Christopher Teuton and Hastings Shade’s Cherokee Earth Dwellers makes traditional Cherokee wisdom, language, teachings, and culture accessible to all because it “is time for all to know.”
Based on the work and teachings of the late Hastings Shade—a Cherokee Nation citizen, elder, cultural traditionalist, educator, storyteller, and “man of the woods”—this book includes traditional knowledge of the sort that was once only shared within families and communities. At the same time, it respects Cherokee cultural boundaries around details of ceremonies and medicine. Teuton, a Cherokee Nation citizen, added the contributions of Shade’s wife, Loretta; his son, Larry; and invited friends who are well known as community knowledge-keepers.
Believing that language is the soul of the people, the book notes that the Cherokee nation and their government implemented decolonization and language revitalization programs to remedy the damage done by those who wished to eradicate Cherokee language and culture. This book is an important contribution to that work, providing insight into the ways that the Cherokee perceive their place in the cosmos and among Earth’s creatures. Together with lists of Cherokee words with their pronunciations, meanings, and English translations, its convivial telling of traditional and current stories, both reverent and humorous, brings the Cherokee worldview to life.
The book reveals that current science is just now catching up with prescient Native American teachings: that everything in existence vibrates and gives off a hum; that one day the world would be covered with a giant “spider web”; and that everything in the world is alive, is connected with everything else, and has a message for those who are able to listen.
Cherokee Earth Dwellers imparts a full, rich, and exciting vision of a living Cherokee cosmos that fosters balance, health, maturity, and awareness of the interconnection of all that is.
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