September 8, 2011: Paula Nelson, a singer, poet, writer, dancer and preservationist, will present “Origins: Exploring the Beginnings and Cosmology of the Cherokee People.” Her presentation will begin in the Loyal Jones Appalachian Center Gallery at 11:45 a.m. A light lunch will be provided.
Nelson combines storytelling, lecturing, and singing to present a profound and beautiful look into the complexities of The Principle People, past and present. “Paula is one of the chief preservationists of the Cherokee, and we’re very lucky to have her on campus to share the stories, songs and spirit of her people,” says Silas House, interim director of Berea’s Appalachian center.
Nelson is an enrolled member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and lives in the Big Cove community within the Qualla Boundary near Cherokee, North Carolina. She started her orientation to the Cherokee culture at a very young age as a dancer for the various traditional dancers of the Cherokee communities. She continued throughout her teen years to be involved with cultural events and activities of her people and travelled throughout the country on the pow-wow circuit. She has been a contract performance artist to create original songs in the Cherokee language to serve as language retention tools for schools and families and has been involved in “Project Songbird,” a songwriting/composing collaboration in the Cherokee language. She has published several poems and has a CD titled “CHANT: Cherokee Hopes and New Traditions.” A talented artist, she was recently chosen by the Chief of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians to illustrate children’s books to promote literacy.