The Stomp Dance: A First-hand Perspective on Cherokee Tradition.
The pendulum is once again swinging, and the fate of the Cherokee Nation is in constant limbo. The ancestral land is gone, tribal sovereignty is in constant peril, and the agreements between the United States and the tribes are once again under threat. However, underneath the hate, racism, injustice, and darkness, a slight ember can be detected, a light that has survived centuries of persecution.
At the end of a seamlessly never-ending tunnel of darkness, our sacred fire can be found at the heart of the Nation, our eternal fire. Unlike many indigenous tribes who have lost their cultures, histories, and languages, the heritage of the Cherokees is thankfully one that can be found in quantity. Though many documents have yet to be recorded or digitized, much information about the Cherokee people can be found online. Suppose one were to research the Cherokee people online. In that case, countless resources can be found, many of which regarding historical treaties with the United States, the revitalization efforts of the Cherokee language, and even the history of the Cherokee Phoenix, the first native American newspaper in an indigenous language. This past year especially has seen the Cherokee Nation mentioned a number of times concerning the reevaluation of the Treaty of New Echota, promising a non-voting representative to the US congress for the Cherokee Nation.
Although remarkable work has been done in preserving and recording the history of the Cherokees, one topic still seldom discussed in depth is the role and explanation of Cherokee religion and spirituality. What is it? Were the Cherokee religious? What did the Cherokee practice before the introduction of Christianity, and does it still exist?
So, I will tell you about my first-hand experience with Cherokee spirituality and how it has allowed me to become closer to our people and ancestors. However, before I depict my perspective, we first need to understand what the Cherokees practice; the Stomp Dance.
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ᏩᏙ (Thank you),
ᏙᏧᏩ Sean Sikora,
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