United Keetowah Band of Cherokee

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Cultural History

In 1838 and 1839, the Cherokees migrated to the Indian Territory back in Georgia. They were not found in Georgia today but in northeastern Oklahoma. "Keetowah" and "Kituwah" can be actually used both and interchangeably. Before, they say that Cherokees call themselves as "Kituhwagi" during ceremonial occasions. That was in the early 1900's. The name "Kituwah" really has a meaning to Cherokee people but many ignore it and consider that name as an ancient title given to a society.  They say that this tribe just adopted this name as theirs. However, this saying is not true. The truth is it is given directly to the Cherokee people from the Creator. Kituwah people's legends say that their name was given after seven of the wisest men of the past Cherokees people. They are the ones who fasted for seven days and nights in order for them to obtain guidance from their creator. "Clingman's dome" is what this peak is popularly called now. On the last day of their fast, the creator told them that they shall be called Kituwah. The former chief of the Easter Band of Cherokee named Dugan confirmed that one name that they can call their tribe is Kituwah.

The place where they said that the Creator gave the laws and fire to the Cherokee people is the Kituwah Mound. It is their mother town which is located in Bryson City, North Carolina. The Eastern Band cultural office said that the Kituwah Mound is not just an ordinary place but it is a place where Cherokee started to grow. The Constitution of the Keetoowahs written in 1859 stated that they studied and investigated the way of their nation and their past history. They concluded that before, their Keetowah forefathers loved each other and are free people and it is different right now. Their forefathers did not surrender to anybody; they have strong personalities and loved each other as one family.

Another thing that they have observed is that the Keetoowahs are the most traditional and conservative among all the Cherokees. They are the one who holds the full-blood Cherokee ways. If the ways of Cherokee stopped, the legends say that they will be no more. This topic has been talked about by the Kituwah spiritual leaders. It does not literally mean that they will die physically but it is equivalent for them to being non-Indians. After the creation, it was morning; they say that the sacred fire has burned. The keepers of the Cherokee tradition are the Keetoowahs themselves. 

The Kituwah People lived before in the southeastern part of United States, including what we know now as Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, North Carolina and South Carolina. Through the investigation made by the Archaeologists, they knew that it was by the late 1790's that the Cherokee families started going to Arkansas. (ATU Research Station, University of Arkansas)

Not all Cherokee people wanted a civilized life. That is the reason why in 1808, people from the upper and lower towns of their nation decided to go to Washington D.C. just to inform the President of the United States that sort of thing.

They still want to continue their traditional life up to this day. 

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