Nolberto, a member of the Echota Cherokee tribe of Alabama, uses his art, not only as a means of self-expression, but as a means of perpetuating his ancestors’ knowledge, skills, and lifeways that today’s society has displaced and forgotten.
He was raised on a farm in central Tennessee, where living close to the earth inspired his interest is in nature and natural lifestyles, such as those experienced by the aboriginals of the Americas.
The artist’s interest in the culture of the Southeastern Woodland tribes was piqued during volunteer work at the Roanoke City Explore Park in Virginia. The project recreated a working Indian village of the pre-contact period. He assisted in the harvesting and processing of natural materials, building wigwams, weaving cattail mats, and making furnishings and using primitive tools as would have been used by the local inhabitants during the pre-contact period.
Inspired by this work, he began making bark baskets and participated in several Primitive Skills workshops on making cordage, bone and stone tools, and fire by friction. He studied making traditional woven baskets of split river cane with an elder of the Eastern Band of Cherokee. He has participated in workshops for making split oak baskets from cutting the tree to the finished basket, as well as harvesting and processing hickory bark to cane seat bottoms for chairs and making furniture from willow shoots.
One of his ongoing interests is processing Tulip Poplar tree bark into traditional and nontraditional basket forms. In the fall of 2009, he was commissioned to make bark baskets for display at the Jones Archaeological
Museum at the Moundville Archaeological Park in Moundville, Alabama.
He has demonstrated basket making at numerous events in Indianapolis, Indiana. He has also demonstrated primitive skills and Calusa lifeways at various living history events including the Collier County Museum Old Florida Festival in Naples, Florida, and Calusa Heritage Days at the Randell Research Center at Pine Island, Fla.
Currently, he is focusing on painting and drawing. His subject matter is Native American culture and his work tends to be figurative. His most current project