Every Sunday evening the entire group of field school students gathers for dinner and a group discussion at the Dogwood Cabin. The discussions are focused on the reading material assigned for the week. We come together and everyone helps in preparing a meal. Some of the reading material we have covered, thus far, is Myths of the Cherokee by James Mooney and Hernando De Soto Chronicles.
The Myths of the Cherokee tells great stories about creation, wonders and how some life came to be. Some great examples of those we discussed were: How the World was made, The First Fire, How They brought back Tobacco, and Why the Turkey Gobbles, among many others. In our discussions we tried to fine some common themes throughout all of the stories. We found that the stories included a host of animals. So this gave me the idea of going around the room and asking each of my classmates and professor what animal they would want to be. We had great responses like a wolf, bear, deer, Peregrine Falcon and platypus, just to name a few.
The Hernando De Soto Chronicles took us back in time as we read the stories of his travels, as some of his companions could recollect. These accounts helped us to better understand what life was like back then. We compared and contrasted different variations of stories and got a sense of what it may have been like as De Soto came into contact with the Native Americans in the Tennessee area.
The discussions give us a chance to enjoy each other’s company outside the field and relate the artifacts we are finding to stories and life from the first contact period for the Cherokee. It’s a great way to end or begin the week on high note.