NC Folklore Society holding annual conference in Cullowhee Oct. 9-10

The North Carolina Folklore Society will hold its 102nd annual conference on Friday, Oct. 9, and Saturday, Oct. 10, at Western Carolina University and the N.C. Center for the Advancement of Teaching.

Gary Carden

Gary Carden

This year’s theme is “Native Voices: A View from the Mountains” and will feature a series of talks, demonstrations and exhibits on Cherokee culture, Southern Appalachian heritage and mountain traditions. The conference is open to the public, with most activities free of charge or covered by a $5 registration fee.

Both days feature a full program of activities and concurrent sessions. Opening day highlights include a reception, a regional book display and sale, and evening performances of live music by the Junior Appalachian Musicians and storytelling by Gary Carden.

The following day features paddle-stamped pottery and Cherokee stories by Dean Reed, and an exhibition on the Cherokee language. The keynote address, “Language as a Window into Culture,” will be delivered by Tom Belt, WCU’s Cherokee Language Program coordinator, who is fluent in the Cherokee language.

The conference will conclude with presentations of the Brown-Hudson Awards, which recognizes individuals who make significant contributions to the sharing and appreciation of traditional culture and folklore, and the Community Traditions Award to honor a group that supports folk life and traditional culture.

Tom Belt

Tom Belt

“Every year, the North Carolina Folklore Society comes together at a different location across the state to meet friends ― old and new ― and this year we are fortunate to welcome everyone to our doorstep,” said Anna Fariello, an associate professor at WCU and 2010 recipient of the Brown-Hudson Award. “We will showcase mountain arts and crafts, Cherokee language and wisdom, regional music and storytelling, and more. This is an accessible, casual event that celebrates community and all are welcome.”

The society promotes North Carolina heritage and culture through support of folklore practitioners and professionals, with recognition through publications and awards. The 2015 conference is sponsored by WCU’s Cherokee Studies program, Hunter Library and Mountain Heritage Center; Jackson County Arts Council; Cullowhee Revitalization Endeavor; and City Lights Bookstore. Program and registration information can be found at www.ncfolkloresociety.org.