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Video: Cherokee Elder Remembers Making Lye Soap and Stealing Horses

Cherokee Elder Lawrence Scott discusses what he remembers about growing up Cherokee, like making lye soap with his grandmother and stealing horses.
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One of nine children, Cherokee Elder Lawrence Scott spent a lot of time during his childhood helping his grandmother make lye soap. He also grew up speaking Cherokee.

“It was hard, they told us we couldn’t speak it, we’d be in trouble if we did,” Scott explains.

Games were made up with what they had, and included marbles, and playing in the woods. “We would find a good vine, we’d cut it, make a swing out of it,” Scott says. They would also make bows and arrows out of hickory.

The log house he grew up in would get pretty crowded, so in the summer, he and his siblings would bring mattresses out and sleep outside, or string hammocks between trees.

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Scott tells stories of how they would borrow horses from neighbor’s fields. They would ride them and return them when they were done. Watch below to hear about when they were caught: