Last modified: 2017-08-21 by rick wyatt
Keywords: texas cherokee | cherokee | texas | native american |
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image by Donald Healy, 1 February 2008
map image by Peter Orenski based on input from Don Healy
Texas Cherokee - Texas
The Texas Cherokee, based in Troup, Texas, are not federally recognized but are in the process of seeking recognition. They are not separate from the Cherokee of Oklahoma and the North Carolina Cherokee Band, but as Cherokee are related by blood kinship to all other Cherokee people. The Tsalagiyi Nvdagi, as they are known in their native tongue, under the name of Texas Cherokee, signed a treaty with the Republic of Texas on February 23, 1836. Texas violated that treaty when they drove the Texas Cherokee and their related bands from Texas by force of arms on July 16, 1839. The head of the Texas Cherokee, Chief Diwali (principal chief at that time and known to the Texicans as Bowles), was killed. Those Cherokee who survived the massacre, either fled to other locations or hid in the deep forest of East Texas so they would not suffer a similar fate.
It is the descendants of those refugees that make up the modern Cherokee of Texas Nation. On 14 August 1993, four men, D. L. Utsidihi Hicks, A. J. Bucktail Jessie, Douglas Wasini Watson, and David Adastiyali Hicks Jr., met to re-instate the Tsalagiyi Nvdagai, "Cherokees in Texas". The Tribe had been inactive in public since the events of 1839. Utsidihi Hicks was elected Ugu or "Head Chief". The Tribal National Seal was to be kept within the old treaty area of the Tribe received from the Republic of Texas no matter who becomes Ugu.
© Donald Healy 2008
The flag of the Texas Cherokee is white. It bears the tribal seal in the center and that seal is flanked on either side by groups of three feathers each. The tribal seal is white. It bears a single black-tipped eagle feather pointing to the top. Crossing this feather are the twin symbols of war and peace, a common thread running through Cherokee culture. Peace is represented on the seal by a pipe, its bowl facing toward the lower end of the seal. A stone war club symbolizes war. Its stone end facing downward. The two elements cross over the feather forming and X. Ringing this central device is a wide red band edged in black. Arching around the ring at the top is the tribal name "Tsalagiyi Nvdagi" in black letters. At the bottom appears the year 1819, also in black. That is the year of the treaty between the Cherokee Nation and the United States that recognized the Cherokee's claim to vast stretches of land in what is now Tennessee, western Georgia, western North Carolina and surrounding states. The breaking of that treaty by Andrew Jackson led to the infamous "Trail of Tears".
When the two matching bundles of three feathers are combined with the single feather within the seal, they make seven. The Cherokee are known as the "Nation of Seven Clans" and the number seven recurs in their history and culture over and over.
© Donald Healy 2008
information provided by Peter Orenski, 1 February 2008