Q:

What do Cherokee Indians look like?

A:

Cherokee Indians, like other Native Americans, have dark hair, brown skin, and a distinct bone structure. AccessGenealogy.com notes a broad and flat face and a narrow nose as prominent characteristics; however, actual physical appearance among Cherokee’s may vary.

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For everyday dress, Cherokee Indians wear the same clothing as other Americans, but for special occasions, traditional garments, such as ribbon shirts, tear dresses and moccasins, are worn. According to the Cherokee Museum, traditional Cherokee clothing began to change at the end of the 18th century when Cherokee people began adopting the fabrics and styles of their white neighbors.

Earlier in the century, men typically wore traded cotton shirts, leggings, loincloths, moccasins and a woven or beaded belt. Several piercings around the rim of the ear were common, as were feathers tied at the top of the head. Cherokee women wore feather or leather mantles and skirts and pierced the lobes of their ears.

Cherokee.org explains that ribbon shirts and tear dresses are thought to have come into fashion around the time of the Trail of Tears in the 1830s. Torn bolts of calico material are used to make the dresses, which are typically floor-length and decorated with appliquéd diamond patterns, triangles, circles or the sacred seven-sided Cherokee star. The ribbon shirt is made from the same material and features appliquéd ribbons, as the name suggests. Men occasionally wear the shirt with a traditional calico turban. Woven belts and corn beads may decorate the garments.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    What did the Cherokee Indians eat?

    A:

    The Cherokee Indians consumed meat from hunting, such as wild turkeys and deer, as well as grains like corn. Cherokee women did the majority of the farming while the Cherokee men did the majority of the hunting. Together, they provided enough food to feed their families.

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  • Q:

    What are the facial features of Cherokee Indians?

    A:

    Cherokee Indians have facial features similar to those of other American Indians, which include high cheekbones, almond-shaped eyes, heavy eyelids, large front teeth, heavy earlobes and bronze skin. However, not all Cherokees possess these physical features, due to early contact with Scottish and German miners in the southeast.

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  • Q:

    Who are some famous Cherokee Indians?

    A:

    Sequoyah and Nancy Ward are two famous Cherokee Indians. Sequoyah invented the Cherokee writing system, and Nancy Ward played an important role in political decisions regarding the Cherokee.

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  • Q:

    What kind of food did the Cherokee Indians eat?

    A:

    Traditionally, people of the Cherokee Nation enjoyed a staple food diet that included the "three sisters," or corn, beans, potatoes and squash. Meat staples of the past were deer and turkey. Other foods incorporated into their diet are meals made with fish, plants and roots. Modern Cherokee people traditionally eat eggs, brown beans and wild onions, among other foods.

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