What Are Some Physical Characteristics of the Cherokee People?

The Cherokee people are described by William Bartram in his 1776 writings as having dark-black, course hair and a reddish-brown or copper-colored complexion. They also have an aquiline shape to their noses and a noble, heroic look. Today’s Cherokee people exhibit a wide variety of physical characteristics due to the introduction of early Scottish and German settlers into their bloodline.

While some Cherokee people have stereotypical high cheekbones, pointed nose and strong forehead, others have blond hair and blue eyes. This is because early Scottish and German miners bred with Cherokee women.

Descended from Iroquois, the Cherokee history is a tragic one. The people of the Cherokee nation that were living in Georgia, the Carolinas, Tennessee and the surrounding states were forced to leave and relocate to Oklahoma. The route they traveled was dubbed the Trail of Tears, and along the route that this migration traversed many descendants of the original Cherokee nation can be found today.

Several celebrities claim to be at least part Cherokee, although not all can actually trace their tribal ancestry. Among those claiming to be Cherokee are actor Tommy Lee Jones, singers The Jonas Brothers and actress Shannon Elizabeth. Actor Johnny Depp has a large Native American Indian tattoo as a reference to his Cherokee roots.