Cherokee Heritage Day at Cherokee Museum offers food, culture, activities on May 13

Schoolchildren planted potatoes in the community field at Big Cove, 1956. Image courtesy of the Museum of the Cherokee Indian.

Press release from Museum of the Cherokee Indian:

Visit the Museum of the Cherokee Indian on Saturday May 13, 2017 for a day of fun activities celebrating Cherokee traditions.  All activities are 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 fifth in a year-long series that offers free cultural activities on the second Saturday of every month, each with a different theme. May is Anisgvti, traditionally the moon of planting, so activities will celebrate plants and gardening. All presenters are enrolled members of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. A variety of food will be available 10 am to 5 pm from Lulu’s by Marsha Ensley, including chili with mini fry bread.

“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.

Workshops and cultural demonstrations will happen throughout the day. Janie Brown and Mary Brown from the Snowbird Community will share information about Cherokee plants in the Museum Lobby. The Cherokee Friends will be demonstrating moccasin making, twining, and more.

At 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.. kids (and grown-ups) can learn to make traditional Cherokee pottery in a workshop with Jarrett Wildcatt. Also at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., Nathan Bush will lead a “Plant Walk” on the Oconaluftee Garden Trail. The plant walk and the pottery workshop will be limited to 15 participants each, and sign up will begin on the day of the workshop.

At noon the Cherokee Friends will tell stories and lead traditional dances involving the audience. This will be different from the storytelling and dance sessions later in the afternoon.

At 2 p.m., Dr. Jerry Wolfe, Beloved Man, 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. Copies of the DVD will be available for sale in the Museum Store and online.

At 3 p.m., master storyteller John Grant Jr. will present flute music and Cherokee stories. Grant is a cultural ambassador for the Eastern Band, dances with the Warriors of AniKituhwa and is a well-known powwow singer. He has performed at the Cherokee Bonfire, at Colonial Williamsburg, and throughout the Southeast and internationally.

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.

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 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

About Able Allen
Able studied political science and history at Warren Wilson College. He enjoys travel, dance, games, theater, blacksmithing and the great outdoors. Follow me @AbleLAllen

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