Cherokee Messenger
October, 1998

Cherokee Cultural Society Meetings

Cherokee Cultural Society meetings are held at the Tracy Gee Community Center, 3599 Westcenter, Houston, Texas, 7:30 to 9:00 p.m., the first Thursday of each month.

CCS Election Results

Congratulations to Judith Bruni, Carroll Cocchia and Clabert Menard, our new Cherokee Cultural Society of Houston board members who were elected at the annual election of officers October 1, 1998. All three bring creativity and dedication to the board of directors and have already contributed much to the success of the organization and the local Native American community.

Recognition Event Honors Chief Mankiller

Friday, October 9, 1998 the Gilcrease Museum in Tulsa, Oklahoma is the site of a special dinner honoring Chief Wilma Mankiller as the recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Individual tickets are $100. For information or tickets, call the Cherokee National Historical Society at 1-888-999-6007. The Gilcrease web site is Their address and phone are 1400 Gilcrease Museum Road, Tulsa, Oklahoma 74127, 918-596-2700.

Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma Assistance Programs

Many programs are overseen by the Nation. Following are descriptions of only a few.

(1) The Adult Education/GED Program: Implemented in 1971, these services to Indian adults who have not finished high school provide a place where students can gain new skills and knowledge, improve their basic skills and work toward completing the GED. Among the services to participants are education instruction in basic skills, life skills, basic literacy and Cherokee basket making. Childcare and transportation are offered when necessary. During the past ten years close to 3,000 students enrolled in classes and over 300 have passed GED tests. Most students participated to improve basic skills in reading and math. Classes, which are conducted from September through May using services of three teachers, are located in communities within a six county area. The administrative office is housed in the Old Cherokee Territorial Prison Building, now the Tsa-La-Gi Library in Tahlequah, OK. Contact for information: Victor Vance, Manager, 918-458-0484.

(2) Foster Parent Recruitment and Training: A priority of the Cherokee Nation Indian Child Welfare involves both recruitment and training to meet the needs of the children placed in their homes while balancing needs of their own families. The program works to teach foster parents to meet cultural, developmental, protective and emotional needs of the children in their care. Teamwork is used among caseworkers, foster parents, biological parents, teachers, counselors and others interested in the children. To accommodate family schedules and the 14-county dispersal of foster parents, training is available at the homes of participants. Among the training topics covered are appropriate behaviors, establishing and working with rules, sharing of responsibilities, healthy ways to show affection and how to provide consistent supervision. For further information on this and other programs, contact the Cherokee Nation, P. O. Box 948, Tahlequah, OK 74465-0948. Phone 918-456-0671. Web site is

Web Watch:

This monthís selection of interesting sites.

Resource: Native Seeds/SEARCH

A nonprofit organization preserving Native American crop seeds in Tucson and Albuquerque by working to conserve traditional crops, seeds, and farming methods that have sustained Native peoples throughout the southwestern U.S. and northern Mexico. They promote the use of ancient crops and their wild relatives by gathering, safeguarding, and distributing their seeds, while sharing benefits with traditional communities. The organization also works to preserve knowledge about their uses through research, training, and community education; NS/S strives to protect biodiversity and to celebrate cultural diversity to restore the earth. Inquire about the 1998 Harvest Catalog or the 1998 Seedlisting Catalogue with recipes available from: Native Seeds/SEARCH, 2509 North Campbell Avenue, #325, Tucson, AZ 85719. Their web site is

Digging for the Red Roots

The following article was sent to the editor several months ago and since has appeared on the Internet at It is included here for historical interest.
Digging for the Red Roots by Mahir Abdal-Razzaaq El
My name is Mahir Abdal-Razzaaq El and I am a Cherokee Blackfoot American Indian who is Muslim. I am known as Eagle Sun Walker. I serve as a Pipe Carrier Warrior for the Northeastern Band of Cherokee Indians in New York City. There are other Muslims in our group. For the most part, not many people are aware of the Native American contact with Islam that began over one thousand years ago by some of the early Muslim travelers who visited us. Some of these Muslim travelers ended up living among our people.

For most Muslims and non-Muslims of today, this type of information is unknown and has never been mentioned in any of the history books. There are many documents, treaties, legislation and resolutions that were passed between the 1600s and 1800s that show that Muslims were in fact here and were very active in the communities in which they lived. Treaties such as Peace and Friendship that was signed on the Delaware River in the year 1787 bear the signatures of Abdel-Khak and Muhammad Ibn Abdullah. This treaty details our continued right to exist as a community in the areas of commerce, maritime shipping, current form of government at that time which was in accordance with Islam. According to a federal court case from the Continental Congress, we helped put the breath of life in to the newly framed constitution. All of the documents are presently in the National Archives as well as the Library of Congress.

If you have access to records in the state of South Carolina, read the Moors Sundry Act of 1790. In a future article, Inshallah, I will go into more details about the various tribes, their languages, in which some are influenced by Arabic, Persian and Hebrew words. Almost all of the tribes vocabulary include the word Allah. The traditional dress code for Indian women includes the kimah and long dresses. For men, standard fare is turbans and long tops that come down to the knees. If you were to look at any of the old books on Cherokee clothing up until the time of 1832, you will see the men wearing turbans and the women wearing long head coverings. The last Cherokee chief who had a Muslim name was Ramadhan Ibn Wati of the Cherokees in 1866.

Cities across the United States and Canada bear names that are of Indian and Islamic derivation. Have you ever wondered what the name Tallahassee means? It means that He Allah will deliver you sometime in the future.

- Original article was taken from: MESSAGE, July 1996 (Copyright Message Magazine. As long as proper acknowledgment has been stated, it can be reproduced.) See the web site at

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