Cherokee Messenger
September 1995

The Tsalagi Name for the month of September is du li i s di
It means Nut Moon.

The animal totem for this month is Eagle.
In Tsalagi Wo ha li.

Cherokee Nation Election Results

Tahlequah, OK. The July 29, 1995 run-off election of the Cherokee Nation resulted in Joe Byrd receiving 5,767 votes to win the leadership position. Former councilman James Garland Eagle, who received 5,256 votes, is the new Deputy Chief. Inauguration was Aug. 14, 1995 in Tahlequah, OK.

The run-off election was conducted without former candidate for Chief, George Bearpaw on the ballot, as the Cherokee Judicial Tribunal, the nation's highest court ruled against his participation.

The Tribunal stated he was in violation of the law when he filed his declaration of candidacy with the tribal election commission, certifying under oath that he had never pleaded guilty to a felony charge. A twenty year old felony case was revealed after his filing for office. Cherokee Cultural Society members look forward to a fulfilling term of office for the newly elected Cherokk Nation leaders, and wish them well during their tenure.

September Meeting

Be sure to join us on Friday, September 8, as Treasurer Ed Holland presents a program on the Life of Ned Christy. We will also view the completion of the Knokovtee Scott video on shellworking.

Visitors are most welcome!

Herb of the Month - Comfrey

Comfrey Infusion:

Use 2 tsp. fresh comfrey leaves (or one tsp dry comfrey)
1 1/4 cups boiling water

Shred comfrey leaves into small pieces and cover with boiling water.
Allow to steep for ten minutes.
Leave to cool.
Gently bathe cuts and abrasions with this lotion on a lint pad.
It is also good for minor burns, scald and sunburns.

Comfrey is a good source of calcium and trace minerals. It can be taken internally for the nervous system.

Gathering The Crops of Autumn

by Lelanie Stone, Cherokee Medicine Woman

The season of nuts and fruits is autumn. The tribes collected their bounty from trees that required a full growing season before their flowers went through a strange metamorphosis to become mature seeds and fruits. The Native Americans gathered both seeds and fruits from the "mighty oak", hickory, beech, walnut, and hawthorn trees. Grapes from the wild vines were also procured. These were common sources and easily identifiable. When teaching the young children of the tribe what was edible, they were usually taught these plants first.

The tribes could gather the autumn edibles and either make use of them then or prepare them for storage in the winter; they usually did both.

The Native Americans knew that some trees produced what we now call a "mast crop". This meant that there are certain trees such as the oak, beech, hickory and walnut, that are cyclical in nut production. This means that they usually have one large crop followed by two or three years of smaller crops. During the year of the "mast crop", the tribes would take extra measures to ensure they had ample supplies of this autumn bounty, and they usually took note of the cycles for next year's harvest. The Native Americans were not greedy collectors and did not seriously deplete the stores of these wonderful autumn offerings. They left enough for the animals, and enough for crop regeneration. They knew that if the trees and shrubs were not destroyed, they would provide for them again the following season, and that the offspring of these tress and shrubs would continue to produce only if they protected them. Fruits and nuts were planted by the squirrels and dropped by the birds, and reforestation took place through Natureís methods.

Small Pox Epidemic

A childhood disease crippled and almost extinguished the Cherokees in 1738. Small Pox was unknown to the new world before the white man. This and other "childhood" diseases were first introduced to the Americas by sailors of Europe and the Conquistadors of Spain.

It is interesting to note that the sailors with Columbus and other expeditions carried disease picked up from their world travels. Theses sailors were immune to these diseases, but the Indians were not. Entire tribes in the Caribbean Islands were destroyed within 50 years of contact with Columbus and the Conquistadors due to disease. David Stannard in his book, American Holocaust estimated that 17 million Indians in South, Central and North America were destroyed from European contact, mainly from disease.

The Cherokees, who lived inland in the Southwestern United States, were not fatally exposed until the 1730's, when deer and ginseng trade with South Carolina became popular. Traders and other Indians now infected with European disease brought a small pox epidemic in 1738 which killed one half of the estimated 22,000 Cherokees. The disease made Cherokees questions their social policies and morals. Some thought small pox was punishment for adopting the white manís ways and goods. In some part that was true, because the disease was introduced by means of white trade. A second major small pox epidemic occurred in 1783. But for the devastation caused by European disease, the Cherokees and other Indians would have remained longer in a position of strength and power in the development of American history.

Excerpts From An Address of J.C. High Eagle, Osage/Cherokee

Presented June 12, 1994, Tyler, Texas

"Sing praises to the sky, Give blessings to the hills,
Feel the spirit of the mountains, Sacred are the streams,
Be one with the Mother Earth."

"Oh, Earth, our Mother, Your rivers flow like blood in my veins; Your mountains pierce the sky like my dreams and visions; Your evening star cradles me: Your winds stir my inner; You are the Giver of Life and the Taker.

Our bodies are but one body. Our spirits are but one spirit. Of a few of Your secrets, I know. The simple things teach me Your ways. To know them is to know You.

When I am tired Your nightfall calms me to rest; When I am lonely, You send the animals to comfort me. Your medicine is strong. Your medicine is strong!"
-J.C. High Eagle

"This we know. The Earth does not belong to man; man belongs to the Earth. All things are connected like the blood which unites one family. All things are connected...whatever befalls the Earth befalls the sons of the Earth. Man did not weave the web of life; he is merely a strand in it. Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself. Even the white man, whose God walks and talks with him as friend to friend, cannot be exempt from the common destiny. We may be brothers after all; we shall see. One thing we know, which the white man may one day discover, our God is the same God. You may think now that you won Him as you wish to own our land; but you cannot. He is the God of man, and His compassion is equal for the red man and for the white man."
-Chief Seattle, Suquamish, 1854

"It was good for the skin to touch the Earth and the old people liked to remove their moccasins and walk with bare feet on the sacred Earth. For him to sit or lie upon the ground is to be able to think more deeply and to feel more keenly, he can see more clearly into the mysteries of life and come closer in kinship to other lives about him."
-Chief Standing Bear, Lakota

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