Walker Calhoun

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Walker Calhoun
Born Big Cove, Qualla Boundary[1]
Died March 28, 2012(2012-03-28) (aged 93)
Nationality Cherokee
Spouse(s) Evelyn
Parent(s) Morgan Calhoun, Sally Ann Calhoun
Relatives Will West Long (paternal uncle)

Walker Calhoun (born May 13, 1918;[2] died March 28, 2012)[3] was a Cherokee musician, dancer, and teacher.[4] He was known as a medicine man and spiritual leader who worked to preserve the history, religion, and herbal healing methods of his people.[5]

Calhoun was the youngest of 12 children born to Sally Ann Calhoun and Morgan Calhoun.[2] His father died when Calhoun was nine.[4]

At the age of 12, Calhoun attended a boarding school in Cherokee, North Carolina, where he learned the English language.[6] Before that time, he had rarely heard English since his mother did not speak it.[7] During World War II, he was drafted and served as a combat engineer in Germany.[2]

Calhoun started learning Cherokee songs from an early age. He had learned most of the social, hunt, and sacred songs from his uncle, Will West Long, by the time he was nine years old.[7]

Awards received[edit]

1988 - Sequoyah Award, awarded to the person who has done the most to preserve and teach Cherokee culture.[7]
1990 - North Carolina Folk Heritage Award
1992 - National Endowment for the Arts' National Heritage Fellowship


  1. ^ "Walker Calhoun - Cherokee musician - Cherokee dancer - Blue Ridge Mountains". Blue Ridge National Heritage Area. Retrieved 30 March 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c Olson, Ted (Fall 1995). "Walker Calhoun: Cherokee Song and Dance Man". Appalachian Journal. 23 (1): 70–77. JSTOR 40933725. 
  3. ^ "Final Notes, Walker Calhoun". The Old Time Herald. Retrieved 30 March 2014. 
  4. ^ a b "NEA National Heritage Fellowships". Retrieved 30 March 2014. 
  5. ^ Broadfoot, Jan. "Twentieth-Century Tar Heels," Broadfoot's of Wendell, 2004.
  6. ^ "Indian Country Diaries . History . Oral History of the Cherokee". PBS. Retrieved 30 March 2014. 
  7. ^ a b c Moose, Debbie. "Telling the Tales of Time." The News and Observer [Raleigh, North Carolina] 28 June 1992.