logoSpirit of Nations
Powwow Committee

Mark Finchum

Sherry Finchum
Nikki Crisp

Dan Standley

Indian Creek Productions Board of Directors
Advisory Board

MARK FINCHUM , Cherokee from Jefferson City, TN, was the founder of  the East Tennessee Indian League which sponsored the first powwows in Knoxville. In 1991 he received the Sequoyah Award from the League for "Promoting American Indian Heritage through Educational and Cultural Activities."   He is also a past member of the Tennessee Commission of Indian Affairs.
     Mark is a board member and two-term past president of the Tennessee Council for the Social Studies and a past member of the board of directors of the National Council for the Social Studies.  He has had articles on American Indian culture published by NCSS and by the Tennessee Association of Middle Schools.  He was also the guest editor of an American Indian themed  issue of "Social Studies and the Young Learner," an NCSS journal.
    Inside NCSS, Mark has created a community of teachers interested in American Indian educational issues.  This group has conducted tours and held clinics in Chicago, Houston, San Diego, Atlanta, and other locations.  With 30 years of teaching experience on the middle school, high school, and college levels, Mark now teaches world history and AP Human Geography at Jefferson County High School's Patriot Academy in Dandridge - the current site of the powwow. 
    He has a Bachelor's Degree in communications, a Masters Degree in Curriculum and Instruction, and a PhD in Social Science Education. 
     Mark has received a middle school teacher of the year and a distinguished classroom teacher award from Jefferson County.  He has also received an "Outstanding Social Studies Teacher" award from TCSS and an "American History Teacher of the Year" award from the Tennessee Society, Daughters of the American Revolution. He has been inducted into the Jefferson County Historical Society Hall of Fame.  In 2009 he received a Native American Eagle Award for his efforts in American Indian education.  Mark will be involved in working with all the committees of the powwow.


At the very first Knoxville powwow, all the way back in 1988, a young lady came up to me during the powwow and gave me a choker necklace.  She told me how her family had  taught her nothing of her culture.  She said the choker was a gift to express her appreciation, because that night, she said, was "the first time I've held felt comfortable being who I am."  Times like that make all the work worthwhile.

It was also at the 1993 powwow, 24 years ago now, that I married my lovely wife Sherry, in a Cherokee ceremony conducted by Rev. Robert Bushyhead.
SHERRY FINCHUM , has Cherokee heritage and is from Jefferson City, TN.  She has previously served as the Kids Day Chair for the East TN Indian League Powwow for several years.  She was elected the Member of the Year in 1997.  She is formerly a kindergarten teacher and now serves the Jefferson County School System as the Director of Federal Programs, Elementary Education and Accountability.  
       A graduate of Carson Newman College, Sherry majored in Home Economics with an emphasis in child care.  She also earned her kindergarten teaching certificate.  She received her elementary certification from ETSU.  In 2002 she earned her Master's in Educational Administration from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.  During the summer of 2007, she earned her Pre-K endorsement from Tennessee Wesleyan College.
      She has 3 adult children.  Brent (wife Katie), who works for PFG Foods in Murfreesboro; Eric (wife Casey) who serves as the Dean of Students at Brandon Hall Academy in Atlanta; and Katie who lives in Florida and is studying nursing.
     Sherry is active in the New Market Baptist Church where she sings in the Adult Choir, directs Preschool Choir and Elementary Handbells.  She also works with Vacation Bible School and has served on the Music Committee, Personnel Committee, Policy Committee, and Long-Range Planning Committee.
    With over 31 years of educational experience, Sherry will be helping with the vendors and craftsmen.  She is serving as the Webmaster for Indian Creek Productions and for the Spirit of Nations Powwow.


Mark and I were married in a Cherokee wedding ceremony at the 1993 powwow. Richard Crowe escorted me into the circle.  It was an honor to have our blankets tied by Rev. Robert Bushyhead.

The Powwow is always a very worthwhile  endeavor.  It is quite a bit of work for a one-day event, but the children and their parents learn about our culture while having a great time!
NIKKI CRISP is Eastern Band Cherokee and a champion powwow dancer.  She has danced for over 20 years, traveling all over the southeastern United States and touring Europe, dancing and educating the public about Indian life. 
     Some of the places Nikki has danced include the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux  Powwow in Minnesota, Fort Walton Beach, Florida, and a Celtic village in Switzerland.  She is a third generation dancer.  Her Sioux grandfather was a traditional dancer from Rosebud, South Dakota.  All of her uncles were fancy dancers from Cherokee, NC.  Her grandmother was known as a great cook of Indian tacos, a skill she taught Nikki's mother, who carried on the tradition for many years.
     In addition to her dancing skills, Nikki has a talent for beadwork, doing some for her son's and daughter's dance regalia.
     Nikki is also an accomplished hair stylist with over 20 years of experience. 
     Nikki will be assisting with the arena committee for the powwow and will be in charge of the frybread stand.

My son Johnathon was two years old when he went to his first powwow as a grass dancer (Knoxville) and it was at that same powwow that I danced buckskin.  During one of the Knoxville powwows, I was carrying my daughter Kele.  Now I get to look forward to watching my grandaughters dance.  Such a wonderful feeling to carry on this way.
    I'm looking forward to this powwow because it will be so much fun and for the experience of being involved in the actual organizing of a powwow.
  DANIEL W. STANDLEY is married with 3 daughters and 7 grandchildren.  His Cherokee name is Kanadi (English translation - The Lucky One)  His education is a BA in Business, Bliss College - Columbus, OH, and a MA in Personnel Management, Central Michigan University, Mt. Pleasant, MI.
    Dan is the former Vice President for Human Resources, Oak Ridge Associated Universities, Oak Ridge, TN, having retired at the close of 2015. Previously he held a similar position with Baptist Health System East Tennessee in Knoxville, and prior to that was Vice President Human Resources, East Liverpool City Hospital, East Liverpool, OH.
     Dan is currently an active volunteer at the Knoxville Area Rescue Ministries serving as a Launch Point facilitator.  Other community service and professional activies have been serving as board member and treasurer of the East Tennessee Indian League, board member and past president of the East Tennessee Mental Health Association, board member with Big Brothers & Big Sisters of America, committee member with Tri-State Federal Credit Union, chairperson of United Way in East Liverpool, OH, and in various capacities at numerous churches, as well as involvement with Girl Scouts of the USA, and local and national Human Resources Associations.


      Born in North Eastern Ohio.  Grandfather was Cherokee Indian from East Tennessee.  Father appreciated Native American family roots and as a child he taught me the value of keeping the Indian spirit alive in my life.  As an adult, in 1987 the Great Spirit led me to the land of my ancestors and I now reside close to the area where my grandfather once walked.  Shortly after my professional career brought me to East Tennessee, I became active in the East Tennessee Indian League - first as a member, and a short time later as a board member and officer.  I have many fond memories of the many powwows that I have participated in over the years but my most memorable and humbling experience was when my Cherokee name, Kanadi (The Lucky One) was bestowed on me.  Other great powwow memories include meeting many other fellow Native Americans from Cherokee, NC, and those from numerous other tribes from across the USA, and learning more about the differences in Native American cultures.  One of my biggest other powwow thrills was the privilege I had to attend The Gathering of Nations Powwow in Albuquerque, NM.  I have also been involved in the planning for and participated in several Oak Ridge Native American Celebrations in Oak Ridge, TN.

 ANTHONY CRISP, Nikki's husband, has supported his wife and children in their dancing for many years, traveling to many powwows and shows around the southeast. 
    He is also a talented artist in doing beadwork and quillwork.  Much of the regalia worn in the family has been made by Anthony. 
     Anthony currently works in logistics for the Target Corporation.    He will be Nikki's right-hand-man in the frybread stand.


At the first powwow in Knoxville, I got to see my parents watch Nikki dance for the first time.  My aunt danced with Nikki during the special dance for honoring mothers.  It gave us an opportunity to have family come in from Cherokee for a cookout after the powwow.  Seeing Johnathan dance at his first powwow.  Watching Kele dance there.  Watching Shennell and Jatanna
, our nieces,  dance in Knoxville is a very fond memory.  Both of them were crowned princess in Knoxville.

I'm excited about the opportunity to be involved "behind the scenes" in organizing an educational and very fun powwow in Knoxville.  This is my home.
UT Rules! I'm also excited now that I have two new grandbabies who will be entering the powwow circle!