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The Voices of Cherokee Youth

The voices of Cherokee youth are being heard loud and clear thanks to the Cherokee Youth in Radio program! With grant funding from the Cherokee Preservation Foundation, youth of Native American heritage, ages 8 to 16, are gaining valuable experience through producing radio programs! In a room at the Cherokee Youth Center in North Carolina, a studio was constructed with three microphones and a table length sound board. Foam lines the walls in order to block the sound from the other after-school activities that take place.

Through this program, teens are finding their voice to positively influence their peers. Public service announcements are one avenue that youth are using to talk about issues such as drug and alcohol abuse. In 2012, program participants won an award from the television network, Nickelodeon, about rising above the influence of drugs by writing, scripting, and editing for their radio show.

Currently, 12 Native youth work together to produce local news broadcasts, oral plays, and stories of Cherokee Legends. “Stories of Mountain Folk” is the most recent project at the Center. The teens record traditional Cherokee stories that have been passed down through the generations to be broadcasted weekly. Elders have even been known to help with the project! Through connecting with Elders and broadcasting the traditional stories, teens are building excitement about their culture and feel a stronger connection to their community.
Keep up the great work!