Indian Creek Productions has been working hard to keep Native American history alive. Formed in 2002 by Mark and Sherry Finchum, this award winning not-for-profit educational organization specializes in Cherokee history. Indian Creek Productions is having a busy summer with events in Knoxville, TN and Cherokee, NC.

Sherry and Mark Finchum of Indian Creek Productions.

Cherokee Heritage Day  (Free)

with Treaty on the Holston Re-enactment

Saturday, June 22, 10 AM – 4 PM, James White’s Fort, 205 E. Hill Ave.

Cherokee Heritage Day is a cooperative effort between the James White’s Fort Association and Indian Creek Productions. With 2013 being the 175th Anniversary of the Trail of Tears, Mark Finchum will present a special lecture/slide show on this tragedy. Other activities include:

Photo by Michael Byerley.

Photo by Michael Byerley.

  • Tours of the James White’s Fort main house, the kitchen, blacksmith shop, militia and Cherokee camps.  Spinning wheel demonstration, open hearth cooking, and blacksmithing will be presented all day
  • Cherokee language lesson with Louise Brown and Micah Swimmer
  • Hand drum demonstration with Louise Brown and Micah Swimmer
  • Lecture and slide show on the Trail of Tears with Indian Creek Productions
  • Audience participation game
  • Cherokee storytelling and traditional Cherokee dancing will take place once in the morning and once in the afternoon
  • McClung Museum staffer will be present to assist children who want to try their skill at grinding corn and using a bow drill
  • In the afternoon, there will be a lecture and re-enactment of the Treaty on the Holston
Photo by Mark Byerley.

Treaty on the Holston reenactment. Photo by Mark Byerley.

This award winning re-enactment depicts the 1791 signing of the Treaty of the Holston between the Cherokee Nation and the United States of America.  Finchum says, “Among other things, this treaty declared peace and friendship between the two sides, put the Cherokee under the protection of the United States, dealt with the return of captives held by both sides, and made travel to Nashville safe for whites.”

Trip to Cherokee, North Carolina

July 11 – July 13   For more information and registration, please e-mail

On behalf of the Tennessee Council for the Social Studies, Finchum has organized a teachers’ trip to Cherokee, NC, for Thursday evening, July 11th, through lunchtime on Saturday, July 13th.
Photo by Michael Byerley.

Photo by Michael Byerley.

  • Each teacher is responsible for his or her own travel, but we will gather at the Chestnut Tree Inn on Thursday evening for a welcome and storytelling by Freeman Owle, an elder on the reservation and a former school teacher.
  • On Friday morning meeting at the hotel, with:
  • Micah Swimmer, who works for the Cherokee Central Schools system, will give a presentation on Cherokee language.
  • Dr. Susan Abram from Western Carolina University will lecture on the Trail of Tears.
  • Sherry Finchum, Director of Federal Programs and Elementary Curriculum for Jefferson County, will present a session on how teachers can incorporate what they have learned with Common Core standards and strategies.
  • Mark Finchum will share resources that teachers can use: two PowerPoints presentations, copies of the Indian Removal Act, and quotes from event participants.
  • Enjoy a traditional Cherokee dinner on Friday evening
  • Visit the Museum of the Cherokee Indian
  • Visit the Oconaluftee Indian Village
  • Attend the outdoor drama “Unto These Hills”
Photo by Michael Byerley.

Photo by Michael Byerley.

Fort Loudoun: Forsaken By God and Man

Tuesday, August 6, on East Tennessee PBS, time to be announced

Mark Finchum and Michael Winans in "Fort Loudoun: Forsaken By God and Man."

Mark Finchum (left) and Michael Winans in “Fort Loudoun: Forsaken By God and Man.” Photo by Gordon Horn.

Mark Finchum appears as a Cherokee warrior in this historic documentary created by Nolichucky Pictures (disclaimer: Nolichucky Pictures owns KnoxZine). This half-hour documentary depicts the rise and fall of the garrison at Fort Loudoun, located in modern day Vonore, TN. During the French & Indian War, Fort Loudoun became the first British garrison to surrender to the Cherokee. (Spoiler alert!) Things to do not end well for either party.

Mark Finchum (fourth from the front) in "Fort Loudoun: Forsaken By God and Man.

Mark Finchum (fourth from the front) in “Fort Loudoun: Forsaken By God and Man.

6th Annual Spirit of Nations Powwow

Saturday, August 10, 10 AM – 8 PM, Jacob Building in Chilhowee Park, $5

Photo by Michael Byerley.

Photo by Michael Byerley.

Finchum says, “We will have great powwow dancers demonstrating the various dance categories.  There will also be traditional Cherokee dancing, Indian tacos, quality Native arts and crafts, a silent auction, storytelling, hand drum competition, children’s area (with face painting, children’s craft kits, the primitive tools activities, etc), blowgun contest, Cherokee language class, and more.  Pretty good for $5!”

Photo by Michael Byerley.

Photo by Michael Byerley.

“At our very first powwow,” Finchum explains, “a young lady came out of the crowd and gave me a choker necklace.  She explained that her family had always tried to suppress their heritage.  She told me, “Finally, I can be who I am.”  She then disappeared back into the crowd.  That’s one reason we do it.  Another is that we believe so strongly in education, and that is a major focus of this event.  Plus, honestly, we just have so much fun!”

Photo by Michael Byerley.

Photo by Michael Byerley.

Follow Indian Creek Productions on Facebook for future event information.

(c) Debra Dylan, 2013


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