Cherokees hunted to feed themselves and their communities using various weapons. Hunting required fasting, ceremony and medicine specific to the undertaking. Cherokee men hunted mainly for sustenance and different game required different tools.
Bows and arrows were primarily used to hunt deer, turkey and other large game. Bows were often made from hickory and black locust trees. Arrows had rivercane shafts with wooden nocks to keep the cane from splitting. The tips of the arrows were flint-napped arrowheads. Dressing and cleaning the game required the use of special scraping tools made with flint-napped blades. Hunters kept a flint knife at the waist or in a sheath around the neck to make it easily accessible. Knives were a necessity for everyday life. For small game like squirrels and rabbits, Cherokees used blowguns.
When a young man wished to be a hunter, he did not just pick up a bow and go off on his own. He had to talk to the priest, who was in charge of training them. Once he killed his first buck, the tip of the tongue was offered to a priest for sacrifice. The priest taught them the sacred ceremonies or hunting. He also taught them how to make the calls that imitated nature to draw the animals closer
Game meat constituted a significant portion of the traditional Cherokee diet, both before and after their adoption of agriculture. The usual game, like deer, turkey, fish, were staples , but the Cherokee also hunted and ate a wide variety of animals that are less commonly consumed today: frogs, squirrels, rabbits, groundhogs, raccoons, bear and buffalo. The fat from mammals such as the buffalo and the bear were a valuable cooking ingredient.
As the hunting season is in full swing here in our mountains, I thought I would find us a little knowledge and a recipe to go with it.
As always thank you for spending a little time with us today and
WELCOME TO THE MOUNTAINS