There are very few people in America today who have not heard of the Cherokee Indian Nation. A fixture in American history, the Cherokee Indian Nation has a unique and proud heritage.
The Cherokee Indian Nation has its own legends that speak of Cherokee history before the white man came to America. According to Cherokee Indian legend, a “Great Buzzard” flew close to the earth when it was still new, and its tired wings touched the ground in a few places. As the great bird’s wings touched the ground and then rose again, valleys and mountains were created that became the Cherokee land.
The original Cherokee Indians lived close to what is now called the Tennessee River, in the Appalachian Mountains. In 1540, Spanish explorer Hernando DeSoto discovered the Cherokees, which was the beginning of many hard years for the Cherokee Indian Nation. Along with horses and guns, the Spanish also brought diseases that the Cherokee Indian Nation had never been exposed to, and therefore had no immunity to. Though it was the Spanish that brought death and disease to the Cherokee Nation, the Cherokee Indians were blamed for the inability of DeSoto to colonize this part of America. An image was created of the Cherokee Indian as one of a vicious savage, and settlers who later came to that area of the country already believed this prejudicial notion. Though many old “westerns” portray the Cherokee Indian Nation as a heartless and cruel foe to the settlers, the actual fact was that it was mostly the other way around.
Today the Cherokee Indian Nation still survives as a proud and honorable institution, despite the hardships it was put through by explorers and settlers. Today, natives and non-natives alike enjoy Cherokee Indian ceremonies and events, and the Cherokee history and traditions are held in high regard.
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