Reuben Teesatuskie is skilled in woodcarving, silversmithing, and storytelling. He presents programs that include Cherokee language, story, and storytelling. He also demonstrates wood carving and teaches Cherokee traditional dances.
Ruben Teesatuskie (tee-sah-TES-skee) was born and raised on a hill overlooking the center of the town of Cherokee, the son of a preacher from Robbinsville who could read and write the Cherokee language. While living near the Mountainside Theater where the outdoor drama Unto These Hills is presented, Reuben Teesatuskie worked there for thirteen summers, beginning at age twelve. As a teenager he learned silversmithing from Florence Martin and woodcarving from Amanda Crowe. The first bowl he made won first prize at the Cherokee Fall Fair. On graduating from Cherokee High School, he attended the Institute for American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where he continued to study silversmithing.
While working on the Cherokee Progress and Challenge Project, Reuben Teesatuskie visited and interviewed many tribal elders, learning about Cherokee culture. As editor of the Cherokee One Feather newspaper, he edited and published these interviews. He has served on the Tribal Council, directed the Cherokee Ceremonial Grounds, and now operates F.B.I. Traders, his own craft shop on Tsali Boulevard/Drama Road in downtown Cherokee.
Reuben Teesatuskie has lectured on Cherokee culture in museums and schools from Virginia to California. He has taught a three-day course at the Nantahala Whitewater Center in western North Carolina. He also lectures for groups through the Educational Outreach Program at the Museum of the Cherokee Indian.
He adapts programs to the needs of his audience. The amount of his fee is negotiable, and he will consider traveling anywhere if reimbursed. He requests amplification for large audiences.