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Making Clothes and Catching Possums: Cherokee Elder Shares Stories

Cherokee Elder Charles Carey shares stories from his childhood about everything from making clothes to catching possums and going to school.
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Cherokee Elder Charles Carey, known by his friends as “Bud” shares stories from his childhood with us. He lost his brother to polio, and he lost his mother when he was just 3 years old.

When he spoke of happier times, he talked about swimming and fishing, and ways of gathering food. “I guess I knew all kinds of edible greens that grew at that time because we depended on that for survival,” he says. “But you can’t find a lot of that stuff anymore.”

He talks about hitchhiking and walking a lot to get around, even sleeping out in the woods.

School was tough, but not necessarily the education part. “A lot of times you go to school and you didn’t have no lunch to take, and you felt bad about it because maybe some other kids had something to eat and you didn’t,” Carey says.

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He goes on to talk about how bathing and trading worked, as well as how some people made clothes from flour bags.