Grayson shares bow making, flint knapping knowledge

BY LINDSEY BARK
Reporter
11/17/2017 08:15 AM
Main Cherokee Phoenix
Cherokee National Treasure Noel Grayson holds a long bow as he talks about the aspects of making a bow during a Community Cultural Outreach presentation on Nov. 7 in the Rocky Ford, Oklahoma. LINDSEY BARK/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Main Cherokee Phoenix
Cherokee National Treasure Noel Grayson demonstrates how to flint knap during a Community Cultural Outreach presentation on Nov. 7 in the Rocky Ford, Oklahoma. LINDSEY BARK/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Main Cherokee Phoenix
Cherokee National Treasure Noel Grayson demonstrates how to shoot a blow dart during a Community Cultural Outreach presentation on Nov. 7 in the Rocky Ford, Oklahoma. Grayson talked to more than 30 people about past Cherokee society and the importance of making weaponry needed for hunting. LINDSEY BARK/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
ROCKY FORD, Okla. – As part of the tribe’s Community Cultural Outreach community presentation series, Cherokee National Treasure Noel Grayson demonstrated the arts of bow making, flint knapping, blow darts and twining on Nov. 7 at the Rocky Ford Community Center.

“We have a lot of talented people that can do a lot of different things. So those are the kind of things that we’re wanting to highlight in our communities,” CCO officer Dawnena Squirrel said.

Squirrel said with the presentation series, CCO officials want to reach small, rural communities such as Rocky Ford to highlight Cherokee culture.

Grayson spoke to more than 30 people about past Cherokee society and the importance of making weaponry needed for hunting.

“A man’s place in society, in Cherokee society, is actually to bring meat into a household. Now I know a majority of these men around here hunt. They’re bringing meat into their household. They’re doing their job,” Grayson said.

He said in past Cherokee society, people shared community gardens and young boys were sent to the gardens to learn how to hunt small animals that may have been roaming in the gardens such as rabbits, birds and squirrels that tried to feed off the crop.

The boys learned how to make blow darts, and that was their introduction to hunting. Any animals killed were considered “communal meat” and shared among area Cherokees.

Grayson, who became a Cherokee National Treasure in 1998, learned how to make bows as a child. “Me and my brothers would sit around and play with bows and arrows when we were growing up. It’s just a toy I never put down.”

He said he started out making bows out of sticks and eventually learned techniques of carving bows from his father.

Grayson reiterated the notion that knowledge is “meant to be shared.”

“You have to make an act to preserve all of this stuff regardless of what it is. Find somebody and pass it on to them,” Grayson said. “For one, it’s knowledge. You have to share knowledge because we’re not going to be here forever. We have to pass this on to the younger generation or even teach older generations.”

Squirrel said the CCO is trying to reach more communities with presentations such as Grayson’s.

“Sometimes we get focused on Tahlequah, and we’re trying to get out to places like Kenwood and Bell and Rocky Ford,” Squirrel said.

David Blackbird, a CN citizen and Rocky Ford Community Association president, said he would like to see more cultural presentations in Rocky Ford.

“This stuff here, it’s interesting. I’d like to see more of it,” Blackbird said. “It’s just part of our past the way I see it. I know everything’s going modernized but still yet, we need to keep that past with us.”

For more information, email dawnena-squirrel@cherokee.org.
About the Author
lindsey-bark@cherokee.org • 918-772-4223
Lindsey Bark grew up and resides in the Tagg Flats community in Delaware County. She graduated from Northeastern State University in 2012 with a bachelor’s degree in mass communication, emphasizing in journalism. She started working for the Cherokee Phoenix in 2016. Working for the Cherokee Phoenix, Lindsey hopes to ...

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