The true Cherokee Nation was a unity of three bands of Cherokee people. They were separated by high mountains, rivers, and distance. Each group of Cherokee had their own council, their own King or Chief. They spoke different language dialect of Cherokee. They had their own laws. Yet, they were considered one nation. They did not consider themselves a tribe.
Our ancestors believed in a Creator "Great Spirit", who made man and woman, Mother Earth, the trees, plants, animals for food and clothing. Our ancestors believed one great being made everything. Our ancestors believed that after death your spirit would go up if you had been an honorable person.
They believed if you had not lived an honorable life among your fellow man your spirit would forever be lost and you go down in the ground or your spirit would forever wander thru space and time forever in total darkness and would always be lost.
The Overhill Cherokee were very independent people. Each clan or town had a Headman. Each clan or town had a Head Warrior. The Headman made decisions during times of peace. But, Head Warrior made the decisions during times of unrest.
The clans and towns each had a council. Each adult Cherokee had the right to be heard. The OVERHILL Cherokee was a very loosely connected democracy. The phrase Chief was not believed used before the1830's.
Courtesy of the book:
History And Traditions