Video: Cherokee Elder Steve Downing Jr. Shares Stories from Childhood


Cherokee Elder Steve Downing Jr. was born in 1925—he lived through prohibition and spent his days playing in the creek.

In this video he talks about games they played as children, and riding donkeys bareback for “something to do.”

“In the summertime the boys and I slept on the porch… we run up and down the road barefooted with hardly any clothes on,” he says in the video.

He talks about how his family didn’t have much money, so he would gather whiskey bottles and take them to the bootleggers: “you could get a nickel for whiskey bottles,” he says.

He grew up hunting and says: “I carried a gun from the time I was big enough to carry a gun.”

Downing even mentions seeing people getting shamed for speaking the Cherokee language, and his family’s allotment.

Watch him tell his stories below: