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Will Moreau Goins recognized for lifetime of work in the arts

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COLUMBIA, S.C. - Will Moreau Goins, Cherokee, received this year's prestigious Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Award for his lifetime of work in American Indian beadwork, music, dance and storytelling in the Southeast.

During the April 16 ceremony at the Statehouse, Goins, dressed in traditional regalia, received his award along with other recipients in the state House of Representatives chamber. The brief awards ceremony preceded a state legislative session that morning.

With his award, Goins joins other Native recipients such as Sara Ayers, Catawba potter, 1989; Catawba Cultural Preservation Project, 1993; Nola Harris Campbell, Catawba potter, 1999; and Evelyn George, Catawba potter, 2004.

During the last 30 years, he has done beadwork of floral patterns known as ''woodland designs.'' He taught American Indian dances, songs, singing and drumming to schoolchildren. He is a storyteller in the Cherokee and Iroquois traditions. He has also recorded current and traditional Native songs and assisted in producing videos.

Goins founded the South Carolina Native American Indian Film and Video Festival, which is held each year in November in Columbia. Goins also serves on the board of directors for South Carolina Traditional Arts Network and is active in the South Carolina Humanities Council Speakers Bureau. He leads the Cultural Arts Ensemble, an American Indian dance group, which travels the region putting on shows.

In addition, Goins heads the Eastern Cherokee, Southern Iroquois and United Tribes of South Carolina Inc., a group working to preserve American Indian arts and crafts, culture and heritage. ECSIUT is a state-recognized Native group.

As a young man, he was influenced by his grandfather, who was a medicine man along the Tugaloo River in South Carolina's Oconee County. His great-aunt did fine beadwork and his uncle continued the family tradition of medicine men, becoming known as ''doctor'' in the Smoky Mountains area.

Although he has no formal education in art, he learned from his family and built on his education to reach students in the schools.

Goins holds a baccalaureate degree in communication from George Washington University in Washington, D.C., a master's degree in education from Pennsylvania State University in University Park, Pa., and a doctorate in anthropology from PSU. He makes his home in Columbia.

Goins' mother, Elsie Taylor Goins, worked for the federal government and lived in Washington, D.C.

The Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Award was established in 1987 by the state Legislature as the South Carolina Folk Heritage Award. In 1997, the name was changed to honor Rep. Jean Laney Harris, a lawmaker who supported the state's cultural heritage. Since 1988, it has given awards to more than 90 recipients, including several American Indians.