Cherokee Messenger
October, 1997

CCS Annual Election of Officers

Dues paid members of the Cherokee Cultural Society will elect five new board of directors members to fill positions that are open for next year. There will be a slate of candidates presented by the Nominating Committee, chaired by Joe Williams. Nominations from the floor also will be accepted at the meeting.

See the September issue of the Cherokee Messenger for biographical sketches of many of the candidates. Two candidates who did not appear at that time are included here.

Harry " Alan" Taylor writes: "I would like to be considered for a board position during the upcoming election of the Cherokee Cultural Society . For those who donít know me, my name is Harry ĎAlaní Taylor. I am an Official Tribal Representative for the Georgia Tribe of Eastern Cherokee, Echota Fire U.K.B I am a descendant of Redbird Sixkiller on my fatherís paternal side and Mont Beaver on my fatherís maternal side. I was born and raised in the Georgia/North Carolina/Tennessee border area, near Red Clay. I am married, with four children and two grandchildren, and I am on active duty with the U.S. Coast Guard in Houston, TX."

Wade S. McAlister lists memberships of Grace Presbyterian Church, Cherokee Nation, Cherokee Elderís Council, and Cherokee Cultural Society (founding member). He has been married 32 years and has three grown children. Wade graduated from the University of Oklahoma, has spent over thirty years in the oil and gas business in various petroleum land management and general management positions and currently is with Tradewinds Oil and Gas, Inc. Although he may not be able to attend all meetings due to business travel, he writes, "I would like to build on successes of previous boards for a stronger and larger Cherokee Cultural Society."

Remember the CCS Childrenís Class

Classes are open to all who are six years or older and schedule coincides with monthly general meeting at 7:30 p.m.

Gems from the Mail Bag

Excerpts from: NASC News,
Cherokeesí Treasure-The Great Smokies
Cherokee, NC - For untold centuries before Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto and his troops moved into the southern mountains of the Appalachian range in 1540, the Cherokee Nation not only included these mountains but 135,000 square miles of territory. Ranging from the Ohio River to the North, southward into northern Alabama and Georgia, the Cherokeeís land area once encompassed parts of what are now eight states. In addition to Alabama and Georgia their territory included sections of South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, and Kentucky. Today, cities and towns dot the once unpopulated territory of the Cherokee people. At the time de Soto arrived, the Cherokees numbered only about 25,000 a very small number compared to the millions who now live on former Cherokee land. Part of their original homeland was western North Carolina and eastern Tennessee, an area geographically dominated by a mountainous area internationally known as the Great Smoky Mountains. Today, the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians live on 56,000 acres in the heart of the Great Smokies adjacent to the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. To many, including the Cherokee, there is no other place as beautiful as The Smokies. Geologists have defined the Appalachians (of which the Smokies are apart) as the oldest mountains in the world. The Alps and Rockies are "new" mountains according to geologists, their towering rock peaks unworn by nature as are the Appalachians. It wasnít the age of these mountains that intrigued the Cherokee but the bluish haze so evident throughout the year. "Sha-cona-g-e" (Land of the Blue Mist) was how the Cherokee named them.

Today, millions of visitors from throughout the world come to enjoy what the Cherokee have experienced for unnumbered generations-the spectacular beauty of the Great Smokies. About 90 percent of the Great Smokies stretches throughout the entire western North Carolina area. The other ten percent is located in the southeastern corner of Tennessee which borders North Carolina. Sixty percent of the Parkís 550,000 acres are in North Carolina while about forty percent are located in Tennessee. States David Redman of the Cherokee Tribal Travel and Promotion Office, "ÖSo many people who vacation in the area never experience the breadth and depth of the offerings of the Great SmokiesÖ. Vacationers need to plan several days in the area and design a variety of day trips throughout both eastern Tennessee and western North Carolina. Sources for obtaining information are available such as the American Automobile Association and several visitor centers in the region, including those operated by the National Park Service." Within the confines of the Park there are more species of trees and plants than on the whole of the European continent. Nine hundred miles of hiking trails have been developed within the borders of the Park to transport people into this wonderland. Although the Cherokee of today live in only a minute portion of their original homeland, none will disagree that living in the Smokies simply canít be beat.

Dear Cherokee Messenger,
The website looks excellent and Iíd like to join CCS and receive the full newsletter on a regular basis. I am Cherokee/Irish and living in California. Iíve been active in Cherokees of Northern California Club since it formed, but am currently living in southern California. I notice the May í97 website issue mentions basketweaving. Iím familiar with the twined, double wall style of basket, I believe it was most commonly made of buckbrush, but Iíve always used honeysuckle vine and even round reed, as that kind of buckbrush doesnít grow out here (that I know of). I am giving a demonstration of this method of basketry September 28 at Satwiwa Indian Cultural Center and also at Calabasas Pumpkin Festival Oct. 18-19, both places in the mountains west of Los Angeles. I am very interested in any and all information regarding Cherokee basketry, and would love to find other Cherokee basket weavers interested in corresponding (mail/email) and sharing knowledge, ideas and concerns. Some answers Iíve been looking for are: (1) What is the buckbrush used in Cherokee baskets? The scientific name particularly. There are many, different plants that are commonly called "buckbrush." (2) Information about caneÖthere is a plant out here commonly called cane, thatís taking over some waterwaysÖIím not sure where to begin knowing if itís the same used in Cherokee baskets. (3) Other possible materials or sources for materials. Well if you could forward this to anyone interested or who may know more, I would very much appreciate it.

I can be reached through email at or at 714-847-5765.

Thank You - Wado Dorothy Stone

New Houston Area Professional Chapter Is National First

Readers interested in Cherokee and other Native American Indian culture will want to learn about the new Houston Area Professional Chapter of a national group organized in 1993 as Wordcraft Circle of Native Writers & Storytellers. Our own CCS member Janet (Peatross) Johnson and well known activist and writer Otilia Sanchez were instrumental in organizing the local group. CCS Vice President and Cherokee Elder Martha Sebastian, CCS Board Special Projects Chair Judith Bruni, award winning artist and poet Bob Annesley, and our Messenger Editor, Vicki Henrichs, are among the active participants in the local chapter. The Wordcraft Circle vision is "to ensure that the voices of Native writers and storytellers-past, present and future-are heard throughout the world." The national group now has writers and storytellers from 40 states and represents more than 138 sovereign Native nations from the U.S., Central America and Canada. Members range in age from 12 to 74 years, at beginning, emerging and professional levels. Houston is on the cutting edge again as we started the first individual chapter in February, 1997 and now have 17 members. Meetings are held the third Sunday each month, from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m., featuring guest speakers, writing tips, mutual support, and voluntary readings of our works.

The great news for our readers is that persons, Native or non-Native, who want to focus on writing and storytelling can be part of this group. We are nonpolitical and strive to improve upon our talents by sharing our history and culture with others. Otilia Sanchez currently contributes her time to edit a monthly newsletter, NATIVEWrit, for the local members. She and Janet, plus other Houston members, work diligently on the national journal, the MOCASSIN TELEGRAPH, which has already showcased local writers. Janet has donated much expertise through chapter workshops and is the coordinator of the November 14-15, 1997 Wordcraft Regional Conference at the Museum of Natural Science in Houston, entitled "Nativewordfest: Honoring the Seventh Generation." Please feel free to attend. For further details, leave a message for Janet Johnson, voicemail, 713-801-0895, or phone 281-931-3614.

More good news is that we are near completion of the first Houston Chapter journal, NATIVEWORD DANCERS, a polished collection of prose, poetry and art from our local Wordcrafters. It will be a great addition to your collection of Native treasures and will make wonderful holiday gifts. Look for copies of Native Word Dancers at upcoming pow wow, the AISES Conference, the November CCS meeting and other local events.

Houston Area Professional Chapter officers are:

Otilia Sanchez, (Yaqui) President
phn: 713-783-3882
fax: 713-783-8605

Lu Ellis, (Potawatomi) Vice President

Vicki Henrichs, (Cherokee) Secretary
phn: 713-974-3945
fax: 974-3981

Carroll Cocchia, (Blackfoot) Treasurer

Mailing address: Wordcraft Circle, Houston Area Professional Chapter, P.O. Box 772204, Houston, TX 77215-2204.

Community Events

Following are events pertaining to all Native Peoples:

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