Saturday, September 26, 2009

Cherokee Indian on a Horse (Statue at Former Dodge Place in Marietta, GA)

Cherokee Horse History
If you ask a Cherokee tribal member how long they have lived in the area of Western North Carolina, South Caroline and Georgia, they will say that they have always been there, that the Creator put them there. If you ask an archeologist or Dr. Barbara Duncan, she will say that evidence dates the Cherokee as having been here for thousands of years. No matter what you believe, the Cherokee have been in North Carolina, South Caroline and Georgia for a long time. They have deep rooted traditions and culture and a great history with horses.

The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians is descendants of the Cherokee people, who stayed in the mountains during the forced removal that led to the Trail of Tears to Oklahoma.
While touring the Oconaluftee Indian Village a replica of a Cherokee village from

250 years ago, you have to try some traditional Cherokee food and glimpse the past. The village exhibits living history. There are various homes where Cherokee people are making pottery, canoes, bread and more. Maybe you did not even think about this, but

250 years ago, the Cherokee kept their horses away from the village up further in the mountains. They didn't have fences and didn't want the horses running through the village. The women in particular didn't want the horses running through their gardens.
Horse stealing was also a problem. The Cherokee would steal from the colonists and vice versa, so at one point the Cherokee began marking their horses, so if they were stolen they would be able to tell.
The Cherokee were avid traders and began trading horses and selling them. They also began passing their horses down from father to son. The horses became a source of pride and travelers of the day wrote about the Cherokee people's quality horses. There is much more horse history, but Dr. Duncan and Davy Arch tells it best.
The Cherokee dance and sing to celebrate things for which they are grateful.

They had one for the horse, which you can see and hear during a performance of the live show "Unto These Hills". Performed in a large outdoor theatre, this show tells a bit about the early and more recent Cherokee history. Unto These Hills has been performed since 1950. The music of the horse dance will certainly get into your head. Having horses made life easier for the Cherokee and, from what Davy Arch says, the Cherokee like the personalities of individual horses, because they are a lot like people. The traditional horse song has a pretty catchy melody. You'll have to watch the "Equitrekking: Destination Carolinas" episode to see it. There, you can plug this episode.

1 comment:

Moxie said...

Hi O.T.!
Been a loooong time! I was really interested to see your post and fabulous photos on the Cherokee Tribes. We lived in Western NC for 16 years and even saw the presentation of "Unto These Hills"...a VERY moving experience.
Bless you and thanks for your comment on my blog!