Indian Cultural Background Essay
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I have two cultural background which are Cherokee Indian and African American . Cherokee is really pronounced as “CHAIR-uh-kee” in our language. Cherokee comes from a Muskogee word meaning ‘speakers of another language’. Cherokee Indians originally called themselves Aniyunwiya “the principal people,” but today they accept the named Cherokee. But in their language it is pronounced Tsadagi . The Cherokees are original residents of the American southeast region, particularly Georgia, North and South Carolina, Virginia, Kentucky, and Tennessee.
Most Cherokees were forced to move to Oklahoma in the 1800’s along the Trail of Tears.
The Cherokee Indians who survived this death still live in Oklahoma today. Some Cherokees escaped the Trail of Tears by hiding in the Appalachian hills or taking shelter with white neighbors. These people live scattered throughout the original Cherokee Indian homelands. Trail of Tears was the Cherokee name for what the Americans called Indian Removal. During the 1800’s, the US government created an “Indian Territory” in Oklahoma and sent all the eastern Native American tribes to live there.
Some tribes agreed to this plan with no problem. Other tribes didn’t like this plan at all , and the American army forced them. The Cherokee tribe was one of the largest eastern tribes, and they didn’t want to leave their homeland. The Cherokees were peaceful with the Americans. So they asked the Supreme Court for help. The judges decided the Cherokee Indians could stay in their homes. But the President, Andrew Jackson, sent the army to march the Cherokees to Oklahoma . They weren’t prepared for the journey, and it was winter time.
Thousands of Cherokee Indians died on the Trail of Tears. Many Native Americans from other tribes died too. It was a terrible time in history. There are three federally recognized Cherokee tribes: the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, the United Keetoowah Band in Oklahoma, and the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians in North Carolina. Other Cherokee communities in Alabama, Georgia, and other states are considered unofficial by the US government. The Eastern Cherokee people live on a reservation. Indian reservations are lands that belong to Native American tribes and are under their control.
The Oklahoma Cherokee people live on trust land, though many Cherokees call it a reservation anyway. The Keetowah Cherokee do not have a land base. Each Cherokee tribe has its own government, laws, police, and services, just like a small country. However, Cherokee Indians are also US citizens and must obey American law. In the past, each Cherokee group was led by one war chief and one peace chief. Cherokee chiefs were chosen by a tribal council. Cherokee war chiefs were male, but the peace chief could be a woman.
Today, Cherokee tribal councils and chiefs can be either gender and are popularly elected, like senators and governors. Most Cherokee people speak English today, but 20,000 people also speak the Cherokee Indian language. Cherokee is a complex language with soft sounds. The Cherokee language has an innovative writing system that was invented by the Cherokee scholar Sequoyah. Sequoyah’s writing system is a syllabary. That means one character represents each syllable. The other cultural background is African American .