The Cherokee language was spoken in North America thousands of years before the arrival of Europeans, and is still used today by the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians in the mountains of North Carolina. However, this fascinating language is now in endangered, with the number of native speakers dwindling. In addition to long-standing efforts by the tribal schools and a summer language camp, a total immersion preschool and elementary school offers fresh hope that the Cherokee people may rescue and restore this vessel of identity, history and heritage.
The Queen Family represents one of the last pure strains of authentic Appalachian tradition. Sheltered by the forbidding and rugged landscape of Jackson County, North Carolina, their community has retained a keen sense of its own history. Mountain tradition, and the closeness of family and neighbors, are here expressed in exuberant folk music played together with family and neighbors, outdoors on the porch. The songs come in many forms, from many sources. By and large, they are folk songs, telling stories and offering entertainment, instruction or consolation.