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Two different versions of the story...
THE ORIGIN AND PROPHECY OF THE AniKituwagi (Cherokees)
The Cherokee sometimes refer to themselves as Ani-Kituhwagi, "the people of Kituhwa". Kituhwa was the name of an ancient city, located near present Bryson City, NC which was the nucleus of the Cherokee Nation. The common English phonetic spelling today is "Keetoowah", a name used by traditionalist Cherokee groups like the Keetoowah Society (one branch of followers of traditional religion) and the United Keetoowah Band (a Federally recognized tribe, comprised of predominantly full blood, mostly traditionalist Cherokees).
The Legend of the Keetoowahs, as recalled in 1930 by Levi B. Gritts, a prominent member of the traditionalist Keetoowah Society, places them on islands in the Atlantic Ocean east of South America. Anthropologists have discovered that Cherokee basket and pottery styles resemble those of South American and Caribbean tribes, differing from other tribes of the southeast U.S..
Seventy tribes attacked them but, by the guidance of God, they were victorious. The last warrior of their attackers, Ner-du-er-gi, was on top of a mountain overlooking their camp in the deep valley below. This warrior saw a smoke arising from the camp which "extended up beyond Heaven". The smoke was divided into three parts and in that there was an eagle holding arrows. When the warrior and his followers saw this, he ordered them not to attack the Indians for they were God's people and powerful and if they attacked they would be destroyed.
When God created these people he gave them great, mysterious power to be used for the best interests of the people. They lived in large cities with tall buildings. Some wise men began to use their power different than was intended which troubled the people. God instructed them to take their white fire and move away from that place. Some went to Asia, some to India, and others to North America leaving the wise men behind. After they had gone to other countries, these large cities were destroyed when the ground sank and are now under the ocean. God turned to the people that came to America and gave them wisdom and guided them.
There came a time when the people began to violate their teachings - committing crimes against each other, committing murders, and feuding between the seven clans. The people met with their medicine men around their fire to ask God for guidance. The medicine men were inspired to go up to a high mountain, one at a time on each of seven days.
On the seventh day, they heard a noise over them and a light
brighter than day appeared and a voice said, "I am a messenger from God. God has
heard your prayers and He has great passion for your people and from now on you
shall be called Keetoowah. Go back to your fire and worship. There is a white
ball from way east, who is your enemy, coming and your grandchildren's feet are
directed west. They shall have great trials on the edge of the prairie. They
shall be divided into different factions and their blood shall be about only on
half. Families shall be divided against each other and they shall disregard
their chiefs, leaders, medicine men, and captains. But if these younger
generation should endeavor to follow your God's instruction there is a chance to
turn back east and if not, the next move shall be west, on to the coast and from
there on to the boat and this shall be the last."
Upon the creation of the Keetoowah people, the Creator gave them mysterious powers and placed them in large settlement on an island located in the Atlantic Ocean. There were other tribes on the island which attacked the Keetoowah people, and the Keetoowahs were victorious.
Another tribe watched the fierce fighting from a mountain top. The leader of the tribe watched the valley ascend toward the Heaven. The smoke divided into three paths midway in the ascension an eagle was seen holding three arrows in its claws. The leader asked his warriors if the smoke and eagle were visible to them and they replied they were. The tribal leader then told his warriors not to attack the Keetoowah people because they were the Creators people and they were very powerful.
The tribe came down from the mountain and made friends with the Keetoowah people. In later years, some of the medicine men of the tribe became selfish and used their powers to harm their own people. The Creator gave the powers to the medicine men to be used in the best interest of all the people. Other tribal members prayed to the Creator for direction and the Creator heard their prayers. The instruction was to move their fire away from the island and the medicine men.
After the departure, the island sank into the ocean. The people migrated north and settled in the southeastern part of what is now the United States.
Many years later, again the medicine men became selfish and committed crimes against their own tribal members. The people gathered to discuss the solution to this problem and it was decided that seven medicine men, one from each of the seven clans, would travel to a mountain top and pray The seven medicine men went up to the mountain top and prayed. Soon a messenger from the Creator appeared and told them the Creator had heard their prayers and had great sympathy for them. The messenger told the medicine men their tribe would be called "Keetoowah" from that day forward. The messenger revealed to them that a "white ball" would arrive from the east which would be an enemy to the people. The grandchildren of the Keetoowahs would point their feet to the west and great hardship would be placed upon them at the edge of the prairie.
Their blood and families would be divided and the enemy would not respect the Keetoowah people. The messenger revealed that a young leader would lead the Keetoowah people back to the east. However, if the Keetoowah people chose not to follow the Creator 's direction, they would continue further west to a sea of water and disappear forever.
The Creator said, "If the Keetoowah people are destroyed or
become extinct, then the end of the world will follow."
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