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 WILL CHAVEZ
Senior Reporter – @cp_wchavez
12/05/2016 08:30 AM
PARK HILL, Okla. – Family and friends of Cherokee National Treasure and potter Anna Mitchell recently attended a reception for a Cherokee Heritage Center exhibit celebrating her life and legacy as a Cherokee potter. The “Anna Mitchell Legacy” will be on display through April 1 and includes pottery Mitchell made during four decades. Anna Belle Sixkiller Mitchell was born Oct. 16, 1926, to Oo-loo-tsa and Houston Sixkiller in Delaware County and died March 3, 2012, at age 86. The CHC and Mitchell’s family wanted to showcase her life’s work and contributions. Mitchell’s daughter, Victoria Mitchell Vazquez, said for her mother’s exhibit she located collectors who agreed to loan pottery items made by her mother for the exhibit. She said it was her idea to recreate her mother’s studio for the exhibit, complete with original pottery tools her mother worked with, her original worktable, examples of clay and some in-the-works pieces. Her mother’s worktable came from her sister’s cellar and still has clay on it. “I love the way it has all been put together. Jane Osti (a Mitchell student) helped a lot,” she said. “I love the panels that have all the descriptions and stories of mother. I like the easy flow of being able to go in a circle and you see some of her best work, and as you go around you see her work, her students’ work and their students’ work.” She said while the exhibit captures much of who her mother was it doesn’t capture all of her mother’s essence. How important Mitchell was for bringing back pottery making to the Cherokee people is not fully captured, she said. Mitchell was instrumental in bringing back Southeastern-style pottery to Cherokee people in Oklahoma. No one had been able to continue the tribe’s pottery tradition after it was moved to Indian Territory, now Oklahoma, in the early 1800s. Cherokee potter Crystal Hanna studied pottery under Mitchell. She met her after seeing Mitchell’s photo in a brochure for the annual Red Earth festival in Oklahoma City. Hanna said she contacted Red Earth representatives to get in touch with Mitchell because she felt she was someone she should get to know. Mitchell later called her and invited her to her house in Vinita. “That was in October of 1998, and she asked me if I was interested in doing an apprenticeship. I hadn’t really thought about it then. I was so excited to meet her to see what she did,” Hanna said. “She invited me to come back in March, that’s when she started working (making pottery) for Indian Market in Santa Fe (New Mexico).” Hanna said she returned to Vinita in March 1999 for a three-month apprenticeship with Mitchell. Mitchell loaned her books about Southeastern-style pottery and told Hanna she wanted her to study her “ancient culture and history before she put her hands in the clay.” One of Hanna’s tasks was sifting dried clay pieces for hours and rehydrating the clay for use. “After I did that all afternoon, she said, ‘oh, I just wanted to let you know how our ancestors did it.’ There’s an easier way. You can take the hand-dug clay and put it in little pebbles, soak it and then put it through a screen,” she said. “We went through every step – grinding the clay, processing it, the hand coiling, the burnishing, the slip painting.” She said after her apprenticeship Mitchell was always available to answer pottery questions. “We definitely bonded. She kind of reminded me of my mom. She was amazing, really amazing, and I loved her,” Hanna said. Vazquez learned pottery making from her mother after her father, Bob, died in 1997. After his death she moved home to Vinita from Houston where she had worked. “I came back to stay with mom for a couple of weeks, and I decided I need to stay here to support her but also really get serious about making pottery back in Oklahoma because you couldn’t do it in an apartment in Houston,” she said. Vazquez is known for making effigy pottery with human and animal faces. “I like pots, but I always wanted to do something different. I’ve always been drawn to animal or human effigies,” she said. Mitchell’s youngest daughter, Julie McPeek, never took up her mother’s craft, but she appreciated what her mother and father created as a team. She said her father was her mother’s support system and encouraged her constantly. McPeek said by the time she finished college and began raising her family, her mother was too busy with making pottery for art markets and customers that she no longer had time to teach. “And then it just seemed there was not opportunities after that,” she said. She said based on taking a pottery class with Victoria, she now understands that one just can’t “take a lesson or two” to really learn how to make great pottery. One has to learn “from the ground up” and study the culture behind Southeastern-style pottery making, she said. “I was here when they were getting things put in (for the exhibit), and it has such a presence of Mom here. I’m just overwhelmed,” McPeek said. “I love the way it flows from her work and then on around to students that she has taught and then students that her students have taught.”
BY ROGER GRAHAM
Media Specialist – @cp_rgraham
11/18/2016 08:00 AM
PARK HILL, Okla. – More than 1,800 school-age children from surrounding schools attended the annual Cherokee Heritage Festival on Nov. 3-4 at the Cherokee Heritage Center. CHC Interim Director Tonia Weavel said 371 students visited the first day and 1,449 students visited the second day. “We have schools today from Tulsa, McAlester, Roland, Marietta, Dahlonegah, Muskogee and others.” Weavel said. “The Cherokee Heritage Festival is a fantastic fall event where we’ve invited children to come and learn about the Cherokee culture.” Weavel said students who attended received “hands on and up close” lessons on Cherokee culture and history. “So we’re glad they’re here. It’s going to be a good day.”
BY STAFF REPORTS
11/17/2016 04:00 PM
ROLAND, Okla. – Cherokee Nation Businesses is preserving and promoting Cherokee culture at each of its properties by utilizing themes and technology to immerse guests in tribal art, language and history. The tribe’s newest gaming and hospitality property, Cherokee Casino & Hotel Roland, highlights the company’s ability to enhance the entertainment experience by embracing technology and sharing the tribe’s history and culture. The venue’s design represents earth, wind, water and fire and is evident throughout the casino. “Our Cherokee heritage is unique and beautiful,” Principal Chief Bill John Baker said. “Adorning our entertainment properties with cultural elements, brilliant works of Cherokee art and even subtle design motifs allows us to preserve and share our tribal culture while creating memorable impressions that invite visitors to return time and again.” More than 25 years ago, the Cherokee Nation opened its first gaming operation, a bingo hall, on the same property as the current casino resort. At that time, much of the technology used today was nonexistent. The technological advances in gaming, security and surveillance have transformed Cherokee Casino & Hotel Roland into the region’s leading entertainment destination. The tribe’s business arm used new methods to match the property’s increased focus on technology and art, including an animated TV wall featuring art with moving elements and audio across three monitors and a mosaic TV wall displaying the casino and hotel’s entire art collection. Holographic greeters offer patrons a quick and factual education in Cherokee culture and language while also depicting the tribe’s history within Sequoyah County. The greeters feature the appearances and voices of actual employees who work at the property. “It’s an honor as both an employee and as a Cherokee Nation citizen to work in an environment that expresses so much of our tribal history and culture through numerous displays,” Chad McReynolds, general manager of Cherokee Casino & Hotel Roland, said. “Our guests appreciate the art and are interested in hearing the stories behind each piece. The art team really did a wonderful job with this project." Cherokee culture is represented throughout CNB and CNE properties by using historical and modern media. The Roland location features the works of 28 Cherokee artists, including eight Cherokee National Treasures: Bill Glass Jr., David Scott, Donald Vann, Jane Osti, Luther Toby Hughes, Noel Grayson, Shawna Morton Cain and William Cabbagehead. The property boasts 3-D works ranging from basketry to ceramics by Cain, Osti and Scott, photos by Cherokee photographer Jeremy Charles and a ceiling centerpiece reflecting the four directions on earth created by Bill and Demos Glass. Honeysuckle baskets, woven and hand-built pottery, a historic sugar bowl and handmade hunting and fishing tools used before European contact, as well as 8-foot-tall panels displaying Ron Mitchell’s piece “Art of the People” are also on display. “It is very important that we continue to preserve our culture and support Cherokee artists,” Gina Olaya, CNB director of cultural art and design, said. “Cherokee Casino & Hotel Roland exemplifies the many ways modern technology helps us share and enjoy Cherokee history, language and art, while simultaneously creating an entertainment experience unlike anything else in the area.” The CN and its businesses rely on Cherokee artists and their works to bring authenticity to all of the tribe’s properties. A catalogue of the tribe’s collection is accessible through an online art database at <a href="http://cnart.pastperfect-online.com" target="_blank">http://cnart.pastperfect-online.com</a>.
BY STAFF REPORTS
11/10/2016 08:30 AM
INDIANAPOLIS – Western paintings and Native American artifacts collected by former NFL Tennessee Titans owner Kenneth S. “Bud” Adams go on exhibit Nov. 12 at the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art. The “Titan of the West: The Adams Collection of Western and Native American Art” exhibition includes items from a multimillion-dollar collection bequeathed by Adams to the museum when he died in 2013 at age 90. It is one of the largest and most historically important bequests the museum ever has received. Visitors will see paintings by Frederic Remington, Charles Russell, Thomas Moran and other artists who shaped the image of the Old West. They also will see Native American artifacts, including beaded and quilled clothing from Plains tribes, pottery and weavings from the Southwest, Cherokee basketry and a variety of horse gear, smoking pipes and moccasins all gifted to the museum by the late Adams in his will. “Bud Adams and his wife Nancy Adams assembled an impressive personal art collection at their Houston home and business inspired by Bud’s dual heritage as an enrolled member of the Cherokee Nation and descendant of pioneers. While football fans knew Bud Adams as the owner of the Tennessee Titans, we at the Eiteljorg Museum also came to know him as a tremendous enthusiast for the history of the West. The Adams’ collection is one of national importance, and we were thunderstruck with gratitude when Bud entrusted this collection to the Eiteljorg for the public’s enjoyment and appreciation,” said Eiteljorg Museum President and CEO John Vanausdall. A wealthy Houston businessman and rancher, Adams was prominent in the oil and gas industry as CEO of Adams Resources & Energy. Adams also was a central figure in the history of modern professional football. He was co-founder of the American Football League, which later merged with the NFL, and he was owner of the former Houston Oilers franchise that later became the Tennessee Titans in Nashville. Many direct ancestors of Adams were among the Cherokee forced to leave Tennessee on the Trail of Tears. The Tiana Rogers family traveled with a party that took 189 days to reach Indian Territory (in what is now Oklahoma) in 1839. In 1841, daughter Martha married Hilliard Fields. She was Bud Adams’ great-great-grandmother. W.W. “Bill” Keeler was the brother of Adams’ mother and was president of Phillips Petroleum. Keeler became principal chief of the CN first appointed by President Harry Truman and holding the office until 1975. Adams was a supporter of the Cherokee Heritage Center in Park Hill, Oklahoma, and in 2000 received “the highest honor awarded by the Cherokee National Historical Society for his support and dedication to the preservation and promotion of Cherokee culture.” Curators and collection experts at the Eiteljorg have spent nearly three years preparing for the display of 60 paintings and nearly 90 Native American artifacts Adams collected, which together will fill an exhibition room. A full-color 300-page book authored by the curatorial staff accompanies the exhibition. “The Eiteljorg Museum is one of the premier museums of Native American artifacts and Western art in North America, and it is appropriate that these priceless treasures will be housed at the Eiteljorg permanently,” said Amy Adams Strunk, daughter of Bud Adams and controlling owner of the Tennessee Titans. “This collection was very special to my father, and our family hopes that those who view these items on display will walk away with the same sense of wonder and appreciation for the culture and heritage that these unique artifacts and works of art represent.” The “Titan of the West” exhibition continues through Feb. 5 and is included with regular museum admission.
BY STAFF REPORTS
11/07/2016 12:00 PM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – The Cherokee Speakers Bureau Thanksgiving will be held Thursday November 10, 2016 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: Edna Jones at (918) 453-5151; John Ross at (918) 453-6170; or Roy Boney, Jr. (918) 453-5487
BY STACIE GUTHRIE
Reporter – @cp_sguthrie
11/07/2016 08:15 AM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – After reconnecting with her pre-school teacher, Cherokee Nation citizen Talisha Lewallen learned how to make Cherokee double-wall baskets from basket weaver Regina Thompson. This led her to share the skill with co-worker Joshua Cooper, and they in turn began teaching children they helped while working with CN’s Indian Child Welfare. “We both work for Cherokee Nation Indian Child Welfare, and we started realizing that when we’re teaching kids to do it, it really helps them to be able to talk to us more. It kind of gives them a way to relax around us. It takes their mind kind of off what they’re really telling us and helps, I think, all of us feel a little more comfortable in some situations,” she said. “It also helps them reconnect with their heritage and realize that they’re apart of something bigger and they’re not just out there by themselves.” Cooper, a CN citizen, said the children kept what they made but he and Lewallen noticed they had an excess of baskets. He said this prompted them to start TooNooWee Baskets about a year ago. “From doing that we had all of these baskets left over and never had much to do with it so I was like, ‘might as well start selling them,’” he said. Cooper said they have sold baskets and spread Cherokee culture to people all over the world. “I’ve sent some to Australia. I’ve sent some to England and France and Austria. So we kind of share it (Cherokee culture) that way,” he said. “We also share it with our personal family and also people here in Oklahoma.” Lewallen said they also sold all of their baskets at their booth during the 64th annual Cherokee National Holiday. “Our booth did very well.” Cooper said he believes creating baskets helps him, Lewallen and the children they teach connect with their culture. “These baskets are from the western Cherokee, after the removal. It’s kind of the style that kind of came about because they didn’t have the same materials,” he said. “It kind of keeps us connected to the sacrifices they made and understand how far we’ve come and continue it. I want to be able to teach my kids. Also, we know that the basket kind of holds it’s all self together, there’s nothing added in to it so it’s kind of like the way the Cherokee people kind of work. We kind of hold ourselves together and keep moving forward.” Lewallen said as for her baskets she recently began entering art shows and competitions and is interested in entering more. “I’ve already won two awards from the two art shows I’ve entered so I’m pretty excited about that,” she said. She said she won Judges’ Choice at the 11th annual Cherokee Holiday Art Show and first place at the 2016 Tulsa State Fair Competitive Exhibits. Cooper said the duo also offer basket-weaving classes. “We’ve only done it a few times but it’s something that we really enjoy,” he said. “We’ve actually taught all of ICW for Cherokee Nation. We had a class of probably about 100 something people.” To purchase baskets, request a custom basket or set up a class, visit <a href="http://www.etsy.com/shop/TooNooWeeBaskets" target="_blank">www.etsy.com/shop/TooNooWeeBaskets</a> , call 918-805-7082 or email <a href="mailto: toonooweebaskets@gmail.com">toonooweebaskets@gmail.com</a>. To keep up with TooNooWee Baskets “follow” them on Instagram or “like” them on Facebook.