Monday, August 28, 2006


The legend of Kanati, the first hunter/lucky hunter

Kanati is Cherokee for first hunter or lucky hunter. He was called such because he never failed to bring back plenty of game when he hunts in the woods. He lived in Pilot Knob with his wife, Selu. They had one little boy likes to play in the riverbanks while Selu cleans the game. One day, the little boy was joined by another little boy who was mischievous and wild but had no magical powers. Since then, and everyday hence, they became playmates until Kanati decided to take him home with them and partially tame him.

Kanati always brought back a deer or a turkey with him whenever he hunts, and so one day, the the two boys decided to follow him to see how he always manage to get such a good catch.

Kanati went into a swamp where he gathered small reeds for arrows. Taking his bow he went into the mountains andwhen he opened the cave, a large buck came out whichKanaki killed with the arrows he had made.

A few days later the boys went back to the cave in the mountains and let the animals out. When the hunter came to his cave, he found all the animals gone. He immediately suspected the boys and he opened the lid of four jars out of which came flees, lice, gnats, and yellow jackets which he sicced on the boys.

After Kanati thought they had enough, he relieved them of the insects. The boys heard people say that their mother was a witch. And sore that they were because of the insects, they decided to kill her when they reached home.

Selu knew what was going to take place and so she left a note which said: "Clear a large piece of ground in front of the house and drag my body around seven times, and watch out each night until the corn came up."

The boys only dragged her body around twice and that is why the Indians only work their corn twice. When the father came home, he asked about their mother. They told him that they had killed her because she was a witch. Horrified, he told them that he would rather go to the wolf people than stay with them. Upon learning this, the boys trapped the wolves and only a few escaped.

In the meantime they had a good crop of corn, and some strangers asked them for some and they gave them seven grains apiece and that is how the corn got started. The Cherokees held the entire Allegheny region fromthe interlocking streams of the Kanawha southward almost to Atlanta, and from the Blue Ridge on the east to the Cum-berland range on the west. Their chief town was Eschota on the bank of LittleTennessee was considered their capital. Many of their towns were on the head waters of the Savannah, Hiwassee andTuckasagee and along the whole length of the Little Tennessee to its junction with the main stream. As the whites advanced on many of their towns, they were abandoned and others built on the upper branches of the Chattahoochie and the Coosa. In the early days, it was believed that they were held in check by Powhatan on the north, on the east and southeast by the Tuscaroras and Catawbas. The Saras or Che-raws were equally hostile, and their inevitable enemies the Creeks on th south near the Gulf. On the west the Chicka-saws and the Shawnees turned back the tide of the Chero-kee invasion. While the Cherokees are of Irroquois stock, their relation suspected by Hale and Gallatin, it was established byHewitt in 1887. The eastern dialect was largely spoken along the towns of Keowee and Tugaloo. As a result of then-exposed position, they were the first to feel the shock of the Revolution, and before its close they were expelledfrom their territory and scattered as fugitives among themore western towns of their tribe. Consequently they lost their dialect which is practically extinct. The Middle dialect is now spoken by some now living on Qualla reservation.The western tribes speak the western dialect which is said to be the softest and the most musical.