Sycamore Shoals Park will host Native American festival this weekend

By Rozella Hardin
STAR STAFF
rhardin@starhq.com

   Sycamore Shoals Historic Area will host the annual Native American Festival this weekend, when the public will have the chance to experience Native American culture. The two-day festival -- Saturday and Sunday -- will feature traditional and contemporary arts and crafts, traditional Cherokee song and dance, Cherokee storytelling and legends, and craft demonstrations.
   "The festival will focus on the culture of the Cherokee, who claimed the land of Sycamore Shoals as their ancestral hunting ground," said Jennifer Bauer, park manager. "The Cherokee played a major role in the history surrounding Sycamore Shoals."
   Many arts and crafts will be exhibited, representing several different tribal affiliations. Dr. Michael Abram of the Cherokee Heritage Museum and Gallery in Cherokee, N.C., will provide a glimpse into Cherokee history and legend. He will present two lectures each day: "Cherokee River Culture: How the Cherokee Used the River, Spiritually and Religiously" and "Dreams in Cherokee Culture."
   Always a crowd favorite, Fred Bradley of Cosby will share stories of the Cherokee. Vicki Standingdeer and her husband, Dale, will direct the traditional Cherokee dancing and music. MGD, or Mighty Good Drum, will provide the drums and singers, and also entertain with traditional flute music. The dancing demonstrations will include the Fancy Dance and Hoop Dance, the Jingle Dance, the Men's Traditional, Grass and Straight Dances, and many more. The public is also invited to dance with the demonstrators.
   The schedule for the weekend is as follows:
   SATURDAY
  
11:30 a.m. -- An overview of the Cherokee Language by Dr. Michael Abram, Cherokee Heritage Museum and Gallery, Cherokee, N.C.
   12 noon -- Cherokee storytelling by Fred Bradley, Cherokee storyteller of Cosby
   1 p.m. -- The River in Cherokee Culture by Dr. Michael Abram
   1:30 p.m. -- Native American Dancing Demonstration by Vicki Standingdeer
   3 p.m. -- Cherokee storytelling by Fred Bradley
   4 p.m. -- Dreams in Cherokee Culture by Dr. Michael Abram
   4:30 p.m. -- Native American Dancing Demonstration by Vicki Standingdeer
   SUNDAY
  
1 p.m. -- Cherokee storytelling by Fred Bradley
   1:30 p.m. -- An Overview of the Cherokee Language by Dr. Michael Abram
   2:30 p.m. -- Native American Dancing Demonstration by Vicki Standingdeer
   3:30 p.m. -- Dreams in Cherokee Culture by Dr. Michael Abram
   4 p.m. -- Cherokee storytelling by Fred Bradley
   4:30 p.m. -- The River in Cherokee Culture by Dr. Michael Abram
   Admission is $1 per person. All proceeds go to the Watauga Historical Association, which is the official Friends of the Park organization, to support programs at the park.
   For more information, contact Sycamore Shoals State Historic Area in Elizabethton at 543-5808.