Wednesday, January 21, 1829
Volume 1 No. 45
Page 2 Col. 3b-4b
"Virgil" might reasonably entertain one cheering consideration, and that is, the gradual diminution of such practices as described by him in his communication.- If he had visited this Nation thirty years ago, and witnessed the practices of the inhabitants in their full extent, his tears would have flowed more freely, and the consideration of their wretchedness would have been without a redeeming thought.- At that period the Cherokees resided in villages, in each of which was a "Town house the headquarter of frivolity. Here were assembled almost every night (we are told, we speak from hearsay for we were born under an era of reformation,) men and women, old and young, to dance their bear dance, buffalo dance, eagle dance, green-corn dance, &c. &c. &c. and when the day appeared, instead of going to their farms, and laboring for the support of their families, the young and middle aged of the males were seen to leave their houses, their faces fantastically painted, and their heads decorated with feathers, and step off with a merry whoop, which indicated that they were real men (Cherokee word inserted here), to a ball play, or a meeting of similar nature. Such in a word was the life of a Cherokee in those days during spring & summer seasons. In the Fall and Winter seasons they were gone to follow the chase, which occupation enabled them to purchase of the traders a few articles of clothing, sufficient to last perhaps until the next hunting time. From the soil they derived a scanty supply of corn, barely enough to furnish them with gah-no-ha-nah [Cherokee word here] and this was obtained by the labor of women and gray headed men, for custom would have it that it was disgraceful for a young man to be seen with a hoe in his hand except on particular occasions.
In those days of ignorance and heathenism, prejudices against the customs of the whites were inveterate, so much so that white men, who came among the Cherokees, had to throw away their costume and adopt the leggings. In a moral and intellectual point of view the scenery was dark & gloomy, nevertheless it has not been impenetrable. The introduction of light and intelligence has struck a mortal blow to the superstitious practices of the Cherokees, and by the aid of that light, a new order of things is introduced, and it is to be hoped will now eradicate the vestiges of older days.