Museum of the Cherokee Indian Announces Spring Lecture Series | Cherokee, NC

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Museum of the Cherokee Indian Announces Spring Lecture Series

Virtual programming showcases native plant harvests, enduring craft traditions

CHEROKEE, NC: The Museum of the Cherokee Indian (MCI) will hold its Spring Lecture Series throughout March, April, and May of 2023 with virtual presentations and an in-person Community Learning workshop. Under the theme of Gathering, the seasonal programming emphasizes plant gathering traditions and encourages community participation and exchange.

“This season’s lecture series has a focus on foraging and the preparation of foraged foods, as well as the environmental impact and sustainability of foraging correctly,” explains Jennifer Wilson, Aniyvwiyahi Community Program Coordinator at the Museum of the Cherokee Indian. “The gathering of food and gathering together to share and take in this knowledge is important for our Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians community, but also for the surrounding communities to maintain the longevity of some of these endangered plants.”

In addition to springtime harvests, the series also highlights and encourages the perpetuation of traditional craft, including beadwork, corn bead harvesting and use, and ribbon skirt making. All videos will be available for viewing on MCI’s YouTube channel. The Spring Lecture Series is made possible through the generous support of the North Carolina Arts Council.

2023 MCI Spring Lecture Series Schedule

The History of Cherokee Beadwork

April 5, 5pm ET
Virtual (Register here)
Celebrated mother and daughter artists Martha Berry (Cherokee Nation) and Karen Berry (Cherokee Nation) lead a discussion on the history of Cherokee beadwork.

Martha Berry (Cherokee Nation) began studying and creating authentic, traditional Cherokee beadwork in the 1980s. At that time there were no classes, no how-to kits, and no books on the subject. She taught herself the art form by studying both historic artifacts and photographs of them.  Berry creates bandolier bags, ceremonial sashes, belts, knee bands, purses and moccasins. To the extent possible, she uses materials, techniques, styles and designs period authentic to the early 19th century Cherokee beadwork.

In August of 2013, the Cherokee Nation designated Berry a Cherokee National Treasure for her work in preserving and perpetuating the art of traditional Cherokee beadwork. In 2015, she was given the Cherokee Nation Seven Star Tradition Keeper award. Mrs. Berry now divides her time between research, creating beadwork, and teaching others this exquisite and intricate art form. She resides in Dallas with her husband Dave who is a retired journalist.

Karen Berry is a Cherokee Nation citizen who grew up in Texas and currently resides in Garland, Texas. She learned about Cherokee culture and art through her mother, Martha Berry, who revived the tradition of Cherokee beadwork. She fell in love with gourd art through her history of wood working and painting. This medium was a natural progression, combining these talents. She incorporates pre-European contact and modern Cherokee designs into her work.

She began fingerweaving in 2012 in the style typically done by Southeastern Woodland tribes during the 18th century. She, along with other weavers, has helped lead a revival of this traditional style within the Cherokee Nation. Additionally she has revived the practice of creating bandolier bags using this technique.

Forager Fridays: Ramps

April 14, 5pm ET (YouTube premiere—subscribe to the Museum’s channel)
Virtually tag along with a Cherokee forager on the hunt for ramps—wild onions that thrive on the Qualla Boundary and surrounding areas during the springtime. Learn how to identify and sustainably harvest this favorite allium so generations to come can continue to enjoy its bounty.

How to Plant and Grow Corn Beads

April 19, 5pm ET (YouTube premiere—subscribe to the Museum’s channel)
Learn the step-by-step process behind planting, growing, and harvesting your very own corn beads to adorn clothing or jewelry.

Forager Fridays: Sochan

April 28, 5pm ET (YouTube premiere—subscribe to the Museum’s channel)
Join the search for the flowering stalk sochan (also known as the green-headed coneflower or cutleaf coneflower), a delectable wild springtime green.

Cooking Demonstration: Blackberry and Grape Dumplings with Nakoa Chiltoskie (Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians)

May 8, 5pm ET (YouTube premiere—subscribe to the Museum’s channel)
Blackberry and grape dumplings have been a beloved dish among Southeastern tribes for centuries. Tune in and learn how to make and share something sweet this spring.

Forager Fridays: Wild Strawberries

May 12, 5pm ET (YouTube premiere—subscribe to the Museum’s channel)
As the weather warms up, the wild strawberries are ripening. Foragers take to the woods to harvest this favorite fruit.

Make Your Own Ribbon Skirt with Kristy Maney Herron (Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, Diné)

May 20, 12-3pm
Museum of the Cherokee Indian
Open to enrolled members of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians or other federally recognized tribes, this Community Learning workshop guides attendees through the ribbon skirt making process from start to finish. This class is open to a limited number of participants and is offered at no charge. Participants must supply their own materials. Register here.

Forager Fridays: Branch Lettuce

May 26, 5pm ET (YouTube premiere—subscribe to the Museum’s channel)
The final Forager Friday of the season calls for branch lettuce—sometimes called “wild lettuce”— a versatile late spring green.

About the Museum of the Cherokee Indian

Established in 1948, the Museum of the Cherokee Indian is one of the longest-operating tribal museums in the country. Located in Cherokee, North Carolina on the Qualla Boundary, the sovereign land of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and ancestral homelands of all Cherokees, the Museum shares the history, culture, and stories of the Cherokee people through its exhibitions, collections, and programs. Learn more at

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