There has always been talk in my family that my great-great grandmother was a Cherokee Princess. Can you direct me to any records that could help me find her identity?
Angie in Des Moines, Iowa
Dear Angie in Des Moines:
Believe it or not, this is a very popular question that I get. Honestly, there is no such thing as a "Cherokee Princess." And even more strange, the question is always in relation to a great-great-grandmother. Not a great-grandmother or grandmother, but a great-great-grandmother. The ever mysterious Cherokee Princess never existed.
Still today, the Cherokee have a Chief (aka Principal Chief) who is similar to a Mayor and is head of the Tribal Council, same as a Mayor is head of a town council. The Tribal Council is twelve members - two representatives from each of the six townships. If your great-great grandmother was the daughter of the Chief, then she is simply the daughter of the Chief, same as the woman who is the daughter of the Mayor. The Chief is not royalty. He is an elected official by the tribal community.
I can tell you that I am the great grand-daughter of a former Chief (my mom's paternal grandfather) and my great-uncle (my mom's maternal uncle or my grandmother's brother) was Vice Chief. Still, no Cherokee Princess from any Cherokee geneaology exists.
Now, there are "Beloved Women" who still exist in the Cherokee Tribe. Because the Cherokee Tribe is matrilineal and clanship runs through the mother's blood line, a "Beloved Woman" is a very special woman who is chosen for her devoted leadership and outstanding qualities, which is a position reserved for brave and wise women who have served the people well in the tribal community.
A Bazillion Blessings~ Dr. Standley
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