The Cherokee Tradition of Raising Boys to Men

I love the Native American heritage and the Cherokees hold a special place in my heart (as well as the Choctaw tribe). The lessons are put in simple terms, but they are nonetheless important to know and ponder. I hope you enjoy this as much as I did.

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Cherokee Legend

Do you know the legend of the Cherokee Indian youths’ rite of Passage?

His father takes him into the forest, blindfolds him and leaves him alone. He is required to sit on a stump the whole night and not remove the blindfold until the rays of the morning sun shine through it. He cannot cry out for help to anyone.

Once he survives the night, he is a MAN.

He cannot tell the other boys of this experience, because each lad must come into manhood on his own. The boy is naturally terrified. He can hear all kinds of noises. Wild beasts must surely be all around him . Maybe even some human might do him harm.

The wind blew the grass and earth, and shook his stump, but he sat stoically, never removing the blindfold. It would be the only way he could become a man! Finally, after a horrific night the sun appeared and he removed his blindfold.

It was then that he discovered his father sitting on the stump next to him. He had been at watch the entire night, protecting his son from harm.

We, too, are never alone. Even when we don’t know it, God is watching over us, sitting on the stump beside us. When trouble comes, all we have to do is reach out to Him.


  1. Michael Bauman says

    And we who are so much more civilized abandon our children to the voracious predators for or own passing whims or even kill them ourselves.

    In the tradition of the Church, the entrance into adulthood is the time of first confession. The child faces, really for the first time, all of the horrors of sin and takes responsibility for his/her own while reaching out to our Lord, God and Savior at the same time.

  2. Here is a link to a song inspired by this legend.