Sunday, September 28, 2008

Financial Incentive to Study Cherokee

Osiyo, ginali!


More new stuff coming this week using the new dolphin-squeal-proof audio approach. I’ve uploaded audios for the first page of Lesson 3’s list of birds. If you don’t know your tsigilili from your tsaqualode, now’s the time!



Whether or not Congress passes the controversial financial bailout bill, many of you have reported to me that finances are tight right now. I certainly understand, and I’m in the same boat with you. That’s why I’ve announced that until further notice, spouses fly free!

Okay, that’s an old airline commercial slogan. But if you’re a Speak Cherokee student, one family member can be included on your enrollment. This entitles them to take the tests, have their pronunciation corrected, interact with the other students (I’ll set up a student forum when we get 50 enrolled) , and earn a certificate of completion at the end of the course.

Just advise me by email, with the name of the family member you want to include.


Beyond that, I’m been thinking of how you can actually make some money. What if I set up an affiliate program? If someone signs up for Speak Cherokee through your affiliate link, which you can set up on a web page, social site like MySpace, or your own blog, you get money. I can either set it up as a lump sum for each new student, or as a smaller amount you will received every month that student is enrolled. It means I make less for each student, but I’m really not planning to retire on the income from teaching Cherokee. If you have any thoughts on this, please reply by email with the word “Affiliate” in the subject line.


It’s almost October, and we’ll soon enter both the traditional new year (Firepit Year) and the annual ethnic obstacle course I call “The Moon of Paper-Feather Headdresses.” It’s the month in which elementary school students make Indian stuff out of construction paper, and learn about the good Indians who helped the Pilgrims. They start of course with Columbus Day, when Europeans began the conquest.

During this time, the news media suddenly remembers we exist, and seems amazed afresh each year as they realize that we still keep out languages and traditions as best we can.

If you’re one of the people who is normally contacted by the news media in your area at this time, what a great chance to lay a little Tsalagi on them! As long as we still speak out language, we are still a distinct people and culture.

Speak Cherokee every day, and teach your children!

--- Brian

Friday, September 26, 2008

Chickadee Receptionist

An old Cherokee saying is that if a chickadee looks at you upside-down, tilting his head to the side until it looks like he's standing on his head, that's a sign that a visitor is on the way to see you.

Better put some coffee on!

The word for chickadee is tsigilili, which sounds like 'jee-gih-LEE-lee."

To learn the names of birds and other points of the language and culture not often dealt with in books, enroll in our online classes at!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Family Special - Two for One!

For a limited time, two family members can enroll in our online language course for the price of one. Both students can submits tests, and both will earn the certificate of completion.
Share the gift of Cherokee language with your family! REGISTER NOW

Monday, September 8, 2008

Response to "Is Your Family Weird?"

Q: What about the reference to a child as pumpkin? Or the learned eating behavior of eating fat (my first memory as a toddler) that is ONLY Native as far as I know...

A: "Pumpkin" and "Peanut" appear to be the most common pet names for children, and neither is terribly Native. In France, it's "Cabbage."

Intentionally eating fat on meat, especially an expensive cut of meat like prime rib, is likewise not so much Native American as northern. It's common among Scandinavians, Russians, Germans, and Canadians. Animals store toxins in their fat for later excretion. Ironically, that's why the fat sometimes tastes so good.

Now, if you're talking about chowing down on a can of lard, that's another matter.


DNA Test to Show Percentage Native American Ancestry

Q: Do you know of a Native place that does DNA analysis that shows the percentage of Native American in a person?

A: The largest Native American owned and operated DNA testing firm is DNA Testing Inc out of Scottsdale, AZ

What you're looking for is called an admixture test. Theirs is call Whole DNA. Mention my name in the "referred by" space, and you'll get a discount.

- Brian Wilkes

Sunday, September 7, 2008


Osiyo, Tsunali! Hello, Friends!

I’ve been working on more pages of content for – pronouncers for the three pages of labels, so you can begin labelling things around your home and reminding yourself to speak the Cherokee names OUT LOUD.


We have almost 325 people on the mailing list, but not even ten percent have actually enrolled for the classes. I know the economy is bad, and money is tight, so I’ve been considering what I can offer as an incentive.

Here it is: from now until the end of the year, enrolled students get a ‘two-for-one’ deal. If another family member wants to study, their tests and pronunciation will be corrected, just as if they were a separate student. When the tenth test is completed, you will both get the certificate of completion. Another advantage, you now have someone else in the house who can be your study partner. Finding someone to speak Cherokee with gives you an advantage in retaining the material.


Remember to bookmark the new blog at


Brian Wilkes

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Was Your Family WEIRD?

Among mixed bloods, old traditions were often passed down as family quirks and eccentricities. As a kid, you weren’t told this was a Cherokee or other Indian tradition, so you probably just thought it meant your particular family was weird, and possibly doing it to make your life miserable and be un-cool in front of your friends.

Today’s question: Did your family have any beliefs or practices concerning what should be visible or what should not be visible upon entering the doorway of a house? This may have been explained simply as ‘good luck’ or ‘bad luck.’

Give it some thought, and let me know. I may get back to you for details.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Venus Emerges

Ko’iga Unadodaquinvi, Dulisdi igagvyi, ale Iga-Noquisequa.

Hello! Today is Monday, September 1, and Day of the Big Star, a.k.a. Rabbit, a.k.a. Venus.

It’s significant that this is a ‘Rabbit-Star’ Day, today Venus arises from its hiding place of invisibility to become the Evening Star. In the old Cherokee Calendar, the Deer and Rabbit stand on one side of the River, while the Wolf stands on the other side, ready to challenge or escort those who cross.

There are several significant or at least ironic days coming up this month, and there is a time of great danger as well.

The current Year of the Flint Knife ends on October 5, with a new Year of the Firepit beginning October 6. In this last month or so of the Flint Knife, there is increasing danger of a new conflict starting. We also see danger from natural disaster, with Hurricane Gustav as just one example.

There are currently two blogs running, which today are carrying this same message. The Speak Cherokee blog concentrates on learning the language, while 2012 Revealed deals with the Cherokee Calendar, indigenous prophecies, and preparations for enduring the “Days of Darkness” predicted before the dawn of the Sixth World in December, 2012.

I recommend subscribing to the one that most interest you. I’m trying to keep the technology as simple as possible for fast download.

Have a wonderful and safe Labor Day with your families. If you’re old enough, explain to them that we once had something called labor unions in this country, that’s why a day devoted to picnics, car shows and appliance sales is called Labor Day.


Brian Wilkes