
And come to think of it,
we pour ourselves more into work than to our own family-
an unwise investment indeed, don't you think?

So what is behind the story?
Do you know what the word FAMILY means?

FAMILY=(F)ATHER (A)ND (M)OTHER, (I) (L)OVE (Y)OU!


The Lord's Prayer
Hold to God's Unchanging Hand
The Twenty Third Psalms
Amazing Grace
Cherokee Stories
Tsi sa a gi ge yu hi
Tsi sa a gi ge yu hi
a di go we li tsu a ge di
di ni yo li tsu tse li
i ga da ni la, u la ni ga di
a gi ge yu tsi sa
a gi ge yu tsi sa
a gi ge yu tsi sa
a di go we li tsu a ge di.
Jesus Loves Me
Jesus loves me.
The Bible tells me so.
The children belong to him.
We are weak, He is strong.
Jesus loves me.
Jesus loves me.
Jesus loves me.
The Bible tells me so.
Cherokee nation


Clans

It has been said that we had 14 clans at onetime. There are now 14 Iroquoian speaking tribes:

               Neutrals, Petun, Erie, Wenro, Huron, Susquehannock, Mohawk, Oneida,
                         Onondaga,Cayuga, Seneca, Tuscarora, Meherrin, Tsalagi.

THE CLANS ARE FORMED

 The Cherokee nation grew in numbers. The problems of teaching the people the laws and customs given them by the Anidawehi grew more difficult. The Anidawehi decided the best way to control such large numbers of people was to form them into clans, each clan being controlled bt elected women,and by elders of both men and women. Women were given such high responsibilites because it was they who remained at home with their babies and saw to the continunity of the family and clan.

   Because of this special relationship of women with the family and the town,all property belonged to the women and her children belonged to her clan.for only a mother is known  for sure. It was the women who inherited field rights as handed down from mother to daughter.

   Each Clan was responsible for judging and execution of punishment of any social wrong done against a clan members,whether that wrong was done by a clan member or a  member of another clan. But the clan did not and could not make the laws or social customs.

   All laws and customs were either made by the Anidawehi,the people,or envolved out of ancient acceptance. All laws of a religious nature were handled by the Anidawehi, and  Cherokee's believed religion was part of every day living. All men and women of adult age voted on how to run their town.

In the beginning,it was said that there were fourteen clans. But some clans would not obey  the laws and customs of the people. These clans were considered heathens and were driven out of the nation. The expelled clans formed the tribes now called the     Erie,Mohawk,Onodaga,Cayuga,Seneca and Oneida. These people were cousins of the Cherokee,who as a group are called Iroquios spoke a language kin to the Cherokee's,called Irquvian. One of the clans did not form into one of the tribes,but     vanished completely. This was the Ani-Tsaguh (People who-disappeared), which many  believe became the bears. Two other lost tribes,the Susquehanna and Tuscarora,became  members of the Iroquois. The Iroquois moved north into the cold country and to the great  lakes of the north.

         The seven clans that remained became known as Ugaya (Seven clan Society.)

When Chief Wahunsunacock - or Powhatan - took his last Tsalagi wife, Amopotoiske, who later became the mother of Matoaka (or Pocahontas), as his  wife, this put an end to Powhatan fighting with the Cherokee, as this brought  unity with the two great nations. Amopotoiske was of the village of Amonute on Bear Creek, where it flows into the Appomattox River. She was leader of the  Wild Potatoes Clan, also known as the Bear Clan. The Amonsoquath Tribe of Cherokee was from this village, which means "Village on Bear Creek" or "The Bear Clan."
        The Bear Clan," originally known as Ani-Tsa-gu-hi is the oldest of  the Cherokee Clans, was thought to have disappeared, so a myth was created to explain the disappearance. The United Keetoowah Band has its Bear Clan, which had been changed to "Blue Holly Clan" about 1803. It is also variously known as the Wild Potatoes Clan, Comes from the North, and has been associated with "Blind Savannah Clan."

How important is it to let go of our resentments and make ourselves right with those whom  have wronged.

  Yet, how often we leave out the next stop of forgiving ourselves and making everything right, and  to restore the harmony and balance into our lives. Bringing the sun back into our lives making  everything right with our selves.

Amends to others are very important. Amends to our selves are essential! WRONGING  OURSELVES


  Tsalagi Religion
 

   SOME POINTS ABOUT TSALAGI RELIGION

 There was no special day of the week set aside for religious observance. Every day to the  Tsalagi wsa contolled by religious beliefs ans observance. A new day was started by  "going to water" and facing the rising sun,thanking Asgaya Galvlati for another new day  and for the gift of a new sun. They preformed "going to water" when they had to break  ice in the winter as well as the summer. To the Tsalagi,religion was not simply one of animism and pluralism,withas unknown universe made of spirits and unexplained mysticism. It was not a simple belief in supernatural spirits controlled throught shmanism.  A Tsalagi did not worship Nature,althought he did revere it.He believed in a Creator, who  was known under many names. He was called Asgaya Galvlati(Man Above),Ganodugwaludusik (Master of life),Yohewa(Great Spirit), Unequa(Great Being),  and Adanehilahusgi(Creative Being, to name a few.

     The Tsalagi believed that Asgaya Galvlati had many helpers and messengers. These  helpers spirits and messenger spirits could be called upon by an Adawehi, or by any individual himself to give aid. These spirits may live in plant, the soil, water,fire, or any part of nature. A plant or an animal had its own spirit or being, some helpful to man, some  not. The spirit that lived within these being of nature were not necessarily the spirit that  lived within these beings of nature were not necessarily the spirit of its inhabiter, but were an extension of the Great Creator. The rest of the elments of nature might not have had  their own being or had one of the Creative Being's residing with it, but it wsa worthy of  repect and was not to be destroyed with malice.

       These spirits were prayed to, not as God, but to ask them for thier assistance. The  messenger spirits were asked to take messages to the Creative Being for of His helpers.  Spirit helpers worked independently from the Greator Creator, and used the powers given to Him. There were many spirits living in the world of man. The most powerful and most  revered was Gigagegagu(Ancient Red), the spirit of success, of life, the fighter spirit, who  was called upon when a man was in need of help to solve a difficult problem.

 Ancient Red had brother spirits called Black,White,Blue. These four spirits were so close  to being one that they were Degataga(So closely united as to form ine spirit), one spirit),  and when they were called "As One," they were called Hikayulige(Ancient One). When an Adawehi prayed on behalf of a man, Red Woman was called upon,and when the prayer      was in behalf of a women, Red Man was called upon.

 Other lesser helpers were within animal spirits. The animal was not sacred to the Tsalagi,  no more than man himslef, except for a few animals of religion signifiacance. But their sacredness could be nulified through sacred prayers.

     There were times when an Adawehi would call upon the spirits from the four cardinal points of East, South, West and North, using their color symbols of Red, White, Black, Blue to designate the spirit they were praying to.

          An Adawehi would also call upon Kananiski(Spider), Gili(dog), Kalona(Raven), Giuagiya(A Hawk from the coast), among the most powerful and most called upon spirit helpers. Only an Adawehi knew which ones should be used at a certain time. The most sacred of the animal spirit was Utsenati(He has a bell), the "Rattlesnake." All spirits of  plants were to give aid in curing diseases, Tsolv(Tobacco) being the most important and sacred.

  There were spirits in all phenomenons of nature, such as the wind, the storm, the clouds,  and all were called upon for aid. Nuda Unelanuhi(Man Apportioner), "Sun" and Nuda  Ageyaguga(Woman Measurer), "Moon" were both messanger and helper spirits.

 Atsila(Fire) was the most sacred of all messenger spirits. Ama(water) was called upon for aid in involking the aid of Yuwi Gunahita(Long Person). Other important messenger spirit were Nvgitsuhulai(Four Winds) from the four cardinal points of Digalvgunyi(it comes from  the East), Ugalayai(Warm there, or South), Udiligvyi (It goes down there, or West) and
 Ayastaluyi (Ice there, or North). Teigs and barkof Atsina(cedar) were thrown into the fire  and its aroma drove off evil spirits so they could not hear what was going on.

 The Anidawehi were the only ones who knew all the sacred prayers to call upon all the  spirits to aid man. Some of the general prayers were taught to members of this tribenso  they could call upon the aid of the Creative Being and His spirit helpers whenever they were far from an Adawehi. But the most sacred prayers were in the secret language of the  Anidawehi and never known to the common man.

  Religion was always esstenial to the Tsalagi and it guided his every act. His religion was  not meaningless form of secret rites and formulas. It was a long studied and thought out sacred belief,not a superstition. A Tsalagi prayer was temporal, asking for good health,  long life,success in endeavors, for protection against his enemies, and revenge whe he is  violated. The Ani-Tsalagi thanked God for all He did for them.

  The Ani-Tsalgi believed in a Creative Being and that there were supernatural spirits to  call upon to either aid him or carry his message to God.

 They did not know where a man's spirit went after death, but they did believe that,when a  man died, his spirit traveled West to join Black Man who would guide his spirit to the After Life.

       For Tsalagi, there was no punishment after death for wrongs done here in this life.

 The only wonrgs a man did in his lifetime were against his fellow man, his brother animals and plants, and to anger the Spirits. No man could wrong God,for asa small,insignificant  mortal, he did not have the power. He did his best while living not to violate the rights of  his fellow tribesmen and not to insult or hurt others'feelings. He tried not to anger the Bad Spirits which would bring trouble to his people. He tried to obey the religious laws as decreed by the Anidawehi,but not all things are possible to mere mortal man...




The Moravian Missionaries: supplied the first school for the Cherokee at Springplace, Georgia.  Baptism was administered only after there was assurance of an inner work of the heart.  They believed Christianity was a way of life, not a mere religion.  They cam together as communities of learning, centered around their faith.  Skills, learning, and craftsmanship were interlaced with scriptural study and prayer.
    Some Chiefs didn't want them to come.  They wanted schools, but no Gospel.  Others resistted both, and both groups wanted the teachers to house, feed, and clothe the children.  Provisions were not availabel.  At last an arrangement was made for the children to be residents at the mission farm and school.
    Assistant Principal Cheif, Charles R. Hicks, had accepted Christ in true conversion with major changes in his life.  He made some effort at translating scripture passages and became a major influence for Christian principles within the nation.  By 1828 a system of laws was written, fashioned after that of the United States.  The city-state form of government with multiple chiefs was organied into a central form with one major chief and a representative government.
    The Cherokee were the first Indian tribe to be given the scriptures in their language by the printing press.  These historiacl points add deeper dimension to the meaning of our hearts when we sing "Amazing Grace" as Cherokees.  To be so chosen is a point of sacred humility.
    Hymn singing became a marked part of Cherokee culture and so remains today.  Their churches often include songs sung in their original language, though many of the Cherokees today are not able to translate the meaning of the words to understanding.
    Interestlingly enough, the newest Methodist hymnals include "Amazing Grace" in the Cherokee language.  Charles Wesley would be pleased to know that his early contact with the Cherokee in Georgia in 1734 had such far-reaching results.

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MIDI compositions from "Through the Healing Door" CD
Used with permission
Copyright 1998, 1999, 2000 by élan michaels
Click here to buy his CD.
Another Cherokee Artist!