When presented with a case like Warren's, Cornsilk likes to quote a popular Native American aphorism: "It's not about what you claim, it's about who claims you. As Warren mentioned in her video, there's a difference between Native American ancestry and tribal citizenship. Anyone can claim Native American ancestry, but only the tribe and its sovereign government can accept an individual as a tribal citizen.
The application process is different for each of the federally recognized Native American tribes, but in the Cherokee Nation, tribal membership hinges on two sets of U. To apply for citizenship in the Cherokee Nation, you must be able to trace your direct lineage to an individual on the Dawes Rolls.
Having a Cherokee Ancestor Doesn’t Necessarily Make You Cherokee Too
This is done by providing original birth certificates for each link in the family tree. The Freedmen Rolls are separate lists of names that include the descendants of freed Cherokee slaves yes, some Cherokee owned slaves. Following the "one drop rule" of Plessy v. Ferguson, a Cherokee with even a single "negro" ancestor was placed on the Freedmen Rolls, even if the rest of their lineage was full-blooded Cherokee.
Sadly, descendants of people on the Freedmen Rolls were denied full citizenship in the Cherokee Nation and several other tribes from the s until , when a court ruling restored their rightful claims. According to the Cherokee Nation, if you can successfully trace and document your lineage back to individuals on either of those rolls, you can apply for citizenship.
You can also apply for citizenship if you marry a tribal member. Any other "proof" of belonging — family trees, photographs of relatives in feathered headdresses, DNA tests — simply won't be considered. Other tribes have their own requirements for membership , but they're usually along similar lines. It's not about DNA tests that might only represent some statistical noise. Both seminaries were established in and were intended to prepare Cherokee children to enter Eastern colleges and to obtain a more accepted place in white society while keeping their Cherokee heritage alive.
A display with an old printing press once used by the Cherokee Phoenix, the tribal newspaper that began in and is still being published as the Cherokee Advocate, testifies to continuity and progress in tribal literacy. The "Cherokee Medicine" display focuses on continuity in Cherokee religion, music, and dance, including the Stomp Dance, a ceremonial dance performed to express thanks and remind participants of their responsibilities to the continuance of life on earth. The "Cherokee Recreation" display attests to the continuing popularity of Cherokee games and contests, particularly stickball which was occasionally substituted for warfare.
Other displays focus on continuing traditions in Cherokee pottery, basketry, and weaving after the forced migration. Several displays that focus on the Cherokee Nation today bring the story of Cherokee survival and success after forced migration into the present. Subjects include the Cherokee Nation's community self-help programs, Headstart, and other educational programs, tribal high school, and other services from the tribal government whose capital building and offices are located nearby.
Since , the Trail of Tears outdoor drama has told the story of the forced migration of the Cherokees and other Native American and non-Native American actors during the summer months to reenact the Trail of Tears and its aftermath. The drama both serves as a memorial to those who died and focuses attention on the impact of this bitter journey on the lives of the Cherokees who survived and their descendants. The oldest component of the Cherokee Heritage Center, the Tsa-La-Gi Ancient Village, is a living museum separated from the rest of the complex by a wooden fence.
The Ancient Village has been educating the public about ancient Cherokee culture and traditions for almost 30 years and employs local Native Americans, mostly Cherokees, during the summer months to recreate the life of the Cherokee people in the 16th century. There are demonstrations of flintknapping tools and weapons, pottery-making, woodcarving, and leather-working. The village made such an impression on me as first-grader that I still remember the rectangular summer and circular winter dwellings, the people dressed in deerskin, the fires, the gourds, and the only Cherokee stickball game that I ever witnessed almost 30 years ago.
Many other Oklahomans have related similar stories no me about the impact that trips to the village and the museum had on them as children-quite a testimony to its success. The Cherokee Heritage Center is clearly a forum for the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma to present a local tribal viewpoint on their own history and identity. How can museum representations recognize and preserve the ethnic and cultural diversity of a nation while struggling against the divisive potential of this diversity? Can Native American groups like the Cherokees only receive accurate representation in their own local tribal museums?
Are both national and local museums needed for balanced representation?
Anthropologist James Clifford has concluded that no museum can tell the whole or essential story of a group. Both Clifford and anthropologist Adrienne Kaeppler suggest that the difference between national and local museums may be somewhat exaggerated, i. For example, the portrait of John Ridge, son of Major John Ridge, in Harvard's Peabody Museum communicates the positive message that the Cherokee were "civilized" as shown by the prominent Cherokee's European dress against the popular stereotype of Native Americans at that time.
The same portrait of John Ridge in the Cherokee National Museum would communicate a more Ridge family were put to death as traitors by the tribe moving to Indian Territory. The repatriation of Native American objects will certainly effect the balance of collection in national and local museums by sending many objects in national museums back to the tribes.
According to anthropologist Wilcomb Washburn, these objects will not be lost, but consigned to local Native American museums. In a sense, this is yet another forced migration, a potentially healing reversal in which the tribes' relocated cultural property and human remains are being forcibly moved back to their present homelands.
Local tribal museums such as the Cherokee Heritage Center can provide important lessons for tribes seeking to establish their own museums to house objects belonging to the tribe, including those objects repatriated as a result of Act H. While the repatriation of Native American objects already in museums is potentially a positive relocation, the repatriation of the archaeological past may be more problematic for the Cherokees and other relocated tribes.
The archaeological past of Oklahoma is actually foreign to the relocated Cherokees, yet the archaeological material from the original Cherokee homeland in Tennessee on display in the Cherokee National Museum seems out of place in a museum so focused on the Cherokees' lives after forced relocation to a new and distant homeland. This disassociation with their archaeological past makes the connection between the Oklahoma Cherokee and the land different in their present homeland.
While not trying to divorce the Oklahoma Cherokees from their archaeological past, perhaps the memory of the original and present Cherokee homelands in more appropriate connection than the actual relocation of cultural material. The benefits of having local tribal museums such as the Cherokee Heritage Center are many, particularly presenting an alternative, Native American perspective on a nation's shared history.
According to Clifford, tribal museums "express local culture, oppositional politics, kinship, ethnicity, and addition. The Cherokee Heritage Center stands as a tribute to the perseverance of the Cherokee people and as a testimony to their efforts to preserve and share their culture despite such hardships as forced migration. My deepest gratitude is also due to Dr.
Rubie Watson for her encouragement, guidance, and editorial advice on this article and the search paper for her course on museums and representation from which it grew. The Poetics and Politics of Museum Display.
Lavine, pp. Washington, D. Volume 2, "Civilization of the American Indian Series. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press. Urbana: University of Illinois Press. Cambridge: Peabody Museum Press. The roof was either thatched with grass or shingled with bark. As many as eight people might share this type of house. Although the men built the houses, the women owned them. The American settlers brought new ideas and strong, sharp tools that replaced the stone axes and in the 's some of the Cherokee began to build American style log cabins. Rather than a chimney, a smoke hole was made in the roof.
What did the Cherokee tribe eat? The food that the Cherokee tribe ate included deer venison , bear, buffalo, elk, squirrel, rabbit, opossum and other small game and fish. Their staple foods were corn, squash and beans supplemented with wild onions, rice, mushrooms, greens, berries and nuts. As time passed the Cherokee began raising cattle, hogs, chickens, and other domesticated animals that they acquired from Europeans.
What weapons did the Cherokee use? Cherokees also used blowguns, generally for small game, but occasionally for warfare. The Europeans introduced muskets and then rifles. Leadership amongst the Cherokee was divided according the situation.
Native American History for Kids: Cherokee Tribe and Peoples
The "red" chiefs were leaders during war and "white" chiefs in times of peace. Cherokee warriors wore tattoos and used face and body paint. Red paint for success, blue to indicate defeat or trouble, black paint meant death, and white stood for peace and happiness. Cherokee Booger Masks The Cherokee were famous for their Booger masks A Booger mask was a carved mask with exaggerated features and expressions used in the Booger Dance. Booger masks often represented non-Indian people as well as animals.
The word 'booger' is derived from boogieman or bogeyman and used by whites to reflect the grotesque carvings on the masks. Cherokee History: What happened to the Cherokee tribe? The following Cherokee history timeline details facts, dates and famous landmarks of the people. The Cherokee timeline explains what happened to the people of their tribe. President Jackson refuses to enforce the decision and Georgia holds lottery for Cherokee lands Treaty of New Echota, giving up title to all Cherokee lands in southeast in exchange for land in Indian Territory now Oklahoma The Trails of Tears.
Dawes, to negotiate land with the Cherokee, Creek, Choctaw, Chickasaw and Seminole tribes The Dawes Rolls, or the Final Rolls of the Five Civilized Tribes, entitled an allotment of land to tribe members, in return for abolishing their governments and recognizing Federal laws The individual allotment policy of the Dawes Act was terminated by the Indian Reorganization Act Cherokee History Timeline.