Field Study: Literature and Plants of the Cherokee Landscape

Course Syllabus
Maymester 2013
ENGL 4860 / LAND 4440/6440
Field Study: Literature and Plants of the Cherokee Landscape
Channette Romero
Department of English
[email protected]
Alfred Vick
College of Environment & Design
[email protected]
Course Description
This course provides a field study of the literature and native plants of the Cherokee landscape,
the region consisting of the eastern Cherokee Homeland, the route westward along the Trail of
Tears, and the Cherokee Nation in Oklahoma. Students in the course will closely examine plants
in their native habitat, using historic and contemporary Cherokee literature to understand the roles
plants and the landscape played in traditional Cherokee life. Students will develop an
understanding of the Cherokee relationship with the land, the cultural consequences of Indian
Removal, and the ways that the contemporary Cherokee people negotiate their traumatic past for
Course Object ives
Knowledge and Skills
To develop an understanding of the traditional uses of native plants by the Cherokees.
To develop an understanding of Cherokee literature and its role in Cherokee culture.
To develop methods of observation and reflection including, quantitative analysis, sketching,
journaling, and creative writing.
To develop a sense of the traditional Cherokee relationship with the land.
To develop a sense of the cultural consequences of Indian Removal.
To develop a sense of societies role in past and future events, and in the relationship between
people and the land.
Course Background and Objectives
The course will begin by exploring the native ecosystems of the southern Appalachians, the
ancestral homeland of the Cherokee Indians. We will meet with members of the Eastern Band of
the Cherokee Nation and read Cherokee literature to better understand the plants they utilized
traditionally for food, medicine, arts, and ceremonial practices. We will then begin moving
westward, following the northern route of the Trail of Tears, the path of the forced removal of the
Cherokees to their current location in what is now northeastern Oklahoma. We will take time to
observe important landmarks along the Trail, as well as make overall observations of the
changing landscape. Through discussions of Cherokee literature and students’ own writing (both
creative and journal writing), we will reflect on the experience of being uprooted from place.
Once we reach Tahlequah, the capitol of the Cherokee Nation, we will meet with representatives
of the Cherokee Nation to bring our experience full-circle. Questions we will consider: How did
the Cherokee Nation adapt to this new homeland, in a different climate and a different ecoregion?
What strategies made this transition successful? What role do stories and storytelling play in this
Course Logistics
We will meet on campus May 14-17 before we leave for our trip. These class meetings will
introduce the course and cover logistical details. Students will hear lectures about Cherokee
history, watch the PBS documentary Trail of Tears, and read Diane Glancy’s Pushing the Bear:
A Novel of the Trail of Tears. We will depart on Leg 1 of our field trip on the morning of May 20
and return on the evening of May 24. Leg 2 will depart the morning of May 28 and return the
evening of June 4. Specific details are included in the attached itinerary.
We will stay in State Parks, either camping or in cabins, as described in the attached lodging
information page.
Student crews will be assigned to purchase groceries, plan menus, and prepare food.
Course Fees
The course fee in total is $875. A $300 deposit (via check or money order only) is due by March
15. The remaining $575 is due the first day of class, May 14.
Required Books
Diane Glancy, Pushing the Bear: A Novel of the Trail of Tears
A course reader will be provided for a nominal fee.
Recommended Books
All of these books will be available at the gift shop in Cherokee, NC. Some of them may be found
in local bookstores.
Banks, William H. 2004. Plants of the Cherokees. Great Smoky Mountains Association.
Gatlinburg, TN.
Mooney, James. 2006. Cherokee History, Myths and Sacred Formulas. Cherokee Publications.
Cherokee, NC.
Perdue, Theda and Green, Michael D. 2007. The Cherokee Nation and the Trail of Tears.
Penguin Books. New York, NY.
Course Expectations
Full and complete participation in the course is expected.
Additionally, as evidence of your participation in the course, and as a long-term reference, you
will be expected to submit a course notebook to the instructor not later than Wednesday, June 5
by 5 p.m., as a basis for grading. The notebook should be accompanied by sketchbooks, creative
writing, and other supplementary materials in a coherent format.
Course Schedule and Itinerary
ENGL 4860 / LAND 4440/6440
Field Study: Literature and Plants of the Cherokee Landscape
9am - noon
May 14th
UGA Campus, 145 Park Hall
Intro to Cherokee Culture and Sacred Places - Dr. Jace Weaver
9am - noon
May 15th
UGA Campus, 145 Park Hall
Intro to Cherokee Ethnoecology – Alfie Vick
9am - noon
May 16th
UGA Campus, 145 Park Hall
Intro to Cherokee Literature – Channette Romero
9am - noon
May 17th
UGA Campus, 145 Park Hall
Showing of the PBS Trail of Tears documentary and discussion
2 pm
May 18th
New Echota State Historical Site (optional)
175 Years: Cherokee Trail of Tears Memorial Service & Commemorative Events
May 19th
May 20th
Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Cherokee, NC
Meet and load the vans
Drive to Smokemont Group Campground, GSMNP, NC,
Arrive at campsite, set up camp
Museum of the Cherokee Indian Visit
Tour of Oconaluftee Village
On your own
May 21st
Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Cherokee, NC
Botanizing the Cherokee Landscape with David Cozzo
Exploring Mingo Falls
May 22nd
Great Smoky Mt. National Park to Vogel State Park, GA
Great Smoky Mountains National Park hiking and botanizing
Visit the Cherokee Language Immersion School
Visit the Kituwah Mound
May 23rd
Vogel State Park, GA
Driving to Vogel State Park
Hiking and Botanizing Sosbee Cove
May 24th
Vogel State Park, GA to Athens, GA
Hiking and Botanizing Blood Mountain
Return to Athens, GA
(Sat/Sun/Mon) May 25-May 27 on your own
May 28th
Fall Creek Falls State Park, TN
Meet and load the vans
Explore former Cherokee capitals at New Echota and Red Clay
Arrive at Fall Creek Falls, TN
May 29th
Fall Creek Falls State Park to Fern Cliffe State Park, IL
Drive from Tennessee to Illinois
Brief stop at Trail of Tears Commemorative Park in Hopkinsville, KY
May 30th
Fern Cliffe State Park, IL
Walk the trail segments in Pope County, IL
Talk to descendants of local witnesses of Cherokee Removal
Visit former trading post
May 31st
Fern Cliffe State Park to Roaring River State Park, MO
Drive from Illinois to Missouri
Discussion on the changing landscape
Jun 1st
Roaring River to Cherokee Landing State Park, OK
Cherokee History Tour
Downtown Tahlequah
Cherokee Courthouse and Jail Museum
Ross Cemetery Museum
Cherokee History Center
Murrell Home
Attend Stomp Dance
June 2nd
Cherokee Landing State Park, OK
Tour Studio and Discuss Art of the Southeastern Removal with Creek Artist
Hiking and Botanizing the “new” Cherokee land
Meet with Cherokee Flutist Tommy Wildcat
June 3rd
Cherokee Landing State Park, OK
Diligwa Grand Opening Events
Stickball Game with local Cherokee players
June 4th
Cherokee Landing State Park, OK to Athens, GA
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