Cherokee People

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Hierarchical Path: Seven Years War (Main Page) >> Armies >> Native American Peoples >> Cherokee People

Origin and History

The Cherokee people are an Iroquoian-speaking group of Native Americans. Their territory covered a vast mountainous region in south-western North Carolina, south-eastern Tennessee, edges of western South Carolina, north-eastern Georgia and north-eastern Alabama.

The Cherokee nation consisted of numerous permanent autonomous villages grouped in five dynamic distinct regional areas: the Lower Towns (north-west South Carolina and north-east Georgia); the Middle Towns (south-west North Carolina); Out Towns (south-west North Carolina); Valley Towns (south-west North Carolina); and Overhill Towns (south-east Tennessee). Headmen, councils and ’beloved’ or ‘mother’ towns, acting as capitals, gave regional cohesion. Kituhwa, on the Tuckasegee River was the ‘Council Fire Place of All the Nation’. Chota in the Overhill region was also an important political centre.

In 1540, the Spanish conquistador Hernando de Soto reached the territory of the Cherokee people.

From 1629, the Cherokee people had frequent contacts with English traders from Virginia and Carolina who were interested by the high quality deerskins produced by the Cherokee.

In 1654, 600 to 700 Cherokee established a town at the Falls of the James River (present-day Richmond, Virginia) on vacated Powhatan lands. This was attacked by the English and 100 Pamunkey allies who were defeated by the Cherokee. The English surrendered and agreed to peace. There are no further records of the town.

In the 1660s, the Cherokee people welcomed a band of Shawnee in their territory, whom had been displaced south by several factors including disrupted trade networks, disease and raids by slavers from Virginia.

By 1670, the Cherokee were in possession of firearms. The English established the first permanent settlement in South Carolina.

In 1673 two Englishmen – the first to visit their territory – accompanied by Oconeechee people visited the Cherokee in an attempt to establish trade. Gabriel Arthur went back with trade goods including guns, axes, beads and cloth, staying at Chota for a year before returning. During this time the Cherokee were at war with the Shawnee. Still in 1673, Cherokee bands raided Spanish settlements in Florida.

From 1689, the Cherokee people generally sided with the British in their numerous wars against the French.

In 1692, the Shawnee raided a large Cherokee village.

Throughout the 18th century, the Cherokee and Creek were frequently raiding their respective territories.

In 1706, the Cherokee and the Iroquois made peace.

Cherokee Territory - Copyright: Kronoskaf

From 1710 and 1715, the Cherokee and their Chickasaw and British allies fought against the Shawnee and French, forcing the former to move northwards. In 1712 and 1713, the Cherokee, Yamassee, Catawba also fought the Tuscarora, who would later join the Iroquois Confederacy. In 1715, with the Chickasaw, the Cherokee drove the Shawnee out of the Cumberland valley.

In 1716, as British allies, the Cherokee received a large quantity of muskets and ammunition. However, they learned that the British had been supplying their enemies as well as themselves with firearms and with the Catawba and Yamassee, they attacked Charlestown and surrounding farms. Peace was agreed in the following year.

In 1721, 37 Cherokee travelled to Charlestown to settle a fixed boundary between them and the British. The Cherokee ceded some lands to the British in South Carolina. The Cherokee also agreed to select one man to represent them.

In 1730, due to Cherokee complaints of the bad behaviour of traders amongst them and British fear that they would turn to the French, Sir Alexander Cuming, a Scottish adventurer, was sent by the British to affirm earlier agreements. Going from town to town, at Tellico he proclaimed Moytoy as “Emperor of the Cherokee.” He claimed that all the Cherokee agreed to this preposterous demand. It is more likely the Cherokee put Moytoy forward as their trade representative. Cuming came away with some sort of agreement, which he embellished for the benefit of King George II. However, the new trade agreement included all the British colonies not just South Carolina.

Cuming took back to England seven Cherokee men – Moytoy did not come as his wife was sick. On May 4, 1730, they boarded the Royal Navy’s warship the ‘Fox’ and a month later arrived in Dover and then travelled to London. They gave the King a ‘crown’, five eagle tails and four scalps. They received guns, ammunition, red paint and promises of love and perpetual friendship. At Whitehall they signed the agreement, the ‘Treaty of Whitehall’, they had reached with Cuming as heard and not written and understood it to be a pledge of friendship. Oukanekeh, one of the seven Cherokee, reporting back to his people, called the King, ‘the Man who lives across the Great Water’ and stated he had not given away any land. There was no knowledge of any form of overlordship by the British crown. Oukanekeh was made a Peace Chief of his town and was renamed Ada-gal’kala (Little Carpenter).

By 1735, the Cherokee had some 64 towns and villages, and 6,000 warriors.

In 1736, Christian Gottleib Priber, a German Jesuit said to be a French agent, arrived in Tellico saying they should trade with the French and British alike. The following year, South Carolina sent Colonel Fox to arrest Priber but he was protected by the Cherokee, saying that the country was theirs and they would do what they wanted to do and that they meant to continue to trade with the British as ‘free men and equals’ but they also intended to trade with the French. Fox was escorted out of Cherokee country. Five years later Priber, on his way to the French garrison in Alabama, was captured by British traders and thrown in prison where he died.

In 1738 and 1739, smallpox epidemics broke out among the Cherokee, killing over half of their population.

At this time, all the Cherokee had horses and some were raising cattle and pigs. This brought about a major change to the environment, for example the grazing of canebrakes had a devastating effect on Cherokee basket making. Factionalism was also developing with the war chief of Tellico, Agan’stats’ (Oconostota) preference for the French when the Cherokee had trade alliance with the British.

In 1741, Amo-sgasite (Dreadful Water) tried to succeed his father Moytoy as “Emperor” but the Cherokee elected Conocotocko (Old Hop) as their trade representative.

In 1745, the Cherokee and Chickasaw drove the Shawnee north across the Ohio River.

In 1750, the Cherokee defeated the Choctaw, who were allied with the French.

In 1753, a conflict over hunting territories in northern Georgia broke out between the Cherokee and the Muskogee. In 1755, the Cherokee defeated the Muskogee at the Battle of Taliwa (near present-day Ball Ground, Georgia).

Role during the War


In 1754, Virginia asked the Cherokee assistance but the Cherokee refused to cooperate, remembering the Virginian attack on one of their towns in 1654. However, at the suggestion of George Washington, Governor Dinwiddie sent Nathaniel Gist to beg for assistance in fighting the Shawnee, allied to the French, and traditional enemies of the Cherokee. 100 warriors from Chota and nearby towns under Ostenaco agreed to attack the Shawnee provided the British promised to build forts in Cherokee country to protect the women and children from the French and their allies while the warriors were away. An agreement was reached with the assistance of Ada-gal’kala and included a land cession of 40 million acres to the British.


In 1755, South Carolina built two forts, Fort Prince George, near Keowee on the Savannah River in the Lower Towns, and Fort Loudoun, near Chota, where the Little Tennessee and Tellico Rivers come together in the Overhill area. The Virginians built an unnamed fort across the Little Tennessee River from Chota.

When the forts were finally finished, in February 1756, Ostenaco and his 100 men, joined with Major Andrew Lewis and 200 Virginians and headed for Shawnee. It was not the traditional time of war for the Cherokee. After six weeks of tramping along due to snow and swollen rivers, the Cherokee turned for home disgusted by the manner in which the Virginians treated them. Ostenaco’s men appropriated some loose horses along the way. For this the Virginian settlers attacked them, killing 24, scalping and mutilating their bodies. They presented the scalps to Governor Dinwiddie for the bounty. Somehow the mistake was discovered and Dinwiddie sent apologies to Chota. The Virginians were excused their action by calling the Cherokee horse thieves. Ada-gal’kala was not pleased. He told Captain Demere at Fort Loudoun that the Cherokee no longer wanted to be allied to the British. Some Cherokee, acting on their own, then attacked some Virginian settlements and also some in North Carolina. Ada-gal’kala sent apologies to the governors of Virginia and North Carolina.


Nonetheless, in the spring of 1757, Cherokee war parties raided the Ohio country. their appearance in western Pennsylvania alarming the Lenape. The Cherokee raided Logstown and twice near Fort Duquesne and were moving north toward the Seneca. At some point 60 Cherokee intercepted a Lenape and Shawnee war party leaving Fort Duquesne and killed four. This resulted in the Lenape feeling that their women and children were open to attack and contributed to them seeking peace talks with the British which culminated with the Treaty of Easton. Armstrong welcomed the Cherokee at Fort Frederick, where they promised 200-300 warriors in the next year.


In February 1758, several score Overhills Cherokee warriors set out for the Potomac, 200-300 warriors from the Lower Towns set out to join Forbes for his expedition against Fort Duquesne. However, in December 1757 four Estatoe (a Lower Town) Cherokee had been killed and scalped in South Carolina, which the new Governor of South Carolina, Lyttleton blamed on enemy Native Americans even though it was far beyond the reach of such. Virginia-bound Estatoe men killed two white hunters in North Carolina in revenge. This frightened other Estatoes who turned back and dissuaded other war parties from setting out.

In April 1758, Colonel Byrd travelled around Cherokee towns seeking to recruit warriors. At Chota he told they had already gone, others thought Virginia too dangerous, even the 60 men assigned to him by Agan’stats’, impatient had gone home. On May 1, Byrd set out to join Forbes expedition against Fort Duquesne with 59 Cherokee, mostly from Estatoe. Nearly 400, the largest number ever deployed by the Cherokee, had already gone north to the Ohio country. However, this now became a problem for the British due to potential attacks on the Lenape, Shawnee and Ohioan Iroquois as peace talks were ongoing. The British sought to include the Cherokee who, as a result of the treaty, considered they might become isolated, ‘to be destroyed.’

Back in March, back country settlers had responded to the horse thefts by killing two Estatoe Cherokee, who had responded by killing two Virginians. At first the conflict had been limited the Estatoe blaming the Overhill Cherokee. The Overhills denied this to the British. The matter became cross regional when other Cherokees were murdered resulting in more attacks in Virginia by all regions except the Overhills. In May, Lower and Middle Town Cherokees specifically attacked German settlers in Bedford County, Virginia, in retaliation for murders committed by them on their people.

The conflict became widespread by the fall of 1758. As a result, nearly all of the Cherokees accompanying the Forbes expedition retuned home, although Ada-gal’kala arrived with 60 Overhill warriors before the final push on Fort Duquesne. However, seeing they were not needed they left without informing Forbes, who then, fearing they might join other Cherokee warriors in the Virginia back-country, had them pursued, arrested, disarmed and stripped of all presents. Ada-gal’kala was chastised by Forbes before being released. The Cherokee war chief sent message to his Overhill people relating of their mistreatment. Nonetheless, Ada-gal’kala tried to restore peace in Williamsburg and Charlestown. Lyttleton, South Carolina’s governor also threatened to involve the Creeks causing the Cherokee to suspend their attacks for fear of raids on their towns. In November, peace was declared in at a meeting in Charlestown.


In the spring of 1759, in retaliation on the British, Moytoy and his party of warriors killed 19 settlers near the Yadkin and Catawba Rivers.

In May, unexpectedly, Lyttleton demanded that Ada-gal’kala send him every Cherokee who had killed a white man in the recent fighting for execution. At the same time, the commander of Fort Loudoun specified 24 chiefs he suspected of unfriendly actions to be handed over. All trading supplies were stopped to the Upper Towns. A delegation of leaders went to Charlestown at which Lyttleton declared war on the Cherokee. A second peace delegation of 32, including Agan’stats, met Lyttleton at Fort Prince George but were arrested and thrown in a prison cell for six. At the same time, he ordered a force of 1,400 militia assembled.

Ada-gal’kala succeeded in getting Agan’stats and two others released, six signing an agreement that the others remain hostage until those the British wanted were handed over and that they kill any Frenchmen in Cherokee country. Perhaps they understood what they were signing or perhaps not.

Smallpox broke out amongst the Cherokee again and Lyttleton declared he had triumphed. He returned to the safety of Charlestown.


In 1760, the Cherokee concluded an alliance with the French. In May, the British undertook an expedition against the Cherokee people. In August, Cherokee warriors managed to capture Fort Loudoun. A truce of six months was agreed to, during which peace attempts failed.


In 1761, the British launched a second expedition against the Cherokee people, destroying several villages. In November, the Cherokee signed a peace treaty with Virginia. In December, they made peace with South Carolina.

Three Cherokee chiefs in 1762 – Source : Wikimedia Commons


On May 15, 1762, three Cherokee, 2nd Lieutenant Henry Timberlake and an interpreter left for England arriving at Plymouth on June 5. However, their interpreter died enroute. They were taken to London by carriage. Sir Alexander Cumming and two officers took over as interpreters. Bored the Cherokee took to drink. It was three weeks before Timberlake got them an audience with the king on July 8. Sir Joshua Reynolds painted their portraits. They went on sightseeing tours and exhibited around London, leaving for home on August 25 after achieving nothing.


On February 10, 1763, the Treaty of Paris was signed marking the end of the French and Indian War. Under the presumptuous terms of the Treaty, all Native Americans east of the Mississippi came under the jurisdiction of the British. The Cherokee were not informed until November 1763.


Samuel Boswell described thee dress of the three Cherokee who visited London (see above): ‘They were dressed in their own country habit, with only a shirt, trowsers, and mantle round them, their heads adorned with shells, feathers, ear-rings and other trifling ornaments. None of them can speak to be understood, and very unfortunately their interpreter died on the passage. A house was taken for them in Suffolk street, and cloaths in the English fashion were given them. On the 8th of July they were introduced to the King. The head chief’s dress was a rich blue mantle covered with lace; his head richly ornamented, and on his breast a silver gorget, with his Majesty’s arms engraved. The other two chiefs were in scarlet, richly adorned with lace, and gorgets of plate on their breasts…The chiefs are men of middling stature, seem to have no hair upon their heads, and wear a kind of skullcap. Their faces and necks are so besmeared with a coarse sort of paint, of a brick-dust colour, that it is impossible to say of what complexion they are. Their necks are streaked with blue paint, something resembling blue veins in a fine skin.’

Cunne Shote in 1762 – Source : Wikimedia Commons
Ostenaco by Joshua Reynolds – Source : Wikimedia Commons


Lieutenant Henry Timberlake writing in 1765 describes the Cherokee men's usual hairstyle: ‘The hair of their head is shaved, tho' many of the old people have it plucked out by the roots, except a patch on the hinder part of the head, about twice the bigness of a crownpiece, which is ornamented with beads, feathers, wampum, stained deers hair, and such like baubles.’ Another account (Gilbert, 1943) states that: ‘The long scalplock alone remained hanging from the apex of the head.’ This was pulled through a two-to-three-inch hollow tube the top which was decorated with beads, feathers, shells, etc. and painted with a thick paste of red or yellow. Hollow silver horns supplied by traders replaced antler ones. This may have been an earlier or a concurrent style. Thomas Bartram described Cherokee men’s hair in 1773: ‘The men shave their head, leaving only a narrow crest or comb, beginning at the crown of the head, where it is about two inches broad and about the same height, and stands frizzed upright; but this crest tending backwards, gradually widens, covering the hinder part of the head and back of the neck: the lank hair behind is ornamented with pendant silver quills, and then jointed or articulated silver plates; and usually the middle sascicle of hair being by far the longest, is wrapped in a large quill of silver, or the joint of a small reed, curiously sculptured and painted, the hair continuing through it terminates in a tail or tassel.’


Thomas Bartram described, ‘A very curious diadem or band, about four inches broad, and ingeniously wrought or woven, and curiously decorated with stones, beads, wampum, porcupine quills [? Cherokee territory is far to the south of the range of the porcupine. Possibly bird quills.], &c., encircles their temples; the front peak of it being embellished with a high waving plume, of crane or heron feathers.’


The bodies and faces of Cherokee men were heavily tattooed with geometric designs. The three visitors show linear patterns on their heads, although they do not appear in their portraits. Bartram noted that, ‘... some of the warriors have the skin of the breast, and muscular parts of the body, very curiously inscribed, or adorned with hieroglyphick scrolls, flowers, figures of animals, stars, crescents, and the sun in the centre of the breast. This painting of the flesh, I understand, is performed in their youth, by pricking the skin with a needle, until the blood starts, and rubbing in a blueish tinct, which is as permanent as their life. ‘


An official report from 1758 of Cherokees in Virginia stated, ‘... most of the Indians were painted... others painting, some black, some red but mostly black...’ Black, red and some blue and green are associated with a man’s paint for war.

White was used to signify peace. ‘... Mankiller ca.e in almost quite naked and painted in streaks of white all over his face and body. He was followed by fifty-seven of his warriors and young men and they were all painted in the same manner which is among the Indians a token of peace and friendship.’

Ears and Nose

Henry Timberlake stated that: ‘The ears are slit and stretched to an enormous size, putting the person who undergoes the operation to incredible pain, being unable to lie on either side for near forty days. To remedy this, they generally slit but one at a time; so soon as the patient can bear it, they are wound round with wire to expand them, and are adorned with silver pendants and rings, which they likewise wear at the nose. This custom does not belong originally to the Cherokees, but taken by them from the Shawnese, or other northern nations.’ The drawings (but not the portraits) of the three Cherokee men taken to England in 1762 show the separation of the helix from the ear. Bartram describes the ornamentation of the helix, ‘... being craped, or bound round in brass or silver wire, extends semicircularly like a bow or crescent; and it is then very elastic, even so as to spring and bound about with the least motion or flexure of the body: this is decorated with soft white plumes of heron feathers.’

Ornamentation and Necklaces

Timberlake stated that: ‘They that can afford it wear a collar of wampum, which are beads cut out of clamshells, a silver breast-plate, and bracelets on their arms and wrists of the same metal...’ but ‘... when they go to war they leave their trinkets behind, and the mere necessaries serve them.’ William Bartram observed in the 1770s, ‘They have large silver crescents, or gorgets, which being suspended by a ribband round the neck, lie upon the breast; and the arms are ornamented with silver bands, or bracelets, and silver and gold chains, &c. a collar invests the neck.’

Breechclout and Apron

Henry Timberlake noted that Cherokee men had, ’... a bit of cloth over their private parts’. Presumably this was a breechclout. Bartram noted that it. ‘... usually consists of a piece of blue cloth, about eighteen inches wide; this they pass between their thighs, and both ends being taken up and drawn through a belt round their waist, the ends fall down, one before, and the other behind, not quite to the knee; this flap is usually plaited and indented at the ends, and ornamented with beads, tinsel lace, &c.’ War captains may have had red breechclouts.


Timberlake describes Cherokee men wearing, ‘... a sort of cloth boot’; that is a pair of cloth half leggings. Cherokee’s men wore tight fitting leggings with the seam down the front of the leg and over the instep of the foot These were generally of less expensive blue or black cloth or red for better wear. These were tied to the waist belt supporting the breechclout. It is likely that skin front seam leggings could have been worn when hunting or at war, although in wet weather these would take longer to dry and hence uncomfortable. Leggings for best wear were, ‘... ornamented with lace, beads, silver bells, &c.’


Garters may have been used to secure the leggings below the knee. Garters were made of woven woollen fibres typically dyed red or black possibly with white bead patterns incorporated into the weave. An illustration of Oconostota in 1761 shows him wearing bands around the leg below the knee but no leggings. However, the 1762 drawing of Cherokee men does not show garters being worn and neither Timberlake or Bartram makes mention of them.


Cherokee moccasins were made of deerskin smoked with basswood to produce a dark brown colour. The moccasin was made of single skin with a puckered seam up the instep. The cuff of the men’s moccasin was separated at the heel so that the two sides spread apart, whereas the cuff on women’s moccasins was a continuous band. Bartram noted that moccasins were, for best wear, ‘curiously ornamented according to fancy.’


Bartram states that ‘The clothing of their body is very simple and frugal. Sometimes a ruffled shirt of fine linen, next to the skin...’ A European shirt, cut in contemporary European fashion, was popular and could be daubed with grease and paint to waterproof it. These were made of cheaper fabric for the Indian trade. Some of the most requested fabrics included cotton, calico and chintz. Bartram goes on to describe. ‘The shirt hangs loose about the waist, like a frock, or split down before, resembling a gown, and is sometimes wrapped close, and the waist encircled by a curious belt or sash.’


Broaches of silver, replacing those of copper or brass, became increasingly abundant through the 18th century in adorning clothing and also came to be used as money. There were several designs of broach. The simplest and most numerous was a ring across which a tongue extended like a buckle. This is affixed to cloth by pinching the material up so that the tongue penetrates it twice and when drawn back holds it firmly in place. Smaller ones can often line the edges of breechclouts, etc. whilst those of larger diameter decorated the upper body of shirts. Another very common broach fixed in the same manner was a circular ornate disc perforated with punched out or embossed regular patterns which could have embossed or crenulated edges sometimes known as a round buckle.

Blankets and Coats

Thomas Bartram states that ‘Beside this attire, they have a large mantle of the finest cloth they are able to purchase, always either of a scarlet or blue colour; this mantle is fancifully decorated with rich lace or fringe round the border, and often with little round silver or brass bells. Some have a short cloak, just large enough to cover the shoulders and breast; this is most ingeniously constructed, of feathers woven or placed in a natural imbricated manner, usually of the scarlet feathers of the flamingo, or others of the gayest colour.’

He also mentions that, ‘... when the men assemble to act the war farce, on the evening immediately preceding their march on a hostile expedition: for usually they are almost naked, contenting themselves with the flap and sometimes a shirt, boots [leggings] and moccasins. The mantle is seldom worn by the men, except at night, in the winter season, when extremely cold, and by the women at dances, which it serves the purpose of a veil, and the females always wear the jacket, flap, and buskin,’


Cherokee women often accompanied war parties (one consisted of 10 women to 110 men) and occasionally became warriors. Women who distinguished themselves in battle were accorded the title ‘war woman’ and sat apart from other women. One casualty in the American Revolution was described to be ‘painted and stripped like the men’.

Timberlake gives the most complete description of the women’s hairstyle: ‘The women wear the hair of their head, which is so long that it generally reaches to the middle of their legs, and sometimes to the ground, club’d, and ornamented with ribbons of various colours; but, except their eyebrows, pluck it from all the other parts of the body, especially the looser part of the sex.’

He goes on to state that ‘The rest of their dress is now become very much like the European; and, indeed, that of the men is greatly altered. The old people still remember and praise the ancient days, before they were acquainted with the whites, when they had but little dress, except a bit of skin about their middles, mockasons, a mantle of buffalo skin for the winter, and a lighter one of feathers for the summer.’ Bartram describes women’s dress in the early 1770s, ‘The dress of the Cherokee women was a, “flap or petticoat is made after a different manner, is larger and longer, reaching almost to the middle of the leg, and is put on differently; they have no shirt or shift, but a little short waistcoat, usually made of calico, printed linen, or fine cloth, decorated with lace, beads, &c. They never wear boots or stockings, but their buskins [boots] reach to the middle of the leg.’


Military Commission Granted to Oconostota of the Cherokee by Governor Louis Billouart, Chevalier de Kerlérec 1761 – Source : Digital Public Library of America

Henry Timberlake wrote ‘The warlike arms used by the Cherokees are guns, bows and arrows, darts, scalpping-knives, and tommahawkes, which are hatchets; the hammer-part of which being made hollow, and a small hole running from thence along the shank, terminated by a small brass-tube for the mouth, makes a compleat pipe. There are various ways of making these, according to the country or fancy of the purchaser, being all made by the Europeans; some have a long spear at top, and some different conveniencies on each side. This is one of their most useful pieces of field-furniture, serving all the offices of hatchet, pipe, and sword; neither are the Indians less expert at throwing it than using it near, but will kill at a considerable distance.’

Cherokee bows were made of oak, ash or hickory liberally coated with bear oil. They were about 5 feet long with a rectangular cross section, 1¾” wide tapering to ¾” at the nocks. Strings were made of twisted bear gut or possibly woodchuck hide. Arrows were long canes as much as 31” long, fletched with two stripped turkey feathers wrapped round the shaft for the first 2½” of their 6” length. Quivers were probably made of basketry or of rushes.

The Cherokee principally obtained their firearms from Euro-American traders based in South Carolina who also made trips to Cherokee towns by the mid-18th century. These trade guns were likely to have been a short, light flintlock muskets of .66 or smaller calibre, called fusils, fuzee or fuke and were approximately similar to the later ‘Northwest gun’. It is also likely that a few French fusils were traded for or given as gifts, particularly between 1758 and 1761. In addition to trade lists with French and British trade guns, ‘Pennsylvania’ long rifles were also carried by the Cherokee. In 1760 one of Montgomery’s men in the campaign against the Cherokee noted they ‘... had vastly the advantage of us with their rifle barrelled guns, which did execution at a greater distance than our muskets.’

A powder horn and a shot pouch would have been worn over the shoulder and high up under the arm to minimise them flapping about whilst moving. A shot pouch shown in a drawing of a Military Commission being granted to Oconostota of the Cherokee by Governor Louis Billouart, Chevalier de Kerlérec in 1761 shows an undecorated leather bag with a rounded bottom edge. A medicine pouch in the North Carolina Museum of History is of deerskin with cut fringes around its rounded bottom edge and decorated with four vertical lines of small adjoining triangles in red. Pouches could also have been made of woven fibre with white bead patterns woven into the threads. Shoulder straps were of deerskin or woven fibre.

Belts were either of skin wrapped twice around the body and tied at the front or of finger woven wool, being enriched by the addition of white beads, which were carried on a special thread in zig-zag or diamond and hexagonal designs V and W designs predominated in narrow sashes. Beads were also worked into the deep yarn fringes (20 inches to a yard long). Sashes were usually red but shades of blue, sage green, old gold and white were also made.


Bartram, William, Travels Through North and South Carolina: Georgia, East and West Florida the Cherokee Country, the Extensive Territories of the Muscogulges or Creek Confederacy, and the Country of the Choctaws. Philadelphia: James and Johnson. 1791. Accessed June 6 2023.

Boulware, Tyler, Deconstructing the Cherokee Nation, Town, Region and Nation among 18th Century Cherokees, Gainesville: University of Florida, 2015, pp. 1-9.

Cockran, David H., The Cherokee Frontier: Conflict and Survival, 1740-62, Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2016.

Conley, Robert J., The Cherokee Nation: A History, Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2007.

Gilbert, William H., The Eastern Cherokee, Anthropological Papers 23, Bureau of American Ethnology Bulletin 133, pp. 169-413, 1943.

Laubin, Reginald & Gladys, American Indian Archery, Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1980, pp. 21, 122

Mails, Thomas, The Cherokee People, New York: Marlow and Company, 1996, pp. 46-49.

Perdue, Theda, Cherokee Women, Lincoln: University of Nebraska, 1999, pp. 38-39.

Timberlake, Henry, The Memoirs of Lieut. Henry Timberlake, 1765, Accessed June 5, 2023.


Larry Burrows for a major improvement of this article