The First Fire, A Cherokee Story takes place in a time when animals could do many of the things that people do. The Creator gave the animals the world to live on, but they were without a source for heat at night. Great Thunder and his sons saw the plight of the animals so he sent lightning down to strike a tree. The tree burst into flames but the tree was on an island. Many animals tried to bring the fire over the water to the shore, but they were all unsuccessful. Then one small creature, Water Spider, volunteered. Curious, the animals said to her “We know you could get there safely, but how would you bring the fire back without getting burned?”
Water Spider was successful and to this day the water spider is revered in Cherokee culture.
Brad Wagnon is a lifelong resident of the Gideon Community and an enrolled citizen of the Cherokee Nation. He is a graduate of Tahlequah High School and Northeastern State University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice and Native American Studies. Brad taught Cherokee History, Culture and Language at Tahlequah High School for 10 years and has worked for Cherokee Nation Community and Cultural Outreach since June 2015. Brad’s position as Community Outreach Coordinator put him in contact with Cherokee citizens all over the United States. Brad is a retired Lieutenant on the Gideon Fire Department, where he began as a firefighter in 2005. He is the author of three children’s books, “How the World Was Made: A Cherokee Story,” “The Land of the Great Turtles” (Rowe Publishing, 2018) and “The First Fire: A Cherokee Story” (7th Generation, 2020. These books are based on traditional Cherokee stories. He and his wife Tanya live on his family’s land in Gideon. His favorite thing to do is spend time with his family which includes his son and daughter in law, Rocky and Pamela, his mother, Judy, twin brother, Brian, sister in law, Ashley and their children, Isaac, Anna, and Levi.