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Free Cherokee Gatherings have generally been held at locations where the former Principal Chiefs reside - in Georgia, Florida and Ohio.
Free Cherokee Gatherings are family events in which people camp-out and have community activities throughout the week. It is a time for work, play, ceremony and crafts. Community meals and other activities are planned. Chiefs’ Council meets toward the end of the week. There are workshops during the day from talks, to crafts, a Trade Blanket, sweat lodge ceremony, drumming, storytelling, and pipe ceremonies.
In the past, workshops at the Gatherings have included pipe-making, making hand drums, beading, finger weaving and braiding as well as other traditional crafts.
The Gatherings are a time to inter-act, exchange information, relax, trade things, make things and learn. In the evenings, time is spent around a social fire or campfire. Many Free Cherokees plan their work vacations around the Gathering schedule, so they can spend a full week or several days at a scheduled Gathering. The Gatherings are a special time for us, and we look forward to them.
This year the Spring Gathering of Free Cherokees will be held in Ohio at 60028 Mt. Zion Road McArthur, Ohio 45651. It os located on two acres of land in scenic southeast Ohio between Chillicothe and Athens, just off State Route 50. Facilities include a one story home, social fire, sacred fire and outdoor area for camping. Events will be held outdoors, as well as the use of the house for kitchen and bathroom facilities. Communal meals will be planned.
The event starts on Wednesday June 22nd through Sunday June 26th. Opening ceremony will be Wednesday evening with a pipe ceremony. Thursday will be a field trip. Friday will be chief's council during the day. We will be electing a new Principal Chief this year. Friday evening will be trade blanket and social fire. Saturday will be the transition ceremony for the new Principal chief, and Sweat Lodge in the evening. Tentatively, we are also planning a wedding that weekend. Sunday will be the closing ceremony.
People are welcome to arrive a few days early, and stay a few days later in the week. There are sleeping accomodations in the house for elders and in the building, as well as room outside to set up a campsite. Activities will be on Indian Standard Time (IST). There will be time for socializing, doing crafts, learning and relaxation. Most activities are informal.
The event is hosted by the Three Spirit Clan at the home of the present Principal Chief - Spirit Shadow. Generally, we have a few dozen people in attendance. It is an opportunity for the Free Cherokees to get together and conduct annual business. All clans are encouraged to send representatives and participate in the Summer Gathering.