Your Grandmother's Cherokee

Preserving the Cherokee language, one word at a time.

Bullet Standingdeer


If you go to a Cherokee person’s house, on any day, they will give you something to eat and drink.  They might not even ask, might just set it in front of you.  And you need to eat something, drink something.  This is what the old people always told me.  Even if you’re not hungry, eat something.  To show respect.

If they ask you, they might say, tsayosihasg? Are you hungry?

And you might say, Vv, gayotli agiyosiha, Yes, I’m a little hungry.

Or you might say, Vv, idohiyu agiyosiha, Yes, I’m really hungry. 

The word hungry is related to the word for bad, uyo’i.  In the old days, the worst thing that could happen was to be hungry. 

Giving food to other people, this is because everything we have is given to us. We were always taught to be thankful.  If we gathered plants, for food or medicine, we left something in return.  If a hunter killed an animal for food, he said a special prayer and made an offering in thanks.  The Green Corn Ceremony gave thanks for the new corn in the fall of the year.   

We were taught to be thankful everyday.  One way to say this in Cherokee language is: gvyalihelitseha—I am thankful to you. 




Article categories

Share this article