3/24/04 - Senate Majority Leader Bill Stephens and Rep. Calvin Hill designate Native American center in Cherokee County
Today, Senate Majority Leader Bill Stephens (R-Canton),
in partnership with Representative Calvin Hill (R-Canton), passed
legislation designating the Funk Heritage Center at Reinhardt College as
Georgia's official Frontier and Southeastern Indian Interpretive
Center. This center, located in Waleska, Georgia, is a
museum and pioneer village interpreting the history and culture of the
southeastern Native Americans.
"The Funk Heritage/Bennett Center is truly an asset to
Reinhardt College and the people of Georgia, and I am delighted that it
has received the recognition it deserves," remarked Senator Stephens.
Representative Hill added, "I have no doubt this center
will encourage education and understanding of the rich history of Native
Americans in our area."
Representative Hill offered the bill in the House, and Senator Stephens handled the bill in the Senate.
Reinhardt officials were quick to voice their gratitude to Hill and Stephens for their support.
"We are delighted with the recognition the Funk Heritage
Center has received as Georgia's official Frontier and Southeastern
Indian Interpretive Center. At Reinhardt College we are committed to the
preservation and discovery of the history of our region, and this
important designation is an indication of the quality of this valuable
program," said Reinhardt President Dr. J. Thomas Isherwood.
JoEllen Wilson said the designation would help give
credibility to the Funk Heritage Center. "We often hear from visitors
that the Center at Reinhardt College is one of the 'best kept secrets in
the state.' This designation will not only lend credibility to the
Center, but it will help us communicate the fine quality of what we have
to offer. I applaud Senator Stephens and Representative Hill for their
efforts on our behalf," she said.
The Director of the Center, Dr. Joseph Kitchens, also
applauded the designation. "Because of our physical location and our
focus on the Southeastern Indians, the Funk Heritage Center is ideally
positioned to serve the citizens of Georgia as an official designate,"
Kitchens said. "Adjacent to the historic sites along the Chieftains
Trail, including the Cherokee capital at New Echota, we have taken as
our mission interpreting the region's Native American and frontier
history. Our positive relationships with state parks and historic sites,
the Historic High Country Travel Association, and the region's other
private museums provide an opportunity for effective collaboration with
our neighbors. We are delighted by the possibilities."
The Funk Heritage Center is located on the Reinhardt
College Campus. It interprets and exhibits paintings, sculptures, and
other creative works of contemporary southeastern Native American art
and includes a permanent collection of antique hand tools used in trades
such as rope making, shipbuilding, and bookbinding. In addition to
their extensive exhibits, the center holds educational programs,
performances, and demonstrations.
The bill now goes to Governor Sonny Perdue for his signature.
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(This basic release was distributed by Senator Stephens' Office, and Reinhardt officials added the quotes above.)