United Keetoowah Band holds annual celebration
10/15/2009 7:40:48 AM
By Christina Good Voice
Staff Writer TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – More than 15,000 people helped commemorate the theme of “Still the Sacred Fire Burns” at the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians’ 59th annual celebration Oct. 2-3. “This was the largest crowd to attend the celebration so far, and it keeps growing year after year,” Tim Good Voice, UKB executive director of Tribal Operations, said. “We had Eastern Band council representatives here with the Eastern Band Princess Amanda Wolfe. Miss Indian Oklahoma Faith Harjo was also in attendance.” UKB citizen Mary Walsh attended with her family and said the event was fun and enlightening. “The kids had a great time, and you couldn’t ask for better weather,” Walsh said. “The celebration had something for everyone.” The event celebrates the history of the Keetoowah, or Kituwah, people, who originated in Georgia and found themselves in their present-day location of Tahlequah, officials said. The celebration included a volleyball tournament, blowgun competition, children’s activities, gospel singing, stomp dance, fishing derby, 5K run and walk, downtown parade, arts and crafts, powwow and other events. The Miss and Junior Miss Keetoowah Cherokee pageant and golf tournament were held in late September. A student group from Sterling College in Sterling, Kan., also visited and assisted with the UKB celebration. “We had a volunteer group of students out of Sterling College helping with the celebration, and their president said he was impressed by the way elders and children were treated,” Good Voice said. “They want to make this an annual mission trip. One of the college students from Sterling is Lakota and he said he was far from home but coming here made him feel like he was at home.” In an open letter to visitors in the UKB celebration guide, Miss Keetoowah Cherokee Samantha Keen welcomed visitors to the celebration. “Thank you for attending and I hope you enjoy your visit,” Keen said. “It’s been an honor to serve the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians in Oklahoma as the reigning 2008-2009 Miss Keetoowah Cherokee.”
The UKB is one of three federally recognized Cherokee tribes. The Cherokee Nation, also located in Tahlequah, and the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians in Cherokee, N.C., are the other two.
Editor’s Note: Tim Good Voice is related to Staff Writer Christina Good Voice. He was also the UKB’s designated contact for the article. 
Reach Staff Writer Christina Good Voice at (918) 207-3825 or christina-goodvoice@cherokee.org
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