“Life: It’s about using every crayon in the box.” ~ Unknown
You could have knocked me over with a feather when I opened the package today. Inside was this gorgeous hardcover coffee table book put together over many months by my soul friend Pam Thurman and her colleague Shawna Cain. It’s stunningly beautiful – seriously. Cherokee National Treasures highlights “Cherokee Nation citizens with exceptional knowledge of Cherokee art forms and cultural practices…” A book devoted to these gifted folks is not only an honor for them (bestowed by The Nation), but it gives the rest of the world the opportunity to enjoy and honor them, too. It’s vitally important that cultures cherish their torch bearers like this, but it’s especially important for U.S. indigenous cultures to do it because, historically, the country has committed unspeakable atrocities to destroy every last one of them. Modern U.S. politics has a long way to go to convince me that they’re not still trying, what with the North Dakota pipeline being just one of the more recent tragic examples. That’s why I’m especially proud that the Cherokee Nation formally embraces the people keeping the culture alive through the arts. They could have picked no one better to put this book together than Pam. When she’s not busy flying all over the world making it better and being a kick-ass academic, she’s busy being an artist and musician. As someone who has devoted her life to her native heritage, I suspect Pam will be a Cherokee National Treasure before long herself. One thing is certain: she’s a treasure to everyone who knows her, and I am deeply honored to call her my friend. I’m sure Lance is beaming right now.