By the time of the Fruit Moon, Galoni [August], the green corn has started to ripen. No corn is eaten until after the Green Corn Festival. “The Green Corn Ceremony was traditionally celebrated during late June or early July for about four days. The dates scheduled for the celebration depended upon the time the first corn ripened. The ceremony was held in the middle of the ceremonial grounds. Included in the rituals were the stomp dance, feather dance and buffalo dances.
At certain points of the ceremonies the people fasted, played stickball, had corn sacrificing and took medicine. Then after the ceremonial fasting they would feast. Another ritual observed was rinsing themselves in water and having prayer. It is believed when you receive a cleansing it washes away impurities or bad deeds and starts a new life. The cleansing ceremony was performed by a priest which was followed with fasting and praying and other sacred practices.” [from the official Cherokee website: “Cherokee Nation”]
Throughout the southwest, Native Americans have left images pecked or painted on canyon walls, caves and large stones. Like so many others, I wonder whether these images represent stories or just graffiti. Were the artists just doodling in their idle time, or were they leaving a message for their friends and posterity?
I am convinced that most of the petroglyphs and pictographs were, in fact, messages and stories. I say this because although there are many recognizable depictions of animals, people, reptiles, etc., that could be just random doodling by bored children or adults to pass the time, there are also many abstract symbols that, like our alphabet, have no likeness in nature and therefore must represent a common concept.
Looking for a place to visit that will entertain the entire family? Weatherill Mesa is remote and, therefore much less visited than the rest of the sites at Mesa Verde National Park. But it is a real treasure to visit. There are three main attractions, 1) the Ranger guided tour of Long House, 2) the Loop facilitated by the tram, and 3) the hike to the Step House site.
The Ranger guided tour of Long House is a must. This site was unique for a cliff dwelling because of its large open-air plaza fashioned after a large kiva and the natural seep spring.
When the Ancestral Puebloan People, popularly known as the Anasazi, Left their magnificent pueblos in Chaco Canyon and throughout New Mexico and Cliff Dwellings in Mesa Verde, Colorado these incredible palace-like structures lay dormant for over seven-hundred years. The descendants of these people kept the ancient places sacred in their hearts, memories and stories but never returned.
So, when ranchers, explorers, and archaeologists “discovered” the ruins of these grand houses they were a great mystery to be investigated and in some cases plundered. The earliest reference to ancient “ruins” was made by Don Juan Maria de Rivera on an expedition ordered by New Mexico Governor Tomas Velez Cachupin in 1765. But the reference was vague and no detail provided.
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Native American History: Rediscovery of Ancestral Pueblos
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“I have seen my people strive to make a living ever since the last bunch of Cherokees arrived over the trail of tears to the present time. I have seen many of our tribe deed away their land to satisfy a mortgage of which they were not able to cope.
“I have had many ask me the difference in an ‘Old Settler Cherokee’ and an ‘Eastern Emigrant.’ An old settler is a Cherokee who came with the first bunch from Georgia without being forced by the government. An eastern emigrant is one that remained behind and was forced by the government to remove to the new country, west of the Mississippi and this movement was known as the ‘Trail of Tears.’”
On the surface, it appears that Chief Di’Wali Bowles spent his life running from something trying to find peace. He left his home in Running Water Town on the Tennessee river after the Muscle Shoals Massacre fearing retribution from his tribe (He was later completely exonerated). He left Missouri after a massive earthquake was determined to be a sign from the Great Spirit. He left Arkansas after the Louisiana Purchase expanded the jurisdiction of the United States. He twice relocated in Tejas (first a part of Spain, then Mexico). In his early seventies, he thought he had possibly found peace in Texas until the white Texans revolted against the Mexicans.