By SCOTT MCKIE B.P.
ONE FEATHER STAFF
The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians was put on a world stage on New Year’s Day. Members of the Warriors of Anikituhwa, joined by other members of the Tribe, participated in the annual London New Year’s Day Parade (LNYDP) on Tuesday, Jan. 1. And, the group did such a good job that they’ve been asked to participate in next year’s 2020 Parade.
“I was so excited to hear that they had already talked to Mike Crowe Jr. about us returning for next year,” said Dawn Arneach, Museum of the Cherokee Indian executive assistant, who was the main orchestrator for the Cherokee contingent’s trip to London. “Several in the group are excited and making plans to start fundraising earlier to get ready for the upcoming trip.”
In a letter to Arneach from Bob Bone, LNYDP executive director, dated Jan. 7, he wrote, “Thank you for your group’s fantastic contribution to this year’s phenomenally successful edition of London New Year’s Day Parade and Festival. LNYDP 2019 ‘London Welcomes the World’ was the most successful parade in the event’s 33-year history. I really didn’t think the event could improve from where it had been for the last few years, but, believe me, the 2019 parade really was the best ever. This is in large part down to your contribution.”
According to information from the LNYDP, more than 650,000 spectators lined the 2.2 mile stretch of road in London while many more millions watched on the over 900 television stations and several internet sites covering the event live.
Arneach said a preliminary idea has been floated for the group to perform at the British Museum during the trip later this year, but that is still being worked out. She said this year’s group made a great first impression on Britain and enjoyed a very cohesive journey.
“Being able to explore in and around London leading up to the Parade day, allowed most of us who have never been to London to get a feel for the people and the city,” she said. “The organizers that met with the group before we left the states, having to work with over 8,000 Parade participants, knew each of our names and greeted us happily.”
She noted that Parade day was especially exciting. “The vast amount of people in the street for the Parade was great and to see so many people smiling and maybe seeing for the first time in their life a member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians.”
Having grown up watching Masterpiece Theatre and BBC America, Arneach said that the group’s appearance on BBC Breakfast was the personal highlight for her. “I was truly estatic!”
Principal Chief Richard G. Sneed and his family were a part of the EBCI contingent, and he called the trip life-changing and said it gave him an insight into the trip made in 1762 by Ostenaco, Pigeon (reported in some instances as ‘Pouting Pigeon’), and Stalking Turkey. “We were visiting these places where the emissaries went back in 1762. In taking it all in, I kind of put myself in their place. I thought about what it was like for them living over here in cabins without all of the modern efficiencies of the world at that time and to get on a boat and sail across the ocean and then to see these huge buildings, and the architecture is phenomenal.”
He added, “I wondered what was going through the minds of those Cherokee at that time.”
Chief Sneed said he’s excited about the possibility of a tribal delegation making the journey again later this year. “I think it’s a tremendous opportunity. Just like the Remember the Removal ride, we need to get this down to the younger generation and have them experience it…I want young people to be able to experience these things when they’re coming into adulthood because I think it changes your entire perspective and your entire view of the world and what can be.”
He noted that the hospitality they received during their trip to London was world-class. “The reception that we got from the people over there was amazing. It was powerful. It really was a life-changing experience.”
The One Feather will continue to report on this story as it develops throughout the year.