The Cherokee had one large garden in which they grew beans, corn, squash, pumpkins, and sunflowers. They also had small individual gardens. The women tended the gardens after the men cleared the fields and helped plant the crops. The men provided the meat for their families. They used traps, bows and arrows, blowguns, and darts to help kill game. Deer were the most important animal the men hunted. They also hunted for bears.
The Cherokee were one of the "Five Civilized Tribes". The other tribes included in this group were the Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek, and Seminole. Approximately 20,00 people in at least 50 towns in Alabama, Georgia, and Florida were included in this group.
The Cherokee people had a great respect for nature. They asked the spirits of the sun, moon, stars, plants, animals, and elements to help them. Several festivals were held each year to celebrate planting and harvesting corn. During these festivals the people painted their faces white to represent happiness.
Lacrosse was a sport played by the Chickasaws, Cherokees, and Creek tribes. The game was played in two teams with 60 players on each team. Two sticks were held by each player to catch and throw a ball. Each stick had a small thong basket at one end. No player was allowed to touch the thong leather lacrosse ball, except with the stick or basket. The object of the game was to score points by scooping up the ball in the basket and sending it through a pair of goal posts. The first team to score twenty goals was the winner.
The Cherokee women wove mats and baskets. The women also planted, tended, and harvested the crops. They cooked, made clothing and pottery, and gathered nuts. The men made tools and weapons. They also built canoes.
The men made tools and weapons. Weapons included tomahawks and blowguns. The hunters used blowguns for small game and birds. They built canoes and house frames and roofs.
The people made drums and rattles. The women made pottery and baskets.
President Andrew Jackson signed the Indian Removal Act in 1830. This act required all Native Americans to move east of the Mississippi. At this time the Cherokee Nation had an advanced culture with cities and a written constitution. They even had their own newspapers in the Cherokee language.
The reason for this act was the whites in Georgia, the Carolinas, Tennessee and Alabama desired the lands of the Cherokee.
The military came into the lands of the Cherokee and forced them to move to Oklahoma. This move become known as the "Trail of Tears". During this move many Indians died from disease, the harsh weather, starvation and attacks by white men. Over 4,000 Cherokee died on the trail to Oklahoma.