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3 April 2007updated 27 Sep 2015 5:44am

The Cherokees’ spiritual side

Kathy Van Buskirk describes the tensions between her traditional beliefs in Cherokee ways and her Ch

By Kathy Van Buskirk

I would like to share some spiritual things that have happened in my life. Being of the Cherokee tribe and also a Christian person I see things through the eyes of the Cherokee culture and also through the eyes of a Christian.

Things have not always been easy in my life or the lives of other people that are native and of the Christian faith. We believe in the old ways of our culture and also believe in the creator, God, or as we call him U-ne-tla-nv.

God has a hand in everything that we do as much as we allow him to. Being who I am – a Cherokee and a Christian – there have been times that both have affected my life and in different ways that only I can understand.

We Cherokees know that the mind is a very strong thing, and if you think things hard enough and put your heart into it, those thoughts – good or bad – can be carried to the next person. And sometimes it can be really bad.

Just as in any society there is a lot of jealousy, greediness, and hatred, or people just do not like you and bad feelings start to flow. This could be family, people you consider friends, or co-workers or just about anyone and they don’t know how this can affect you personally.

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We do have what I call a spiritual friend, some people call him a medicine man and he can tell you things; others call him an herbalist because he or she knows what kind of plants are good for your aliments and a lot of people go to them before they will go to a regular Doctor or to the hospital.

This is how we were raised, our mother always took us to see them, and if they said the doctor needed to see us then she would take us to the hospital. So growing up this is something that has affected my life as well as a lot of others, so from time to time I do visit one of them for things in my life, or my family’s. I never put anyone before God though because I know that anything that a true spiritual person does is through prayer and that is the traditional side of me.

I try to live and do things as God would want me to; I try to do what’s right and be the kind of person that he wants me to be. However; I am human and I have feelings and thoughts just like everyone else, but I believe there is a creator with me at all times. He helps me to live from day to day to the best of my ability and he is always willing to forgive me when I come up short. I know He will never let me down so I put all my trust and faith in my U-ne-tla-nv.