Kat, a senior advertising major, sends this update from Tennessee:

We just finished day one of our trip. The drive yesterday was pretty rough. We met REALLY early yesterday morning to start our 14-hour drive to Tennessee from campus. It was nice because many people slept a great portion of the trip (about 2/3 of the day).

When we got to our hostel, Ed and Arleen had dinner for us. The other three schools were already here. Everyone was hanging out in the dinning area just chatting away, and then we came in for some home-cooked chicken casserole, beans and some really good homemade cherry cobbler! It was an early night so we all went back to our bunkhouses to relax and get settled in.

We got up this morning about 6:30am. I think I’m playing the role of house mom, and making sure everyone gets up! It’s funny how that one works because on my own I have a difficult time waking up, but as long as I know I need to wake someone else up I’m fine!

We spent our day working with Charlie at the Sequoyah Birthplace Museum in Vonroe, TN. Sequoyah is the Cherokee Indian who constructed the Cherokee syllabary (kind of like an alphabet, but it was symbols for the syllables).

We worked on putting together a patch area where they have shows in the summer and people can sit, and then we went down to the Chote council place about 11 miles from the museum. We cleared a ton of dead branches that were cut down the week before by Charlie and his employees. We had a lot of fun, but were definitely working hard.

We had a mock council, and learned about the way Cherokee had their government structured and what they do today. There are two main Cherokee groups (Cherokee Nation in OK and the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indian in NC) that will be coming down to Chote council place to have their early co-council meeting. The four colleges helped with preparation with clearing out the debris in the wooded area and clearing the roads.

We have learned so much on this trip already and it’s only the end of day one. We just got back from a moonlight hike and it was absolutely beautiful – especially with the full moon out!