Cherokee Culture, Rewritten Aspects
Well let me tell you this. My grandfather (whom I never met) was half Native. I have had no part in his culture and i’m not sure how much he did either so no traditions were really passed down to my mother (that I know of) or to me. If these traditions were passed down, I would definitely feel comfortable partake in such culture. But since I don’t, I’d honestly feel very uncomfortable waltzing in and “using” the culture i’ve had no strong connection to before just because I now felt like it. I’d at least want to connect with a relative and be lead into the knowledge first.
I also don’t think in terms of entitlement of whether it’s a given right. It’s all about the people, and making sure one respects them and aren’t stomping over them or their culture which they do partake in actively.
Now, as for your story, no, I really do not think it’s right to take a culture and just switch up aspects, especially when you have no strong ties to it at all. That is definitely offensive. The same goes with religion as has been discussed here in the post “Muslim Genies & Rewriting a Religion.”
Do you actively identify as Cherokee? Would you really not mind if someone approached your culture, pulled it apart, and misrepresented it for the sake of story? Be mindful that readers generally will see your portrayals of a culture, partially one connected to PoC for face value, so I find it harmful to pick apart a marginalized people’s culture and change up “key details.”
I would like to hear from Native and Cherokee followers!