Sovereign Amonsoquath Band of Cherokee


A person belongs to the clan of their mother, and her mother, and her mother, etc. It is a matrilineal clan system. Names of the clans vary in history. And someof the Cherokee words do not have a precise English translation. So we have blue holly, deer, paint (red paint), wild potato, savannah, bear, wolf, longhair, twister, bird, blue plant, panther, and maybe some others, From what I understand these are different ways of translating the Cherokee words into English, still leaving us with seven clans! Long hair twister and panther may refer to the same clan. Wild potato and bear may be the same clan. Blue paint and blue holly may be the same clan. Everyone seems to agree on wolf, deer, and (red) paint. 

"Knowles Wayne Burrell, Jr


Among the Tsalagi there existed 14 clans or families, and eventually 7 were swallowed up by the 7 existing clans. The Priestly Clan was destroyed for reasons that are not discussed openly.

Today these clans are:

AniGatogewi (AniKituwa, AniGiduhwa, or Keetoowah People, also associated with AniTsa-gu-hi, or Bear Clan) - Were known to gather the wild potato plants in swamps along streams to make flour or bread for food. Hence the name gatogewi = "swamp". The Bear Clan has also been known as the Wild Potato Clan, Raccoon Clan and even mistranslated as  "Blind Savannah".

The Clan color for the AniGatogewi is Green.

AniWaya (Wolf Clan) - The Wolf Clan was the largest clan (1/2 of the Cherokee Nation) and was once the most powerful clan in a military sense. Many of the Chickamaugans who left the Cherokee Nation in 1775-7 were Wolf Clan, and the clan provided most of the war chiefs in our history. The wolf clan are Keepers of the wolf and the only clan who could kill a wolf through special ceremonies. The Clan color of the AniWaya is Red.

AniSahoni (Blue Clan) - Those belonging to this Clan made a medicine from a bluish colored plant to keep the children well. This Clan has also been known as the Panther or Wild Cat Clan. The Clan color for the AniSahoni is Blue.

AniGilohi (Twister Clan) - The Twister are also known today as Long Hair Clan, (which originally was actually a female warrior society), Hair Hanging Down Clan or Wind Clan. Those belonging to this Clan wore their hair in elaborate hairdos, walked in a proud and vain manner twisting their shoulders. Peace chiefs usually came from this clan at one time in our history and wore a white feather robe. The Clan color for the AniGilohi is Yellow.

AniTsiskwa (Bird Clan) - Those belonging to this Clan were the keepers of the birds and were skilled in using blowguns and snares for bird hunting. The Clan Color for the Bird Clan is Purple.

AniWodi (Paint Clan) - Those belonging to this Clan made red paint. Dida:hnvwi:sgi (sorcerers or medicine men) usually came from this clan at one time in our history. The Clan Color for the Ani Wodi is White.

AniKawi (Deer Clan) - Those belonging to this Clan were the keepers of the deer. They were known to be fast runners and deer hunters. The Clan Color for the Ani Kawi is Brown.

It has been said that we had 14 clans at onetime. There are now 14 Iroquoian speaking tribes:

Neutrals, Petun, Erie, Wenro, Huron, Susquehannock, Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga,Cayuga, Seneca, Tuscarora, Meherrin, Tsalagi. 


The Cherokee nation grew in numbers. The problems of teaching the people the laws and customs given them by the Anidawehi grew more difficult. The Anidawehi decided the best way to control such large numbers of people was to form them into clans, each clan being controlled bt elected women,and by elders of both men and women. Women were given such high responsibilites because it was they who remained at home with their babies and saw to the continunity of the family and clan.

Because of this special relationship of women with the family and the town,all property belonged to the women and her children belonged to her clan.for only a mother is known for sure. It was the women who inherited field rights as handed down from mother to daughter.

Each Clan was responsible for judging and execution of punishment of any social wrong done against a clan members,whether that wrong was done by a clan member or a member of another clan. But the clan did not and could not make the laws or social customs.

All laws and customs were either made by the Anidawehi,the people,or envolved out of ancient acceptance. All laws of a religious nature were handled by the Anidawehi, and Cherokee's believed religion was part of every day living. All men and women of adult age voted on how to run their town.

In the beginning,it was said that there were fourteen clans. But some clans would not obey the laws and customs of the people. These clans were considered heathens and were driven out of the nation. The expelled clans formed the tribes now called the Erie,Mohawk,Onodaga,Cayuga,Seneca and Oneida. These people were cousins of the Cherokee,who as a group are called Iroquios spoke a language kin to the Cherokee's,called Irquvian. One of the clans did not form into one of the tribes,but vanished completely. This was the Ani-Tsaguh (People who-disappeared), which many believe became the bears. Two other lost tribes,the Susquehanna and Tuscarora,became members of the Iroquois. The Iroquois moved north into the cold country and to the great lakes of the north.

The seven clans that remained became known as Ugaya (Seven clan Society.)  

The Clans

A poem by

Hawk Dancer

Clans seven.

Ani Sahoni, Gilohi, Tsiskwa, Wodi and Kawi, Gatogewi, Waya.

People of the Blue, Longhair, Bird and Deer, Wild potato, Wolf.


The Blue people makers of medicine,

caretakers of the people.

Knowledge of plant Spirits and healing.

Ills of the body are their enemies.

Healing of the People their gift to all.


The People of the Long hair,

Caretakers of the people.

Walking tru life in honor a proud people.

Keeping a people in beauty is their way and their gift to all.


the Bird people,

Caretakers of the people.

Watching and tending the birds, knowledge of the ways of the winged ones.

Caring for the Winged brothers and sisters for the betterment of all.


The people of the paint,

Caretakers of the people.

Mixing the colors of life, sharing with all the Paint of life.

Life without color is their dread keeping us all colorful their gift.


The People of the Deer,

Caretakers of the People.

Following the ways of the Deer, travailing silently.

Protecting the Deer, feeding the people with meat is their gift


The People of the wild potato,

Caretakers of the people.

Farmers and gathers, Feeding the people.

Famine is their enemy they feed all with their work.


The People of the Wolf,

Caretakers of the people.

Swift as the wolf, cunning and wise.

Protecting the people from harm from without is their way.

All seven make one people.

Each giving their gifts to the people.

The people are stronger with the gifts of the seven clans.

May the Tsalagi people always remember that we are seven but we are still one!

PAGE MAINTAINED BY: Rainbow Eagle Woman.