Lewis plays integral Arts Outreach Program role

BY JACKSON WELLS
Former Intern
08/28/2018 08:45 AM
Audio Clip
Main Cherokee Phoenix
Robert Lewis, a Cherokee Nation school community specialist, interacts with fifth and sixth grade students during a Cherokee storytelling event at Grand View School in Tahlequah. Lewis visits area schools and community groups as part of the tribe’s Arts Outreach Program. ARCHIVE
Main Cherokee Phoenix
Robert Lewis, a Cherokee Nation school community specialist, shares a moment with a young woman and Cherokee actor Wes Studi during a community event. Lewis visits area schools and community groups as part of the tribe’s Arts Outreach Program. COURTESY
Main Cherokee Phoenix
CAMP Cherokee staff members Wrighter Weavel, Jacob Chavez and Sky Wildcat, back, instruct campers how to make baskets with at the Heart of the Hills campsite in Welling. The camp is part of the Cherokee Nation’s Arts Outreach Program. ROGER GRAHAM/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
TAHLEQUAH – The Cherokee Nation’s Arts Outreach Program works to bring Cherokee culture to a new generation of people by providing schools and community groups the opportunities to learn traditional arts and crafts, as well as storytelling.

The Arts Outreach Program also includes CAMP Cherokee, a summer camp initiative that features classes in arts, traditional Cherokee crafts and STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) classes for up to 350 students entering the sixth through 12th grade. It’s typically held in July.

As part of his work with schools and community groups, school communications specialist Robert Lewis tells Cherokee stories and leads art sessions. He teaches many types of Cherokee art, including pottery, baskets, beads and cornhusk dolls.

When the program started in 2001, students traveled to the Cherokee Heritage Center to hear Lewis tell stories and learn how to make art. The program was such a success that schools began asking for Lewis to travel and visit them, which he has done since.

“We wanted to bring our heritage back to (the schools),” Lewis said.

He said because teachers need to meet a certain “quota” in regards to what they teach students, and Oklahoma schools are facing severe budgetary cuts, many subjects deemed nonessential such as Cherokee culture often get dropped from the curriculum.

As his school visits continued, Lewis said he established great rapport with area schools and teachers. One of those teachers is Amanda Ray, a drama teacher at Sequoyah High School.

“His personality is so bubbly and fun. He’s a true teacher because he can be explaining the exact same lesson plan that he’s explained five times that week, and he has just as much energy and excitement,” she said.

Lewis helps with Ray’s school theater productions by painting, among other things, backdrops, props and set pieces. The two have also worked together at CAMP Cherokee during the summers, she said.

Lewis said his community visits have been equally successful. The CN Community and Cultural Outreach uses him at events, including at-large programs, Tammy Miller, CCO manager of administrative operations, said. She said Lewis helps so often that they have come to expect him, and the youth in the programs have grown used to seeing him there.

“The Cherokee citizens who are out there just love Robert,” she said.

Lewis said the Arts Outreach Program continues to be successful, and its demand has only increased. He said he has so many visit requests that he has to schedule appointments three to eight months in advance.

Lewis said he believes art and creativity are not only for safeguarding culture against extinction threats but also for stimulating the entire brain. Art is as important as other subjects, such as reading or writing, he said. When it is neglected “half of your brain is not being utilized,” Lewis said.

For more Arts Outreach information, call 918-453-5153 or 918-207-3948 or email education@cherokee.org. For more CAMP Cherokee information, visit Click here to view, call 918-772-4204 or email camp@cherokee.org.
ᏣᎳᎩ

ᏓᎵᏆ - ᎾᏍᎩ ᏣᎳᎩ ᎠᏰᎵ ᏗᎾᏟᎶᏍᏔᏅᎲᏍᎩ ᎠᏙᏓᏅᎯᏗᏍᎩ ᎤᎾᏙᏢᎯ ᎤᏲᎯᏍᏗ ᎠᏂᏣᎳᎩ ᏳᎾᏛᏁᎵᏓᏍᏗ ᎾᎿ ᎢᏤ ᏓᎾᏓᏁᏟᏴᏎᎬᎢ ᎠᏂᏴᏫ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏧᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᏗ ᎠᎴ ᏍᎦᏚᎩ ᎤᎾᏓᏡ.

ᎠᏓᏜᏅᏓᏕᎲ ᏓᎾᏟᎶᏍᏔᏅᎲᏍᎬ ᎠᎴ ᎠᏃᏢᏅᏍᎬᎢ, ᎾᎴᏱᎩ ᎠᏂᏃᎮᏢᏍᎬᎢ.
ᎾᎿ ᏧᎾᏟᎶᏍᏔᏅᏅ ᎠᏙᏯᏅᎯᏗᏍᎩ ᎤᎾᏙᏢᏒ ᎾᏍᏊ ᎤᏠᏯᏍᏗ CAMP ᏣᎳᎩ, ᎾᏍᎩ ᎪᎦ ᎠᏍᏆᎵᏍᎪ ᎾᎾᏛᏁᎰ ᏄᏍᏛ ᎢᏳᎾᏛᏗ ᏧᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᏗ ᏧᎾᏟᎶᏍᏔᏅᎲᏍᏗᎢ, ᏄᏍᏛ ᎢᏳᎾᏛᏁᎵᏓᏍᏗ ᎨᏒ ᎠᏂᏣᎳᎩ ᎤᏃᏢᏅᏗ ᎠᎴ STEM (ᎡᎶᎯ ᏄᏍᏗᏓᏅ, ᏃᏊ ᏂᎦᎵᏍᏔᏅᏍᎬᎢ, ᏗᎾᏕᏲᎲᏍᎩ ᎠᎴ ᏗᏎᏍᏗ) ᏧᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᏗ ᎾᎿ ᎡᎵᏊ 350 ᏯᏂ ᏗᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᎩ ᎠᏂᏴᎯᎲ ᎾᎿ ᏑᏓᎵᏁ ᏗᏂᏂᏙ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏔᎳᏚᏏᏁ ᏗᏂᏂᏙᎯ ᏩᏍᏗ. ᎾᏍᎩ ᎠᏍᏆᎵᏍᎪ ᎦᏰᏉᏂ ᎧᎸᎢ.

ᎾᏍᎩ ᎢᎦᏓ ᏧᎸᏫᏍᏓᏁᏗ ᎨᏒ ᏧᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᏗ ᎠᎴ ᏍᎦᏚᎩ ᏧᎾᏓᏡᎦ, ᏧᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᏗ ᏗᏟᏃᎫᏗᏍᎩ ᎠᏑᏰᏓ Robert Lewis ᏕᎧᏃᎯᏎᎰ ᏗᏣᎳᎩ ᏗᎧᏃᎮᏓ ᎠᎴ ᏧᎾᏟᎶᏍᏔᏅᎲᏍᏗ ᏕᎨᏲᎲᏍᎪᎢ. ᏧᏓᎴᏅᏓ ᎢᏳᏓᎴ ᎠᏂᏣᎳᎩ ᏧᎾᏟᎶᏍᏔᏅᎲᏍᏗ ᏕᎨᏲᎲᏍᎪᎢ, ᎠᏠᏯᏍᏗ ᎦᏓᎫᎦ, ᏔᎷᏣ, ᏗᏯᎶᏗ ᎠᎴ ᏎᎷ ᎤᏗ ᏗᎪᏢᏔᏅ ᏗᏁᎶᏗ.

ᎾᏍᎩᏃ ᎯᎠ ᎾᎾᏛᏁᎲ ᎤᏓᎴᏅᎯ ᎾᎿ ᏔᎵ ᏯᎦᏴᎵ ᏌᏊ ᎤᏕᏘᏴᏌᏗᏒᎢ, ᏗᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᎩ ᎠᎾᏂᎩᏍᎬ ᎾᎿ ᏣᎳᎩᎯ ᏧᎾᏓᎴᏅ ᎠᏰᏟ ᎤᎾᏛᏓᏍᏙᏗ ᎧᏃᎮᏢᏍᎬ Lewis ᎠᎾᏛᏓᏍᏗᏍᎬ ᎠᎴ ᎠᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᎬ ᎤᏃᏢᏅᏗ ᎠᎴ ᏧᎾᏟᎶᏍᏔᏅᎲᏍᏗᎢ. ᎯᎠ ᏚᎸᏫᏍᏓᏁᎲ ᎢᎦ ᎣᏍᏓ ᎨᏒ ᎤᎾᎴᏅᎲ ᏧᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᏗ ᎠᏂᏯᏂᏍᎬ Lewis ᎤᏪᏅᏍᏗ ᎠᎴ ᏧᏩᏛᎯᏓᏍᏗ, ᎾᏍᎩᏃ ᎤᎴᏅᎲ ᎾᏛᏁᎲ ᎠᎴ Ꮟ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎾᏛᏁᎰᎢ.

“ᎣᎦᏚᎵᏍᎬ ᎤᏓᎴᏅᏗ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏃᎦᏛᏁᎸᏍᏔᏅ ᏦᎩᎶᏒ ᎾᎿ (ᏧᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᏗᎢ), ᎠᏗᏍᎬ Lewis.

ᏅᏗᎦᎵᏍᏙᏗ ᎠᏗᏍᎬ ᏗᎾᏕᏲᎲᏍᎩ “ᎧᎵᏬᎯ” ᎢᏳᎵᏍᏙᏗ ᎾᎿ ᎣᏏ ᎤᏂᏰᎸᏅ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏓᏁᏲᎲᏍᎬ ᏗᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᎩ, ᎠᎴ ᎣᎦᎵᎰᎹ ᏧᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᏗ ᎾᎿ ᏚᎾᏠᏍᎪ ᎤᎪᏓ ᎠᏂᎦᎵᏍᎪ ᎠᏕᎳ ᎠᏂᎲᏍᎬᎢ, ᎤᎪᏓ ᎢᏳᏍᏗ ᏗᎬᏩᎾᏕᏲᏗ ᎨᏒ Ꮭ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏱᏂᎦᎵᏍᏗᏍᎪ ᏯᏛᎾ ᎠᏂᏣᎳᎩ ᎢᏳᎾᏛᏁᎵᏓᏍᏗ ᏧᏂᎶᏒᎢ ᎾᏍᎩᏃ Ꮭ ᏯᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᎪᎢ.

ᎾᏍᎩ ᏧᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᏗ ᎡᏙᎲ ᏂᎬᏱᎵᏐᎢ, Lewis ᎠᏗᏍᎬ ᎾᎿ ᎪᏢᏗ ᎤᏔᎾ ᏌᏊ ᏗᎦᎸᏫᏍᏓᏁᏗ ᎾᎿ ᏧᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᏗ ᎠᎴ ᏗᎾᏕᏲᎲᏍᎩ. ᏌᏊ ᎾᎿ ᏗᎾᏕᏲᎲᏍᎩ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎯᎠ Amanda Ray, ᎠᎾᏛᏁᎵᏍᎩ ᏗᏕᏲᎲᏍᎩ ᎾᎿ ᏏᏉᏲ ᎦᎸᎳᏗ ᏧᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᏗᎢ.

“ᏄᏍᏛ ᎤᏓᏅᎿᏗ ᎤᏓᏅᏔ ᎠᎴ ᎤᏬᎳᏛ. ᎣᏍᏓ ᏚᏳᎪᏛ ᏗᏕᏲᎲᏍᎩ ᏅᏗᎦᎵᏍᏙᏗ ᎣᏍᏓ ᎧᏃᎮᏍᎪ ᎢᏳᏍᏗ ᎨᏒ ᏙᏛᏕᏲᏂᏒ ᎯᏍᎩ ᎢᏳᏩᎪᏗ ᎤᏃᎮᏢᎢ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎠᏟᎢᎵᏒᎢ, ᎠᎴ ᎬᎾ ᏂᎦᎵᏍᏗ ᎨᏒᎢ ᎠᎴ ᎤᏬᎸᏙ,” ᎠᏗᏍᎬᎢ.

Lewis ᎠᏍᏕᎵᏍᎪ Ray’s ᏧᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᏗ ᎤᎾᏛᏁᎶᏗ ᏓᏃᏢᏍᎬ ᏧᏓᎴᏅᏓ ᎪᎱᏍᏗ ᏯᏛᎾ ᏗᏑᏫᏓ, ᏧᏓᎴᏅᏓ ᎪᎱᏍᏗ ᏐᎢ ᎨᏒᎢ, ᎢᏳᏍᏗ ᎾᎾᏛᏁᎲ ᎤᏂᎾᎥ ᎠᎴ ᎣᏍᏓ ᎠᏂᏅᏍᎪᎢ. ᎾᏍᎩᎾ ᎠᏂᏔᎵ ᏌᏊ ᏧᏂᎸᏫᏍᏓᏁᎸ ᎠᎿ CAMP ᏣᎳᎩ ᎾᎿ ᎪᎦ ᏥᎨᏒᎢ, ᎠᏗᏍᎬᎢ.

Lewis ᎠᏗᏍᎬᎢ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏍᎦᏚᎩ ᏳᏩᏛᎯᏙᎳ ᎢᎦ ᎣᏍᏓ ᎨᏐᎢ. ᎾᎿ ᏣᎳᎩ ᎠᏰᎵ ᏍᎦᏚᎩ ᏚᏙᏢᏒ ᎠᎴ ᏩᎾᏙᏯᏅᎯᏗᏍᎩ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏚᏂᎸᏫᏍᏓᏁᎰ, ᎠᏠᏯᏍᏗ ᎤᏔᎾ ᏚᏙᏢᏒ, Tammy Miller, CCO ᎠᏓᏅᏖᎵᏙᎯ ᎾᎿ ᎤᏙᏢᏒᎢ, ᎠᏗᏍᎬᎢ. ᎠᏗᏍᎬ Lewis ᎢᎦ ᎣᎩᏍᏕᎵᏍᎪ ᎣᏥᎦᏖᏃᎰ, ᎠᎴ ᏗᏂᏲᏟ ᎠᏁᎳ ᎤᏂᎩᏌᏂ ᎠᏂᎪᏩᏗᏍᎬᎢ ᎠᎭᏂ.

“ᎾᏍᎩ ᎠᏂᏣᎳᎩ ᎠᏁᎳ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎠᏁᏙᎲ ᎢᎦ ᎤᏂᎸᏉᏗ Robert,” ᎠᏗᏍᎬᎢ.

Lewis ᎠᏗᏍᎬ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏗᎾᏟᎶᏍᏔᏅᎲᏍᎩ ᎠᏙᏯᏅᎯᏗᏍᎩ ᎤᎾᏙᏢᎯ ᏂᎬᏱᎵᏒᎢ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎣᏍᏓ ᎢᏳᏛᏗᎢ, ᎠᎴ ᎠᏂᏔᏲᎯᎲ ᎾᎿ ᎤᏁᏉᏣ. ᎠᏗᏍᎬ ᎢᎦ ᎤᎪᏓ ᏧᏩᏛᎯᏓᏍᏗ ᎤᎾᏚᎵᏍᎬ ᎪᏪᎵ ᏕᎦᏁᏍᎪ ᎠᎴ ᏕᎧᏁᎯᏎᎰ ᎢᏴ ᎤᏪᏓᏍᏗᎢ ᏯᏛᎾ ᏦᎢ ᎠᎴ ᏧᏁᎳ ᎢᏯᏅᏓ ᎢᎬᏯ ᎠᎢᏐ ᏓᏒᏍᏗᏍᎬ ᏧᏩᏛᎯᏓᏍᏗᎢ.

Lewis ᎠᏗᏍᎬ ᎤᏬᎯᏳ ᏗᎾᏟᎶᏍᏔᏅᎲᏍᎩ ᎠᎴ ᎠᏃᏢᏅᏍᎩ Ꮭ ᏙᎯᏳ ᎠᎵᏏᏅᏙᏗ ᏄᏍᏛ ᏧᏂᎶᏒ ᎠᎵᏏᏅᏙᏗ ᎠᎴ ᎤᏅᏥᏙ ᎤᏓᏅᏖᎯᏐᏗᎢ. ᏗᏟᎶᏍᏔᏅᏅ ᎤᎵᏍᎨᏗᏳ ᎤᏠᏯ ᏗᏐᎢ, ᏯᏛᎾ ᎠᎪᎵᏯᏗ ᎠᎴ ᎪᏪᎶᏗ, ᎠᏗᏍᎬᎢ. ᎢᏳᏃ ᎾᎦᏐᏍᏛᎾ ᏱᎩ “ᎠᏰᏟᎢᏴ ᎤᏅᏥᏓ Ꮭ ᏱᏚᎸᏫᏍᏓᏁᎰᎢ,” ᎠᏗᏍᎬ Lewis.

ᎤᎪᏛ ᏗᏟᎶᏍᏔᏅᏅ ᎠᏙᏯᏅᎯᏗᏍᏗ ᎧᏃᎮᏍᎩ, ᏩᏟᏃᎮᏗ 918-453-5153 or 918-207-3948 or email education@cherpkee.org. ᎤᎪᏛ ᎠᏕᎶᎰᎯᏍᏗ CAMP ᏣᎳᎩ ᎧᏃᎮᏍᎩ, visit camp.cherokee.org, call 918-772-4204 or email camp@cherokee.org.

– TRANSLATED BY ANNA SIXKILLER

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