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Preserving Cherokee Culture


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The Asheville Citizen-Times is reporting on a project by the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians to compile a book focusing on the Cherokee Elders.

From the article:

The project, “Cherokee Elders: Our Greatest Generation,” is an oversized book of photographs and memories of the elders.

It is a sort of yearbook of Eastern Band members age 70 and older. Entries from about 350 elders are divided into categories such as school memories, fair memories, sports memories and more.

From a section about traditions that should be passed down, elder Lou Belle Payne contributed this: “I believe that each of us should be proud of our heritage. When I was a small child, they told me I was part Cherokee Indian and I felt real proud. I studied the natural herbal remedies that the earth had to offer. We grew our vegetables and lived off the land.

Also, another sampling:

Some of the entries are humorous, such as one about boarding school from Frank J. Taylor Sr.:

“When we were going to dinner we would ride horses across the Oconaluftee River back to school. While going across the river, Richard “Geet” Crowe fell off of his horse and fell in the river. He was frozen by the time we got back to the dining hall.”

According to Barbara Duncan, education director at the Museum of the Cherokee Indian, the project is valuable in preserving Cherokee culture.

“It’s another way for youth and the elders to connect, and that’s essential for the culture to survive,” Duncan said.

The first printing of 1000 books is already at the presses.

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