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Cherokee Religious Beliefs, Traditions and Customs
by Randal M. Bundy - 16 August 2015

Cherokee Religious Beliefs, Traditions and Customs
(1) - The Name that is Given to the child at birth which is what he will be known by the tribe.
The name given to the child at birth is what he will be called by his parents and the tribe, but it is not the name he will consider his true name. 

(2) - Food from the point of a Knife
When a baby is born and when that child is ready to take his first bite of meat the father places the meat of a knife point and is given to the child at the point of a knife so that the child learns to appreciate the value of the sharpened knife.  In ancient times the knives were made from sharpened from flint and a wooden handle was carved and the flint was formed into a grove in the wood and tied with dear skin leather straps which had been soaked in water.  When it dried it had shrunk in size and was tight in place.

(3) - The Wilderness, the Tree Stump and the Darkness
When a young Cherokee boy reaches the age of 12 or 14 his father takes him into the woods.  The boy seated on  a tree stump blindfolded and is left alone there for the entire night.  He is instructed by his father that he is must not remove the blindfold or leave the stump until the morning rays of the sun strike his face and penetrate through the blind fold.  He can not cry out for help to anyone or to make a move and he must remain there bravely all night sitting on the tree stump.  Once he survives the night he is welcomed back where he is considered to have begun to enter into his manhood.  He must not tell any of the other boys of his trials he endured through that night since every young boy must enter into manhood on his own.  It is natural for the boy to be absolutely terrified during this ordeal.  In the woods he hears all kinds of frightening things and his mind runs away with him as he experiences the lack of sleep.  Wild beast of the Wilderness could be all around him and ready to eat him at any moment.  Perhaps even humans could be there to harm him.  The wind blows through the Trees and the grass and the tree limbs crackle and the sound of distant coyotes and wolves sound but he must remain and appearing to be unconcerned. He must never remove the blindfold and he must remain as if frozen to that tree stump.  He knows that this is the only way that he can now be accepted back into the tribe as passing the first degree of manhood. 

At last the rays of the morning sun shines on his face and the light of the sun penetrate the blindfold which he can now remove.  It was at that moment that he discovered that his father had been sitting on all night on a tree stump next to him all night and had been there to protect his young son from any possible harm through the night.  This is but one of the methods of bringing out the courage and strength of a young boy.

(4) - The Name the boy selects which only he and the Great Spirit will know
His true name is the name which he himself has selected after he has past the initial Trial of The Wilderness, the Tree Stump and the Darkness.  That name will only be known by himself and the Great Spirit.  He must never tell this name to anyone.  It is the way that he will be able distinguish between the Great Spirit and the evil or mischievous spirits who will attempt to convince him he is hearing the voice of the Great Spirit.

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