Learning the way of the Cherokee

Published 3:45 pm Monday, August 30, 2021

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Last Saturday, Sycamore Shoals State Historic Park hosted the Cherokee Heritage Day as an opportunity for the community to learn about the culture of the Cherokee people in our area through the arts and several different historic presentations.

One major part of the historic event this past weekend was the presentation of traditional Cherokee dances by the Aniyvwiya Dancers, a performance that was breathtaking and very special.

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Those in attendance were also able to hear tales from many years ago from one of America’s premier storytellers, Fred Bradley. That was not all though, as audience members were able to hear from Jarrett Grey Wildcatt as he soothed the ears with the sounds of the Cherokee Flute.

Language instructor Micah Swimmer was also in attendance on Saturday, as he taught basic words and phrases from the Cherokee language to all those in attendance.

The presentations were not the only thing guests of the festival could enjoy this past weekend, as there were also many Cherokee skills put on display for all to see throughout the day.

Some of the skills that were demonstrated on Saturday included woodcarving, beadwork, traditional basketry, finger weaving, pottery, wampum creations, cooking, blowguns and darts, and even the showcase of an early Cherokee encampment.

These creations were made by various artisans in attendance at the festival, and guests were able to speak with the creators of these pieces to gather more information on each item. To top things off, each piece of handmade arts and crafts was available for purchase by guests at the end of the day.

The fun-filled festival concluded with the presentation and sharing of information about Native American Music with the aforementioned Micah Swimmer and Dvdaya Swimmer.

Last weekend’s Cherokee Heritage Day was put on by Indian Creek Productions, Inc., an organization that works to promote American Indian education, and was supported by a local organization, the Friends of Sycamore Shoals.

After the success of this year’s festival, be on the lookout next year for a repeat of this exciting and informational event.