American festival at Butler
to promote future cultural center
Helen E. McKinney
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.
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
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
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,
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,
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 weeks 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
A Kids 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 parks
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
For more information on the full lineup, visit:
or contact Brading at (502) 532-7290 or Marty Martin at (502) 966-9040.
Back to September 2004