Cherokee Language Storytelling Workshop

November 1, 2019: The Region A Partnership for Children (RAPC) wishes to thank Dr. Hartwell Francis, Education Curriculum Developer, at the Kituwah Preservation & Education Program for a successful Storytelling Workshop.

Dr. Francis has been working closely with RAPC with a generous grant from the Cherokee Preservation Foundation to help childcare professionals teaching in the Qualla Boundary to incorporate Cherokee Language Early Literacy into the curriculum.

For more information about the Region A Partnership for Children’s Cherokee Language Project and Cherokee Language Early Literacy initiatives, please feel free to contact us at

We are very appreciative of the Cherokee Preservation Foundation and Western Carolina University for their contributions and dedication to this initiate.

Presenter bios

Kathi Littlejohn (EBCI)
Cherokee Storyteller and Historian, Cherokee, NC
Kathi Littlejohn is an enrolled member in the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. She began telling stories in 1986. She has been a featured artist at numerous events, including the Smithsonian National American Indian Museum, the Museum of the Cherokee Indian, and the Smoky Mountain National Park. She combines Cherokee history, stories, and special sites in her YouTube video series “What Happened Here?” Her Cherokee story recordings Cherokee Stories Volumes I-III are available at shops in Cherokee, NC or from her directly.

Deanna Lyles, MLS
Children’s Librarian, Canton Library
I have been reading stories to children for years as a teacher and a librarian. Presently, I am the Children’s Librarian at the Canton Branch of the Haywood County Public Library. I conduct several storytimes a week for preschool aged children both in the library and in local childcare centers. Storytimes include songs, rhymes, music, movement and, of course, great books. My goal is to create a fun filled, active environment where children can use their whole bodies to be engaged in literacy and language development.

Cathy Grist, Ph.D.
Birth-Kindergarten Program, Western Carolina University
Dr. Grist is a Professor and Director of the Birth-Kindergarten Program at Western Carolina University. She teaches courses in assessment and intervention for young children with disabilities. Her research interests include preschool personality, assessment, social-emotional competence in young children, and behavioral issues. She also provides psychological and behavioral assessments for preschool age children in a local school system. She works with teachers of young children to teach social-emotional skills through literacy.

Myra Watson, MAEd., NBCT
Birth-Kindergarten Program, Western Carolina University
Myra is an Instructor in the Birth-Kindergarten Program at Western Carolina University. Prior to working in higher education, she taught in multiple early childhood settings, including 9 years as a kindergarten teacher. Myra believes in the power of books and stories to help children make connections between their personal experiences and the world. She enjoys storytelling using props, songs, movement, and high-quality children’s literature.

Louise (Yogisi) Brown E.B.C.I
Cherokee Language Educator and Yoga Instructor, Cherokee, NC
Yogisi is an enrolled member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. She was born in the Snowbird community where her parents and grandparents were Cherokee fluent speakers. She has a passion for the Cherokee Language and has taught at New Kituwah and within the tribe as a Cherokee Language instructor for 15 years. She took yoga classes for her own health and wellness and this grew into a desire to teach yoga and language to children. She became a certified yoga instructor in 2019 and is
currently teaching yoga to approximately 300 preschool kids a month. She also works at Western Carolina University as a translator and consult in the Cherokee Studies program.

Rose James RN
Registered Nurse, Anthropologist, and Yoga Therapy Instructor
Rose began her career doing archaeology at Ravensford where the current Cherokee Central School is located. When she wanted to start a family, she went to nursing school and found her passion to be with chronic disease prevention. She loves and is employed with Cherokee Choices a chronic disease prevention program for 8 years. Yoga and Chronic Disease prevention go hand and hand and so she along with Yogisi teach over 300 kids a month and plenty of adult classes in-between for Cherokee Choices.