View Full Version : A Real Smokies Thanksgiving?

Don Kirk
11-11-2011, 08:33 AM
One of my strangest experience in the Smokies occurred at Cataloochee River downstream form the valley. Rounding a bend while fishing, I came upon some two dozen Cherokee circled around a large pool. Most were waist deep, while at the edge of the creek older women tended kettles suspended over fires. The ones in the creek were catching crawdads, which they delivered to the women who were cooking the catch as it was delivered.
Walking up to the gathering, I was pretty much ignored, until the brother of a Cherokee friend of mine, Adam Thompson, recognized me. He greeted me and showed me crawdad cornmeal mush (Selu'sa Anista Tsisdvna) being cooked up. Its taste was reminiscent of a bland lobster Newburg. I was told that this was, among other things, a traditional Thanksgiving Day dish. Back in the 1980s Adam had often taken me into mountains to talk to tribal herbalists who spoke little or no English. Between them and Chief Two Tree at Black Mountain they knew their roots and leaves. It was always a treat.

11-11-2011, 10:35 AM

That's a great story. It's fantastic that they allowed you to watch, and then share their food by being invited into their "inner circle." I'm sure that doesn't happen very often, if at all. My experience (though limited) has been that the Indians tend to keep to themselves and not invite strangers, expecially whites, to share their culture.

Thanks for sharing with us.


No Hackle
11-11-2011, 10:48 AM
Cool story Don. How many people can say they've done that.Way cool.

Rob Johnson
11-23-2011, 02:02 AM
Don, another good story. Keep em coming please. Happy turkey day everybody.

11-23-2011, 09:07 AM
If that was from your perspective; that would have been an awesome experience. Thanks for taking the time to share and post the story!

11-23-2011, 10:12 PM

Sometime around the early to mid 80's, we were on our way across the lake to Hazel Creek to camp. My dad dropped me off to fish Eagle Creek and picked me up that evening. Being a teenager, I was a bit skittish fishing Eagle by myself and wound up a good ways up the creek. On my way down I came to where Ekaneetlee Creek flows in, and I saw 4 older Cherokee men doing the same thing with crawdads. They shared their cooking with me and I added 4 descent rainbows to the meal. I don't think my dad ever believed my "story".

Jim Parks

11-23-2011, 11:24 PM
Very cool stories.

11-28-2011, 09:19 AM
Absolutely! Neat stories!!