A Good Summer for Cherokee

So far, this has been a great summer for Cherokee. It kicked off by the Cherokee Nation Foundation becoming the first Native American nation to endow a scholarship to Oklahoma State University (of $333,334), which was matched by the Pickens Legacy Scholarship Match to total 1 million.

The Cherokee Nation Foundation’s mission is to provide higher educational assistance to Cherokee citizens and help to revitalize the Cherokee language.

On May 7 – during the “Kanutche Dogs: Contemporary Cherokee Art” exhibit at the Firegod Gallery (3413 Central Avenue, Albuquerque, New Mexico) – the first computer animation and claymation videos in the Cherokee language by Joseph L. Erb and Roy Boney Jr., respectively, were shown from 2 PM – 4 PM, followed by a question-and-answer period about using art to preserve tribal languages. Erb’s 11 minute computer animated short “The Beginning They Told” retells a portion of the Cherokees’ creation story, featuring Buzzard, Beaver, and the Water Beetle, who brings fire to humanity. It’s not on YouTube, but another of his animations is: “Katydid’s Warning”:

Boney’s claymation “On a Spring Day” is about the trail of tears:

Meanwhile, native Cherokee speaking actor Wes Studi – well known for his roles as the toughest Pawnee in Dances with Wolves (1990) and as Magua in Last of the Mohicans (1992) – became a language activist, speaking at the start of the 6th annual Minnesota Indigenous Language Symposium, May 16th – 17th, 2011 at the Black Bear Resort & Casino.

Following that, an Envisioning Language Revitalization Summit for Cherokee was held at Western Carolina University, June 20-21, 2011, featuring the top authorities on the language, supported by the Cherokee Language Program at WCU, the Kituwah Preservation and Education Program of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, and the Cherokee Preservation Foundation. Attendees discussed their current work on documenting, revitalizing and teaching Cherokee.

Keep up the good work!

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4 Responses to “A Good Summer for Cherokee”

  1. [...] Boney Jr. (Cherokee) – who has been involved with many language oriented creative projects – has made a graphic novel that explains the history of Cherokee, in Indian Country Today [...]

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