Making Medicine

Shan Goshorn
8” X 8” X 17.5”
Arches watercolor paper splints printed with archival inks, acrylic paint

Inspired by the beauty of the new hospital facility and the sincere efforts of the administration to create a space which will cater to the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of the Cherokee community they serve, this basket is a reflection of traditional and modern approaches for healing. I worked with fellow tribal member Shirley Swayney Cloer to gather old remedies from Cherokee people to weave into this basket to honor the ancient healing methods of our ancestors. It was observed that many of these personal stories included the use of fresh mountain water for healing, whether taking the patient to a cleansing stream for ceremony or literally using water in the medicinal process. I featured water moving along the river rocks of the beautiful Oconoluftee to remind of us of this source of renewal.

Also combined in the text are the traditionally inspired Cherokee Values and Guiding Principles that direct the mission of this modern hospital, to help us remember that there are many paths to obtaining health. My intent for this piece is to illustrate how both old and new approaches for healing are valid and important to the continuing health of the Cherokee. We must remember that government health care is not free- it was paid for in

advance through the forced surrender of the land, culture and lives of our ancestors. One way we can honor the sacrifices of our relatives is to truly care for our own health in the same spirit of those who came before us and accept our responsibility to pass the fitness of mind, body and heart on to our children.

This basket is woven out of Arches watercolor paper. The image is first digitally printed, then hand-painted with washes of acrylic paint. These paper sheets are then cut into splints and woven into a traditional Cherokee style, single-weave basket, utilizing the “Mountain/Water” and “Cross-on-a-Hill” patterns. I created this piece specifically for our hospital and am proud to donate it in honor of the Cherokee community. S gi! 

Collection: Cherokee Indian Hospital