1995 SENAA International


Next Executive Council Meeting:  Thursday, 26 October 1995

First Quarterly Business Meeting: Thursday, 2 November 1995.
(Members only)


12 October 1995              SENAA Newsletter                           2


  The 1975  edition  of  Stories of   hidden   everywhere   and  may   be
the Old Cherokees, edited by F. Roy   brought out of little stones.
Johnson,  is a compilation of myths     The fourth is the Great Book, and
and stories of the Tsa-La-Gi people   because  of this gift the white man
collected   by  James  Mooney   and   has more than the Indian.   He  can
others.                               build  great canoes and cross great
  One story recounted  in the  book   waters, while the red man can build
clearly  shows  white  influence on   only  small canoes  and  cross only
Tsa-La-Gi  legends.  Was "The  Four   small waters.
Great Gifts"  a story rewritten  by     The  white man learns  all out of
a   white  minister   to aid him in   the Great Book.   In the beginning,
converting  the  Tsa-La-Gi   people   when the Great Father made man,  He
to Christianity?   Did a  Tsa-La-Gi   had this great book which  first He
convert  alter  the  story  to help   offered to the red man and bade him
convert his people?  You decide, as   to read it.   But the red man could
you read the recorded version of:     not, so He offered  it to the white
                                      man. At once the white man read it,
     The Four Great Gifts             and since that time  he has learned
  When  the Great Father  made man,   how  to  do  all  manner of things.
said old Aarcowee, He gave him four   Once the Indian learns  how to read
great gifts.   The first is breath,   this  book   he  will  possess  its
and  with it  man  lives  until  He   knowledge also.
takes it away.
  The second is water, which no man   I  wonder  how  the  original story
can live without.                     went.
  The  third  is  fire  which  lies

*         *        *


  Variations,  or dialects, develop   Eastern dialect, the first syllable
in every language.  Tsa-La-Gi is no   is omitted, giving the word "Si-yo"
exception.                            for "hello."   The "si" syllable is
  Between the  Eastern  and Western   pronounced  "she",  rendering   the
Tsa-La-Gi dialects,  there are some   pronunciation "she-yo'."
differences in  pronunciation.  One     In a few cases, words are totally
difference is that there is no  "J"   different   between   Eastern   and
sound in the  Eastern dialect,  but   Western  dialects,  but  most cases
there is a "J" sound in the Western   are variations of the same word.
dialect.                                The  words given in the previous
  In the first newsletter, the back   newsletter were  Western  dialect.
page  was devoted  to the Tsa-La-Gi   In this issue,  the same words  and
Syllabary,   with  an  accompanying   phrases  will  be   given  in   the
pronunciation key.                    Eastern dialect.
  In  the  pronunciation  key,  the     In  future  "Our  Native  Tongue"
syllables  beginning  with "ts" are   columns, whenever differences exist
given  two  possible   sounds,  one   between the two dialects  in a word
being a "J" sound.                    or phrase,  the  Eastern  rendition
  Other  differences   between  the   will  be given first,  followed  by
two dialects include variations  in   the  Western.
in words and pronunciation.  In the       *            *            *
Western    dialect,   for   example,
"hello"   is  "o-si-yo."    In  the



12 October 1995              SENAA Newsletter                           3

                            OUR NATIVE TONGUE

Syllabary                          Pronunciation             English

             Tsa-La-Gi             (E.) Sa-La-Gee
                                   (W.) Ja-La-Gee            Cherokee

                                   (E.) Sa-La-Gi-Yi
             Tsa-La-Gi-Yi A-Ye-Li       Ah-Yay-Lee           Cherokee
                                   (W.) Ja-La-Gi-Yi          Nation

             si-yo                 (E.) shee-o
             o-si-yo               (W.) oh-see-yo            Hello

             do-hv-dv-ne           (E.) do-huh-dun-nay
             to-hi-tsu             (W.) to-hee-ju            How are you?

             o-si-qwv              (E.) oh-she-gwuh
             o-si-gwu              (W.) oh-see-gwoo          I'm fine

             i-hi-na-nv            (E.) ee-he-nah-nuh
             ni-na                 (W.) nee-nah              And you?

             s-gi                  (E.) skee                 Thank you;
                                          (literally)  "That's right;" or
                                                         "Yes, that's it"

             wa-do                 (W.) wa-doe               Thank you

             ho-wa                 (E.) ho-wah              "okay," or
[response to being thanked ("skee" or "wa-do")]             "alright"

             o-gi-na-li-i          (E.) o-gee-nah-lee'-yee
                                   (W.) o-gee-nah-lee'--ee   My friend

             u-na-li-i             oo-na-lee'--i             (his) Friend

             tso-ga-li-i           (E.) so-gah-lee'-yee
                                   (W.) jo-ga-lee'--ee       Friends

             a-s-ga-ya             ahs-gah-yah               Man

             a-ge-hi               (E.) ah-gay-hee
             a-ge-yv               (W.) ah-gay-yuh           Woman

             ga-du-gi              ga-doo-gee                Society;
                                                             Labor Crew

             de-ne-da-go-hv-i   (E.) day-nay-dah-go-huh-hee   "Until we
             do-na-da-go-hv-i   (W.) doe-nah-dah-go-huh--ee   meet again"



12 October 1995              SENAA Newsletter                           4

      The following story is not to be taken as a traditional Tsa-La-Gi
story.  It is intended strictly for entertainment, though it does echo
some basic philosophies.  I hope you and your children enjoy this simple

by,  Awohali Unega
[(c) 1995  Thomas A. Swilling]

  It  was on  a  summer  day,  long   emanate  from  the   midst  of  the
before   Europeans   came  to  this   canebrake,  but  look  as he might,
continent, soon after Atlantis sank   he couldn't locate its source.
into the sea  and the Tsa-la-gi had     Just then, an eagle's cry averted
settled in  and  around  the  Great   his attention.   Looking up, he saw
Smoky  Mountains, that  a young boy   it  soaring  high  above;  but this
left his village and journeyed deep   eagle was different  from any other
into the forest.                      he had seen.  Except for its yellow
  Sixteen-year-old  Yo-na U-dan-ti'   beak  and  feet,  and black talons,
(Gentle Bear) sat atop a rise  in a   its entire body was snow white.
clearing in the forest to meditate.     Tucking  its  wings  close to its
He  was on a vision quest,  seeking   body,  the eagle  plummeted  toward
guidance from Creator.  He had just   the  earth,   straight  toward  the
begun  his  meditation  when sweet,   canebrake.   Yo-na's  eyes widened,
unearthly music echoed  through the   hardly  daring  to  breathe,  heart
trees.                                pounding,   as  the  bird  streaked
  It  drifted  on  the  warm summer   toward  earth like a shooting star.
breeze like thistle down,  touching   As the eagle neared the ground, its
his spirit  like  a soft, caressing   immense  wings  and  tail unfurled,
hand.   The  melody  was  sweet and   reflecting   the   sunlight   in  a
enchanting,  yet  as elusive as the   brilliant  white  flash,   blinding
rainbow.                              Yo-na.
  Yo-na opened  his  eyes,  turning     When   his  sight  returned,   he
his  head from side to side slowly,   gasped with surprise. Amid the cane
trying to determine where the sound   sat  an old man with  hair as white
was  coming  from.   It  seemed  to   as  the  eagle.   He was dressed in
emanate  from  every  direction  at   white  deerskin, yellow  and  black
once,  yet  from  nowhere  at  all.   beaded moccasins,  with seven white
Finally,  he decided it  was coming   eagle feathers in his hair.  In his
from  the East,  just over a  small   hands he held a piece of cane about
hill  about  200  paces  away.   He   the length of his forearm, with one
wanted to follow the sound,  to see   end   pressed  to his  lips.   Tied
what  creature  made such beautiful   around the cane was a leather thong
music,  but feared that  if he did,   with   a  white   eagle's   feather
he  would  not  receive his vision.   attached to each end.
Yo-na tried hard to resist, but the     The  old  man's  fingers   rested
music was too powerful.  Rising, he   along  the top of the cane,  and as
ran toward it.                        he  raised  and  lowered  first one
  Crouching low,  he approached the   then another,  the  same  beautiful
knoll's  crest  and peered down the   melody  as before  emanated.  Yo-na
other side.   At the base of a long   was   at   once   awe-stricken  and
slope  was a  spring  pool,  almost   puzzled.  He had never seen  such a
hidden  by a stand  of  cane.   The   thing;  and he wondered  where  the
music  was  louder  and  seemed  to          (continued on page 5)


12 October 1995              SENAA Newsletter                           5

Vision Quest,
(continued from page 4)

old man came from.  He knew all the     "Take  the  cane  that grows here
elders in his village,  but he  had   and make others.  Give them to your
never seen  this  man before.   And   people. A time of great sorrow will
where was the white eagle?            come upon the Tsa-la-gi. The sacred
  As if hearing his  thoughts,  the   songs   within  this   flute   will
old  man stopped and turned to look   sustain  the  Tsa-la-gi  spirit and
at Yo-na, smiling strangely at him.   remind them that they are  A-ni Yun
  "Yo-na U-dan-ti. O-si-yo.  To-hi-   Wi-Ya,  and  that  Creator  has put
tsu?"  said  the  old  man,  as  he   them here for a reason."
stood.                                  "Wa-do,  White Eagle,"   breathed
  "O-si-gwu.  I-he-na-nv?"  replied   Yo-na,"  and  my  thanks to Creator
Yo-na,  approaching  the  old  man.   for this wonderful gift."
"You  speak  Tsa-la-gi,  but   I've     "You  have been chosen  to become
never seen you before.  You must be   di-dah-nv-wi-s-gi  --  a prophet to
from Wolf or Deer Clan  --  but how   your people.   Creator has ordained
do you know my name?"                 it.    The  flute  you  hold  is  a
  "And  how is it  that you are out   medicine  flute.   Its  six  finger
here  in  the  forest alone,  Yo-na   holes represent the Four Directions
U-dan-ti?"  asked the old man.        Great Spirit and Mother Earth.   It
  "I am on a vision quest," replied   is to be used  only for  ceremonial
Yo-na  proudly,  "seeking Creator's   purposes. Those which you will make
guidance  and will for my life  ---   for  your  people  will  have  five
or  I was  until the strange sounds   holes, representing the five sacred
caught my attention.   Who are you,   sounds coming from the emptiness.
and  how do you make such beautiful     As   Creator's  breath,   blowing
music   come  from  that  piece  of   through the emptiness,  created all
cane?"                                things, so with the flute.   Breath
  The  old  man  smiled  at  Yo-na,   blown through the  emptiness of the
holding  the object out  for him to   flute creates sacred, healing music
see.                                  for  body and spirit.   Now, Yo-na,
  "I  am  A-wo-ha-li  U-ne-ga,  and   let me teach you its secrets."
this is no ordinary piece of cane,"     Yo-na  placed his fingers on each
he said.   "It is a flute.   Within   of  the six holes  along the top of
it live the songs of all the birds,   the flute.   Putting one end to his
all of the  ceremonial songs of the   lips,  as he had  seen  the old man
Tsa-la-gi, and every song that will   do,  he blew gently  into it.   The
ever  be  sung  by  them.  It holds   mellow,   sweet  sound   seemed  to
within it  the  past,  present, and   penetrate  to  his  very soul.  His
future.  Take it, Yo-na U-dan-ti."    fingers   seemed  to  instinctively
  The old man placed the flute into   know what to do,  and  with  little
Yo-na's hands.  Yo-na cradled it as   help  from  A-wo-ha-li U-ne-ga,  he
if  it  were   the   world's   most   was  soon playing  the sacred songs
valuable   treasure,   running  his   of his people.   Yo-na also learned
fingers lightly over its surface in   new  songs  with  which   he  could
admiration.                           summon help  from the spirits,  and
  "The flute  is a gift  to you and   from Creator Himself,  when needed.
your people. Creator has sent me to   He  closed  his  eyes as he played,
give it to you and to teach you how   enthralled  by the flute's delight-
to use it.                            ful sounds.    (contued, page 6)


12 October 1995              SENAA Newsletter                           6

Vision Quest,
(continued from page 5)

  Yo-na's  spirit  was carried away   then  turned  again  to  A-wo-ha-li
as if on  eagle's  wings;  soaring,   U-ne-ga,  but he was  nowhere to be
dipping   and   rising   with  each   found.  An eagle's cry directed his
melody,  like  an eagle held aloft,   attention skyward.   Above him, the
playing upon a breeze.                snow-white  eagle  rode  the summer
  Yo-na's  spirit gently descended,   breeze,   spiraling   ever  higher,
as he finished playing the songs of   until he had risen out of sight.
his  people.   His  eyes  fluttered     "Wa-do, A-wo-ha-li U-ne-ga -- old
open.   Taking  the  flute from his   friend,"  Yo-na called after him.
lips, he looked it over admiringly.     "De-ne-da-go-hv-i:  until we meet
Indeed,  to Yo-na  this was a  most   again."
valuable treasure.                        *             *           *
  He thanked Creator for his gifts,

1995; White Eagle Publications; Cleveland, Tennessee 37311.
    All Rights Reserved.

"The Four Great Gifts,"  excerpted from Stories of the Old Cherokees,
pp. 27, 29.  1975; Johnson Publishing Company; Murfreesboro, N.C. 27855

Thanks to Bill Johnson for providing the Eastern dialect for the "Our
Native Tongue" column.