Goingback Chiltoskey

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Goingback Chiltoskey (April 20, 1907 – November 12, 2000), also written Goingback Chiltoskie, was an American Cherokee woodcarver and model maker, "one of the most celebrated Cherokee woodcarvers of the Craft Revival era."[1]

Early life[edit]

James Goingback Chiltoskie was born in the Piney Grove community of the Qualla Boundary in 1907, the son of Will and Charlotte Hornbuckle Chiltoskie. (Chiltoskie was their preferred Anglicization of the Cherokee name Tsiladoosgi; Goingback changed his surname to the Chiltoskey spelling in the 1950s). He was a member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. After a difficult boarding school experience, Chiltoskey attended school in Greenville, South Carolina, and studied carpentry at the Haskell Institute in Lawrence, Kansas in 1929. He also studied jewelry making at the Santa Fe Indian School in the 1930s.[2]


Chiltoskey taught woodworking at Cherokee High School from 1935 to 1940. During World War II he created wooden models at Fort Belvoir, Virginia for the United States Army Engineer Research and Development Laboratory,[3] and after the war he taught woodworking to veterans. He also made models for motion pictures and for architects.[2]

Chiltoskey was a member of the Southern Highland Craft Guild from 1948.[4] He was a founder of the Qualla Arts and Crafts Manual cooperative. He was also a blowgun champion.[5] He taught his niece Amanda Crowe some of his woodcarving techniques, and she became a sculptor too.

Personal life[edit]

Goingback Chiltoskey married Mary Ellen Ulmer, a white woman and fellow teacher at the Cherokee School, in 1956.[6] Mary Ulmer Chiltoskey spoke Cherokee, taught Cherokee language classes, and wrote several books on Cherokee culture with her husband.[7][8] Goingback Chiltoskey died in 2000, aged 93 years, exactly a month after Mary died. Some of their papers and other materials are in the Southern Highland Handicraft Guild Collection at the Southern Historical Collection in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.[9]

Works by Chiltoskey are in the North Carolina Museum of Art[10] and the National Museum of the American Indian.[11]


  1. ^ Anna R. Craft, Tim Carstens, and Jason Woolf, "The Craft Revival Project: Library Leadership in Creating Connections between Small Cultural Institutions" in Kwong Bor Ng and Jason Kucsma, eds., Digitization in the Real World: Lessons Learned from Small and Medium-sized Digitization Projects (Lulu.com 2010): 514-515. ISBN 9780615379982
  2. ^ a b Joan Greene, "Goingback Chiltoskey Master Carver" Now and Then 3(3)(Autumn 1986): 8-10.
  3. ^ John Collier, "Office of Indian Affairs" Annual Report of the Department of the Interior (Government Printing Office 1943): 236.
  4. ^ Bonnie Krause, "Goingback and Mary Chiltoskey" Southern Highland Handicraft Guild (November 2012).
  5. ^ Anna Fariello, "People: Goingback Chiltoskey, 1907-2000" From the Hands of our Elders: Cherokee Traditions Western Carolina University, Hunter Library Digital Initiatives.
  6. ^ Elsie Hamilton, "Goingback, Mary Visit Orthopedic Patients" Gastonia Gazette (August 31, 1972): 7. via Newspapers.comopen access
  7. ^ Mary and Goingback Chiltoskey, Cherokee Cooklore: Preparing Cherokee Foods (1951).
  8. ^ Mary Regina Ulmer Galloway, Aunt Mary, Tell me a Story (Cherokee Communications 1990). ISBN 0962863009
  9. ^ Southern Highland Handicraft Guild Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
  10. ^ G. B. Chiltoskey, "Great Horned Owl" North Carolina Museum of Art.
  11. ^ Goingback Chiltoskey, "Horsehead Bookends" National Museum of the American Indian.

External links[edit]