Knokovtee Scott, a Cherokee/Creek shellcarver, discusses the importance of shellcarving to the Cherokee people in a Cherokee Nation video.
The shells are called Mankiller pearl shell, they were renamed in 1988 in honor of the first elected female principal chief, Wilma P. Mankiller. “That P in her name stands for pearl,” Scott says in the video.
“It’s one of the prettiest freshwater pearl shells found in the world… and it’s found right here in the borders of the Cherokee Nation,” he says.
Shellcarving classes are offered to tribal members free of charge. “I’m trying to teach them how to work the material to bring out the best in it,” Scott says in the video.