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Pupils learn about Cherokee history, culture

Posted: November 13, 2012 - 4:35pm
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Dr. Will Goins, chief executive officer of the Cherokee Indian Tribe of SC, talked about some items from the culture.  Nikasha Dicks/STAFF
Dr. Will Goins, chief executive officer of the Cherokee Indian Tribe of SC, talked about some items from the culture. Nikasha Dicks/STAFF

Carson McCaslin was excited about meeting the chief executive officer of the Cherokee Indian tribe of South Carolina on Friday.

“It’s interesting,” said the 8-year-old of American Indian history and culture. “It’s so cool to learn about it.”

So, as Dr. Will Goins spoke to third and fourth grade pupils at Mossy Creek Elementary School, he had Carson’s full attention.

“I learned that they had their own language and alphabet,” said Carson after the presentation.

Goins shared the history of the Cherokees and showed the pupils a map that identified where tribal groups are located in South Carolina. There are 11 tribal groups remaining in the state, he said.

Goins also talked about the Trail of Tears, which the pupils have studied. While many Cherokee did leave the state, not all did. He is a descendent of those who stayed, he said.

During the presentation, Goins showcased items from Indian culture and talked about how the items were used. He also sung a few songs for the pupils, which was Carson’s favorite part of the presentation.

“I liked the beats,” said Carson.

Goins was invited to speak at Mossy Creek after the pupils studied a unit about American Indian history, said third grade teacher Kim Vaughn.

“This was our way of having the kids connect with a real person,” she said.

When Goins arrived, several of the pupils recognized him because a picture of him and his niece is in their history books, she said.

November is Native American Heritage Month. The goal is to educate people about the culture and heritage as well as celebrate it, said Goins.

“We want people to know that we’re alive, we’re well,” he said. “We gave a lot to the world and South Carolina history, culture and society ... It’s important to remind people of the first people who were here.”

Goins’ presentation was funded by a grant from the Humanities Council of South Carolina.

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