Cherokee Hominid Histories

Posted: October 25, 2011 in Uncategorized

 Tsul’kälû, The Slant-eyed Giant

A long time ago a widow lived with her one daughter at the old town of Känuga on Pigeon river. The girl was of age to marry, and her mother used to talk with her a good deal, and tell her she must

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be sure to take no one but a good hunter for a husband, so that they would have some one to take care of them and would always have plenty of meat in the house. The girl said such a man was hard to find, but her mother advised her not to be in a hurry, and to wait until the right one came.

Now the mother slept in the house while the girl slept outside in the âsï. One dark night a stranger came to the âsï wanting to court the girl, but she told him her mother would let her marry no one but a good hunter. “Well,” said the stranger, “I am a great hunter,” so she let him come in, and he stayed all night. Just before day he said he must go back now to his own place, but that he had brought some meat for her mother, and she would find it outside. Then he went away and the girl had not seen him. When day came she went out and found there a deer, which she brought into the house to her mother, and told her it was a present from her new sweetheart. Her mother was pleased, and they had deersteaks for breakfast.

He came again the next night, but again went away before daylight, and this time he left two deer outside. The mother was more pleased this time, but said to her daughter, “I wish your sweetheart would bring us some wood.” Now wherever he might be, the stranger knew their thoughts, so when he came the next time he said to the girl, “Tell your mother I have brought the wood”; and when she looked out in the morning there were several great trees lying in front of the door, roots and branches and all. The old woman was angry, and said, “He might have brought us some wood that we could use instead of whole trees that we can’t split, to litter up the road with brush.” The hunter knew what she said, and the next time he came he brought nothing, and when they looked out in the morning the trees were gone and there was no wood at all, so the old woman had to go after some herself.

Almost every night he came to see the girl, and each time he brought a deer or some other game, but still he always left before daylight. At last her mother said to her, “Your husband always leaves before daylight. Why don’t he wait? I want to see what kind of a son-in-law I have.” When the girl told this to her husband he said he could not let the old woman see him, because the sight would frighten her. “She wants to see you, anyhow,” said the girl, and began to cry, until at last he had to consent, but warned her that her mother must not say that he looked frightful (usga’së`ti’yu).

The next morning he did not leave so early, but stayed in the âsï, and when it was daylight the girl went out and told her mother. The old woman came and looked in, and there she saw a great giant, with long slanting eyes (tsul`kälû’), lying doubled up on the floor, with his head against the rafters in the left-hand corner at the back, and his toes scraping the roof in the right-hand corner by the door. She

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gave only one look and ran back to the house, crying, Usga’së`ti’yu! Usga’së`ti’yu!

Tsul`kälû’ was terribly angry. He untwisted himself and came out of the âsï, and said good-bye to the girl, telling her that he would never let her mother see him again, but would go back to his own country. Then he went off in the direction of Tsunegûñ’yï.

Soon after he left the girl had her monthly period. There was a very great flow of blood, and the mother threw it all into the river. One night after the girl had gone to bed in the âsï her husband came again to the door and said to her, “It seems you are alone,” and asked where was the child. She said there had been none. Then he asked where was the blood, and she said that her mother had thrown it into the river. She told just where the place was, and he went there and found a small worm in the water. He took it up and carried it back to the âsï, and as he walked it took form and began to grow, until, when he reached the âsï, it was a baby girl that he was carrying. He gave it to his wife and said, “Your mother does not like me and abuses our child, so come and let us go to my home.” The girl wanted to be with her husband, so, after telling her mother good-bye, she took up the child and they went off together to Tsunegûñ’yï.

Now, the girl had an older brother, who lived with his own wife in another settlement, and when he heard that his sister was married he came to pay a visit to her and her new husband, but when he arrived at Känuga his mother told him his sister had taken her child and gone away with her husband, nobody knew where. He was sorry to see his mother so lonely, so he said he would go after his sister and try to find her and bring her back. It was easy to follow the footprints of the giant, and the young man went along the trail until he came to a place where they had rested, and there were tracks on the ground where a child had been lying and other marks as if a baby had been born there. He went on along the trail and came to another place where they had rested, and there were tracks of a baby crawling about and another lying on the ground. He went on and came to where they had rested again, and there were tracks of a child walking and another crawling about. He went on until he came where they had rested again, and there were tracks of one child running and another walking. Still he followed the trail along the stream into the mountains, and came to the place where they had rested again, and this time there were footprints of two children running all about, and the footprints can still be seen in the rock at that place.

Twice again he found where they had rested. and then the trail led up the slope of Tsunegûñ’yï, and he heard the sound of a drum and voices, as if people were dancing inside the mountain. Soon he came to n eave like a doorway in the side of the mountain, but the rock was so steep and smooth that he could not climb tip to it, but could only

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just look over the edge and see the heads and shoulders of a great many people dancing inside. He saw his sister dancing among them and called to her to come out. She turned when she heard his voice, and as soon as the drumming stopped for a while she came out to him, finding no trouble to climb down the rock, and leading her two little children by the hand. She was very glad to meet her brother and talked with him a long time, but did not ask him to come inside, and at last he went away without having seen her husband.

Several other times her brother came to the mountain, but always his sister met him outside, and he could never see her husband. After four years had passed she came one day to her mother’s house and said her husband had been hunting in the woods near by, and they were getting ready to start home to-morrow, and if her mother and brother would come early in the morning they could see her husband. If they came too late for that, she said, they would find plenty of meat to take home. She went back into the woods, and the mother ran to tell her son. They came to the place early the next morning, but Tsul`kälû’ and his family were already gone. On the drying poles they found the bodies of freshly killed deer hanging, as the girl had promised, and there were so many that they went back and told all their friends to come for them, and there were enough for the whole settlement.

Still the brother wanted to see his sister and her husband, so he went again to the mountain, and she came out to meet him. He asked to see her husband, and this time she told him to come inside with her. They went in as through a doorway, and inside he found it like a great townhouse. They seemed to be alone, but his sister called aloud, “He wants to see you,” and from the air came a voice, “You can not see me until you put on a new dress, and then you can see me.” “I am willing,” said the young man, speaking to the unseen spirit, and from the air came the voice again, “Go back, then, and tell your people that to see me they must go into the townhouse and fast seven days, and in all that time they must not come out from the townhouse or raise the war whoop, and on the seventh day I shall come with new dresses for you to put on so that you can all see me.”

The young man went back to Känuga and told the people. They all wanted to see Tsul`kälû’, who owned all the game in the mountains, so they went into the townhouse and began the fast. They fasted the first day and the second and every day until the seventh-all but one man from another settlement, who slipped out every night when it was dark to get something to eat and slipped in again when no one was watching. On the morning of the seventh day the sun was just coming up in the east when they beard a great noise like the thunder of rocks rolling down the side of Tsunegûñ’yï. They were frightened and drew near together in the townhouse, and no one whispered.

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Nearer and louder came the sound until it grew into an awful roar, and every one trembled and held his breath-all but one man, the stranger from the other settlement, who lost his senses from fear and ran out of the townhouse and shouted the war cry.

At once the roar stopped and for some time there was silence. Then they heard it again, but as if it where going farther away, and then farther and farther, until at last it died away in the direction of Tsunegûñ’yï, and then all was still again. The people came out from the townhouse, but there was silence, and they could see nothing but what had been seven days before.

Still the brother was not disheartened, but came again to see his sister, and she brought him into the mountain. He asked why Tsul`kälû’ had not. brought the new dresses, as he had promised, and the voice from the air said, “I came with them, but you did not obey my word, but broke the fast and raised the war cry.” The young man answered, “It was not done by our people, but by a stranger. If you will come again, we will surely do as you say.” But the voice answered, “Now you can never see me.” Then the young man could not say any more, and he went back to Känuga.

 Käna’sta, The Lost Settlement

Long ago, while people still lived in the old town of Käna’sta, on the French Broad, two strangers, who looked in no way different from other Cherokee, came into the settlement one day and made their way into the chief’s house. After the first greetings were over the chief asked them from what town they had come, thinking them from one of the western settlements, but they said, “We are of your people and our town is close at hand, but you have never seen it. Here you have wars and sickness, with enemies on every side, and after a while a stronger enemy will come to take your country from you, We are always happy, and we have come to invite you to live with us in our town over there,” and they pointed toward Tsuwa`tel’da (Pilot knob). “We do not live forever, and do not always find game when we go for it, for the game belongs to Tsul`kälû’, who lives in Tsunegûñ’yï, but we have peace always and need not think of danger. We go now, but if your people will live with us let them fast seven days, and we shall come then to take them.” Then they went away toward the west.

The chief called his people together into the townhouse and they held a council over the matter and decided at last to go with the strangers. They got all their property ready for moving, and then went again into the townhouse and began their fast. They fasted six days, and on the morning of the seventh, before yet the sun was high, they saw a great company coming along the trail from the west, led by the two men

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who had stopped with the chief. They seemed just like Cherokee from another settlement, and after a friendly meeting they took up a part of the goods to be carried, and the two parties started back together for Tsuwa`tel’da. There was one man from another town visiting at Käna’sta, and he went along with the rest.

When they came to the mountain, the two guides led the way into a cave, which opened out like a great door in the side of the rock. Inside they found an open country and a town, with houses ranged in two long rows from east to west. The mountain people lived in the houses on the south side, and they had made ready the other houses for the new comers, but even after all the people of Käna’sta, with their children and belongings, had moved in, there were still a large number of houses waiting ready for the next who might come. The mountain people told them that there was another town, of a different people, above them in the same mountain, and still farther above, at the very top, lived the Ani’-Hyûñ’tïkwälâ’skï (the Thunders).

Now all the people of Käna’sta were settled in their new homes, but the man who had only been visiting with them wanted to go back to his own friends. Some of the mountain people wanted to prevent this, but the chief said, “No; let him go if he will, and when he tells his friends they may want to come, too. There is plenty of room for all.” Then he said to the man, “Go back and tell your friends that if they want to come and live with us and be always happy, there is a place here ready and waiting for them. Others of us live in Datsu’nalâsgûñ’yï and in the high mountains all around, and if they would rather go to any of them it is all the same. We see you wherever you go and are with you in all your dances, but you can not see us unless you fast. If you want to see us, fast four days, and we will come and talk with you; and then if you want to live with us, fast again seven days, and we will come and take you.” Then the chief led the man through the cave to the outside of the mountain and left him there, but when the man looked back he saw no cave, but only the solid rock.

*    *    *    *    *    *    *

The people of the lost settlement were never seen again, and they are still living in Tsuwa`tel’da. Strange things happen there, so that the Cherokee know the mountain is haunted and do not like to go near it. Only a few years ago a party of hunters camped there, and as they sat around their fire at supper time they talked of the story and made rough jokes about the people of old Käna’sta. That night they were aroused from sleep by a noise as of stones thrown at them from among the trees, but when they searched they could find nobody, and were so frightened that they gathered up their guns and pouches and left the place.

 The Unseen Helpers

Ganogwioeoñ, a war chief of the Seneca, led a party against the Cherokee. When they came near the first town he left his men outside

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and went in alone. At the first house he found an old woman and her granddaughter. They did not see him, and he went into the ^as! and hid himself under some wood. When darkness came on he heard the old woman say, “Maybe Ganogwioeoñ is near; I’ll close the door.” After a while he heard them going to bed. When he thought they were asleep he went into the house. The fire had burned down low, but the girl was still awake and saw him. She was about to scream, when he said, “I am Ganogwioeoñ. If you scream I’ll kill you. If you keep quiet I’ll not hurt you.” They talked together, and he told her that in the morning she must bring the chief’s daughter to him. She promised to do it, and told him where he should wait. Just before daylight he left the house.

In the morning the girl went to the chief’s house and said to his daughter, “Let’s go out together for wood.” The chief’s daughter got ready and went with her, and when they came to the place where Ganogwioeoñ was hiding he sprang out and killed her, but did not hurt the other girl. He pulled off the scalp and gave such a loud scalp yell that all the warriors in the town heard it and came running out after him. He shook the scalp at them and then turned and ran. He killed the first one that came up, but when he tried to shoot the next one the bow broke and the Cherokee got him.

They tied him and carried him to the two women of the tribe who had the power to decide what should be done with him. Each of these women had two snakes tattooed on her lips, with their heads opposite each other, in such a way that when she opened her mouth the two snakes opened their mouths also. They decided to burn the soles of his feet until they were blistered, then to put grains of corn under the skin and to chase him with clubs until they had beaten him to death.

They stripped him and burnt his feet. Then they tied a bark rope around his waist, with an old man to hold the other end, and made him run between two lines of people, and with clubs in their hands. When they gave the word to start Ganogwioeoñ pulled the rope away from the old man and broke through the line and ran until he had left them all out of sight. When night came he crawled into a hollow log. He was naked and unarmed, with his feet in a pitiful condition, and thought he could never get away.

He heard footsteps on the leaves outside and thought his enemies were upon him. The footsteps came up to the log and some one said to another, “This is our friend.” Then the stranger said to Ganogwioeoñ: “You think you are the same as dead, but it is not so. We will take care of you. Stick out your feet.” He put out his feet from the log and felt something licking them. After awhile the voice said, “I think we have licked his feet enough. Now we must crawl inside the log and lie on each side of him to keep him warm.” They

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crawled in beside him. In the morning they crawled out and told him to stick out his feet again. They licked them again and then said to him, “Now we have done all we can do this time. Go on until you come to the place where you made a bark shelter a long time ago, and under the bark you will find something to help you.” Ganogwioeoñ crawled out of the log, but they were gone. His feet were better now and he could walk comfortably. He went on until about noon, when he came to the bark shelter, and under it he found a knife, an awl, and a flint, that his men had hidden there two years before. He took them and started on again.

Toward evening he looked around until he found another hollow tree and crawled into it to sleep. At night he heard the footsteps and voices again. When he put out his feet again, as the strangers told him to do, they licked his feet as before and then crawled in and lay down on each side of him to keep him warm. Still he could not see them. In the morning after they went out they licked his feet again and said to him, “At noon you will find food.” Then they went away.

Ganogwioeoñ crawled out of the tree and went on. At noon he came to a burning log, and near it was a dead bear, which was still warm, as if it had been killed only a short time before. He skinned the bear and found it very fat. He cut up the meat and roasted as much as he could eat or carry. While it was roasting he scraped the skin and rubbed rotten wood dust on it to clean it until he was tired. When night came: he lay down to sleep. He heard the steps and the voices again and one said, “Well, our friend is lying down. He has plenty to eat, and it does not seem as if he is going to die. Let us lick his feet again.” When they had finished they said to him,” You need not worry anymore now. You will get home all right.” Before it was day they left him.

When morning came he put the bearskin around him like a shirt, with the hair outside, and started on again, taking as much of the meat as he could carry. That night his friends came to him again. They said, “Your feet are well, but you will be cold,” so they lay again on each side of him. Before daylight they left, saying, “About noon you will find something to wear.” He went on and about midday he came to two young bears just killed. He skinned them and dressed the skins, then roasted as much meat as he wanted and lay down to sleep. In the morning he made leggings of the skins, took some of the meat, and started on.

His friends came again the next night and told him that in the morning he would come upon something else to wear. As they said, about noon he found two fawns just killed. He turned the skins and made himself a pair of moccasins, then cut some of the meat, and traveled on until evening-, when he made a fire and had supper.

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That night again he heard the steps and voices, and one said, “My friend, very soon now you will reach home safely and find your friends all well. Now we will tell you why we have helped you. Whenever you went hunting you always gave the best part of the meat to us and kept only the smallest part for yourself. For that we are thankful and help you. In the morning you will see us and know who we are.”

In the morning when he woke up they were still there–two men as he thought–but after he had said the last words to them and started on, he turned again to look, and one was a white wolf and the other a black wolf. That day he reached home.–Arranged from Curtin, Seneca manuscript.

 The Giants From The West

James Wafford, of the western Cherokee, who was born in Georgia in 1806, says that his grandmother, who must have been born about the middle of the last century, told him that she had beard from the old people that long before her time a party of giants had come once to visit the Cherokee. They were nearly twice as tall as common men, and had their eyes set slanting in their heads, so that the Cherokee called them Tsunil’kälû’, “The Slant-eyed people,” because they looked like the giant hunter Tsul’kälû’ (see the story). They said that these giants lived very far away in the direction in which the sun goes down. The Cherokee received them as friends, and they stayed some time, and then returned to their home in the west.

Another god invoked in the hunting songs is Tsu’l`kalû’, or “Slanting Eyes” (see Cherokee Myths), a giant hunter who lives in one of the great mountains of the Blue Ridge and owns all the game. Others are the Little Men, probably the two Thunder boys; the Little People, the fairies who live in the rock cliffs; and even the De’tsata, a diminutive sprite who holds the place of our Puck. One unwritten formula, which could not be obtained correctly by dictation, was addressed to the “Red-Headed Woman, whose hair hangs down to the ground.”


sound like anyone we know? It’s not a co-incidence… it’s a fact put into folklore that’s been past down as important cultural information from generation to generation… Allegorical and Mythical it serves well in preserving the fact… that can be recognized by today’s researchers…

  1. Jenny says:

    Theres Probly ALOT of Truth to this!! GREAT Story!! Thank You ,, Where do find these kinds of stories??

  2. Dan Elliott says:

    You have told the story , that is a fact ,although it is a Reality , But only now has it been Discussed ,
    The Medicine Man is the keeper of the facts, the Story , Was Told With Hesitation, I Met the ,,
    Big Man in a way,, not very Pleasing, So I was on a Journey,,these thing’s were well Hidden in ,
    Our Culture never talked about, I Was Constantly Asking but ,, the People would not Tell me what ,
    I wanted to hear ,,I Continued to Have strange , Sightings and it ,, Scared Me to the Point of not ,,
    Going in the Forest Alone ,,as time passed ,One Day I met a Medicine Man, I Had known of Him,
    From the Past, and Slowly He began to tell me about the truth,, and Yes He Told me of these people,
    An d what I was Seeing in the Forest was the Boss of the woods ,and do not harm them You Are,
    In their Home,,their Land and I wasn’t Scared now, people call them Sasquatch, Bigfoot, and there,
    are other Names they leave me Alone, and every so Often I see the signs or one of them.

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