tech transfer

Technology Transfer

LogoEastern Band of Cherokee Indians

Restoration of Butternut ( Juglans cinerea L.) Populations to the Qualla Boundary - Cherokee artisans use butternut bark, roots, and nut husks to produce dye for white oak and river cane basket splints. The bark is peeled from the bole, branches, and large roots of downed trees. Exposed roots are harvested from riverbanks where the soil has eroded. Nut husks are used for dye production when seed crops occur. However, the quantity of butternut materials needed by Cherokee artisans to sustain basket is unknown. The quantity of each butternut material type needed to maintain productivity must be determined before the development of a protocol. Southern populations of butternuts, have been reduced by over 80% due to an introduced fungal pathogen. Three approaches to develop and sustain production of butternut for Cherokee artisans were initiated by the UT-TIP on March 14, 2005: (1) establishment of a butternut plantation; (2) quantification of dye production from roots; and (3) establishment of a seedling seed orchard. Over 500 seedlings have been planted, maintained, and measured on the Qualla Boundary and at the Western North Carolina Butternut Orchard. These seedlings, along with over three hundred pounds of root and husk material (collected from over 15,000 nuts) have and will significantly increase butternut dye material available to Cherokee artisans.

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White Oak Plantation Establishment for Traditional Arts and Crafts - Cherokee basketry is dependent upon the limited availability of material from young, straight-grained white oak trees. Plantations of high-quality seedlings in large tree shelters would promote quick, straight growth. Investment in plantations would increase material for basket making while reducing the environmental and economic cost of this art form. A plantation of white oak seedlings was established in 2006 to determine the manner optimal for creating material for traditional Cherokee basketry. The plantation will provide information on the interactions among white oak genetics, seedling quality, tree shelter height, and site, from which can be derived a protocol for growing white oaks specifically for the Cherokee basketry trade. Results from this proposal will ultimately provide for the sustainability of white oak materials used in Cherokee Basketry, while protecting natural white oak regeneration on the Qualla Boundary and proximal lands.