http://www.cherokeephoenix.orgA map created by the Arkansas Archeological Survey shows a Cherokee reservation and Cherokee settlements in the late 1700s and early 1800s in what is today Arkansas. In 1828, these Cherokee Old Settlers were forced to abandon their Arkansas settlements and move into Indian Territory, now Oklahoma. COURTESY
A map created by the Arkansas Archeological Survey shows a Cherokee reservation and Cherokee settlements in the late 1700s and early 1800s in what is today Arkansas. In 1828, these Cherokee Old Settlers were forced to abandon their Arkansas settlements and move into Indian Territory, now Oklahoma. COURTESY

TOTA conference highlights Cherokee Old Settlers

Arkansas Archeological Survey Director George Sabo III speaks to an audience on what led the Cherokee Old Settlers to settle in Arkansas during his presentation “Cherokee Old Settlers in Arkansas,” on Oct. 16 at the 22nd annual Trail of Tears Conference and Symposium in Pocola, Oklahoma. WILL CHAVEZ/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Arkansas Archeological Survey Director George Sabo III speaks to an audience on what led the Cherokee Old Settlers to settle in Arkansas during his presentation “Cherokee Old Settlers in Arkansas,” on Oct. 16 at the 22nd annual Trail of Tears Conference and Symposium in Pocola, Oklahoma. WILL CHAVEZ/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
BY KENLEA HENSON
Former Reporter
11/15/2017 08:15 AM
POCOLA, Okla. – George Sabo III, Arkansas Archeological Survey director at the University of Arkansas, spoke about Cherokee Old Settlers on Oct. 16 during the 22nd annual Trail of Tears Conference and Symposium.

“My goal is to examine the experiences and accomplishments of Cherokee Old Settlers in Arkansas within a framework that considers historical events setting the stage for Cherokee arrivals during the late 18th and early 19th centuries,” he said.

Sabo highlighted historical events from the first encounters between Natives and Europeans in the mid-16th century to the French and Spanish alliance with Native leaders that led to early Cherokee settlements in Arkansas. These early settlers are known today as Old Settlers.

In the 17th century, Sabo said French and Spanish documents show that tribes such as the Tunicas, Caddo, Quapaw and Osage inhabited lands in Arkansas.

According to Sabo’s research, some of the first Old Settlers settled along the St. Francis River in northeastern Arkansas after “Anglo-Americans” violated the 1785 Treaty of Hopewell. The Cherokee, Choctaw and Chickasaw had signed the treaty with the new U.S. Congress. By 1805 approximately 1,000 Old Settlers were living along the St. Francis River, but they weren’t alone. People from the Abenaki, Delaware, Illinois, Miami and Shawnee tribes also occupied the area after the Revolutionary War.

Sabo discussed two events that led Cherokees to relocate to Arkansas in the early 19th century. One was an 1808 land cession between Upper Louisiana Gov. William Clark and Osage Chief Pawhuska. Although Pawhuska thought the treaty would secure hunting rights in the territory for the Osage, Clark planned for the territory to be open for settlement by other tribes.

The other event was an earthquake known as the New Madrid earthquake, which it and its aftershocks occurred from December 1811 to February 1812 in northeastern Arkansas and southeastern Missouri. The earthquakes destroyed Native settlements along the St. Francis River, including those of the Old Settlers. Sabo referenced historian Conevery Bolton Valencius, who noted that the earthquakes weren’t just a series of events to the southeastern Natives but “signs portending grave cultural and religious implications.”

Those two events plus the continuous conflict in the eastern Cherokee homelands resulted in the Old Settlers and more eastern Cherokees traveling west to the northern banks of the Arkansas River near present-day Russellville, Arkansas, to settle. Sabo suggests the Quapaw were in “friendly relationships” with the Cherokee newcomers.

“The Quapaws were, indeed, perfectly comfortable with an upstream Cherokee settlement area that could serve as a buffer separating Quapaws from Osages, among whom antagonisms still occasionally flared,” he said.

While in the new territory it was not peaceful for the Old Settlers. The Osage saw the land as theirs and attacked Cherokee settlements. For nearly a decade, the Old Settlers and the Osage warred.

Sabo mentioned one battle between the Old Settlers and Osages in 1817. The Cherokees organized 600 fighters and “attacked” Osage Chief Clermont’s town, killing more than 30 Osage and taking more than 100 prisoners. This event led the Osage to petition for a peace negotiation, which resulted in a land cession known as Lovely’s Purchase. The cession obtained an area of land that extended north of the Arkansas River to southern Missouri and 40 miles west from Fort Smith, Arkansas. Sabo said the ceded land was to act as a “buffer” between the Osages and Old Settlers.

“Cherokee assessments of the continuously changing geopolitical landscape enabled them to gain an upper hand over Osages,” he said.

After securing the land, the Old Settlers advanced in “American-style civilization.” They developed well-structured housing, schools and churches such as the Dwight Mission. Many developed ranches and fenced fields for crops and livestock. Sabo said the Old Settlers also tried to stay true to their culture.

“There were consequently two faces to Cherokee settlements in Arkansas, one illustrating a successful march toward civilization outwardly embracing white American ideals, the other preserving important cultural institutions including social structure, political leadership and religious belief and practice,” Sabo said.

All seemed well for the Cherokees. However, after the Treaty of Ghent was signed in 1814, ending the war between Great Britain, France and the United States, “Anglo-American” settlements in Arkansas multiplied. As the “Anglo” population grew, so did the “racial perspective” of Natives. The tribes that were once viewed as civilized were now seen as “savage.”

“In the view of territorial and federal officials, southeastern Indians including Cherokees should be removed even farther west to make way for the advance of American civilization,” Sabo said. “By the end of the second decade of the 19th century, these sentiments galvanized into legislative action at state, territorial and federal levels across the South to forcibly remove Indians from all lands in the path of expanding Anglo-American settlement.”

Hoping to escape removal, some Old Settler leaders went to Washington, D.C., to convince officials that they should be allowed to purchase their Arkansas lands. The Eastern Cherokees were also in Washington asking to remain on their homelands. Sabo said Congress and President John Quincy Adams’ administration would not budge.

Although the Old Settlers had to abandon their lands, where they were relocated to in 1828 wasn’t far. They settled parts of present-day Sequoyah, Muskogee and McIntosh counties in what is now eastern Oklahoma. Some of them settled again along the Arkansas River and formed the communities of Webbers Falls and Tahlonteeskee, later renamed Gore.

“The one small consolation for the Old Settlers was that their newly granted lands were located a comparatively short distance up the Arkansas River, and the move took place without most of the horror that accompanied the larger-scale Trail of Tears removals that commenced a decade later,” Sabo said. “And here we are today, celebrating a legacy of trial and tribulation but also of perseverance and success.”

Culture

BY STAFF REPORTS
07/10/2018 08:30 AM
INDIANAPOLIS – At the 26th annual Eiteljorg Indian Market and Festival held June 23-24, Native American artists, including Cherokees, were awarded nearly $16,000 in cash prizes, as well as ribbons for art works they entered into competition. Cherokee artist Bryan Waytula, of Sand Springs, Oklahoma, received first place in the Painting Category and the “Best of Class” award for his painting titled “We Stand As One.” He also received first place for his drawing titled “A Cherokee Treasure,” which is a colored pencil piece with a piece of mat weaving placed at the bottom of the artwork. Waytula said he used remnants from one of his mom’s traditional river cane baskets. His mother, Vivian Garner Cottrell, and his grandmother, Betty Scraper Garner, are both Cherokee National Treasures, which means they have been honored by the Cherokee Nation for their basketwork and for sharing their knowledge of basket making with others. “I’m trying to follow big footprints left my grandmother and mother, both treasures. Those two are rock stars to me,” Waytula said. He said it was his first time visiting the Eiteljorg Indian Market and Festival and was “impressed” with the facility, the artwork and the staff. “I was very impressed with how amazing the staff was towards all the extremely-talented artists I had the pleasure of meeting and seeing their amazing work,” he said. “My dad, who is now retired, came along and helped me drive so it was a fun bonding trip too.” Cherokee basket artist and Cherokee National Treasure Mike Dart, of Stilwell, Oklahoma, also won first place and "Best of Class" for his basket titled “Four Winds.” And he won a first place ribbon in the Non-Native Materials Category, a third-place ribbon in the Traditional Basketry Category and second place in the Contemporary Basketry Category. “Eiteljorg Indian Market is a top of the line show with some of the ‘Best of the Best’ artists from across the nation and Canada. Seeing my name among the list of division winners was an honor. I’m proud and honored to be able to represent the Cherokee Nation in these art markets,” Dart said. Also, Cherokee artist Lisa Rutherford won third place in the Contemporary Pottery Category and third place in the Cultural Items Category. The Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art in Indianapolis hosted more than 100 artists from 60 Native American tribes who showed their jewelry, pottery, baskets, beadwork, carvings, paintings and cultural items. The two-day market and festival drew thousands of visitors who met the artists, purchased their art and enjoyed music, food and performances on the museum’s grounds. “The Eiteljorg Indian Market and Festival creates opportunities for collectors and artists to connect and it builds support for today’s Native American artists,” Eiteljorg President and CEO John Vanausdall said. “The beautiful art works the artists have created make a powerful impact on our market goers and have contributed to the success of the Indian Market and Festival during its 26 years.” Images of the winning artworks in 11 categories are on the Eiteljorg Museum’s Facebook page, and a complete list of award recipients in all categories and prize sponsors is at <a href="http://www.eiteljorg.org/explore/festivals-and-events/indian-market-festival" target="_blank">www.eiteljorg.org/explore/festivals-and-events/indian-market-festival</a>.
BY STAFF REPORTS
07/09/2018 04:00 PM
TAHLEQUAH – The Cherokee National Prison was built to hold the most hardened criminals in Indian Territory from before statehood and into the 20th century. A new exhibit at the Cherokee National Prison Museum explores the period of time when the building served as the Cherokee County Jail by sharing stories of both lawmen and lawbreakers. The “Cherokee Prison: Post Statehood” exhibit runs July 13 to Jan. 31. The Cherokee National Prison was the only penitentiary building in Indian Territory from 1875 to 1901. It housed sentenced and accused prisoners from throughout the territory. The interpretive site and museum give visitors an idea about how law and order operated in Indian Territory. The site features a working blacksmith area and reconstructed gallows; exhibits about famous prisoners and daring escapes, local outlaws and Cherokee patriots; and jail cells. The Cherokee Nation’s museums are open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. For information, call 1-877-779-6977 or visit <a href="http://www.VisitCherokeeNation.com" target="_blank">www.VisitCherokeeNation.com</a>.
BY STAFF REPORTS
07/09/2018 08:15 AM
TAHLEQUAH – The Cherokee Language Master Apprentice Program is accepting applications until Oct. 1. The two-year program is centered on a group language immersion experience and accepts a limited number of applications each year. In a previous Cherokee Phoenix story, Howard Paden, CLMAP manager, said the program stemmed from a “need” for the language. “This program gets people speaking our language again. You know, we’ve seen a need for it because a lot of the (Cherokee) Immersion (Charter) School parents seen a need to not only push their kids to learn the language but to learn themselves and start having Cherokee speaking households,” Paden said. After completing the program, students will have 4,000 contact hours with the Cherokee language and spend more than 40 hours each week studying and speaking the language. “Our program is about more than teaching someone the Cherokee language, it is about naturally absorbing our language and our way of life to the point that it changes the way we see the world and think. The real goal is to activate people that will spread the language wherever they go,” Paden said. “Our learners say it is a challenging program, but every day they push to give them more language. When they graduate, their passion for speaking the Cherokee language is only rivaled by their commitment to share our language.” To ensure individuals are able to dedicate the needed time to the program, they each receive a $10-an-hour tax-free cash benefit, program officials said. They also said an 80 percent time requirement is mandatory. “They learn a lot of Cherokee. From when they first walk into the classroom to probably two months they already learn about 5,000 words,” Paden said. “The first year is primarily learning as much as they can, and by the second year we expect them to start teaching. Of course they have a master speaker there that can assist them, but they begin to teach phrases to the next group that comes in. So every January we get a new group, so the people that are in their last year will begin teaching in January to the new group that we have coming in.” On Dec. 2, the Cherokee Language Master Apprentice Program graduated four students: Larry Carney, of Tulsa; Ronnie Duncan, of Bell; Lisa O’Field, of Hulbert; and Toney Owens, of Rocky Mountain. In 2014, the tribe began the program as a part of its Community and Cultural Outreach department as a way to promote the Cherokee language. Since its inception, the Cherokee Language Master Apprentice Program has grown into its own department and graduated six Cherokee speakers. To apply for the program, one must be 18 years or older, be available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., live near Tahlequah or be willing to relocate and possess a strong desire to learn and cultivate the Cherokee language and culture through teaching. For more information or to apply, call 918-207-4964.
BY LINDSEY BARK
Reporter
07/06/2018 12:00 PM
PARK HILL – After running 777 miles of the Trail of Tears’ Benge Route, Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians citizen Kallup McCoy II completed his run on June 28 at the Cherokee Heritage Center. On his last day, McCoy made the final stretch from Stilwell to Park Hill with his girlfriend and EBCI citizen, Katelynn Ledford, and a group of Oklahoma Cherokees. The runners were greeted at the CHC by Cherokee Nation and United Keetoowah Band citizens, as well as CN Principal Chief Bill John Baker, CN Deputy Chief S. Joe Crittenden and UKB Chief Joe Bunch. McCoy ran into the CHC wearing a cape made of CN and UKB tribal flags tied together. He said the run was not for him but for all Cherokees and to honor his ancestors who made the original journey due to the forced removals in the 1830s. “I didn’t know what it meant to be Cherokee. I didn’t know what it meant to be proud of my culture, my people. Being out on this run, coming from where I came from and just getting up every day like our people had to do on their way out here and having to push through, I know what it means to be Cherokee, strong, resilient, tenacious, and to love and to forgive,” McCoy said. He began the run to Oklahoma on May 14 in Cherokee, North Carolina. He averaged about 20 miles per day and stopped at several Trail of Tears markers. McCoy documented his journey via Facebook and met people along the way in support of his efforts. He said he ran to raise awareness for people struggling and recovering from drug addiction and to raise funds for his nonprofit organization Rez HOPE Recovery. He said he was able to raise nearly $5,000. “Whenever we see people for their experiences, we see people any differently than us, we’re falling short of the mark,” he said. “It’s not a drug problem we’re in, it’s an opportunity to win souls. It’s an opportunity to heal our people. And the only way we’re going to do that is by banding together and putting aside our differences. God saved me from six overdoses and so many near death experiences, and three of those times I was flat lined.” McCoy talked about his experiences at the CHC such as doing drugs at age 11 and drinking at age 13. He said he lost college scholarships to run track and play football and began stealing pain medication and money when his father was ill. “I got to a point to where I couldn’t stand myself. It ultimately led me to getting sick. It turns us into people we don’t realize who we are,” he said. McCoy said is now looking for the next opportunity, which is opening a recovery house in Cherokee and to start placing recovery houses around the country, including Oklahoma. “Building leadership, people that’s struggling with drug addiction and alcohol or whatever it may be. I think that we need to realize that they’re more than just addicts and junkies and felons and the list goes on and on. I was once there, and I was more than that. I think it’s important for me to tell people to reach back and say you are more than that. That’s somebody’s son, daughter, sister, brother. It’s getting Rez HOPE out here, spreading it across the country. That’s my vision,” he said.
BY STAFF REPORTS
07/05/2018 04:00 PM
TAHLEQUAH – Cherokee Nation Cultural Tourism is offering free, family-friendly storytelling events on Wednesdays in July. The one-hour program is hosted in the Cherokee National Peace Pavilion starting at 10 a.m. Each week, “Stories on the Square” concludes with a different hands-on activity or craft. The make-and-take activity schedule is below: July 11 – Soap stone necklaces July 18 – Painting garden rocks July 25 – Clay pinch pots The Cherokee National Peace Pavilion is located at 177 S. Water Ave. In the event of inclement weather, the event will be moved to the Cherokee National Prison Museum at 124 E. Choctaw St. Attendees will receive free admission to the Cherokee National Supreme Court Museum, Cherokee National Prison Museum, John Ross Museum and Sequoyah’s Cabin Museum following the program. For information, call 1-877-779-6977 or visit <a href="http://www.VisitCherokeeNation.com" target="_blank">www.VisitCherokeeNation.com</a>.
BY STAFF REPORTS
07/02/2018 03:30 PM
TAHLEQUAH – Applications for the 2018-19 Miss Cherokee, Junior Miss Cherokee and Little Cherokee Ambassador competitions are available. To download the application, visit https://www.cherokee.org/Services/Education/Cherokee-Ambassadors, and then scroll to the bottom of the webpage. Applications are also available at the Cherokee First desk at the W.W. Keeler Tribal Complex. The deadline for all applications is July 16. The Miss Cherokee Leadership Competition is held on Aug. 25, with the Junior Miss Cherokee Leadership Competition on Aug. 18 and Little Cherokee Ambassador Competition on Aug. 4. “These three competitions provide an opportunity for contestants to share their knowledge of Cherokee history, culture and language,” Lisa Trice-Turtle, Miss Cherokee sponsor and 1986-87 Miss Cherokee, said. “As ambassadors and messengers of the Cherokee Nation, Miss Cherokee, Junior Miss Cherokee and our Little Cherokee Ambassadors are role models, and they are expected to exemplify the best qualities of Cherokee youth.” Miss Cherokee contestants must be between the ages of 18-22 as of Aug. 25. Candidates cannot have previously served as Miss Cherokee and must be a CN citizen living in the 14-county tribal jurisdiction. In the past year, Miss Cherokee has visited the White House and historic sites in Washington, D.C., including the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian. She has also visited the Oklahoma Capitol and CN community meetings across the country. To run for Junior Miss Cherokee, contestants must be between the ages of 13-17, a CN citizen and reside within the jurisdiction. For the Little Cherokee Ambassador Competition, one girl and one boy are selected from each of three age groups: 4-6 years, 7-9 years and 10-12 years. Candidates must be a CN citizen and live within the jurisdiction. Committee representatives will accept hand-delivered applications on July 16, between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. in the lobby of the W.W. Keeler Tribal Complex. Applications presented after the deadline will not be accepted. For more information on the Miss Cherokee Leadership Competition, call Trice-Turtle at 918-453-5000, ext. 4991. For more information on the Junior Miss Cherokee Leadership Competition, call Reba Bruner at 918-453-5000, ext. 5397. For more information on the Little Cherokee Ambassador Competition, call Kristen Thomas at 918-453-5000, ext. 4974.