A Q&A for KPEP

by Nov 7, 2012Front Page, NEWS ka-no-he-da0 comments

A group of New Kituwah Academy students sing songs in the Cherokee language during the school’s 8th Anniversary in April. (SCOTT MCKIE B.P./One Feather)


Staff members from the Kituwah Preservation and Education Program answer some questions from the community 

Q: What is the Cherokee Speakers Consortium and what do they do?

A: The Consortium is a group of Cherokee Speakers who meet regularly to translate wordlists, books, and other educational materials. These are primarily for use in the Cherokee Language Immersion classrooms here and in Oklahoma but some materials like wordlists are available for public use. The Eastern Band has a core group of Speakers who meet weekly when possible to work on translations. Cherokee Nation and United Keetoowah Band have their own Speakers groups who do the same thing in Oklahoma. Twice a year the Oklahoma Speakers travel to Cherokee to combine with our Speakers for a weeklong Consortium meeting, and twice a year our group travels to Oklahoma. This is what we call the “East/West Speakers Consortium.” This group is unique. They have the task of coming up with Cherokee words for modern terms that didn’t even exist until recently, or scientific or educational terms or phrases that there was no previous Cherokee word for. During the East/West meetings, it may be determined that western Speakers prefer to say a word or phrase one way and eastern Speakers may prefer to say it another way. When this occurs, both ways of saying the word or phrase are recorded.  But most often, all groups will agree.  This hard-working group consists mainly of volunteers.


Q: What is the Cherokee Speakers Gathering? When is it and where?

A: Cherokee Speakers and people learning Cherokee language gather to share a potluck dinner and fellowship in the Cherokee language. It is normally held on the last Thursday of each month but this is dependent on factors such as inclement weather, holidays, other community events that may affect attendance, etc. Location is normally at KPEP/New Kituwah or in Snowbird. Future Gatherings are being planned for different locations out in the communities. If you do not receive reminders in the mail, the best way to get Speakers Gathering information is to call KPEP. All Cherokee Speakers and Cherokee language learners are invited and welcome to bring a side dish and join us.


Q: What is KPEP?

A: KPEP (pronounce kay-pep) stands for “Kituwah Preservation & Education Program.” That’s a mouthful, so we just call it KPEP. Under the KPEP umbrella are the New Kituwah Academy (Cherokee language immersion school, infant through third grade as of this year), the Junaluska Museum in Robbinsville, and KPEP’s Community team.


Q: I’ve heard of the immersion school and the Junaluska Museum, but what does the Community part of KPEP do?

A: KPEP’s Community team consists of Bo Lossiah, Curriculum and Instructor Supervisor; Garfield Long, Jr., Curriculum and Instructor Coordinator; Alex Cruz, Electronic Media Coordinator; and Billie Jo Rich, Community Mobilization Coordinator.

Lossiah is responsible for curriculum development and works closely with Cherokee Speakers contracted to work on translations. He creates and oversees the creation of most materials used in the Kituwah Academy classrooms to ensure that educational standards are met for each level. Lossiah actively participates in Speakers Gatherings and Consortium meetings, maintaining and adding to word lists for the new Cherokee Language Word Database currently under construction. With his creative flair, he has created many original KPEP books written in Cherokee Syllabary. Lossiah obtained permission from the estate of E. B. White to use beloved children’s classic “Charlotte’s Web,” which is an amazing accomplishment. Translations are near completion.

Long is a fluent Speaker who assists in translations and teaches beginner and intermediate Cherokee language classes. He actively participates in the Speakers Consortium as his schedule allows. A man of many talents, he is a gifted storyteller who wrote “Ogana In The Garden.”  Long’s cultural knowledge and public speaking skills are in demand. He is often requested for presentations to groups and organizations. In this past year, Long has been asked to present at many area schools, and has even done a cultural presentation for the FBI!

Cruz works with all digital media and KPEP computer networking. He assists Kituwah Academy teachers with technology such as laptops and Smart Boards. Cruz sets up and maintains electronic classroom equipment, ensuring that Academy teachers and students use the most effective and user-friendly technology. He does book layouts for KPEP books, digital design for ads and promotional items, and assembles the Kituwah Academy yearbook. Currently, Cruz is working with Shawn Crowe at the Cherokee Youth Center to gather recordings for the Cherokee Language Word Database.

Rich enjoys developing KPEP original books. Creative by nature, her favorite projects are the annual KPEP Workshops for writers and illustrators. She has written and illustrated several KPEP original books, and enjoys helping with Principal Chief Hicks’ annual book project. For the “Charlotte’s Web” project, Rich will re-draw the webs to show Charlotte’s words written in syllabary instead of English. Her primary duties include coordination of KPEP events such as Speakers Gathering, Speakers Consortium, and the annual Kituwah Celebration. Within the community, she assists in setting up language or other culturally-based classes, and recruits Cherokee Speakers and Cherokee language learners for participation in KPEP events and projects.


For more information about the KPEP Community team, call or email:

Bo Lossiah:  bolossi@nc-cherokee.com or 554-6408

Garfield Long, Jr.:  garflong@nc-cherokee.com or 554-6405

Alex Cruz:  alexcruz@nc-cherokee.com or 5546409

Billie Jo Rich: bjrich@nc-cherokee.com or 554-6406