Cherokee women did most of the farming, harvesting crops of corn, beans, squash, and sunflowers. Cherokee men did most of the hunting, shooting deer, bear, wild turkeys, and small game. They also fished in the rivers and along the coast. Cherokee dishes included cornbread, soups, and stews cooked on stone hearths.
What did the Cherokee do for a living?
The traditional Cherokee diet consisted of mostly wild meat, especially wild hogs and white-tailed deer, and corn and bean bread, pumpkins, dried fruit, and nuts, which were usually ground into a flour to be used in other dishes. The principle crops they grew were maise (corn), beans, and squash.
The usual suspects, like deer, turkeys and freshwater fish, made regular appearances on the menu, but the Cherokee also partook of a wide variety of animals that are less commonly consumed today: frogs, squirrels, rabbits, groundhogs, raccoons, opossums, bears and even insects like yellow jackets and locusts.
People who lived in the Cherokee nation were mostly farmers. They ate mainly corn and beans and squash (the “Three Sisters“) that they grew in their fields.
The tribal diet commonly consisted of foods that were either gathered, grown, or hunted. The three sisters – corn, beans, and squash – were grown. Wild greens, mushrooms, ramps, nuts, and berries were collected. Deer, bears, birds, native fish, squirrels, groundhogs, and rabbits were all hunted.
Cherokee villages were surrounded by vast cornfields while gardens were planted beside rivers and streams. In addition to corn, the Cherokee grew beans, squash, sunflowers, pumpkins, and other crops. Cherokee women were the primary farmers. “The Three Sisters” were staples in the Cherokee diet– corn, beans and squash.
The Cherokee were ill-equipped for the grueling hike. “We had no shoes,” noted Trail of Tears survivor Rebecca Neugin, “and those that wore anything wore moccasins made of deer hide.” They were also malnourished, sustaining themselves on a daily menu of salt pork and flour.
Cherokee men did most of the hunting, shooting deer, bear, wild turkeys, and small game. They also fished in the rivers and along the coast. Cherokee dishes included cornbread, soups, and stews cooked on stone hearths.
Traditional ceremonial people of the Yuchi, Caddo, Chickasaw, Cherokee, Choctaw, Muscogee and some other Indigenous peoples of the Southeastern Woodlands use the black drink in purification ceremonies. Black drink also usually contains emetic herbs.
The Cherokee were southeastern woodland Indians, and in the winter they lived in houses made of woven saplings, plastered with mud and roofed with poplar bark. In the summer they lived in open-air dwellings roofed with bark. Today the Cherokee live in ranch houses, apartments, and trailers.
The earliest Cherokee fishers were skilled trappers. They constructed underwater raceways called stone weirs to collect and harvest the native sicklefin redhorse, brook trout, and other fish in large baskets. The dried and smoked meat was preserved as a winter food staple.
They believed the world should have balance, harmony, cooperation, and respect within the community and between people and the rest of nature. Cherokee myths and legends taught the lessons and practices necessary to maintain natural balance, harmony, and health.
Cherokee language, Cherokee name Tsalagi Gawonihisdi, North American Indian language, a member of the Iroquoian family, spoken by the Cherokee (Tsalagi) people originally inhabiting Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Kentucky, and Tennessee.
As for what the Cherokees called themselves, it was Yun-wiya or Ani-yun-wiya, said in the third person to signify they were the “real people” or “principal people” of this world. It was common for many tribes to use the term real people or people when referring to themselves in their language.