Outlander, his heroes 

and their religions:    

Indian nations 

from north Carolina  

O Great Spirit of our ancestors, I raise my pipe in your honor. 

And in that of your messengers the four winds and Mother Earth who feeds your children. 

Give us the wisdom to teach our children to love, respect and be good to one another in order to grow in inner peace. 

Let us learn to share all the good things you bring to us on this Earth.


Native American prayer.

In this chapter, we will not go into the details of the history of this people. 

If you want to know more, we recommend these excellent, comprehensive articles.


The Cherokees (     

The Mohawks (  


The Tuascaroras and Cherokees , peoples of Iroquois culture and language, were sedentary. 

It was a matriarchal society organized according to laws, rules respected by the Tribe. 

Their lands were covered with forests… timber was abundant there.

Grouped into large villages, they built long houses covered with bark and protected by sloping roofs made of thatch and woven rush.
Each house had its own small piece of land, but on the outskirts of the village, collective fields ensured the supply of the whole community.

Everyone worked there, including the chefs. 

Beans, squash, pumpkins, sunflowers, tobacco and corn were found in this fertile land. They hunted, fished, gathered wild plants, raised turkeys. (1) 

The first contacts of the Cherokees with the Whites took place around the middle of the 16th century.


The Spaniard Hernando De Soto who traveled the South-East around 1540 , very impressed by their richness and the refinement of their culture and the number of their warriors, did not dare to face them. ( 2 )

Matriarchate Cherokee :  Rights and duties of maternal blood  

Before the 18th century, the 20,000 Cherokees were divided into matrilineal clans, just like the Iroquois; that is, membership of a clan was determined by the mother.
Maternal blood ties were strengthened by the Cherokee theory of procreation, according to which the woman provides blood and flesh to the fetus while the father through sperm only builds the skeleton.
When the first interbreeding occurred, children born to a union between Cherokee women and non-Indians were considered fully Cherokees and not half-breeds unlike children born to a Cherokee father and a white woman.

The "red" chief governed the war, as well as the game of "lacrosse ", the ball game widespread in all the tribes of the East, and which was called "the little war". This game could be used to settle small conflicts. A " Woman of War " accompanied the warriors, providing assistance and advice and deciding the fate of the prisoners.
When a member of a clan was guilty of murdering a person from another clan, the law of blood demanded revenge (Law of blood revenge) to restore harmony between the clans.
Cherokee women had many rights and privileges other than domestic chores. Not only did married women own property, such as houses, horses, cattle, and fields of crops and fruit trees, but they also participated in the Council of War, and sat down with the Civil Peace Council.

On their arrival in 1707 , the English sought the alliance of this powerful nation and the Cherokees relied on the weapons provided to them by the English to ensure supremacy over other Indian nations.
In 1730 , the Cherokee chiefs went to London where they signed a treaty of friendship with the British crown.
But from 1738 , terrible epidemics of smallpox severely reduced the population of Cherokees.
The war against the Creeks, the enemy Indian nation, will weaken them.
Periods of peace will alternate with periods of war. More and more, the Colonists will want to appropriate the lands of the Cherokees.

In 1768 , then in 1775 , the Cherokees had to accept important cessions of territory. Despite these concessions, the war resumes.

In 1777 , the chiefs demanded peace at the cost of a new abandonment of land. Dragging Canoe, still resisting with its thousand warriors, retreats into the mountains, joined by several hundred Creeks, near Chickamauga Creek. They will now be known as Chickamaugas.
This unequal struggle will end in December 1794 ; demoralized, the Cherokees demand peace. Unable to resist the assaults of the Whites and protect their way of life, they will embark on "the path of Civilization". ( 4)
And they succeed!

They are hard workers who have kept the sense of tribal solidarity.
The Cherokees reached an enviable level of prosperity in about twenty years. They founded a capital, New Echota, in memory of their destroyed city.
Many Cherokees have farms, beautiful plantations that arouse the jealousy of their neighbors.

We have found, between these valiant warriors of the Highlanders and the Smoky Mountains in the South of the Appalachians, many similarities which we will tell you about in the file devoted to the common destiny of the Highlanders and the Indians.


Let's say that this Cherokee people will be the “Ambassador” of these nations decimated by colonization.


They carry with them the memory of all the other peoples who have suffered the same fate.


The encounter with this “so-called civilized” world was a shock, the extent of the drama of which we do not understand.

In 1708 , the first English settlers appeared on the territory of the Tuscaroras. 
Chef King Hancock is friendly with newcomers.
But the settlers seized the best cultivable land, thus depriving the Indians of their wealth. Raids are organized in the villages to supply the slave market.
The tribe revolts and defends itself. Two thousand of its best warriors launch raids against the Whites.

In 1713 , the Crown army invaded the territory. The Indians are beaten, killed; prisoners are sold as slaves to finance campaign costs. The survivors flee to the north where they ask for the protection of the Iroquois who formed the "League of Five Nations" and ask to enter it. ( 3) 

In 1722 , their request was met and the Tuscaroras became the sixth nation of the Iroquois League, with rights equal to those of the five founding nations.
Then their fate will unfortunately be that of the entire Iroquois nation.

The Cherokees (ᎠᏂᏴᏫᏯ) were, along with the Creeks, the most powerful people in the Southeast of what is now the United States.
They lived in the region of Smoky Mountains, south of the Appalachians, a country of hills, forests and waterfalls.
They called themselves "Tsalagi"
The Cherokees lived in a hundred villages, united in a confederation.

Cherokee society is organized into seven matrilineal clans split into war and peace groups.
Each village was headed by two chiefs.
The "white" chief, "Most Loved", and who could be a woman, dealt with civil affairs, justice, religious ceremonies.

The Cherokees quickly begin to use the syllabary.  

Within five years, the literacy rate of the Cherokees exceeded that of neighboring European settlers. They publish a newspaper the " Tsalagi Phoenix" written in Cherokee and English.

 They have schools where people work in both languages. These are the first mixed schools in America. They adopted the dwellings, the clothing, the way of life of the Whites.

 Whites live with them. From then on, the tribe has many mestizos who got rich and educated. They negotiate with the white settlers.

 Many Cherokees have become Christians.

 The institutions of the Cherokee nation are modeled on those of the United States. They have a constitution, an elected parliament, courts of law. Traditional tribal solidarity has been maintained and the chiefs still make sure that no member of the tribe goes without what is needed. ( 5) 


 But in 1830, everything will change: gold was discovered on their territory.


 On May 28, 1830 , the “ Indian Removal Act ” was passed in the United States and signed by Democratic President Andrew Jackson, elected in 1828, on a program where this abject bill had pride of place ...

It was the end of tolerance that had led some "Native Americans" to serve the independence of the thirteen British colonies in North America.

 In its thirst for conquest and colonization, the young republic decides to deport the Indian tribes east of the Mississippi.

Since 1806, some fifty tribes had already been deported beyond the Appalachians.

Only those who had accepted "civilization", that is to say the abandonment of nomadism, ancestral traditions and collective occupation of land, continued to live there.


 But, in 1830, the five "civilized" tribes, are in their turn threatened, under the pressure of colonization. The Cherokees, Seminoles, Choctaws, Creeks and Chickasaws must leave the Eastern States, under penalty of punitive expeditions.


 The East Indians stand alone in the face of this imminent threat. Few are the opponents of their expulsion. Davy Crockett, in 1830, because he opposed President Jackson, a Democrat like him, over the fate of the Indians, lost his seat as representative of Tennessee in Congress ...


 The Cherokee tribe manages to make itself heard thanks to Elias Boudinot , defender of the culture of his people, who publishes in English and in his native language, the famous Cherokee Phoenix newspaper , since 1828.

 It is the dream of a free state that takes shape in the territory of Oklahoma


 In February 1832 , the Court declared that the Cherokee nation was a distinct society, with the right to govern itself, and that it did not have to submit to the American government.

 Despite the decision of the Supreme Court, recognizing the sovereignty of the Cherokees, President Jackson promulgates the decree of deportation of Indians west of the Mississippi, it is despicable the "Indian Removal Act " which forces the Indian people to deportation.


 The survey is carried out and the settlers are allocated the Cherokee lands by lot.

Their properties pass to the settlers with their cattle and cultivated fields.

Their public buildings, their schools fall into the hands of the Whites who destroy them.

 A few thousand Métis agreed to go west in 1835.

The others stay and try to resist, again and again… The majority of the Cherokee nation gathered behind John Ross  (1790-1866), called White Bird by his people, will try to resist the deportation.

He is the son of a Cherokee mestizo and a Scotsman; he is an educated, influential man, leading an easy life on a beautiful plantation. Elected Chief Chief of the Cherokee Nation, he brought the dispute to the Supreme Court of the United States.

In July 1838 , President Jackson, at the end of his presidential term, ordered the final expulsion of the Cherokees by force.
New President Van Buren inherits Jackson's decision to deport the Cherokee Indians and does nothing to prevent its execution.

The Trail of Tears begins. (Trail of Tears) Chief White Bird (John Ross) and his family decide to live with the people the same suffering.

There are many wagons… but most of them are on foot pushed by the bayonets of the soldiers and booed by the Whites throughout the journey.

His wife is freezing to death after giving her blanket to a child.

Throughout the 1,500 km route, it is cold, snow, disease, hunger, exhaustion and death.
It is estimated that at least a quarter of the Cherokees will have died during their gathering and their journey to Indian Territory.

Text: Françoise Rochet  

Illustration: Gratianne Garcia  


Throughout this long trip to America, we will meet Indians.  

They are all in our childhood dreams… and we have all forged heroes in our hearts. 


Before diving into this New World in North America, it's time to reflect on their history and their fate.  

We have therefore chosen to tell you about two of these Indian peoples, the Tuascaroras and the Cherokees  


They will cross paths with Jamie Fraser, which is why we will focus on this Indian nation. 

A thousand Cherokees have managed to hide in the Smoky Mountains of North Carolina, living by hunting and gathering. They will later obtain the right to stay in their homeland.  

Their descendants still live on their land and formed the Eastern Cherokee tribe, living on the Qualla Reservation in the Smoky Hills.


Arrived in this territory which is reserved for them, the survivors under the leadership of John Ross try to reconstitute their life and their torn nation. They have good land and eventually the American state has paid them large allowances that allow everyone to live on prosperous farms.

John Ross reconstitutes the Cherokee government. Until his death in 1866, he worked with the American government to protect his people and secure their future.

The Cherokees have a new capital, Tahlequah. 

Justice, schools, newspaper publication are back on the agenda.

 In 1843 , the Cherokee organized in Tahlequah a meeting of eighteen Indian nations of the Indian Territory and emphasized the peaceful defense of Indian sovereignty.

In 1861 , the Civil War, will unfortunately put an end to this regained serenity.

Having fought alongside the Confederates, the Cherokees will have to suffer retaliation from the victorious North.


We are entering the modern era which calls itself civilized ...

 The railway will cross the territory which will again be attributed to the Whites; the mines open; cities are springing up; violence sets in….

 The American Congress then votes the " Curtis Act" of 1898 which dissolves the governments of the Indian nations of the Indian Territory, subjecting them to the authority of the United States.

 The Indian Reorganization Act of 1934 allows the Cherokees to reconstitute an autonomous government. But the territories grabbed by the Whites are forever lost. The Oklahoma Cherokee lands, which do not have reserve status, are however under the protection of the Federal Government (trust lands).


Today , the Cherokees, mixed, live an existence comparable to that of their white neighbors. Oil has enriched some. They remain united by their tragic history. And even if their ancestral traditions are the domain of folklore, they maintain the beautiful idea of ​​a nation. 

Major events bring them together annually.

The Trail of Tears is mentioned in a show in Tahlequah.


On their reserve in North Carolina, descendants of the Cherokees who remained in the East based their economy on logging, crafts and tourism. 


They made themselves famous with their " Eagle Dance " a very spectacular ceremonial dance that has been passed from generation to generation. 

Ethnologists estimate that there are today between 5 and 7 million people who are descended from the Cherokees. 

 Many American personalities are descendants of these courageous people… Kevin Costner and Brad Pitt…


And their beliefs  


We have seen throughout this story the incredible resilience of this people.

 They consider the succession of seasons, the cycles of life, to be a gift from the Great Spirit.

 In order not to impoverish their land, this sedentary people had as a rule to move the village every 20 years.

Rising from the ashes is undoubtedly
a tribal will.
It should also be noted that their diary was
called " Tsalagi Phoenix " from the name of the famous
mythical bird which is reborn from its ashes.  

We have seen that they were often destroyed, annihilated… and yet, even weakened and lost in a gigantic state, they are still there. 



Why and how? 

(John Ross) and his family decide to live with the people the same suffering.
There are many wagons… but most of them are on foot pushed by the bayonets of the soldiers and booed by the Whites throughout the journey.
His wife is freezing to death after giving her blanket to a child.

Sequoyah, (1770 -1843) invented in 1821 an alphabet and an original and functional writing system.
The Cherokee language becomes the first written Indian language.

These men lived in a world where everything they needed was available for free. And they had to face the weakness, the taste for possession, theft, the lie…
They couldn't understand that a man could want more than he needed.
This is the great philosophical question that they had to resolve at their own expense ...

For Indians, land is the mother that provides almost unlimited abundance. 

She is that nurturer who gives all her children abundance.

To trust mother nature is to accept her cycles of life and death of the seasons but also of men.

It is seeing in nature, rebirth in spring. 

It is to see in death the beginning of a new life. 

It is the acceptance of regeneration of every human being.

Death is therefore not an end in itself. 

Man dies to be reborn.

 The Indian is not afraid of death. It does not cling to life and when it becomes a burden on society it simply goes away because it knows it is an integral part of the cycle that nature offers.


From then on the Indian will live by following the natural law 


It is a simple and so obvious law that arises from the observation of other creations of nature. 

The Indian is a hunter-gatherer who observes foxes and bears. 

When they eat berries, they do not eat all the berries on the same bush.

When bears eat honey, they do not destroy the hives; they take a little and continue on their way.

Always leave enough to allow regeneration. 

We must not empty a piece of land of all its nourishing sources. 

Hunter-gatherers never empty the department store of soil.

The earth nourishes, the earth heals. 


The Busk or green corn ceremony was a period of thanksgiving, of spiritual renewal around great sacred fires. 

With such wisdom, these people did not experience famine because the food sources were varied and were not exhausted at the same time. In addition, they did not damage their environment to allow regeneration.

 But they are careful. They know how to store food and keep it in different forms ...

The medicine man was a personality of the village who knew everyone and knew how to adapt treatments according to the personality of his patients because he used the Medicine wheel.

They knew which plants were good for medicine and where to find them

They knew where was the water which he respected for all its benefits….
It is life: it bears, nourishes, fecundates, provides.
It springs from the great source, it circulates and flows; it evokes cycles.
The water flows downwards, but subjected to the heat of the sun, it turns into vapor to reach the sky.
Water from the sky is a gift for cultures.
The water of the rivers is revered.
The precious fish are there.
It is sacred.
It purifies the warriors.  

But they also thanked the tree they fell, the deer they killed ... the beans they picked ...

 They respected everything in the natural world knowing they could use it when the time came.

 Such was the pact with Mother Nature, this inexhaustible cornucopia.


 Every good thought was a prayer. 

 Each act was a prayer ... 

Nature was prayer ... 

 The universe was a temple. 

 These were their beliefs. 


Let’s talk about women again. 


Géronimo, Crazy Horse, Sitting Bull… We all know them. These Indian chiefs are in our memories… in the movies… in our comics. 


Besides, Pocahontas, where are the women?


But why has history not retained the names of these women when they had an essential role in their society?


Perhaps simply because the history of the Indian people was written by white men whose wives had no rights ...

The native societies of the continent were more egalitarian than their European counterparts.

Women often had representative, sometimes mystical, power. 

They were sometimes chief, deputy, shaman, healer, warrior or negotiator. 

Unthinkable, yes unthinkable, even less than a century ago in Europe.

While the Western woman was completely dependent on her father and her husband, the Indian woman knew self-reliance because it was also the law of nature. 


She hunted, raised and collected traps, she sowed, cultivated and gathered when the men of the tribe went far away. 


She made pottery, utensils; she wove and made clothes ... 



Women had a vital economic role, in addition to being wives and mothers. 

Matriarchal society had made these women owners of land, of houses. 

And they could have an influence on men. 

Among the Choctaws, they elected the chieftains.

Sioux women could decide to be warriors during combat.

Among the Comanches, the wife of a medicine man assisted her husband. 

Adultery was sometimes repressed in certain tribes while it was perfectly accepted among the Hopis. 

In some tribes, women sometimes had the freedom to leave their husbands when they wanted to.


Yes…. It was a matriarchal society.


The woman had a front row seat.


Filiation was then strongly influenced by this position. 

Moreover, belonging to the clan generally depended on the mother's tribe of origin. 

It was therefore possible that the heirs of power were the sons of the chief's sister.

A maternal uncle could also, in this way, be more important than a father. 


Homosexuals, on the other hand, also had a place in society. 

Native Americans saw the difference as an asset. They entrusted these two-spirits (two spirits) with sacred missions and the latter, perceived as gifts from God, could thus become healers, matchmakers or prophets. 

Conversely, women took part in the tasks of the opposite sex, going hunting and war.

The last beloved woman, Ghighau Nancy Ward, resigned in 1817.


She had earned her title by taking up her late husband's arms and participating in battle.


She had tried to negotiate and keep the peace with the whites, which had proved impossible.

It took 170 years before the Cherokees again had a female Supreme Leader, Wilma Mankiller , who was elected in 1987.


 Deb Haaland , is a Native American who became a minister in the United States.

 Indigenous peoples now have a representative in the Biden administration.

 This former alcoholic and single mother has always been able to face difficulties.

The president, Joe Biden, chose her to head the Department of the Interior, an appointment which has just been validated, this Monday, March 15, 2021, by the Senate. She will lead an administration competent in the issuance of permits to exploit the natural resources of the subsoil (minerals, oil and natural gas) and the management of public lands (about a fifth of the surface of the country), such as National parks.


The Amerindians, these squaws are in our eyes avant-garde women.


In fact, this society was only following the  law imposed on them by Mother Nature that these Indians respected ...


Benjamin Franklin, one of the founding fathers of the United States, would have been inspired by these Indians when he defended their notion of individual liberty and democracy in the Constitution of the United States of America.

Without these Indians, America would undoubtedly have taken on a whole different face.


But that's another story we'll cover later as we explore Outlander.


Gratianne produced the illustrations and reread the novels.

 Françoise reread the Histoire des Indiens and wrote the text.





Literature, historical research, filmography, comics… are very abundant…


We identified :


Thornton Russell, Les Cherokees, Editions du Rocher, Collection `` Nuage rouge '', 1997.


Vincent Bernard, The Trail of Tears. The great exile of the Cherokee Indians, Paris, Flammarion, 2002.


But also this very complete site:  


(1) T6 - and T8.2: The Cherokees of North Carolina are prosperous and trade with trappers and settler villages: bartering furs, tobacco, alcohol etc ...  

Claire and Jenny at the Beardsley trading post meet two Cherokee warriors on horseback in their finery, heading for the counter followed by women on foot. They carried huge bundles of squash, beans, wheat, and cured meats on their heads or backs. 


(2)  T6 - Jamie found in a cave perched in the mountains 6 km from Fraser's Ridge, a skeleton of a Spanish soldier who witnessed their passage.  

He shows Claire what he will call "the Spaniard's cave"; he was indeed a Spanish: A metal helmet, adorned with a coat of arms was placed at his side with a crucifix and a rosary bearing inscriptions in Latin. 


(3) T7-1: Trapper Myers explains to Jamie that the Tuscarora War, less than fifty years earlier, was a brief and violent fight. Following an attack on settlers settled in the hinterland, the governor of North Carolina sent a punitive expedition to Indian villages with several battles. The better armed English decimated the Indian villages. As a result of these attacks they were adopted by the Mohawks and entered the powerful Iroquois Confederacy. 


(4) T6: Jamie at the request of the governor of North Carolina will become an "Indian agent". It consists of speaking with them and giving them gifts in the hope that they will defend the interests of the crown. He explains to Claire that there is a Southern office and a Northern office, to deal with Indian affairs in the colonies. 


(5)    T6: Roger tells Jamie that the Cherokees struggled to fight the settlers because they were divided, some villages deciding to fight, others staying neutral. Some had fought with the Loyalists and others with the mainlanders. Some hid in the mountains, and the army never found them ...