Cherokee: Death, Beliefs And Practices – Essay Example
The paper "Cherokee: Death, Beliefs And Practices" is a worthy example of a history essay.
Among the various Indian tribes, the Cherokee was one of the four tribes that were civilized tribes. This is because they assimilated some values and ideologies of the American culture (Fitzgerald 12). Despite this, death, to them remained a respected entity. To them, death was honorable if it came through the fulfillment of good such as fighting for the rights of the living. However, it was also a tool for punishment to make people behave. Honorable death received proper cultural sendoff while death by punishment was like banishment without association with the tribe. They also formed inter tribes, and marriages were only from within tribes. They were extremely religious, believing the earth was alive, and spiritualists were their medicine men. They respected all life, thus observed many taboos relating to use of plants and animals as food.
This group of people is highly culturally spiritual. They perform spiritual dances, prayers, and testimonies within the tribe in substantial happenings such as wars and deaths. Death, to them, is a stage of life and these people accept and receive it honorably when it comes. They see it as a transformative passing from one stage of the living to another stage of the dead (Fitzgerald 43). They believe that, in this stage of death, life continues in another state rather than ends. This belief also made the people be courageous to face dangerous instances such as wars without fear of death. For instance, in the West Ward March, and the signing of transformation treaties with the westerners; most of them died, but they fought on undeterred. The dead would be given a proper cultural sendoff to the next world to meet their predecessors, and prepare a place for the coming of the living.
Death by blood law was the greatest punishment in the tribe (Fitzgerald 56). It bound every member with the fact that failure to adhere to laws and order would lead to death. Such a death was thus believed to be shunned by both the living and dead. Thus, one would also have no place in the afterlife as in the living world. This fact made people adhere to the laws of the land.