National Geographic : 1946 Jan
The National Geographic Magazine Staff Photographer J. Baylor Roberts Since Before the Days of De Soto, Cherokees Have Tilled North Carolina Soil More than 3,000 members of the eastern tribe live on the Cherokee Indian Reservation in mountainous western North Carolina. Family groups are assigned tracts of land, on which they engage in farming, dairy ing, and forestry. In the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D. C., is preserved the earliest real estate prospectus for American land, Thomas Hariot's A Briefe and True Report of the New Found Land of Virginia, published in 1590. To encourage wealthy Englishmen to invest funds in the Colonies and to attract immigrants, he painted a rosy picture: "I can assure you that . . . one may prepare and husband so much ground ... with less than four and twenty hours' labor as shall yield him victual for a twelve month." many detailed descriptions of them, from early French explorers and missionaries. When among the Natchez a male or female Sun died, a score or more individuals were put to death so that their spirits might accompany him in the other world. Some of these sacri fices were determined by their relationship to the dead Sun. Anyone else who wished to do so might volunteer, and as a rule the majority of the victims belonged to this group who wished to honor their leader. Parents also offered up infants and young children under the age of three, and these were deemed an essential por tion of the human offerings. The parents of children so sacrificed acquired considerable honor and respect. The ceremonies at the death of a Sun lasted several days and were conducted with great pomp and display, featuring the human sacri fices, the principal group of which terminated the obsequies. The adult victims were given large pills of tobacco to numb their senses, and were strangled by a cord around the neck. While it is certain that most sacrificial vic tims were pleased to be so honored and that many, without their relationship making it necessary, freely volunteered their lives for this purpose, it is also evident that a good num ber were skeptical of the honor. Now and then an individual ran away to save his life. It is unfortunate that no European observer wrote of the really huge centers of Cahokia and Etowah when they were at their height, thus giving us a picture of the real apex of the civilization attained in the most populous section of the aborigines of the United States, the Southeast.