Photos courtesy of Kilby Spencer
Types of Artistry
Cherokee storyteller and craft demonstrator
Cherokee, NC (Qualla Boundary)
Freeman Owle tells traditional Cherokee stories, carves wood and stone, and talks about Cherokee culture and history. He can demonstrate wood and stone carving, and he can provide hands-on carving workshops. Demonstrations and workshops can be arranged for small or large groups of all ages.
Growing up in the Birdtown community, Freeman Owle learned to carve wood at an early age. "Every young man had a knife in his pocket from the age of seven," he says. At Cherokee High School, he studied woodcarving with Amanda Crowe. He started by carving wooden bowls, which he sold to Qualla Arts and Crafts. He later attended Gardner Webb College and then earned a Master's degree in Education from Western Carolina University. He taught sixth grade at Cherokee Elementary for fourteen years, and while teaching, he began to tell the Cherokee stories he had learned growing up.
Freeman Owle has told stories and presented programs on Cherokee history and culture throughout the Southeast for more than ten years. His audiences have included children, school teachers, executives on retreat, Elderhostel groups, and the general public. Locations for these programs have ranged from public schools in several states and the North Carolina Center for the Advancement of Teaching in Cullowhee to Lake Junaluska, Cataloochee Ranch, the Officer's Club at Fort Benning, Georgia, and the Appalachian Studies Conference. He has also led retreats at the Living Waters Reflection Center in Maggie Valley, North Carolina. In addition, he has given demonstrations of stone carving and woodcarving, along with hands-on carving workshops, at universities in Kentucky and North Carolina and at the Museum of the Cherokee Indian.
Well known in the Cherokee community, Freeman Owle serves on the board of directors of the Qualla Arts and Crafts Mutual. He is one of the featured storytellers in the book Living Stories of the Cherokee, and he also appears in the video documentary The Principal People, which aired on public television in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Kentucky. He recently served as Elder-in-Residence at Western Carolina University.
Freeman Owle is willing to travel extensively. Call to determine his fees for presentations and his travel costs. He will need a sound system for larger audiences.