Carter County

Native American festival honors Cherokee heritage

Native American festival honors Cherokee heritage

It's a weekend filled with singing, dancing, storytelling and arts and crafts but more importantly focusing on the Native American culture.

The event's 24th year gives people another opportunity to reflect on their Native American roots and a chance to educate themselves.

Champion Pow Wow dancer Nikki Crisp agrees. "It gives them more  education," says Crisp.

This is Nikki's first year attending the celebration. Her and her husband traveled here this weekend from Knoxville. She's been doing Native American dance for the past 28 years and explains how the style of dance has changed throughout those years.

"I do jingle dress dancing which is a healing dance. They do it for special ceremonies but now it has gone modern so it's more contest," says Crisp.

A special ceremony and special day, especially for John Lambert. He says this weekend gives him a chance to reflect on his families' heritage.

"It brings people to come here. They learn about their Cherokee heritage and a lot of people that are Cherokee, like me, they don't really realize what the heritage means," adds Lambert. "I'm proud of it. I'm proud to be part Cherokee Indian."

Being proud and being in touch with one's Native culture is what this weekend's celebration is all about.

Lambert has been at this event celebrating for more than 15 years. "It's important to keep the heritage and the knowledge of the Cherokee alive," adds Lambert.

Coordinators of the Native American festival tell News 5 they try to improve and make the event fresh each year by bringing in authentic and traditional vendors. They say what's made this year most special is the 175th anniversary of the Cherokee trail of tears.

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