indian jewelry
                  Cherokee Culture and History

                  Cherokee History
                  Trail of Tears
                  Cherokee Alphabet
                  Cherokee Language

                  Cherokee Grandmother Passes Culture to
                  Her Granddaughter

                  My first memories of my grandmother are of her jet black hair,
                  her huge smile, and her dark eyes. Her name was a- qua- tse
                  Tsa- la- gi lie- lid- is. She was full of contradictions: She laughed
                  a lot, worked hard, played hard, and had definite ideas of what a
                  family should be. She had an opinion that was always right. She
                  was protective of me, the first grandchild and first
                  granddaughter, and started me down the road of the traditional
                  learning and healing ways of the Cherokee people.

                  I remember the first time that my grandmother took me hunting for herbs and medicines in the woods. She was
                  short (4'2"), but when asked, she would always say, "Four feet, two and a half inches — and 100 pounds of pure
                  love." She was Cherokee and a healer of our tribe. Everyone called her Maggie. I was a thin little girl of six
                  following behind her — dragging a basket, spade, and woven bag.

                  As we walked in the woods she always told me stories while teaching me the healing ways. One day
                  she would say, "We are from the Wolf Clan, a strong clan, one that is to be proud of — do not
                  disrespect our family name." Then she would say, "Dig here. That root is good for stopping bleeding
                  in childbirth," and I would start digging in the hard, red clay of Pawhuska, OK, for that root.

                  I learned much of our language from my grandmother and her mother; I am now relearning the
                  language that I have forgotten since she died. I also learned how to mix herbs and barks and plants
                  to bring down fevers (ka na sit a — dogwood); help upset stomachs (sa li, gu gu ga nu lv, da (ga) si a la
                  s de na — peppermint, tickweed, terrapin's foot); arthritis (u did le hv s gi I lv s gi — feverfew);
                  liver ailments (go s du I (tlv) gv — ash tree); and a variety of other ailments.

                  Her kitchen was always littered with hanging plants and bags of various dried barks and plants. It
                  smelled spicy, woodsy, and wonderful. Often, as she boiled a remedy, she would ask me to bring this
                  plant or that plant to her, and she would indicate how the remedy should be applied and how it

                  She also taught me many traditional stories of the Cherokee. I remember sitting at her feet raptly
                  listening to her strong voice flow over me with the images of the characters of coyote, rabbit,
                  turtle, and grandmother spider dancing in my head. The stories still stir in my mind as the words
                  turn to real images, and I can feel again the soft summer's wind in my hair and smell the barks and
                  plants on her hands as she gestured.

                  Copyright 2012