History of the
Nacion Cherokee de Mexico
(Cherokee Nation of Mexico)
“When the one Creator of all things,
U-nay-kla-nah-hi, made the first Cherokees,
the stars began to twinkle with approval;
thus it is our responsibility to live up to these heavenly
Chief Jahtlohi Rogers
When you learn that Cherokee
history is a multi-colored rope,
woven by our ancestors from the beginning of time. Their weaving was
strong and good enough to get us here, but not without many, many of
the strands breaking. Then during thunderstorms, you will be able to
hear the old ones chant “Be warned, Cherokee! Weave stronger, Cherokee!
Chief Jahtlohi Rogers
A Mayan carving of people who had come from The East and who had but
Osiyo. Our grandfathers’ most
ancient stories tell us that we Cherokees were in exodus and walked a
great distance when we came to the ocean. With faith we built rafts and
crossed the ocean, coming from the East to the West and established a
life for ourselves in this new land of the Americas. About 1000 B.C., a
people from a rubber tree forest invaded Eastern Mexico. The indigenous
Mexicans called these newcomers the Olmec. They were a people
completely obsessed with magic; we avoided them by traveling to the
Many Mayan carvings suggest racial mixtures.
Our Cherokee traditional stories
interlock and agree with several of the ancient pre-Columbian Mayan and
Mexican legends which tell of a people arriving from the East who
believed in a single, benevolent, providing God. Some of these
travelers from the East had different coloration of eyes and skin
shade; some had beards. The Maya and other early Mexicans drew pictures
of these people, who wore hats and turbans not unlike those the
Cherokee have always worn and wear today. The Mexican legends said that
these people would return in time.
(Photo - Right)
Mayan carving showing man in a turban & beard with a non-Mayan
It is not known to this day
which people or combination of peoples built the great pyramid city of
the Valley of Mexico, but the Cherokees were living in Mexico at that
time, as were the Tlamatinimi (which means “wise men” in the ancient
Mexican language). They were a pre-Columbian group of intellectuals,
engineers, and astronomers who shared a common belief or connection
with the Cherokee in that their religion also had only one God who was
merciful, who had created all things, and who would provide what you
needed, not necessarily what you wished. This ancient Mexican society,
the Tlamatinimi, was supremely rational and civilized, arguably even
more civilized than Greeks or Romans. Their society existed within
different Mexican civilizations and were unfazed by the threat of a
gallery of monster gods used to motivate and control the populace. In
1450 A.D. they were centered at Texcoco.
Mayan carving showing Turban with blond mustache & freckled
cheekbones supporting Mayan legends of a people who came from the East
who worshipped but one God.
Cherokee migration legend tells
of our exodus north, three to four thousand years ago, past the river
of the ferocious ones, which we believe to be the Rio Grande River
where the cannibalistic Karankawas lived. In the mid-1800’s, Stephen F.
Austin saw this tribe in person and described them as very handsome and
intimidating, with men averaging 7 ft. in height and women 6 ft.
(Photo - Right)
A bearded man in a cloth cap distinguishes this Mayan carving.
The Cherokee pushed on to the
big waters of the Mississippi, then on to the headwaters of the Ohio,
where they built walled cities and huge mounds for burial. The Delaware
came from the west and, with assistance from the Iroquois federation,
fought to remove the Cherokee, for the time period of 7 chiefs, or
approximately 200 years, before the Cherokee went East to the mountains
and coast. The exodus was pressured by war to continue south with the
Cherokees arriving in the Georgia area in approximately 800 to 1000
Cherokee Chief John Jolly as depicted by George Catlin
The first European or Spaniard
to visit the Cherokee in the Georgia area was the explorer conquistador
DeSoto in 1540. His official writings astonishingly state that many of
the Cherokee were light skinned while, of course, many were not. De
Soto noted “some with light brown and blond hair equal in coloration to
some of my Spanish soldiers”. Of the hundred or more indigenous tribes
visited by this Spanish explorer, no other tribe would be noted for the
great mystery of being racially mixed like the Cherokee. According to
oral tradition and existing written history, we know we have been mixed
for several thousand years. Cherokee Chief Oconostota, whose
forefathers had all been chiefs, had himself been chief for 60 years
when, in 1782, he told Col. Sevier about the Cherokee history of the
Welch people who had come in approximately 1100. The Chiefs story also
agrees with the Welsh legend of Prince Maddox, who was said to have
come with ten shiploads of white people and settled on the Hiawasse
River. The Cherokee fought with them, took prisoners, and negotiated
the retreat of the Welsh, who joined the Mandan tribe on Mobile Bay.
(This is stated in an existing document dated 1808 which Col. Sevier
sent to Major Stoddard, who was trying to locate these racially mixed
The natural beauty of Coahuila has always attracted Native Americans.
The first Cherokees to return to
Mexico went in 1720 to the mountains of Coahuila.
The great Cherokee educator and social activist Sequoyah urged
Cherokees to come and live in freedom and dignity in Coahuila.
In 1822, a newly independent
Republic of Mexico granted the Cherokees freedom and immigration rights
to the eastern part of the Mexican province of Texas.
One of the last remaining houses of the once great Haciendo Patiño
where Sequoyah was befriended after escaping arrest.
Seventeen years later, in 1839,
the United States began the anti-indigenous eastern ethnic removal, a
hardship that killed thousands, of the Cherokees from their homelands
of a thousand years in Georgia, Tennessee, and North Carolina to
reservations in Oklahoma. This ethnic removal was only exceeded in
injustice by the same anti-indigenous elements of the Republic of Texas
government who coveted the Cherokee’s 600,000 acres and began a western
ethnic removal of over 1000 Cherokee men, women and children. The
Cherokees were led by Chief Bowles, a white skinned, freckled man with
dark red hair; a powerfully built warrior with a fair and honest heart,
he spoke little English. He and over 100 of his Cherokee brothers were
killed in defense of their property that had been granted them by
Mexico under the same legal process that Austin’s Anglo settlers had
received before the Texas Revolution. Cherokee families who had been
peacefully farming their land for almost two decades were now, in 1839,
homeless and country-less, many orphaned or widowed.
An 1839 painting showing Mexican Cherokees at leisure.
Before this ethnic cleansing,
Sam Houston asked the Attorney General of the Republic of Texas for and
received an opinion that stated that “it would be illegal for the
Cherokee land to be taken”. Texas President Mirabeau Lamar ignored this
legal opinion from his own government and ordered the ethnic cleansing
to begin; Burnett carried it out militarily and he personally received
the Cherokee lands, which he sold to the public for a huge profit.
Lamar had helped write the Indian Removal Act of 1828 in Georgia before
coming to Texas to seek his fortune. He was an admitted Cherokee hater.
Cherokee Medicine Man Swimmer. A noble profession, a noble Cherokee.
The surviving Cherokees were
arrested and faced with the captivity of the military reservation, but
instead resisted and fled to the freedom of the Republic of Mexico.
These refugee Cherokees asked the courageous Mexican leaders for help
and were granted “amparo” or political amnesty. They were granted
permission and settled in the Mexican states of Coahuila, Chihuahua,
Nuevo Leon, and Tamaulipas, with the majority choosing to settle in
mountainous Coahuila near the historic city of San Fernando now known
Chief John Ross, one of the most famous mixed-blood Cherokee Chiefs, he
was 1/8th Cherokee.
The most famous Cherokee in
history to come and live in the freedom of Coahuila, Mexico was
Sequoyah. This world famous educator is the only person in human
history to develop a written system of syllables, which enabled all
Cherokees to be able to write their language proficiently after only
two months of study. For this work of genius, the great Sequoyah was
featured in every U.S. newspaper and most major world publications.
Mr. Ridge was very typical of Cherokees with European admixture.
He was an U.S. Army veteran
known, honored and loved in his time by the red and white man
throughout the United States. To this day, U.S. national parks and
giant redwood trees bear his name. For his achievements, he was given a
house and a yearly monetary pension for the rest of his life in the
military-controlled Indian territory, yet he loved and valued freedom
so much that he urged all Cherokees to live as a free people in
Coahuila, Mexico. Indeed, earlier (in 1836), Chief John Ross had been
denied permission by the U.S. Secretary of War to be allowed to sell
the Cherokee lands and move the entire tribe to Mexico. Much later, in
1895, the Western Cherokees would consider a vote to move to Mexico to
whence Sequoyah had moved in 1842.
Cherokee Mary Delilah Price, 1880, The great-grandmother of Chief
Rogers and many of the Cherokee Nation of Mexico members.
Immediately upon Sequoyah’s
arrival in Mexico, the anti-indigenous elements of the 1842 government
of the Republic of Texas who feared Sequoyah’s intellect, celebrity
influence, and pro-Native American activist presence in Mexico
pressured authorities to dispatch agents that covertly and illegally
entered Mexico. Without the process of law and under threat force, they
arrested Sequoyah who, even at 73 years of age and suffering from a
severe lung infection, managed to “suddenly disappear”, escaping his
captors while crossing the Rio Grande River at night. Sequoyah,
fighting collapse, persevered and returned to Zaragosa where the
kind-hearted Mexican people of that city and the
Patinos-Rodriguez-Salinas families of a nearby hacienda, who had all
grown to love the venerable Sequoyah, bravely and without consideration
for their own personal safety hid him in a secret cave. Sequoyah, who
had been very ill for some time, became exhausted from this struggle
and flight from captivity to his freedom. The Great Sequoyah died
peacefully, a free person, among some of his Cherokee family and many
Mexican friends, but not before prophesying that a Cherokee child would
someday come, find his grave, and bring his spirit of brotherhood back
to the Cherokee and all other people of good heart.
The Cherokee Indian with the knives is at Fort Sill in 1904 when
Geronimo was a prisoner there. He is Joe Howard Layton, grandfather of
Chief Rogers, son of Mary Price.
According to the legends of both
Western Cherokee and Mexican Cherokee, Sequoyah believed with all of
his being that Mexico was the ancient land in which our ancestors felt
there was a source of knowledge and power. Like a migratory bird, he
was determined to return to freedom, even if he perished in this quest.
Charles Ahdoelayhoeski Prophecy Rogers in the darkness of the tomb of
Sequoyah points to markings he found.
After Sequoyah’s passing,
seventy Cherokee warriors fought during the 1842 conflicts in an
attempt to reclaim their land. Seventeen Cherokee died.
Every year the Cherokee Nation of Mexico has the honor of starting the
Cabalgata - a trail ride of 8,000 horses.
On August 4,2001, President
Vincente Fox historically signed Mexican constitutional amendments to
reflect the legal presence and protected cultural status of all of the
indigenous people of Mexico. This profound act of respect for
indigenous cultures by the republic of Mexico is unique among all
countries of the world.
Governor receives a beaded bolo symbolizing the respect that we of the
Cherokee Nation of Mexico have for him, the state of Coahuila and all
On August 22,2001, the Cherokee
nation and tribe of Mexico petitioned Coahuila Governor Enrique
Martinez y Martinez to confirm, through formal recognition, the strong
continuing bond that exists between the Cherokees and the Mexicans.
Chief Rogers and Clay Spirit Walker Garrett bring the noble 1910
Mexican Revolution flag from a collection in Chicago back to its home
in Mexico as a gift. It was received by the Governor on behalf of all
Governor Martinez y Martinez
acted without hesitation to extend the hand of continuing friendship
and ancient brotherhood with formal recognition of the Cherokee, in the
same courageous Mexican spirit as the Governor of Coahuila in 1839 and
the President of Mexico in 1822.
Cherokees come in many colors and
we feel that this is one of our strengths which allows us to understand
and respect all humans as brothers.
Wado (Thank you.)
Charles L Jahtlohi (Kingfisher) Rogers M.D.
Traditional Chief (Ugu)
“Spotted Owl fell asleep under a dancing star.
this was the night he learned to dream.
His soul became a strong white bird,
his mind a snapping terrapin,
his body as strong as a bear,
his medicine important and peaceful”
Marijo Moore - Cherokee