Cherokee is fascinating for visiting Folkmoot performers!
The town of Cherokee and the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians always draw the particular interest of international dance troupes visiting Western Carolina from around the globe for our annual Folkmoot Festival.
And for good reason, of course.
The story of the Cherokee people is both tragic and triumphant. Tsalagi history, heritage, legends and traditions are Smoky Mountain treasures more valuable than the gems once plentiful in these ancient peaks. It is rare, indeed, for international dancers to arrive without a thirst for more knowledge and understanding about First Nation people of America.
We expect the Folkmoot 2018 visiting dance troupes will be no exception. And, as an added element, at least 10 members of our visiting Le Ragazze Italiane dance troupe of Canada are also members of the Canadian Métis (pronounced, “maytee”) First Nation people.
Folkmoot 2018 opens July 19 and runs through July 29 and will feature performing dance troupes from Ghana, Italy, Czech Republic, Mexico, Thailland and Northern Cyprus and Venezuela as well as Anglo Appalachian and, as always, Cherokee dancers and musicians.
For it’s part, the tribe has assigned special representatives, officially designated ambassadors, outstanding young members of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, to each of the visiting dance troupes to teach them about Cherokee tradition.
Amy West attends Mars Hill University and is a senior studying elementary education. She is the president of their Native American Student Association. She enjoys babysitting and teaching Sunday school at Big Cove Baptist Church. This is her second year as an ambassador with the Folkmoot festival.
Mystikal Spirit Armachain is eighteen years old, her last name meaning “Backwater.” She is a member of the deer clan within the EBCI. She grew up traditionally learning her native language, crafts and traditions. Her native roots led her to work at the Oconaluftee Indian Village. This is her second year of being an ambassador for Folkmoot.
Karyl Frankiewicz is a former Miss Cherokee and former Miss Indian North Carolina. She is a second-time ambassador this year at the Folkmoot festival and does traditional craftwork such as beadwork, pottery, basketry, and finger weaving. She loves playing sports and has her own adult team for a local league.
Amorie Gunter will be an ambassador for the second time at this year’s Folkmoot festival. She is last year’s Miss Cherokee and is currently a teacher at Cherokee Elementary School. She loves participating in the festival because it gives her an opportunity to learn about other cultures while educating others about her cultures, traditions, and home.
Faith Long is the current Miss Cherokee at nineteen years old. She is in the Jones-Bowman leadership award program and a business management major at Carson-Newman University. She is a 25 under 25 class of 2018 inductee for UNITY (United National Indian Tribal Youth). She is excited to be a part of the festival this year.
Raylen Bark is the current Teen Miss Cherokee and her favorite sport to play is basketball. She attends Cherokee High School and her favorite color is blue. She’s excited to be a part of the festival this year.
Dvdaya Swimmer is the 11-year-old daughter of Micah and Carrah Swimmer. She is this year’s Junior Miss Cherokee and attends Cherokee Elementary in the fifth grade. She plays basketball, fastpitch softball, performs Cherokee social dances, dances fancy shawl at powwows, and is on the Smoky Mountain Youth Competition Cheer team. Her life goal is to be a representation of her Cherokee people and give her best shot at life and giving back.