Hear Stories from Cherokee Tellers at the Cherokee Bonfire | Cherokee, NC

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Hear Stories from Cherokee Tellers at the Cherokee Bonfire

The Cherokee Bonfire is back! 

“It’s all about storytelling,” says organizer Daniel Tramper, who is also a cultural ambassador for the tribe, “and everyone is welcome to take a seat and listen.” 

Storytellers at this free event share a mix of stories. You may hear traditional stories about animals or creation. Some storytellers share snapshots from their lives, and talk about growing up in Cherokee. Others delve into the history of the region, as well as places of interest. Some storytellers may share aspects of the Cherokee language, and talk about the different dialects of the region.

During intermission, the fire is lit and complimentary marshmallows are passed out for roasting. Water is also on hand, and free for guests. 

At closing, the audience may be treated to a Cherokee warrior dance or friendship dance. 

“It all depends on the featured storyteller and what they want to do,” shares Daniel. 

Meet the Storytellers

This year, Kathi Littlejohn and Sonny Ledford will return as storytellers. They will be joined by Nola Teesatuskie, who is an experienced young storyteller making her debut at the bonfire. 

Kathi Littlejohn

Kathi has been telling stories since 1986. She is well known for delivering her stories in a dramatic, entertaining, and down to earth style. Kathi has performed at the National American Indian Museum in Washington, D.C.; in Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia, the Museum of Cherokee Indian, and at festivals and events throughout the region. 

Sonny Ledford

As a small child growing up in Birdtown, Sonny grew up speaking Cherokee although he lost his fluency when he entered the school system. His mother, a member of the Bird Clan, and his father, a member of the Long Hair Clan, both spoke Cherokee as their first language. Sonny is deeply versed in the tribe’s history and traditions of artistry. 

Nola Teesatuskie

Nola is a cultural specialist from the Big Cove community on the Qualla Boundary. She is also a first generation finger-weaver. Nola has been with the Museum of the Cherokee since 2019. At the Museum, Nola enjoys demonstrating and teaching fingerweaving, as well as storytelling and giving guided tours through the museum exhibit. 

Things to Know

The Cherokee Bonfire event is free, and held at the Oconaluftee Island Park on Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday from 7 to 9 pm, June 1-October 31. 

In the event of rain, there’s a covered pavilion next to the fire circle. 

During the busy summer months, it’s recommended to arrive early to get a seat, or to bring your own. 

Dogs are allowed, provided they are leashed and their owner picks up after them. 

We hope you will join us!

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