The Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association, Volume 2, July 1898 - April, 1899

58 Texas Historical Association Quarterly.

THE CHEROKEE NATION OF INDIANS.
V. O. KING.
[For much of the matter contained in this paper I am indebted to the
Bureau of American Ethnology and to Mr. Charles C. Royce and Pro-
fessor Cyrus Thomas, its learned and efficient workers. These sources
of information may be profitably consulted by any person interested in
the aboriginal literature of our country.-V. 0. K.]
The Cherokees, more properly the Tsullakees, have occupied a
more prominent place in the affairs and history of the United States
than any other tribe, with the possible exception of the Iroquois, or
Six Nations, of New York. They bear some resemblance to each
other, and though an open question, the Cherokee dialect is held
by the American Bureau of Ethnology to belong to the Iroquoisan
family of languages. This opinion leaves the inference that in the
remote past there was tribal union between them.
Less than half a century after Columbus touched these shores,
De Soto and his followers began their march to explore the lands
that lay beyond. They penetrated the country as far as what is now
the northern limits of Georgia, and the northeastern corner of Ala-
bama, when they came in contact with a tribe of natives, reported
in their memoirs as Chelaques, but which have since been abun-
dantly identified with the Cherokee Indians. They 'occupied as
homes and hunting-grounds nearly the whole territory south of
the Ohio river and east of the Mississippi-the areas excepted being
the present States of Mississippi and Florida, and the southern ex-
tremities of Alabama and Georgia.
Among the most interesting -of the relics that reveal somewhat of
the inner life of these autochthones at this early period, are their
sacred formulas, transmitted to them from a remote past, through
traditions confided to their shamans, or priestly fathers. For a
knowledge of these formulas, the world is indebted to the genius of
an unlettered Cherokee. Sequoyah, in 1821, with a marvelous gift
of invention, and unaided by artificial learning, constructed a syl-
labary, by means of which the speech and thought of his people

Texas State Historical Association. The Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association, Volume 2, July 1898 - April, 1899. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101011/. Accessed September 19, 2014.