19 Inspiring Quotes from Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians on Cherokee Heritage and Culture | Cherokee, NC

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19 Inspiring Quotes from Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians on Cherokee Heritage and Culture

(Photo of Nevayah Panther by Sarah Stacke for The New Yorker)


November is Native American Heritage Month—a time to celebrate rich and diverse native cultures, traditions, and histories, and to acknowledge the important contributions of native people. As we near the season to gather with friends and loved ones, we want to spotlight some of the Cherokee voices we’ve featured on the blog over the years, reflecting on what it is that makes Cherokee culture so special and unique. So many of our visitors say that coming to Cherokee is like coming home. If you’ve been before, you understand why, and if you haven’t yet, then we invite you to visit and find out for yourself.

(Please note: The links below feature past events. Upcoming events will be showcased on our Events page in 2019, and highlighted on the blog.)

“I love to share my culture with friends and my mom says one day I can share it with the world.” -Nevayah Panther, (shown above), Little Miss Cherokee 2016-17. (We’re Still Here: Harmony & Collaboration at the Heart of The Cherokee Cultural Corridor Project)

“The reason that we are so connected to our food is that it is a part of the survival of our culture,” says Carmaleta Monteith, NAIWA and EBCI member. “Without bean bread, you do not have a Cherokee meal.” (All-Women Organization NAIWA Offers A Taste of Cherokee Culture)

“As a Cherokee artist, I am humbled by the forms and techniques of our ancient culture,” says Joshua Adams, (below), guest curator for the exhibit “Renewal of the Ancient: Cherokee Millennial Artists,” showing now at the Museum of the Cherokee Indian. “Art has always been the vessel used by our people to solidify our unique vision of the world. We must all encourage young Cherokee artists to discover the unprecedented amount of inspiration found within the past.” (Keeping Traditions Alive: “Renewal of the Ancient: Cherokee Millennial Artists” Art Exhibit Opens)

(Photo by Joshua/Lauren Adams & John Bear Allison)


“Part of our charge is keeping [children] in the [Cherokee] language,” says Bo Lossiah, Curriculum, Instruction & Community Supervisor at the New Kituwah Academy, a Cherokee language immersion school (preschool to 6th grade). (Keeping the Cherokee Language Alive: Teaching Children Early On)

“The Cherokee people are still here, we're still alive, we're still prominent. Even if we're in a small community, we still reach across the nation,” says Faith Long, Miss Cherokee 2017-18 (pictured below). She adds, “I believe, personally, that the Cherokee people are one of the most resilient tribes in the United States—to go through what my ancestors went through and to still try and better the community instead of giving up.” (Meet Faith Long: Miss Cherokee 2017)

“We want to look to the future and the present and represent Cherokee as a living culture,” says Hope Huskey, co-organizer of the Kananesgi art festivals highlighting Cherokee artists and providing a marketplace for their creations. (The Kananesgi Fashion Show Highlights Contemporary and Traditional Cherokee Designs)

“It’s a fun culture, a grateful culture. We love to laugh. We love to joke,” says Daniel Tramper, talking about powwow culture. He is the EBCI Powwow producer and owner of Deer Clan Productions. Daniel’s wife, Teresa Reed, says that you don’t have to be related by blood to feel like family at a powwow. “When you are out there, you are part of the family.” (Experience the Spirit of the Drum at the 2018 Eastern Band of Cherokee Nation’s 4th of July Powwow)

(Photo by Kristy Herron)


“Preserving the culture and passing these traditions—our ways, our stories, our songs, our dances, our material culture—down to the future generations. We’re focused on seeing these things into the future, and that’s really our ultimate goal,” says Mike Crowe of the Cherokee Friends program at the Museum of the Cherokee Indian. (Mike Crowe: Preserving Cherokee Culture with the Cherokee Friends)

Robin Swayney (below) is a Genealogist at the Museum of the Cherokee Indian. When she moved back to Cherokee to be closer to family, she became interested in her family history. “It’s putting those pieces together to make your picture of who you are and where you come from. It’s those family stories you’ve heard all your life—it adds validity to them.” (Uncovering Cherokee Roots with Robin Swayney, Genealogist at the Museum of the Cherokee Indian)

(Photo by David Gwaltney)


“In our culture, we believe that all things are connected,” says Louise Goings, (pictured below), a prominent Cherokee basketmaker. Her husband, Butch, is a celebrated wood carver. “Therefore, we try to use all the skills and knowledge we have to strengthen our community. Even though we are known for basket making and carving, we also use other skills and knowledge we have to help our community,” she says. (2018 Cherokee Voices Festival Set for June 9)

(Photo by Kristy Herron)


“A lot of people, you hear them say ‘Cherokee pride,’ or ‘I'm proud to be Cherokee,’ but the Cherokee never had pride. They had honor,” says Sonny Ledford, (pictured below), one of the members of the Warriors of AniKituhwa. “When you've got honor about being created the way you have, and having language and culture, and ceremonies—all those things that haven't changed—it’s an honor to be gifted with those things and pass them on.” (The Warriors of AniKituhwa: Bringing Cherokee Dance and History to Life)

(Photo by Kristy Herron)

“We're still here, we're still Cherokee. We speak our language, dance our songs, know our history, our culture, our arts. We are Cherokee,” says Mike Crowe, (pictured below), an EBCI native who has performed in the outdoor drama, Unto These Hills, for the last 12 seasons. "I feel it's a duty to our ancestors to bring these events to life and to allow the outside world to have a perspective on the events that transpired, and how they've shaped us as a people.” (Unto These Hills, More Than a Play)

“I think The Fire Mountain Trail System (shown below) is a world-class trail system for our Eastern Band members and for the regional outdoor community as a whole. The fanfare and success to this point has far exceeded my expectations and I hope it’s only the beginning.” says Jeremy Hyatt, the Secretary of Administration for the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. (The Fire Mountain Trail System is Cherokee’s Latest Attraction—Experience it for Yourself)

"Of all the rivers I've fished, I think we've got the best one I've ever fished, and that's the Raven Fork in Big Cove," says Michael Bradley (pictured below), Cherokee fisherman and Fly Fishing USA team member. (Michael Bradley: On Fishing Cherokee and Trying Out for Team USA)

“I want to show people that we are independent. We are sovereign. These young Native Americans who are becoming adults, myself included, want to show this different side of being native.” Photographer Madison Hye (shown below) is an Eastern Band of Cherokee native, born and raised in the Paint Town community. (Going Big, Dreaming Big: Cherokee Photographer Madison Hye Long)

(Photo of Madison Hye Long by the artist)


“At the Oconaluftee Indian Village (shown below), you can pick up the objects demonstrated by our Cherokee artisans, ask questions, take pictures, film demonstrations, and learn how we survived for so long and what makes us continue to move forward,” says Laura Blythe, Cherokee Historical Association Program Director. (Experience the Oconaluftee Indian Village and See the New Blacksmith Shop)

“It’s called the medicine game and little brother of war. Each team has their own ways to prepare… When we go out there we are not afraid,” says Patrick Hill, a stickball player for the Big Cove team. He says that being a player has been “life changing at times” but that passing it along to the younger generations is what keeps bringing him back to the field. (Stickball: How the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians Play the Game Known as The Little Brother of War)

(Photo by Kristy Herron)


“I want people to know that we are here and we are strong in our thinking and in whatever we do. We hold tight to our beliefs, and they’re all good beliefs.” -Jerry Wolfe (1924-2018). (See Beloved Man, Jerry Wolfe, in a Live Broadcast from the Museum of the Cherokee Indian)

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