Cherokee New Testament

 

This reprint is based on an 1860 edition printed by the A.B.S. and provided by the families of George & Katie Davis and Paul Catt, Cherokee, North Carolina. This edition is a joint effort of the Cherokee Indian Missionary Baptist Association of Cherokee, North Carolina and Global Bible Society of Asheville, North Carolina.

 

** The Cherokee Indian **

The Cherokee are one of the indigenous people of the Southeastern Woodlands of the United States. Prior to the 18th century, they were concentrated in their homelands, in towns along river valleys of what is now southwestern North Carolina, southeastern Tennessee, edges of western South Carolina, northern Georgia and northeastern Alabama.

 

The Cherokee language is part of the Iroquoian language group. In the 19th century, James Mooney, an early American ethnographer, recorded one oral tradition that told of the tribe having migrated south in ancient times from the Great Lakes region, where other Iroquoian-speaking peoples have been based.

 

But anthropologist Thomas R. Whyte writes in 2007 dating the split among the peoples as earlier. He says that the origin of the proto-Iroquoian language was likely the Appalachian region, and the split between Northern and Southern Iroquoian languages began 4,000 years ago.

 

Anthropologists and historians have two main theories of Cherokee origins. One is that the Cherokee, an Iroquoian-speaking people, are relative latecomers to Southern Appalachia, who may have migrated in late prehistoric times from northern areas around the Great Lakes. This has been the traditional territory of the Haudenosaunee nations and other Iroquoian-speaking peoples. Another theory is that the Cherokee had been in the Southeast for thousands of years and that proto-Iroquoian developed here. Other Iroquoian-speaking tribes in the Southeast have been the Tuscarora people of the Carolinas, and the Meherrin and Nottaway of Virginia.

 

** Cherokee Homelands **

The historic Cherokee are known to have occupied numerous towns throughout the river valleys and mountain ridges of their homelands. What were called the Lower towns were found in what is present-day western Oconee County, South Carolina, along the Keowee River (called the Savannah River in its lower portion). The principal town of the Lower Towns was Keowee. Other Cherokee towns on the Keowee River included Etastoe and Sugartown (Kulsetsiyi), a name repeated in other areas.

 

In Western North Carolina, what were known as the Valley, Middle, and Outer Towns were located along the major rivers of the Tuckasegee, the upper Little Tennessee, Hiwasee, French Broad and other systems. The Overhill Cherokee occupied towns along the lower Little Tennessee River and upper Tennessee River on the western side of the Appalachian Mountains, in present-day southeastern Tennessee.

 

** Eastern Band **

The Cherokee living along the Oconaluftee River in the Great Smoky Mountains were the most conservative and isolated from European–American settlements. They rejected the reforms of the Cherokee Nation. When the Cherokee government ceded all territory east of the Little Tennessee River to North Carolina in 1819, they withdrew from the Nation.[57] William Holland Thomas, a white store owner and state legislator from Jackson County, North Carolina, helped over 600 Cherokee from Qualla Town obtain North Carolina citizenship, which exempted them from forced removal. Over 400 Cherokee either hid from Federal troops in the remote Snowbird Mountains, under the leadership of Tsali (ᏣᎵ), or belonged to the former Valley Towns area around the Cheoah River who negotiated with the state government to stay in North Carolina. An additional 400 Cherokee stayed on reserves in Southeast Tennessee, North Georgia, and Northeast Alabama, as citizens of their respective states. They were mostly mixed-race and Cherokee women married to white men. Together, these groups were the ancestors of the federally recognized Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, and some of the state-recognized tribes in surrounding states.

 

Cherokee New Testament

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