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Cherokee Indians Have you ever wondered how the Cherokee Indians way of life was Today many Cherokee Indians live like most other North Americans They are one of the largest Indian nations In the past they practiced a different way of life These facts will give you a better understanding of what the Cherokee way of life was Cherokee pronounced Chair-uh-key The name comes from the creek word chelokee which means people of a different speech The Ch-refer- to themselves as Ani-Yum wiya meaning the real people or the principal people or Tsalagi which comes from a Choctaw word for people living in a land of many caves The Cherokee originally lived in part of eight present day southeastern states North Carolina South Carolina Virginia West Virginia Kentucky Tennessee Georgia and Alabama In the late 1990s most Cherokees lived in northeastern Oklahoma North Carolina and Tennessee The Cherokee people were a confederacy consisting of as many as 200 separate towns that were near in the river valleys of the southern Appalachian Mountains The people in these towns shared a common language and customs but each town had its own chief and there was no chief or government for the confederacy The Cherokee were farming in the southern Appalachian region for 1000 years when they first met Europeans in 1540 as Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto led a party through Cherokee lands The Cherokee had very little contact with outsiders until the 1600s when white traded with them for manufactured goods such as metal tools glass cloth and firearms The Cherokee language is the southern branch of the Iroquoian language It is different from northern Iroquoian languages like Mohawk In the Cherokee language verbs and nouns are not single words but phrases that include descriptions of an action or object Some words have several meanings and meaning is
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