Current Activities

Upcoming Activities

February 12 - Regency Retirement Center, Morristown
March 2 - Tennessee Council for the Social Studies annual conference, Franklin
July 23 - Tennessee History Tent Revival, Knoxville
August 11 - Spirit of Nations Powwow, Jefferson City
November 29 - December 2 - National Council for the Social Studies, Chicago

November 2017

The National Council for the Social Studies held its annual conference in San Francisco November 17th - 20th.   The Indigenous Education Community, which Mark chairs, organized a tour of Alcatraz Island.  For 19 months, stretching across 1969,70, and 71, a group of American Indian activists took control of the former prison, saying that anyone arriving in the United States from the west should rightly see Indian land first.  Eloy Martinez, one of those original occupiers, joined our group and shared fascinating stories of that time.

Saturday, November 11, was Family Day at the Frank H. McClung Museum on the University of Tennessee campus in Knoxville.  Mark and Sherry set up a display of material culture and shared information on Cherokee culture with the public as they visited the "Archaeology and the Native Peoples of Tennessee" exhibit.  Cherokee elder, storyteller, and artisan Freeman Owle demonstrated stone carving and told stories.  Museum staff and volunteers helped the younger ones in attendance with a variety of craft activities.  

On Friday and Saturday, November 3rd and 4th, Mark and Sherry shared Cherokee culture at the History Harvest Fall Festival at Wolf Gap Education Outreach Center in Pulaski.  Hundreds of school children visited on Friday for scheduled presentations on the roles of men and women in 18th century Cherokee culture.  Saturday's event was open to the public with presentations related to warfare and living in harmony with nature.

October 2017

September 2017

On September 26th, Sherry explained the roles of men and women in 18th century Cherokee society to the fourth grade students at New Market Elementary School, and on September 29th she presented to the fourth graders at Jefferson Elementary School.

August 2017

The 10th annual Spirit of Nations Powwow was held on Saturday, August 12, at Patriot Academy, Jefferson City, TN, with over a 1,000 guests and participants!  For the second year in a row, the powwow featured competition dancing with lots of excellent dancers coming in from around the region.   We were also happy to have some outstanding children from the New Kituwah Academy come over from Cherokee, NC, to present traditional Cherokee dances.  Eddie Swimmer, also from Cherokee, NC, wowed the audience with a great hoop dance performance and Fred Keams, Navajo, from Kentucky did a wonderful job as the flute player.

July 2017

The Department of Energy in Oak Ridge invited Mark over to speak on "Entering the Sacred Circle" for a Lunch 'n Learn session on Wednesday, July 26, as an opportunity for staff members to learn about the Spirit of Nations Powwow.  The DOE has helped sponsor the powwow for the past 10 years.  About two dozen people took the opportunity to learn a little about the different dance styles, as well as the other parts of a powwow.

On Monday, July 24th, Mark and Sherry presented two sessions at the Tennessee History Tent Revival in Franklin, TN.  The first session was on Cherokee culture as covered in the fourth grade history standards.  The second session dealt with the Trail of Tears.  Both sessions were well attended and the teachers were excited to receive a considerable amount of resources for classroom use.

Wednesday, July For the week of July 10 - 14, Mark was a participant in the Trail of Tears teacher institute conducted by the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, DC.  Museum staff and special guest speakers provided insights on how to teach about the Removal, shared a preview of upcoming museum exhibits, and conducted a tour of the Cultural Resources Center where the museum maintains its collection of a million objects.  The institute included 25 teachers from the eight states most directly impacted by the Removal.

June 2017

On Tuesday, June 13, Indian Creek Productions partnered with Talbott Elementary School's Read to Be Ready Summer Grant Program.  The 22 children enjoyed playing the Cherokee basket game, listening to and participating in some Cherokee stories, and joining hands for a friendship dance.  ICP also presented the camp with two books telling the story of the animals and birds playing stickball against each other.

For the weekend of June 3-4, Mark and Sherry participated in the Native American Festival at Sycamore Shoals State Historic Area in Elizabethton, TN. They decorated one of the cabins in the fort to resemble a Cherokee home of the late 18th century.  Also on both days, the audience enjoyed the "Are You Smarter than a Park Ranger" game with questions related to various cultural regions and time periods.  On Saturday evening, Mark and Sherry joined storytellers Kay Littlejohn and Freeman Owle, and flutist Danny Bigay, for a series of stories, music, and dance on the lawn of the visitor's center.

March 2017

On Saturday, March 25, along with many other living history exhibitors, Mark and Sherry set up a display table at the Tanasi 1796 production at the Clayton Center for the Performing Arts on the campus of Maryville College.  Guests were able to learn about early Tennessee history through the drama and by visiting the exhibitors.

December 2016

On Saturday, December 17, Sherry shared the role of Cherokee women, past and present, for the Emory Road chaper of the Daughters of the American Revolution.  She presented a slide show that covered topics such as women tending gardens and operating the home, how women were involved in political and diplomatic issues, and how some of these traditions changed as Europeans arrived.  She concluded by talking about Cherokee women in the modern world.

As a part of the National Council for the Social Studies annual conference in Washington, DC, (December 2-4), Mark took part in a three-person Vital Issues panel to discuss the portrayal of Native people.  Dr. Sarah Shear, assistant professor at Penn State University - Altoona spoke on how indigenous people are depicted in K-12 curriculum.  Gregory A. Smith, a partner in the Hobbs, Straus, Dean & Walker law firm, (who has also served as an attorney for USET) spoke on images found in Washington, DC.  Mark focused his presentation on the need for schools to eliminate the use of Indian mascots.

November 2016

Matthew Tooni and John Tooni came over from Cherokee, NC, and Nikki Crisp from Knoxville joined Mark and Sherry on Friday, November 14th for a performance of traditional Cherokee dancing at Northshore Elementary School in Knoxville.  One program was for the lower grades (K-2) and one was for the upper grades (3-5).  The children were very polite and extremely enthusiastic.  Many of them, along with a couple of teachers, participated in the Bullfrog Dance, Buffalo Dance, Bear Dance, and many others.  In the afternoon, Mark and Sherry spoke to the 4th graders on Cherokee history and culture.

On Friday, November 4, Mark and Sherry had the opportunity to share Cherokee culture with lots of students who tok part in the Wolf Gap History Harvest Field Trip Day in Pulaski, TN.  The children learned about the roles of men and women in 18th century Cherokee society at the ICP station. Other stations included music, molasses making, and old fashioned toys.

October 2016

On Monday, October 17, Mark and Sherry discussed the Native history of East Tennessee with the patrons of Parrott-Wood Library in Strawberry Plains. A good crowd was on hand to hear about Sequoyah, Chiaha, DeSoto, Nancy Ward and many others who impacted the history of Jefferson County and all of East Tennessee and beyond.

Mark and Sherry had the pleasure of participating in the Fall Festival of Nations at Notre Dame Catholic Church in Greeneville on Saturday, October 1st. The program involved sharing information on the preservation of the language, storytelling, music and ended with a two-step.  It was certainly a good time.

September 2016

On Friday, September 30th, Mark and Sherry visited with the first and fourth graders at Sunset Elementary School in Williamson County.  The children had been studying about Cherokee culture.  They were so well-mannered and attentive!  They enjoyed learning about the use of natural resources, how stickball prepared young men for battle, and much more.

August 2016

The ninth annual Spirit of Nations Powwow was held on Saturday, August 13th.  It was our second year to hold the event at Patriot Academy.  For the first time, we offered dance contest money and were very pleased with the number of wonderful dancers who came to participate.  Old friends and new ones from across Tennessee, North Carolina, and Georgia, came to dance!  We also featured former world grand champion hoop dancer, Eddie Swimmer, who was, of course, a crowd favorite.  

July 2016

On Monday, July 25, Mark and Sherry presented two sessions at the Tennessee History Tent Revival, produced by Tennessee History for Kids, in Franklin, TN.  Sixty teachers attended the first session which was aligned with the fourth grade standards on Cherokee culture.  About 90 teachers attended the second session which focused on the Trail of Tears, a topic covered in eighth grade US history.  Many good comments were turned in by teachers on their evaluation forms.  This is the second workshop done by THFK and was again very popular.

June 2016

The Friends of Seymour Library in Seymour, TN, invited Mark and Sherry to present on Tuesday evening, June 14th, as a part of their "Then and Now" series.  The topic Mark and Sherry chose was the roles of men and women in 18th century Cherokee society and how those traditions have been impacted today.

On the weekend of June 4th and 5th, Mark and Sherry participated in the Native American Festival at Sycamore Shoals State Historic Area in Elizabethton, TN.  On Saturday they transformed one of the fort's cabins into a Cherokee home from the late 18th century.  Sherry demonstrated fireplace cooking by preparing a turked in a piece of pottery and a kettle of Three Sisters.  In the evening, Mark and Sherry joined Freeman Owle, Kay Littlejohn, and Danny Bigay in presenting an evening of stories and music.  Sunday's rain forced the festival inside the visitors' center, so Mark and Sherry set up a table display in the museum.

May 2016

Sherry gave a presentation for the Monday Literary Club in Jefferson City on May 16.  She did a first person talk as Nancy Ward, a Cherokee Beloved Woman from the late 18th and early 19th centuries.

April 2016

Indian Creek Productions again provided a $100 award for the best American Indian themed project at the state level competition of the Tennessee History Day contest.

April 16 - Mark and Sherry spent Saturday morning with the Nolichucky Chapter of the DAR in Greeneville, TN.  Sherry spoke on the role of women in Cherokee society and Mark shared some comments on contemporary life on the reservation.  As always the ladies were very hospitable and attentive.  Hopefully some of them will make it to the powwow in August.

March 2016

Indian Creek Productions once again sponsored the Sequoyah Award at the East Tennessee regional competition of the Tennessee History Day contest. The $100 award goes to the best project on an American Indian theme.

February 2016

On February 20th, Mark set up an Indian Creek Productions table in the lobby of the Clayton Performing Arts Center in Maryville in conjunction with the "Tanasi: 1796" production.  About 700 people attended to enjoy a multimedia production about the history of Tennessee, concluding with the signing of the state consititution.  Mark and Sherry had also served as Cherokee historians on the project.

January 2016

There were no activities this month.

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