Cherokee Experience


This weekend I went to the Cherokee museum which is located about an hour from where I live in Asheville, North Carolina. This was the first time I had really experienced the indigenous cultures of the area where I now live, I found it very interesting to see how these people lived and continue living today. The traditions and sensibilities that the Cherokee had towards nature and life are absolutely stunning.

A couple of the things I found most interesting about them were the equality men and women in the community shared when it came to decisions and social standing, and the their crafts, especially their ceramics.

I found this quote in an article published by Indian Country Today Media Network that says:

…Europeans were astonished to see that Cherokee women were the equals of men—politically, economically and theologically. “Women had autonomy and sexual freedom, could obtain divorce easily, rarely experienced rape or domestic violence, worked as producers/farmers, owned their own homes and fields, possessed a cosmology that contains female supernatural figures, and had significant political and economic power,” she writes. “Cherokee women’s close association with nature, as mothers and producers, served as a basis of their power within the tribe, not as a basis of oppression. Their position as ‘the other’ led to gender equivalence, not hierarchy.”

Bravo for equality between men and women!

Equally interesting was learning about their techniques, rustic style, colors and shapes they used in crafts and design.

One of the most common Cherokee pottery firing technique was using embers and tree bark. First they hand-molded clay and generally added several textures with the help of fingers and stick, the molded piece was put close to a fire until it hardened. Then they place the piece face down on the embers and covered it completely with bark. The piece was ready when all the bark was burned away.
Many of the exhibits in the museum are very similar to some representations made ​​by the Pre-Hispanic cultures of the Aztecs and Olmecs. Making this kind of comparison is also interesting because you can really see how similar different cultures from different areas and backgrounds can be.


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