Next Monthly Meeting
Thursday, July 11, 1996
7:00 Social hour and 7:30 Program and Presentation
Tracy Gee Community Center
3599 Westcenter, Houston TX
Our July meeting will feature CCS Board Member Ed Holland who will be telling the group about
Tracing your Cherokee History??
A CCS member and Board Member of the Cherokee Historical Society in
Tahlequah has a unique way of supporting the Historical Society and helping
people research their family at the same time. Marjorie is an avid
genealogist and has worked extensively with the archives and records at the
Historical Society. She is putting her skills to work by offering to assist
in tracing Cherokee genealogy for anyone who joins the Cherokee Historical Society.
If you are interested in supporting the Historical Society while taking
advantage of Marjorie's excellent skills, please send $30, payable to the
Cherokee Historical Society, your genealogy data and a SASE to Marjorie
Lowe, 5435 Lake Place Drive, Houston, Texas 77041. Marjorie will fill out
the membership paperwork for you and forward it to the Historical Society.
Red Nations Remembering
Plans are getting underway for this "grass roots" celebration of our shared
history. The date is set for the second Sunday in March, 1997. We invite
all interested Native American groups to celebrate this day with their
members and in their own way, to remember our past and those who went before.
If your group is interested in learning more about Red Nations Remembering,
please contact Deborah Scott at (713) 668-9998 or Barbara Warren (916) 633-9125
The Thompson Indians of British Columbia reported that during a smallpox
epidemic which occurred before 1900, every individual who drank a strong,
dark concoction made from the boiled roots of a closely related species of
avens survived the disease. They took the same preparation for any disease
characterized by a rash, such as measles, chicken pox, etc. It was used by
other tries for sore throat and coughs.
The Dispensary of the United States attributes the medicinal values of
this species to the tannin it contains. This aven, valued for its property
of drying out tissues, was used as an astringent when it was official in the
U.S. Pharamacopoeia from 1820 to 1882.
The water avens is found in meadows and bogs throughout Canada and the
northern states. The boiled root was once known as Indian chocolate and was
drunk with sugar and milk. The plant is used as a chocolate substitute
throughout the year, but one expert on wild foods thinks it is at its best
in the fall or early spring. This beverage was formerly valued as a tasty
home remedy for dysentery, diarrhea, and stomach upsets. Since the drink is
said to be delicious and does contain tannin, this may have been one of our
earliest "sugar-coated medicines."
Source: Earth Medicine Earth Food by Michael A. Weiner
Wild Strawberry Bread (serves 4-6)
1 c. fine cornmeal
1 c. flour
1 c. nut milk or water (see below)
2 T. nut oil (see below)
1 egg, beaten
1.2 c. finely cut fresh strawberry leaves
1 tsp coltsfoot ashes
1 c. freshly picked wild strawberries
Combine the cornmeal and flour in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, mix
together the nut milk (or water), nut oil, egg, strawberry leaves, and
coltsfoot ashes. Add to cornmeal and flour mixture and blend well. Fold in
the wild strawberries and turn the batter into a well-greased loaf pan (4" x
8"). Bake in a preheated 425 degree oven for 40 minutes.
Most nutmeats, including sweet white oak acorns, were eaten raw by a number
of tribes, especially the Algonquins. Nuts were pounded into meal to be
used in breads, soups, and for seasonings. They were also ground in mortar
with water to make a flavorful nut "milk" to add to various dishes. Nut
oils were rendered by boiling the nutmeats and meal, then skimming off the
oil. This nutritious staple was used to prepare and to season vegetables,
potherbs, and meats, and to spread on breads. The breads were usually
"cakes" made by mixing cornmeal with what was left in the bottom of the pot
after nut oils were rendered and then frying this batter in hot fat or
roasting it in hot coals.
Coltsfoot (Tussilago farfara) is a spring-blooming perennial of swamps and
stream banks found all across northern North America and sought for its
versatile leaves, which may be used as a salt substitute. Roll the large,
broad coltsfoot leaf into a tight ball and dry thoroughly before a fire,
then burn. The resulting ashes were very salty and can be used to season
many dishes to taste. Highly prized by numerous Indian tribes, coltsfoot
was especially in demand among various vegetarian peoples, to such a degree
that it became the object of intertribal warfare among West Coast tribes.
The Games Cherokees Play
Many thanks to Joe Williams for making several Indian games for us to play
during the last meeting. We had the group evenly divided between the peach
pit toss and the butter bean toss. Gaming has taken on a whole new
During the peach pit toss, the pits are placed in a wooden bowl and the
bowl was then slammed down on a hard surface. As the peach pits bounced and
landed, points were counted. The Butter Bean Game was similar in that a
wood lattice box was constructed to catch the beans as they are tossed up
into the air. The position of the bean as it landed determined the points.
The points were counted using corn kernels. When one side held all the
kernels, they won. Their prize???? Well, the losers were wearing a little
soot on their faces at the end of the evening!
Elections in October
The Nominations Committee is now being formed for our elections in October.
If you would like to nominate someone, or would serve on this committee,
please contact Deborah Scott at 668-9998.
Off the Internet - From the Native Languages Listserv:
There is now available a very useful reference book called "Indigenous
Languages of the Americas: A Bibliography of Dissertations and Theses," by
Robert Singerman. The book is published by Scarecrow Press, Inc., 4720
Boston Way, Lanham MD 20706.
The book is number 19 in Scarecrow Press' Native American Bibliography
Series. The cost is $75. Specialized bibliographies are expensive, but the
information value of this book makes it a bargain for academic libraries.
The book brings together references to over 1600 Master of Arts theses and
dissertations from the United States, Canada and British institutions. The
bibliography is divided by language family for North American languages.
There is a chapter on Mesoamerican languages and one on South American and
Caribbean languages. The bibliography covers the hundred years from
1892-1992. If a thesis or dissertation was published, Singerman documents
this and provides the reference. Singerman is a professional bibliographer
and it shows in the precision and consistency of detail in the references.
Research Letters from the Internet
If you have information for any of the inquiries listed, please email
firstname.lastname@example.org for inclusion in the next newsletter. Thanks!
Wedding Blessings--I have a very dear friend who is Cherokee and who will be
married soon. I would like very much to find some kind of traditional
blessing or verse with which I can create a gift for him and his bride and
celebrate his heritage. Can you help in any way? K.M.G.
Phoenix Legend--I am looking for the legend (prophecy) concerning the
Phoenix in Cherokee legends and mythology. I am a librarian and I have a
patron who is trying to find a source for this information. If you can
assist, I would appreciate it. Jackson County Library
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