Museum of the Cherokee Indian hosts heritage day event March 11

Michael Crowe leads traditional dancing at the Museum of the Cherokee Indian.  Photo by Barbara R. Duncan, courtesy of the museum
Michael Crowe leads traditional dancing at the Museum of the Cherokee Indian. Photo by Barbara R. Duncan, courtesy of the museum

Press release from Museum of the Cherokee Indian:

Visit the Museum of the Cherokee Indian on Saturday March 11 for a day of fun activities celebrating Cherokee traditions.  The Museum is offering a day of activities free of charge to the public, sponsored by the North Carolina Arts Council and the Museum.  Activities are suitable for all ages and will be happening from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

This is the third in a year-long series that will offer free cultural activities on the second Saturday of every month, each with a different theme. March is Anvyi, the Strawberry Moon, so activities will celebrate the appearance of the first leaves of plants. All presenters are enrolled members of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. American Indian food will be available 10 am to 5 pm from Nikki Crisp, including fry bread and Indian tacos.

“We hope that people will come and bring their families to enjoy the day and learn a little more about Cherokee culture,” said Barbara R. Duncan, Education Director at the Museum. “They can meet Cherokee people who know a lot about their traditions, who really enjoy talking with visitors.”  The day provides hands-on activities, demonstrations, and will end with sessions of storytelling and traditional dance. If you would like to bring a group to the event, please contact bduncan@cherokeemuseum.org

Workshops and cultural demonstrations will happen throughout the day. At 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.. and 3 p.m., kids (and grown-ups) can learn to make traditional Cherokee pottery in a workshop with Jarrett Wildcatt. Workshops will be limited to 15 participants, and sign up will begin on the day of the workshop.

At 12 noon and 2 p.m., Jerry Wolfe will show the film “Plants and the Cherokee” and discuss it. He and other Cherokee elders are featured in the film, which was produced by the North Carolina Botanical Garden, Longleaf Press, and the Museum of the Cherokee Indian. At 1 p.m. another tribal member will share information on plants.

At 3 p.m., master storytellers including Kathy Littlejohn will present Cherokee stories. Littlejohn will tell stories related to food, like the “Origin of the Strawberry.” She has performed at the Cherokee Bonfire, at Colonial Williamsburg, and throughout the Southeast. Her stories are featured in the book Living Stories of the Cherokee, available in the Museum Store, and are available on CD.

At 4 p.m., the Cherokee Friends will lead Cherokee dances including the Bear Dance, Spring Frog Dance, and more. Audience participation is encouraged. Cherokee Friends’ activities are made possible by a grant from the Cherokee Preservation Foundation. 

Throughout the day, Cherokee Friends will demonstrate cultural traditions in the Museum Lobby. Richard Saunooke will demonstrate moccasin making and wampum belt making.

Activities for Cherokee Heritage Day are free. The Museum’s two exhibits are open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and include “The Story of the Cherokee People: 13,000 Years” and “Emissaries of Peace: 1762 Cherokee & British Delegations.” Admission to Museum exhibits is $11 for adults, $7 for children ages 6-13 and free for children age 5 and under. Discounts are available for AAA, AARP, military, and groups. If you would like to bring a group to the event, please contact bduncan@cherokeemuseum.org. The Museum of the Cherokee Indian is located at 589 Tsali Boulevard in downtown Cherokee, at the intersection of Highway 441 and Drama Road.   For more information, call 828 497-3481 or go to www.cherokeemuseum.org.

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