Seven Cherokee Myths

Creation, Fire, the Primordial Parents, the Nature of Evil, the Family, Universal Suffering, and Communal Obligation


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About the Book

Like ancient peoples the world over, the Cherokees of the southern Appalachian Mountains passed along their traditions and beliefs through stories, songs, dances, and religious and healing rituals. With the creation of Cherokee writing by Sequoyah, some of the traditions were also recorded in books. While evoking local geography and natural phenomena, the stories were also enhanced by powerful psychological and spiritual dynamics. This work examines seven myths that grew out of Cherokee culture, looking at how they emerged to explain archetypal issues. Each of the seven stories is told in full and is followed by a detailed history and analysis that provides its background, its associated rituals, and its psychological basis. One quickly discovers that while the myths are ancient, they are strikingly modern in their understanding of human personality development, family dynamics, community solidarity, and the reality of religion or spirituality. Grounded in the experience of this American Indian people and the land they inhabited, the myths tell universal truths.

Instructors considering this book for use in a course may request an examination copy here.

About the Author(s)

Jungian Analyst and Pastoral Counselor G. Keith Parker lives in Brevard, North Carolina.

Bibliographic Details

G. Keith Parker

Foreword by Joyce Dugan and Paul Brutsche

Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 216
Bibliographic Info: photos, maps, appendices, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2006
pISBN: 978-0-7864-2364-4
eISBN: 978-1-4766-0402-2
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      vii

Foreword by Paul Brutsche       1

Foreword by Joyce Conseen Dugan       3

Preface      5

Introduction      11

Maps: Cherokee Country; Cherokee Myth Locations      31

1. The Cherokee Creation Story      33

2. The First Fire      48

3. Kana’ti and Selu: The Origin of Game and Corn      58

4. U’tlun’ta, the Spear-finger, and Nun’yunu’wi, the Stone Man      87

5. Tsul’Kalu’, or Judaculla, the Slant-Eyed Giant      108

6. Kana’sta, or Connestee, the Lost Settlement      141

7. Tsuwe’nahi: A Legend of Pilot Knob      160

Conclusion      177

Appendix A: Summary Notes on Dr. C.G. Jung and Analytical Psychology      183

Appendix B: Wahnenauhi Version of Kana’ti and Selu      186

Appendix C: The Hunter and Selu      188

Appendix D: Judaculla’s Judgment Seat Citation Giving the Popular Name of “Devil’s Courthouse”      189

Appendix E. “A Small Postscript of the ways and maners of the Indians called Charikees” by Alexander Long      191

Chapter Notes      195

Selected Bibliography      201

Index      205

Book Reviews & Awards

“What a remarkable and innovative book this is!”—Appalachian Heritage.