weekend, the Museum of the Cherokee Indian hosted a reading and
autograph session for the fall 2009 edition of Appalachian Heritage
magazine. The magazine is published by Berea College and edited
by George Brosi.
lived near Cherokee for many years and has always been a friend
to our people.
featured writer is Robert Conley, currently the Sequoyah Professor
at Western Carolina University. The edition also features the artwork
of Sean Ross, a member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee. More than
20 Eastern Band members contributed work as diverse as traditional
stories, Cherokee language stories, fiction and poetry.
work is important in many ways, but perhaps most important is that
it features works in the Cherokee language. Very few original writings
were published in the Cherokee language during the 20th century.
For those learning the Cherokee language, access to writing is limited,
and to have another place to enjoy our language is important.
are also works by young writers. These young people seldom have
outlets for their creative writing outside the academic setting.
It is my hope that this opportunity will stimulate their interest
to seek other publications so that their worldviews might reach
a larger audience.
most important is the totality of Cherokee worldview. Former Principal
Chief Robert Youngdeer, Marie Junaluska, a former tribal council
member, and Freeman Owle, a cultural educator, have all contributed
work. The diversity of the ages of the contributors provides the
reader with the changing perspective of the Cherokee worldview and
with the consistency that defines our people's traditions. The cultural
traditions we learn through our everyday lives here in Cherokee
show in our expressions of art.
the Cherokee language, there is no word for art, but from our earliest
contacts with Europeans, our leaders have valued education and having
a written language. The belief that reading and writing would ensure
the survival of our people has resonated through generations of
leaders and of the directions we lead our youth. The new Appalachian
Heritage magazine best illustrates that lesson by combining the
Cherokee aesthetic and contemporary writing.
am honored to be among the contributors to this edition. My fellow
Cherokees have reinforced my belief that our cultural traditions
survive not through formal education but through our everyday lives
and through our enduring belief that it is our right to survive
as a distinct people.
Lynne Harlan, a member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians,
works as a freelance writer, curator and tribal historian.