Native American Festival

Native American festival at Butler
to promote future cultural center

By Helen E. McKinney
Contributing Writer

CARROLLTON, Ky. (September 2004) – Cherokee descendant Annie Tramper and her family were well known for their active participation in the Native American community of London, Ky. An annual festival centering on the Native American culture has been held in London for the last 12 years, and organizers have since renamed it the Annie Tramper Fall Indian Festival.

Joseph FireCrow

Photo provided

Native American
Joseph FireCrow.

For this year only, the festival is moving to Carrollton, Ky., on Sept. 3-5 to raise awareness of a Native American project in which many Carrollton residents are involved. All proceeds from the festival will benefit the Kentucky Center for Native American Arts & Culture, an interpretive center to be developed in the vacant ski lodge at Gen. Butler State Resort Park.
Tramper and her husband, Leroy, also a full-blooded Cherokee Indian, took an active part in the London festival, demonstrating their heritage through the use of traditional dance, song and stories, along with their Native American brothers and sisters. This festival is held “in honor of Annie,” said organizer Martha Jones.
Jones, a good friend of Tramper, said this festival began in London because there was “no representation for Native peoples in this part of Kentucky, and no school programs.” Jones and others approached business owners in the area and encouraged them to sponsor the event. She hopes Carrollton business owners will become just as involved and be instrumental in bringing an awareness of the Native American culture to Carrollton.
Many people living in eastern Kentucky have Indian blood and have never explored their ancestors’ heritage, said Jones. She and others involved in the festival lineup go into schools and provide hands-on learning experiences for school children to participate in. “The children just love it,” said Jones.
The state gave the ski lodge and 85 adjoining acres of the park for the new center when legislation created the Kentucky Native American Heritage Commission in April 2004. Jones said there are plans for a library, museum, exhibits and database to be used to research Native American history.
One of the local organizers is Bruce Brading, who said the London festival was brought up at a joint meeting for the Kentucky Native American Heritage Commission and the Kentucky Center for Native American Arts & Culture. “It was mentioned that we needed to start bringing Native American activities to Gen. Butler Park even before the center was started,” said Brading.
In addition to the Annie Tramper Fall Indian Festival, a weeklong series of events will be held at the park from Aug. 30 to Sept. 5 to educate the public about the Native American culture, held in conjunction with The Circle of Wisdom Unity Conference. The Unity “had already talked about getting the Native American Indian community active in the park so that many of our people would be aware of where it was in the state,” said Brading.
Began in 1997, Unity is comprised of 28 Native American Indian non-profit incorporations in Kentucky and several other states, and two state-recognized tribes not recognized in Kentucky. There are 465 individual members, and Brading said it is the best effort of Kentucky to get all Native people working together.
The educational programs to be held during Native American Week are geared toward younger children and teens, said Brading, “but I also believe will hold many surprises for adults. This is extremely educational for all, young and old.” He said programs would be slow moving in order to provide amble opportunity for talking, asking and getting some good answers from the many Native American educators.
The week’s lineup includes Diamond Brown, a Cherokee educator who tours the United States full time and has been a consultant for movies and performed stage dramas. Bill Miller, a Mohican Indian from northern Wisconsin, is a singer, songwriter and painter. Susan Mullins, a Mohawk Indian from Canada, shares the language, stories and cultural values of her people.
Mullins, who is on the board of directors for the purposed center, is also a roster artist with the Kentucky Arts Council. She said the center “is a wonderful way of bringing to the public the true history of the Native People, not the stereotype so long believed in TV and Hollywood.”
A Kid’s Day program on Friday, Sept. 3, will be packed with many educational activities such as tomahawk and blowgun demonstrations, storytelling and flute playing. Exhibitions will include dance step, beading, finger weaving, bow and arrow, flint napping, and Native arts and crafts. Several activities and exhibits will be held at the park’s Conference Center.
“We hope to teach many things,” said Brading. “One is that we are not gone, have never been gone and still exist as part of Kentucky today.”• Various admission is charged for the events.

• For more information on the full lineup, visit: www.500nations.com/Kentucky_Events.asp, or contact Brading at (502) 532-7290 or Marty Martin at (502) 966-9040.

Back to September 2004 Articles.



Copyright 1999-2015, Kentuckiana Publishing, Inc.

Pick-Up Locations Subscribe Staff Advertise Contact Submit A Story Our Advertisers Columnists Archive Area Links Area Events Search our Site Home Monthly Articles Calendar of Events Kentucky Speedway Madison Chautauqua Madison Ribberfest Madison Regatta