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Dedicated to the study of Tsalagi (Cherokee) spirituality

"When we are willing to admit that the Indian has a religion which he holds sacred, even though it be different from our own, we can then admire the consistency of the theory, the particularity of the ceremonial and the beauty of the expression. So far from being a jumble of crudities, there is a wonderful completeness about the whole system which is not surpassed even by the ceremonial religions of the East."

James Mooney, "The Sacred Formulas of the Cherokees", 1886

"You assumed we were savages. You didn't understand our prayers. You didn't try to understand. When we sang our praises to the sun or moon or wind, you said we were worshiping idols. Without understanding, you condemned us as lost souls just because our form of worship was different than yours. We see the Great Spirit's work in almost everything: sun, moon, trees, wind and mountains. Sometimes we approach him through these things.

Did you know that trees talk? Well they do. They talk to each other, and they'll talk to you if you listen. Trouble is, you don't listen. But I have learned a lot from the trees: sometimes about weather, sometimes about animals, sometimes about the Great Spirit. When people live far from scenes of the Great Spirit's making, it's easy for them to forget his laws."

Tatanga Mani (Walking Buffalo), 1871-1967 - Stoney Nation, Canada

paraphrased; for exact quote see "Touch the Earth", compiled by T.C. McLuhan, 1971

"Yw Gnhita "Long Man"; a formulistic name for the river, personified as a man with his head resting on the mountain and his feet stretching down to the lowlands (into the ocean), who is constantly speaking to those who can understand the message."

James Mooney, "History, Myths and Sacred Formulas of the Cherokees", 1900

Code of Right Relationship as given to the People by the Pale One:

1: Speak only words of truth.

2: Speak only of the good qualities of others.

3: Be a confidant and carry no tales.

4: Turn aside the veil of anger to release the beauty inherent in all.

5: Waste not the bounty, and want not.

6: Honor the light in all. Compare nothing; see all for its suchness.

7: Respect all life; cut away ignorance from one's own heart.

8: Neither kill nor harbor thoughts of angry nature, which destroy peace like an arrow.

9: Do it now; if you see what needs doing, do it.

from "Voices of our Ancestors", by Dhyani Ywahoo - Etowah Band, Eastern Tsalagi Nation

The name for the Creator or Great Mystery, who transcends the definitions and classifications of anisgaya (mankind), in Tsalagi are Unelanuhi - (Creator),Asga Ya Galunlati - (Man Above), U ha lo te qa - (Head of All Power or Great Beyond Expression), Oo n hlah nau hi - (Maker of All Things), Cah luh luh ti a hi - (The One Who Lives Above), Ganodugwaludusik - (Master of Life), Yohewa - (Great Spirit), Unequa - (Great Being), Adanehilahusgi (Creative Being), to list but a few. We should pray in the morning, in the evening, and whenever else appropriate. By praying for others, we are, in effect, praying for ourselves. Yigaquv osaniyu adanvto adadoligi naqvv utlogasdi nihi (May The Great Spirit's Blessings always be with you).

*: Please note that cultural information may vary from clan to clan, location to location, family to family, and from differing opinions and experiences. This site is dedicated as an open forum to the discussion and promotion of Tsalagi spiritualism. It is intended as an introduction to Tsalagi spiritual beliefs and as a meeting place for those wishing to further their knowledge. It is advisable to familiarize one's self with basic principles from as many sources as possible, then to seek out a spiritual group within your own community. If you have information or opinions you would like to share, please feel free to either use the message board or submit for publication review to:

[email protected]

"I cannot think of anything more spiritual for us than our ancestral language. More of us should speak it."

Orrin Lewis, Cherokee Nation

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"The more drums, the more people drumming, the better the world."

Clifford Latta, Tsalagi

For recordings of Traditional Ceremonial Songs, follow link below, goto: Ceremonial Songs - Eastern. (*please note: these songs are sacred, respect them as such.)


"I have endeavored in my efforts. . . for my people to remember that any religion must be an unselfish one. That even though condemned, falsely accused and misunderstood by both officials and my own people, I must press on and do the work of my convictions. This religion as revealed to me is larger than any man. It is beyond man's understanding. It shall prevail after I am gone. It is growth like the child, it is growth eternal. This religion does not teach me to concern myself of the life that shall be after this, but it does teach me to be concerned with what my everyday life should be. The Fires kept burning are merely the greater Fire, the greater Light, the Great Spirit. I realize now as never before it is not only for the Cherokees but for all mankind. . ." Redbird Smith, Chief of the Nighthawk Keetowah,1917


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