DeSoto’s Encounter With The Kituwagi (Cherokee)

Story told by Giti Equa Yonv Smith - Cherokee


   This is a story that was told to me and was given permission to repeat by a Cherokee Elder when I was a young man and later on in years, I researched and found that it was true and is recorded in the Chronicles of the Jesuit Priest that traveled with Hernando DeSoto.

   It is well known that when DeSoto came to this Land, he was in search of gold, but he was also a conqueror in the name of the Christianity.

   In his travels as he encountered each village of Native People, the Jesuit Priest would determine if the people would be able to be “Christianized”  or if they were too “Heathenistic” to ever be able to except “Christianity”.  Based on the decision of the Jesuit Priest, DeSoto annihilated entire villages along with all its history all because in his opinion they were not capable of  the acceptance of  the Christian belief.

   But, when DeSoto came to the land of the Kituwagi (Cherokee), he was met by many hundreds of people along with the Principle Leader and the High Priest.

   DeSoto remained behind while the Kituwagi High Priest and the Jesuit Priest went to talk in private. (*Remembering now, that there was a language barrier.*)

   When the two Priests returned, after many hours of discussion, the Jesuit Priest said to DeSoto, “You must leave these People alone.  They know more of our Religion than we do.  At the time that they were at their peak in their Religion, we were still in the Dark Ages.”

   DeSoto then ask for permission to go to the southwestern most portion of Kituwagi lands in order to re-supply his food rations.  He and his men stayed for approximately one year and then continued on with his conquering journey of annihilation.

   As the Europeans came to this land and introduced Christianity to the Native People, the now known as “Cherokee People” readily excepted the religion as it was already basically the same.  Yowah (GOD or CREATOR), Atsutsa-aquetsi (MY SON), Galvquodi Adanvdo (HOLY SPIRIT) or the “Trinity” had always been a part of the religious beliefs, so naturally “Christianity” is the accepted belief of the “Cherokee” today.