By SCOTT MCKIE B.P.
ONE FEATHER STAFF
The Cherokee Preservation Foundation (CPF) has invested over $50 million in the local community since its inception in 2002. The organization gave a total of $5,401,161 to 69 various grantees in 2010 alone. Some of those grantees and their programs were highlighted during a Community Celebration held at the Cherokee Youth Center on Friday, May 13.
“We are so excited because this is a celebration of the grantees,” said Susan Jenkins, CPF executive director, “so the community and the region will know of the good work being done by our grantees.”
CPF grants are given to programs in three areas including Cultural Preservation, Economic Development, and Environmental Preservation.
The Right Path, a Cultural Preservation program, was one of those highlighted on Friday. According to information from CPF, “This leadership program is designed to provide a bridge back to traditional Cherokee leadership approaches that have sustained the Cherokee over hundreds of years.”
This year’s enrollees in the 12-month program include: Tonya Carroll, David Jumper, Tara McCoy, Robin Swayney, Catcuce Tiger, Matthew Tooni, Tony Walkingstick and Trista Welch.
“The Right Path Leadership program has enriched my life by providing me with the opportunity to learn more about our culture and a chance to share that knowledge through conversations, and presentations,” said Swayney. “I have enjoyed sharing my learning experiences after each module with anyone who is interested. When asked what is this program my statement is usually the best experience I have had the opportunity to have a part in.”
“I feel blessed and excited to be a part of this group of people. The Preservation Foundation has developed one of the greatest programs to be offered to the community and have tapped into some of the richest resources we have with us today. We have listened to our elders, our peers and our leaders about what it means to them to be Cherokee. It’s a way of life and to understand what that is, is something you have to experience for yourself.”
The Oconaluftee Institute of Cultural Arts (OICA) was able to develop a letterpress studio and implement printmaking classes with a press that prints in the Cherokee syllabary thanks to a $67,846 CPF grant and a $47,792 grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.
Jeff Marley, OICA program coordinator, said the program is doing well. “We’ve got some folks thinking outside of the box,” he said of some of the printed materials on display at Friday’s event which included a “Wanted” poster for Andrew Jackson.
For more information on the Cherokee Preservation Foundation and its grantees, visit www.cpfdn.org or call 497-5550.