Essay Sample on the Cherokee's Culture

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Sewanee University of the South
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A. The Cherokee has a very peculiar culture. I choose the community because they are the indigenous community in the United States. They were a number of tribes referred to as Cherokee. They had similar culture or way of life. The cultures involved religion, leadership, law, and politics. The federal government of the United States recognizes three tribes as Cherokees. The Cherokees were farmers, hunters, and gatherers (Conley, 2005).

Some of the interesting folkways about the Cherokees is that they would slit their ears one at a time and have it enlarged. The ears would later be adorned with rings and other ornaments. The process was incredibly painful (Conley, 2005). The Cherokees were grouped in chiefdoms and clans. Intermarriage among clan members was taboo. This was a very important value. Every chiefdom had elders who possessed priestly powers. The elders position was hereditary, and the elder had great powers such as the power to heal and purify (Sturm, 2002). They also led their communities in prayers. This denotes that the community believed in a supernatural power.

A group of warriors composed of young men led the community to wars. Sex was also a taboo four days prior to the war for the young men (Sturm, 2002). However, the war was a bad thing in the community. The people referred to it as a polluting phenomenon. Therefore, upon resuming from war, the young men had to be purified by the communitys priest in order to be reintegrated into the community. This is one of the interesting cultures in the community. They valued peace, and that is why they took war for a bad thing.

B. Agents of socialization in the Cherokees community included the parents, priests, elders, family, and the community at large. Agents of socialization play a crucial role in shaping the behaviors of an individual in a community, especially at their childhood (Witt, 2016). In the community, the elders who were also the priest played a critical role in preparing the warriors for war. They would prepare and cleanse them after the war. The men were also urged to abstain from sexual intercourse prior to the war (Sturm, 2002). This was a way of instilling discipline in them.

The parents and family who determined a clan to a member of the Cherokee community also played a big role as agents of socialization. An individual was forbidden from marrying a member of one's clan. This prevented intermarriages among relatives, which could lead to birth defects.

Peers were other agents of socialization. As the young men prepared for war, they kept an eye on each other in order to make their war a success. The peers are instrumental in shaping the behavior of an individual at childhood and as an adult (Witt, 2016). Peer groups are very influential.

C. Studying the culture of the Cherokees have enlightened me in a big way about the community and the society. The Cherokees and other Native Americans are some of the people who are looked down upon by others in the society due to their primitive culture. However, I have learned that the values held by the communities have a good intention behind it. I have been able to differentiate the values of my culture and that of the Cherokees. Our religious beliefs contrast in a big way, and this informs some of our different approach to life. For example, they Cherokees had restrictions on killing some animals such as the deer, eagles, wolf, and the rattlesnake. However, there was religious connotation behind it.



Conley, R. J. (2005). The Cherokee Nation: A History. UNM Press.Sturm, C. (2002). Blood politics: Race, culture, and identity in the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Witt, J. (2016). SOC 2016. (4th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Education


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