Cherokee Cultural Tour on Feb. 27 to explore various aspects of tribal life

Members of the Warriors of AniKituhwa engage visitors in a traditional dance at WCU’s Mountain Heritage Day festival. The Warriors will be performing on campus as part of the Cherokee Cultural Tour on Tuesday, Feb. 27.

Western Carolina University students, faculty and staff will have an opportunity to learn about various aspects of life for the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, including tribal sovereignty, world view and creative expression, as the Cherokee Cultural Tour is offered from 4 to 6 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 27, in the Grandroom of A.K. Hinds University Center.

The tour will feature 20 interactive stations, with groups of stations designed around a particular set of learning outcomes.

Stations focusing on Cherokee language, philosophy and world view will provide attendees with an opportunity to interact with representatives of WCU’s Cherokee Language Program and learn words and syllabary, see a small-scale model of a soon-to-be-installed campus sculpture depicting the Cherokee character “wi,” and meet with students and staff members from the New Kituwah Academy language immersion school.

Another group of stations centered around tribal sovereignty and self-determination will allow participants to learn about the history of voting rights for native peoples, the impact of Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort and tribal law and government.

Cherokee rapper Banished DG

A third group of stations focusing on creative expression will feature performances by the Warriors of AniKituhwa traditional dance group, Cherokee rapper Banished DG and students from Cherokee Central School. Attendees also will be able to learn about Cherokee pottery with retired WCU staff member Anna Fariello, see a demonstration of wood carving by Joshua Adams and meet curators from the Museum of the Cherokee Indian.

A fourth area centered on cultural competency will include representatives from WCU’s Cherokee Studies Program, Digali’ native student organization and Cherokee Center, and from the Trail of Tears Association. That group of stations also will offer an interactive display of historical and modern maps, and clips from “Reel Injun,” a documentary that explores the portrayal of Native Americans in film.

The tour is one of the culminating events for WCU’s 2017-18 interdisciplinary learning theme “Cherokee: Community. Culture. Connections.” The event is receiving support from WCU’s campus learning theme committee, Center for Service Learning, Cherokee Center, Cherokee Studies Program, Division of Student Affairs and Mountain Heritage Center, and from Cherokee Central School, the Jackson County Arts Council and the Trail of Tears Association.

For more information, contact Jennifer Cooper in the Center for Service Learning at