Building One Fire
Art and World View in Cherokee Life
Published by: Cherokee Nation
Imprint: Cherokee Nation
224 Pages | 9 x 9 | 200 color illus.
In Building One Fire, Chad Smith and renowned Cherokee-Osage scholar and author Rennard Strickland present a unique look at Cherokee art through the lens of Cherokee philosophy. Since the time when Water Spider brought the gift offire to the Cherokee people, the One Fire, “the Ancient Lady,” has been at the center of Cherokee spiritual life.
From this fire, which represents community, thewhite smoke of prayer rises to Nitsudunvha, One Who is Always Above. In return Nitsudunvha sends to each person four sets of gifts with whichto develop mind, body, and spirit. These gifts are brought by four messengers, one from each of thecardinal directions. The gifts of the four messengers, the colors and qualities associated with them, and the four-pointcircle that embraces the sacred fire—all these arepart of Cherokee consciousness and creativity.They take visible form, subtly or directly, in works created by Cherokee artists.
This book presents more than 200 art-works by some 80 artists which speak to what it means to be Cherokee. Cherokee philosopher Benny Smith shares his teachings about Cherokee world view, Cherokee art is laid before the reader in a visual feast, and a special endingsection celebrates the vivaciousness of child artists who represent the next generation’s creative Cherokee citizens.