Friends of Red Clay and Red Clay State Historic Park will host “An Historic Tour through Cherokee Lands,” workshops for area K – 12 public, private and home school teachers on Tuesday, June 17, and Tuesday, July 15 from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. The workshop is designed to assist teachers in interpreting the history and culture of the Native Cherokee who once inhabited the Southeastern region of the United States.
“We have planned a day full of activities that are both entertaining and educational,” says Tammera Hicks, President of Friends of Red Clay. “Each of our presenters has an extensive background about the regional Cherokee history and are either current or retired teachers, themselves. We are delighted to have such excellent speakers agree to participate in the workshop. We even have a surprise or two in store for those in attendance!”
The morning session will begin with Dr. Mike Toomey, chairman of the History Department at Lincoln Memorial University, who will provide information about the effects and influences the “European Invasion” had on the Cherokee people and the possible role these influences may have played in the infamous Indian Removal Act of 1830.
Next, Anita Finger-Smith, genealogist and researcher for the Cherokee Genealogy Services, will present an overview of the significant Cherokee historical sites found within the region. She will share ways teachers can group these sites together to provide educational field trips about the Cherokee history for their students.
During the afternoon, several fun activities have been planned to complement the overall educational experience. A catered lunch will be served in the upper pavilion at Red Clay and will include an opportunity for teachers to sample Native Cherokee cuisine. Exhibitors from the area’s Cherokee historical sites and attractions will be set up at the Interpretive Center to share information, pass out literature and answer questions about their particular site. Live demonstrations on weaving methods, blow gun and the flintlock rifle will also take place during the afternoon break.
Following lunch, Erin Medley, Red Clay State Historic Park Manager, will lead an interpretive tour around the park grounds expounding upon the history, the many unique features found throughout the park and the role the park played in the Cherokee Trail of Tears.
The workshop will conclude with an afternoon session focusing on Cherokee Myths and Legends led by iconic storytellers Kathi Littlejohn and Freeman Owle. The storytellers will illustrate the many myths and legends which have been passed down through numerous generations. These stories have long been a way of teaching the young many of life’s important lessons and have become a great influence in the cultural behavior of individuals, groups and communities. Great care has been taken to maintain the purity of such traditions.