About 4,000 years ago, the Cherokee people left the southwest region of what would become the United States, in search of a home. They settled for a while around the Great Lakes region, but they were not welcomed. The Iroquois were not happy to see them. The Iroquois forcibly pushed the Cherokee from their land. The Cherokee moved on.
They wandered finally into North Carolina, where they discovered a land full of forests, mountains, rivers, streams, and fertile valleys. Wildlife was plentiful. They settled down happily. Life continued for thousands of years.
Expansion: As their own village populations grew, and as they conquered other tribes in the area, the Cherokee Nation grew. At one time, it covered 8 states including all or portions of the present day states of Georgia, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Kentucky, Alabama, Virginia and West Virginia.
First White Men: It was not until the 1600's that the Cherokee met the first white man in their region. White traders found it easy to trade with the Cherokee. As long as you wished them no harm, the Cherokee were peaceful, even helpful. The Cherokee traded deerskins for cloth, hammers, tools, and guns.
Trail of Tears: There were many wars and problems in the intervening years. But it was not until 1830 that, once again, the Cherokee were forcibly pushed from their land, this time by the United States government. The Cherokee were given a new place to live - a reservation located in the southwest, an area they had left 4000 years earlier. The Cherokee were forced to walk all they way to Oklahoma. Many people died on the walk, which is why this move is called "The Trail of Tears".
Written Language: About 200 years ago, the Cherokee developed a written language of their own. They wrote everything down, all their legends and stories and customs, so they could more easily teach their children the old ways.
Today: Today, the Cherokee live in the modern world. There are over 260,000 Cherokees in the United States. Most live in Oklahoma. Some still live in the southeastern region of the United States. They still follow some of their old customs and they still teach their children the old ways. The children do not always listen, as they did once, but most are as fascinated by their heritage as we are.
Come meet the Southeast Cherokee in olden times.
Food and Clothing
Government - Peace Chiefs, War Chiefs, Role of Women in Government
Village Life, Summer Villages & Winter Villages
Roles of Men and Women
7 Clans and Marriage
Arts & Crafts
Religion, The Deer God, Medicine Man, Festivals, Animal Spirits
Ye ho waah (creation myth)
Warriors: Preparations for Battle, and the Booger Ceremony
Captives & the Darkening Land
Trail of Tears
Return to the Southeast Indians Index
Native American for Kids
Native Americans for Kids
Native Americans in US, Canada, and the Far North
Early people of North America (during the ice
age 40,000 years ago)
Northeast Woodland Tribes and Nations
- The Northeast Woodlands include all five great lakes as well as the Finger Lakes and the Saint Lawrence River. Come explore the 3 sisters,
longhouses, village life, the League of Nations, sacred trees, snowsnake games, wampum, the
arrowmaker, dream catchers, night messages, the game of sep and more. Special Sections:
The Lenape Indians. Read two
myths: Wise Owl and
The Invisible Warrior.
Southeast Woodland Tribes and Nations
- The Indians of the Southeast were considered members of the Woodland Indians. The
people believed in many deities, and prayed in song and dance
for guidance. Explore the darkening land, battle techniques, clans and marriage, law and order, and
more. Travel the Trail of Tears.
Indians and Cherokee
Plains Indians - What was life like in
what is now the Great Plains region of the United States? Some
tribes wandered the plains in search of foods. Others settled down and grew crops. They spoke different
was the buffalo so important? What different did horses make?
What was coup counting? Who was
Southwest Indians -
Pueblo is not the
name of a tribe. It is a Spanish word for village. The Pueblo People are the decedents of the
Navajo and the
Apache arrived in the southwest in the 1300s. They
both raided the peaceful
Pueblo tribes for food and
other goods. Who were the Devil Dancers? Why are blue stones important? What is a wickiup? Who was
Child of Water?
Pacific Coastal Northwest Indians -
What made some of the Pacific Northwest Indian tribes "rich" in ancient times? Why were woven mats so
important? How did totem poles get started? What was life like
in the longhouse? What were money blankets and coppers? How did
the fur trade work? How did
Raven Steal Crow's
Inland Plateau People - About
10,000 years ago, different tribes of Indians settled in the Northwest Inland Plateau region of the
United States and Canada, located between two huge mountain ranges - the Rockies and the Cascades. The
Plateau stretches from BC British Columbia all the way down to nearly Texas. Each village was independent, and each had a
democratic system of government. They were deeply religious and believed spirits could be found
everything - in both living and non-living things. Meet the
California Indians - The Far West was
a land of great diversity. Death Valley and Mount Whitney are the highest and lowest points in the
United States. They are within sight of each other. Tribes living in what would become California were
as different as their landscape.