A Cherokee Language and Dance Workshop was conducted at Natural Tunnel State Park's Cove Ridge Center on February 23, 2013 by Micah Swimmer, Cherokee language instructor for the Cherokee Central Schools in Cherokee, North Carolina, where he also coaches football and basketball. The event was sponsored by the Daniel Boone Wilderness Trail Association.
In 2008, Mr. Swimmer graduated with honors from the Haskell Indian Nations University in Lawrence, Kansas with a BA in American Indian Studies and an Associate Degree in Physical Education. He is a member of the highly respected Warriors of Anikituwah, which consists of modern warriors appointed by the Tribal Council to travel and educate people about the Eastern Band of the Cherokee People, with the goal of preserving the traditional Cherokee language, songs, and dances.
Mr. Swimmer was accompanied at the workshop by his wife Carrah, daughter Tah-tah-yeh (six years old), and son Og-ga-na (five years old). In the morning Language Workshop, participants were instructed in the Cherokee language structure, and learned some words and sentences.
In the afternoon Dance Workshop, participants had a chance to use the language they learned as part of their dances. Mr. Swimmer not only taught the dances, but gave insight into the cultural traditions that gave rise to the dances and that are an integral part of the traditions of the Cherokee.
The morning workshop was attended by 61 people of all ages and the afternoon workshop by 69. Dances learned included the Bear Dance, the Horse Dance, the Buffalo Dance, the Corn Dance, the Ant Dance, and the Six Nations Dance or Friends Dance. And, as a special treat, the session ended with two Cherokee songs sung by Mr. Swimmer's children.