Symbol- Anything stands for or symbolizes something else Language- a set of spoken or written symbols which enable people to communicate complex information to others Values- Values are standards that provide a means to evaluate the worth of both material and immaterial aspects of culture Norm- Norms are rules for behavior held by a society and may vary widely among cultures Cherokee Indians have a number of symbols to represent the culture. The owl and the cougar are major symbols because they were the only two animals that could stay awake during the seven days of creation.
Both of these animals are nocturnal, have excellent night vision and are highly regarded in the Cherokee community. Cedar, pine, spruce, laurel and holly trees are highly valued as well because they carry leaves all year long. They were said to be the only trees that stayed awake during the seven day creation so they have special powers. Being the most important plants they are used often in ceremonies and medicine to take advantage of their powers.
Water is also a sacred value of the Cherokee tribe. Water is seen as a cleansing tool for the soul so going to the water is highly regarded.
So much so, that every member must be dipped into a pool of water seven times before truly being accepted by the tribe. Circles are commonly seen throughout the tribe’s ceremonies and dances as well. This is linked back to the ancient times when the fire on the council house was built to burn in a continuous x. Iroquoian is the common language of the Cherokee community, although only 5% of Cherokee people actually speak it (native-languages. org). The language is adapted depending on your tribe much like the Spanish language. Compared to the English language Iroquoian is not as complex. All the nouns are singular and all the verbs are 3rd person singular (“he or she sings”) because many Native American languages don’t have a separate infinitive (“to sing”) the way English and French do” (native-languages. org). Take for instance the term “to sing”; in the Iroquoian language this translates to Dekanogi’a. One value the Cherokee cherish deeply is keeping things separate and in the correct category or classification. In order to do this, sacred items are often wrapped in cloths or deerskin and placed in a special container. Medicine men or women are also highly valued in the community.
In order for a medicine man or woman to have full power they must be in optimal health. With that said, medicine men and women are often thought to have powers that prevent illness. There are a few norms already mentioned such as purification using a body of water. Circular dances and fires are a standard as well. Wrapping sacred items in deerskin or cloth is a must amongst the people for separation. Cherokee names are also given by the elders of the community. Cherokee names are not recognized by the states so everyone must be given an English name. The English name is not spoken when on Indian ground or around people of the tribe though.
Another norm within the Cherokee tribe is the belief in little people. They are a group of spiritual beings that live in caves or in the mountains. Little people cannot be seen unless they wish to and they help people when needed. Although they primarily help, they can punish people with confusion or dizziness if they are going against the beliefs of the Cherokee people. Should a member of the tribe see any little people they cannot speak of it for seven years and never after nightfall. Works Cited “About the Nation: The Traditional Belief System. ” Cherokee Nation Home. N. p. , n. d. Web. 19 Nov. 2011. lt;http://www. cherokee. org/AboutTheNation/Culture/General/24405/Information. aspx>. “Iroquoian Words. ” Native American Language Net. N. p. , n. d. Web. 19 Nov. 2011. <http://www. native-languages. org/famiro_words. htm>. “Legend of the Cherokee Indians. ” About Cherokee. N. p. , n. d. Web. 19 Nov. 2011. <http://www. aboutcherokee. com/legends. html>. “Week One Lectures. ” Soc 1010: Art Institute Online. N. p. , n. d. Web. 18 Nov. 2011. <https://mycampus. aionline. edu/portal/server. pt/gateway/PTARGS_0_13668_3256_201_0_43/MyClassesDashboard/eCollegeLaunchers/CourseLauncher. aspx? c=1278966>.
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