Cherokee Food and subsistence practices. Traditional Tsalagi recipes of the Cherokee tribe.
The Cherokee people were hunters, gatherers, and farmers. Prior to the mid-eighteenth century women did most of the farming, while men were responsible for hunting, fishing, and clearing fields for planting. Women also owned the farms, homes and most posessions, except hunting weapons.
The traditional Cherokee diet consisted of mostly wild meat, especially wild hogs and white-tailed deer, and corn and bean bread, pumpkins, dried fruit, and nuts, which were usually ground into a flour to be used in other dishes.
The principle crops they grew were maise (corn), beans, and squash. They also grew pumpkins, sunflowers, sweet potatoes, peaches and watermelons. Around 1739, Cherokee women began growing cotton and flax, and they became expert spinners and weavers.
During the summer months, the Cherokee harvested large numbers of fish by putting buckeye pulp in the rivers, which contains a poison that stunned the fish and made them float to the surface where they could easily be gathered. They were then barbecued and a great feast was held. Fry bread was also a Cherokee staple, as it was with many Plains Indian tribes. In the old days, the Cherokee considered dogs a delicacy, which helped them through leaner times.
Tsi'yu-gunsini - Dragging Canoe, Chickamaugas Chief Tsi'yu-gunsini was a war leader who led a dissident band of young Cherokees against the United States in the American Revolutionary War. Dragging Canoe is considered by many to be the most significant leader of the Southeast, and provided a significant role model for the younger Tecumseh, who was a member of a band of Shawnee living with the Chickamaugas and taking part in their wars.