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KNOXVILLE — A world champion hoop dancer, flutist and children learning the Cherokee language will perform as part of Native American Heritage Night at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, on April 11.

The event begins at 6:30 p.m. in the Carousel Theatre on campus. It is free and open to the public.

The evening is organized by the Native American Student Association with help from a grant from the Ready for the World initiative, which involves increasing the diversity among students, faculty and staff; infusing the curriculum with international and intercultural content; expanding study-abroad and work-study opportunities; and encouraging students to take advantage of all of these opportunities.

Eddie Swimmer, former world champion hoop dancer who was portrayed on a U.S. stamp in 1996, will perform the traditional hoop dance using more than 30 hoops. Tommy Wildcat, former flutist of the year, will play.

Children enrolled in the Cherokee language immersion program in Cherokee, N.C., also will perform. The program includes children ages 2-4 who are exposed to Cherokee all day. The goal is to maintain the language within the tribe so it does not die with the remaining fluent speakers.

This is the first event of the Native American Student Association, which started about a year ago to support Native Americans at UT and in the community.

“By increasing the awareness of Native Americans at UT, this event will highlight the intercultural aspect of America’s heritage to campus and the community,” said Kimberly Smith, president of the association.


Elizabeth Davis, UT media relations, (865) 974-5179,

Kimberly Smith,