|7 clan chiefs
accompanied Sir Alexander Cumming to England in 1730
representing every region in which the Cherokee then lived
So where did the notion of “clans” come from? Here is an interesting explanation from Deputy Principal Chief Hastings Shade of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma:
“… there was of a time when there were 14 Cherokee clans. Over the centuries, the Cherokee combined clans and opened them to captives and non-Indians. The tribe settled on the number seven to honor the seven directions: north, south, east, west, up, down, and center. Before European contact, the clan was the most important affiliation of Cherokees which gave them their place in the tribe and in their world. Clan was passed from a Cherokee mother to her children. In the matrilineal kinship system, a Cherokee woman decided when and whom to marry. She could not marry a member of her mother’s clan, who were considered blood relations, no matter how distant. After marriage, a man took his wife’s clan.”
Some say that at one time there were over 80 clans. Other accounts hold that there were less. But, most accounts admit that there were once more than seven clans and the Chicamauga set up an extra bench at their dances to honor the missing clans that they consolidate under the “Lost Bear” clan.
This account also comes from the Chicamauga website (no longer available):
“One of the clans did not form into one of the tribes, but vanished completely. This was the Ani-Tsaguhi (People who-disappeared), which many believe were some of our people who went into the forest and willingly became bears in order to feed the people during a time of famine.
“It is taught among the Chickamauga that ALL Clans are part of the Bear Clan.
“Two other groups of relatives, the Susquehanna and Tuscarora, joined the Iroquois. The Iroquois moved north into the cold country and to the great lakes of the north.
The seven clans that remained became known as Ugaya (Seven clan Society.)”
Each of the seven remaining clans of the Cherokee has unique responsibilities in the tribe. The Anisahoni , or the Blue Clan or Blue Holly Clan, represented the Sky. They taught the ways of the panther and wild cats and were sometimes also called the Panther or Wild Cat Clan. Or, in some cases, the Panther, Wild Cat, and Bear were thought of as subdivisions of the Anisahoni.
They taught the importance of the ability to balance power, truth, intention, physical strength, and grace in pursuit of the seven levels of life achievement and fulfillment. Their color is blue, their wood is ash and their flag is blue with white stars.
They were known for a children’s medicine that they produced from a bluish colored plant called the Blue Holly – hence the name. They took care of medicinal gardens and specialized in children’s medicines.
According to “cherokeeregistry.com”, these are notable Surnames: A: Ableman, Alberty B: Baker, Ballard, Ballew, Bannon, Bear, Bearfield, Bearstriker, Beartracker, Bent Leg, Berrymann, Big Fellow, Blood, Blue, Blue Horse, Boling, Bradberry, Brown (Mary), Burns, Burns (Aky), Bushy, Buzzark C: Canaughkutt, Cane (Mary), Casteel, Chembers, Chiltoskie, Cornseen, Cowin Crouch D: Daniels, Dardiene, Dare, Deehee, Dog, Drowing Bear, Duck, Dull Knife F: Fawling (Nellie), Foreman G: Gains, Gates, Geegah Nundah, Gilideehee, GoForth, GoodPasture, Gray Horse, Green, Griss, Grundy H: Hair, Hamby, Hare (Jas), Heard, Highfield, Hobbs I: Inlow K: Kenoteta, Kickupp, Kinder, Kitchen, Kofft L: Lame Arm, Lewis, Lock, Long, Loudermilk, Lowery (Geo) M: Mackintyre, Mankiller of Settico, Marlin, McCoy, McKenney, McKinnley, Miller N: Niven O: Oconastota, Ooloostah, Oolutsa P: Peters, Pohatan Oolashela, Poor, Proper Q: Quatisis R: Rains, Raven (Collanagh), Ray, Red Hand, Revels, Roap (Sallie), Rogers, Rose, Ross, Roy S: Sagoni, Shallelock, Silver, Skallelock, Sriver-Walker (Elizabeth), Starr T: Tacitie, Talontaskee (Jenny), Thunduski Guneega, Toon, Turner W: Wadichacha, White Beaver Y: Yansa Gatoga, Yates, Young Z: Zillioñ, Zion