According to Cherokee tradition, the place of creation is Kituwah, located at the center of the world and home to the most sacred and oldest of all beloved, or mother, towns. Just by entering Kituwah, or indeed any village site, Cherokees reexperience the creation of the world, when the water beetle first surfaced with a piece of mud that later became the island on which they lived. People of Kituwah is a comprehensive account of the spiritual worldview and lifeways of the Eastern Cherokee people, from the creation of the world to today. Building on vast primary and secondary materials, native and non-native, this book provides a window into not only what the Cherokees perceive and understand-their notions of space and time, marriage and love, death and the afterlife, healing and traditional medicine, and rites and ceremonies-but also how their religious life evolved both before and after the calamitous coming of colonialism. Through the collaborative efforts of John D. Loftin and Benjamin E. Frey, this book offers an in-depth understanding of Cherokee culture and society.
John D. Loftin, who has been hanging around Indian Country for more than 40 years, has taught widely and written in the field of American Indian spirituality. A third-generation North Carolina lawyer, he has also represented the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians since 2003.
Benjamin E. Frey is Assistant Professor of American Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He teaches courses in Cherokee language, philosophy, and worldview, and is proficient in the Cherokee language. He is also involved in the revitalization and preservation of the Cherokee language.
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