Indigenous tribes from across the Americas gather for the 8th Annual Festival of Native Peoples this July at the Cherokee Indian Fair Grounds in Cherokee, N.C. Considered the finest showcase of native dance, song and art in the southeast, the event honors the collective history, customs and wisdom of some of the oldest documented tribes.
Gates open Friday and Saturday at 11:00am with performances throughout the day and into the evening. Adult admission $10; children six and under are free. For more information, please call 800.438.1601.
Listed below is the 2012 Schedule of Events
8th Annual Festival of Native Peoples
Friday, July 13
11:00am: Gates Open
11:30am: Cherokee Warriors
11:45am: Comanche Scalp
12:00pm: Smoke Dance
12:30pm: Polynesian Dance
12:45pm: Raven Rock Dancers
1:00pm: Voladores Pole Flyers
2:00pm: Cherokee Warriors
3:00pm: Smoke Dance
4:00pm: Comanche Scalp
7:00pm: Voladores Pole Flyers
8:00pm: Raven Rock Dancers
Saturday, July 14
11:00am: Gates Open
12:00pm: Cherokee Warriors
1:00pm: Voladores Pole Flyers
2:00pm: Raven Rock Dancers
3:00pm: Smoke Dancers
5:00pm: Comanche Scalp
7:00pm: Voladores Pole Flyers
8:00pm: Gates Close
2012 FESTIVAL OF NATIVE PEOPLES PERFORMERS
Diamond Brown (Eastern Band Cherokee)-Diamond is a full-blood Cherokee. He grew up on a portion of the Cherokee Reservation, in an area called Snowbird. Diamond is a native educator, teaching culture to all ages. Diamond is involved in many different projects and aspects of his culture. Not only does he teach locally and in the Atlanta area, he also travels all over the United States teaching and sharing his knowledge. He has been teaching full time as a Cherokee Educator since 1992.
“Learning the Native ways of life can be fun, beautiful, interesting, exciting and a positive experience for all ages. I am teaching the Native way of life on Mother Earth. Keeping alive the Native traditions in today’s time. Spirituality is a way of life for me and my people, and with these teachings, I hope the people can and will understand the Native way of life on Mother Earth.” – Diamond Go-Sti
Everett Osceola (Seminole)-Born into the Seminole Tribe of Florida and raised on the Hollywood reservation and partially on the Brighton reservation of the Seminole Tribe, Everett grew up learning his traditional ways from his mother’s family mostly bestowed from his Grandfather Frank Shore. He went to public school and received an AA in Psychology. Now working for the Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum, a place to learn, Everett tries to show the beauty of the Seminole Culture that has captivated Florida for centuries. Everett has spoken in New Mexico, Washington and China. Not only does Everett speak but tries to help his community with the youth at the Boys and Girls Club on the Hollywood reservation, speaking to the youth about peer pressure and cultural identity. Everett Osceola is a huge advocate of Traditional Martial Arts such as Kung Fu and Capoeira and is also an alligator wrestler.
A Walk Back Through History (Cree)- A visual experience into the 1800’s of the Plains Cree of Saskatchewan, Canada. During this time period our living came from hunting moose, caribou, smaller game and fish, which were preserved by drying over a fire. We traveled by canoe in Summer and by snowshoes and toboggan in Winter, living in tipi lodges, making tools from wood, bone, hide and stone. Meat, furs and other goods were traded in exchange for metal tools, twine and European goods. Learn of the women’s role in the camp, and of her importance to a Nation. The Cree lived in small bands or hunting groups in the Summer for socializing, exchanges and ceremonies. Women played an integral role in the survival and cultural sharing of the People. A Walk Back Through History helps people to visually understand the meaning of the tipi and its adaptability with the changing of the seasons. Learn about the Hudson Bay Company and their effect on the First Nations People. Experience the value of trade through furs, beads and other items.
Comanche Scalp Dancers (Comanche)-are champion Southern dancers hailing from the Plains of Oklahoma. They are all from the Yaparucah (root eater) band of the Comanches and are all descendants of Chief Ten Bears. Be intrigued as they guide you through a dancing history of a feared, noble and honored people! Jhane Myers serves as emcee and matriarch. Posey Liles, Wakeah Jhane and Peshawn Rae invite all of you to watch and learn as they grand entry you though a unique story telling of the Horse Stealing Dance, Scalp Dance, War Mother’s songs, Southern Buckskin, Round Dance and Buffalo Dance. Each of the dancers has danced all their lives and knows their own origins as they know their own hearts! They will also entertain with sign language and spoken word. Ura! (Thank you!)
Raven Rock Dancers (Eastern Band Cherokee)- Many years ago a young man started learning traditions and medicines. And through the years as his family grew, he started teaching children and grandchildren dancing and traditions. This great man is Walker Calhoun, a teacher and well respected elder of our tribe. Raven Rock Dancers have been family mostly, all his children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. Grandsons took an important part in learning the traditions and songs, of whom will carry on what Walker has taught, so the song and dance can be carried on for many years and handed down to our children. Raven Rock Dancers perform social dances imitating animals. Such as the Bear, Corn, Peace Pipe, Beaver, Quail, Horse, Buffalo and Ant. We were taught that we dance in respect of the animal giving its life so we could eat. No part of the animal was wasted.
Sky’s Iroquois Dancers (Haudenosaunee/Iroquois)- From the Six Nations of the Grand River in Ontario, Canada, Sky’s Iroquois Dancers have been sharing the rich and diverse culture of the Haudenosaunee People through song and dance. Originally formed in 1946 by the late Howard Sky, the Iroquois Dancers have travelled and performed extensively throughout North, Central and South America, and Europe. Two generations later, the dance troupe continues with their vision of educating their audience with the demonstration of traditional Earth Songs and Dances of the Haudenosaunee/Iroquois People.
Hearts of Polynesia-Aloha. The “Hearts of Polynesia” are a group bringing our Polynesian culture through song and dance to our audiences. We present dances from the heart of our Polynesian islands such as the graceful “Hula” dance from the islands of Hawaii, the exciting and fast shaking “Otea” from Tahiti, the “Poi Ball Dance” from New Zealand and the “Siva Afi or Fire Knife” dance from Samoa. Our presentation of native songs and dances of the Polynesian islands, some that re handed down from generation to generation, are our way of sharing our beautiful islands with you! Mahalo nui loa!
Warriors of Anikituwah (Eastern Band Cherokee)- This dance group brings to life the Cherokee War Dance and Eagle Tail Dance as described by Lt. Henry Timberlake in 1762. Designated as official cultural ambassadors by the Tribal Council of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, they have performed at Colonial Williamsburg, the National Museum of the American Indian, and throughout the Southeast. The War Dance was used when men went to war, but also when meeting with other nations for diplomacy and peace, and within the Cherokee nation was also used to raise money for people in need. It conveys the strength of the Cherokee nation. The Warriors also perform Cherokee social dances including the Bear Dance, Beaver Hunting Dance, and Friendship Dance. They talk about the significance of the dances, their clothing, and Cherokee history and culture, and can provide other programs as well.
Mayan Pole Flyers (Totonac)-The voladores, or flyers, of Tulum dress in brilliantly colored traditional costumes, climb up a very high pole (about 100 feet), tie their ropes around their waists and as they climb to the top of a tall pole, the ropes wind around the pole. At the top, they leap off into the air, “flying” gracefully around and around as the ropes unwind until they reach the ground. As the voladores “fly,” another performer balances at the top of the pole and plays haunting tunes on his wooden flute. The voladores rite is a traditional act of worship. The caporal plays a drum and flute and invokes an ancient spiritual offering in the form of a spectacular dance.
Paul Simmons and David Weathers (Seminole/Miccosukee)- A traditional food source for the Seminole tribe in the southern coastal areas that were their lands has always been alligator. Alligator was hunted for hides and meat. So that the meat would be fresh, a hunter would capture the alligator alive, tie it to a tree or post at his dwelling and kill it when he was ready to eat. The hide of the alligators were good for trading for other items that the hunter might need or desire. They would trade for items like beads, gunpowder, and guns. The practice of hand catching alligators was very common among the Seminole and Miccosukee tribes. In later years, as tourists began to see the hunters bringing the live alligators home and trying to manage multiple live alligators, the tourists said it looked like the native hunter was “wrestling” the alligators. Now a tourist attraction and sport, Paul and David will demonstrate the techniques of proper alligator handling.