Sunday, July 29, 2012

Museum of the Cherokee Indian

Museum of the Cherokee Indian 
Cherokee Museum                                        photo by Elizabeth Gordon

Smoke Fired Pottery            Photo by Elizabeth Gordon 

Cherokee Baskets                         photo by Elizabeth Gordon
I will do several posts on the Cherokee museum.  The Cherokee on this coast are known as the Eastern Branch of the Cherokee.  The Cherokee nation was an amazing culture that had its own alphabet and written language.  They also had their own system of government.  
My ancestor, who was Cherokee, had a name that was English...Dorothy Prior.  Often when anglo saxon men married Indian women, their wives were given a Christian name (English).  When my Mother was trying to learn about our ancestors it wasn't apparent at first Dorothy was Indian because of the name change.  For any American family that has been in America for generations it would be difficult to imagine there was not some indian ancestor in the family tree.  
One of the interesting facts I discovered was the Cherokee traded over a hundred years with the first British explorers to settle in America.  One of the fascinating documents in the exhibit was a book written in the 1700's about a young British Captains experience of living among the Cherokee for a year during a trading journey.  The copies of the many peace treaties signed by Andrew Jackson and the United States government promising the Cherokee the retention of their lands are fascinating, for as we know all the promises meant nothing-the lure of land and money turned men to temptation of absolute greed.  
We will look more in depth at the art of the Cherokee...their pottery  and basketry in a later post.
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