The Cherokee were and are still famous for their art. In olden days, their talent was used in making clay pots, carved pipes, canoes, masks, rattles, clothing, baskets, and beads.
Canoes: Canoes were carved from wood. The men first cut a log. They hollowed out the log by using burning coals from the fire. They scraped the insides with sharp stones. Canoes were decorated with designs made with burnt sticks and sharp stones.
Clay Pots: The Cherokee dug clay. They used the clay to make handmade pots. While the clay was still wet, they decorated the pots with designs made with sticks and stones. Then pots were baked in the fire to give them strength. They used clay pots as cooking utensils, liquid holders, and planters. Planters were placed near their homes and filled with flowers, spices, and food items. No tribe used a potter's wheel. Everything was shaped by hand.
Carved Pipes: The Cherokee carved pipes from clay, wood, and soapstone. Pipes used in religion ceremonies and peace ceremonies were carefully decorated. They also made pipes for everyday use. They smoked tobacco in their pipes.
Masks & Rattles: In olden days, only the men made masks. Cherokee men carved ferocious masks from wood. They painted them. Sometimes they added fur decorations. Warriors used these scary masks to make fun of their enemies. Before a battle, the warriors would dance around wearing scary masks, and laugh and laugh. This type of mask was called a Booger Mask.
They made rattles to scare away evil spirits, and at the same time, to invite the attention of good spirits. Rattles were made with turtle shells filled with corn kernels. Some rattles were made from gourds and squashes.
Double Wall Baskets: In olden days, only the women made baskets. Baskets had fancy designs, and were made in a special way, with double weaving, using river cane, so that they were very sturdy. Designs were handed down from mother to daughter. Some baskets were painted as well as dyed. The Cherokee created paints from berry juice, nuts, and roots. Although their baskets added color and gaiety to the appearance of their homes, they were also useful. Baskets were used for just about everything - to gather the crops, to store food, to store belongings, to haul.
River Cane Items: The Cherokee used river cane for weaving split dyed gathering baskets, but they also used river cane for making blow guns, shields, masks, and painted flutes. They were and still are famous for the many beautiful and useful items they made with river cane.
Return to the Southeast
Native Americans in Olden Times Index
Native Americans 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.