By SCOTT MCKIE B.P.
ONE FEATHER STAFF
The Cherokee Preservation Foundation has given grants totaling $58 million since it started in 2002. Ten years later, CPF is going strong and celebrated its grantees and mission at its annual Community Celebration held at the Cherokee Indian Fairgrounds on Friday, May 11.
“We are so pleased to be here,” said Susan Jenkins, CPF executive director. “We want to give a big thank you to our grantees and everyone who put up a display here. This is wonderful.”
Many CPF grantees were on hand sharing information about their programs with the community including: WCU Cherokee Center, Cherokee Historical Association, Cherokee Day of Caring, EBCI Cooperative Extension, Cherokee Youth Council, RTCAR, Qualla Arts and Crafts Mutual Inc., Kituwah Preservation and Education Program, Cherokee Business Development and others.
Jenkins thanked the CPF board and staff, WCU Chancellor David Belcher and his wife Susan who were in attendance, and the Cherokee community. “This is a wonderful celebration for the community.”
Following Indian dinners prepared and served by the NAIWA group, the crowd of several hundred was shown a short video on the recent successes of the Foundation.
The Right Path program, a leadership program developed by CPF that focuses on Cherokee cultural values, was featured and several program participants spoke during the celebration.
“If you take the right path, then you’re going to be successful,” said Jenkins.
Jeremy Wilson is a current Right Path participant and commented, “Going into this program, I was aware of my culture, but nothing at this level.”
He said it is important to listen to elders and learn from them. “When I learn these things, I carry these things and then I can pass them on.”
The Oconaluftee Indian Village traditional dancers concluded the program with the Cherokee Corn Dance and the Friendship Dance.
For more information on the Cherokee Preservation Foundation, visit www.cherokeepreservationfdn.org.
For more photos of this event, please visit the One Feather photo gallery at: http://theonefeather.com/photo-galleries-2/