Seven Clans

   

Quedi taught me what I know of the seven clans. There are fewer and fewer Cherokees today that can name the seven clans and even fewer that know to which clan they belong.

In the beginning, the Cherokee people were many and lived in a country of mountains and plenty of water. It was peaceful and the Blue Light gave them strength. But one day, a mountain exploded in this country. The destruction forced the People to leave, searching for a new home. All could not go so the council selected people from each of the twelve clans to find a new home. Along the long journey, five of the clans were destroyed leaving only seven. These people of the seven clans finally came to rest once again in the mountains where the water flowed clear and cold and they grew to be many again.

There are two numbers that occur over and over again in Cherokee life, songs and stories. These are the number four and the number seven. There are four winds that blow across the land, four phases of the moon, four principal directions (East, North, South and West) and four sacred colors (Red, Blue, White and Black). The number seven appears in the seven encompassing directions (North, South, East, West, Up, Down and Where I Now Stand), seven heavens (the Giver of Breath lives in the seventh heaven) and the seven clans. The names for the seven clans are in the ancient language and there is debate about exactly how the names are interpreted. But this is what I was told of the clans and what they mean:

Ani-Waya

The Wolf People

Ani-Go-ti-ge-wi-dv

Comes From the North

Ani-Wo-di

The Paint People

Ani-Gi-lo-hi-dv

The Long Hair

Ani-Tsi-s-qua

The Bird People

Ani-Kawi

The Deer People

Ani-Sa-ho-ni

The Blue People

 

 

 

Seven Clans Photo

Medium: Hand coiled native clay, pit fired.

Description: 9"HX91/2"W. A large vessle, highly polished, smoothed and fired. A polychrome jar with a deep walnut brown on the bottom half of the vessel and a lighter brown on the top. Seven spirals spin from the mouth of the vessel, terminating in seven whirlpools around the middle of the piece. Locusts thorns were used to etch designs in each of the seven spirals, a different design representing each of the seven clans. These etched designs as well as the spiral lines reveal the beige/yellow clay beneath.

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$1,400.00