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Who are the Cherokee and where did they come from? And where are they going? In order to determine a straight line in any direction, you must establish a point of origin, a starting point. For the Cherokee, there are many origin stories as each historian has diligently worked to prove what he already believed. At least one scholar, Dr. Jeffrey Goodman, in his book American Genesis, takes exception with the “Bering Strait” theory and claims that modern man has existed here in North America, specifically in Southern California, for at least 50,000 years. Europe and Asia were still populated by Neanderthal man at that time. He further suggests that the “Bering Strait” crossing did take place, but more than likely, in the opposite direction. Here are two legends for consideration.
Cherokee occasionally refer to themselves as Ani-Kituhwagi, (Keetoowah) “the people of Kituhwagi”, after the ancient nucleus city of the Cherokee. The Legend of the Keetoowahs places the tribe on an island in the Atlantic Ocean east of South America. Seventy tribes attempted attack on the Keetoowahs, but the Keetoowah were granted victory through the assistance of spirit-warriors. As the story tells us, Ner-du-er-gi, the last warrior of the attackers, was overlooking the valley camp below, from upon a mountain top, when he saw smoke arising from the camp that extended up beyond the clouds, divided into three parts, with an arrow-holding eagle in the center. The warrior and his followers witnessed this miraculous event. Ner-du-er-gi then ordered his warriors not to attack the Keetoowahs for they were protected, and if attacked, the warrior knew he would surely be destroyed.
The Great Spirit granted the Keetoowahs a grand mysterious power to only be utilized in the best interest of their people. However, some of the wise people began to use their wisdom for unfruitful purposes. The Great Spirit instructed them to take their white fire and move away, heading to Asia, India and North America. Some of the large cities the new travelers claimed sank into the ocean and were no more. Legend has it The Great Spirit turned to the peoples of America and guided them. They too began to violate their teachings by committing murders and feuding with the seven clans.
The seven clans with their medicine men met around a fire to request guidance from The Great Spirit. The most truthful seven holy men selflessly gave of themselves for the tribe. They carried medicine deerskin and medicine tobacco. The medicine men spread out the deerskin and prayed. They blew smoke over the deerskin, and watched the smoke trails for a sign from The Great Spirit. Inspiration led the medicine men to travel up to the top of a mountain, each day one new medicine man for seven days. On day seven, a messenger came down from The Great Spirit, appeared in a bright light, and stated that The Great Spirit heard the prayers of the medicine men and held passion for their people. First, the men were told that they would someday fly in the air. The messenger warned of an enemy white ball from the east traveling their way, but that their grandchildren’s feet were facing toward Tsusginai - west - the “ghost land.” The messenger warned of trials on the edge of the prairie, with tribes dividing into different factions and their blood evolving into only half of their heritage. The messenger forewarned that families would divide and disregard chiefs, leaders and medicine men. The schools would teach important knowledge to all the people and the young people would return to point rudely at the elders. However, if the younger generation would heed The Great Spirit’s instruction, a chance would exist for the people to turn back east, otherwise they would go to Tsusginai then to the coast, then leave by boat, never to return. They were given the “Keetoowah” namesake and were instructed to return to their fire for worship, and prophesy to their people.
Handed down as a traditional Cherokee story from grandmother to grandchild, the storyteller cautions that long ago before the Europeans discovered Turtle Island and her indigenous people, the elders of those people warned of the monsters with white eyes yet to come. [Similar stories are to be found among the Aztecs and Mexican people.]
The spirits foretold that the monster with white eyes would cross the great eastern water. The monster would possess evil and terrifying power, and would wreak destruction in its path. The spirits of the animals and trees began to wither. Prophecy states that Mother Earth herself would be devastated and her heartbeat would become faint. The monster was said to devour the children of Turtle Island tribe by tribe, with no escape. If one did survive, its spirit would be dead since it would now be lost and have no connection to its ancestors.
The story tells that one day the Earth would begin to sing a death song due to the severity of the harsh conditions. When this happens, the children of the people who followed the white-eyed monster to the island would look into their hearts and realize that they faced annihilation at the hands of their fathers. They would find that the spirits of the children of the tribes had been reborn, waiting to guide the children of the white-eyed monster.
The few keepers of the truth would emerge, becoming strong enough to overcome the power of the white-eyed monster, restoring Mother Earth back to health. The children of the tribes of Turtle Island would lead the people back to the right way. The races would live in peace, the spirit of the animals and trees would return to safety, and the monster with white eyes would fail to exist.
Other such prophecies are to be found in the Cherokee Legend of the White Snake.
For more information and other stories, read James Mooney Myths of the Cherokee and Their Sacred Formulas the 19th and 17th Annual Reports to the Bureau of American Ethnology - 1891 and James Adair History of the American Indian - first published in 1775.
There was the cycle of the mineral, the rock. There was the cycle of the plant. And now we are in the cycle of the animal coming to the end of that and beginning the cycle of the human being. When we get into the cycle of the human being, the highest and greatest powers that we have will be released to us.
At the beginning of this cycle of time, long ago, the Great Spirit made an appearance and gathered the peoples of this earth together, and said to the human beings. “I’m going to send you to four directions and over time I’m going to change you to four colors. I’m going to give you some teachings, and you will call these the Original Teachings; when you come back together with each other, you will share these so that you can live and have peace on earth, and a great civilization will come about. During the cycle of time, I’m going to give each of you two stone tablets. When I give you those stone tablets, don’t cast them upon the ground. If any of the sisters and brothers cast their tablets on the ground, not only will human beings have a hard time, but almost the earth itself will die.”
And so He gave each of us a responsibility, and we call that the Guardianship. To the Indian people, the red people, He gave the Guardianship of the Earth. We are to learn during this cycle of time the teachings of the earth; the plants that grow from the earth; the foods that you can eat, and the herbs that heal. Then, when we came back together with the other sisters and brothers, we could share this knowledge with them. Something good was to happen on the earth.
To the South He gave the yellow race of people the Guardianship of the Wind. They were to learn about the sky and breathing and how to take that within ourselves for spiritual advancement. They were to share that with us at this time.
To the West He gave the black race of people the Guardianship of the Water. They were to learn the teachings of the water, which is the chief of the elements, being the most humble and the most powerful. The elders have told me that the black people would bring the teachings of the water.
To the North He gave the white race of people the Guardianship of the Fire. If you look at the center of many of the things they do, you will find the fire. They say a light bulb is the white man’s fire. If you look at the center of a car you will find a spark. If you look at the center of the airplane and the train you will find the fire. The fire consumes, and also moves. This is why it was the white sisters and brothers who began to move upon the face of the earth and reunite us as a human family.
And so a long time passed, and the Great Spirit gave each of the four races two stone tablets. Ours are kept at the Hopi Reservation in Arizona at Four Corners Area on Third Mesa. I talked to people from the black race, and their stone tablets are at the foot of Mount Kenya. They are kept by the Kukuyu Tribe. I was at an Indian spiritual gathering about 15 years ago. A medicine man from South Dakota put a beaded medicine wheel in the middle of the gathering. It had the four colors from the four directions; he asked the people, “Where is this from?” They said, “Probably Montana, or South Dakota, maybe Saskatchewan.” He said, “This is from Kenya.” It was beaded just like ours, with the same colors.
The stone tablets of the yellow race of people are kept by the Tibetans. If you went straight through the Hopi Reservation to the other side of the world, you would come out in Tibet. The Tibetan word for sun is the Hopi word for moon, and the Hopi word for sun is the Tibetan word for moon.
The guardians of the traditions of the people of Europe are the Swiss. In Switzerland, they still have a day when each family brings out its mask. They still know the colors of the families, and they still know the symbols, some of them. Each of these four peoples happen to live in the mountains.
Each of the four races went to their directions and learned their teachings. It was in Newsweek not long ago that eight out of ten foods that people eat on the earth are developed here in the western hemisphere because that is our Guardianship -- to learn the teachings of the earth and the things that grow from the earth. We were given a sacred handshake to demonstrate, when we came back together as sisters and brothers, that we still remember the teachings.
It was indicated on the stone tablets that the Hopis had that the first sisters and brothers who would come back to them would come as turtles across the land. They would be human beings, but they would come as turtles. So when the time came close, the Hopis were at a special village to welcome the turtles that would come across the land. They got up in the morning and looked out at the sunrise. They looked out across the desert, and they saw the Spanish conquistadores coming, covered in armor, like turtles across the land. So this was them. So they went out to the Spanish man, and they extended their hand, hoping for the handshake. But into the hand the Spanish man dropped a trinket. And so word spread throughout North America that there was going to be a hard time, that maybe some of the brothers and sisters had forgotten the sacredness of all things and all the human beings were going to suffer for this on the earth.
So tribes began to send people to the mountains to have visions to try to figure out how they could survive. At that time there were 100,000 cities in the Mississippi Valley alone, called the mound civilization: cities built on great mounds. Those mounds are still there. They began to try to learn to live off the land because they knew a hard time was going to come. They began to send people to have visions to see how we could survive this time. They were told in the prophecies that we should try to remind all the people that would come here of the sacredness of all things. If we could do that, then there would be peace on earth. But if we did not do that, if we had not come together as a human family, the Great Spirit would grab the earth with His hand and shake it.
The elders on the west coast prophesied that they would then begin to build a black ribbon. And on this black ribbon there would move a bug. And when you begin to see this bug moving on the land, that was the sign for the First Shaking of the Earth. The First Shaking of the Earth would be so violent that this bug would be shaken off the earth into the air and it would begin to move and fly in the air. And by the end of this shaking this bug will be in the air around the world. Behind it would be a trail of dirt and eventually the whole sky of the entire earth would become dirty from these trails of dirt, and this would cause many diseases that would get more and more complicated. So the bug moving on the land, of course it’s easy to see now. In 1908 the Model-T Ford was mass-produced for the first time. So the elders knew the First Shaking of the Earth was about to come about -- that was the First World War.
In the First World War the airplane came into wide usage for the first time. That was that bug moving into the sky. And so they knew something very important would happen. There would be an attempt to make peace on earth on the west coast of this land, and so the elders began to watch for this. They began to hear that there was going to be a League of Nations in San Francisco, so the elders gathered in Arizona around 1920 or so, and they wrote a letter to Woodrow Wilson. They asked if the Indian people could be included in the League of Nations.
The United States Supreme Court had held that a reservation is a separate and semi-sovereign nation, not a part of the United States but protected by it. This became a concern because people didn’t want the reservations to become more and more separate. They didn’t want them to be considered nations. So they did not write back, and the Native people were left out of the League of Nations so that circle was incomplete. In the League of Nations circle there was a southern door, the yellow people; there was a western door, the black people; there was a northern door, the white people; but the eastern door was not attended. The elders knew that peace would not come on the earth until the circle of humanity is complete, until all the four colors sat in the circle and shared their teachings, then peace would come on earth.
So they knew things would happen. Things would speed up a little it. There would be a cobweb built around the earth, and people would talk across this cobweb. When this talking cobweb, the telephone, was built around the earth, a sign of life would appear in the east, but it would tilt and bring death (the swastika of the Nazis). It would come with the sun. But the sun itself would rise one day, not in the east but in the west (the rising sun of the Japanese Empire). So the elders said, “When you see the sun rising in the east, and you see the sign of life reversed and tilted in the east, you will know that the Great Death is to come upon the earth. Now is when the Great Spirit will grab the earth again in His hand and shake it, and this shaking will be worse than the first.”
So the sign of life reversed and tilted, we call that the Swastika, and the rising sun in the east was the Rising Sun of Japan. These two symbols are carved in stone in Arizona. When the elders saw these two flags, they knew that these were the signs that the earth was to be shaken again.
The worse misuse of the Guardianship of the fire is called the gourd of ashes. They said the gourd of ashes will fall from the air. It will make the people like blades of grass in the prairie fire, and things will not grow for many seasons. The atomic bomb, the gourd of ashes, it was the best-kept secret in the history of the US. The elders wanted to speak about it in 1920.
They would have spoken of it and foretold its coming if they could have entered into the League of Nations. The elders tried to contact President Roosevelt to ask him not to use the gourd of ashes because it would have a great effect on the earth and eventually cause even greater destruction and a the Third Shaking of the Earth, the Third World War.
So they knew after the Second Shaking of the Earth when they saw the gourd of ashes fall from the sky, there would be an attempt to make peace on the other side of this land. And because the peace attempt on the west coast had failed, they would build a special house on the east coast of this Turtle Island, and all the nations and peoples of the earth would come to this house, and it would be called the House of Mica, and it would shine like the mica on the desert shines. So the elders began to see they were building the United Nations made out of glass that reflects like the mica on the desert so they knew this was the House of Mica, and all the peoples of the earth should go to it. So they met and talked about this. They said that in the 1920’s they had written and they had not been responded to, so they said this time we’d better go to the front door of the House of Mica because things might get a lot worse.
So elders representing a number of tribes drove to New York City. When the United Nations opened, they went to the front door of the house of Mica and they said these words, “We represent the indigenous people of North America, and we wish to address the nations of the Earth. We’re going to give you four days to consider whether or not we will be allowed to speak.”
They retreated to one of the Six Nations Reserves in New York State. Four days later they came back, and I believe the nations of the earth heard that the Indians had come to the door. And they voted to let the Indians in. They wanted to hear what they had to say. But the United States is one of five nations of the United Nations with a veto power, and still they were concerned because this time the Native sovereignty was even stronger. And I believe they vetoed the entrance of the Native people.
So then they knew other things would happen on the Earth. So they retreated to the Six Nations Reserve, and they talked about this, and they said the time is really getting close now -- 1949. They said, “We’re going to divide the United States into four sections, and each year we’re going to have a gathering. We’re going to call these the White Roots of Peace Gatherings.” They began to have these around 1950. And they authorized certain people to speak in English for the first time about these prophecies.
One that I used to listen to many times, over and over, was Thomas Banyaca. He was authorized to speak in English about what was on the stone tablets, and he has dedicated his life to doing this. And they began to tell us at these gatherings, “You’re going to see a time in your lifetime when the human beings are going to find the blueprint that makes us.” They call that now DNA, deoxyribonucleic acid. They said, “They’re going to cut this blueprint.” They call that now genetic splicing. And they said, “They’re going to make new animals upon the earth, and they’re going to think these are going to help us. And it’s going to seem like they do help us. But maybe the grandchildren and great-grandchildren are going to suffer.” The elders said long ago, “They will release these things, and they will use them.” This is going to be released not too long from now. They are making new animals. The elders talked about this. They said, “You will see new animals, and even the old animals will come back, animals that people thought had disappeared. They will find them here and there. They’ll begin to reappear.”
They said, “You’re going to see a time when the eagle will fly its highest in the night, and it will land upon the moon. And at that time, many of the Native people will be sleeping,” which symbolically means they have lost their teachings. We’re at that time now. The Eagle has landed on the moon, 1969. When that spaceship landed, they sent back the message, “The Eagle has landed.” Traditionally, Native people from clear up in the Inuit region have shared with us this prophecy, clear down to the Quechuas in South America.
At this time you’re going to see that things will speed up, that people on the earth will move faster and faster. Grandchildren will not have time for grandparents. Parents will not have time for children. It will seem like time is going faster and faster. The elders advised us that, as things speed up, you yourself should slow down. The faster things go, the slower you go. Because there’s going to come a time when the earth is going to be shaken a third time. The Great Spirit has shaken the earth two times: the First and Second World Wars to remind us that we are a human family, to remind us that we should have greeted each other as brothers and sisters. We had a chance after each shaking to come together in a circle that would have brought peace on earth, but we missed that.
Now they are talking about the sign for the Third Shaking of the Earth. They said they’re going to build what the elders called the house in the sky. In the 1950’s they talked about this: they will build a house and throw it in the sky. When you see people living in the sky on a permanent basis, you will know the Great Spirit is about to grab the earth, this time not with one hand, but with both hands. When this house is in the sky, the Great Spirit is going to shake the Earth a third time, and whoever dropped that gourd of ashes, upon them it is going to drop. They say at that time there will be villages in this land so great that when you stand in the villages you will not be able to see out, and in the prophecies these are called villages of stone, or prairies of stone. And they said the stone will grow up from the ground, and you will not be able to see beyond the village.
At the center of each and every one of these villages will be Native people, and they will walk as hollow shells upon a prairie of stone. They said hollow shells, which means they will have lost any of their traditional understandings; they will be empty within. They said that, after the Eagle lands on the moon, some of these people will begin to leave these prairies of stone and come home and take up some of the old ways and begin to make themselves reborn, because it’s a new day. But many will not. And they said there’s going to come a time when in the morning the sun is going to rise, and this village of stone will be there, and in the evening there would just be steam coming from the ground. They will be as steam. And in the center of many of those villages of stone, when they turn to steam, the Native people will turn to steam also because they never woke up and left the village.
They say there’s going to be the Third Shaking of the Earth. It’s not going to be a good thing to see, but we will survive it. We will survive it. And when we survive it, there’s going to be another attempt to make a circle of the human beings on the earth. And this time the Native people will not have to petition to join but will be invited to enter the circle because they say the attitude toward us will have changed by then. People will let us into the circle, and all the four colors of the four directions will share their wisdom, and there will be a peace on earth. This is coming close.
The prophecies are always either/or. We could have come together way back there in 1565, and we could have had a great civilization, but we didn’t. Always along the path of these prophecies, we could have come together. We still could.
If we could stop the racial and religious disharmony, we would not have to go through this third shaking. The elders say the chance of that is pretty slim. It seems to me like it’s pretty slim, too. But they say what we can do is we can cushion it so it won’t be quite as bad. How do we do this? We do this by sharing the teaching that will reunite us.
copyright © 2012 Cherokee Nation of Sequoyah
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