Cherokee Messenger
August 1995

The Tsalagi Name for the month of August is U-DA TA-NV U-DO-SV-NO-E-hi
It means Fruit Moon.

The name of the Moon for this month is Ripe Berries.
In Tsalagi, it is U-WA-NI-SV U-DA-TA-NV-hi.

The animal totem for this month is Sturgeon.
In Tsalagi A-tsa-Di.

Early Bead Trade in North America

Prior to settlement by Europeans, all North American Indians seem to have shared an appreciation for beads. At least eight thousand years before Europeans crossed the Atlantic, Indians were making, wearing, and trading beads of shell, pearl, bone, teeth, stone, and fossil crinoid stems.

The best-known shell bead was wampum: small, cylindrical, centrally drilled white and purple beads made primarily of the quahog clamshell. We often think of wampum as "Indian money," but it most emphatically was not. Wampum was sacred to northeastern Indians before the Europeans arrived. Since the mother countries did not want to lose coins in the colonies, Europeans adapted wampum as currency. It was legal tender in all thirteen original states up to the mid-18th century.

North American Indians had no written languages, therefore messages were transmitted through symbolic designs. Woven wampum belts developed as a device for recording important events. Signaling peaceful, warlike, or other intentions between tribes (or tribes and colonists), the belts were manufactured using beads of one color, with symbolic designs in another color.

White represented peace, promise, and good intention, whereas purple conveyed hostility, sadness or death. Red painted wampum was sent to other villages to indicate war. Councils could not meet without the proper searing arrangements embedded in a wampum string. Adoptions, mourning, speaking at council meetings, treaties and contracts all called for wampum.

As explorers began to come to North American, one of the significant items brought for gifts were glass beads from Europe. Using glass beads to win Indian friendship was a prevalent custom in the days when England, France, Sweden, Holland and Spain all vied for control of North American territories. These beads became very popular with the Indians, and later became important in the fur trade.

One beaver skin was worth a six-foot string of small beads in Sault Sainte Marie in 1860 and the red bead known as cornaline d'Aleppo or "Hudson Bay beads" carried an exchange value of six beads to one beaver skin. Lewis and Clark found the so-called Russian (a smooth or faceted blue glass) bead to be especially valued by the Indians on the Columbia River in Pacific Northwest. In the western Great Lakes region about 1675, the French introduced smaller "pony beads," thus named because they were transported by traders on ponies.

Beginning about 1840, colorful, tiny seed beads, usually two millimeters or less in diameter, were traded in bulk. With the introduction of seed beads with their uniform color and size, the ways of decorating clothing and objects changed dramatically. By 1800, glass beadwork appeared to have replaced quillwork as the means of ornamentation and has continued to be an integral part of Native American artwork.

Contributed by Jeanette Welch, Houston Bead Society

Sources: Beads of the World by Peter Francis, Jr., and The History of Beads by Lois Sherr Dubin.

Pecan Soup

6-8 servings

Pecans were gathered, cracked, dried and stored to be used in a number of dishes, including a kind of pecan pie. Pecans in soup may sound far-fetched, but they are very good.

4 pounds of cut-up chicken parts
3 quarts of spring water
1/2 cup chopped shallots
6 springs of parsley
1/2 cup of pecans, coarsely chopped

Bring water and chicken parts to a boil, reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes, Remove any scum and add shallots and parsley. Simmer stock for another 1 1.2 hours Cool until grease forms and can be removed. Remove any bones as well. Return to heat. Bring to a boil and simmer, adding pecans. Cook 20 minutes and serve.

Herbal Workshop

Lelanie Stone was the guest speaker for our July meeting and workshop and left us with a wealth of information. Due to the response after the workshop, we will be planning more activities with Lelani in the near future. If you missed the workshops, but would like some of Lelanie's books, please contact her at PO Box 1139, Salina OK 74365.

The titles of her books are:
The Beginner's Book on Indian Herbs and Plants ($8)
Nature's Grocery Store ($15)
Indian Dyes and Paints ($15)
Indian Herbs and Plants ($15)

Herbal Do's and Don'ts

Do not pick or eat herbs you have not fully identified.
Do not pick or eat herbs and plants which grow within 6 feet of a paved or asphalt road.
Do not use a microwave oven to dry your herbs or cook your herbs.
Do not use an herb or plant with mold or mildew on it.
Do not use herbs from an unknown area--make sure no one has sprayed the area with pesticides!
Do not prepare or dry herbs in metal pans or use metal utensils and NEVER use aluminum.
Do not use a dried herb you cannot identify.
Do not use synthetic sweeteners with your herbal teas.
Do not use herbal teas that have been stored for more than 24 hours.

(One of the best guides for identifying herbs is the Audobon guide on herbs.)

1996 Fourth Annual National Indian Business Conference and Trade Show

The NIBA serves as an advocate on national and international issues for Indian owned businesses and facilitates communications between the American Indian business community and the public sector. The next conference is April 21-24 at the Sheraton in Spokane, Washington. This conference is designed to address national issues, make available experts in banking, business development, and federal and corporate procurement and provide an excellent opportunity for business networking. For more information call Carol Norton, (505) 256-0589.

Dallas Public Library Acquires Genealogy Records

If you have traveled in the Smoky Mountains in North Carolina, you have no doubt seen the Cherokee Indian Reservation in Swain County. Residents are descendants of tribal members who settled outside the Cherokee nation in 1819.

The Dallas Public Library has recently acquired the records from the North Carolina Archives pertaining to them. Among this is the controversial roll created by Frank C. Churchill in 1908. The final roll, known as the Baker Roll, dates from 1924.

If a person applied after 1963, he or she had to have one-sixteenth Eastern Cherokee Blood.

Pocohantas Report

The Morning Star; June, 1995.

Many thanks to the Girl Scout Troup led my member Pam Morse for their efforts in helping us illustrate the "real" life of Pocohantas. Thanks also to additional artists, Nicole and Joe Bradshaw.

National Holiday

The Cherokee National Homecoming will be over Labor Day in Tahlequah. Activities will begin in earnest on Friday, September 1 and continue throughout the weeked. Many of our members plan family visits around this "homecoming" time. I would encourage you to take this opportunity to visit the Cherokee Capital, you won't be disappointed!

Cherokee Nation Elections

Tahlequah, OK. George Bearpaw has been disqualified to run for Chief of the Cherokee Nation. At this printing, Joe Byrd should become the next chief.

Native American Film Festival

In honor of Native American Awareness Month, the Museum of Fine Arts of Houston and The Cherokee Cultural Society will be sponsoring Randy Redroad, and his film, Dance Me Outside, in a Native American Film Festival. Mr. Redroad will be presenting an evening program on Friday, November 3rd that will include Haircuts Hurt, Cowtipping, High Horse, and scenes from Indians and Cowboys. Showing on both Saturday and Sunday evenings, November 4 and 5, in the MFA auditorium will be the featured film, Dance Me Outside. Other events and presentations, including a workshop on Becoming a Registered Cherokee, will be offered throughout the afternoon on Sunday. The registration workshop will be presented by CCS board members.

Copyright © The Cherokee Cultural Society of Houston