http://www.cherokeephoenix.orgCherokee Heritage Center tour guide Steven Daugherty demonstrates bow shooting with a Cherokee bow for visitors at the Ancient Village in Park Hill, Okla. He is one of two Cherokee-speaking guides for the Ancient Village. WILL CHAVEZ/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Cherokee Heritage Center tour guide Steven Daugherty demonstrates bow shooting with a Cherokee bow for visitors at the Ancient Village in Park Hill, Okla. He is one of two Cherokee-speaking guides for the Ancient Village. WILL CHAVEZ/CHEROKEE PHOENIX

Cherokee-speaking tour guides enhance Ancient Village

Cherokee Heritage Center tour guide J.D. Ross explains how a Cherokee blowgun is made and used for during a tour of the Ancient Village in Park Hill, Okla. He is one of two Cherokee-speaking guides for the village. WILL CHAVEZ/CHEROKEE PHOENIX Cherokee Heritage Center tour guide J.D. Ross explains how turtle shell shackles are made and used for a Cherokee stomp dance during a tour of the Ancient Village in Park Hill, Okla. WILL CHAVEZ/CHEROKEE PHOENIX Visitors to the Cherokee Heritage Center’s Ancient Village listen to tour guide J.D. Ross explain how Cherokee people constructed their homes in the 1700s. Also listening are Ancient Village Supervisor Tommy Wildcat, center, and tour guide Steven Daugherty. WILL CHAVEZ/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Cherokee Heritage Center tour guide J.D. Ross explains how a Cherokee blowgun is made and used for during a tour of the Ancient Village in Park Hill, Okla. He is one of two Cherokee-speaking guides for the village. WILL CHAVEZ/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
BY WILL CHAVEZ
Assistant Editor – @cp_wchavez
08/05/2011 06:53 AM
Video with default Cherokee Phoenix Frame
PARK HILL, Okla. – It’s as it should be in the Cherokee Heritage Center’s Ancient Village because the Cherokee language is being spoken and heard daily.

Village tour guides J.D. Ross and Steven Daugherty, both fluent Cherokee speakers, use the language to explain the culture and traditions showcased in the village while using their first language.

This is the second year the men are serving as Cherokee-speaking tour guides.

Ross, of the Greasy Community in Adair County, said he enjoys speaking Cherokee and teaching others the language but finds it unfortunate that not many Cherokee-speaking people visit the village.

“Since we do most of these tours in English, it’s just passing some history on, how the Cherokee people lived back in the 1700s. That’s the century we are concentrating on right now,” he said.
He added that he and Daugherty take time to share Cherokee beliefs, traditions and the “old ways.”

Ross said some visitors want translations of English phrases, and the guides try to accommodate them, consulting with each other to ensure the translation is correct.

Visitors from around the world visit the Ancient Village, Ross said, with some relating to Cherokee customs and traditions because of similarities to their own traditions or customs.

“Sometimes we talk to them and just kind of compare notes,” he said. “Some linger back and kind of give us of little history of their heritage and their background.”

Daugherty, of the Bell Community in Adair County, said he welcomed the chance to return to the village to serve as a guide. He too wishes more Cherokee speakers would visit so that he and Ross could converse with them.

He said he does not mind helping non-Cherokee speakers who ask for translations. But he emphasized the guides are not able to spend time attempting to translate English names to Cherokee.

Daugherty said he wants visitors to know two things before they leave the village: how Cherokee people lived in the 1700s and that the language is still spoken.

Recently, the village was re-configured to reflect Cherokee life in 1710 rather than the 1600s as in previous years. There are plans to expand the village and hire more villagers to staff it, possibly within the next year.

A grant from the International Museum of Library Studies in Washington, D.C., helped get the language tours started, said Ancient Village Supervisor Tommy Wildcat.

“We thought it was very important to continue with the language tours,” he said.

He added that he thought it was important to rehire Ross and Daugherty because of their experience. Wildcat said the two guides are now more comfortable in their roles, easily entertain visitors and a valuable part of making the Ancient Village more authentic for visitors.

“It’s been a great success because we have a lot of people experiencing the Cherokee language,” he said.

Wildcat said the tours would continue through September. An introductory language tour is available at regular admission every Tuesday through Saturday at 1:30 p.m. For fluent Cherokee speakers and Cherokee language students, a complete and complimentary immersion tour can be reserved between Tuesday and Saturday. Tours are 30-45 minutes long.

Ross and Daugherty guide visitors through the village, stopping at nine stations where they or other villagers demonstrate basket making, bow and arrow making, the stickball game, flint knapping and the Cherokee blowgun. The guides also explain the Cherokee stomp dances and how the dances are performed.

Wildcat said for 44 years the Ancient Village has been sharing Cherokee culture with the world, but more importantly, it serves as a classroom for young Cherokee people to get hands-on training in how to make traditional Cherokee tools such as bows and arrows, blowguns and darts, arrowheads, baskets and pottery. Some former students have become award-winning artists and pass on the knowledge they learned as villager.

“Many have come through here learning these unique traditions perpetuated here by the villagers,” Wildcat said.

For more information, call 918-456-6007, ext. 6148, or email Susan Cro at susan-cro@cherokee.org.

will-chavez@cherokee.org • 918-207-3961

ᏣᎳᎩ

ᎠᏭᏂᏴᏍᏗ, ᎣᎦᎵᎰᎻ.-- ᎾᏍᎩᎾ ᎢᏳᎵᏍᏙᏗ ᎾᎿ ᏣᎳᎩ ᏄᎾᏛᏁᎵᏙᎸ ᎠᏰᏟ ᏃᎴ ᎤᏍᏗ ᎦᏚᎲᎢ ᏴᏫ ᎤᏁᏓᏍᏗᎢ ᏅᏗᎦᎵᏍᏙᏗ ᏣᎳᎩ ᎦᏬᏂᎯᏍᏗ ᎠᏅᏗᏍᎬ ᎠᎴ ᎠᎾᏛᎩᏍᎪᎢ ᏂᏚᎩᏨᏂᏒᎢ.

ᎾᎿ ᎤᏍᏗ ᎦᏚᎲ ᏴᏫ ᎠᏁᏙᎯ ᏗᎾᏘᏂᏙᎯ J.D Ross ᎠᎴ Steven Daugherty, ᎢᏧᎳ ᎧᎵ ᏣᎳᎩ ᎠᏂᏬᏂᏍᎩ, ᎠᏅᏗᏍᎪ ᎠᏂᏬᏂᏍᎪ ᏓᏂᏃᎯᏎᎰ ᎾᏍᎩᎾ ᏂᏧᎾᏛᏁᎵᏙᎸ ᎠᎴ ᏂᏧᎾᏛᏁᎸᏍᏔᏅᎢ ᏓᏂᎪᏩᏛᏗᏍᎪ ᎾᎿᏂ ᎾᎾᏛᏁᎲ ᎠᏂᏃᎮᏍᎪ ᏣᎳᎩᎭᎢ.

ᏔᎵᏁᏃ ᎤᏕᏘᏴᏌᏓ ᏃᏊ ᎾᎿ ᏣᎳᎩ ᎠᏂᏬᏂᏍᎩ ᏗᎾᏘᏂᏙᎲ ᏴᏫ ᎠᏂᎦᏖᏃᎵᏙ
ᏗᏂᏃᎯᏎᎸᏁᎯ ᏚᏂᎸᏫᏍᏓᏁᎭ.

Ross, ᎾᎿ ᎪᎢ ᎾᎥ ᏄᎾᏓᎴᏫᏒ ᎡᎯ ᎠᎴ ᏓᏫᏍᎦᎸ ᏍᎦᏚᎩ, ᎠᏗᏍᎬ ᎠᎵᎮᎵᎪ ᏣᎳᎩ ᎬᏩᏬᏂᎯᏍᏗ ᎠᎴ ᏗᎬᏪᏲᏗ ᎠᏂᏐᎢ ᏣᎳᎩ ᎦᏬᏂᎯᏍᏗ ᎠᎴᏗᏍᏊ ᎠᏩᏘᏍᎪ Ꮭ ᎤᏂᎪᏓ ᏯᏁᏙᎰ ᎾᎿ ᏣᎳᎩ ᎠᏂᏬᏂᏍᎩ ᎾᎿ ᎤᏍᏗ ᎦᏚᎲᎢ.

“ᏂᎦᏓᏊᏃ ᎢᏳᏍᏗ ᎾᎿ ᎠᏁᏙᎯ ᏓᏂᏃᎯᏎᎲ ᏲᏁᎦᎭ ᎨᏐ, ᎾᏍᎩᏃ ᏗᎧᏃᎯᏎᏗ ᎾᏍᎩᎾ ᏂᏧᎵᏍᏔᏅᏍᏔᏅ, ᎾᏍᎩᎾ ᎠᏂᏣᎳᎩ ᏄᏍᏛ ᎤᎾᏕᏅ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎦᎵᏆᏚ ᎢᏍᎪᎯᏧᏈ ᎤᏕᏘᏴᏌᏗᏒᎢ. ᎾᏍᎩᏃ ᎤᏕᏘᏴᏌᏗᏒ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎣᏣᎦᏎᏍᏗᎭ ᏃᏊ ᎨᏒ.” ᎤᏛᏅᎢ.

ᏃᎴᏍᏊ Ross ᎠᎴ Daugherty ᏓᏂᏃᎯᏎᎸᏁᎭ ᎠᏂᏐᎢ ᏄᏍᏛ ᎪᎯᏓ ᎨᏒ, ᏂᏧᎾᏛᏁᎸᏍᏔᏅ ᎠᎴ “ᎤᏪᏘ ᎤᏂᏍᏓᏩᏛᏍᏗ.”

Ross ᎤᏛᏅ ᎢᎦᏓ ᎠᎾᏓᏩᏛᎯᏙ ᎤᎾᏚᎵᏍᎪ ᎠᏁᎳᏙᏗ ᎾᎿ ᏲᏁᎦ ᎦᏬᏂᏒᎢ, ᎠᎴ ᏗᎾᏘᏂᏙ ᎠᎾᏁᎸᏗᏍᎪ ᎤᎾᏁᎳᏙᏗ, ᏓᎾᏓᏛᏛᎲᏍᎪ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎢᎦᏪᏍᏗ ᏚᏳᎪᏛ ᎨᏒᎢ.

ᎠᎾᏓᏩᏛᎯᏙ ᎾᏍᎩᎾ ᎡᎶᎯ ᏂᎬᏁᏛ ᏂᏙᏓᏳᏂᎶᏒ ᎠᏁᏙᎰ ᎠᎭᏂ ᎤᏪᏘ ᎠᎴ ᎤᏍᏗ ᎦᏚᎲᎢ, ᎠᏗᏍᎬ Ross, ᎢᎦᏓ ᎠᏂᏃᎮᏍᎪ ᎢᏳᏍᏗ ᎢᏳᎾᏛᏁᎵᏓᏍᏗ ᎤᏂᎲ ᎤᏅᏌ ᎤᏠᏯᏮᏃ ᎢᏳᏍᏗ ᎨᏐ ᎠᏯ ᎢᎩᎲᎢ.

“ᎢᎦᏓᏃ ᏙᏍᏓᏟᏃᎮᏗᏍᎪ ᎠᎴ ᎤᏠᏱ ᎢᏳᏍᏗ ᎨᏐ ᎢᏳᎾᏛᏁᎵᏓᏍᏗ,” ᎠᏗᏍᎬᎢ.“ᎢᎦᏓᏃ ᎠᎾᏕᎯᏯᏍᎪ ᎢᏳᏍᏗ ᎠᏁᏙᎲ ᎠᏂᏃᎮᏍᎪ ᎾᏍᎩᎾ ᎢᏳᎾᏛᏁᎵᏓᏍᏗ ᎠᎴ ᏄᎾᏛᏁᎵᏙᎸᎢ.”

Daugherty, ᎾᏍᎩᎾ ᎤᎭᎸᏂ ᎾᎥ ᏄᎾᏓᎴᏫᏒ ᎡᎯ ᎾᎿ ᏓᏫᏍᎦᎵ ᏍᎦᏚᎩ, ᎠᏗᏍᎬ ᎠᎵᎮᎵᎪ ᎠᏁᏙᎲ ᎠᎴ ᎤᏁᏓᏍᏗ ᏕᎦᏂᎳᏕᎰ ᎤᏁᏓᏍᏗ ᎠᎵᎮᎵᎪ ᏓᏘᏂᏙᎲ ᎠᏂᏴᏫ ᎬᏩᏃᎮᏓ ᎨᏒ ᏂᏧᎵᏍᏔᏅᏍᏔᏅᎢ ᏓᏘᏂᏙᎲᎢ. ᏃᎴᏍᏊ ᎤᏚᎵᏍᎪ ᎤᏂᎪᏛ ᏣᎳᎩ ᎠᏂᏬᏂᏍᎩ ᎤᏁᏓᏍᏗ ᎾᏍᎩᎾ ᎢᏧᎳ ᏗᎾᏘᏂᏙᎯ ᏗᎬᏩᎾᏟᏃᎮᏙᏗ ᎨᏒᎢ.

ᏝᏃ ᎪᎱᏍᏗ ᏰᎵᏍᎪ ᏧᏍᏕᎸᏗ ᎠᏂᏣᎳᎩ ᏂᎨᏒᎾ ᏧᏟᏃᎮᏙᏗ ᎬᏩᏛᏛᎲᏍᎬ ᎠᏁᎸᏙᏗᎢ. ᎾᏍᎩᏃ ᏗᎾᏘᏂᏙᎯ Ꮭ ᎡᎵ ᏳᎾᏜᏅᏓᏕᎰ ᎤᎾᏁᎶᏙᏗ ᏲᏁᎦ ᏚᎾᏙᎥ ᏣᎳᎩ ᎢᏧᏅᏁᏗᎢ.

Daugherty ᎤᏛᏅ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎤᏚᎵᏍᎬ ᎠᎾᏓᏩᏛᎯᏙ ᏔᎵ ᎢᏳᏓᎴ ᎤᎾᏅᏗ ᎢᏳᎵᏍᏙᏗ Ꮟ ᏄᎾᏂᎩᏓ ᎤᏍᏗ ᎦᏚᎲ ᎠᏁᏙᎯ: ᎾᏍᎩᎾ ᏄᏍᏛ ᏚᎾᏁᎳᏛ ᎠᏂᏣᎳᎩ ᎾᎿ ᎦᎵᏆᏚ ᎢᏍᎪᎯᏧᏈ ᏧᏕᏘᏴᏌᏗᏎ ᎠᎴ ᎦᏬᏂᎯᏍᏗ ᎾᏍᎩ Ꮟ ᎠᏂᏬᏂᏍᎬᎢ.

ᎾᏝᎬᏊ, ᎾᎿ ᎤᏍᏗ ᎦᏚᎲ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎤᏂᏁᏟᏴᏒ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎤᏕᏘᏴᏌᏗᏒ ᎾᎿ ᎦᎵᏆᏚ ᎢᎦᏴᎵ ᎤᏕᏘᏴᏌᏗᏒ ᏄᏅᏁᎸ ᎾᏃ ᎢᎬᏱ ᏥᎨᏒ ᏓᎳᏚ ᎢᏍᎪᎯᏧᏈ ᎤᏕᏘᏴᏌᏗᏒᎢ ᎨᏒ. ᏏᏃ ᎠᎾᏓᏅᏖ ᎤᎾᏔᏃᎯᏍᏙᏗ ᎾᎿ ᏴᏫ ᎤᏁᏓᏍᏗ ᎠᎴ ᎤᎪᏛ ᏧᏂᎾᏢᏗ ᏧᏂᎸᏫᏍᏓᏁᎯ , ᎾᏍᎩᎾ ᏑᏕᏘᏴᏓᏊ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎢᏳᎵᏍᏙᏗ ᎤᎾᏚᎵᎭ. ᎠᏕᎳ ᎤᎾᎵᏍᎪᎸᏔᏅ ᎾᎿ ᎬᎾᏕᎾ ᎤᏂᏍᏆᏂᎪᏔᏅᎲᏍᏗ ᎪᏪᎵ ᏗᎦᏎᏍᏔᏅ ᏗᏍᏆᏂᎪᏙᏗ ᎤᏙᏢᏒ ᎾᎿ ᏩᏒᏓᏃᎢ, D.C., ᎬᏩᏂᏍᏕᎸᎲ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏣᎳᎩ ᎦᏬᏂᎯᏍᏗ ᎠᏂᏬᏂᏍᎩ ᏗᎾᏘᏂᏙᎯ ᎤᎾᎴᏅᎲᎢ, ᎠᏗᏍᎬ ᎤᏪᏘ ᎤᏍᏗ ᎦᏚᎲ ᎤᎦᏎᏍᏗᏕᎦ Tommy Wildcat.

“ᎣᏣᏓᏅᏖᏍᎬ ᎤᎵᏍᎨᏓ ᎨᏒ ᎾᎿ ᎬᎵᏱᎵᏒ ᎢᏳᎵᏍᏙᏗ ᎾᎿ ᎠᏁᏙᎯ ᏗᎧᏃᎯᏎᎸᏗ,” ᎠᏗᏍᎬᎢ.

ᎯᎢᏃ ᎠᏓᏅᏖᏍᎬ ᎤᎵᏍᎬᏗ ᏱᎩ ᎾᎿ ᏙᎦᎾᏢᏗ Ross ᎠᎴ Daugherty ᎾᏍᎩᎾ ᎠᏂᎦᏔᎾᎥ ᎾᎿ ᎤᎾᏕᎶᏆᎥ ᏚᎾᏛᏏᏗᏒᎢ. Wildcat ᎤᏛᏅ ᎾᏍᎩᎾ ᎠᏂᏔᎵ ᏗᎾᏘᏂᏙᎯ ᎣᏍᏓ ᎤᎾᏕᎶᏆᎥ ᎤᎾᏅᏔ ᎢᏳᎾᏛᏗ, ᎠᎯᏓ ᏄᎾᎵᏍᏓᏁᎰ ᎠᏁᏙᎯ ᏧᏂᏃᏎᏗ ᎠᎴ ᎠᎭᏂ ᎤᏪᏘ ᎤᏍᏗ ᎦᏚᎲ ᎤᎪᏛ ᏙᎯᏳ ᏳᎵᏍᏙᏗ ᎨᏒᎢ.
“ᎣᏍᏓᏃ ᏂᎦᎵᏍᏗ ᏅᏗᎦᎵᏍᏙᏗ ᎤᏂᎪᏓ ᎠᏂᏴᏫ ᎠᏂᎦᏙᎲᏍᎪ ᏣᎳᎩ ᎦᏬᏂᎯᏍᏗ,” ᎠᏗᏍᎬᎢ.

Wildcat ᎤᏛᏅ ᎾᏍᎩᎾ ᎠᏁᏙᎯ ᎤᏁᏓᏍᏗ ᎠᏍᏚᎢᏓ ᎨᏎᏍᏗ ᏚᎵᏍᏗ ᎧᎸ ᎢᎪᎯᏓ. ᎬᏂᎨᏒ ᎾᏅᏁᎲ ᏣᎳᎩ ᎦᏬᏂᎯᏍᏗ ᏗᎾᏘᏁᎦ ᎠᎵᏍᏚᎢᏍᎪ ᎤᏠᏯ ᎠᏴᏍᏙᏗ ᏔᎵᏁᎢᎦ ᏂᏕᎦᎵᏍᏔᏁᎬ ᎤᏙᏓᏈᏕᎾ ᎢᎪᎯᏓ ᏌᏊ ᎠᏰᏟ ᏒᎯᏰᏯᏗᏟ. ᎧᎵ ᏣᎳᎩ ᎠᏂᏬᏂᏍᎩ ᎠᎴ ᏣᎳᎩ ᎦᏬᏂᎯᏍᏗ ᎠᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᎩ, ᎧᎵ ᎠᎴ ᎤᏂᏴᏍᏙᏗ ᏧᏂᎾᎢ ᎡᎵᏊ ᏗᎵᏏᏅᏙᏗ ᎨᏐ ᏔᎵᏁᎢᎦ ᎠᎴ ᎤᎾᏙᏓᏈᏕᎾ. ᎢᎪᎯᏓ ᏓᎾᏘᏂᏙᎲ ᎠᏁᏙᎯ ᏦᏍᎪᎯ ᎠᎴ ᏅᎩᏍᎪ ᎯᏍᎩ ᏳᏔᏬᏍᏔᏅᎢ.

Ross ᎠᎴ Daugherty ᏗᎾᏘᏂᏙᎰ ᎠᏁᏙ ᎾᎿ ᎤᏍᏗ ᎦᏚᎲ, ᏐᏁᎳ ᏂᏚᏙᏢᏒ ᏓᎾᎴᏫᏍᏗᏍᎪ ᎾᏍᎩᎾ ᎠᏃᏢᏅᏍᎩ ᎠᏂᏃ ᏯᏛᎾ ᏔᎷᏣ, ᎦᎵᏣᏗ ᎠᎴ ᏗᎦᏟᏗ, ᎠᎴ ᎠᎾᏁᏦᏍᎪ, ᏓᏫᏍᎦᎵ ᏅᏯ ᎠᏅᏗᎪ ᎠᏃᏢᏅᏍᎪ ᎠᎴ ᏚᏇᏍᏗ. ᎯᎠ ᏗᎾᏘᏂᏙᎯ ᏓᏂᏃᏎᎸᏁᎰ ᎠᎾᎵᏍᎩᏍᎪ ᎠᎴ ᎠᏂᏃᎮᏍᎪ ᎾᎾᏛᏁᎲᎢ.

Wildcat ᎤᏛᏅ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏅᎩᏍᎪ ᏅᎩ ᎾᏕᏘᏯ ᎾᎿ ᎤᏍᏗ ᎦᏚᎲ ᎠᏯᏙᎯᎲ ᎠᏂᏣᎳᎩ ᎢᏳᎾᏛᏁᎵᏓᏍᏗ ᎡᎶᎯ ᏂᎬᎾᏛᎢ ᏂᏙᏓᏳᎾᏂᎩᏓ ᏚᏂᏃᎯᏎᎳ, ᎤᎪᏛᏃ ᎤᎵᏍᎬᏗᏴ, ᎾᏍᎩᏯᏮ ᏧᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᏗ ᎾᎿ ᎩᎳ ᏗᎾᏛᏍᎩ ᎠᏂᏣᎳᎩ ᎤᏃᏢᏅᏗ ᎤᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᏗ ᎾᏍᎩᎾ ᎠᏂᏣᎳᎩ ᎤᏅᏔᏂᏓᏍᏗ ᎪᎯᎦ ᏥᎨᏎ ᏯᏛᎾ ᎦᎵᏣᏗ ᎠᎴ ᏗᎦᏟᏓ, ᏚᏇᏍᏗ ᎠᎴ ᏗᏲᏍᏙᏗ, ᏓᏫᏍᎦᎵ ᏗᎪᏢᏔᏅ ᏗᎦᏟᏗ ᎢᏧᏅᏙᏗ, ᏔᎷᏣ ᎠᎴ ᎦᏓᎫᎫ. ᎢᎦᏓᏃ ᎤᎾᏕᎶᏆᎥ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎠᎾᏓᎪᎾᏅᏗᏍᎬ ᎤᏂᏫᏛᎭ ᎤᏃᏢᏅᏅ ᎠᎴ ᎢᎬᏱ ᎠᏌᏍᏛ ᎤᏂᎩᏌ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎤᎾᏕᎶᏆᎥ ᎾᎿ ᏚᏂᎸᏫᏍᏓᏁᎲᎢ. “ᎤᏂᎪᏓ ᎤᏂᎶᏌ ᎠᎭᏂ ᎤᎾᏕᎶᏆ ᎾᏍᎩᎾ ᏄᎾᏛᏁᎵᏙᎸ ᎤᎾᏕᎶᏆᎠ Ꮭ ᏳᏅᎨᏫᏍᎪ ᏄᏍᏛ ᏗᎩᎶᏒᎢ,” ᎠᏗᏍᎬ Wildcat.

ᎤᎪᏛ ᎠᏕᎶᎰᎯᏍᏗ ᏲᏚᎵ, ᏂᏓᏣᏟᏃᎮᏓ 918-456-6007, ext. 6148, or email Susan Cro at susan-cro@cherokee.org.

About the Author
Will lives in Tahlequah, Okla., but calls Marble City, Okla., his hometown. He is Cherokee and San Felipe Pueblo and grew up learning the Cherokee language, traditions and culture from his Cherokee mother and family. He also appreciates his father’s Pueblo culture and when possible attends annual traditional dances held on the San Felipe Reservation near Albuquerque, N.M.

He enjoys studying and writing about Cherokee history and culture and writing stories about Cherokee veterans. For Will, the most enjoyable part of writing for the Cherokee Phoenix is having the opportunity to meet Cherokee people from all walks of life.
He earned a mass communications degree in 1993 from Northeastern State University with minors in marketing and psychology. He is a member of the Native American Journalists Association.

Will has worked in the newspaper and public relations field for 20 years. He has performed public relations work for the Cherokee Nation and has been a reporter and a photographer for the Cherokee Phoenix for more than 18 years. He was named interim executive editor on Dec. 8, 2015, by the Cherokee Phoenix Editorial Board.
WILL-CHAVEZ@cherokee.org • 918-207-3961
Will lives in Tahlequah, Okla., but calls Marble City, Okla., his hometown. He is Cherokee and San Felipe Pueblo and grew up learning the Cherokee language, traditions and culture from his Cherokee mother and family. He also appreciates his father’s Pueblo culture and when possible attends annual traditional dances held on the San Felipe Reservation near Albuquerque, N.M. He enjoys studying and writing about Cherokee history and culture and writing stories about Cherokee veterans. For Will, the most enjoyable part of writing for the Cherokee Phoenix is having the opportunity to meet Cherokee people from all walks of life. He earned a mass communications degree in 1993 from Northeastern State University with minors in marketing and psychology. He is a member of the Native American Journalists Association. Will has worked in the newspaper and public relations field for 20 years. He has performed public relations work for the Cherokee Nation and has been a reporter and a photographer for the Cherokee Phoenix for more than 18 years. He was named interim executive editor on Dec. 8, 2015, by the Cherokee Phoenix Editorial Board.

Culture

BY STAFF REPORTS
12/12/2017 04:00 PM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – The Cherokee Speakers Bureau will be held Thursday December 14, 2017 from 12:30 - 4pm. We will meet in the Community Ballroom that is located behind the Restaurant of the Cherokee. All Cherokee speakers are invited to attend. If you want to bring a side dish or a dessert, feel free to bring it. Come speak Cherokee and enjoy food and fellowship. For further information about the event, please contact: the Language Program at (918) 453-5151; John Ross at (918) 453-6170; or Roy Boney, Jr. (918) 453-5487. Tsalagi aniwonisgi unadatlugv dodvnatlosi Nvgineiga Vsgiyi 14, 2017, ganvsulvi 12:30pm adalenisgi 4:00pm igohida. Na Anitsalagi tsunalisdayetiyi tsigotlv unaditli wayvsdi onadilvyvi utani kanvsula dodvnatlosi. Naniv Anitsalagi aniwonisgi otsitayohiha uniluhisdii. Alisdayvdi ayohisdi yodulia. Dodayotsadatlisani ale dodayotsalisdayvna hilutsvi. Ugodesdi tsadulihesdi tsadelayohisdi hiina wigehiyadvdi: Tsalagi Gawonihisdi Unadotlvsv (918) 453-5151; John Ross (918) 453-6170; or Roy Boney, Jr. (918) 453-5487.
BY TRAVIS SNELL
Assistant Editor – @cp_tsnell
12/09/2017 10:00 AM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – With its 2017 annual homecoming T-shirt now for sale, the Cherokee Phoenix is calling for Cherokee artists to submit design concepts for the news organization’s 2018 T-shirt. In 2016, the Cherokee Phoenix staff introduced a T-shirt to differ from the tribe’s Cherokee National Holiday T-shirt. Phoenix staff members contracted with artist Buffalo Gouge for the shirt’s initial design. For this year’s homecoming shirt, Phoenix staff members selected Daniel HorseChief’s concept out of approximately 10 designs from artists. The Cherokee Phoenix then contracted with HorseChief to create the 2017 shirt. HorseChief said his concept comes from a four-panel painting that features Selu, the Corn Mother in Cherokee lore. The image shows the bust of Selu, who is looking down into a Southeastern art pattern. Behind her on the left side are seven ears of corn with water under it. Behind her on the opposite side is a phoenix with fire below it. Above the phoenix is the Cherokee seven-pointed star. Above the image, written in Cherokee, are the words “Cherokee Phoenix.” Below the image, in English, is “2017 CHEROKEE HOMECOMING.” The limited-quantity, black shirts are short-sleeved, ranging in sizes small to 3XL and sell for $20 plus tax. The shirts are available at the Cherokee Phoenix office in Room 231 of the Annex Building (Old Motel) on the Tribal Complex. For more information, call 918-453-5269. They are also available at the Cherokee Nation Gift Shop, als0 on the Tribal Complex, or online at <a href="http://cherokeegiftshop.com" target="_blank">http://cherokeegiftshop.com</a>. Phoenix staff members will also have shirts available at the Cherokee Phoenix booths at the W.W. Keeler Tribal Complex and Capital Square during the Cherokee National Holiday in September. The Cherokee Phoenix is accepting concept ideas from artists who are Cherokee Nation, United Keetoowah Band or Eastern Band citizens until midnight on Jan. 1. Artist can email detailed concepts to <a href="mailto: travis-snell@cherokee.org">travis-snell@cherokee.org</a>. For artists contemplating submitting design ideas, please note that if your concept is chosen and you sign a contract, the Cherokee Phoenix will own the artwork because we consider it a commissioned piece. As for what Phoenix staff members look for in a concept, we ask that artists “think Cherokee National Holiday” and include a phoenix.
BY KENLEA HENSON
Reporter
12/08/2017 08:15 AM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – Cherokee National Treasure Tommy Wildcat recently released a CD tilted “Donadagohv’i” or “See You Again,” which consists of 10 original flute compositions that are either studio productions or recorded performances. The Native American Music Award-winning flutist said he’s been playing for 25 years and has traveled across the nation and abroad sharing Cherokee culture via his music. “It’s important to share my music with people to promote the beautiful word of our American Indian heritage, but it also inspires those around me and those who are just finding their Cherokee heritage to get involved,” Wildcat said. Wildcat has performed at historical sites, festivals, powwows and CN at-large community events. He’s made 18 trips to Hawaii, visited 37 universities and taken four European tours. He’s also been a featured performer at the New Orleans Jazz Festival, Stockholm Water Festival and Cherokee Days at the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C. Before gaining recognition as a flutist, Wildcat made Cherokee crafts such as blowguns, darts, clay bead necklaces and river cane flutes. While making flutes and perfecting their sounds, Wildcat taught himself to play and developed a love for it. “I was already making blowguns, but I was really interested in trying to make the river cane flutes, so I just kept trying to make them and after probably a hundred of them, every flute I made would make a sound. Every time I made a flute I would have to tune it up, so it gave me a lot of practice,” he said. “I enjoyed it so much, and it became the strongest tradition that helped me help my family and promote our heritage.” In 2013, Wildcat was named a Cherokee National Treasure for his flute making, which remains one of his proudest accomplishments. The title is bestowed to CN citizens who have dedicated their lives to teaching, mentoring and advocating traditional Cherokee arts. As a way to fund his travels, he began selling cassette tapes of his music, which later transitioned to CDs. Soon individuals and businesses were requesting his CDs, and within the first year Wildcat sold 10,000 CDs. For “Donadagohv’i,” his eighth CD, Wildcat dedicated it to his late father, Cherokee National Treasure Tom Webber Wildcat, and his mother, Annie Wildcat. He said the title is his thank you to his family and friends for their love and support. “Donadagohv’i, which means I’ll see you again, is my personal wado (thank you) to all my family and friends that helped me from my very my first venue and small venues to the big venues.” Wildcat’s family and friends inspired each song on “Donadagohv’i.” He said he titled the songs after Cherokee words and phrases that have significant meaning to him. “I’ve titled my songs after Cherokee words that are used throughout our Cherokee-speaking communities, which is something I wanted to really promote. Inspiration is in our Cherokee words, like my song ‘Osda,’ which means much more than good or fine. When our elders tell our young people osda it inspires them that they did good or something about them is great,” he said. Wildcat said he wants to perform and compose music as long as he can, but it’s also important the younger generations take initiative to keep traditional music alive. “It’s very important to me and our heritage that the next generation continue on with the pride we always have had in our parents, grandparents, ancestors, with flute music and all of our music.” “Donadagohv’i” can be purchased at the Cherokee Nation, Cherokee Heritage Center, Hard Rock Hotel & Casino and Roland Casino gift shops or by ordering directly from Wildcat via Facebook.
BY STACIE GUTHRIE
Reporter – @cp_sguthrie
12/04/2017 08:15 AM
PARK HILL, Okla. – Cherokee Heritage Center genealogists Gene Norris and Ashley Vann agree that knowing one’s genealogy is important for various reasons such as giving people a look into their ancestors’ lives, bringing light to certain traits or even genetic illnesses or diseases. “The importance of genealogy is finding out who your family is, and that’s the baseline of any genealogy regardless what minority that you may find within the research,” Vann said. Common questions that arise when beginning genealogical research are people wanting to know from whom and where they come, Vann said. “The aspect of genealogy most people are into, the knowing of ‘where do I come from? What are the quirks that that ancestors is? What makes me, me?’ I see a lot of people do that, especially on television because they will start revealing their family genealogy and maybe a special eye effect,” she said. “Maybe they have two different colors of eyes and they realize that’s passed down from generation to generation.” Norris, who began conducting genealogy research 35 years ago, said one thing that interested him about researching his ancestors were the “connections” he found. “My mom was adopted at 3, so I didn’t know my birth uncles until later. Turned out one was an artist, and I like to do art. So, you know...there’s also (these) kind of connections you find with these ancestors and those are what fascinated me,” he said. “I think that’s why you should get into genealogy is because of that reason, of wanting to know more about who they were, where they came from, not to have a specific purpose in mind.” As for diseases or illnesses passed down genetically, Norris said he learned a commonality between a client’s great-grandfather and father’s deaths. “I got on Ancestry (.com) and started looking at these records. They were in Texas. They weren’t here at the time of Dawes (Rolls). But I came across a Texas death certificate of her great-grandfather, and when I printed that off for her she saw the cause of death, and that is what her dad had died from and she got very emotional about it because she didn’t realize that it was genetic,” he said. “A lot of people don’t realize that, but for her to actually see it there in print, in front of her, it made her step back and she had that ‘ah ha’ moment and got very emotional about it.” Although Norris and Vann have strong interests in genealogy, that’s not the case for everyone. Norris said his interest stemmed from a fascination with history. “It’s interesting that in regards to genealogy that those that are into genealogy, that are really into it, usually are the only one in their immediate family that is interested in it. The reason behind that, I do not have any idea,” he said. “For me, history is very fascinating. Not just family history, but general history and learning about who our ancestors were in a sense of what they did on a daily basis, where they came from. Try to flesh them out, so to speak, where they’re not just a name and a date on a piece of paper.” For more information, call 918-456-6007 or visit <a href="http://www.cherokeeheritage.org" target="_blank">cherokeeheritage.org</a>.
BY STAFF REPORTS
11/27/2017 04:00 PM
CATOOSA, Okla. – Cherokee National Treasures will be signing copies of a book about themselves from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino on Dec. 1. The signing is scheduled for the Cherokee Gift Shop inside the casino. Treasures will sign the recently released “Cherokee National Treasures: In Their Own Words,” which can be purchased for $49.99. The book gives readers an opportunity to get to know each Cherokee National Treasure through their own stories and what motivates them to teach and carry on Cherokee language and traditions. The Cherokee National Treasure award was established in 1988 by the tribe and Cherokee National Historical Society. To date, the tribe has awarded 94 CN citizens the honor of Cherokee National Treasure to those who have shown exceptional knowledge of Cherokee art and culture. Those selected actively work to preserve and revive traditional cultural practices that are in danger of being lost from generation to generation. The CN published the book with Pamela Jumper Thurman and Cherokee National Treasure Shawna Morton Cain serving as editors. Cherokee National Treasures Kathryn Kelley, Betty Jo Smith, Lorene Drywater, Dorothy Ice, Al Herrin, Bessie Russell, Edith Catcher Knight, Thelma Vann Forrest, Durbin Feeling, Donald Vann and Betty Christie Frogg served on the Cherokee National Treasures Book Review Board. To buy a copy, visit any CN gift shop or <a href="http://www.cherokeegiftshop.com" target="_blank">www.cherokeegiftshop.com</a>. Copies can also be purchased at most major book stores and online at <a href="http://www.amazon.com" target="_blank">www.amazon.com</a>.
BY KENLEA HENSON
Reporter
11/22/2017 08:00 AM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – Fewer and fewer Cherokee people are speaking their native language, and the Cherokee Nation is losing elder speakers each year, so a monthly gathering of speakers is important for keeping the language alive, Cherokee Speakers Bureau officials said. On Nov. 9, the CSB held a gathering for Cherokee speakers in the Tsa-La-Gi Community Meeting Room for lunch, fellowship and to speak Cherokee. The CSB formed in 2007 to give Cherokee speakers an opportunity to speak the language with others. Ten years later, the CSB continues to be important for the language’s preservation. “This event is very important because we don’t get to talk in Cherokee very much anymore because like places where we work not all co-workers can speak it. So this event allows us to all come together to speak the language,” Kathy Sierra, CN Cherokee Language Program assistant, said. “I come to speak Cherokee, to see all my friends and just be together, you know. One of my speaker friends works at (W.W.) Hastings (Hospital) so we don’t get to see each other and speak Cherokee until this event.” Along with speaking Cherokee and having lunch, the event consists of storytelling, singing, community reports and word translation. CN translator specialist Dennis Sixkiller, who serves as the meetings’ facilitator, said attending the CSB and talking with other Cherokee speakers has refreshed his memory of the language. “I was kind of forgetting how to say some things in Cherokee. But from having a job (at Cherokee Nation) and being around people at the Speakers Bureau that speak Cherokee has really helped my language,” he said. “I just visited with a guy I grew up with, and a few years back I probably couldn’t talk to him in as much Cherokee as I did today, so it really has helped me out, and I really enjoy it.” For CN translator specialist Bonnie Kirk keeping the language alive is “crucial.” She said not only is it important for the older speakers to keep speaking the language, but it’s also important to teach others so CSB meetings continue. “I think right now it’s crucial to carry on the language that the Creator gave us. If we don’t, it’s going to be a lost art. We are fighting to keep that culture and teach our kids to speak Cherokee because if we don’t it’s going to be an end to a lot of our culture and to events like this,” she said. “This is our tenth year, and to this day we try to spread the word to different communities, and hopefully it will continue a long time because we really enjoy seeing each other once a month and speaking Cherokee with each other, and I hope that for the next generations, too.” Although the CSB is designated for Cherokee speakers anyone is welcome to attend, but only Cherokee is spoken. “We have a lot of students from different areas that just sit and listen, so everyone is welcome,” Kirk said. The next CSB meeting will be held from 12:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Dec. 14 in the same meeting room. For more information, call Roy Boney Jr. at 918-453-5487.