Cultural Overview

The Cherokees were primarily farmers and hunters. They grew corn, beans, squash, pumpkins, sunflowers, and tobacco, and were skilled hunters of wild life such as deer, bear, rabbits, squirrels, and turkeys. Women were mainly responsible for the agriculture, and the men provided the meat. The society was matrilineal and matrilocal. The primary landholding unit was the household, and the crops produced from their fields went to the household. Households consisted of an extended family linked by women and usually included an elderly woman, her daughters and their children, the woman's husband, and unmarried sons. A husband and wife lived with the wife's family. The homesteads had several buildings including those for storage. Each household had a garden, but most of the food came from large communal fields (Perdue, 1989).

The Cherokee lived in villages that often stretched for several miles along rivers and streams where they could farm and fish. Each village had a council house (town house) and plaza. The council house was a large circular building with walls constructed of interwoven saplings called wattle and covered with plaster substance of mud called daub. In the summer, the Cherokee lived in wooden shelters and in the winter in a conical house called asi, which had a hearth. Summer shelters were rectangular with peaked roofs, pole frameworks, cane and clay walls, and bark or thatch roofs. The asi or winter house was placed over a pit with a cone shaped roof of poles and earth. A wall of vertical logs for protection often surrounded the villages (Waldman, 1999).

Pregnancy And Childbirth

Pregnancy And Childbirth

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