The Story of Twofeathers

Carl Twofeathers Whitaker, a candidate for governor of the state of TN, came in third in the 2010 November election.

Following the 2010 election in which Bill Haslam won the Tennessee governor’s race, a friend of mine asked if I noticed an unusual name included in the list of those sixteen candidates who ran for the office of governor last year. I was guilty. I had not noticed the name of an independent candidate who, when all the votes were counted, came in third place. Because of my oversight, I wondered if there were others like myself who had not read the list carefully prior to casting a vote, so I decided to conduct my own poll. Keep in mind that I probably asked a total of 25 people in all, but of those I made inquiry of, I did not find a single person who knew we had the opportunity to cast a vote for someone named Carl Twofeathers Whitaker who was running for governor of the State of Tennessee in the 2010 election. I decided to contact this Twofeathers fellow to see if he would be interested in sharing some information about himself. I am happy to say he graciously consented to do so. I’ll begin with background information, but first, here is the Cherokee word for "hello" ... O’siyo.

Carl Whitaker, whose mother is of the Mohegan Indian tribe, and whose father is a Cherokee, was born in the state of Ohio. The Whitaker family moved around a lot, but eventually settled in East Tennessee. While Carl was growing up, his grandmother shared their home. She helped feed the family by raising a garden. She was also very knowledgeable in the use of herbs, and taught Carl the purpose of many plants the Creator has placed here on Mother Earth for our use. Carl’s mother was taken from her home when she was quite small and placed in a Catholic home in West Virginia. She lived there until shortly before she married Carl’s father. Both his mother and grandmother shared stories with him as he grew up, and those same stories Carl now passes on to students in various schools when he is asked to be a guest speaker for school programs. Carl’s father, whose family originates in Cherokee County, North Carolina, made a living in construction work. Family ancestors were forced off of their land and made to travel the Trail of Tears when the Cherokees were driven out of North Carolina and Tennessee. Many of his great-uncles and their families were also participants in this tragic event.

Carl was educated in Ohio. He achieved a college education at Clark Tech in Springfield, Ohio, and a bachelors degree at Akron University. His employment includes serving as a police officer and police chief, and later he owned and operated a security company in Ohio. His education also includes a degree in legal studies and paralegal work. He is active in many organizations that promote and preserve native American heritage, including the East TN Native American Indian Council of which he is a Board member. He also has membership in the Confederate Society of America, and serves as Principle Chief of the Native American Indian Movement. He has been named head of the Tennessee Division of the Southern Confederate Front of The Constitution Alliance. He and his wife, Cindy Snow Wolf Whitaker, make their home in Sevierville, TN. They are the parents of five children, 12 grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren, all of which are a very important part of their lives.

Some native beliefs Carl shared with me is that we do not own the land on Mother Earth. We are all just tenants of the land. Our Creator counts on us to take care of what He has given us. Yet we have buildings popping up everywhere destroying Mother Earth’s beauty. We even fight and kill each other over land. Our true history never gets told in the classroom to kids of all color. They only hear what is printed or told to them. Carl believes there is much that can be learned from the American Indian culture.

Carl just returned from a trip to Canada for a visit, and while there, was invited to speak to a group of Native Americans referred to as the First Nation people. Their culture and beliefs are very similar to those that are part of Carl’s life. Sing, dancing, and the playing of drums are included in their rituals.

When I asked Carl where the name "Twofeathers" came from, this is what he told me: On his way to a 500 Nations Powwow out west, he stopped at a roadside stand to buy some fried bread. The stand was run by two Indian elders, an older man and woman. During his conversation with them, the Indian man asked him what tribe he was from. He explained that his mother was of the Mohegan Tribe and his father was Cherokee. While the Indian woman was cooking his bread, the Indian man stepped out back of the stand and returned with his hands behind his back. He walked over to where Carl was standing and asked him to close his eyes and hold out both hands. Carl did as he was instructed, and in a moment, felt some light and soft being placed in his hands. Carl was then instructed to open his eyes, and when he looked down at his hands, there lay a feather in each hand. The elderly Indian man went on to explain that he was a retired Cherokee chief and he wanted to honor him with the name Twofeathers, one feather for each tribe in his family, one to represent the Cherokee and the other, the Mohegans. Carl said he felt both honored and touched by the man’s actions, and that it was hard to hold back tears. Since that day he has carried that name.

Carl told me he will probably run again for office one day, but it may not be for governor. He asked that I keep watch, that his name might once again appear on a ballot. I will do that for sure, because there’s one thing I’ve learned from this last election. No matter what candidate we go to the polls to vote for, examine the ballot carefully. There’s just no telling what interesting person’s name might go unnoticed otherwise. I’ll conclude Carl Twofeathers Whitaker’s story with the Cherokee word for "thank you," ... Wado.