Corn necklace made with Cherokee Tears-Job's tears beads.
I was asked by several of our Viet Nam veterans if I could make a necklace in the colors of the Viet Nam service medal colors. This necklace measures about 26 inches. This necklace is made with glass pony beads and Cherokee tear seeds and strung on artificial sinew. For those who are unfamiliar with Cherokee tears; they are natural seeds that are often used as beads. They are also commonly called Cherokee corn tears or Job's tears. It is best not to get the necklace wet. The necklace is made to slip over your head as there is no clasp.
When you wear it ....remember.
Not just the trail of tears but our brave Viet Nam veterans.
My grandmother wore a necklace similar to this her whole life. It had a corn bead to remind her of the Tsalagi people and the tears they shed during the removal. Then seven glass beads to remind her of the seven Tsalagi clans.
As a child I asked about the ayatlidi and this is what she told me as best that I can remember.
"When the soldiers came to each household to gather the Tsalagi people together many wept tears of sadness over the loss of homes and personal belongings. Many were only allowed to take what they could carry and many were not allowed to take anything at all. As the people were taken from their homes they would cry out asking the Unelanvhi (Creator) to send a miracle.
;Many realized that these things would happen according to some of our old teachings, but they still wept because this was the only home they had ever known. Unelanvhi looked down upon his children, the Tsalagi, and sent a miracle to help soothe their uyoayelvnv (sorrow).
At the place where the tears of our people fell, up sprang a shoot that looked like a cornstalk. As the plant bloomed and opened up, tears of gray fell to the ground. Unelanvhi said, “This will be a sign unto all who pass that my children will always be a part of this land. The cornstalk represents life for my children and the tears are gray for the anigiliyogv ale uyoayelvnv (suffering and sorrow).”
As the Trail of Tears began the people cried their tears of uyoayelvnv. They cried for the loss of family and home. As they walked along the trail, tears fell to the ground. Where these tears fell, there sprang up a small shoot and from it fell the tears of our people’s suffering."
Today these small plants (also called Job's tears) can be found where the Tsalagi once walked in times of sadness. From the Smokey Mountains of North Carolina to the Green Country of Oklahoma, to remind us that our people are strong and will survive just as this plant has. It also reminds us of the love our Unelanvhi has for his children.
This story is a relatively new story and was “born” on the Trail of Tears in the years 1836-38.
Like our people it too has survived and lives to be told again.