Cherokee Nation
Cherokee Elder Thelma Vann Forrest talks about growing up Cherokee.

Video: Mashing Beans, Eating Squirrel Brains for Bravery, and Learning to Skate


Cherokee Elder Thelma Vann Forrest talks about how she and her siblings entertained themselves, what school was like, and when her family got a refrigerator. 

“We never really had any store-bought games, we just played with the animals,” Forrest says in the video. “Both my brothers were younger than me, and so they would get on the horse, and I had to sit on the cow… and that was my horse.”

She talks about how she and her siblings would entertain themselves at the river since they lived close. She would make the food for these excursions, and be in charge of it.

Forrest talks about how having air conditioning, or even fans, back then. They had one room all the boys slept in, and one room all the ladies slept in. There was also a room everyone shared meals in. The kids would watch how her uncle ate his beans. “He would mash them, and then he would put about four or five big old tablespoons of grease… and then we would do it,” she says.

Forrest talks about the schools she went to, learning how to skate.

“Just like a little army we’d be there shining the floors,” she laughs as she talks about going to school. “Some people had a bad time, other than being lonesome and crying a lot, I do not remember anything bad.”

Hear more about her time in school, and her childhood by watching the whole video, below:

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