Faith of the Cherokee people

"When the early missionaries came among the Cherokees, they were astonished at the similarity of the religious traditions of the Cherokees to the biblical accounsts. In recounting the religious views of the Cherokees, they stated that from time immemorial the tribe had been divided in sentiment. That while the greater part had been idolatrous, worshiping the sun, moon, stars and other gods, a small portion denied that system and taught that there were three beings above, who created all things and will judge all men. Thet they fixed the time and manner of death. Their names were: U-ha-he-ta-qua, the great head of all power; A-ta-no-ti and Us-qua-hu-la. These three beings were said to be always unanimous in thought and actiion and always will be. They sit on three white seats above and are the only objects to which worship and prayers should be directed. The Angels are their messengers and come down to earth to attend to the affairs of men."

"They claimed that Yehowa was the name of a great king. He was a man and yet a spirit, a great and glorious being. His name was never to be spoken in common talk. This great king commanded them to rest every seventh day. They were told not to work on this day and that they should devote it to talking about God."

"Yehowa created the world in seven days at Nu-ta-te-qua or the first new moon of autumn, with the fruits all ripe. God made the first man of red clay and he was an Indian, and made woman of one of his ribs. All people were Indians or red people before the flood. They had preachers and prophets who taught the people to obey God and their parents. They warned the people of the approaching flood, but said that the world would only be destroyed by water once, and that later it would be destroyed by fire, when God would send a shower of pitch and then a shower of fire which would burn up everything. They also taught that after death the good and the bad would be separated, the good would take a path that would lead to happiness, where it would always be light, but the bad would be urged along another path which would lead to a deep chasm over which lay a pole with a dog at each end. They would be urged on to this pole and the dogs, by moving it, would throw them off into the gulf of fire beneath."

It continues with a story similiar to the Biblical story of the flood, a story of Aquahami similiar to the story of Abraham, and Wasi similiar to Moses. ... "On account of the fact that the Cherokees thought that the missionaries were bringing back to them their old religion, it was a comparaively easy task to convert them...to a Christian nation." --from pages 23 and 24 of History of the Cherokee Indians by Emmet Starr, published by HOFFMEAN PRINTING CO., INC. Muskogee, Oklahoma 1984, Copyright 1979 by OKLAHOMA YESTERDAY PUBLICATIONS Doroth Tincup Mauldin, Editor-Publisher


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