The Bandera Courier
Bandera Courier
Thursday December 14, 2017
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My old stomping grounds

Bill Ellis

How many of you have used the phrase "my old stomping grounds?"

Well, the stomping ground is a sacred place to the Cherokee. Most Cherokees today are Christian. However, there are still a few that practice the old ways. Many of us who attend the Christian church also keep the old ways.

The old ways, for us, are not an alternative to Christianity, but a supplement to it.

The stomping ground, as a religious and social gathering place probably goes back before Columbus.

The Keetowah is the religious branch of the Cherokee. In 1859, a set of by-laws defining the stomping grounds was enacted. The by-laws require a centrally located fire surrounded by an open area. This fire is surrounded by seven arbors. A council house is also called for and a medicine fire.

There should also be a water well and a cooking and meeting arbor. There is also a stickball field.

Stomp dances are usually held two or three times a year.

The fire serves as a center for all ceremonies, songs and dances.

Traditionally, the fire is built on a mound of earth about six feet across.

The area around the fire is about 20 yards wide.

Everyone dances in a counter-clockwise circle around the fire.

Corn soup
Put water, salt and a bit of fat in a large pot. Bring to a boil. Cut fresh corn from the cob and add to the water. Simmer until done.