CULLOWHEE – Western Carolina University’s Mountain Heritage Day welcomed thousands of visitors to the campus Saturday, Sept. 27, to honor achievements in historic preservation and to sample mountain music, arts, crafts, foods, traditions, games and activities.
EBCI tribal member Davy Arch, internationally renowned artist and mask-maker, was recognized as the individual recipient of the Mountain Heritage Award. Receiving the organization award was the Bethel Rural Community Organization.
In presenting the award to Arch, WCU Provost Alison Morrison-Shetlar introduced him as an artist from the Qualla Boundary who whittled from an early age, and she cited his achievements in researching, preserving and demonstrating the heritage of the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians, first as a storyteller at the Oconaluftee Living History Village, then in schools and museums in the region. His ceremonial masks and carvings, created from a variety of woods and other natural materials, have graced the exhibit halls from WCU’s Mountain Heritage Center to the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., and other museums throughout the Southeast.
Receiving the award, Arch recalled that he was a demonstrator early on at Mountain Heritage Day. “I was here for the very first festival at Founder’s Day. We all share in our love for the mountains. I want to say thank you to everyone who works to keep the history of the mountain peoples alive.”