By Carolyn Ellison
On September 12, the first annual Cherokee Fair took place on the UC lawn. The event hosted dancing and authentic traditional music while students and faculty eagerly stood in line to buy fry bread and “Indian tacos,” while others made their own pinch pot at the ceramics table. There were even event T-shirts that read “whose your daddy?” in the Cherokee language.
Students could learn more about this beautiful Native American culture and how to help preserve it. There are now children booklets written in Cherokee to help facilitate the language being integrated back into the lives of the Cherokee children. It is important that the Cullowhee community make an effort to restore the Cherokee heritage in the area-after all, “Cullowhee” is derived from the Cherokee language.
Did you know that WCU offers Cherokee as a foreign language? Next time you register for classes, keep in mind that there are several Cherokee foreign language classes- some of them even take place in Cherokee.
The event was put on by the members of Di-Ga-Li-l, WCU’s new multi-cultural organization with a Native American focus.
“They did great, these girls really did work hard,” Faculty Advisor Tom Belt said.
The Cherokee Fair’s success was a product of the united efforts of Di-Ga-Li-l and the support they received from their advisors.
“This came about from student input. They wanted to put it together from the student organization stand point, to have the first annual Cherokee Fair, and it’s been great and we look forward to future ones as well,” said Tanisha Jenkins, the Director of WCU’s Office of Multicultural Affairs.
“Di-Ga-Li-l really wants to sincerely thank Multicultural Affairs for paying for the dancers and for cosponsoring this event with us.” Di-Ga-Li-l Residential Assistant Rainy said.
If you missed the Cherokee fair, there will still be plenty of other opportunities to learn about the culture this year. You could pay a visit to Cherokee and visit the excellent museums they have there, only twenty-five minutes west of WCU. Or you could take interest in one of the Cherokee classes offered by the school. Additionally, if you have not made it out to Judaculla Rock out in Caney Fork, it is a must-see cultural landmark.
If you are interested there are many ways to learn more about the Cherokee and the culture that inhabited these beautiful mountains before WCU ever did.