Cherokee storyteller Davy Arch to speak Jan. 23

The “Telling Mountain Stories” folk life series will continue at Western Carolina University on Tuesday, Jan. 23, with a presentation by Cherokee storyteller Davy Arch.

The program will begin at 5:30 p.m. in the Mountain Heritage Center auditorium.

Arch was raised in the Painttown community on the Qualla Boundary, where his grandfather taught him how to tell Cherokee stories, practice herbal medicine, and use wild plants for food. After graduation from Sylva High School in 1975, Arch went to work at the Oconaluftee Living History Village, where he learned to carve masks from elder maskmaker Sim Jessan.

Arch’s masks have been displayed at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., and his stories have been published in the award-winning “Living Stories of the Cherokee.” As a participant for six years in the North Carolina Arts Council’s Visiting Artist Program, he has presented programs on Cherokee culture in schools throughout North Carolina. Arch has been widely recognized as a master artist and currently serves on the boards of the N.C. Arts Council and the Qualla Arts and Crafts Mutual.

The Mountain Heritage Center is joining with Philip Coyle of WCU’s ethnography laboratory, Tom Hatley, Sequoyah Distinguished Professor in Cherokee Studies, and WCU’s Office of the Provost in presenting the “Telling Mountain Stories” series. All winter and spring programs will focus on Cherokee stories and storytellers, and will be organized by Janette Irene Moser, visiting instructor in WCU’s department of anthropology and sociology.

The Mountain Heritage Center is located on the ground floor of WCU’s H.F. Robinson Administration Building. For more information, call (828) 227-7129 or visit mhc.wcu.edu on the Web.