The West Virginia. Cyclopedia

Cherokee Nation

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The most familiar name, Cherokee, comes from a Creek word "Chelokee" meaning "people of a different speech." In their own language the Cherokee originally called themselves the Aniyunwiya (or Anniyaya) "principal people" or the Keetoowah (or Anikituaghi, Anikituhwagi) "people of Kituhwa." Although they usually accept being called Cherokee, many prefer Tsalagi from their own name for the Cherokee Nation (Tsalagihi Ayili).

Other names applied to the Cherokee have been: Allegheny (or Allegewi, Talligewi) (Delaware), Baniatho (Arapaho), Caáxi (or Cayaki) (Osage and Kansa), Chalaque (Spanish), Chilukki (dog people) (Choctaw and Chickasaw), Entarironnen (mountain people) (Huron), Gatohuá (Creek), Kittuwa (or Katowá) (Algonquin), Matera (or Manteran) (coming out of the ground) (Catawba), Nation du Chien (French), Ochietarironnon (Wyandot), Oyatageronon (or Oyaudah, Uwatayoronon) (cave people) (Iroquois), Shanaki (Caddo), Shannakiak (Fox), Tcaike (Tonkawa), and Tcerokieco (Wichita).


The Cherokee language appears to be related to or derived from the Iroquian language, but Cherokee differs significantly from other Iroquian languages.

Cherokee Villages in West Virginia

According to Cherokee traditional (oral) history, the Cherokee communities of present-day West Virginia included villages in Hurricane, War, Cucumber, Matoaka, Patawomeque, Am-a, Panther, Logan, Kusduyi, Paintown and numerous smaller hamlets, allied with both Souian and Shawnee communities, (of West Virginia, Kentucky and Ohio). The present-day town of Fairfield, WV, originally called Patowomaque, was a 1700s' town comprising inter-tribal groups of Indians, such as, the Cherokee, Shawnee, a few Delawares, and Mingo families.