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Grants aim to preserve and promote Cherokee culture

Cherokee Preservation Foundation has awarded 29 grants totaling $3.6 million during its spring cycle.


Grants awarded by the Cherokee Preservation Foundation are funded by casino proceeds of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. Grants are awarded to efforts that advance the cultural attractions’ heritage programming efforts and to facilitate Cherokee language revitalization efforts.

Major new support of heritage tourism includes:

• A $500,000 grant to continue an award winning marketing campaign that spotlights the Cherokee Historical Association’s Unto These Hills outdoor drama production and Oconaluftee Indian Village, Qualla Arts & Crafts Mutual, and the Museum of the Cherokee Indian.

• A $129,000 grant to offer theatre training to local performers that will help prepare them for involvement in the new, more culturally-oriented production of Unto These Hills, the popular retelling of the Cherokee people’s story. The grant will also provide ticketing for local schools to attend the drama and living history village.

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• A $75,000 grant will enable training a cadre of cultural ambassadors to enhance the major Cherokee cultural attractions and the making of traditional Cherokee clothing for the ambassadors.

• A nearly $120,000 grant will support continuation and expansion of the Festival of Native Peoples, which features performers and artisans from tribes across the United States, Canada and Mexico. The 2007 festival will take place in July.

• A $127,000 grant will support an effort led by the new Cherokee Chamber of Commerce to stimulate tourism by creating a clearly identifiable “Cultural District” within Cherokee with the help of signage and banners.

• A $15,000 grant will support an initiative by the Museum of the Cherokee Indian to translate Cherokee literary works into the Cherokee language. The first of these is Thirteen Moons, by Charles Frazier.

Major support from Cherokee Preservation Foundation for Cherokee language revitalization efforts includes:

• A $206,000 grant to develop curriculum and learning materials for language immersion programs, in which students hear and learn their native language during the entire experience, and more conventional community-based language learning programs.

• A nearly $85,000 grant to enable the development of a second-level language course that will allow higher level Cherokee speakers to advance their skills more quickly, and to support a Cherokee Language Immersion Camp in the Snowbird Community. The Kituwah Preservation and Education Program and Western Carolina University are in the process of developing a comprehensive Cherokee language revitalization initiative, and the program is being guided by their recognition that language learning must come from the community in order to have an impact.

• A $55,000 grant that will enable the Kituwah Preservation and Education Program to develop an operating plan for the Kituwah Academy, a planned facility that will house language immersion programs for children from infancy through fifth grade.

• A nearly $235,000 grant to Western Carolina University to create materials for all levels of Cherokee language learners and to develop a Cherokee language degree program and the necessary textbooks for this program.

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