While I was researching the background for Winter Rose, the somewhat mysterious but compelling Cherokee woman who is introduced in the first book, I spent a lot of time in Cherokee, North Carolina, the home of the eastern band of the Cherokee nation. If you ever get a chance to visit, go by all means. The Cherokee story, like that of all Native American tribes, is heartbreaking. Our treatment of American Indians has been one of the world’s biggest screw jobs from the start and the tragedy continues today in many ways. In spite of their hardships though, the Cherokee nation is thriving, fascinating and welcoming.
In 2005, a project was begun to show the talents of the local artists in Cherokee and to share the Cherokee culture with visitors. Each artist was given a full sized metal bear sculpture to paint, using a theme from the Cherokee heritage. As you go around the town, you’ll come across the bears in a variety of public spots. Here are three of my favorites: