Cherokee Legends

Unetlanvhi is the Cherokee word for Creator or God. Sometimes Cherokee people today also refer to the Creator as the Great Spirit, a phrase which was borrowed from other tribes of Oklahoma. Unetlanvhi is considered to be a divine spirit with no human form or attributes and is not normally personified in Cherokee myths. Sometimes another name such as Heavenly One (Galvladi’ehi ) or Ruler ( Ouga also spelled Ugv or Ugu) is used instead.
Characters Found in Cherokee Legends:
Jistu – Rabbit, the trickster figure in the folklore of the Cherokee and other Southeastern tribes.
Nunnehi (Travelers) – A supernatural spirit race which is friendly towards humans, particularly towards the Cherokee tribe. Nunnehi are very strong and sometimes intercede in battle on the Cherokees’ behalf. Like Little People, Nunnehi are usually invisible but sometimes show themselves to humans they like (appearing as regal looking human warriors.) Their name is pronounced similar to nun-nay-hee. Stoneclads – Formidable rock giants of Cherokee mythology. Thunderers (Aniyvdaqualosgi or Ani-Yuntikwalaski) – Storm spirits who live in the sky and command thunder and lightning. In Cherokee legends the Thunderers are human in form, unlike many tribes where thunder spirits appear as birds. Cherokee Thunderers are powerful and dangerous, but generally benign and friendly to humans. TlanuwaGiant mythological birds of prey with impenetrable metal feathers, common to the mythology of many Southeastern tribes.  Uktena – A dragon-like horned serpent of Cherokee legend. The first Uktena was said to be transformed from a human man in a failed assassination attempt on the Sun. Most other Cherokee tales about Uktena have to do with Cherokee heroes slaying one. They are malevolent and deadly monsters.
Yunwi Tsunsdi’ (Little People): A race of small humanoid nature spirits, sometimes referred to in English as dwarves or fairies. They are usually invisible but sometimes reveal themselves as miniature child-sized people. Yunwi Tsunsdi are benevolent creatures who frequently help humans in Cherokee stories, but they have magical powers and are said to harshly punish people who are disrespectful or aggressive towards them. The singular form is Yvwi Usdi (pronounced yun-wee oon-stee.)
Famous Cherokee
Cherokee Legends:

October 3, 2015

More than 175 years ago, gold was discovered in the mountains of North Carolina and Georgia and as thousands of new settlers invaded the area, it spawned tensions with the American Indian tribes.

As a result, President Andrew Jackson established the Indian Removal Policy in 1830, which forced theCherokee Nation to give up its lands east of the Mississippi River and migrate to Indian Territory (now present day Oklahoma.) This is the legend of why the wild Cherokee Rose can be found all along the Trail of Tears from North Carolilna to Oklahoma.

Cherokee Legends
November 14, 2014

According to Cherokee legends, in the old days, Grouse had a good voice and Turkey had none. Therefore Turkey asked Grouse to teach him. But Grouse wanted pay, so Turkey promised to give him some feathers for a collar. That is how the Grouse got his collar of turkey feathers.

Cherokee Legends
November 14, 2014

Humming Bird and Crane were both in love with a pretty woman. She liked Humming Bird, who was handsome. Crane was ugly, but he would not give up the pretty woman. So at last to get rid of him, she told them they must have a race, and that she would marry the winner.

Cherokee Legends
November 14, 2014

When the world was new, there was one man and one woman. They were happy; then they quarreled. At last the woman left the man and began to walk away toward the Sunland, the Eastland. The man followed. He felt sorry, but the woman walked straight on. She did not look back.

Cherokee Legends

The First Fire

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November 14, 2014

In the beginning there was no fire and the world was cold. Then the Thunders, who lived up in Galun’lati, sent their lightning and put fire into the bottom of a hollow sycamore tree which grew on an island. The animals knew it was there because they could see the smoke coming out at the top.

Cherokee Legends
February 15, 2004

KEYWORDS: cherokee legend cherokee story wolf analogy wolf story elder wisdom good and evil Cherokee oral story children’s fable story for kids wolves fable An elder cherokee was teaching his grandchildren about life. He said to them, “A fight is going on inside me. It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves.

Cherokee Legends
January 11, 2004

For a long time she heard her parents and Grandparents arguing. It was not so much personal, as it had to do with what was happening to the Cherokee people and how there were rumors and such. Talk of the whiteman forcing us from our land, talk of deceit, which Grandpa always said was the way with most white men, with few exceptions. White politicians? Grandpa would get so angry at even the word politicians and told us to never trust anything they said and did. All they wanted was Indian land and to kill every Indian they could.

Cherokee Legends
March 13, 2002

In the beginning there was only blackness, and nobody could see anything. People kept bumping into each other and groping blindly. 

They said: “What this world needs is light.”

Fox said he knew some people on the other side of the world who had plenty of light, but they were too greedy to share it with others.

Cherokee Legends
September 22, 2001

Some say the modern day Pow Wow competition dance known as the Ladies Fancy Shawl Dance has its roots in a ceremonial dance called the Butterfly Dance. Here is a Cherokee account of how that dance came to be.

Cherokee Legends