|Who is it?||Actress|
|Birth Day||January 19, 2012|
|Birth Place||Kentucky, United States|
|Age||8 YEARS OLD|
The Cherokees are of a middle stature, of an olive colour, tho' generally painted, and their skins stained with gun-powder, pricked into it in very pretty figures. The hair of their head is shaved, tho' many of the old people have it plucked out by the roots, except a patch on the hinder part of the head, about twice the bigness of a crown-piece, which is ornamented with beads, feathers, wampum, stained deers hair, and such like baubles. The ears are slit and stretched to an enormous size, putting the person who undergoes the operation to incredible pain, being unable to lie on either side for nearly forty days. To remedy this, they generally slit but one at a time; so soon as the patient can bear it, they wound round with wire to expand them, and are adorned with silver pendants and rings, which they likewise wear at the nose. This custom does not belong originally to the Cherokees, but taken by them from the Shawnese, or other northern nations.
They that can afford it wear a collar of wampum, which are beads cut out of clam-shells, a silver breast-plate, and bracelets on their arms and wrists of the same metal, a bit of cloth over their private parts, a shirt of the English make, a sort of cloth-boots, and mockasons (sic), which are shoes of a make peculiar to the Americans, ornamented with porcupine-quills; a large mantle or match-coat thrown over all complete their dress at home...
Much of what is known about pre-18th-century Native American cultures has come from records of Spanish expeditions. The earliest ones of the mid-16th-century encountered people of the Mississippian culture, the ancestors to later tribes in the Southeast such as the Muscogee (Creek) and Catawba. Specifically in 1540-41, a Spanish expedition led by Hernando de Soto passed through what was later characterized as Cherokee country by English colonists based on their historical encounter. De Soto's expedition visited villages in present-day western Georgia and eastern Tennessee, recording them as ruled by the Coosa chiefdom. It is now considered to be a chiefdom ancestral to the Muscogee Creek people, who are from a different language and cultural group. The Spanish recorded a Chalaque nation as living around the Keowee River where North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia meet. As some of this work was not translated into English until the 20th century, alternative views had developed among English-speaking historians, related to the limited understanding by English colonists of historic Native American cultures in the Southeast. In addition, the dominance of English colonists in the Southeast led to a discounting of Spanish sources for some time in their construction of history of the area.
In 1657, there was a disturbance in Virginia Colony as the Rechahecrians or Rickahockans, as well as the Siouan Manahoac and Nahyssan, broke through the frontier and settled near the Falls of the James, near present-day Richmond, Virginia. The following year, a combined force of English and Pamunkey drove the newcomers away. The identity of the Rechahecrians has been much debated. Historians noted the name closely resembled that recorded for the Eriechronon or Erielhonan, commonly known as the Erie tribe, another Iroquoian-speaking people based near the Great Lakes. This Iroquoian people had been driven away from the southern shore of Lake Erie in 1654 by the powerful Iroquois Five Nations, who were seeking more hunting grounds. The Anthropologist Martin Smith theorized some remnants of the tribe migrated to Virginia after the wars (1986:131–32), later becoming known as the Westo to English in the Carolina colony. A few historians suggest this tribe was Cherokee.
The Cherokee gave sanctuary to a band of Shawnee in the 1660s, but from 1710 to 1715 the Cherokee and Chickasaw allied with the British, and fought the Shawnee, who were allied with the French, and forced them to move northward. The Cherokee fought with the Yamasee, Catawba, and British in late 1712 and early 1713 against the Tuscarora in the Second Tuscarora War. The Tuscarora War marked the beginning of a British-Cherokee relationship that, despite breaking down on occasion, remained strong for much of the 18th century. With the growth of the deerskin trade, the Cherokee were considered valuable trading partners, since deer-skins from the cooler country of their mountain hunting-grounds were of a better quality than those supplied by the lowland tribes who were neighbors of the English colonists.
Virginian traders developed a small-scale trading system with the Cherokee in the Piedmont before the end of the 17th century; the earliest recorded Virginia trader to live among the Cherokee was Cornelius Dougherty or Dority, in 1690. The Cherokee were among the Native American peoples who sold the traders Indian slaves for use as laborers in Virginia and further north. They took them as captives in raids on enemy tribes.
Other historians hold that, judging from linguistic and cultural data, the Tuscarora people migrated South from other Iroquoian-speaking people in the Great Lakes region in ancient times. After extended harsh warfare in the Southeast, in the 1700s, the Tuscarora left the area and "returned" to the New York area, counting their tribal migration complete by 1722. The Iroquois Five Nations accepted the Tuscarora as the Sixth Nation of their political confederacy, known as the Haudenosaunee.
In January 1716, Cherokee murdered a delegation of Muscogee Creek Leaders at the town of Tugaloo, marking their entry into the Yamasee War. It ended in 1717 with peace treaties between the colony of South Carolina and the Creek. Hostility and sporadic raids between the Cherokee and Creek continued for decades. These raids came to a head at the Battle of Taliwa in 1755, present-day Ball Ground, Georgia, with the defeat of the Muscogee.
In 1721, the Cherokee ceded lands in South Carolina. In 1730, at Nikwasi, a former Mississippian culture site, a Scots adventurer, Sir Alexander Cuming, crowned Moytoy of Tellico as "Emperor" of the Cherokee. Moytoy agreed to recognize King George II of Great Britain as the Cherokee protector. Cumming arranged to take seven prominent Cherokee, including Attakullakulla, to London, England. There the Cherokee delegation signed the Treaty of Whitehall with the British. Moytoy's son, Amo-sgasite (Dreadful Water), attempted to succeed him as "Emperor" in 1741, but the Cherokee elected their own leader, Cunne Shote (Standing Turkey) of Chota.
Political power among the Cherokee remained decentralized, and towns acted autonomously. In 1735 the Cherokee were estimated to have sixty-four towns and villages, and 6,000 fighting men. In 1738 and 1739 smallpox epidemics broke out among the Cherokee, who had no natural immunity to the new infectious disease. Nearly half their population died within a year. Hundreds of other Cherokee committed suicide due to their losses and disfigurement from the disease.
From 1753 to 1755, battles broke out between the Cherokee and Muscogee over disputed hunting grounds in North Georgia. The Cherokee were victorious in the Battle of Taliwa. British Soldiers built forts in Cherokee country to defend against the French in the Seven Years' War, which was fought across Europe and was called the French and Indian War on the North American front. These included Fort Loudoun near Chota. In 1756 the Cherokee were allies of the British in the French and Indian War. Serious misunderstandings arose quickly between the two allies, resulting in the 1760 Anglo-Cherokee War.
American colonist Henry Timberlake described the Cherokee people as he saw them in 1761:
In 1771–1772, North Carolinian settlers squatted on Cherokee lands in Tennessee, forming the Watauga Association. Daniel Boone and his party tried to settle in Kentucky, but the Shawnee, Delaware, Mingo, and some Cherokee attacked a scouting and forage party that included Boone's son. The American Indians used this territory as a hunting ground by right of conquest; it had hardly been inhabited for years. The conflict in Kentucky sparked the beginning of what was known as Dunmore's War (1773–1774).
In 1776, allied with the Shawnee led by Cornstalk, Cherokee attacked settlers in South Carolina, Georgia, Virginia, and North Carolina in the Second Cherokee War. Overhill Cherokee Nancy Ward, Dragging Canoe's cousin, warned settlers of impending attacks. Provincial militias retaliated, destroying more than 50 Cherokee towns. North Carolina militia in 1776 and 1780 invaded and destroyed the Overhill towns. In 1777, surviving Cherokee town Leaders signed treaties with the new states.
The Cherokee organized a national government under Principal Chiefs Little Turkey (1788–1801), Black Fox (1801–1811), and Pathkiller (1811–1827), all former warriors of Dragging Canoe. The 'Cherokee triumvirate' of James Vann and his protégés The Ridge and Charles R. Hicks advocated acculturation, formal education, and modern methods of farming. In 1801 they invited Moravian missionaries from North Carolina to teach Christianity and the 'arts of civilized life.' The Moravians and later Congregationalist missionaries ran boarding schools, and a select few students were educated at the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions school in Connecticut.
Dragging Canoe and his band settled along Chickamauga Creek near present-day Chattanooga, Tennessee, where they established 11 new towns. Chickamauga Town was his headquarters and the colonists tended to call his entire band the Chickamauga to distinguish them from other Cherokee. From here he fought a guerrilla war against settlers, which lasted from 1776 to 1794. These are known informally as the Cherokee–American wars, but this is not an historians' term. The first Treaty of Tellico Blockhouse, signed November 7, 1794, finally brought peace between the Cherokee and Americans, who had achieved independence from the British Crown. In 1805, the Cherokee ceded their lands between the Cumberland and Duck rivers (i.e. the Cumberland Plateau) to Tennessee.
In 1802, the federal government promised to extinguish Indian titles to lands claimed by Georgia in return for Georgia's cession of the western lands that became Alabama and Mississippi. To convince the Cherokee to move voluntarily in 1815, the US government established a Cherokee Reservation in Arkansas. The reservation boundaries extended from north of the Arkansas River to the southern bank of the White River. Di'wali (The Bowl), Sequoyah, Spring Frog and Tatsi (Dutch) and their bands settled there. These Cherokees became known as "Old settlers."
In 1806 a Federal Road from Savannah, Georgia to Knoxville, Tennessee was built through Cherokee land. Chief James Vann opened a tavern, inn and ferry across the Chattahoochee and built a cotton-plantation on a spur of the road from Athens, Georgia to Nashville. His son 'Rich Joe' Vann developed the plantation to 800 acres (3.2 km), cultivated by 150 slaves. He exported cotton to England, and owned a steamboat on the Tennessee River.
Around 1809 Sequoyah began developing a written form of the Cherokee language. He spoke no English, but his experiences as a silversmith dealing regularly with white settlers, and as a warrior at Horseshoe Bend, convinced him the Cherokee needed to develop writing. In 1821, he introduced Cherokee syllabary, the first written syllabic form of an American Indian language outside of Central America. Initially his innovation was opposed by both Cherokee traditionalists and white missionaries, who sought to encourage the use of English. When Sequoyah taught children to read and write with the syllabary, he reached the adults. By the 1820s, the Cherokee had a higher rate of literacy than the whites around them in Georgia.
After being ravaged by smallpox, and feeling pressure from European settlers, the Cherokee adopted a European-American Representative democracy form of government in an effort to retain their lands. They established a governmental system modeled on that of the United States, with an elected principal chief, senate, and house of representatives. On April 10, 1810 the seven Cherokee clans met and began the abolition of blood vengeance by giving the sacred duty to the new Cherokee National government. Clans formally relinquished judicial responsibilities by the 1820s when the Cherokee Supreme Court was established. In 1825, the National Council extended citizenship to the children of Cherokee men married to white women. These ideas were largely incorporated into the 1827 Cherokee constitution. The constitution stated that "No person who is of negro or mulatto [sic] parentage, either by the father or mother side, shall be eligible to hold any office of profit, honor or trust under this Government," with an exception for, "negroes and descendants of white and Indian men by negro women who may have been set free." This definition to limit rights of multiracial descendants may have been more widely held among the elite than the general population.
The Cherokee allied with the U.S. against the nativist and pro-British Red Stick faction of the Upper Creek in the Creek War during the War of 1812. Cherokee warriors led by Major Ridge played a major role in General Andrew Jackson's victory at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend. Major Ridge moved his family to Rome, Georgia, where he built a substantial house, developed a large plantation and ran a ferry on the Oostanaula River. Although he never learned English, he sent his son and nephews to New England to be educated in mission schools. His interpreter and protégé Chief John Ross, the descendant of several generations of Cherokee women and Scots fur-traders, built a plantation and operated a trading firm and a ferry at Ross' Landing (Chattanooga, Tennessee). During this period, divisions arose between the acculturated elite and the great majority of Cherokee, who clung to traditional ways of life.
The Cherokee, eventually, migrated as far north as the Missouri Bootheel by 1816. They lived interspersed among the Delawares and Shawnees of that area. The Cherokee in Missouri Territory increased rapidly in population, from 1,000 to 6,000 over the next year (1816–1817), according to reports by Governor william Clark. Increased conflicts with the Osage Nation led to the Battle of Claremore Mound and the eventual establishment of Fort Smith between Cherokee and Osage communities. In the Treaty of St. Louis (1825), the Osage were made to "cede and relinquish to the United States, all their right, title, interest, and claim, to lands lying within the State of Missouri and Territory of Arkansas..." to make room for the Cherokee and the Mashcoux, Muscogee Creeks. As late as the winter of 1838, Cherokee and Creek living in the Missouri and Arkansas areas petitioned the War Department to remove the Osage from the area.
Other remnant populations continue to exist throughout the Southeast United States and individually in the states surrounding Oklahoma. Many of these people trace descent from persons enumerated on official rolls such as the Guion-Miller, Drennan, Mullay and Henderson Rolls, among others. Other descendants trace their heritage through the treaties of 1817 and 1819 with the federal government which gave individual allotments to Cherokees. State recognized Tribes require varying levels of genealogical proof that applicants are of Cherokee descent. Current enrollment guidelines of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma have been approved by the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Such facts were pointed out by Cherokee citizens of CN during the Constitutional Convention held to ratify a new governing document. The document that was eventually ratified by a small portion of the electorate. However, the tribe does not have the power to change its membership procedures and maintain federal recognition. Any changes to the tribe's enrollment procedures must be approved by the Department of Interior. Under 25 CFR 83 the Office of Federal Acknowledgment is required to first apply its own anthropological, genealogical, and historical research methods to any request for change by the tribe. It then forwards its recommendations to the Assistant Secretary - Indian Affairs for consideration.
The Oconaluftee Cherokee of the Great Smoky Mountains were the most conservative and isolated from European-American settlements. They rejected the reforms of the Cherokee Nation. When the Cherokee government ceded all territory east of the Little Tennessee River to North Carolina in 1819, they withdrew from the Nation. william Holland Thomas, a white store owner and state legislator from Jackson County, North Carolina, helped over 600 Cherokee from Qualla Town obtain North Carolina citizenship, which exempted them from forced removal. Over 400 Cherokee either hid from Federal troops in the remote Snowbird Mountains, under the leadership of Tsali (ᏣᎵ), or belonged to the former Valley Towns area around the Cheoah River who negotiated with the state government to stay in North Carolina. An additional 400 Cherokee stayed on reserves in Southeast Tennessee, North Georgia, and Northeast Alabama, as citizens of their respective states. They were mostly mixed-race and Cherokee women married to white men. Together, these groups were the ancestors of the federally recognized Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, and some of the state-recognized tribes in surrounding states.
Another major source of early cultural history comes from materials written in the 19th century by the didanvwisgi (ᏗᏓᏅᏫᏍᎩ), Cherokee Medicine men, after Sequoyah's creation of the Cherokee syllabary in the 1820s. Initially only the didanvwisgi learned to write and read such materials, which were considered extremely powerful in a spiritual sense. Later, the syllabary and writings were widely adopted by the Cherokee people.
It was unusual for a Cherokee man to marry a European-American woman. The children of such a union were disadvantaged, as they would not belong to the nation. They would be born outside the clans and traditionally were not considered Cherokee citizens. This is because of the matrilineal aspect of Cherokee culture. As the Cherokee began to adopt some elements of European-American culture in the early 19th century, they sent elite young men, such as John Ridge and Elias Boudinot to American schools for education. After Ridge had married a European-American woman from Connecticut and Boudinot was engaged to another, the Cherokee Council in 1825 passed a law making children of such unions full citizens of the tribe, as if their mothers were Cherokee. This was a way to protect the families of men expected to be Leaders of the tribe.
In 1827, Sequoyah had led a delegation of Old Settlers to Washington, D.C. to negotiate for the exchange of Arkansas land for land in Indian Territory. After the Trail of Tears, he helped mediate divisions between the Old Settlers and the rival factions of the more recent arrivals. In 1839, as President of the Western Cherokee, Sequoyah signed an Act of Union with John Ross that reunited the two groups of the Cherokee Nation.
In 1831 Georgia militia arrested Samuel Worcester for residing on Indian lands without a state permit, imprisoning him in Milledgeville. In Worcester v. Georgia (1832), the US Supreme Court Chief Justice John Marshall ruled that American Indian nations were "distinct, independent political communities retaining their original natural rights," and entitled to federal protection from the actions of state governments that infringed on their sovereignty. Worcester v. Georgia is considered one of the most important dicta in law dealing with Native Americans.
Jackson ignored the Supreme Court's ruling, as he needed to conciliate Southern sectionalism during the era of the Nullification Crisis. His landslide reelection in 1832 emboldened calls for Cherokee removal. Georgia sold Cherokee lands to its citizens in a Land Lottery, and the state militia occupied New Echota. The Cherokee National Council, led by John Ross, fled to Red Clay, a remote valley north of Georgia's land claim. Ross had the support of Cherokee traditionalists, who could not imagine removal from their ancestral lands.
A small group known as the "Ridge Party" or the "Treaty Party" saw relocation as inevitable and believed the Cherokee Nation needed to make the best deal to preserve their rights in Indian Territory. Led by Major Ridge, John Ridge and Elias Boudinot, they represented the Cherokee elite, whose homes, plantations and businesses were confiscated, or under threat of being taken by white squatters with Georgia land-titles. With capital to acquire new lands, they were more inclined to accept relocation. On December 29, 1835, the "Ridge Party" signed the Treaty of New Echota, stipulating terms and conditions for the removal of the Cherokee Nation. In return for their lands, the Cherokee were promised a large tract in the Indian Territory, $5 million, and $300,000 for improvements on their new lands.
John Ross gathered over 15,000 signatures for a petition to the U.S. Senate, insisting that the treaty was invalid because it did not have the support of the majority of the Cherokee people. The Senate passed the Treaty of New Echota by a one-vote margin. It was enacted into law in May 1836.
Two years later President Martin Van Buren ordered 7,000 Federal troops and state militia under General Winfield Scott into Cherokee lands to evict the tribe. Over 16,000 Cherokee were forcibly relocated westward to Indian Territory in 1838–1839, a migration known as the Trail of Tears or in Cherokee ᏅᎾ ᏓᎤᎳ ᏨᏱ or Nvna Daula Tsvyi (The Trail Where They Cried), although it is described by another word Tlo-va-sa (The Removal). Marched over 800 miles (1,300 km) across Tennessee, Kentucky, Illinois, Missouri and Arkansas, the people suffered from disease, exposure and starvation, and as many as 4,000 died. As some Cherokees were slaveholders, they took enslaved African Americans with them west of the Mississippi. Intermarried European Americans and missionaries also walked the Trail of Tears. Ross preserved a vestige of independence by negotiating permission for the Cherokee to conduct their own removal under U.S. supervision.
In keeping with the tribe's "blood law" that prescribed the death penalty for Cherokee who sold lands, Ross's son arranged the murder of the Leaders of the "Treaty Party". On June 22, 1839, a party of twenty-five Ross supporters assassinated Major Ridge, John Ridge and Elias Boudinot. The party included Daniel Colston, John Vann, Archibald, James and Joseph Spear. Boudinot's brother Stand Watie fought and survived that day, escaping to Arkansas.
Stand Watie, the leader of the Ridge Party, raised a regiment for Confederate Service in 1861. John Ross, who had reluctantly agreed to ally with the Confederacy, was captured by Federal troops in 1862. He lived in self-imposed exile in Philadelphia, supporting the Union. In Indian Territory, the national council of those who supported the Union voted to abolish slavery in the Cherokee Nation in 1863, but they were not the majority slaveholders and the vote had little effect on those supporting the Confederacy.
Watie was elected Principal Chief of the pro-Confederacy majority. A master of hit-and-run cavalry tactics, Watie fought those Cherokee loyal to John Ross and Federal troops in Indian Territory and Arkansas, capturing Union supply trains and steamboats, and saving a Confederate army by covering their retreat after the Battle of Pea Ridge in March 1862. He became a Brigadier General of the Confederate States; the only other American Indian to hold the rank in the American Civil War was Ely S. Parker with the Union Army. On June 25, 1865, two months after Robert E. Lee surrendered at Appomattox, Stand Watie became the last Confederate General to stand down.
The Cherokee freedmen, descendants of African American slaves owned by citizens of the Cherokee Nation during the Antebellum Period, were first guaranteed Cherokee citizenship under a treaty with the United States in 1866. This was in the wake of the American Civil War, when the US emancipated slaves and passed US constitutional amendments granting freedmen citizenship in the United States.
Researchers have debated the reasons for the change. Some historians believe the decline in priestly power originated with a revolt by the Cherokee against the abuses of the priestly class known as the Ani-kutani. Ethnographer James Mooney, who studied the Cherokee in the late 1880s, was the first to trace the decline of the former hierarchy to this revolt. By the time that Mooney was studying the people, the structure of Cherokee religious practitioners was more informal, based more on individual knowledge and ability than upon heredity.
The US government also acquired easement rights to the western part of the territory, which became the Oklahoma Territory, for the construction of railroads. Development and settlers followed the railroads. By the late 19th century, the government believed that Native Americans would be better off if each family owned its own land. The Dawes Act of 1887 provided for the breakup of commonly held tribal land into individual household allotments. Native Americans were registered on the Dawes Rolls and allotted land from the Common reserve. The US government counted the remainder of tribal land as "surplus" and sold it to non-Cherokee individuals.
The Curtis Act of 1898 dismantled tribal governments, courts, schools, and other civic institutions. For Indian Territory, this meant abolition of the Cherokee courts and governmental systems. This was seen as necessary before the Oklahoma and Indian territories could be admitted as a combined state. In 1905, the Five Civilized Tribes of the Indian Territory proposed the creation of the State of Sequoyah as one to be exclusively Native American, but failed to gain support in Washington, D.C.. In 1907, the Oklahoma and Indian Territories entered the union as the state of Oklahoma.
The Cherokee (//; Cherokee: ᎠᏂᏴᏫᏯ, translit. Aniyvwiyaʔi or Cherokee: ᏣᎳᎩ, translit. Tsalagi) are one of the indigenous peoples of the Southeastern Woodlands. Prior to the 18th century, they were concentrated in southwestern North Carolina, southeastern Tennessee, and the tips of western South Carolina and northeastern Georgia.
The United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians formed their government under the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934 and gained federal recognition in 1946. Enrollment into the tribe is limited to people with a quarter or more of Cherokee blood. Many members of the UKB are descended from Old Settlers – Cherokees who moved to Arkansas and Indian Territory before the Trail of Tears. Of the 12,000 people enrolled in the tribe, 11,000 live in Oklahoma. Their chief is Joe Bunch. The UKB operate a tribal casino, bingo hall, smokeshop, fuel outlets, truck stop, and gallery that showcases art and crafts made by tribal members. The tribe issues their own tribal vehicle tags.
Attractions include the Oconaluftee Indian Village, Museum of the Cherokee Indian, and the Qualla Arts and Crafts Mutual. Founded in 1946, the Qualla Arts and Crafts Mutual is country's oldest and foremost Native American crafts cooperative. The outdoor drama Unto These Hills, which debuted in 1950, recently broke record attendance sales. Together with Harrah's Cherokee Casino and Hotel, Cherokee Indian Hospital and Cherokee Boys Club, the tribe generated $78 million dollars in the local economy in 2005.
Cherokees are most concentrated in Oklahoma and North Carolina, but some reside in the US West Coast, due to economic migrations caused by the Dust Bowl during the Great Depression, job availability during the Second World War, and the Federal Indian Relocation program during the 1950s–1960s. Cherokees constitute over 2% of population of three largely rural communities in California–Covelo, Hayfork and San Miguel, one town in Oregon and one town in Arizona. Destinations for Cherokee diaspora included multi-ethnic/racial urban centers of California (i.e. the Greater Los Angeles and SF Bay areas), and they usually live in farming communities, by military bases and other Indian reservations.
By the late 19th century, the Eastern Band of Cherokee were laboring under the constraints of a segregated society. In the aftermath of Reconstruction, conservative white Democrats regained power in North Carolina and other southern states. They proceeded to effectively disenfranchise all blacks and many poor whites by new constitutions and laws related to voter registration and elections. They passed Jim Crow laws that divided society into "white" and "colored", mostly to control freedmen. Cherokee and other Native Americans were Classified on the colored side and suffered the same racial segregation and disenfranchisement as former slaves. They also often lost their historical documentation for identification as Indians, when the Southern states Classified them as colored. Blacks and Native Americans would not have their constitutional rights as US citizens enforced until after the Civil Rights Movement secured passage of civil rights legislation in the mid-1960s, and the federal government began to monitor voter registration and elections, as well as other programs.
One exception to this may be the Texas Cherokees. Before 1975, they were considered a part of the Cherokee Nation, as reflected in briefs filed before the Indian Claims Commission. At one time W.W. Keeler served not only as Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation, but at the same time held the position as Chairman of the Texas Cherokee and Associated Bands (TCAB) Executive Committee.
Following the adoption of the Cherokee constitution in 1976, TCAB descendants whose ancestors had remained a part of the physical Mount Tabor Community in Rusk County, Texas were excluded from citizenship. Their ancestors did not appear on the Final Rolls of the Five Civilized Tribes, registered under the Dawes Commission. However, most if not all TCAB descendants did have an ancestor listed on either the Guion-Miller or Old settler rolls.
In 1988, the federal court in the Freedmen case of Nero v. Cherokee Nation held that Cherokees could decide citizenship requirements and exclude freedmen. On March 7, 2006, the Cherokee Nation Judicial Appeal Tribunal ruled that the Cherokee Freedmen were eligible for Cherokee citizenship. This ruling proved controversial; while the Cherokee Freedman had historically been recorded as "citizens" of the Cherokee Nation at least since 1866 and the later Dawes Commission Land Rolls, the ruling "did not limit membership to people possessing Cherokee blood". This ruling was consistent with the 1975 Constitution of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, in its acceptance of the Cherokee Freedmen on the basis of historical citizenship, rather than documented blood relation.
On March 3, 2007 a constitutional amendment was passed by a Cherokee vote limiting citizenship to Cherokees on the Dawes Rolls for those listed as Cherokee by blood on the Dawes roll, which did not include partial Cherokee descendants of slaves, Shawnee and Delaware. The Cherokee Freedmen had 90 days to appeal this amendment vote which disenfranchised them from Cherokee citizenship and file appeal within the Cherokee Nation Tribal Council, which is currently pending in Nash, et al. v. Cherokee Nation Registrar. On May 14, 2007, the Cherokee Freedmen were reinstated as citizens of the Cherokee Nation by the Cherokee Nation Tribal Courts through a temporary order and temporary injunction until the court reached its final decision. On January 14, 2011, the tribal district court ruled that the 2007 constitutional amendment was invalid because it conflicted with the 1866 treaty guaranteeing the Freedmen's rights.
Many words, however, have been borrowed from the English language, such as gasoline, which in Cherokee is ga-so-li-ne (ᎦᏐᎵᏁ). Many other words were borrowed from the languages of tribes who settled in Oklahoma in the early 20th century. One Example relates to a town in Oklahoma named "Nowata". The word nowata is a Delaware Indian word for "welcome" (more precisely the Delaware word is nu-wi-ta which can mean "welcome" or "friend" in the Delaware Language). The white settlers of the area used the name "nowata" for the township, and local Cherokees, being unaware the word had its origins in the Delaware Language, called the town Amadikanigvnagvna (ᎠᎹᏗᎧᏂᎬᎾᎬᎾ) which means "the water is all gone from here", i.e. "no water".
Many theories—though none proven—abound about the origin of the name "Cherokee". It may have originally been derived from the Choctaw word Cha-la-kee, which means "people who live in the mountains", or Choctaw Chi-luk-ik-bi, meaning "people who live in the cave country". The earliest Spanish transliteration of the name, from 1755, is recorded as Tchalaquei. Another theory is that "Cherokee" derives from a Lower Creek word, Cvlakke ("chuh-log-gee"). The Iroquois Five Nations based in New York have historically called the Cherokee Oyata’ge'ronoñ ("inhabitants of the cave country").
Before the 19th century, polygamy was Common among the Cherokee, especially by elite men. The matrilineal culture meant that women controlled property, such as their dwellings, and their children were considered born into their mother's clan, where they gained hereditary status. Advancement to leadership positions was generally subject to approval by the women elders. In addition, the society was matrifocal; customarily, a married couple lived with or near the woman's family, so she could be aided by her female relatives. Her oldest brother was a more important mentor to her sons than was their father, who belonged to another clan. Traditionally, couples, particularly women, can divorce freely.