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From The Lodge Of The Chief

April 26, 2011

Si Ya members and friends,

Spring is almost here. Time the members of the Overhill Nation come together and honor our ancestors at The Planting of the Corn Ceremony. I hope you are as excited as I am. Our gathering in September was one to be remembered. The harmony was just great.

Morning Dove, Strong Heart's new wife, spent all day Saturday preparing vegetables for the stew pot that Strong Heart had set up on the grounds at HA KA TA,"The Clearing in the Wood". Sky Wolf, the Nations' Fire Tender, stayed with the stew pot, stirring and keeping dry wood underneath the pot. The results was a meal to die for. Evening Sun and White Eagle furnished chicken and Dawn Lover was a big factor in everyone getting all the food that was eaten by us all. the relationships that are formed at our gatherings is awesome.

Members from Florida, New York, Georgia, and Tennessee came together to honor The Ancestors and The Path that we have chosen to walk. The ceremonies were beautiful. Spirit Feather provided fire torches for the circle. Sky Wolf lit the Sacred Fire (and didn't catch himself on fire). Wild Pretty Bird and the women did their ceremonies beautifully. The Men's Pipe Ceremony was something to watch. All in all, this was one of our top 5 gatherings this year is shaping up to be another great time.

Remember, if you want to bring trade items, you can do this. There are members who need chokers and other things. At the September gathering White Eagle brought staffs that were works of art. There is a great possibility that Hawk Dancing, our Head Dancer, will be here to leas us dancing. He does a wonderful job working with the children.

The new Head Medicine Woman will be recognized a Medicine Woman of the Nation recognized as well. Also, man Free Spirit, who is the Overhill Nation Head Shaman may possible be in attendance, however, a Shaman of the Nation will be recognized. Crow Woman, who was the Nations' Head Medicine Woman for the past 7 years resigned her position in November. The Overhill Nation is blessed with so many people who are committed to our Path, that many people are qualified to hold high positions in the Nation. our clans are blessed with respected leaders and strong committed members who walk The Red Path with respect and honor.

As of now, there are no weddings to be held, maybe at the last minute will be notified. The Wolf Clan in Middle Tennessee is a committed group of descendants. Sky Wolf (not our fire tender) is surrounded by dedicated and committed descendants. Standing Oak, Shadow Hawk and others make a strong clan.

My health is ok, still being hounded by my blood sugar, however, I'm doing better on my eating habits, losing weight, feeling good. All is well in the health area. No more liver infection. I'm 100% back to normal.

Kodiak fathered a litter of wolf pups. They are scattered out around the Nation. I was honored recently by being invited to the Capital Building in Nashville. I was honored to be invited to the swearing in of Jim Henry as Commissioner of Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. Jim is a member of the Overhill Nation. His name is Man Eagle Spirit and he received his name in our Circle in 2000 at the Farmer's Market.

This is the 21st year our Overhill Indian Nation of Cherokee Descendants has been united and keeping our Overhill Cherokee Ancestors' blood flowing. I am proud of each man, woman, and child who has joined me in making sure our Ancestors did not live and die in vain.

I am Proud to be your Chief.

Wa Do,

Principle Chief Man Many Trees

The Origin of the Overhill Cherokee People
As understood by Chief - Man Many Trees

Many years ago, many Native American tribes lived in what is now called the northeast section of the United States. They lived along the coastal waters of New York, Pennsylvania, the Carolinas, the Great Lakes and north into the Canadian region. There were many tribes and bands of Native -Americans living in this vast area, such as Seneca, Mohawk, Chippewa, Iroquois, and many, many more.

Within these many tribes there would be a few in number who could not live in harmony, sought to marry outside tribal protocol, had committed crimes and were banished from their town, or groups who just wanted the freedom to live independently from their native tribe. These people migrated south into what is now Virginia and the Ohio Valley.

As these small groups of people settled in the Virginia area, the mother tribes would harass their individual groups by attacking them from time to time. These renegade groups would then migrate deep into the southern part of the Virginia valleys.

Eventually some of the groups shared the same areas for living and hunting, and as the years passed, more and more of these small groups realized that by sharing the same living areas, they were stronger in-defending against their mother tribes.

Over the years these small groups of Native Americans formed an alliance. Banding together, they migrated to the Appalachian Mountains, and eventually to what is now called the Smoky Mountains. By making their homes in these mountains and banding together, they became a force to be reckoned with; leaving the mountains to defend their families and homes, then retreating to the protection of the mountains.

They called themselves the 'Real People' or the 'Principal People'. The name Cherokee has no meaning in the Cherokee language. However, Tsa-la-gi is how it is pronounced in the Overhill dialect today. The Cherokee language is closely related with the Iroquois language according to Native American historians (I don't know), however, according to our traditional stories, Cherokee means 'people who live in caves, also Mountain People.

Written history of the Overhill Cherokee dates back to 1540 AD through diaries and journals written by DeSoto and his men.

The reason so many of the Overhill traditions, culture, and way of life are so similar to other northern tribes is the Overhill Cherokee originated from almost all the northeastern tribes. Therefore, Cherokee people can be identified as tall and straight, short and chunky, light brown or dark complexion, light colored eyes to dark brown eyes, with high cheekbones or round faces. The Overhill Cherokee is a combination of many tribes and cultures.

When the Cherokee were removed in 1838, not all were removed to Oklahoma. Nor were the ones who hid in the Tennessee and North Georgia mountains allowed to join the Eastern Band of Cherokee - only those who hid in the Snow Bird Mountains were allowed to join the Eastern Band on the Qualla Reservation.

Approximately 1000 to 1400 hid out in the mountains of Tennessee, North Georgia, and North Alabama. They were forced to take white man names. The women married white settlers, and the men fathered children with the white women. This group of Cherokees is the majority of the ancestors for Overhill Cherokee of today.

However, some people from the Eastern Band as well as some recognized by the Western Band of Cherokee feel a kinship with the Overhill Cherokee, and this is as it should be. We are all children of the Cherokee Nation.