Published on August 4, 2014 by Carol
As relatives and friends followed, the couple entered the sacred council fire area. The bride wore a white dress and white moccasins, usually made from deer or elk skins. The groom wore a roe-colored ribbon shirt, black pants and moccasins.
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In colonial times, Cherokee homes had no scissors so women tore pieces of fabric into either squares or rectangles to make their dresses. As calico and other fabrics became available to the Indian ribbon shirts, “tear” dresses became popular.
The couple was wrapped in blue blankets that represented their old ways of weakness, sorrow, failures and spiritual depression. Relatives followed them to the sacred fire.
A holy man blessed the union and all those present. The couple exchanged baskets. The groom’s basket contained meat and skins representing his promise to feed and clothe the bride. The bride’s basket was filled with bread and corn representing her promise to nurture and support her new husband.
The couple then shed the blue blankets and are enveloped by relatives in a white blanket representing their new ways of happiness, fulfillment and peace.
Stomp dancers performed for the couple and a prayer of continuance was said to end the ceremony.
Note: In today’s wedding ceremonies, if the holy man blessing the wedding is not licensed by the state in which the ceremony takes place, a civil ceremony following the Indian religious ceremony may be needed to meet legal requirements.