Blowgun and Dart Making

Sonny Ledford

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Bob Reed

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Walker Calhoun

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Ani-Kuwih [Mulberry] Dancers

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Sonny Ledford

Carver, dancer, and lecturer on Cherokee history

Cherokee, NC (Qualla Boundary)

When Sonny Ledford teaches others about Cherokee culture, he says, "I tell about how I grew up, from a child to a man." As a small child growing up in Birdtown, Ledford spoke Cherokee, and he only began to learn English when it became a practical necessity for enrolling in kindergarten. His mother, a member of the Bird Clan, and his father, a member of the Long Hair Clan, both spoke Cherokee as their first language, and were deeply versed in the tribe's history and traditions of artistry. Geneva Teesatuskie Ledford, his mother, was from the Snowbird Community.

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Bob Reed

Cherokee arrowhead and blowgun maker

Cherokee, NC (Qualla Boundary)

Bob Reed demonstrates the making of arrowheads, blowguns, and blowgun darts as well as the use of the blowgun. He also demonstrates wood carving and chipping arrowheads. His presentations describe Cherokee life during the 1500 - 1700s, a time when Cherokees were making their own tools. Typically, he presents school programs for students in 5th grade and older, and he always leaves time for question and answer sessions.

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Walker Calhoun

Cherokee singer, dancer, banjo player

Cherokee, NC (Qualla Boundary)

Walker Calhoun, respected Cherokee elder, sang the traditional sacred dance songs of the Cherokee, and played an important role in maintaining and passing on these traditions to the next generation. In his later years, he led two traditional dance groups that accompanied him to performances, The Raven Rock Dancers and the Warriors of AniKituhwa. Walker Calhoun also demonstrated how to make the Cherokee blowgun from river cane and how to make blowgun darts from wild thistle.

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Ani-Kuwih [Mulberry] Dancers

Cherokee dancers

Cherokee, NC (Qualla Boundary)

The Ani-Kuwih, or Mulberry, Dancers perform traditional Cherokee dances, demonstrate blowguns, and can give Cherokee language lessons. A group of about ten children, ages 5-12, these dancers can perform for large or small audiences or any age. For the past three years, these children have learned dances, language, and more under the guidance of Myrtle Driver, Tribal Cultural Traditionalist in the Office of Cultural Resources of the Eastern Band.

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