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Tslagi vs. Tsalagi “What’s in a name!”

A new Order of the Arrow lodge was chartered by Cherokee Council of North Carolina in 1939.  The new Arrowmen wanted to name their lodge “Cherokee”, but were disappointed to learn that a lodge in Birmingham, Alabama already was using that name.   Some unknown individual suggested the Native American word for Cherokee using their language and they spelled it as “TSLAGI”.  Lodge 163 used this spelling for the next 48 years.

In 1985 a local Explorer Post advisor, Mrs. Cedelia C. Miley, wrote the Council President a letter advising that the lodge name was misspelled.  She was a publicist for the Cherokee Historical Association and was familiar with the Cherokee language.  As she expressed it, the Cherokee Indians thought that the lodge misspelling was a good joke and an example of the ignorance of non-Indians about the Indian culture.

The lodge decided to research the matter.  While some members were aware of another spelling, it was usually suggested that Tslagi was from a different dialect or some said it was the name of a Cherokee chief.  The research showed none of those things to be true and finally in the fall of 1987 the lodge voted to change their name to “TSALAGI”.  This was the proper English spelling of the three Cherokee letters: , TSA – LA – GI.  The Indians pronounced the word as CHA-LA-GEE’, which settlers wrote as Cherokee.

The first patches issued with the new spelling were 50th anniversary flaps, F1 and F2, available in January 1988.  These flaps commemorated the lodge’s upcoming anniversary and that year’s NOAC.

Tslagi vs Tsalagi

Story from “THE SPIRIT OF THE ARROW – A History of Tsalagi Lodge 1939 – 1989” by Lindley S. Butler

Sumitted by Website Editor Rick Horne
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