Freeman Owle was born on the Qualla Indian Boundary, home of the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Nation, to Lloyd and Betty Owle in 1946. They lived in the Birdtown Community. His formal education began in kindergarten and continued through the twelfth grade in the Cherokee Indian School System, which was run by the Bureau of Indian Affairs through the Cherokee Agency. After graduating as valedictorian of his class, he left the reservation to attend Gardner Webb College, in Boiling Springs, North Carolina. He then continued his education at Western Carolina University, in Cullowhee, North Carolina. There at Western he received his Bachelor of Science Degree in social work.
Freeman Owle is an authoritative lecturer, demonstrator of Cherokee culture. He also crafts authentic stone and wood carvings.
After graduation he was the director of the Cherokee Children’s Home in Cherokee, North Carolina for five years. He was then sought out to join The National Teacher Corps and took advantage of the opportunity to receive his Masters in Education. Freeman then returned to the reservation schools to teach his own people. He taught the third and sixth grades for a total of twelve years. Upon receiving the Bureau of Indian Affairs Teacher of the Year Award, he left the school system to reach out to others who might want to hear the message of the Cherokee.
Freeman has received many awards over the years, and of these he is most proud of Outstanding teacher of the Year for the Bureau of Indian Affairs, a coin of excellence, from General Ernst, Rangers, Fort Benning Georgia and the North Carolina Folklorist of the Year award 2001. Most recently he was asked to sit as a member of the elders of the Cherokee people. Freeman’s love for people and his educational background inspired him to pursue his life’s ambition, to be a Cherokee historian and storyteller. In 1990 he started lecturing to many groups of all ages throughout the eastern United States. He has spoken to many schools, universities, churches, civic organizations, and military units in North Carolina, Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama, Tennessee, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Florida, Kentucky, West Virginia, Mississippi, and Ohio. His lectures in the federal government arena include The United States Special Forces in Fort Benning Georgia, Officers of The Signal Corps of Fort Gordon, The Army Corps of Engineers of Vicksburg Mississippi, and many engagements for The Veterans Hospital of Salisbury, North Carolina. Freeman was also invited to the White House in 2004 along with the authors, to receive the Preserve America Presidential Award for his part of writing the Cherokee Heritage Trail Guide Book. There were one hundred projects and only four received the award. In December 2008 he did a book signing for the book “Origin of the Milky Way” at the Museum of the American Indian in Washington DC, and had the chance to teach the museum staff the art of storytelling in a workshop he was asked to conduct. He spreads the history, culture, and stories of the Cherokee to many who would never get to hear it otherwise. His main focus is on the Cherokee way of life and how it is valuable to us today. He teaches from the native perspective, the Cherokee’s perception of themselves in relation to the things around them. Self concept, respect for others, appreciation for mother earth, and the value of knowing one’s own roots. Freeman feels that it is important to learn about the Cherokee from a Cherokee.