WATR is working with the Cherokee tribal Revitalization of Traditional Artisan Resources, aka RTCAR. The project is called ” WATR River Cane Education & Mapping” and it extends through this summer. River cane is important to WATR’s mission because the shoots prevent stream bank erosion and trap sediments. In short, river cane helps to keep mud out of the Oconaluftee and Tuckasegee Rivers.
In this project, WATR volunteers will be cruising creeks and streams looking for patches of river cane in Swain & Jackson Counties. Then, WATR staff will ask land owners with river cane if they will allow occasional, sustainable harvests by Native American artisans. Volunteers can help in obtaining landowner permission.
We will also be learning about river cane, basket weaving, and Cherokee crafts. There will be opportunities to meet some very talented Cherokee cane weavers. One upcoming event is the “State of the River Cane Symposium” on Tuesday, May 22, at the Birdtown Community Center in Cherokee. Contact me at the WATR office if you want more information or if you would like to join us at the symposium.
WATR member Bill Lee has participated in our River Cane Project since last fall. He traveled to Murphy to watch and help James Long and Lucille Lossiah cut the perfect cane shoots for weaving. Now Bill has written up the experience of watching James prepare cane splits for weaving in a mini-series called the River Cane Chronicles. A big WATRshed Thank You to Bill for this and his many contributions.
The success of this project depends on our volunteers. If you are interested in participating in this project and/or if you would like to join us at the “State of the River Cane Symposium” on Tuesday, May 22, 9:00 to 1:30, at the Birdtown Community Center in Cherokee. You are invited.