Artwork: Origins by Bill Glass Jr., MaryBeth Timothy and Dan Mink

One Cherokee creation story recounts a time long ago when Cherokee people lived on an island south of what is now the United States. Their island became tormented by earthquakes that led to a volcanic eruption. Approximately 14 groups departed in canoes to find a new home.

The people set forth across a vast expanse of water, traveling for weeks. Not every canoe survived this dangerous journey: only seven canoe groups remained when they reached the shores of an unfamiliar land. These groups would become the seven Cherokee clans: Wolf, Blue, Long Hair, Paint, Bird, Deer, and Wild Potato.

The seven groups traveled north to the land of the Iroquois in the northeast of present-day United States. There Cherokee lived among the Iroquois for a brief time until they began their journey, heading south and east where they settled, living in towns and communities and becoming Cherokee Nation.

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