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 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
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.