Photos courtesy of Cedric N Chatterley and Roger Haile.
Types of Artistry
Cherokee, NC (Qualla Boundary)
Jerry Wolfe tells stories and talks about Cherokee history, culture, and language. His programs fascinate people of all ages. As a storyteller, Wolfe recounts. traditional Cherokee legends, and also tells stories about his experiences growing up in Cherokee, about the boarding schools, and about stickball games. As a young man, he played Cherokee stickball and learned to carve the sticks from- wood. Today he is often in demand as a "caller" or announcer for stickball games. He also tells stories about his grandfather's experiences in the Civil War.
Born in the Sherrill Cove community "on the center line of the Blue Ridge Parkway," Jerry Wolfe grew up listening to the stories of his parents, Owen and Luciana Wolfe. Throughout his lifetime, Jerry Wolfe has seen not only the coming of the Parkway to the location of his parents' home, but many other changes as well. He attended the Cherokee Boarding School through tenth grade, when he enlisted in the Navy, during World War II. He served for six years and participated in the "D-Day" landing on Normandy Beach. When he returned to Cherokee he married his wife Juanita and began learning building trades, including stone masonry. He taught building trades to young people for twenty years with the federal Job Corps program. After his retirement, he began traveling with Methodist mission teams to do third world building projects, and has visited Jamaica, Barbados, Haiti, and South Africa.
In 2003, Jerry Wolfe received the North Carolina Folk Heritage Award honoring his work in preserving the stickball traditions. At present, Jerry Wolfe works in the Outreach Program of the Museum of the Cherokee Indian. He has presented programs on Cherokee culture at High Point, Thomasville, Winston-Salem, Fort Bragg, Warren Wilson College, Western Carolina University, the North Carolina Welcome Center, and for groups from all over the world at the Museum of the Cherokee Indian. Wolfe continues to call the stickball games at the Cherokee Fair each fall.
Jerry Wolfe enjoys people and can work with groups of any age. He prefers to do programs near Cherokee, as he does not like to drive great distances. He will consider programs farther away if transportation can be provided. His fee is negotiable and must include compensation for expenses.
Museum of the Cherokee Indian
PO Box 1599
Cherokee, NC 28719