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Tsalagi Lifestyles

Once, a GREAT people coexisted with the animals of this land. They shared the wilderness of this country with the Bear, Deer, Rabbits, Bobcats, Snakes, Eagles, Ravens, Hawks and all other animals that Grandfather Creator blessed this Earth with. The Peoples I speak of are my ancestors, The Tsalagi.

This proud and gentle people learned to watch the animals, to know how to prepare for the changing of the climate. To be aware of preditors, to know what plants were good to eat and which ones to stay away from.

These people also learned to watch for changes in the plants and trees that would fortell of coming storms, or droughts. Giving them time to take shelter or store food.

My ancestors worshipped Grandfather Creator, and respected Our Earth Mother. They believed that Grandfather Creator has given all living things a spirit, the animals, the water, t the plants, the air,the trees.

Because all things have a spirit, they respected all that lived. They would show this respect in many ways. THE most important, I feel , was not to waste anything, to only take from Mother Earth, that which they needed to live. To only take an animals life for food, not for sport, and to use all of that animal. The meat, the hide for clothing, the hooves the claws, nothing would go to waste.

When they would need wood for a fire to cook on or keep warm, would search for trees already down by natural means. If a tree was needed that was still growing, they would speak to the spirit of the tree and explain why it was needed, and make an offering to of corn meal to Earth Mother. The same was true to anything that lived and would give its life for my ancestors.

My people were VERY close to Grandfather Creator. They wake each morning and speak a prayer of thanks for the new day they had been given. They would cleanse their spirit by "going to water", and speak also words of thanks and respect to Long Man, the spirit of the water.

They honored the four directions, The spirit of the East, West, South and North. Each direction having its own special meaning.

My ancestors purified themselves from the smoke of the Sacred Fire , we also burned cedar needles, not the wood as it is too sacred to burn, to drive out the AniSgina (evil spirits) or to help protect from the Dida:hnese:sgi (our term for some witches). It is sometimes used in conjunction with the recitation of an i:gawe:sdi or sometimes simply by itself .

My forefathers lived a simple life, not concerning themselves with vainity, jealousy, envy or the obtaining of material objects. They believed as we all should, that honor and the family more important. The husband and wife worked as a team, the husband building the house, bringing home the meat from the hunt,doing hard manual labor in the fields and protecting the family from harm. The wife would cook,preserve the harvest, tan the hides from the hunt, and make the house a home.