Tse'si Tsisalaka -- Jesse Chisholm

 Jesse Chisholm's Cherokee Links 

When people ask me, "I heard you are Cherokee, is this so?"

I reply, "Yes, I am, and very proud of it."

If they ask for more details, I go on to tell them of my ancestor, Jesse Chisholm. Though his father's father came from Scotland, his mother was a daughter of Old Chief Corntassle [often called Old Tassle]. I talk of the accomplishments of that Jesse Chisholm, but mostly what I know is the things he did that are remembered by the history written by the European settlers of this continent. The Chisholm Trail used by so many cattle herds is named after him. He participated as a translator in many treaty signing events. Things like this.



What do I know of being Cherokee? Not much, really.

As you can see from my picture, I show my Scottish heritage more than my Cherokee heritage.


I was not raised Cherokee. I was raised white. My father, who looks Cherokee, was raised white. My grandfather was born in Tahlequah, Oklahoma, in the Cherokee Nation, but was taken away to "Indian School" when very young. [ read the fiction book Education of Little Tree for an idea; except that Little Tree was lucky, he was rescued after less than a year. My grandfather wasn't released until he was sixteen. ] When he returned to Tahlequah, he was unable to find his way on the Cherokee reservation. He chose to go live the white life that he was forced to learn so young.



What do I know of being Cherokee? Not much, really.

I don't know the language. I don't know the culture. I don't know the religion.


I remember only a very few stories that my grandfather told me. He didn't like to talk about his difficult childhood. I wasn't very interested in what he might have to teach me about being Cherokee until it was too late. I do remember being told by everyone in my family that being Cherokee was something to be proud of. Other than the feeling of pride, I was not taught what it meant to be Cherokee.

The stories I know well enough to share at the campfire are Scottish or Irish stories and songs. A few Cowboy stories and songs. Some that I learned just because they are funny. I don't really know any Cherokee story well enough to share at the family campfire.



What do I know of being Cherokee? Not much, really.

I will probably never be fluent in the Cherokee language.
I will probably never change my life style to that of a traditional Cherokee.
I will probably never think in Cherokee.

I do not seek to change who I am.
I am proud of who I am.
Being Cherokee is part of who I am.
Being Scots is part of who I am.
Being American is a big part of who I am.

As I learn more, I undoubtedly will change.
Nothing that I am will go away.
What I learn will be added to who I am.



What do I know of being Cherokee? Not much, really.

Only that I am.
Only that I am proud of this fact.
Only that I seek to learn more about my ancestors.

As with all pages of links, this page is constantly under construction.

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As I began learning something of the Cherokee Language, many sites mentioned that I would have to install the Cherokee Font to be able to display or print in the Cherokee language. I did this and looked at various sites and found that I had the wrong "Cherokee Font". Turns out there are a few available and the authors didn't follow the same keyboard layout. So, I wrote a page to help me know which font I had really installed. Click here to go to my Cherokee Font Test Page and see which of the many Cherokee Fonts you have installed. Some are free, some are not. Some are more widely used than others. Choose which you will for your own home use. But if you are going to be sharing Cherokee documents with others, then find out which font (and keyboard layout) they use. You probably want to use the same one, or use the Cherokee region of a UNICODE font.

Since my roots are in Tahlequah, I recommend The Official Site of the Cherokee Nation as a starting point for learning more. There are, of course, numerous related sites on the web. Here are some of the ones I have visited. There are many others out there.

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