Essay about The Culture And Identity Of The Cherokee Tribe

Essay about The Culture And Identity Of The Cherokee Tribe

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When a person today thinks of Native Americans, the immediate image that emerges in one’s mind is the ‘typical Indian’, a person wearing a headdress of vibrant feathers and whom lives in a teepee. However, for members of the Cherokee Tribe this depiction could not be further from the truth or more offensive to the people of today or those who came before them (speakers). Throughout the book Blood Politics, Circe Sturm seeks to allow those outside the tribe to see the true race, culture and identity of the Cherokee people as both the past and present are explored.
In the years before adventurers set foot on the soil of the “New World” looking for uncharted lands to settle, Cherokee tribes had already “occupied an area of almost 40,000 square miles stretching across parts of what are now known as Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Alabama.” (Sturm 29). These native peoples had created a culture uniquely their own with practices such as language and religion amongst many others. Furthermore, women were considered to more important than men when determining which one of the seven Clans; Wolf, Deer, Bird, Paint, Long Hair, Potato or Blue, in which a person belonged.
However, with the introduction of Europeans and a different culture in the sixteenth century, the Cherokee slowly began to change their ways. Not only were people beginning to marry non-Cherokee, but they were also beginning to lose themselves amongst the ‘white-men’. Although the matrilineal way of tracing one’s heritage continued to allow Cherokee women, who had married white men, to have their children be recognized as Cherokee by the tribe, difference in traditions and culture slowly began to change what being Cherokee meant and ...


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...nly focus on the future.
As the future is drawing nearer, Cherokee young adults, must decide what roles they are going to play within their tribe and how they are going to shape the world around them. With the knowledge of the many trials and wrongdoings their ancestors underwent, this group of people should not only be able to become great leaders within their tribe but also within the country in which they claim their native land. As our guest speakers stated, the Cherokee people are continuing to be cast to the side and made to feel as if they are less important than other races without people in power seeming to care. It is likely that these people will also go through hardships, as did their ancestors, but hopefully with the knowledge of the past, the tribe will be able to become more of a presence in not only their own tribe but also the country as a whole.

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