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Wild & Willowful: A Spiritual Jaunt to NC

When I went on a quick little jaunt to North Carolina the other week, my family and I stopped by the Cherokee museum, which is located deep in the mountains of the Western part of the state. It was such an interesting experience to get to chat with Cherokee natives. I got to really see how they lived and learned some very cool things about their culture and their history.

I bet by this point, if you are reading this, you are asking yourself, “why is she writing about something not in our state?”

 

I bet by this point, if you are reading this, you are asking yourself, “why is she writing about something not in our state?” Although this fun, interactive reservation that I visited was in North Carolina, West Virginia, along with other states close by, also served as settling grounds for many Cherokee families. During the Trail of Tears, around 1830 to 1850, many Cherokees, along with other natives, were forced to give up their land and were driven west.

Many families ended up settling in our protective hills for good because the abundant wildlife

As you might imagine, many of the Cherokees and their families did not want to leave. It is estimated that about 3,000 Cherokees resisted the roundup by hiding out in the rugged terrain of the Appalachian mountains. Though this tribe didn’t exactly come to our state by choice, many families ended up settling in our protective hills for good because the abundant wildlife and other natural resources were ideal for survival.

The Native Americans have a basis of reciprocity within their relationship to nature

 

I don’t know about you, but I find Native American culture particularly fascinating, especially their relationship, daily interactions with, and respect for nature. On the reservation, it is apparent that their culture really appreciates and honors nature in every way. While they use a lot of nature’s resources to live their own lives, they always take time and stop to give reverence and thanks to mother nature for providing it to them. The Native Americans have a basis of reciprocity within their relationship to nature; they use nature’s resources, but give back by thanking mother nature and honoring her.

Visiting this reservation and learning about this culture was very interesting and eye-opening for me. It was inspiring and refreshing to visit a new place, explore a bit deeper into history, and speak to Cherokee ancestors who still live in Appalachia. Not only am I invigorated by the respect with which they engage with the world around them, I also learned how to make some pretty cool arrowheads. I had great fun, and learned a lesson or two from them; to appreciate and enjoy all that this beautiful earth provides for us.

– Willow Ferguson, HashtagWV #137. November 2021. Read more of Willow’s writing at willowgraceferguson.com
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HashtagWV Art & Entertainment is a high-quality print and digital multimedia platform for all things West Virginia and the greater Appalachian region. The editorial focus is local music, unique shopping, the arts, events, theatre, and food and drinks. tiktok.com/@hashtagwv

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