Walker Calhoun


Walker Calhoun (May 13, 1918 – March 28, 2012) was an
Eastern Band Cherokee The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI), (Cherokee The Cherokee (; chr, ᎠᏂᏴᏫᏯᎢ, translit=Aniyvwiyaʔi or Anigiduwagi, or chr, ᏣᎳᎩ, links=no, translit=Tsalagi) are one of the indigenous peoples of the Southeastern W ...
musician, dancer, and teacher. He was a
medicine man A medicine man or medicine woman is a traditional healer and spiritual leader who serves a community of Indigenous peoples of the Americas, Indigenous people of the Americas. Individual cultures have their own names, in their respective Indigen ...

medicine man
and spiritual leader who worked to preserve the history, religion, and herbal healing methods of his people. Calhoun was the youngest of 12 children born to Sally Ann Calhoun and Morgan Calhoun. His father died when Calhoun was nine. At the age of 12, Calhoun attended a boarding school in
Cherokee, North Carolina Cherokee ( chr, ᏣᎳᎩ, translit=Tsalagi) is a census-designated place A census-designated place (CDP) is a concentration of population defined by the United States Census Bureau The United States Census Bureau (USCB), officially ...
, where he learned the English language. Before that time, he had rarely heard English because his mother did not speak it.Moose, Debbie. "Telling the Tales of Time." The News and Observer aleigh, North Carolina28 June 1992. During World War II, he was drafted and served as a combat engineer in Germany. Calhoun started learning Cherokee songs from an early age. He had learned most of the social, hunt, and sacred songs from his uncle, Will West Long, by the time he was nine years old. Calhoun founded the Raven Rock Dancers in the 1980s, to help keep traditional Cherokee dances alive within his Big Cove, North Carolina, community.

Awards and honors

:1988 - Sequoyah Award, awarded to the person who has done the most to preserve and teach Cherokee culture; Calhoun was the first recipient of this award :1990 - North Carolina Folk Heritage Award :1992 - National Heritage Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts


External links

* * 1918 births 2012 deaths Eastern Band Cherokee people National Heritage Fellowship winners Native American musicians Native American dancers People from Cherokee, North Carolina 20th-century Native Americans 21st-century Native Americans {{US-musician-stub