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Community Roots: Selections from the Local Legacies Project
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Mary Arpante Sunbeam with children in a teepee
Mary Arpante Sunbeam, storyteller and Cherokee of the Appalachians, educating children about traditional tribal value and teachings.

Cherokee Native American Culture

The history of Native American Indians' interaction with the English colonists of Virginia dates to 1607 when the Powhatan Confederacy entered into a treaty that provided for friendship and peace with the Jamestown settlement. The project focuses on the Native American Indian tribes of Virginia, specifically the Cherokees, who continue to honor their ancestors, their tribal elders, and the Native American veterans who have served in wars to protect and defend the United States. To ensure the next generation will carry on their culture and traditions, Virginia tribal people share oral histories, storytelling, tribal teachings, and crafts; an Appalachian fall harvest festival celebrates their agricultural heritage.

Documentation includes a videotape of a BBC interview with Mary Sunbeam, Cherokee, teaching about tribal values; a videotape of the Cherokee Indian Nation of the Appalachians Harvest Fall Festival, held annually in October in Virginia; and an audio cassette showcasing Jeff Ball, flutist, and the storytelling of Mary Arpante Sunbeam illustrating the fundamental teachings of her "Path of Gratitude."

Originally submitted by: James P. Moran, Representative (8th District).



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The Local Legacies project provides a "snapshot" of American Culture as it was expressed in spring of 2000. Consequently, it is not being updated with new or revised information with the exception of "Related Website" links.

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