Cherokee has always been popular with visiting Folkmoot performers!
The town of Cherokee and the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians always draw the particular interest of international dance troupes visiting Western Carolina from around the globe for our annual Folkmoot Festival.
And for good reason, of course.
The story of the Cherokee people is both tragic and triumphant. Tsalagi history, heritage, legends and traditions are Smoky Mountain treasures more valuable than the gems once plentiful in these ancient peaks. It is rare, indeed, for international dancers to arrive without a thirst for more knowledge and understanding about First Nation people of America.
Folkmoot Festival 2018 ended July 29 but activities and programs continue year-round. Be sure to visit our Videos & Images Page, here on our website for images of Folkmoot Festival 2018. Our Facebook page is a pretty handy way to keeping up with the latest events.
In addition to those appearing on our Video & Images page, we also have links to larger collections by some of the areas best photographers and videographers. Our Instagram is a pretty active place, too!
At least 10 members of our Folkmoot 2018 visiting Le Ragazze Italiane dance troupe of Canada, as it turned out, are also members of the Canadian Métis (pronounced, “maytee”) First Nation people.
To honor their visit to Cherokee the Métis members of Le Ragazze performed a, “thank you,” for Cherokee Principal Chief Richard Sneed and Vice Chief Alan B. Ensley. The dance, one of the most famous Métis dances is, “La Gigue de la Rivière-Rouge,” or as it is known in Michif, “oayache mannin,” or in English, “The Red River Jig.”
Its accompanying fiddle tune is considered an unofficial Métis anthem. The dance is a combination of Plains First Nations footwork with Scottish, Irish and French-Canadian dance forms. The basic jig step is danced in most Métis communities. Dancers often add their own solo dance steps during certain segments of the tune. Some dancers even use solo steps to identify their home community.
The Cherokee people strengthened ties with Folkmoot earlier this year through the award of a grant from the Cherokee Preservation Foundation.
The grant, announced May 7th, is part of a long-standing relationship between Folkmoot and the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indian.
In addition to bringing to Western North Carolina folk dancing troupes and slices of culture from around the world, Folkmoot also strives to promote our own region’s rich cultural heritage and no regional cultural heritage shines brighter – nor with more history or value – than that of the Cherokee people, the Tsalagi.
“Folkmoot is grateful for Cherokee community partnerships which lead to cultural understanding and for the technical assistance provided by the Cherokee Preservation Foundation which makes Folkmoot a stronger organization,” said Folkmoot Executive Director Angeline Schwab. “Cherokee heritage and history is vitally important in our region. We look forward to many years of partnership.”
Cherokee dancers are an integral and celebrated part of the Folkmoot Festival each July and always among the most popular dance troupes to perform each year. Folkmoot also participates in and hosts events throughout the remainder of the year celebrating Cherokee culture and history.