Sunday, March 29, 2009

Indian Info Tidbits

Matriarchal Society

The Cherokees had a matriarchal society whereby descent was traced strictly through the mother's side of the family. A person belonged to his mother's clan and the most important and powerful man in a child's life was not his father, but the mother's brothers. The maternal uncles had responsibility for discipline of the child and taught him about hunting and warfare. The women owned the dwellings and were in control of all the property.

Clan affiliation was inherited through the mother's line and marriage within a clan was strictly forbidden. The household was the basic unit of the Cherokee social organization and a newly married couple usually lived with the wife's family.

What type of clothing did the Cherokee used to wear?

The Cherokee wore clothing made from animal skins before the Europeans introduced cloth to the tribe. Even into the 1800's the men wore the leggings made of deer hide in order to protect their legs from thorns and underbrush.

The introduction of the turban indirectly came from the Muslim people. When a Cherokee delegation went to visit the Royal Family of England, the men were thought to be very frightening with their tattooed heads and bodies. It was decided to cover their upper bodies with the English smoking jacket, which became our hunting jacket and cover their heads with a shorter version of the turban of the Muslim house servants of the Royal Family. These introduced styles were well received among the men of the Five Civilized Tribes and continue to be a part of our cultural dress styles.

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