Physical: The Texas Cherokee lived in same part of east and northeast Texas as the Caddo . This part of Texas is the western end of a pine forest that goes from the Atlantic ocean across the South and into East Texas. This is a dense pine forest, with hardwood trees like oak, hickory and pecan growing in the river bottoms and creek bottoms. There are several large rivers, the Trinity river, the Red river, and several smaller rivers. There are also many smaller flowing creeks and numerous springs. This part of Texas gets a good annual rainfall and has many rivers, creeks, swamps and lakes.
The Cherokee lived and farmed in small clearings in the pine forest. many of these clearings were abandoned by the Caddo. Most of the Cherokee farms and villages are near flowing creeks or springs with fresh water. Cherokee farms were almost identical to White settler's farms. They farmed because farming was the best way to get food. There were no big herds of buffalo or other animals to hunt. They were sedentary because they farmed and did not have to move around to get food so they had permanent houses usually mad from logs. Some of the richer Cherokee had houses and owned slaves.
Cultural: The Cherokee adopted much European culture. They dressed much like Whites and used European tools. But, they also kept their language, stories, songs and dances many of their foods and some of their religion. In a way they lived in both Indian and European cultures.
Social: The Cherokee were in contact with Europeans for 200 years before coming to Texas. These Europeans were the most important thing in their social environment. The Whites around them in Georgia, Alabama and Carolina were hostile and took Cherokee lands. The Texas Cherokee were forced to move west by their social environment. Another way they adapted to their social environment was by adopting European technology and lifestyles. Like it says above, they lived like white farmers. The Cherokee even copied Europeans by developing a Cherokee alphabet and published a Cherokee newspaper, ideas they got from Europeans. Many of the Cherokee could read and write in a time when many whites could not.
Copyright by R. Edward Moore and Texarch Associates, 1999, all rights reserved. Graphics may not be used or reproduced without prior permission. Short parts of text may be quoted in school reports. Longer quotes require prior written permission.