Thursday, August 30, 2012

Clans of the Cherokee, part 6 -- The Paint Clan

In ancient times, the Dida:hnvwi:sgi (deed-ah-hnew-wee-sss-gee), the healers and medicine men, and the Adawehi (odd-ah-wee-hee) or wizards came from the Ani Wodi clan.  They were most famous for making red paint used in ceremonies, for war paint, or sacred rituals and they made the red dyes used in clothing and costumes.  Only the Ani Wodi were allowed to make this special red paint or dye.  Curiously,although today their flag is black with red stars, their traditional color is white and their wood is locust.  The wood of each clan is important for their sacred fires.  The Ani Wodi were typically the keepers of the sacred fire.  An Ani Wodi priest typically was allowed to create a fire lit from the sacred fire.  Fire was believed to signify the separation of man from the animals. 
Paint Clan ceremonial mask

If a ceremony called for “magic” or illusion or intrigue, the Ani Wodi were the masters at setting it up and the tools needed to carry it off.  They were reputed to have extrasensory perception capable of seeing things hidden to others like visions of the future or events that might happen far away.
The Red Paint or Paint Clan were also known as the "Corn People".   They were responsible for teaching the knowledge of life, birth, death and regeneration.

As I mentioned in Part 5, The Bird Clan, many Cherokee descendants no longer know their clan.  Also, since the clan is passed down by the mother, if a Tsalagi (Cherokee) man married a white woman, his children would have no clan.  There are currently attempts to restore the clan tradition to all Tsalagis.  Following are notable surnames of the Paint Clan:

 A: Adair (Dorothy or Dotty), All Redd, Artt B: Berry (Ann), Berryhill (Neil), Breamer, Bunch (Doe), Byrd C: Candie, Cash, Caulunnah, Chandis, Chrichfield (Hattie), Colbert (Saleckie), Colbert (Tuskiehootoh), Craft, Cummins D: Double Head (Jr.-Taliwuasku), Duck (Teal) E: Easton, Ebanoy F: Face Painter, Foose (Louissa) G: Gillam (China), Gist (Wurthe), GoForth (Lisa) H: Hardgritts, Hartley, Hollow Horn, Hudson J: Jinis, Jolly (Annie), Jump K: Keeper (Keep), Kettle, Kingsman, Knight L: Lee, Ligon (Toy), Linder M: Macky, Mankiller (Waite), Manystriber (Llyod), McCoy, McDougal, Mckissic, Morrison N: Nettle Carrier O: Ohmaohla P: Parrot (Faith), Polson (Olivia), Poolay, Porkeater, Proctor, Pumpkin Boy Q: Quinley, Quintin (Sara) R: Redman (Quattie), Reily (Grace), Richardson, Rickhart, Riddle, Roundtree S: Samauls, Sasadeehee, Sasafracs, Shaman (Joe), Sharp (Jugie), Simons, Snapping Turtle (Dory), Sparks, Stephens, Stockup, Stone T: Tassel (Geo), Taylos, Telontaskee (Susie), Tohquah, Towle, Turnkey U: Ulam (Don), Underhill (Luciell) W: Watts (John), Williams, Wistawasto, Woods (Major) Y: Yahne, Yellowhammer



  1. Not that it matters much, but the surname "Scraper" (Disugasgi), my surname, would have been part of the Paint Clan. My ancestor, Archibald (Atsilagili) was the son of a woman (Tayani) who was a member of the Paint Clan. Arch took his father's name as his surname.

  2. Thanks for your comment. After European contact, many traditions have become confused.

  3. My ancestry names are Double Head, Pumpkin Boy, Wurthe Gist, Tassel, Watts, Roundtree...Very proud with love.

  4. My ancestry name is Proctor. From Western N.C. Blue Ridge and Smoky Mountians.

  5. Lisa Monet@ my recent DNA ancestry has led me to watts, gist/wurthe, sequoysa,doublehead, corntassel, moytoy

  6. Lisa Monet@ my recent DNA ancestry has led me to watts, gist/wurthe, sequoysa,doublehead, corntassel, moytoy