Mark your Calendars- October 15 Cherokee Heritage Festival

September 19, 2011

Sponsored by Clay County Communities Revitalization Association and the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area, the first annual Cherokee Heritage Festival will be held at the Cherokee Homestead Exhibit on Saturday, October 15 from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.  The Exhibit is located next to the Clay County Historical & Arts Museum in Hayesville, North Carolina.  Demonstrations and presentations by well-known artisans, historians and storytellers will be scheduled throughout the day.

EBCI artist and historian Davy Arch will demonstrate flint knapping and mask making skills.  Arch is an accomplished EBCI artisan and culturalist.  He has served on the boards of the North Carolina Arts Council and the Qualla Arts and Crafts Mutual.  Arch is manager of the Oconaluftee Indian Village in Cherokee.  He served as a primary consultant on the Cherokee Homestead Exhibit, assisted in artistic design for the public art and is presently creating a sculpture for the exhibit.

EBCI Tribal Council member and native educator Diamond Brown will share his people’s culture through storytelling. Diamond has traveled all over the United States teaching and sharing his knowledge since 1992 with his program called Touch the Earth with Native People.  Diamond has shared the stories and culture of his people with the students in Hayesville for three years.

Emmaline “Emma” Garrett is a member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and one of the few Cherokee basket weavers who continue to make rivercane baskets.  Mrs. Garrett collects the rivercane and uses natural dyes of walnut and bloodroot.  She learned to make baskets by watching her grandmother, then made them on her own, later teaching the skill to others.  Mrs. Garrett contributed to Weaving New Worlds: Southeastern Cherokee Women and the basketry written by Sarah H. Hill. Her baskets have been displayed at the Asheville Art Museum,  Western Carolina University Chelsea Gallery and Chatooga Conservancy.

Clay County resident Darry Wood will be demonstrating dart making and blow gun techniques.  Wood is the founder of Earthskills Rendezvous, a program dedicated to teaching the nature lore and like-skills of Native peoples.  As a professional craftsman, much of his career has focused on creating reproductions of historic artifacts and clothing of the Southeastern Indian tribes.

Wood will debut his Cherokee basket weaver mannequin during the Festival.  The mannequin will reside in the Clay County Historical & Arts Museum following the event.    Accompanying Wood will be EBCI member Lucille Lossiah, whose doubleweave basket will be displayed with the mannequin.  Mrs. Lossiah is a well-known doubleweave basket artist, who has taught the skill to other members of her community.  Her baskets were featured in Weaving New Worlds: Southeastern Cherokee Women and the basketry written by Sarah H. Hill.  Funding for the mannequin was provided by the Cherokee Preservation Foundation and the Clay County Historical & Arts Council.

T.J. Holland, director of the Junaluska Museum in Robbinsville, N.C. and member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, will present information about the Cherokee Valley Town Settlements.  Holland’s presentation is being sponsored by the Hiwassee River Watershed Coalition and the Junaluska Museum.

Lamar Marshall, Cultural Heritage Director of Wild South, is a board of director for the Alabama Chapter of the Trail of Tears Association and active member of the North Carolina Chapter.  Utilizing his background in engineering and surveying, he researched and mapped over 200 miles of Cherokee roads.  These roads have been added to the National Historic Trail System by the National Park Service.  Marshall will be sharing his research on the Cherokee Trading Trails at the Heritage Festival.

Southeastern potter, Tammy Beane will be demonstrating how she combines traditional prehistoric techniques with her love of nature into contemporary “Southern Mud Pottery”.  Beane has worked with the Museum of the Cherokee Indian in North Carolina and the Cherokee Heritage Museum in Oklahoma. The North Carolina Community Foundation funded the purchase of several of Beane’s pots which will be used in the students’ field experiences at the exhibit.

Plan to visit the Cherokee Homestead Exhibit in Hayesville on Saturday, October 15 to learn about the Cherokee who lived in our region for thousands of years.  Original works of art will be available for your perusal and purchase.  The Clay County Historical & Arts Museum houses examples of artifacts found in Clay County and additional examples of Cherokee culture, and will be open during the Festival.

Do you live in a small town in Western North Carolina and want to build an exhibit that brings visitors to learn about your culture? The volunteers who created the Cherokee Homestead Exhibit along with HandMade in America are hosting a workshop to walk and talk through how to build a heritage attraction in your community. Find more information here!

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