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Cherokee Nation Ethnobotany Conference Will Feature Speakers, Nature Walk
Traditional Cherokee crops grown by Cherokee Nation’s Natural Resources employees flourish in the Don Guy Memorial Garden on the grounds of the main tribal complex in Tahlequah, Okla. Traditional plants are the focus of an upcoming conference, “Cherokee Plants and Cherokee People,” offered by Cherokee Nation on May 19-20.
May 06, 2011
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. — The Cherokee Nation will host an ethnobotany conference, “Cherokee Plants and Cherokee People,” Thursday, May 19, and Friday, May 20. The conference will include speaking presentations from traditional plant experts and a guided nature walk to help give hands-on plant identification experience to conference participants.
Thursday’s program will be held in Tahlequah from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Council Chambers at the W.W. Keeler Cherokee Nation Complex, 17675 S. Muskogee Ave. After a brief opening ceremony, several presenters will discuss plants traditionally used by Cherokees for food and medicine, those unique to the ancestral Cherokee homelands in the southeast and the way they are tied to Cherokee identity. Friday will feature a nature walk that affords participants a chance to see some culturally significant plant life in its natural habitat.
Dr. Karen C. Hall, director of the South Carolina Master Naturalist Program, will discuss the Cherokee Worldview Garden located at Clemson University. Hall started the garden to demonstrate the worldview of Cherokee people and the relationship they have with nature and in particular the role plants play with that relationship. She is also the state coordinator for the South Carolina Master Gardener Program.
R. Alfred Vick is an award-winning landscape architect involved in the reconstruction of the historic village at the Cherokee Heritage Center in Tahlequah. He is an assistant professor of Environmental Design at the University of Georgia and an expert in sustainability. His primary interest is in preserving natural systems while still allowing people to interact with them. Vick’s presentation will be “The Impact of Indian Removal on the Availability of Culturally Salient Cherokee Plants.”
Pat Gwin and Mark Dunham, both with Cherokee Nation Natural Resources, will give a presentation on Cherokee gardens and ethnobotany. Gwin and Dunham coordinate the Cherokee Nation’s popular heirloom seed exchange program, which allows tribal citizens the opportunity to request a variety of traditional plant seeds for their home gardens. They also oversee the Don Guy Memorial Garden located on the grounds of the Cherokee Nation complex, in which some of the heirloom plants are grown each summer.
At 9 a.m. on Friday, a bus will leave from the main tribal complex to take participants to tribal lands in Rocky Ford, Okla. and to the grounds of the Cherokee Nation’s historic Saline Courthouse, east of Locust Grove, Okla. for a guided nature walk. The Saline Courthouse with its pristine 14 acre grounds is a designated National Park of the Cherokee Nation.
The guides for the walk will be Gwin, Dunham, Hall and Vick. Participants will see plants of historical importance to Cherokees as they grow naturally and will have a chance to practice identifying them.
The “Cherokee Plants and Cherokee People” conference is free and open to the public. Transportation to the nature walk will be available on a first-come basis. The event is co-sponsored by Cherokee Nation’s Leadership Group and Natural Resources Department. For more information, call Cathy Monholland at 918-453-5389.
http://www.cherokee.org/PressRoom/31893 … ticle.aspx