Bonnie is a business owner and writer with a keen interest in Native American history and Cherokee culture.
The Seven Cherokee Clans
The Cherokees were once the largest Indian tribe on the southern frontier of America. They remained organized as a strong national state subdivided into seven clans. Because of the differences between these clans and their stark contrast to Anglo-American tradition, it is illuminating to study the Cherokee worldview and how it affected their social and cultural structures.
For example, in the traditional Cherokee nation, women were not only the heads of their households, but also the leaders of their respective clans, with children placed according to their mothers' tribal affiliation. Once the children grew up, they were not allowed to marry inside their clan, as intra-tribe Cherokees were considered brothers and sisters.
It is said that there were originally 14 Cherokee clans, but some of them would not obey the laws and customs of the people and were driven out of the nation. The expelled clans formed the tribes known now as the Erie, Mohawk, Onandaga, Cayuga, Seneca, and Oneida.
The seven remaining clans became known collectively as Ugaya, or the Seven Clan Society.
Another version of the creation story tells of 14 groups of Cherokee people who fled in canoes from an earthquake- and volcano-ravaged island, undertaking a dangerous voyage across the sea. According to this version, only seven of the groups survived, and their members became the clans that settled Cherokee nation.
The seven clans of Cherokee Nation are:
- Aniwahya (Wolf Clan or Panther Clan)
- Ani Tsiskwa (Small Bird Clan or Eagle Clan)
- Anikawi (Deer Clan or Bison Clan)
- Anigilohi (Twister Clan or "Long Hair" Clan)
- Anisahoni (Blue Clan or Blue Holly Clan)
- Anigatogewi (Wild Potato Clan or Tobacco Clan)
- Aniwodi (Red Paint Clan)
1. Aniwahya (Wolf Clan or Panther Clan)
The Aniwahya, or Wolf Clan, represents war and is the largest and most prominent clan. Most of the war chiefs in Cherokee history emerged from the Aniwahya. They are the keepers and trackers of the wolf, and the only clan permitted to slay the animal. Even this must be done through special ceremonies and medicines.
It is their responsibility to develop, maintain, and teach the knowledge of loyalty, protection, and security. They stay up to date when it comes to information and knowledge from the surrounding environment. Much like the wolf itself, the clan functions as a collective while maintaining individuality among its kin.
- Color: Red
- Wood: Hickory
- Flag: Red with white stars
2. Ani Tsiskwa (Small Bird Clan or Eagle Clan)
The Ani Tsiskwa, or Small Bird Clan, represents spirit. Residing in the north on the Chickamaugan Stomp Ground, members of this clan are keepers of the birds, sacred feathers, and bird medicines. They are very skilled in using blowguns and snares for bird hunting.
These clan members are considered the messengers of the Cherokee nation, responsible for conveying the importance of wholeness and balance in the patterns of life, as well as recognizing the synergy and interplay between positive and negative events. They teach keen observation, sharing and giving, interpretation of dreams and bird messages, and the sacrifice made by birds in providing for the two-legged ones.
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They are also responsible for collecting the feathers earned by others and are the only clan members authorized to assemble them.
- Color: Purple
- Wood: Maple
- Flag: Blue with red stars
3. Anikawi (Deer Clan or Bison Clan)
The Anikawi clan represents peace and are keepers of the deer, overseeing the hunting of deer and the use of deer medicines. They reside in the northwest on the Chickamaugan Stomp Ground. Known as fast runners and foot messengers, they deliver messages from village to village or person to person. They also maintain all sports and sports equipment.
It is the Deer Clan's responsibility to teach the knowledge of relaxation and unconditional love. They also teach knowledge of the deer and its habitat, including its willingness to sacrifice itself in order to provide the two-legged ones with food and clothing.
- Color: Brown
- Wood: Oak
- Flag: Purple with yellow stars
4. Anigilohi (Twister Clan or "Long Hair" Clan)
Members of the Anigilohi Clan—also known as Long Hair, Hanging Down Clan or Wind Clan—represent day and night. The word 'Gilahi' is short for an ancient Gitlvgvnahita, meaning "something that grows from the back of the neck". This clan resides in the south on the Chickamaugan Stomp Ground.
Members of this clan traditionally wore their hair in elaborate styles and walked in a proud or even vainglorious manner, twisting their shoulders with each step (hence the name, Twister Clan). Their Peace Chiefs wore white feather robes.
This clan's responsibility is to teach tradition, spiritual knowledge, and intuition. Many of the old spiritual priests emerged from this clan, which is sometimes referred to as the Stranger Clan because prisoners of war, orphans from other tribes, and unaffiliated Cherokee people were often adopted into the Anigilohi.
- Color: Yellow
- Wood: Beech
- Flag: Black with white stars
5. Anisahoni (Blue Clan or Blue Holly Clan)
Members of the Anisahoni, or Blue Clan, represent sky and are keepers of all children's medicines and caretakers of medicinal herb gardens. They reside in the southwest on the Chickamaugan Stomp Ground.
The clan became known for—and named after—a medicine its members derived from a bluish plant called the Blue Holly. They are also known as the Panther, or Wildcat, Clan in some regions. Their responsibilities include teaching others about the panther and its habitat, upholding truth, and emphasizing the balance between power, intention, physical strength, and grace.
They also teach the practices of growing and preparing herbs for food and medicinal purposes.
- Color: Blue
- Wood: Ash
- Flag: Blue with white stars
6. Anigatogewi (Wild Potato Clan or Tobacco Clan)
Members of the Anigatogewi, or Wild Potato Clan, represent flesh. They are known as farmers and gatherers of the wild potato plants that traditionally grew in swamps ("gatogewi" means swamp) and along streams. These plants were used to make flour and bread. They reside in the south on the Chickamaugan Stomp Ground.
Their responsibilities include teaching the knowledge of insight, introspection, gathering, growing and preserving food, and providing shelter. The Anigatogewi may have also been known as the Bear Clan, as they were known to speak reverently of the bear and its willingness to sacrifice itself in order to provide food and clothing for the two-legged ones. Originally known as the Kituwah, the Anigatogewi are nurturers by nature.
- Color: Green
- Wood: Birch
- Flag: Yellow with green stars
7. Aniwodi (Red Paint Clan)
The people of the Aniwodi, or Red Paint Clan, also known as the "Corn People," are said to represent death. Residing in the southeast on the Chickamaugan Stomp Ground, this clan is the smallest and most secretive of the Cherokee groups. They are known for their prominent medicinal healers and conjurors, and Dida:hnvwi:sgi (healers/sorcerers and medicine men) and Adawehi (wisemen) emerged from this clan at one time in their history.
Their responsibilities include teaching the knowledge of life, birth, death, and regeneration. They are known for performing illusions during ceremonies that required special rituals and tools. They were the only Cherokee people allowed to make the special red paint and dye used for ceremonial purposes and warfare.
- Color: White
- Wood: Locust
- Flag: Black with red stars
Clan Governance and Social Customs
Before Oklahoma statehood, each clan observed a matrilineal order and was governed by an elected Council of Women that wielded substantial influence, including the right to declare war. The "beloved woman" was bestowed such responsibility because she stayed home with the children and assured the continuity of the family and clan. Because of this, all property belonged to the women, and the children belonged to their mother's clan. Women also inherited field rights, which were handed down from mother to daughter.
It was the duty of each clan to judge and mete out any punishment for a social wrong committed by a member. However, the clan did not and could not make the laws or social customs. Rather, laws and customs were ratified either by the Anidawehi (traditional Cherokee spiritual leaders/healers), the people, or as universal rites that evolved from ancient teachings. Religious laws were handled by the Anidawehi, as Cherokees believed religion should be integrated into everyday life.
Meanings of the Four Sacred Colors
Each of the four sacred colors represents a direction and is associated with certain meanings.
- Red: East / Success / Triumph
- White: South / Peace / Happiness
- Black: West / Death
- Blue: North / Defeat / Trouble
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2008 Bonnie Ramsey
Rebecca Tiller on August 28, 2020:
Indians are from India. I am NATIVE.
Doug Harper on August 21, 2020:
I was told I am part Cherokee . I know James Baggett was a Cherokee from Carolina and went to Tenn and formed Baggett chapel. Big mama and big papa Baggett are buried there I was to young to know them . When I had heart surgery I had a dream/vision of laying on a table with firs, in a lodge with an Indian medicine man going around me with something smoking . I saw animals, etc around lodge . I told my older brother and he said it was big papa . I would love to find any info of my heritage. I know in my heart and mind I have native blood, just no proof . I am 70 and would like to leave Mother Earth knowing . Any help would be very appreciated . Reason for different last name is I was adopted
Diana McMahan on July 07, 2020:
we are all children of Mother Earth. we have strayed so far From our responsibilities that it is a shame and I for one am ashamed at how far we have strayed from Mother Earth! we are all her children and without the Cherokee Nation and all the other tribes of Native Americans who can teach us so much if we would only listen and allow ourselves to learn from these great teachers we would no longer be completely lost ! I'm so glad that the teachings of Mother Earth is still being taught by the keepers of the spiritual and of the physical plane of all these great Nations is still being taught today! we all could learn so much if we would only listen and help to practice what has been taught for Generations by the Native Americans and the Cherokee Nation! There is a chance with their wisdom and their teachings we might as a people and the children of Mother Earth, be able to right the wrongs that we have done to our own Mother, Mother Earth. I hope and pray to the Great Spirit, that it is not too late!
Bob Cohn on June 09, 2020:
What would our world be if, instead of making enemies of them, we had sought to learn about the soul and culture of the indigenous American?
Tris lea on May 12, 2020:
I was told my grandfather was Cherokee, his last name was Crews, from Lawton Ok.
That’s all that I know ...
I would love to know more about my heritage.
Lena young on April 19, 2020:
I was told i had Indian blood Cherokee and black foot. Would lo e to know how much ...
Cathy Levrie on March 29, 2020:
My husbands' mother told us she was full-blooded Cherokee. She was born in 1924 and remembered that when she was about five in 1929, her parents traded her for food to a Hispanic family by the name of Rodriguez who were traveling from Oklahoma to San Antonio,Texas. Her mother was pregnant and they were going to starve. She was never told her given name. She was adopted and named Maria Louisa,nicknamed "India" and raised by the family. Papers were lost over time and after marrying Jesus Chapa Levrie in 1943, who was five years younger than her and then raising 12 children, she never pursued her true heritage. She lived and raised the children in Del Rio,Texas and was drawn to holistic medicine. She was even referred to as " Bruja" (witch) because of her town reputation of knowing the "healing" ways. She passed in 2005 and not even her own children "bothered" themselves to take a maternal DNA test out of curiosity. Now, my husband, Jorge Cristobal is curious, both our daughters are and our oldest has been inquiring where to go for a TRUE site to check. I, myself have 1/8th because my maternal grandfather was a Rhodes from Arkansas who was French/Cajun and Cherokee.My mother said they lived "back in the woods". It would be nice to find out just for the extra branch on the family tree what clan she was from.
Anita Kelley on January 23, 2020:
I just found out through "findagrave.com" that my great, great grandmother was Cherokee. On the site it actually said that she married under a different name to protect her Indian identity and that she was full-blooded Cherokee and a member of the Paint Clan. Her name was Anna Elizabeth Thompson White.
heathburns on December 25, 2019:
I hope to find out what tribe my ancestor was from one day. Nothing showing prof that I’ve found yet. But if you saw is you’d see quickly. Dad said it was his great grandmother who was full blood. My grandmother would have been 1/4, dad 1/8, and me 1/16 if correct. But my daughter is still asked all the time “what she is.” From Native American, Mexican, and just this week someone ask if she was Italian, lol. Very beautiful dark skin and jet black hair. I did a DNA and it only showed my white heritage from Scotland/England. I pray one day I learn of my family heritage on the Cherokee side. I guess she refused to sign the roll, or it’s a different name, or something, IDK. But, more than anything I just want to know. Hello from lost Cherokee from Alabama. ✋
Bentley Geneve on November 19, 2019:
i just got on the website
Bentley Geneve on November 19, 2019:
firstname.lastname@example.org on November 19, 2019:
Tamela Myers on November 17, 2019:
I am not sure of my heritage or if I am native American. I have been told that I am. I do know that my great grandfather's name was Davidson Bird Alexander Myers from Tennessee. Can anyone help me.
Thank you, Tamela
Levie on November 15, 2019:
You are so cool I will see if I have any more questions and I will send them to you and then I will see what you are doing and then I’ll get back to work
Jamye Ryan on November 08, 2019:
I just wanted to thank rudi for inviting me to join this group. I’ve only been here maybe five minutes and learned so much!
Misty Toney Hill on October 28, 2019:
My father is half Cherokee Indian pasted away in August would love to have a Indian priest ti say a prayer as we spread his ashes
bekla on September 30, 2019:
nancy "black wolf" bates on September 18, 2019:
I am in the Bear Clan in South Carolina. I would love to find more of my relatives. Some lived in Franklin, NC and some in the Oconee area of South Carolina.
Luna on September 18, 2019:
I need help finding the clan my ancestors came from. The only living Cherokee in my family is my great aunt & i cant seem to contact her. However, i hav a strong connection with wolves & wondered if the clan i belong to had anything to do with it
bevans on September 16, 2019:
VIctor Everett on September 05, 2019:
was there ever an otter clan that is what i heared when i was young
Cherie Savell from Meridian on August 20, 2019:
My great grandmother was Ina Pirl Golden, I'm not sure which clan she was from but I would appreciate any help from you.
Mark Titchiner on June 22, 2019:
My wife's family came from Texas, Grandmother Cherokee. She died recently but she told me that the Cherokee believed in one god like the jews, and called him by a similar name like ya ha wah or yaweh. is this true?
Stanford Joines on June 12, 2019:
So many Cherokee did not go on the Trail. Surely, most did not? Our ancestors melted into the bush, living in the forests of north Georgia unmolested. From Dahlonega, my male ancestors fought for the South and died in the last stand for Atlanta. Apparently, the Confederacy had offered to deed some of their lands back to them. I have a vase made by my grandmother's grandmother, "Nationi" is written on it. My grandmother taught me very, very little of the culture; I do not claim to be Cherokee. I realize it would sound lame. I am one of the thousands with blood from north Georgia who appear white, whose culture is white, are mostly white, but who carry the blood of the Cherokee in our veins.
Toni Harms on March 30, 2019:
My mother,s maiden name is Brock. My family heritage goes back to Jesse Brock and Chief Redbird Brock, I believe Susanne Caroline was his wife and she is a member of the Red Clan, I have read information about Jesse and Chief Aaron Redbook Brock, It seems their is a lot of debate on whether he was a cherokee or if he married a Cherokee women. My mother always said she had cherokee blood from great great grandmothers side in the Brock family Can you shed any light on this
Berdell Fleming on March 22, 2019:
we are from The Bufflo Ridge Cherokee in Va. we are havingour Family reunion this summer ,if anyone has any History to share please do
Crystal Hicks on March 19, 2019:
What most people should know and understand when researching their family tree is that the Cherokee Nation and the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI) are two separate tribes. Both have completely different enrollment standards. The Cherokee Nation only requires you to have an ancestor on the Roll and the EBCI require you to 1. Have and ancestor on the roll 2. Meet blood quantum qualifications and now 3. must take a DNA Test. I am 1/4 Cherokee and live on the Cherokee Indian Reservation. for anyone who is looking to do some research on their ancestors you need to contact the enrollment department with the EBCI. There are only three federally recognized Cherokee tribes the one here in NC and two in OK. You can find out more about enrollment and history through the Enrollment Department and you should look on the website www.ebci.com under the enrollment tab.
Cindy Fahnestock-Schafer from Hedgesville, WV on March 19, 2019:
Bonnie, thank you so much for this article. I am enamored with the history of it all. I just wrote about a Cherokee Matthew "Maasaw" Howard who went to build a house and found the land he bought was indigenous ceremonial site. Now it's being protected thank gosh he discovered what it was. I hope you will check out my article and more over his site https://bearspirtmountain.com I would like your feedback if you can stop by. I read all of your articles and learn so much. Thanks so much. cindy
Onalee Adams on February 13, 2019:
How do I find out what clan I'm from....?
Marilyn Wilken on February 11, 2019:
my grandmother was supposed to be borne Mimi Ok on the reservation, but my ants and uncle have checked the birth records sisters and brother was supposed on there. In trying to do some research on my own I greatly feel my grandmother was illegitimate. If so I am not ashamed. But I understand this was the custom to adopt out or discard the child. I don't know if my mother or ants have even entertained the idea. My heritage is that grandmother Ruby was borne and raised Cherokee Reservation.I found this writings on the Cherokee Clans was so intriguing.
Johnny w Donaldson on February 09, 2019:
For years I been looking for my family history. Now after reading this short summary of the Native American Indians . My grand parents live right there in the stomp grounds. Nothing was explain to me ,but the way the land was place in the female name(clans keeper) explain my grand parents actions. Another thing all male had to leave home and start their on family and the elder male was left at home as guard of home! I grew up like many ways as desibe here. It explain my medical history I been treated wrong for years. both families are live born the Tenn grounds! Thank you ,I graceful to your information.I learn so much from your message,please keep during these studies
James West on February 09, 2019:
Would like to learn which clan came through Decaturville, Missouri during the massive move of the Trail of Tears...my great great great great grandma died on the Trail of Tears..
My Dad's mom's name was Ida Mae Teer- West...I'm having trouble finding her parents names and so forth
Connie Judd on January 30, 2019:
Oconostota was my grt, grt, grt, grt, grt, ...... grandfather. I would love to know alI can about him.
Linda Walker on January 20, 2019:
My grandmother was a Littlepaige.Idont know much about her.would love too.
Tina Kerr on January 14, 2019:
My Father's family is Ballew's I noticed that their name was part of two clans. Long Hair and Blue Holly. Was that normal?
Victoria Greenroyd on December 06, 2018:
I found this very interesting...my father was Cherokee but his ancestors did not got with the others when removal came and walked these-called ‘Trail of Tears’. His people left the Great Smokeys but they went where they wanted to go to and went to Texas instead. So we aren’t on the original Dawes Roll. My question is this...what about folks who are and their surnames are Redbird or Sixkiller, or even Mankiller? Which of your seven alleged clans would these folks fall into?
Each of these surnames are very prominent names within the Cherokee nation of Oklahoma,therefore I’m curious.
Veronica Jones on December 03, 2018:
I found this fascinating, it's lovely to learn more about the lives of these people. Thank you
Bill on December 02, 2018:
Would you know which clan or clans lived in the North Georgia Mountains?
cash E for CASh H on November 29, 2018:
cash I would like you to read this please help me teach some one a lesson
CASH H on November 29, 2018:
thanks for helping me with the wild potato
cash on November 27, 2018:
thank you for helping me find info on the paint clan
Emma on November 24, 2018:
Alot of history is lost in families of Cherokee hertige. I found some on mine . Hard to find out more on this side. Lyttle family of North Carolina, only word of mouth ii seems. Any ideas? I love that this article was written. Love learning about history of the Cherokee Nation.
Jennifer on November 10, 2018:
I would also like to ask if there is any connection to the bird clan of the Cherokee and the Thoth keeper of the secret s of magic bird clan in the Egyptian realm of things because you know we are all interlinked in one way or another and would like your opinion on this subject thank you very much love Jen
Jennifer on November 10, 2018:
I did some research with the help of some documenting of my mom so my grandpa's mother was full Cherokee his father was Irish so rumors has it that type of union was kept secret no numbers I looked at my great grandmothers name it was tiny elizabeth maple now doing the research of which I so love to do I put together the maple and linked it to the bird trib I am hoping I did good and would love some input on my findings thank you so much Jen
Trina on October 25, 2018:
Thank you , Wado for this imformation, it is very interesting and thought profoking!!! Trina with
Dan Robinson on October 05, 2018:
My Great Grandmothers name was Betis? possible misspelling. She married into the Woodburn family. She spent many years in the State of Texas. If anyone has any information. please respond.
Billy Mozingo on September 24, 2018:
My family paternal grandmother was Cherokee with roots back to her grandmother born in 1813 in Arkansas. The names Violes and Snow have all been connected, but hard to track them. Mostly letters, and etc. frustrating.
Linda Deavours on September 18, 2018:
Enjoyed this information .
Ginger Foley on September 04, 2018:
I have great interest in my people. My family have been lost. I hope to find them someday.
snow on August 17, 2018:
humbling a lot
Nope on August 17, 2018:
Julia smith on August 12, 2018:
Stephen on July 27, 2018:
Jackie Briggs on June 25, 2018:
My 3x Grandfather is Obediah Benge I understand he was a Cherokee Lawman at one time. I’d love more information.
Ginger Lynn Lambert Remle on June 24, 2018:
Very fascinating and educating. Thank you for sharing
Jerre Miller on June 21, 2018:
Thank you for this article. It is very informative and I may have found a family member. My grandmothers mother was a Prescott. Now I am wondering if she was related to the Christopher Prescott written about below. I will have to do some searching. They were from Alabama so there may be a link. Again thank you for your research and article.
ConnieKaneen1 on June 21, 2018:
My 3xgreat grandma was Cherokee and from the Wolf Clan. She escaped the Trail of Tears by fleeing to the mountains of Virginia. Her father was Robert Running Bear Arms. We found a Robert Arms on a North Carolina Census from 1810 1820 and 1830 however from what i have learned Indians were not part of Federal Census prior to 1860. Do you have knowledge on how to research Native American Wolf Clan history?
Gionsigirl on June 19, 2018:
My boyfriend is 1/2 Cherokee.
I’ve been doing genealogy on him. I’ve found interesting items. The
Clan designation is highly confidential to their members. Not spoken of except by word of mouth in the clan. Other members of the tribe from other clans can recognize their clan designation from the colors of other items they wore. I had a very difficult time finding his clan in print was nothing was written down of the members names. These would have been in Cherokee. And I have yet to find a cross reference of names Cherokee to English. If anyone here has found that will you let me know thank you
Judith Genel on June 05, 2018:
Thank you for the information on the Cherokee clans. I have strong Cherokee ancestors in my family. I'm trying to get information on the clans to let the rest of my family know about our clan, the White Wolf. You have given me more information about the clans than I have found before. Again thank you.
cante on June 04, 2018:
this is a good story mam
Jeremy wilson on June 03, 2018:
My grandpa Wesley Greenberry english.... his mothers maiden name was Cleo vitoy Ramsey and he said we were members of the long hair clan. How would I go about researching my Cherokee ancestry?
James Blagg on May 29, 2018:
Are you related to Daniel or Morning Ramsey?
Kathy Cooper from FL on May 06, 2018:
My mom told us she was almost completely Cherokee. She was put into fostercare at a young age due to her parents both died at a young age. Her maiden name is Shields on her dad side. Her mom's maiden name is Theoria.
Nellie Theoria gave birth to my mom Sylvia May Shields on June 10, 1930. Nellie died about 8 days later. My mom also had a Sister named Dorthy (Dottie) Shields. My mom passed away 2007. I have been trying to find out about my mom's native American Heritage since then.
My dad's family is of the Blackfoot Natives. I can't find to much about that either. I hope someone out there can help.
email@example.com on April 29, 2018:
Very interesting article. I would love to learn more.
Dale (aka: "Razer") from Central NC region... on April 09, 2018:
Cherokee Blood has continued to flow thru me from four generations of my Mother's family. My Great-Great-Great-Great Grandmother was Eastern Band Cherokee in NC... She married an Irishman. I am very proud of my Native American Heritage... "God Bless the Cherokee Nation!"
Sexton on April 07, 2018:
My great grandfather was Attachulla one of the Chiefs of the Cherokee Nation. He also went to England to form alliance to over throw the French and settlers. His daughter was named Cherokee and married my grandfather. What clan did he belong to? Sexton. Thekrogerwineguy@yahoo.com
Vicky (married Payne) on April 07, 2018:
My childrens grandfather was 1/2 cherokee, his dad was 1/2 his name was Charles Vernon Payne, I am raising my grand children and one of them has cherokee on both sides her Dad bears his fathers name , who was extremely dark Donald Moore, they were from Arkansa as far as I know.
Shirley Hamby on March 30, 2018:
My cherokee families .. Samuel Bigby married the sister of charles R. and William Hicks ..Samuel Bigby son James is my 5 time great Grandfather. James married Catherine :Foreman 1/2 Cherokee. Her mother was full blood daughter of the Bark.. Samuel Bigby wife. Hicks mother was daughter of old chief Broom of Broom Town. ..both my mother and father were on roll eastern Cherokees ..my. Hicks grandmother is who I need info on. I know it's a fact Samuel Bigby Married. The older sister of Charles R . and William Hicks
Deadbird on March 29, 2018:
Debbie Two Wolves Lange,
I too am a descendant of War Chief Tsiyu Gansini (Dragging Canoe) and his father Principal Chief Attakullakulla (Little Carpenter). Little Carpenter was from the Nipissig tribe of the Great Lakes area. His wife was of the Natchez. They were both originally captured slaves, but were adopted by the Cherokee tribe, or as the tribe once called themselves, aniyun-wiya ("the real people"). Little Carpenter was later chosen to lead the Wolf Clan, and became the principal chief of all the Cherokee.
Dragging Canoe was/would be/is my 4x great grandfather. I also have Cherokee (and other undetermined Native ancestors) on my father's side. To this day, I live only a stones throw away from where he and his young warriors made camp and fought--lived here most of my life.
I grew up knowing little of my ancestry, other than having Cherokee in the family. However, even as a young kid, somehow I knew I was related to a Chief--don't ask me how I knew, I just "felt it." Years ago, I decided to trace back my roots to see if what I knew in my heart to be true actually was. And Low and behold, I was right. I have a chest in my bedroom that I'm told once belonged to him. It's been passed down through the family for generations.
I selfishly hold onto it, but feel like I should have it authenticated and take it to the museum where his likeness stands. I've considered seeking official affiliation with the Chickamauga Cherokee (or lower Cherokee), but in Dragging Canoe's spirit, placing my name in a book or in a scroll does not define who I am or who we are. I know who I am. I know where I am from. If ever I need a reminder, all I have to do is look in the mirror--I'm a close match to the several paintings and sketches I've seen of him, minus the smallpox scarring.
Academically, I've learned a stronger love for history, something I've always had. But having to hunt it all down has been a source of great pleasure for me. I could write for days about what all I've learned, the conflicting stories I've read, and even the not-so-glamorous tales I've stumbled across. What I find so ironic, as though it's some forgotten secret, we walk down the very paths, navigate down the same rivers (though they've been altered by impoundments), and even hunt in the same woods our ancestors once did, yet if it weren't for the record keeping and infatuation white settlers and soldiers held for their feared foe, we'd likely never know about it.
Now in my thirties (late bloomer), I'm attending law school a short walk from where Dragging Canoe and his compadres raided Fort Nashborough. In my time off, I'm an avid hunter of things living and things that teach us of how our ancestors once lived. Every time I turn over an arrowhead (aka "point"), I stop and think to myself 'this arrowhead could have been made by someone who had the very same blood I have coursing through my veins today.'
Our history as a people lives on in the world around us, not only in the written word, but also in the very ground we walk on, the trees we climb, the creeks we walk, the rivers we swim and the gravel that sticks between our toes. When I step outside and breath the early morning, Tennessee air, I have no doubt that I am where I belong--this is the land I will forever call home, and I don't need a piece of paper to tell me what I already know deep in my bones.
Brandon Pack on March 28, 2018:
My ancestors are the Hicks side of the family as far as "Cherokee "! It does go back 5 great grandfathers! The "Wolf Clan"! My 5th great grandfather was Jr. Chief Charles "Renatus" Hicks! He was 1/2 breed! Half Scotsman and half Cherokee! His mother was FULL blooded Cherokee, father was a Scotsman from Scotland! My great grandmother Molly Handshoe's mother was Nancy Margaret Hicks! Anyhow, kinda interesting!
Cheryl Touchette on March 19, 2018:
My great grandmother was a Cherokee...
I have a photo and the name Lydia Bowen...
She was my grandfathers mother Clarence Dunster.
Any information would be great...
Mary Norton on February 14, 2018:
Have just learned that the Cherokee Native woman called beloved by her people is married to a Ward that is on my grandmothers (paternal) side. Also Cherokee on my mothers side. Very proud of my Native American ancestors .
I would love to know which clan I am from.
Ferdinand on February 09, 2018:
I noticed that there are no facial hair on
All the indians.why is that...?
Mona on February 02, 2018:
This has been a blessing for me to watch. Thank you
Michael Howard on January 12, 2018:
I am Cherokee /Shawnee & Irish I have research my family blood line grand mother 5 generation back was Tamae Doe Five Killer Moytoy how do I go about being recognise by Cherokee Nation I do not want money or any thing like that just be connected to my tribe an clan. Cherokee/ wolf clan
Mary Fleming Dutton on January 10, 2018:
I have traced my mother's line to Annie Goff. I would like to know which of the 7 clans my bloodline is. Mother's maiden name Pingley, father, Fleming. Both gone. Thank you
Debbie Two Wolves Lange on January 09, 2018:
Dear Tennie Perkins ;
Osiyo , cousin ; nice to hear from you . your story is not different from hundreds which I've heard in the past. Another thing to realize that I teach folks is that , in order to PROTECT the CHILDREN , the languages / history / prayers / culture / even simple crafts and games as well songs were no longer taught to the children ; simply to protect their very lives.
The White Government was stripping the Indian Nations of their children in the attempt to erase their pasts by Assimilating their Futures as Whites....which pulled them off to places like Carlisle Indian School , Mission Schools , Etc..
Taking ALL the children old enough off the breast and walking , up to adulthood . by wagon , then train to the great N.E. , U.S. states and also to Florida . Where now more than 200 years later , Natives as well ALL Americans should KNOW that the soil of Florida state is enriched by the mere bones of hundreds and hundreds of Native Children of all ages , from the youngest to the oldest .......
and why were they spent ? Simply because a small child may have cried in it's own language for it's mother , or from being tortured or abused at the hands of whites.
Abusive people ALWAYS find ways to get to their prey .....
And if the prey comes in packages as small , young children , young girls , young boys ........yes history tells us of the beatings they endured , shaven heads , cold meals or none at all .......but I've also heard from old aged elders pre their deaths , of passed down stories for me not to forget . to teach others so time will not repeat itself , so we will protect the children and old ones , for that time WILL COME AGAIN ....of the rapes , and burnings , of scarrings , and cuttings , of disfigurements done to the flesh to pleasure to the insane mind of man and... woman ...in the name of purifying flesh for God .
this Great Country of ours is Great indeed !
And WE HAVE SHED OUR BLOOD FOR HER .........and at the time of our Ancestors we followed their rule , Stay OFF THE ROLLS !! ( the rolls have 2 purposes , yes they enroll a person , but they also list our children ! , our women ! , our Men ! , our Elders !......)
Those not on the rolls cause insurmountable problems , we're the uncontrollable number of warriors, the CHICKAMAUGAN'S OUR ANCIENT WAR SOCIETY !!!!!
So IF WE WANT A " ROLL NUMBER " , Then maybe we should ALL TALK ABOUT THIS AMOUNG OURSELVES . We WON'T get money for it , but at least we'll be
" counted." Then let the KEETOOWAH , hold these roles as record .
Debbie Two Wolves Lange on January 09, 2018:
I am truly impressed by what I've read on your site this day. This is a GOOD day , indeed .....I also am very pleased to find so many brothers and sisters searching for their ancestors connections way " back home "......
we are merely " temporarily disconnected , " but our umbelical cord is STILL connected to our MOTHER , TRIBE , PEOPLE , ANCESTORS , and CREATOR.......this is why we " FEEL SUCH A STRONG CALLING , BACK TO OUR BEGINNING , BACK TO MOTHER ".
IT'S WHO WE ARE ; YOU CAN'T WATER DOWN OUR CHEROKEE SOUL. just because dna / or other ancestry blood lines of genetic countries get involved , this has NO APPARENT CONTENT to affect to calm or still the CHEROKEE or NATIVE blood in a Human being. as for myself; my mom gave me Cherokee / Shawnee /
Tuscarora /and Irish . my dad gave me Southern Cheyenne , Chippewa , and a slew of south western and a few of south American tribal blood in my ancestry; now taking that all into thought anyone would think that I'd be dark olive skinned, black haired and dark eyes , right ?
well ; turns out if you add Irish DNA to an Indian cocktail ; God only knows whats in that good old stuff , lol, but it changes the whole package set up like TNT !!!
I was born medium olive complected , hazel eyes , brown hair with red highlights , because of my Irish blood .
then digging even further back in my Cherokee ancestry , I found we had Scottish blood intermarried into us...well that explains even more the few red heads in my family , lol .
Finding one's clan isn't always the problem , when we search for our family members backgrounds and who they belonged to , we run into situations of " OTHER PEOPLE'S INTERESTS "...Such as " ENROLLMENT MONEY "....this becomes other people's interests because they don't want you to get the money that they find that you deffinetly will get and they want it ...unfortunatly , GREED HAS OVER TAKEN THE IDEA OF TRIBAL UNITY....so like " a REZ Casino " gets annuity's , if you CAN'T get enrolled your enrollment money goes to them , did you know this ?! check out where else monies go if the Government spots funding into the Rez. But FREE CHEROKEES , CHICKAMAUGAN'S...HAVE NO FUNDING as were NON - ENROLLED .... I have ancestry linking me to MoyToy , AttaKullaKulla , Dragging Canoe , Etc..Etc...The OLD CHIEFS , NANCY WARD , THE ROGERS , JOHN JOLLY , TAHLONATESKEE , Pre - TRAIL OF TEARS MOVEMENT OLD SETTLERS in TEXAS AND ARK. / I teach others , I don't charge for what belongs to us all . I am WOLF CLAN , this is what my duty is , on the RED ROAD I walk , I also help people ads best I can to do their own ancestry search , I guide, I assist. but I take no money for this . my elders taught me that you can not charge a person for what already belongs to them !!! You can help them or not , that is your choice , but you may not charge them any fee. when I come across an area where documents must be sent for the person sends for and recieves them , their monies never touch my hands. and I never guarantee that we can find any ancestor , if they want to be found , they will speak to us. the Atlanta Archives has a wonderful Native MicroFish library on us , no could believe. The Mormons thought we were the 13th lost tribe of Israel and recorded EVERYTHING it's simply a true MARVEL TO SEE !!! Some libraries can send for these films for your access to your local libraries use. try this it may help.
drop me a line at ;
[ Debbie Two Wolves Lange
by the way .....ANYONE KNOW OF ANY CHICKAMAUGAN GATHERINGS COMING UP THIS YEAR ???
LET"S GET A CALANDAR GOING FOR POWWOWS I LOVE TO DANCE AND TRADE AHO !!
firstname.lastname@example.org on January 01, 2018:
Add Your Comment..
.how do you find out which clan your family belong to. I do have a roll number for the eastern band Cherokee.
Catherine(Woods)Mayhill on December 23, 2017:
My father's Mother was Cherokee my Father has past his Mother My Grandmother was 32 years old when she past how or who should I talk to about this
Mary Costner on December 20, 2017:
I have been told that migrate grandmother was part Cherokee how would I find out I have no way of knowing my mother's side of the family heritage no one has written it down that's all I've been told that she could have lived on the reservation but did not
Romaine on December 08, 2017:
I find that the information in my pin is very helpful to understand.I enjoy finding an reading about the Cherokee and others.My husband is part Cherokee.
Delilah on December 02, 2017:
What is in the middle
Tennie Perkins on December 02, 2017:
Debbie Two Wolves Lange,
Reading this from you
"This very comfortable " natural " feeling is because both are two of the natural puzzle pieces ....both are Cherokee ancestored . ( sort of like that six sense feeling when you quickly turn around and feel someone behind you . )"
It sent chills all over me. The sixth sense. Yes !
My great great grandmother was full blooded but we have no way of proving it. They called her Black Matt. She married a white man and told her children to never speak of being of mixed blood for fear of what the white man might do to them. Therefore my great grandmother, who was born in 1900, took all of our tribal information with her to the grave. I am Cherokee. Papers of no papers
Debbie Barker Davis on November 26, 2017:
My Cherokee Heritage began in N.C.
Where my Great- Great- Great Grandfather settled after Arriving from England..He settled in with the
Cherokee and married The Chiefs
Daughter Who Was A Princess.. I Always heard We we're from the Blood Clan...Our Family has traced Our Ancestors many generations back.. I'm Very Proud of my Cherokee Roots...The Trail of Tears goes through the county in Kentucky where I live... It's close to my house and I can walk it and Feel The Horror... I get physically sick!!
I have sit on The Turtle Rock many times and for many years..
You Sing on November 02, 2017:
I'm Tsaligi!! don't have papers or any of the crap to prove it. Like our people it's all been handed down from the genarations. Our family hid in the hills of Alabama when the white pigs were killing us and stealing our lands!! I'm proud to be Tsaligi!! Red paint clan! Wado!!
J. Banks on October 31, 2017:
Grandmother is 100% Cherokee Indian. Her last name is Walker. First names Mary. Married name was Brunson.
Is there anyone that can help with this. Visited Burgaw, North Carolina, as a child growing up.. & its also called Walkertown.
shirley massey on October 30, 2017:
i would like to know type of cherokee group i belong to.my great grandmother was 100% since i am a greatgranddaugther of hers how much am i. and i would like to known more about it.
Stevie Jack on October 22, 2017:
My grandmother was full Cherokee. I cannot find any info on her.I have Eagle and all bird closeness. I had an Eagle flight one night while asleep.Such an awesome bright and clear soaring experience. it seemed so real for days. Thank God for the Eagle spirit and the Cherokee people.
Donna on October 17, 2017:
Very informative. Thank you for sharing this info.
Zelmartap@gmail.com on October 15, 2017:
Both my parents are Cherokee. chetokee Fathers were Cherokee but both their Mothers were non-indian. Do i belong to a clan if so how do I find out.
Linn on August 26, 2017:
I have Cherokee on both my mother and father's family and have never heard this information before. If someone could please let me know how to learn more about this and the Cherokee people l would greatly appreciate it.
Myra Nickla on August 11, 2017:
Love your page very well done just awesome. Exactly Bonine it explained a few things I wanted to know.
Cheryl keltner on August 11, 2017:
I am a Cherokee tribe member and in need of education regarding our history and tribal laws and more. Please send information.I am old and want to leave information for my family to pass down! Thank you
S u d i Suzy (Adair) Mendoza on July 28, 2017:
My family is the wolf clan.
My Mom was Cherokee Alpha
Adair and was born on top of
the hill behind the canning
factor in Stillwell, Ok.
We are direct defendants
Of MoyToy and Nancy Ward
Of the Cherokee Tribe.
My Grandfather was Samuel
Wilson Adair, great Grandmother
was a Haris, O..
Cherokee Rose on July 26, 2017:
I enjoy reading about the other clans..
Debbie Two Wolves Lange on June 16, 2017:
Wado IGIDO ,
It is good , yes osda ; to see another teacher among the Real People . Are you Tsalagi ? What Clan ? , I am of Wolf , through my mother and hereditary Chickamaugan . Everyone in my ancestry stayed so , we are non enrolled Federally .
My email is ( email@example.com ) , write back if you can . It is honestly soooo very refreshing to hear the truth come from another of us . .....MUCH.....was lost from the Movement , more than even many Cherokees on the Reservation realizes !!
It saddens me !! At the point of the Movement all of the Elders , the Great Keetoowah ( our Wisdom , keepers ) , had already warned for each family , each person to be as pieces of a giant puzzle. Each person knowing some of our old language dialect , folklore , histories , knowledges ........all the way back ........
All adults were to teach the children , and when one family over a century gone by , happens by chance to meet another Cherokee family , two puzzle pieces have come together , they hold such a totally entertaining alliance and unity of a natural Union together in friendship and they learn from each other . This very comfortable " natural " feeling is because both are two of the natural puzzle pieces ....both are Cherokee ancestored . ( sort of like that six sense feeling when you quickly turn around and feel someone behind you . ) hey you have my respect dear . I could go on and on with you
Dave on May 17, 2017:
Thanks for this. Much Is known to some and now some is known to many.
School on April 28, 2017:
This was the most helpful website for our class project
Elaine Jackson Tharp on April 12, 2017:
Nice web site