Collections Spotlight with Lydia Louise Goings and Tonya E. Carroll

by | May 27, 2020 | America Meredith, Coe Collaborations, Collections Programming

Lydia Louise Goings, an enrolled member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians is a third-generation basket maker. Louise prefers white oak to make her baskets and learned her art form from her mother, famous Cherokee basket maker Emma Taylor.

She is a master basket maker and can locate white oak trees from saplings, gather all materials including native dyes, and turn the material into a beautiful work of art.

Louise earned her Associate of Science Degree from Southwestern Community College and served as a teacher’s assistant in the Cherokee Central School system for over thirty years. She continues to help teach basket making every summer for the Cherokee Cultural Summer School. Louise has participated in numerous cultural demonstrations over the years and has earned many honors and awards for her baskets and community service, most recently she and her husband were recipients of the First Peoples Fund Jennifer Easton Community Spirit Award in 2016.

In her free time, she enjoys learning and teaching Cherokee language, participating in cultural events and ceremonies, traveling, and spending quality time with family and friends. Louise resides in the Birdtown Community on the Qualla Boundary in Cherokee, North Carolina with her husband of over fifty years, Butch. They have one son, three grandchildren, and many close family and friends.

Tonya E. Carroll, an enrolled member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, was born and raised in Cherokee, North Carolina. She studied American History and Cherokee Studies at Western Carolina University where she earned her master’s degree in Public History. In 2011, she graduated from the Duyukdvi Right Path Adult Leadership Program.


In 2016, Tonya’s passion for her community and Cherokee history and culture resulted in her becoming the Department Manager of the Ray Kinsland Leadership Institute—a natural fit. There she works with several leadership programs and specialists in order to create a generation of life-long selfless leaders deeply rooted in Cherokee history and culture.

In 2019, she graduated from the North Carolina Native Leadership Institute. She serves on various boards including Cherokee Talents, Inc., and Sequoyah Fund. In her spare time, she is a co-organizer for the Kananesgi Art Market events including an annual art market and fashion show featuring Cherokee artists and their work. She resides in the Birdtown Community on the Qualla Boundary in Cherokee, North Carolina with Bear Allison and their dog, Prince.

This interactive, online discussion brings together scholars and Native artists who select artworks from the Coe’s collection to interpret and discuss. The free virtual Zoom format brings together attendees from diverse regions, and who are encouraged to engage with the artist through the questions asked.

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