Butch and Louise Goings, Cherokee
Wood and Soapstone Carving, White Oak Basketmaking
Butch and Louise Goings are master Cherokee artisans: Louise in basketmaking and Butch in carving, among other crafts. Members of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, they are known in their community as keepers of many Cherokee traditions and cultural and historical knowledge. They continue to pass that knowledge on both informally and through cultural events, community workshops, and youth programs. Butch was a student of the carver Amanda Crowe, who won a Heritage Award in 2000; Louise learned to harvest white oak and make baskets from her mother, the 1989 Heritage Award recipient Emma Taylor. Working with natural dyes and oak she harvests herself, Louise gained an understanding of the plants, places, and ecosystems of the southern Appalachians that enabled her to be self-sufficient as a basketmaker. Together, the couple are widely known as resources on Cherokee language, dance, cooking, gardening, and the traditional values of mutual support and sharing. For more than 20 years, Butch has participated in the Gadugi Free Labor Group, a group of men who offer free work to families in need. The Goings are also active in the oldest and leading Native American arts and crafts cooperative in the country: the Qualla Arts and Crafts Mutual, for which Butch has served as board president for many years.