In ancient times, the Cherokee culture was preserved and passed on to each generation through ceremony and oral stories. It was an informal process that incorporated changes slowly and naturally over the ages. Cultures change as new generations bring new ideas and new interpretations to old traditions. Cultures are influenced by their neighbors, by changing climate, by changing food sources, by war, and by changing political influences.
Today, we have but hints and whispers of the ancient Cherokee culture. So much has vanished under the influence of the European explorers, colonists, and the formation of the new European-American governments. The pressures and influences of this foreign culture forced the Cherokee to examine what had once been a natural progression and introduced the conscious effort of “preserving the culture”.