Cherokee artists Lisa Rutherford, left, and Cathy Moomaw discuss art that is part of the 16th Annual Cherokee Homecoming Art Show during an opening reception Aug. 12. WILL CHAVEZ/CHEROKEE PHOENIX

Jackson wins grand prize at Homecoming Art Show

Troy Jackson stands next to his grand-prize-winning sculpture titled “Halfbreed-Am I Red and White or Am I White and Red.” WILL CHAVEZ/CHEROKEE PHOENIX People take in the artwork that is part of the 16h Annual Cherokee Homecoming Art Show at the Cherokee Heritage Center. The show runs through Oct. 2. WILL CHAVEZ/CHEROKEE PHOENIX A painting titled “After the Vote” by Cherokee artist Joseph Erb won the Visual Arts category in the 16th Annual Cherokee Homecoming Art Show that opened Aug. 12. COURTESY PHOTO
Troy Jackson stands next to his grand-prize-winning sculpture titled “Halfbreed-Am I Red and White or Am I White and Red.” WILL CHAVEZ/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
BY WILL CHAVEZ
Senior Reporter – @cp_wchavez
08/17/2011 08:42 AM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – Cherokee artist Troy Jackson took home the grand prize in the 16th Annual Cherokee Homecoming Art Show that opened Aug. 13.

Along with a ribbon, Jackson received a $1,100 check, which was part of $15,000 in prize money awarded during the opening. The show, which runs through Oct. 2, was open to enrolled members of the three federally recognized Cherokee tribes: the Cherokee Nation, United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians and Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians.

“This year, I’m very proud to say, is the largest Homecoming Art Show ever. We had 81 artists submit 162 pieces … and they are all Cherokee,” said Cherokee Heritage Center Executive Director Carey Tilley. “We accepted the best quality, originality and craftsmanship. We are very excited about the quality of the entries, and we’re very excited about the quality of the show.”

Cherokee Nation Businesses sponsored the show and allocated $25,000 for the show, which included the $15,000 in prize money.

“It (Homecoming Show) helps keep Cherokee art alive, which is what I think is Cherokee Nation Businesses’ goal here,” Tilley said.

Jackson of the Grandview Community won the Grand Prize with his sculpture titled “Halfbreed-Am I Red and White or Am I White and Red.”

“I am both white and Native American, and so I struggle with it in different areas. Sometimes I feel like I’m white and sometimes I feel like I’m Native American,” Jackson said.

He added growing up he dealt with this conflict and believes many other Cherokee people can identify with his struggle.

Jackson said he has been working on his art for about 10 years. In April, he won the Grand Prize in the annual Trail of Tears Art Show for his work “Putting The Pieces Together” in the pottery category.

He said he appreciates the two Cherokee art shows because it allows him to see the work of other Cherokee artists and his competition.

“Every year that I come here it just seems to be a better show, and people are progressing in their work. I think that is important because this is the 21st century, and I see people really shooting for the future in Native American art,” he said.

Joseph Erb of the Blackgum Community, won the Visual Arts category with his painting titled “After the Vote,” which depicts the reactions of Cherokee people after the June 25 Cherokee Nation election.

He said he was surprised by his win because the painting depicts a controversial period. He added he wasn’t even sure the piece would be accepted into the show.

“It was made because a lot of stuff occurred after the election to where the community started fighting each other. I thought I’d make an art piece about it,” Erb said. “It’s a perspective. I’m not picking the side of one group or another. I just wanted to show the reality of what politics can do to a community. It’s about the idea that we were letting an election divide our community.”

In the piece, the leaders of each political group are wearing gourd booger masks while their supporters are wearing wooden booger masks. Each faction carries a banner that reads “no good” in the Cherokee syllabary.

The words around the eyeball in the center of the painting say “after the vote” in the syllabary to show the arguing and campaigning continued after the votes were cast, Erb said. A keyboard and computer represent the way Cherokee people communicated about the election using the Internet and social networks like Facebook.

Erb also included in the painting the Cherokee Phoenix’s role in covering the election and controversy. He said Cherokee people depended on the newspaper’s website and its Facebook page to keep them up to date on what was happening on a daily basis.

“It think this increased our news cycle that it will actually never change again because people are really expecting fast news,” he said. “This is really a neat thing to see happen. A newspaper that gave us such notoriety as Native people throughout the world is still running today and still serving the people. That’s one of the reasons I paid homage to it.”

Lisa Forrest of the Rocky Ford Community entered the Contemporary and Traditional Basket categories and won a judges’ choice award with her traditional basket titled “Fall Harvest.” This is the third award she has won in the Homecoming Show, she said.

Forrest said she learned how to weave baskets from her mother, Lena Blackbird, who is Cherokee National Treasure.

“I’m just carrying on with it and it makes her pretty proud,” Forrest said.

She added she appreciates the homecoming show because it allows her to see the artwork of other Cherokee artisans.

“It’s just pretty amazing what our people can do,” she said.

Cherokee artwork was judged in traditional and contemporary divisions with 162 entries under consideration. The traditional division is defined as arts originating before European contact and consists of four categories including basketry, jewelry and beading, pottery and traditional arts.

The contemporary division is defined as arts arising among the Cherokee after European contact, and consists of five categories including paintings, sculpture, pottery, basketry and textiles.

Other winners in the Homecoming Art Show

Contemporary Basketry – Winner - Shawna Cain, “Squisidi Agasga”

Honorable Mentions - Sandra Pallie and Joann Richmond


Contemporary Pottery – Winner - Troy Jackson, “One Man’s Legacy”

Honorable Mentions - David Pruitt, Joel Queen and Janet Smith


Jewelry and Beadwork – Winner – Antonio Grant , “The Union”

Honorable Mentions – Abraham Locust and Teri Lee Rhoades


Sculpture – Winner – Jane Osti, “Selu”

Honorable Mentions – Karen Berry and Janet Smith


Textiles – Winner – Bessie Russell, “Dogwood Quilt”

Judges’ Choice – Ernest Grant, “Red Clay Reunion”

Tonia Hogner-Weavel, “Stripes”

Rene’e Hoover, “Winter Grays”

Honorable Mention – Dorothy Ice


Traditional Basketry – Winner – Bessie Russell, untitled

Judges’ Choice – Lisa Forrest


Traditional Pottery – Winner – Joann Richmond, “Earth, Wind and Fire”


Traditional Arts – Winner – Rebecca Alice Wiltshire Whitwell, “Wenona’s Rattle”

Honorable Mentions – Noel Grayson and Lisa Rutherford


Visual Arts – Winner – Joseph Erb, “After the Vote”

Judges’ Choice – Dan Horsechief, “Resurgence”

Honorable Mentions – Hilary Glass and Lori Smiley


will-chavez@cherokee.org • 918-207-3961
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
06/27/2016 08:00 AM
WASHINGTON – When the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian opens its exhibition, “Americans,” in fall 2017 it will be due in part to a significant contribution from the Cherokee Nation. The CN is the first major contributor, providing $500,000 to the exhibition that will dispel myths and educate the more than 1.7 million average annual museum visitors about major moments in American history, including the forced removal of Cherokees known as the Trail of Tears. “It is an honor for us to be the first of what we hope are many partners to fund this much-needed educational exhibit,” Principal Chief Bill John Baker said. “As Cherokee people, we lost our homes, land and thousands of lives, but we survived and persevered, and today our sovereign government is stronger than ever. That’s an inspiring American story, and, sadly, it is getting lost incrementally in our country’s classrooms. It is our responsibility to help share the true accounts of our history with the visitors of the National Museum of the American Indian.” “Americans” is a 10-year exhibition consisting of six sections within a 9,200-square-foot gallery. It will present a plethora of Indian imagery spanning six centuries that opens a conversation with visitors about the omnipresence of such imagery in American life. The exhibition uses certain points in American history as frames of reference. One section examines the Trail of Tears, taking visitors beyond the specifics of Cherokee removal and focusing on the national consequences of the passage of the 1830 Indian Removal Act. Furthermore, the exhibition will demonstrate the failure of the act to diminish Southeast Native nations and address how their descendants and non-Native alike reflect on the removal today. “The museum is embarking on a vast effort to confront popular myths about Native Americans and the national origin myths that influence how most Americans are taught about history,” Kevin Gover, museum director, said. “This undertaking invites visitors to make a personal connection with these myths and ask themselves how ideas of ‘Indian-ness’ affect their own lives and perceptions of the United States. The Cherokee Nation gift will be a vital part of our success in this pursuit.” The Cherokee experience will also be a part of Native Knowledge 360°, a strategy to introduce to grades 4-12 contextualized and historically accurate educational materials with native content to standard school curricula and national standards across the country. Cherokee Nation Businesses, the tribe’s holding company, is funding the effort to further its mission of preserving Cherokee culture and history. This contribution expands a partnership that began in 2014 with “Cherokee Days,” an annual event centered on Cherokee culture. Storytellers, musicians, artists and leaders interact with the museum’s visitors to promote mutual understanding and cultural appreciation during the annual three-day event. Those unable to attend the event can still take part in the “Cherokee Days” experience through the interactive website Anadisgoi.com/CherokeeDays, which provides an agenda of daily activities and performances, access to information and photos from each tribe’s social media accounts and streaming throughout the event.
BY STAFF REPORTS
06/24/2016 08:00 AM
PARK HILL, Okla. – The Cherokee Heritage Center is conducting its “Threads of Time” exhibit until Aug. 20 and showcase Cherokee clothing from ancient history to modern day apparel. According to a Cherokee Nation Communications press release, the evolution of Cherokee clothing is more than just a historical record of what was worn throughout time. “It shares the story of identity, resiliency, adaptability, history and culture of the Cherokee people,” the release states. Dr. Candessa Tehee, CHC executive director, said that Cherokee clothing represents a beautiful balance as it embraces practical components of society at large. “While maintaining cultural identity,” she said. “Each piece communicates a different part of our history and culture while giving us a unique perspective at Cherokee lifestyles throughout the years.” According to the release, Cherokee artisans carry on the tradition of creating Cherokee clothing, as their tribal identity continues to be an important part of life. Cherokee artists make traditional style clothing and create new themes that maintain and promote identity. “Cherokee clothing has long been both practical as well as beautiful,” Callie Chunestudy, CHC curator, said. “Through this exhibit we are able to share the evolution of Cherokee textiles and provide valuable insight to how and why some of the progression took place.” The CHC is located at 21192 S. Keeler Drive.
BY TESINA JACKSON
Reporter,
WILL CHAVEZ
Senior Reporter – @cp_wchavez &
JAMI MURPHY
Senior Reporter – @cp_jmurphy
06/22/2016 03:15 PM
<strong>This is an archive story that the Cherokee Phoenix is publishing on the anniversary of the day that three prominent Cherokees were killed.</strong> DUTCH MILLS, Ark. – On the morning of June 22, 1839, three small bands of Cherokees carried out “blood law” upon Major Ridge, John Ridge and Elias Boudinot – three prominent Cherokees who signed a treaty in 1835 calling for the tribe’s removal to Indian Territory. Tribal Councilor Jack Baker said he believes “blood law” was the basis for the men’s assassinations. “Although they did not follow all of the procedures, I do believe that was the basis for the executions,” Baker said. “I believe the proper procedure should have been followed. They should have been brought to trial and that was not done.” The Cherokee General Council put the law, which had existed for years, into writing on Oct. 24, 1829. According to Thurman Wilkins’ “Cherokee Tragedy,” the law stated “if any citizen or citizens of this Nation should treat and dispose of any lands belonging to this Nation without special permission from the National authorities, he or they shall suffer death; Therefore…any person or persons who shall, contrary to the will and consent of the legislative council of this Nation…enter into a treaty with any commissioner or commissioners of the United States, or any officers instructed for that purpose, and agree to sell or dispose of any part or portion of the National lands defined in this Constitution of this Nation, he or they so offending, upon conviction before any of the circuit judges aforesaid are authorized to call a court for the trial of any such person or persons so transgressing. Be it Further Resolved; that any person or persons, who shall violate the provisions of this act, and shall refuse, by resistance, to appear at the place designated for trial, or abscond, are hereby declared to be outlaws; and any person or persons, citizens of this Nation, may kill him or them so offending, in any manner most convenient…and shall not be held accountable for the same.” It is thought that John Ross Party members carried out this law in the killings of the Ridges and Boudinot. <strong>Major Ridge</strong> He was born in the Cherokee town of Great Hiwassee, later a part of Tennessee. He was initiated as a warrior early and known by several names including Nunnehidihi, meaning “He Who Slays The Enemy In His Path,” and Ganundalegi, which meant “The Man Who Walks On The Mountain Top” or “The Ridge.” He received the name Major while fighting with U.S. Gen. Andrew Jackson at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend during the Creek War in 1814. He used Major as his first name the rest of his life. According to the Oklahoma Historical Society, in the1820s gold sparked a demand to get rid of Cherokee titles to lands within Georgia. “While the federal government tried to create inducements to convince the Southeastern Indians to leave their homes, the discovery of gold in Georgia led to more aggressive demands for immediate removal,” the OHS website states. While Congress debated the issues with removal, several Cherokees negotiated a removal agreement with the United States, according to the OHS. “Major Ridge, a Cherokee planter and soldier, his son John Ridge, and his nephew Elias Boudinot conducted these negotiations with the United States despite the expressed wishes of the majority of their nation. Most Cherokees, including Principal Chief John Ross, protested and tried to stop Ridge and his so-called Treaty Party,” the OHS site states. “On May 28, 1830, while Ridge and his supporters negotiated terms of removal with the United States, Congress passed the Indian Removal Act.” This law provided $500,000 to establish districts west of the Mississippi River, to trade eastern tribal lands for those districts, to compensate the tribes for the cost of their removal and the improvements on their homesteads, and to pay one year’s worth subsistence to those who went west, the website states. Armed with this authority, Andrew Jackson, who was now president, authorized agents to negotiate and enforce treaties. Major and 56 other Cherokees signed the Treaty of New Echota on Dec. 29, 1835. Major, who could not write, made his mark on the treaty. That ultimately led to his death. According to “Cherokee Tragedy,” one of three bands of Cherokees sought to kill Major on the same morning as John Ridge and Elias Boudinot. “Having learned that he had left the previous day for Van Buren (Arkansas), where one of his slaves lay ill, they had followed him down the Line Road. They discovered where he had spent the night, beneath the roof of Ambrose Harnage, at Cincinnati, Arkansas, and they rode ahead to form an ambush,” the book states. Five men hid in the brush of trees where the road crossed White Rock Creek, now Little Branch, near Dutchtown, now known as Dutch Mills. “At ten o’clock, Major Ridge came riding down the highway with a colored boy in attendance. Several rifles cracked. The Ridge slumped in his saddle, his head and body pierced by five bullets,” according to the book. Those thought to have fired upon him were James Foreman, Anderson Springston, Bird Doublehead, Isaac Springton, James Hair and Jefferson Hair. Major’s body was recovered by nearby settlers and buried in a cemetery in what is now Piney, Okla. He was later moved and buried near his home on Honey Creek in northern Delaware County. <strong>John Ridge</strong> John was born in Georgia to Major and Susannah Wickett Ridge in 1802. Growing up, John attended school at the Springplace Mission in Georgia and then Brainerd Mission in Tennessee. In 1819, he went to the Foreign Mission School in Cornwall, Conn., which existed until 1827. While attending the Foreign Mission School, he met his wife, the daughter of the school’s steward, Sarah Bird Northrup. The couple married in 1824. The biracial union caused uproar from the town of Cornwall resulting in John and his wife leaving. According to Robert J. Conley’s “A Cherokee Encyclopedia” later that year, John went with his father and Chief Ross to Washington, D.C. to protest the possible removal of Cherokees from all lands east of the Mississippi River. In 1830, President Jackson pushed his removal bill through Congress and it passed into law. In 1832, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Rev. Samuel Worcester v. Georgia that Georgia’s laws over Cherokee territory were illegal and unconstitutional. It ruled that the Cherokee Nation had sovereign status, however Jackson refused to enforce the ruling in favor of the Cherokees, which caused John to change his position. Feeling that the Cherokees had no other course of action, he began to speak in favor of negotiating a removal treaty with the United States and on Dec. 29, 1835, along with others known as the Ridge Party or Treaty Party, he signed the Treaty of New Echota. Those who signed the treaty were Cherokee Nation citizens but were not elected officials. After signing, he moved with his family to present-day Oklahoma in 1837. The U.S. Senate ratified the treaty and although Chief Ross and others protested it, it led to the removal in 1838-39 known as the Trail of Tears. The U.S. Army began forcing Cherokees and their slaves (for those who had them) out of their homes. On Aug. 23, 1838, the first removal detachment of Cherokees left, and on Dec. 5, 1838, the 13th detachment left. It arrived in Indian Territory on March 18, 1839. Approximately 4,000 Cherokees died along the trail. According to the treaty, Cherokees who wished to remain in the East could do so but would be required to become U.S. citizens by giving up their tribal status, a provision that was ignored during the removal. Because the treaty surrendered all Cherokee land, Ross supporters, the Ross or National Party, regarded the Treaty Party as traitors. On June 22, 1839, John, his father Major and Boudinot were assassinated for having signed the treaty. According to “Cherokee Tragedy,” 25 men reached John’s house in the morning and, while he was still in bed, fired a gun at John’s head. The gun failed to fire. He was then dragged outside and stabbed 26 times in the torso and neck. While still alive, he was then stomped on and kicked, all in front of his wife, mother and son, John Rollin Ridge. John was buried about 150 yards to 500 yards from his home in Polson Cemetery, which is located southeast of Grove, Okla. near the Oklahoma/Missouri state line in Delaware County. <strong>Elias Boudinot</strong> The sentiments among the Cherokee people in June 1839 in Indian Territory could be said were of misery, mistrust and resentment. The last detachment of Cherokees forcibly removed from the East had arrived three months before and they were attempting to rebuild their lives. However, Chief Ross wished to reunite the tribe’s three factions, which lived together in what is now northeastern Oklahoma. He called a meeting at an Illinois River camp ground located a few miles southeast of where Tahlequah now sits, and tried to get the Old Settlers, Cherokees who had settled the territory in the early 1800s, and members of the Treaty Party, Cherokees who had signed away Cherokee lands in the East, to reunite with his party or faction. Boudinot, the Cherokee Phoenix’s first editor, his uncle Major Ridge and Major’s son, John, were members of the Treaty Party. The two smaller factions declined any union with Ross, and the meeting broke up on June 21. Based on an 1890 statement by Allen Ross, John Ross’ son, men who had signed the 1835 Treaty and opposed John Ross as chief caused the anti-union dissention. “After several days of endeavor to get together and having failed, some of the leaders of the emigrants called a secret meeting without the knowledge or consent of my father John Ross at what is now known as Double Springs about four miles northwest of Tahlequah for the purpose of making plans to effect an act of union,” Allen’s statement reads. The discussion turned to the blood law passed by the Cherokee National Council that stated that any Cherokee who agreed or signed an agreement to sell Cherokee lands should forfeit their lives. “Believing that the same men who had made the Treaty of 1835 were responsible for the failure of the Cherokee people to get together, this meeting decided that these three men (Boudinot and the two Ridges) should be executed as provided by the law,” Allen wrote. “The meeting further decided that this meeting must be kept from their chief because he would prevent it as he had once before at Red Clay before their removal.” A committee was appointed to arrange details. Numbers were placed in a hat for each person present. Twelve numbers had an X mark after them, which indicated the executioners. Allen wrote he was not allowed to draw and was tasked to go his father’s home the evening before the executions and to stay with him and if possible keep him from finding out what was being done. According to a letter written on June 26 by Boudinot’s friend and confidant, Rev. Samuel Worcester, Boudinot was living with Worcester at Park Hill near Tahlequah and was building a home about a quarter mile away. Worcester was at the construction site the morning Boudinot was killed. “There he was, last Saturday morning, when some men came up, inquiring for medicine. He set out with them to come and get it and had walked but a few rods when he was heard to shriek, and his hired men, at and near his house ran to his help, but before they could reach the spot, the deed was done,” Worcester wrote. “They seemed to have stabbed Mr. Boudinot in the back with a knife, and then finished their dreadful work with a hatchet, inflicting seven strokes, two or three of which sunk deep into his head. To me he was a dear friend, a most intimate companion, and a most valued helper.” An act of union was formed the next month and the newly formed council pardoned all parties connected with the assassinations of the Ridges and Boudinot. Boudinot is buried in the Worcester Cemetery in Park Hill, about a mile from where the Cherokee Phoenix is published. The three assassinations are thought to have helped form the basis of the July 12, 1839, act of union that brought together the Old Settlers and the Ross and Treaty parties. Baker said Emmet Starr’s “History of the Cherokee Indians and Their Legends and Folklore” states that the Eastern and Western Cherokees came together to form one body politic. This, Baker said, led to the CN constitution two months later.
BY STAFF REPORTS
06/02/2016 12:00 PM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – The Cherokee Arts Center and Spider Gallery in Tahlequah is hosting kids art classes this summer on Tuesdays and Wednesdays through July. The classes vary and begin at 3 p.m. and end at 5 p.m. Children under age 7 must have a parent or guardian present. Each class is $20 or students can sign up for 10 classes and pay $150. In June and July, classes include wax and watercolor, beadwork, I-spy bottles, soapstone pendants, beaded felt patches, tie-dye day, and oil and pastels. Those interested in enrolling can do so by calling 918-453-5728. The art center is located at 215 Water Street in Tahlequah.
BY MARK DREADFULWATER
Multimedia Editor – @cp_mdreadfulwat
06/02/2016 08:15 AM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – Cherokee artist Matthew Girty has sculpted life forms and objects from stone for more than 20 years. In that time, he’s developed into an award-winning artist, most recently winning the Trail of Tears Art Show and Sale’s sculpture category in April. “I’ve won second place in a couple of shows, but I’ve never took first,” he said. “I felt like I got pushed into it. I guess people thought my work was museum quality to go against those guys. I’ve been entering for the last five years and finally this past month, I took first. So that was a big accomplishment for me and my family.” Girty said he believes all Cherokees have some artistic ability and it’s up to them to realize and develop it. “The naturals (artists), they have to practice and practice,” he said. “You’ve also got to have people pushing you. What really helped me, too, is people buying my stuff. I’ve got carvings all over and I don’t know where they are. Everything that I make, it’s made for somebody.” Girty said he started carving from red pipestone. However, he wanted to get away from the Southwestern art style and revive the Southeastern art style after speaking with other Native artists. “I see Indian art doing nothing but getting better,” he said. “There for a while all you saw in the ‘70s and ‘80s was Plains Indian art. So now we’re Southeastern, and now we’re seeing people come out of the woodwork and seeing these beautiful objects that were hidden.” He said he’s been carving full-time for five years. His main medium is soapstone because he wants to bring back the Cherokee way of carving. He said, in Oklahoma, there are carvers who use wood or deer antlers for their materials, but he rarely sees stone carvers. A medium, he said, that he wants to revive and teach others. “When we were pre-Columbus, we had soapstone everywhere,” Girty said. “That is what Cherokees used primarily in ceremonial effigies, for their bowls, dinnerware and jewelry. They made all different kinds of sacred objects that we hold dear to us. They were carvers that made those things. I want to use the same style and the same technique they used a long time ago. The ones who created those pieces years ago are here today in the same bloodline. I wasn’t taught this. I had to practice at it. When we moved here we were limited on our stonework. It seems like now, today, like our language, it’s kind of going. We don’t have anybody out there teaching us. So that’s what I’m wanting to do. I’m wanting to bring this back…and teach the kids.” He said he plans to teach classes so he’s able to pass on his knowledge to future generations. “I know there are other people out there besides me who would enjoy doing this,” he said. “They just need a little teaching. That’s all it took for me. Somebody showed me these stones.” He said it’s taken years of practice and encouragement to make a living as an artist. Although his career isn’t where he wants it, he said he’s “tickled to death” every time a person sees his work and wants to buy it. “Every time I complete a project, I’m rewarded just by seeing it,” he said. “I wouldn’t be doing this if people didn’t want it.”
BY STAFF REPORTS
05/31/2016 04:00 PM
ROSWELL, Ga. – The next meeting of the Georgia Chapter of the Trail of Tears Association will be held at 10:30 a.m. on July 9 at the Chattahoochee Nature Center. The speaker will be TOTA member Lisa Simpson, a retired Fulton County teacher and long-time docent at the Nature Center. Her topic will be the significance of the Hightower Trail. She has spent years researching the trail and the Native Americans who used it. Following her talk, she will lead attendees on a short tour along the trail as it passes through the Nature Center property. A Georgia TOTA business meeting will follow. The center will be open until 5 p.m. The Chattahoochee Nature Center is located on the Chattahoochee River in Roswell and sits on a site comprised of 127 acres of native plants and gardens. It has a River Boardwalk, Discovery Center, wetland demonstration gardens and woodland trails that are home to more than 30 wildlife species. For 37 years, the facility has grown and reached out to citizens as a place to explore ideas and expand the awareness of the natural world. There is no charge to attend the meeting or tour the grounds. There will be a charge to visit the museum on the site if meeting attendees wish to do so. There are also picnic areas available. The Nature Center is located at 9135 Willeo Road. From I-75, take Hwy. 120 (also called Marietta Highway or Upper Roswell Road) east toward the city of Roswell, cross Johnson Ferry Road and travel approximately four miles to Willeo Road. Turn right onto Willeo Road. The CNC is located one mile on the right. The TOTA was created to support the Trail of Tears National Historic Trail established by an act of Congress in 1987. It is dedicated to identifying and preserving sites associated with the removal of Native Americans from the Southeast. The association consists of nine state chapters representing the nine states that the Cherokees and other tribes traveled through on their way to Indian Territory (now Oklahoma). TOTA meetings are free and public, and people need not have Native American ancestry to attend meetings, just an interest and desire to learn more about this period in the country’s history. For more information, visit <a href="http://www.nationaltota.org" target="_blank">www.nationaltota.org</a> or <a href="http://www.gatrailoftears.org" target="_blank">www.gatrailoftears.org</a>. For more information about the meeting, email <a href="mailto: harris7627@bellsouth.net">harris7627@bellsouth.net</a>.