Cherokee Heritage Day at Cherokee Museum Celebrates Hunter Moon | Cherokee, NC

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Cherokee Heritage Day at Cherokee Museum Celebrates Hunter Moon

(Hunter's Moon, photo courtesy of Luis Argerich)

On the second Saturday of every month, the Museum of the Cherokee Indian in Cherokee, NC, hosts Heritage Day. The next Heritage Day is set for Saturday, November 11, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Free and open to all ages, all activities will celebrate the Cherokee month of Nvdadegwa, known as the “Hunter’s Moon.” This event is sponsored by the Museum and the North Carolina Arts Council, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary.“We hope that people will come and bring their families to enjoy the day and learn a little more about Cherokee culture,” says 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. A dance workshop will be held on the green in front of the Museum, weather permitting. Food will be available 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. from Nikki’s Fry Bread. All presenters are enrolled members of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians.

November is National American Indian Heritage Month. Curious about your own lineage? If you are looking for your Cherokee ancestors, you can participate in genealogy workshops with Robin Swayney, Genealogist for the Museum, at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. “I will be having a brief introduction to how to start your genealogy research and what kinds of documents you will be looking for and collecting,” says Robin. “I will have the indexes to the rolls that I have access to for folks to take a look at and see if a name they have been told were Cherokee are listed on any of those rolls.”

Celebrations for the Hunter’s Moon will include archery demonstrations and a display on the elk restoration project. Deino Panther and the Cherokee Archery Club will be providing archery demonstrations and information throughout the day. Visitors can make a Cherokee stamped pot in workshops taught by Jarrett Wildcatt at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Visitors can participate in traditional Cherokee dances at noon, and listen to storytelling and flute music at 3 p.m. by Matthew Tooni. Throughout the day, Cherokee arts and crafts will be demonstrated in the Lobby.

(Photo of Elk near Oconaluftee by Carl Wycoff)

Joyce Cooper, of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation (RMEF), will have a display in the Lobby about the project that has restored the elk to the Great Smoky Mountains. With more than 222,000 members, RMEF is a nonprofit organization founded in 1984 with headquarters in Missoula, Montana. Its mission is to ensure the future of elk, other wildlife, their habitat, and our hunting heritage. “As a volunteer with the Great Smoky Mountains Chapter of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, I will set up a display of informational items about RMEF and the work we do as volunteers,” say Joyce. “Our major project is an annual fundraising banquet held the last Saturday in July at Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Event Center. Our chapter raised an initial 1.1 million dollars to reintroduce the elk in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park starting in 2001 with the first load of 25 elk from Kentucky. A second load of 27 elk was brought to GSMNP in 2002 and the herd continues to grow.”

Activities for Cherokee Heritage Day are free, except for regular charges for touring the Museum’s exhibits and for food. 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 ext. 1003 or visit online.

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