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Creating Home: Indigenous Roots and Connections in the Appalachian Forest

May 18 @ 9:30 am - 4:30 pm

Seneca artisans will display their art on Saturday, May 18 for the opening of the newest exhibit at the Appalachian Forest Discovery Center. The public is invited to welcome Native artists as they share their culture with beadwork, corn husk dolls, leatherwork, basketry, foods, and more, with a Seneca Artisan Showcase.

Appalachian Forest National Heritage Area (AFNHA) will celebrate the opening of their new exhibit “Creating Home: Indigenous Roots and Connections in the Appalachian Forest.” The exhibit explores the history and contemporary stories of Native American cultures with connections to the AFNHA region and their influence on Appalachian culture. The Appalachian Forest Discovery Center, located at the Darden Mill, 101 Railroad Ave, Elkins, will be open to the public with free admission from 9:30 AM – 4:30 PM, Thursdays through Sundays, from May 18 through the end of October.

“Many people have been told that there were no permanent Native American settlements in West Virginia or that they just used this area for hunting. Yet the names and languages of Indigenous people remain on our landscape in place names like Seneca Rocks, Mingo, and Monongahela,” explained Eleanor Renshaw, AmeriCorps member with AFNHA, who led the exhibit’s development. “Our exhibit brings together Native stories and art past and present, along with archaeological research, to show some of the many ways that Indigenous people have lived, loved, and created a home in the Appalachian Forest since time immemorial.”

The Seneca Artisan Showcase on May 18 will begin at 9:30 AM and will feature presentations and demonstrations on Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) art and culture by traditional artists from the Seneca Nation. There will also be artwork for sale and a community supper featuring Appalachian foods with indigenous roots (such as beans and cornbread).


  • 9:30 AM – 5:30 PM Artisans showcase with vendor tables

Special demonstrations throughout the day:

  • 9:30 AM Penny Minner – Split Black Ash Baskets
  • 10:45 AM Bernadette Scott – Corn as Art
  • 12:00 NN Chef Lorinda John – Three Sisters Fritters tasting
  • 1:15 PM Mary Jacobs – Haudenosaunee Clothing From Coverings to Fashion
  • 2:30 PM Samantha Jacobs – Moccasin Making
  • 4:00 PM Cliff Redeye – Leatherwork (Leatherwork class Sunday 12-4, $25 by reservation)
  • 5:30 PM Exhibit Opening Address – Joe Stahlman

Followed by supper featuring Appalachian foods with Native influence (supper by donation, RSVP encouraged)

There will also be a leatherworking class with Cliff Redeye III on Sunday, May 19 from noon to 4:00 PM, during which students can make their own carved leather pieces. Reservations are needed for the limited space in the class, which has a $25 materials fee.

Some of the artisans will also demonstrate and sell their work the same weekend at the Seneca Rocks Discovery Center; Cliff Redeye will demonstrate on Friday, May 17, and Samantha and Mary Jacobs will host demonstrations on Sunday, May 19.

AFNHA will host additional events throughout the summer and fall of 2024 as part of its “Indigenous Voices in Appalachia” program. The next event is planned for June 29 and will feature Indigenous dancers.

Admission to the museum and artisan event is free. Please RSVP for supper or leatherwork class to discovery@afnha.org or 304-636-6182. Visit www.afnha.org for more details, or contact afnha@afnha.org. This program was supported with funding from the National Park Foundation, The West Virginia Department of Arts, Culture, and History, and the West Virginia Commission on the Arts.

The Appalachian Forest National Heritage Area conserves, interprets, and promotes forest heritage to enhance landscapes and communities in the highlands of West Virginia and Maryland. AFNHA works with partners to accomplish this through community development, conservation, celebrating cultural heritage, and creating opportunities for transformational experiences. To learn more, see www.appalachianforestnha.org. AFNHA is a member of the National Heritage Area System.


May 18
9:30 am - 4:30 pm
Event Category:


Appalachian Forest Discovery Center
Darden Mill, 101 Railroad Ave.,
Elkins, WV 26241 United States
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