In “Building One Fire|” Chad Smith and renowned Cherokee-Osage scholar and author Rennard Strickland present a unique look at Cherokee art through the lens of Cherokee philosophy. Since the time when Water Spider brought the gift offire to the Cherokee people| the One Fire| “the Ancient Lady|” has been at the center of Cherokee spiritual life.
From this fire| which represents community| thewhite smoke of prayer rises to Nitsudunvha| One Who is Always Above. In return Nitsudunvha sends to each person four sets of gifts with whichto develop mind| body| and spirit. These gifts are brought by four messengers| one from each of thecardinal directions. The gifts of the four messengers| the colors and qualities associated with them| and the four-pointcircle that embraces the sacred fire–all these arepart of Cherokee consciousness and creativity.They take visible form| subtly or directly| in works created by Cherokee artists.
This book presents more than 200 art-works by some 80 artists which speak to what it means to be Cherokee. Cherokee philosopher Benny Smith shares his teachings about Cherokee world view| Cherokee art is laid before the reader in a visual feast| and a special endingsection celebrates the vivaciousness of child artists who represent the next generation’s creative Cherokee citizens.