The Cherokee were southeastern woodland Indians, and in the winter they lived in houses made of woven saplings, plastered with mud and roofed with poplar bark. In the summer they lived in open-air dwellings roofed with bark. Today the Cherokee live in ranch houses, apartments, and trailers.
Wattle and daub houses (also known as asi, the Cherokee word for them) are Native American houses used by southeastern tribes. Wattle and daub houses are made by weaving rivercane, wood, and vines into a frame, then coating the frame with plaster.
The typical Cherokee town consisted of 30 to 60 houses and a large council house. They built permanent, well-organized villages in the midst of extensive cornfields and gardens throughout the fertile river valleys of the Cherokee country.
Archeological and documentary evidence from sites and sources dating from the 1500s through the 1700s indicate that Cherokee towns included public structures known as townhouses, large outdoor plazas adjacent to townhouses, and domestic structures and activity areas placed around those plazas (Riggs, 2008; Rodning,
Their mattresses consisted of bundles of soft river reeds, and their blankets were made of soft fur. The blankets of male children were mountain-lion skins, to transmit the kid the powers of acute smell, strength cunning and the female children were getting the skins of fawns or buffalo calves, shy and timorous.
A typical Cherokee village would be home to around thirty to fifty families. They would be part of a larger Cherokee clan such as the Wolf Clan or the Bird Clan. The women were responsible for the house, farming, and the family. The men were responsible for hunting and war.
Sequoyah was a Native American scholar who created a writing system for his tribe, giving the Cherokee a unique language of their own. The Cherokee home was a solidly built structure that resembled an upside down basket. It was made of branches and river cane and mud with thatched roofs, sunken into the ground a bit.
They believed the world should have balance, harmony, cooperation, and respect within the community and between people and the rest of nature. Cherokee myths and legends taught the lessons and practices necessary to maintain natural balance, harmony, and health.
Most Cherokees live in close-knit communities in eastern Oklahoma or the Great Smoky Mountains in North Carolina, but a considerable number live throughout North America and in cities such as New York, Chicago, San Francisco, and Toronto.
Today, three Cherokee tribes are federally recognized: the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians (UKB) in Oklahoma, the Cherokee Nation (CN) in Oklahoma, and the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI) in North Carolina.
Basketry, pottery, stone carving, wood carving, bead working, finger weaving, and traditional masks are a few of the timeless forms of Cherokee art that endure today.
Village Life: The Cherokee lived in villages. Each village was home to about 400-500 people. In each village, there were 30-60 homes, a plaza, a town square, and a council house large enough to hold all the villagers during a village meeting. A wall of tall poles tied together surrounded each village.
“Two or more Families join together in building a hot-house, about 30 feet Diameter, and 15 feet high, in form of a Cone, with Poles and thatched, without any air-hole, except a small door about 3 feet high and 18 Inches wide.
The wood used was consistent with wood that was present in Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia and North Carolina. The winter home Cherokees lived in was usually 25 feet in diameter with a large amount of dirt packed around the base.
Today, the Eastern Cherokee maintain traditions of music, storytelling, dance, foodways, carving, basket-making, headwork, pottery, blowgun-making, flint-knapping, and more. Their language, which was forbidden by the federal schools for more than half a century, is being revived in classrooms and the community.