The Ketoowah of the Cherokee

The Tsalagi have had many names. Entarironnon by the Wyandot. Manteran by the Catawba. Rickahocken by the Powhatan. Tallige-wi by the Delaware. Alligewi, Tsalagi, and Tsaragi, which mean the people of the cave country. Shanaki by the Caddo. Shazage by the Kaw. And Chalaque, Cheraqui, Cherokee and many names by other men. But we name ourselves the true people, Ani-Yunwiya, or the people of the Ketoowah. The Ketoowah of the Cherokee is the way God himself entrusted the true people to live. In the beginning, God left his laws in their thoughts to enscribe within their hearts. This is the way it was told. This is the way it was. The Ketoowah is the way of the Dance. The Ketoowah is the way of the Wolf. The Ketoowah is the way of the Fire. The Ketoowah is the way of the Earth. This is the way it was told. This is the way it was. First, there were the Four Mothers. These were the four powers of the Ketoowah. These were the way that was honored when the Cherokee still lived in the East before the white men came across the ocean. Then, the white men couldn’t come across. The way of the Ketooway, as it was entrusted was understood and honored for a long time. But the way opened up, and the white men came and settled, and they grew larger and spread out, and the Cherokee were troubled. This is the way it was told. This is the way it was. The Cherokee got in wars with other people, and many died from the white men’s diseases and from other evils of the white men. The white men began a war among themselves. All the ways were full of blood. The Ketoowah realized the changes that had happened. The laws of the Four Mothers were broken up. The Ketoowah thought it over. After a time they said that everything was ready to remind the Cherokee of the way that was entrusted. This is the way it was told. This is the way it was. One person went up into the Mountain, and when he got to the top God told him to build the Fire. He built the Fire, and when it began to blaze great and hot God told him to take a burning brand from the Fire and bear it in a big circle around the Fire itself, and God told him that after doing this he would be protected, so that is what he did. The next night another person went up to the top of the Mountain, and each night another person went, until on the seventh night there were seven people there. This is the way it was told. This is the way it was. God entrusted the first man with the Wolf. Got entrusted the second man with the Blue Paint. Got entrusted the third man with the Twister. Got entrusted the fourth man with the Red Paint. Got entrusted the fifth man with the Bird. Got entrusted the sixth man with the Deer. Got entrusted the seventh man with the Wild Potato. These became the seven clans of the Ketoowah Society. The Wolf clan honors the white spirit of peace and happiness. The Blue Paint clan is the clan of sorrow and defeat. The Twister clan honors the black spirit of death. The Red Paint clan became the clan of power and triumph. The Bird clan honors the yellow spirit above. The Deer clan is the brown clan of the earth. And the Wild Potato clan honors the purple spirit of medicine. These are the seven clans in which God entrusted the way of the Ketoowah a second time. These are the seven spirits of the Ketoowah that the Cherokee can use to help themselves if they honor God’s trust. This is the way it was told. This is the way it was. The Ketoowah made these seven laws known on seven belts of deer skin with pictures written of beads symbolizing the way of the Ketoowah. The last hope of the Cherokee is to follow the seven laws. The way of the seven laws is to care for other people, to love each other, to love the way of nature, and to be peaceful and honest. The Ketoowah is the way of greatness. The Ketoowah is the way of hope. This is the way it was told. This is the way it was. Now the Cherokee are scattered about, and there are many First Nations. The Cherokee have become a weak and sorrowful people. They are poor and held down. They have forgotten the way that God entrusted the Ketoowah. Now is the time for the true people to try to follow the way that was entrusted, because if the people can’t follow the way of greatness and love, then they will be made weak, and their ruin will be more severe.