Tag Archives: Cherokee history

An Evening with Dr. Jay Franklin and Cayla Cannon

Saturday, March 25   at   7:00 pm in the Visitors Center at Sycamore Shoals


Collapse, Coalescence, and Spanish Incursions into

16th Century Native Upper East Tennessee –

Presented by Dr. Jay Franklin, Professor of Archaeology, Dept. of Sociology & Anthropology, East Tennessee State University

In Search of the People Who Lived Here Before: from Historic to Prehistoric Significance at the Carter Mansion Site –

Presented by Cayla Cannon, Graduate Student, Dept. of Geosciences,                                         East Tennessee State University


Dr. Jay Franklin digging a medieval house site in the mountains of southcentral France

A 1958 TVA report held that the upper reaches of the Tennessee Valley along the Holston, Watauga and Nolichucky rivers were not suitable for permanent Native American villages. However, archaeological research conducted by East Tennessee State University from 2006 to the present indicates that our region contained dozens of large, vibrant Native American towns from at least AD 1350 to 1650. Jay will discuss his recent work at several of these sites. His research suggests that the upper reaches of the Tennessee Valley were not marginal hinterlands but rather newly discovered and well-connected cultural centers. It appears that at least some of these communities came into direct contact with early Spanish explorers.

Cayla will present her findings from her work at the Carter Mansion. Based on surface artifacts and decades-old excavations, we know the site also holds a prehistoric component, which may be vital for understanding Native American settlement and coalescence within the region. Our research in the broader region suggests that there may be a significant piece of Cherokee history here. The use of geophysics and targeted test excavations yielded many intriguing results at the Carter Mansion which Cayla will share during her presentation.

Please join us this evening for this unique opportunity to get a first- hand look at the most current research on these topics!   This lecture is free and open to the public.

25th annual Native American Festival Schedule of Events

               Admission is $5.00 per adult, and $1.00 for children

Schedule of Events

Saturday, May 30      10 am – 8 pm

10:00 am – 10:30 am     Native American Flute                  Daniel Bigay

10:30 am – 11:00 pm      “Cherokee Cultural Masks in the 21st Century “,

Dr. Michael Abram – Cherokee Heritage Museum and Gallery

Cherokee, North Carolina

11:00 am – 11:30 pm    “Are you Smarter than a …”           Mark and Sherry Finchum

11:30 am – 12:00 pm     Cherokee Storytelling                        Freeman Owle

12:00 pm – 2:00 pm       Cherokee Dance & Drum Demonstrations

                                          Blowgun Demonstration              Dale Cloer and Mossy Creek

2:00 pm – 2:30 pm         “The Cherokee Four Winds”

Dr. Michael Abram – Cherokee Heritage Museum and Gallery

2:30 pm – 3:00 pm         “Are you Smarter than a …”          Mark and Sherry Finchum

3:00 pm – 3:30 pm        Native American Flute                     Daniel Bigay

3:30 pm – 4:00 pm         Cherokee Storytelling                      Freeman Owle

4:00 pm – 6:00 pm  –      Native American Dance & Drum Demonstration

                                         Blowgun Demonstration           Dale Cloer and Mossy Creek


                             In the Amphitheater through the Back Gate of the Fort

7:00 – 8:00 pm              Traditional Evening Campfire

Freeman Owle, Mark and Sherry Finchum, Dale Cloer, Daniel Bigay


Sunday, May 31     11 am – 4 pm

11:00 pm– 11:30 pm      Native American Flute                         Daniel Bigay

11:30 pm – 12:00 pm      Cherokee Cultural Masks in the 21st Century “,

Dr. Michael Abram – Cherokee Heritage Museum and Gallery

Cherokee, North Carolina

12:00 pm – 12:30 pm     Cherokee Language Workshop         Freeman Owle

12:30 pm – 1:00 pm       “Are you Smarter than a …”            Mark and Sherry Finchum

1:00 pm – 1:30 pm         Native American Flute                          Daniel Bigay

1:30 pm – 2:00 pm         Cherokee Storytelling                          Freeman Owle

2:00 pm – 4:00 pm         Cherokee Dance & Drum Demonstrations

                                          Blowgun Demonstration               Dale Cloer and Mossy Creek


  • Our 2015 featured artist is Lola Swimmer!
  • Our featured dancers are internationally known hoop dancer
    • Eddie Swimmer, and champion powwow dancer Nikki Crisp!
  • Our featured storyteller is Freeman Owle!
  • Our featured speaker is Dr. Michael Abram!
  • Our featured musician is Daniel Bigay!
  • Special thanks to Dale Cloer, Mark and Sherry Finchum


The interior of the fort will also host a variety of excellent demonstrations, which include a children’s blowgun challenge, beadwork, gourd art, pine needle basketry, stone carving, Cherokee language, wood carving, flint-knapping, corn shuck dolls , native river cane flutes, pottery, and a replicated Cherokee cabin from the early 19th century with historical reenactors, Mark and Sherry Finchum.  

Just outside the fort, exceptional Native American arts and crafts will be featured, in addition to ethnic Cherokee food, and a Lakota Tipi exhibit.


Additional Information –

Sycamore Shoals State Historic Area – 423-543-5808