When You Knew My Name


Throughout history, Europeans have attached names to American Native people that are foreign to the Native people themselves. The Navajos call themselves Dine-The People, and the Delawares are the Lenni Lenape. The Foxes are Mesh-kwakihug- the People of the Red Earth and the Sauk are Osakiwug-the People of the Yellow Earth. Over and over again when you ask Native people what they call themselves, the names don't correspond with the words read in history books like Cherokee, Navajo, Narragansett, Delaware, Sauk and Fox, Sioux or Cree. The names for themselves, that they have given themselves, often include two words... The People or Human Beings.

ThIn the ancient world we were not known as Cherokee. This is not a word born from the Cherokee language. It probably comes from the Muscogee word for us...Tciloki, people of a different speech, or perhaps the Choctaw phrase...chiluk ki, cave people. The Lenni Lenape (Delawares) called us Allegans because of the mountainous region in which we lived. The Shawnee people called us Keetoowahs, taken from the name of one of the ancient seven principal towns of the Cherokee people, Kituwah.

The people of this town called themselves Ani-Kituhwagi: People of the Kituwah Place. Today the Kituwahs keep the old stories, the dances, the songs and the medicine alive. They recall a time... when you knew my name.



Kituwah: When You Knew My Name Photo

Medium: Hand coiled native clay, pit fired. Copper, feathers, wild turkey bone, wood and seashell.

Description: 9"HX9"W. Polished and smoothed to a matte finish and fired. Etched with tattoo markings of animals and cosmological symbols that cover the entire face and head. The ears are ornamented with earspools made from copper, seashells and carved wood. A dangling hair lock is ornamented with feathers, a copper medallion representing the four directions and a large wild turkey bone. A copper nose ring completes the effigy. One in a series of effigy heads representing tribes in the Southeastern United States.

Available for purchase