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Watauga, (Crystal Clear Water), 24x36, acrylic, © 2001 Lelia Canter
Watauga, (Crystal Clear Water), 24x36, acrylic, © 2001 Lelia Canter

The Watauga river flows from its origin on Grandfather Mountain near Linville, NC. northwest into Tennessee. The Cherokee name, Watauga means crystal clear water. To the Cherokee, rivers figured prominently in the spirit world and played an important role as a hunting deity as well as being a source of transportation and food. Rivers were also home to water-dwellers (Yunwi Amai’ yine’ hi) to which fisherman prayed for help.
The Cherokee referred to rivers as “The Long Man”…a giant with his head in the mountains and his feet in the lowlands. The Long Man spoke in murmurs which only the priests could interpret.
The Cherokee ritual “Going to Water” took place at every new moon and involved going to a specific site (usually a bend in the river) where people could face upstream toward the rising sun and immerse themselves in the water to ensure long life and longevity.

In the painting, a water dweller is shown rising from the river toward the rising sun and several bird and fish species that now inhabit the Watauga River and surrounding area are illustrated.
Bird species include (counter clock-wise from center) Mallards, Black Crested Night Heron, Pileated Woodpecker, Blue Heron, Geese, Osprey, and Kingfisher. Fish species include (in descending order) Bluegill, Crappie, Rainbow Trout, Walleye, Bass, Speckled Trout, and Catfish.
The border surrounding the painting is composed of several Cherokee designs.

Original and Limited Edition Prints Availvable
Contact Lelia Canter for pricing.