Cherokee Origins - Jewish Indians

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Early Colonial Accounts Show Cherokee Hebrews

As truly amazing as it may sound to us Modern Americans, the original British Colonists who wrote about the Early Cherokee or Old Cherokee (of the Mediavel Cherokee Era of the 1600s) report that they were some kind of Hebrews or Jewish Sect!

These include the reports of Payne, Butrick, and Adair. And Bartram (1701) presented the Cherokee as unique among the other Native Americans as they were NOT idolatrous, but seem to have some kind of God-fearing religion, and belief in a ONE TRUE GOD!

Now, while modern historians tend to laugh at these claims, the records of this Era, seem to be rather convincing--at face value. And thus the Early or Mediavel Cherokee had some kind of Jewish, if not Messianic (Jewish-Christian) Religion. So, let us take a brief look at some of the facts in the historical record and consider: 1- the Mediavel Cherokee Temple, 2- the their Religious Calendar and Holy Dayss, 3- the Jewish "Indian" myths and legends that they taught, and lastly, 4- their amazing Cherokee Combat Routine. And, thus, we should get a reasonable picture of just what the Old Cherokee Religion was like.

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The National Heptagon:

The Jewish Design of the Main Cherokee Temple

One of the most Sacred things to most Jews, is the importance of the Temple in Jerusalem. Apparently, the Mediavel Cherokee also had a similar attitude.

The Cherokee Hebrews built a 7-sided Temple for the place of their main worship. It faced East, as did the Temple in Jerusalem. Inside, was a Sacred Fire, that was kept buring all year, and was re-lit on an Indian Festival Day like Yom Kipper--as was the Menorah of the Temple in Jerusalem. Moreover, they had a variety of Temple purification rituals and activities, that seem to resemble those used in the Temple in Jerusalem.

And there is NO WAY that this is just "coincidental". Somewhere in the Cherokee Origins, the Old Cherokee must have had Jewish contact!

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Hebrew Festivals:

Cherokee Corn Feasts Parallel Jewish Holy Days!

Also, one of the more convincing evidences is that the Jews followed a Religious Calendar of 7 main Festivals. And so did the Mediavel Cherokee! Even more so, examination of these Celebrations show that they were basically about the same thing--except that the Cherokee followed the growing cycle of corn, rather than that of barley and wheat, as the Jews did.

And for a brief summary, these Mediavel Cherokee Festivals were:

which would have been literally the Day of Passover, and was accompanied by the slaughter of a lot of animals to prepare the meat for that Feast Day, and was set by the sprouting of the new grass of Spring (like the Passover Barley)! [Not to mention the intensive Spring Cleaning of the Feast!]

which was when the corn first balled, so that it could be cooked and eaten--similar to First Fruits, when the Barley was first edible. (However, for the Cherokee, this occured later in the year, more towards Summer, as the Climate in America was not as warm as in the Middle East).

which was set for 50 days after the Green Corn Festival (like Pentecost)--and when the Sacred Fire in the Heptagon (like the Jewish Temple Menorah) was re-lit for the next year!

which was set as the first Full Moon of Autumn, and when Cherokee myth said that the whole world was created (and similar to Rosh HaShannah)!

for cleansing one's soul of Sin, and joining in UNITY with the Community as they ALL joined with the Creator--setting their relationship to HIM in cement (and similar to the Day of Atonement, with its earlier Kol Nidre purifications and making ammends.) Moreover, as this ended the Torah Study Cycle, many Jewish boys were often bar mitzvahed here, with an appropriate ceremony for Cherokee lads, also.

or a very loose approximating of the 8 Day Feast of Tabernacles--and in the Fall.

7- Various other minor Festivals.

Now, the mathematical odds on these connections happening just by "accident" are ATRONOMICAL! Therefore, the Old Cherokee, back in Cherokee History somehow, had to have Jewish contact! And since they were observant of Jewish Festivals, they have to be Jews of some sort! (Though, perhaps, not "Orthodox"! For they ate pork and were not circumcised. Maybe, Sadduccean Jews, then?)

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Cherokee Creation:

Jewish "Indians" Myths and Legends!

Mediavel Cherokee myths very closely paralleled the Old Testament Bible Stories. They had Aquahami (as Abraham) and Wasi or Washie (as Moses)--or sometimes Hasi. Though, other Native American myths and legends seem to have also gotten incorporated, here and there, too, along with the standard Biblical line.

But, most dramatic of all, is the story of the First Man and First Woman. For the ONE CREATOR made the world in 7 Days, similar to the Biblical account! And, the First Cherokee Man was Kayanty (the hunter) and the First Woman was Sheluva or Shelu (Sele is "corn"). Moreover, the First Corn Woman was bitten by the evil snake, and thus brought death to all the Redmen! (And there are MORE parallel tales!)

However, the Mediavel Cherokee also belived in the Trinity, and that while God was ONE, according to their legends, HE could, at times, be in 3 parts: the Father or Creator being UHaloTayQua, the Son or Uniter being ATaNeVTy, and the Great Spirit or Holy Ghost being USQauHuLau. Moreover, they used the emblem of the Cross as the focus of the main dance for the Bonding Bush Festival. Consequently, if the Mediavel Cherokee believed in the Trinity and used the Cross, then they must have been Christians of some sort, too. Thus, our Messianic label of them.

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Cherokee Combat:

Jewish Ark Leads Battle Formation!

OKAY, the most convincing fact of the Jewishness of the Old Cherokee is seen in the confirmed tale that when they went into combat, they took a sacred ark (like the Jews) into battle with them. However, it was smaller than the historical Jewish ark, and as a large basket was carried by one warrior, who was also a Cherokee Priest. Now, no one but Jews are going to be carrying a sacred ark into combat!

And the odds that they just developed this "coincidently" are out of this world--especially when you consider with other correlations of indicators which say they were Jews.

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Our Conclusions:

Cherokee History shows that WE were Jews!

No matter how you slice and dice the historical facts (unless you just ignore them--or write them off as lunacy), you have to come to the rational conclusion, based on all the evidence (and we have only presented a brief over-view of all that there is), that the Mediavel Cherokee of the 1600s were Jewish! And even more so, because of their Christian beliefs, here and there (like the Trinity), they also had to be some kind of Messianic (Jewish-Christian)! Or, Cherokee Messianics! For this was, apparently, the Old Cherokee Religion.

OK, but how in the world could this have happened? Well, we will cover that in our next article, on the CHEROKEE-VIKING HERITAGE.

Judeo-Christian Teachings

Ok, but just what did the Old Cherokee teach? And how much of it was Judeo-Christian? Well, we don't know exactly, and only by second hand--from what others wrote about it. However, for Our JChIN Tribal Membership Course, we have tried to collect and assemble the Main Teachings or what we call Our CORE CULTURE into a series of lessons. And, compare what we have found that the Old Cherokee taught, with standard Judeo-Christian Teachings. If you are interested, take a look at Our ANi SYLLABUS.

1- Much of the information for the early or Mediavel Cherokee comes from the colonial works of Payne, Butrick, and Adair, a lot of which is quoted in THE CHEROKEE PEOPLE--The Story of the Cherokees, from Earliest Origins to Contemporary Times; by Thomas E. Mails, published in 1992 by Council Oak Books of Tulsa, Oklahoma.

2- Supplemental information confirming Mails work can also be found in The HISTORY OF THE CHEROKEE INDIANS and Their Legends and Folklore by Emmet Starr from Oklahoma City in 1921 but was reprinted by Genealogical Publishing Company of Baltimore, Maryland in 2004.

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Filed: 02-12-05 . . . Updated 04-02-07