The Culture Keepers

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Our daughter Mary Evelyn and her family and Ray and I spent Saturday at the Fort Loudoun 18th Century Trade Faire in Vonore, Tennessee. God created one of those perfect sunshiny, blue sky October days. The first fun was taking the advertised “shuttle” from the parking lot to the state park visitor center. Before Saturday, I didn’t know that shuttle could be a synonym for hay ride!

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The recreated British fort is spectacular anytime, but it was especially beautiful dotted with gleaming white reenactors’ tents. They sang and played traditional songs. A magician performed traditional tricks. Soldiers reenacted a battle.

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At the close of the day, British soldiers retired the colors and shot a ceremonial salute.

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We enjoyed the exhibits and demonstrations about the lives of 18th century soldiers in the overmountain region of Tennessee. However, our family’s favorite experience was the family-to-family time we spent with the Cherokee who took part in the festival. Here Ray and I pose with Jack Crawford IV, whose Cherokee name is Red Feather.

Ray and Charlene with Red Feather
Ray and Charlene with Red Feather

For many years, Red Feather’s grandmother has participated in cultural experiences like the one on Saturday.

Vickie Coatney Smith
Vickie Coatney Smith, the Grandmother

Now some of her grandchildren participate with her. One was not yet two years old. Our grandchildren played with her on a blanket while we adults learned from Vickie’s grandsons. Kyle Coatney, whose Cherokee name is Little War Chief, is a master at the Cherokee flute. He played us a beautiful song.

Kyle Coatney, Little War Chief
Kyle Coatney, Little War Chief

Red Feather works as a culture keeper. He travels to schools and to festivals like the one on Saturday to teach people about his native culture. He is deeply committed to helping people know about Cherokee history, tradition, and language. He and Little War Chief sang us a song that their people once sang before going on a beaver hunt.

Jack Crawford IV, Red Feather
Jack Crawford IV, Red Feather

During the French and Indian War, the British built Ft. Loudoun to protect American colonists who were encroaching on native lands lying west of the Appalachian Mountains. In 1760, Cherokee laid siege to Ft. Loudoun, forcing the British to surrender. On Saturday, descendants of the Cherokee and descendants of colonists mingled together and learned from one another.

Praise God that some peoples who have waged war against one another in the past are living in peace together today. Let’s continue to pray for peace around the world.

Finally, brethren, rejoice, be made complete,
be comforted, be like-minded, live in peace;
and the God of love and peace will be with you.
2 Corinthians 13:11

I would greatly appreciate it if you would help me spread the word about our Theodore Roosevelt videos.

Today’s video is about Theodore Sr. and Mittie’s strong marriage.

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  1. Looks like a fun weekend with family.

    My husband and I really enjoyed the Roosevelt book. I can’t wait to watch the videos and will share them over on my Facebook page. Blessings!! 🙂

    • Hi, Jamie,

      The weekend was extra-special. I am thrilled that you and your husband enjoyed the book. You are so kind to let me know. I pray that the book will encourage mamas and daddies to keep on keeping on with homeschooling and that they will make it who they are rather than what they do. When Ray and I made that decision in our family, it made a tremendous difference for us. Homeschooling can be a giant sack of rocks mamas carry around or a beautiful adventure a family lives together to the glory of God. I pray that the Roosevelt’s amazing story will encourage families toward the later.

      With a grateful heart,


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