Cherokee Guide Finds Passion in Sharing Cherokee History, Culture

Danielle culp demonstrates finger weaving at the Cherokee Heritage Center’s ancient village, Diligwa.

Published June 22, 2017

TAHLEQUAH — From a very young age, Danielle Culp has had an interest and appreciation for her Cherokee heritage. Her knowledge, passion and propensity for giving back to her community have made her an invaluable asset to the Cherokee Heritage Center.

Culp is starting her fifth season at CHC, where she currently serves as the seasonal village supervisor and demonstrates finger weaving in the ancient Cherokee village, Diligwa.

“I am so thankful to have the opportunity to work at CHC and to share my love and appreciation of Cherokee culture with others,” said Culp. “There is a great sense of pride that comes with sharing our story, and also a great deal of responsibility representing the Cherokee people, our history, our ancestors and our traditions.”

Culp’s passion for her heritage has led her to numerous opportunities throughout the years, including serving on the Tribal Youth Council and participating in the Remember the Removal bike ride, a three-week, 950-mile trek retracing the northern route of the Trail of Tears. She also served as Jr. Miss Cherokee in 2006, Miss Cherokee in 2009 and the Cherokee Gourd Society Princess in 2012.

“A lot of our visitors are interested in learning about the Cherokee people, but many of them have only been exposed to myths or misconceptions,” said Culp. “During their visit, we are able to help educate them about what makes us so unique by showing them firsthand. I’ve learned so much from so many people in my community and truly enjoy sharing that knowledge with others. At the end of the day, it’s all about having fun and making sure that our visitors leave with a better understanding of who we are, where we’ve been and where we are going.”

Culp earned a Bachelor of Arts in Cherokee cultural studies with an emphasis in language revitalization and a minor in American Indian studies from Northeastern State University in 2012. She recently obtained a master’s degree in museum science and management with a focus on education from the University of Tulsa in 2016.

Her position at CHC is supported by a grant from the Oklahoma Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts. It is one of four grants received by CHC from 2016-17.

The Cherokee Heritage Center is the premier cultural center for Cherokee history, culture and the arts. It is located at 21192 S. Keeler Drive, Park Hill. Summer hours are Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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