Cherokee Folklore


This pathfinder compiles a compilation of resources available on Cherokee Folklore, as documented from the eighteenth century to the present. The focus on this research is not only on the oral story-telling tradition among the Cherokees, but includes topics such as Cherokee dances, ceremony, music, and artistry. After the Removal of the Cherokees from their original homelands in 1838, the Cherokees became fragmented as a people, which eventually led to the formation of three distinct Cherokee groups: the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (residing on the Qualla Boundary in western North Carolina), the Cherokee Nation (based in Tahlequah, Oklahoma), and the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokees (also based in the Oklahoma region). Due to the existence of these separate Cherokee groups, I have made efforts to include Cherokee folklore sources that have emerged prior to removal, as well as post-removal.

As previously noted, the sources provided hereafter include many areas that fall under the “folklore” heading. The listed materials are compiled and designed to give the preliminary researcher an overview of the topic, and a base on which to proceed with further study. The following materials are located in the W.L. Eury Appalachian Collection at Appalachian State University.

Introductory Text: 

Arneach, Lloyd. Long Ago Stories of the Eastern Cherokee. Charleston, SC: History Press, 2008. ASU SPEC APP COLL E99.C5 A874 2008

Galloway, Mary Regina Ulmer and Chiltosky, Mary Ulmer. Aunt Mary Tell Me a Story: A Collection of Cherokee Legends and Tales. Cherokee, NC: Cherokee Communications, 1990. ASU SPEC APP COLL E99.C5 A9 1990

Library of Congress Subject Headings: 

Highly Relevant:

· Cherokee Indians—Folklore

· Cherokee Mythology

· Children’s Stories, Cherokee

· Cherokee Indians - Philosophy

· Folk Songs, Cherokee

Also Relevant:

· Cherokee Indians—Dances

· Cherokee Indians—Magic

· Cherokee Indians—Incantations

· Cherokee Astronomy

· Cherokee Calendar

· Cherokee Indians—Weapons

· Cherokee Indians—Basket Making

· Cherokee Indians—Pottery

More General:

· Cherokee Literature

· Cherokee Poetry

· Cherokee Indians—History

· Cherokee Indians—Art

· Cherokee Painting

· Cherokee Artists

· Cherokee Drawing

· Cherokee Cooking


· Cherokee Language

· Cherokee Language--Agriculture

· Cherokee Language--Texts

· Cherokee Language--Writing

Clipping Files Subject Headings – W. L. Eury Appalachian Collection: 

Folklore—Cherokee Indians

“Unto These Hills,” Cherokee, NC

Handicrafts—Cherokee Indians

Cherokee Indians—History

Cherokee Language

Cherokee Indians

Library of Congress Call Numbers: 

E99.C5.075 2008

E99.C5 A874 2008

E99.C5 M53 1999

E99.C5 W47 2001

E99.C5 L55 1998

E99.C5 L67 1998

E99.C5 R36 1993

E99.C5 M77 1992

E99.C5 M763 1992

E99.C5 A9 1990

398.208997 J66st

398.208997 T779pa

E99.C5 M764

E99.C5 M763

E98.F6 W23

E99.C5 M77

E99.C5 B77 1967

E99.C5 K48

E99.C5 U38 1956

E99.C5 B38

E99.C5 L46 1952

E99.C5 D245 1937

E99.C5 M762

E99.C5 M74 1900

E99.C5 B77 1967

E99.C5 G17 1991

E98.F6 B2 1975

E99.C5 K45 1997

E99.C5 K484

E98.D2 S64

E78.S65 M37 1984

E99.C5 S626 1999

E99.C5 P73 2003

E99.C5 H218 1999

E99.C5 H218 1999

E99.C5 H224

E99.C5 H226 1975

E99.C5 B278 2004

QK99.U6 M43 1989

E99.C5 P42 1974a

E99.C5 H2226 2006

E99.C5 B275 1953a

E99.C5 P72 2007

E98.A7 S7

E99.C5 H83

E99.C5 Q35 1980

E99.C5 D83 1991


Adair, James. The History of the American Indians, Particularly Those Nations Adjoining to the Mississippi East and West Florida, Georgia, South and North Carolina, and Virginia. New York: Johnson Reprint Corp., 1968. E77.823 1968

Banks, William Jr. Plants of the Cherokee: Medicinal, Edible, and Useful Plants of the Eastern Cherokee Indians. Gatlinburg, TN: Great Smoky Mountains Association, 2004. E99.C5 B278 2004

Duncan, Barbara and Arch, Davy. Living Stories of the Cherokee. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 1998. E99.C5 L55 1998

Hamel, Paul B. and Chiltosky, Mary U. Cherokee Plants and their Uses: A 400-Year History. Sylva, NC: Herald Publishing Co., 1975. E99.C5 H224

Mooney, James. History, Myths, and Sacred Formulas of the Cherokees. Asheville, NC: Historical Images, 1992. E99.C5 M763 1992

Mooney, James, and Olbrechts, Frans M. The Swimmer Manuscript. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1932. E99.C5M775 1932

Power, Susan C. Art of the Cherokee: Prehistory to the Present. Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press, 2007. E99.C5P72 2007

Speck, Frank G., Broom, Leonard, and Long, Will West. Cherokee Dance and Drama. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1951. E98.D2 S64

Guides, Encyclopedias, and Dictionaries: 

Duncan, Barbara R. and Riggs, Brett H. Cherokee Heritage Trails Guidebook. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 2003. E99.C5 D84 2003


Belk Library Acquisitions Department. The American Indian: A Bibliography: A List of Books About American Indians Located in the Belk Library, Appalachian State University. Boone, NC: Belk Library, Appalachian State University, 1973. Z1209.B43 1973

Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians Planning Board. Bibliography: The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. Raleigh, NC: NC Dept of Natural Economic Resources, 1974. Z1210.C5 E3

Fogelson, Raymond D. The Cherokees: A Critical Bibliography. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1978. Z1210. C46 F64

Tennessee Anthropological Association. A Bibliography of Tennessee Anthropology, including Cherokee, Chickasaw, and Melungeon Studies. Knoxville, TN: Tennessee Anthropological Association, 1976. Z1337. B35

Abstracts and Indices: 

Bibliography of Native North Americans

Anthropology Plus

American History and Life

Academic Search Complete

MLA International Biography

Search For:

Cherokee Folklore

Cherokee Mythology

Cherokee Studies

Cherokee Folk Tradition

Cherokee Folk Medicine


North Carolina Folklore Journal. Semi-annual. Vol. 15 No.1 1967-Vol. 57 No.1 2010 ASU SPEC APP COLL and ASU SPEC APP COLL C D WILLIAMS GR110. N8N6

Journal of Cherokee Studies. Annual. Vol. 1 1976-Vol. 28 2010. ASU SPEC APP COLL E99.C5 J68

Journal of American Folklore. Quarterly. Vol. 1 1888-Vol. 15 2002. ASU MICROFORM/PERIODICALS

American Indian Quarterly. Quarterly.1992-present (Electronic Journal)

Appalachian Heritage. Quarterly.1973-present. ASU APP COLL F106.A137 A6

Appalachian Journal. Semi-annual/Quarterly. Vol. 1 1972-Vol. 38 No. 4 2011. ASU SPEC APP COLL, ASU SPEC APP COLL CD WILLIAMS, and ASU SPEC UARCHIVES PUBLICATIONS. F216.2 .A66

Audio and Video Sources: 

Bushyhead, Robert. Yonder Mountain: A Cherokee Legend. 1 sound cassette: analog. Glouchester, Mass: Lobster Cove, 1999. OCLC # 53173049 Tape 806

Calhoun, Walker. Sacred Songs of Medicine Lake. 1 sound cassette. Cullowhee, NC: 1997. OCLC # 48211235 Tape 760

Calhoun, Walker. Where the Raven’s Roost. 1 sound cassette: analog. Cullowhee, NC: Mountain Heritage Center Recording, 1991. OCLC # 26586521 Tape 761

Easterling, Nancy. Plants and the Cherokee. 1 videocassette. Chapel Hill, NC: Lauren Hill Press, 2001. OCLC # 47697760 VC 425

Hider, Sam. Cherokee Legends. 1 sound cassette: analog. United States: Various Indian Peoples Publishing, 1999. OCLC # 44408078 Tape 788

Heape, Steven R. and Richie, Chip. Tales of Wonder: Traditional Native American Fireside Stories. 1 videocassette. Dallas, TX: Rich-Heape Films, 1998. OCLC# 40581737 VC 367

Howard, Greg. Cherokee Scary Stories. 1 sound disc. Richardson, TX: Various Indian Peoples Publishing, 2000. OCLC # 57587518 CD#907

Little-John, Kathy Smith. Cherokee Legends. 1 sound cassette: analog, stereo. Cherokee, NC: Cherokee Publications, 1990. OCLC # 23880855 Tape 787

Other Sources: 


Mooney, James. “Cherokee Plant Lore.” Journal Of Cherokee Studies 7.1 (1982): 37. ASU SPEC APP COLL E99.C5 J68

Kate, Herman F. C. ten (Herman Frederick Carel). “Legends Of The Cherokee.” Journal Of American Folklore 2.(1889): 53-55. ASU PERIODICALS. 1-2 1888-1889

Parsons, Elsie Clews. “Folk-Lore Of The Cherokee Of Robeson County, North Carolina.” Journal Of American Folk-Lore 32.(1919): 384-393. ASU PERIODICALS. Vol. 32 1919

Compiled by: 

Jared W. Gallamore