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Snowbird Beloved Women Mural Unveiling On Saturday

Photo by Doreyl Ammons Cain/Appalachian Mural Trail
The project started in 2019. The finished mural will be unveiled for the first time on Saturday.

Community members are celebrating a new mural in Graham County dedicated to the Beloved Women and matriarchs of the Snowbird Community on Saturday. 

The Graham Revitalization Economic Action Team project – funded by a 2019 Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation Grant – was created by local Snowbird artists and the Appalachian Mural Trail. 

“The main purpose of everything was to include Snowbird with Robbinsville,” said Jackson County artist Doreyl Ammons Cain. Cain is the co-founder of the trail and one of the lead artists of the mural.

The mural celebrates the martiarchs of  Snowbird, a Cherokee community in Graham County.  

“There are so many layers of history in it. Not only Beloved Women but women who have contributed to Snowbird and all of the things that they have done: the saving of the language, the birthing of babies, beading, and basketry – all of that is in the mural,” said Cain.  

Credit Courtesy of Doreyl Ammons Cain
Jackson County artist Doreyl Ammons Cain with the panel she painted of Beloved Woman Ella Bird.

The Snowbird Cherokee Matriarchs Mural features: Beloved Woman Ella Bird, Beloved Woman Shirley Jackson Oswalt, Beloved Woman Maggie Wachacha, Lois Colonahuskie, Edna Chekelelee, Zena Rattler and Emma Garrett.

Eastern Band of Cherokee leader TJ Holland, who passed away last year, was also a lead artist on the project.  

The event will feature art, performances and an unveiling ceremony in downtown Robbinsville from 4pm to 7pm on the old VFW building, 128 N Main Street.

Here's the event schedule: 

4:00 p.m. - Cherokee Arts & Crafts Demos

5:00 p.m. - Refreshments & Entertainment – featuring a children’s choir, flutist and more.

6:00 p.m. - Mural Dedication Ceremony

Organizers will provide parking at the football field and a shuttle to the event, according to Cain.  

Lilly Knoepp is Senior Regional Reporter for Blue Ridge Public Radio. She has served as BPR’s first fulltime reporter covering Western North Carolina since 2018. She is from Franklin, NC. She returns to WNC after serving as the assistant editor of Women@Forbes and digital producer of the Forbes podcast network. She holds a master’s degree in international journalism from the City University of New York and earned a double major from UNC-Chapel Hill in religious studies and political science.
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