Cherokee artist Troy Jackson won the 2011 Trail of Tears Art Show grand prize with his pottery entry “Putting The Pieces Together.” This year’s exhibition at the Cherokee Heritage Center in Park Hill, Okla., features 155 art pieces from 93 Native American artists from 13 tribes. COURTESY PHOTO

Winners for 40th annual Trail of Tears Art Show announced

Cherokee artist Troy Jackson won the 2011 Trail of Tears Art Show grand prize with his pottery entry “Putting The Pieces Together.” This year’s exhibition at the Cherokee Heritage Center in Park Hill, Okla., features 155 art pieces from 93 Native American artists from 13 tribes. COURTESY PHOTO Cherokee artist Sharon Irla won first place with “Corn Mother” in the painting category for the 2011 Trail of Tears Art Show. This year’s exhibition features 155 art pieces from 93 Native American artists and runs through May 8 at the Cherokee Heritage Center in Park Hill, Okla. COURTESY PHOTO Ojibway artist Wanesia Misquandace won second place with “Sunny Boys Blueberry” in the jewelry category for the 2011 Trail of Tears Art Show. This year’s exhibition runs through May 8 at the Cherokee Heritage Center in Park Hill, Okla. COURTESY PHOTO
Cherokee artist Sharon Irla won first place with “Corn Mother” in the painting category for the 2011 Trail of Tears Art Show. This year’s exhibition features 155 art pieces from 93 Native American artists and runs through May 8 at the Cherokee Heritage Center in Park Hill, Okla. COURTESY PHOTO
04/28/2011 07:14 AM
PARK HILL, Okla. – The Cherokee Heritage Center have announced the winners of the 40th annual Trail of Tears Art Show with the grand prize going to Cherokee artist Troy Jackson for his work titled “Putting The Pieces Together” in the pottery category.

“2011 marked another great year for the Trail of Tears Art Show,” CHC Executive Director Carey Tilley said. “The art speaks for itself in demonstrating the strength, beauty and creativity of the Native American art world.”

The show and sale runs through May 8 and features authentic Native American art in one of Oklahoma’s oldest art shows. This year’s exhibition includes 155 art pieces featuring 93 Native American artists from 13 tribes.

Artists from federally recognized tribes competed in several divisions and categories, including painting, sculpture, pottery, basketry, graphics and miniatures. A special Trail of Tears theme category and a jewelry category were offered for the first time.

Thirty-five winners were named in nine categories and collectively took home $10,000. The winners were:

Grand prize: Troy Jackson, Cherokee, “Putting the Pieces Together,” pottery
Painting: Sharon Irla, Cherokee, “Corn Mother”
Sculpture: Darrell Smith, Cherokee, “Red Tail Hawk”
Basketry: Lisa Forrest, Cherokee, “Traditional Storage Basket”
Pottery: David Pruitt, Cherokee, “Fire Carrier”
Trail of Tears: Gary Wing, Cherokee, “Trail of Tears Water Crossing”
Jewelry: Fritz Casuse, Dine’ Navajo, “Caia Ring”
Graphics: Shan Goshorn, Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, “High Stakes; Tribe’s Choice”
Miniature: Dan Horsechief, Cherokee/Pawnee, “Seeker”

The Bank of Oklahoma and the Chickasaw Nation sponsored this year’s art show. A complete list of the winners can be found at


07/22/2015 11:44 AM
INDIANAPOLIS – Cherokee Nation citizen Lisa Rutherford received the Harrison Eiteljorg Purchase Award for a war chief’s mantle made of turkey and goose feathers titled “In Times of War.” The mantle, which is worn over the shoulders like a cape, will be a part of the museum’s permanent collection. Award winners were announced at the 23rd annual Eiteljorg Indian Market and Festival held on June 27-28. Thousands of fans of Native art and cultures, families and collectors attended the market and festival that featured more than 140 Native artists. Artists were awarded more than $28,000 in prize money and ribbons within 10 divisions. The Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western art seeks to inspire an appreciation and understanding of the art, history and cultures of the American West and the indigenous peoples of North America. The Eiteljorg is located in downtown Indianapolis’ White River State Park, 500 W. Washington. For information about the museum and to learn more about exhibits and events, call 317-636-9378 or visit <a href="" target="_blank"></a>.
07/16/2015 10:13 AM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – The next meeting of the Tahlequah Writers group is 2 p.m. on July 18 in the Cherokee Arts Center at 212 S. Water Street behind the Spider Gallery. Social activist Dr. J. Wade Hannon will discuss his written works. Hannon published his collection of poems, LOVE AND REVOLUTION, in 2010 and authored professional papers, along with articles and poetry in anthologies. He has a doctorate in counselor education and lived and taught in Fargo, North Dakota, and Chicago before coming to Tahlequah. Following the meeting, a new group of writers focusing on playwrighting will meet at the same location at 4 p.m. The public is invited to come to both meetings. Janis Contway, founder of the Oklahoma Playwrights Association, recently brought new Oklahoma-written scripts to Arts on the Avenue, working with the Tahlequah Community Playhouse. Bryn Smith recruited TCP readers as presenters of the works, entertaining local attendees in June. Those interested in the art of writing for live performances can learn the mechanics of playwrighting. The meeting is to gauge interest in forming a local playwrighting group. Tahlequah Writers is an informal group comprised of published writers and aspiring writers of a variety of genres. Attendees include poets, fiction writers, historians, essayists, humorists, playwrights, scriptwriters, and more. Meetings discuss the art of writing as well as the business of publishing and promotion. For further information, email <a href="mailto:"></a> or call 918-207-0093. People can also visit Tahlequah Writers on Facebook.
07/14/2015 10:27 AM
TAHLEQUAH - A Youth Stickball Tournament, ages 8 to 12 years-old, is scheduled for Saturday, July 18, 2015 beginning at 9 a.m. The tournament will be hosted by the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians in Oklahoma. The Warriors will battle the NDN Outlaws and Nighthawk Juniors in a double elimination game. The event is free to the public, bring your lawn chairs and come and support our tribal youth. The game will be played at the George Wickliffe Education Building on the UKB tribal complex located just off Hwy. 62. Take Willis Road to Whitmore Lane, first building on your left. For more information contact Wes Proctor, 918-506-0765.
07/14/2015 08:33 AM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. (AP) – As Southern states left the Union following the election of Abraham Lincoln in 1860, opposing factions in the Cherokee Nation maneuvered to secure political advantage. Principal Chief John Ross proclaimed neutrality and resisted pressure from Arkansas to ally with the Confederacy. On July 12, 1861, Stand Watie, who had been organizing a battalion to support the secessionists, accepted a commission in the army of the Confederate States of America. The abandonment of Indian Territory by federal troops and rebel victories at Bull Run in Virginia and Wilson’s Creek in Missouri compelled Ross to ally the Cherokees with the South. Although they were now on the same side, relations between Ross and Watie remained as strained. The treaty with the Confederacy obligated the tribe to raise one regiment for the defense of the Nation, but both men recruited regiments loyal to them. The first significant action in Indian Territory occurred near the end of 1861 when rebel forces moved against a band of neutral Indians that coalesced around Opothleyahola, an 82-year-old Creek leader at odds with the mixed-blood leadership of his tribe. Pressured by the Confederates, he and his neutral Indians withdrew to the north. In November and December, Confederate forces fought two indecisive battles with Opothleyahola’s band. In a final confrontation on Dec. 26, 1861, rebel troops, augmented by Watie’s regiment, routed their opponents and sent them fleeing through a snowstorm into Kansas. One of Watie’s officers, Lt. Clem Rogers, father of Oklahoma humorist Will Rogers, scouted Opothleyahola’s position before the engagement. The tide began to turn against the rebels in Indian Territory in early 1862 with a Confederate defeat at the Battle of Pea Ridge in northwestern Arkansas on March 7-8. Watie’s regiment fought with distinction, assisting in temporarily capturing a battery of Union artillery. Later, it scouted for the Confederate army and covered its withdrawal. Throughout the engagement, Watie’s command was the only Native American unit that remained cohesive despite the chaos of battle. The Union victory at Pea Ridge made Indian Territory vulnerable to Union invasion. Watie was ordered to the northeastern corner of the CN to screen against incursions from Kansas and Missouri. Adroitly avoiding Northern patrols seeking to pin him down, the Cherokee commander flanked the Yankees and launched a two-prong attack far to their rear near Neosho, Missouri. In his first independent command, Watie not only forced the enemy to withdraw from Indian Territory, but also demonstrated his skill in hit-and-run tactics. Throughout the rest of the war, he would prove himself a master of guerilla warfare. On June 1, 1862, a Union force of regimental size, with artillery support, marched south to destroy Watie. Six days later, the Northern commander attacked at Cowskin Prairie just as the sun set. Heavily outnumbered and outgunned, Watie and his men took advantage of the dark to elude the enemy, although they had to abandon provisions and livestock. Several weeks later, a 6,000-man Union force, including two Indian regiments recruited from the survivors of the Opothleyahola campaign, launched an all-out invasion of the CN. Reaching Fort Gibson near the Arkansas River after routing rebels at Locust Grove on July 3, the Union commander, Col. William Weer, sent a patrol to Park Hill. It “captured” Ross, who made no attempt to flee despite repeated warnings of the enemy’s approach. When the Union invasion force withdrew from the CN in July, Ross accompanied it and rushed to Washington to convince Lincoln that he had allied with the South only because the Union had abandoned Indian Territory and left him no choice. The next month, Watie’s supporters elected him principal chief of the Cherokees to replace Ross, who, they pointed out, had deserted his post. The Confederates controlled the CN most of the remainder of 1862, but in a series of battles over the next year, Union victories destroyed the South’s ability to provision its army in Indian Territory and forced Watie to do what he did best – employ guerilla tactics against his stronger opponents. At the Battle of Old Fort Wayne on Oct. 22 and Prairie Grove on Dec. 7, Confederate armies were defeated despite the steady performance of men under Watie’s command. On Dec. 22, Watie could organize no effective defense of Fort Davis on the south side of the Arkansas River near the mouths of the Verdigris and Grand Rivers. Col. William Phillips, who commanded the Union Third Indian Home Guard Regiment, burned the Confederate supply depot. In April 1863, Phillips drove Watie out of Fort Gibson, occupying it and most of the CN for the Union until the end of the war. Watie countered on July 1-2 with a daring raid on a Union supply train moving down the military road where it crossed Cabin Creek. High water in the stream prevented the Confederate colonel from consolidating his command and forced him to fall back empty handed. Later in the month, Gen. James Blunt, commander of the Union Army of the Frontier, crushed the rebel army at the Battle of Honey Springs. Although Watie was elsewhere, his presence would not have changed the outcome. No longer able to provision his entire force, Watie furloughed many of his men and called them to duty to exploit Union vulnerability. Watie lacked the manpower and resources to challenge the Union army in conventional battle, but with intelligence about its location, provided by a network of informants loyal to the South, he attacked at times and places advantageous to him. On Nov. 12, Watie wrote his wife that he had seized Tahlequah where Pin Indians were holding a council. He killed all who resisted and burned the council house. Captured Union Indians, including Ross’ nephew, William Potter Ross, were not harmed. Passing through Park Hill, the Cherokee colonel could not resist the opportunity to settle old scores. He torched Ross’s palatial home, Rose Cottage. Col. Phillips spurred his men to rid him of the marauding Confederate colonel. A sizable portion of Phillip’s command fought a skirmish with Watie on the banks of the Barren Fork of the Illinois River on Dec. 18. The commander of the Union force claimed he inflicted greater casualties than he suffered but did not deter Watie from a raid into Missouri. Despite inadequate support and troops with little combat training, in May 1864, Watie’s success earned him promotion to brigadier general, the only Native American to earn that rank on either side during the Civil War. He immediately demonstrated the wisdom of his promotion by two victories. In June, he captured the J.R. Williams, a Union riverboat steaming up the Arkansas with supplies for the garrison at Fort Gibson. In September, he participated in a raid that captured a Union wagon train carrying supplies and munitions valued at $1.5 million to the Second Battle of Cabin Creek. These were victories made more remarkable by the limited resources available to Watie and the growing strength of the Union in Indian Territory and all other fronts. They also had no impact on the outcome of the war.
Senior Reporter
07/10/2015 09:04 AM
CATOOSA, Okla. – Cherokee artist Leslie Gates didn’t grow up learning about her Cherokee heritage, but she has made up for it by studying Cherokee lifeways and reading Cherokee legends and stories. Gates was born and raised in Ponca City, but she lives in Lewisville, Alabama. Her parents live in Tahlequah, so she has connections to the Cherokee Nation. “I am proud to be Cherokee, but was not raised up with it. Ironically, it was after I moved to Alabama and was doing some research for a piece that I was working on, I began to learn more about it (Cherokee culture). I was very fascinated and very intrigued, so I just got more and more into it. The more I learned, the more I wanted to know,” she said. Her artwork is centered on using gourds of all sizes to make pieces. “I like to use different sizes and shapes of gourds and put different pieces together. Most of them are kind of figurative pieces. I also use animal motifs,” she said. “I also do acrylic paintings and colored-pencil work and mixed media, which sometimes will incorporate both of those – the paintings and the drawings – and I also add pieces of paper.” She’s attended the Cherokee Art Market, held in Catoosa each October, the past two years and has participated in the Santa Fe Indian Market through the Nation’s “Spider Gallery” in Tahlequah. She said she likes to focus on participating in Cherokee art shows such as the annual “Trail of Tears Art Show and Sale” in April and the “Homecoming Show” in September, both at the Cherokee Heritage Center in Park Hill. She also enters her work in the Cherokee National Holiday Art Show in Tahlequah. Gates has a website at that showcases her artwork and the media she uses such as gourds, paintings/mixed media on canvas, colored pencil drawings, and Cherokee-inspired artwork. “I enjoy doing it. Working with the gourds is really fun. I guess my little thing that’s different is working with the eggshell that on a lot of my pieces. I work with crushed eggshell. Many of the pieces have it,” she said. “I also have some Cherokee information (on her website). I’ve got some pages where they can read about the seven clans for someone who doesn’t understand that. Several of my pieces deal with the seven clans. There’s a page that talks about the syllabary because I love using that in my mask work. Those have been well received.” In Lewisville, she works in the office of a pecan-shelling plant for her uncle and works on her art in the evenings and on weekends. She said she’s been interested in art since she was a child. “I’m literally one of those that’s been drawing since I could hold a pencil. The summer after seventh grade I took some summer art classes at the art center that was there in Ponca City,” she said. Later, she also took watercolor painting classes with the instructor who had taught the summer art class and continued to learn about art and eventually began using colored pencils. She said being Cherokee, it’s “exciting” for her to create Cherokee-inspired artwork to sell and take part in art shows. She added that as she has learned more about her Cherokee heritage and culture, her artwork has begun to take on more characteristics of the stories and legends she has read.
07/08/2015 01:05 PM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. –Applications are available for the 2015 Miss Cherokee competition. The competition is aimed toward young Cherokee women who wish to serve as an ambassador for the tribe. The deadline to apply is July 10 and the Miss Cherokee Leadership Competition is set for Aug. 29. “The competition was fun and educational and is not a beauty contest,” said Miss Cherokee sponsor Lisa Trice-Turtle. “To me, being Miss Cherokee was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and an honor to represent the Cherokee Nation traveling throughout the 14-county area and statewide to share stories of our rich culture and history, while making new friends.” Miss Cherokee candidates must be between 17-22 years old as of Aug. 29. Candidates must be CN citizens, live in the tribe’s 14-county jurisdiction and cannot have previously served as Miss Cherokee. According to a CN press release, Miss Cherokee has attended the White House, Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian, Oklahoma Capitol Building, tribe announcements, facility ribbon cuttings, community meetings and schools in the past year. The deadline to turn in applications for Junior Miss Cherokee Leadership Competition and Little Cherokee Ambassador Competition is July 22. For contestants to run for Junior Miss Cherokee, they must be between the ages of 13-18, be a CN citizen and reside within the tribe’s 14-county jurisdiction. For the Little Cherokee Ambassador Competition, one girl and one boy are selected from each of three age groups, which are 4-6 years, 7-9 years and 10-12 years. Contestants must be CN citizens and live within the tribe’s 14-county jurisdiction. Applications are available at the Cherokee First desk at the CN W.W. Keeler Tribal Complex in Tahlequah and online at While on the website those interested can click on the Cherokee Ambassadors link in the education section of the services tab and download the desired application. Miss Cherokee applications must be postmarked no later than July 10. Hand-carried or faxed applications will not be accepted. For more information about the Miss Cherokee Leadership Competition, call Lisa Trice-Turtle at 918-453-5000, ext. 4991. For more information about the Junior Miss Cherokee Leadership Competition, call Reba Bruner at 918-453-5397. For more information about the Little Cherokee Ambassador Competition, call Kristen Thomas at 918-525-2266.