http://www.cherokeephoenix.orgCherokee translation specialist Phyllis Edwards is part of an effort to bridge the generation gap that exists for Cherokee speakers. WILL CHAVEZ/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Cherokee translation specialist Phyllis Edwards is part of an effort to bridge the generation gap that exists for Cherokee speakers. WILL CHAVEZ/CHEROKEE PHOENIX

CHEROKEE TRANSLATORS: Cherokee translator making up for lost time

Cherokee Nation translation specialists are, from left, Dennis Sixkiller, Anna Sixkiller, David Pettit, Durbin Feeling, John Ross and Phyllis Edwards. WILL CHAVEZ/CHEROKEE PHOENIX Cherokee translation specialist Phyllis Edwards is part of an effort to bridge the generation gap that exists for Cherokee speakers. WILL CHAVEZ/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Cherokee Nation translation specialists are, from left, Dennis Sixkiller, Anna Sixkiller, David Pettit, Durbin Feeling, John Ross and Phyllis Edwards. WILL CHAVEZ/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
BY WILL CHAVEZ
Assistant Editor – @cp_wchavez
02/02/2012 08:03 AM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – Cherokee Nation translation specialists Phyllis Edwards first learned the Cherokee syllabary from her uncle Ben Bush when she was a young girl.

“My first language was the Cherokee language. That was all that was taught in the home. I was about 6 years old when I first starting learning the English language and it was very hard.”

She was 8 years old when her uncle began teaching her, her siblings and cousins how to use the Cherokee syllabary chart.

“After a stickball game at the (stomp) grounds, he would take the young kids and he would sit down and teach the syllabary charts,” she said. “He did that for maybe two years and then he passed away.”

After his death, everyone “drifted away” from the syllabary because nobody took his place, she said.

Edwards, who was raised in Marble City in Sequoyah County, was reintroduced to the syllabary chart about four years ago, when the CN began sponsoring Cherokee language classes in communities. She attended a class for two years and relearned how to read and write the syllabary.

About three years ago, the place where she had worked for 32 years in Fort Smith, Ark., closed, which led her to the tribe and its translation department.

“I had always wanted to work on something like this (language), and then somebody mentioned they (CN) may have an opening for a translator and so I applied and got it,” she said. “To me, I think everything that we do here in this department is important. You can’t say this is more important than this, and that’s also dealing with the public…if you can help them it makes you feel good that you were able to help somebody.”

Edwards said she didn’t teach her children how to speak Cherokee because of the difficulties she had while attending public school.

“The reason I really did not really push our language in my home was I had such a problem when I started when I was 6 years old. It was like going to a different world trying to understand the English language,” she said. “You were not allowed to talk Cherokee, and there was not anyone available at that time like a bilingual speaker to translate what was being said to us.

“I did not want to put my kids in that situation, so therefore I let them learn the English language so it would be easier on them because you don’t how it is to feel like that where you are thrown into a situation where you don’t understand what’s going or what’s expected of you,” she added.
Edwards said the trauma of being forced to learn English has stayed with her, but she regrets not teaching her two children to speak Cherokee.

“They understand (Cherokee) to a certain extent, but they do not speak the language,” she said. “My children are saying ‘why didn’t you just go ahead and teach us.’”

The result of her children’s generation not learning to speak Cherokee is a language gap between her generation and the generation of children attending the Cherokee Language Immersion School.

The future of the language may rest in the hands of the 100 or so students at the immersion school, and Edwards said she is happy to support the school and enjoys visiting the students.
“I just love to hear them talk. They’ll come running to you saying ‘osiyo, osiyo’ (hello). It’s so good to hear that.”

She said it’s not important that the children always speak proper Cherokee as long as the elder speakers can understand them and there is communication occurring.

“In each community the language is spoken differently, and there’s dialects, and I think it can be wrong. I mean, so long as two people can communicate with each other and understand what is being said, I think that’s fine,” she said.

She also understands that even with the efforts being made to save the language, it’s not safe from disappearing. But she’s hopeful the technology such as iPhones and iPads that translators and immersion students use will help save it.

“There are also translated books that young children or anybody can use as a reference and then we have the (language) CDs,” she said.

Edwards added that thanks in part to the translation staff, there is more Cherokee syllabary material available for people who want to study the language and learn to read and write it.

will-chavez@cherokee.org

918-207-3961


ᏣᎳᎩ

ᏓᎵᏆ, ᎣᎦᎵᎰᎹ.-- ᏣᎳᎩ ᎠᏰᎵ ᏗᏁᎶᏗᏍᎩ ᎠᎦᏔᎯ Phyllis Edwards ᎢᎬᏱ ᏚᏕᎶᏆᎥ ᎾᎿ ᏣᎳᎩ ᏗᎪᏪᎶᏙᏗ ᎾᎿ ᎤᏚᏥ Ben Bush ᏚᏪᏲᏁ ᎤᏍᏗ ᎠᎨᏳᏣ ᏥᎨᏒᎢ.

“ᎢᎬᏱ ᎠᎩᏬᏂᎯᏍᏗ ᏣᎳᎩ ᎨᏒᎢ. ᎾᏍᎩᏃ ᎤᏩᏌ ᎠᏂᏬᏂᏍᎩ ᏅᎿ ᏚᏁᏅᏒᎢ. ᏑᏓᎵ ᏯᏆᏕᏘᏴᏓ ᎨᏒ ᎠᏆᎴᏅᎲ ᎦᏕᎶᏆᏍᎬ ᏲᏁᎦ ᎠᎴ ᎢᎦ ᏍᏓᏯ ᎨᏒ.”

ᏧᏁᎳ ᎢᏳᏕᏘᏴᏓ ᎨᏒ ᎾᎿ ᎤᏚᏣ ᎤᎴᏅᎭ ᏕᎨᏲᎲᏍᎬᎢ, ᏧᏙ, ᎠᎾᏓᎸᎢᏴ ᎠᎴ ᎪᎱᏍᏗ ᏧᏩᏂ ᎤᏅᏙᏗ ᏣᎳᎩ ᏗᎪᏪᎶᏙᏗ ᏗᎪᏪᎵ.

“ᎤᎾᎳᏍᎦᎸᎰᏅ ᎠᎾᎵᏍᏓᏴᎲᏍᎪ ᎾᎿ ᎤᎾᎵᏍᎩᏍᏗᎢ, ᏓᏘᏁᎬ ᏧᎾᏍᏗ ᏗᏂᏲᏟ ᎠᎴ ᎠᎾᏅᏍᎪ ᎠᎴᏂᏍᎩ ᏕᎨᏲᎲᏍᎪ ᏗᎪᎵᏰᏙᏗ ᏗᎪᏪᎳ ᏣᎳᎩᎭᎢ,” ᎤᏛᏅᎢ. “ᎾᏍᎩ ᎾᏛᏁᎲ ᎠᏎ ᏔᎵᎭ ᏧᏕᏘᏴᏓ ᎠᎴ ᎤᏲᎱᏒᎢ.”
ᎤᏲᎱᏌᏃ, ᏂᎦᏓ “ᎣᎦᏗᎦᎴᏲᏨ” ᎾᏍᎩ ᎣᎦᏕᎶᏆᎥ Ꮭ ᎩᎶ ᏳᏭᎴᏅᎮ ᏙᎨᏲᎲᏍᎬᎢ, ᎤᏛᏅ.

Edwards, ᎾᏍᎩ ᎤᏛᏒ ᏗᎦᏓᏲᏍᏗ ᏏᏉᏲ ᏍᎦᏚᎩ, ᎤᎴᏅᎯᏌᏅ ᎾᎿ ᏗᎪᎵᏰᏙᏗ ᏗᎪᏪᎳ ᏓᏕᎶᏆᏍᎬᎢ ᏅᎩ ᎾᏕᏘᏯ ᏥᎨᏒᎢ, ᎾᏍᎩ ᏣᎳᎩ ᎠᏰᎵ ᏧᎾᎴᏅᎲ ᏗᏍᎦᏚᎩ ᏚᏙᏢᏒ ᏣᎳᎩ ᏓᏁᏲᎲᏍᎬ ᏓᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᎬᎢ. ᏚᏕᎶᏆᎥ ᏔᎵ ᏧᏕᏘᏴᏓ ᎠᎴ ᎤᏕᎶᏆᎢᏌᏅ ᎤᎪᎵᏰᏗ ᎠᎴ ᎤᏬᏪᎶᏗ ᎾᎿ ᏣᎳᎩᎭᎢ.
ᏦᎢ ᎾᏕᏘᏯ ᏈᎨᏒ, ᎾᏍᎩ ᏚᎸᏫᏍᏓᏁᎳ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏦᏍᎪ ᏔᎵ ᏧᏕᏘᏴᏓ ᎾᎿ Fort Smith, Ark., ᎤᎵᏍᏚᎾ ᎢᎪᎯᏓ ᎾᏍᎩᏃ ᎤᎷᏨ ᎾᎿ ᏣᎳᎩ ᎠᏰᎵ ᎠᎾᏁᎸᏗᏍᎩ ᎤᎾᏓᏡᎬᎢ.

“ᏂᎪᎯᎸ ᎠᏆᏚᎵᏍᎩ ᏗᎩᎸᏫᏍᏓᏁᏗ ᎾᏍᎩ (ᎦᏬᏂᎯᏍᏗ) ᎤᎬᏩᏟ ᎠᎴ ᎩᎶ ᎠᎩᏃᎯᏎᎸ ᎾᎿ ᏣᎳᎩ ᎠᏰᎵ ᎡᎵᏊ ᏳᏠᏅᏓ ᏗᎦᎸᏫᏍᏓᏁᏗ ᎾᎿ ᏗᏁᎶᏗᏍᎩ ᎤᎾᏓᏡᎬ ᎠᎴ ᏩᎩᏢᏅ ᎪᏪᎵ ᎠᎴ ᎥᎩᎾᏢᏅᎢ,” ᎤᏛᏅ. “ᎠᏯᏃ ᎨᏒ, ᎨᎵᏍᎪ ᏂᎦᏓ ᎠᎭᏂ ᏥᏃᏣᏛᏁᎭ ᎤᎵᏍᎨᏗ. ᏝᏃ ᎯᎠ ᎤᎪᏓ ᎤᎵᏍᎬᏗᏯ ᎾᏃ ᏐᎢ ᎨᏒᎢ, ᎠᎴ ᏭᏂᎪᏛ ᏙᏯᏗᏜ ᎠᏁᎭ ᎠᏂᏴᏫ ᏂᏙᏣᏛᏁᎭᎢ……… ᎢᏳᏃ ᏱᏓᏍᏕᎸᎭ ᎣᏍᏓ ᎠᏓᏅᏓᏍᏗ ᎨᏐ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎩᎶ ᎯᏍᏕᎸᎲᎭ.”

Edwards ᎤᏛᏅ ᎾᏍᎩ Ꮭ ᏱᏚᏪᏲᏁ ᏗᏂᏲᏟ ᏚᏪᎧᎲ ᏣᎳᎩ ᎤᏂᏬᏂᎯᏍᏗᎢ ᏅᏗᎦᎵᏍᏙᏗ ᏂᎦᎥ ᎤᏦᏎᏗ ᎤᎶᏒ ᏲᏁᎦ ᏧᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᏗ ᎤᎴᏅ ᏓᏕᎶᏆᏍᎬᎢ.

“ᏂᏗᎦᎵᏍᏙᏗᏍᎬ ᏙᎯᏳ ᏣᎳᎩ ᏂᏗᎨᏲᏅᎾ ᎨᏒ ᏗᏂᏲᏟ ᎠᏇᏅᏒ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏂᎦᎥ ᎤᏦᏎᏗ ᎠᎩᎶᏒ ᏣᏩᎴᏅᎲ ᏧᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᏗ ᏑᏓᎵ ᏯᏆᏕᏘᏴᏓ ᏥᎨᏒᎢ. ᎾᏍᎩᏯᏊ ᎨᏒ ᎤᏣᏘᎾ ᎡᎶᎯ ᏱᏩᎩᎷᏣ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏂᎪᎵᎬᎾ ᎨᏒ ᏲᏁᎦ ᎦᏬᏂᎯᏍᏗ,”ᎤᏛᏅᎢ. “ᏝᏃ ᏲᎦᎵᏍᎪᎸᏓᏁᎮ ᏣᎳᎩ ᎣᎩᏬᏂᎯᏍᏗᎢ, ᎠᎴ Ꮭ ᎨᎶ ᏰᏙᎮ ᎪᎵᎦ ᎢᏧᎳ ᏗᎦᏬᏂᎯᏍᏗ ᎦᏲᎩᏍᏕᎸᏗ.

“ᏝᏃ ᏯᏆᏚᎵᏍᎩ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎢᏳᎾᎵᏍᏓᏁᏗ ᏓᎩᎧᎲ ᏗᏂᏲᏟ, ᎾᏍᎩᏃ ᎢᏳᏍᏗ ᎠᏆᎵᏍᎪᎸᏔᏅ ᏲᏁᎦ ᎦᏬᏂᎯᏍᏗ ᎤᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᏗ ᎠᎯᏗᎬ ᎢᏳᎾᎵᏍᏓᏁᏗ Ꮭ ᎠᎩᎶᏒ ᎤᏠᏯ ᏯᏆᏚᎵᏍᎩ ᎤᏂᎶᎯᏍᏗ ᎠᎴ ᏧᎾᏓᏅᏓᏗᏍᏗᏱ ᎾᏃᎵᎬᎾ ᏱᎨᎦᎵᏃᎮᏔᏂ,” ᎤᏛᏅᎢ.

Edwards ᎤᏛᏅ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎾᎬᏁᎸ ᎠᏎ ᎤᏕᎶᏆᏍᏗ ᏲᏁᎦ ᏄᏍᏛ ᎤᏓᏅᏓᏛ Ꮟ ᎤᏕᏯᏙᏗᏍᎪ, ᎠᏎᏃ Ꮭ ᎣᏍᏓ ᏳᏰᎸᏐ ᏂᏚᏪᏲᏅᎾ ᎨᏒ ᎠᏂᏔᎵ ᏗᏂᏲᏟ ᏣᎳᎩ ᎤᏂᏬᏂᎯᏍᏗᎢ,” ᎠᏗᏍᎬ. “ᏗᏇᏣ ᏗᏂᏲᏟ ᎠᎾᏗᏍᎬ ᏝᏃ ᏱᏙᏍᎨᏁᏲᏁ.”

ᎾᏍᎩᏃ ᏄᎵᏍᏔᏅ ᏧᏪᏥ ᏗᏂᏲᏟ ᎤᎾᏕᏅᎢ Ꮭ ᏳᎾᏕᎶᏆᎡ ᏣᎳᎩ ᎤᏂᏬᏂᎯᏍᏗᎢ ᏂᏗᎦᎵᏍᏙᏗ ᎤᏩᏌ ᎤᏕᏅ ᎠᎴ ᏧᏪᏥ ᎤᎾᏕᏅ ᎾᎿ ᎠᏰᏟ ᎨᏒ Ꮭ ᏣᎳᎩ ᎠᏂᏬᏂᏍᎩ ᏳᎾᏕᏁ ᎨᎳ Ꮎ ᏣᎳᎩᎭ ᏧᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᏗ ᏥᏓᎾᏕᎶᏆᎠ.

ᎤᏩᎪᏗᏗᏒ ᎾᎿ ᎦᏬᏂᎯᏍᏗ ᎨᏒ ᎤᎾᎵᏐᏈᎳ ᎾᎿ ᏍᎪᎯᏧᏈ ᏯᏂ ᏗᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᎩ ᎾᎿ ᏣᎳᎩᎭ ᏧᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᏗ ᏥᏓᏁᏕᎶᏆᎠ, ᎠᎴ Edwards ᎤᏛᏅ ᎠᎵᎮᎵᎪ ᏗᎬᏩᏍᏕᎸᏗ ᏥᎩ ᏧᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᏗ ᎠᎴ ᎣᏍᏓ ᎨᏐ ᏱᏚᏩᏛᎯᏙᎳ.

“ᎣᏍᏓ ᎨᏐ ᏗᏛᏓᏍᏙᏗ ᎠᏂᏬᏂᏍᎩ. ᏗᎾᏝᎢᏐ ᏳᎦᎷᏥ ᎣᏏᏲ, ᎣᏏᏲ ᎠᎾᏗᏍᎪ. ᎣᏍᏓ ᎨᏐ ᏗᏛᎪᏗᎢ.”

ᎤᏛᏅᏃ Ꮭ Ꮩ ᎤᎵᏍᎨᏓ ᏱᎩ ᏚᏳᎪᏛ ᏣᎳᎩ ᏯᏂᏬᏂ ᎾᏍᎩᏊ ᏧᎾᏔᎾᏯ ᏯᏃᎵᎦ ᏗᎬᏩᎾᏟᏃᎮᏓ ᏱᎦ.

“ᏗᏍᎦᏚᎩ ᏚᏙᏢᏒ ᏣᎳᎩ ᎦᏬᏂᎯᏍᏗ ᎨᏒ ᏚᏓᎴᎾᎢ, ᎢᎦᏓ ᏄᏓᎴ ᎾᏅᏁᎰ ᎠᏂᏬᏂᏍᎩ ᎡᎵᏊ ᏄᏓᎴ ᎢᎬᏩᎵᏍᏙᏗ ᎥᎧᏁᎬᎢ. ᎠᏂᏔᎵ ᎠᏂᏴᏫ ᎬᏩᎾᏝᏃᎮᏗ ᏱᎦ ᎠᎴ ᏱᏓᎾᏓᏙᎵᏤᎢ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎣᏏ ᎨᎵᏍᎪ,” ᎠᏗᏍᎬᎢ.

ᏐᎢᏃ ᎪᎵᎬ ᎾᎾᏛᏁᎲ ᎠᎾᎵᏏᏅᏗᏍᎬ ᎦᏬᏂᎯᏍᏗ, ᏏᏊᏃ Ꮭ ᏙᎯᏳ ᎠᏚᏓᎴᏓ ᏱᎩ ᎢᎩᏲᏎᏗ ᎦᏬᏂᎯᏍᏗ. ᎠᏎᏍᎩᏂ ᎠᏬᎯᏳᏐ ᎾᎿ ᎯᎠ ᏃᏊ ᎢᏤ ᎦᎾᏅᎪᎬ ᏯᏛᎾ iPhones ᎠᎴ iPads ᎾᏍᎩ ᎠᎾᏁᎶᏗᏍᎩ ᎠᎴ ᏣᎳᎩᎭ ᏧᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᏗ ᏗᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᏗ ᏛᎾᎵᏍᏕᎸᎯ ᎠᎵᏏᏅᏙᏗᎢ ᎦᏬᏂᎯᏍᏗ.

“ᎾᏍᎩᏍᏊ ᏗᏁᎶᏔᏅ ᏗᎪᏪᎵ ᏚᏂᎾ ᎾᎿ ᏗᏂᏲᏟ ᎠᎴ ᎾᏂᎥ ᏗᎬᏩᏂᏙᏗ ᎠᎴ ᎦᏬᏂᏓ ᎾᎿ CD ᏓᏂᏂᏱᏍᎪ ᎠᎴ ᏓᏂᎴᏴᏗᏍᎪ,” ᎠᏗᏍᎬᎢ.
Edwards ᎤᏛᏅ ᎾᎿ ᎨᎳ ᎾᎿ ᎠᎾᏁᎶᏗᏍᎩ ᎤᎾᏓᏡᎬᎢ, ᎤᎪᏓ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏗᎪᏪᎳᏅ ᏣᎳᎩ ᏗᎪᎵᏰᏙᏗ ᏕᎦᏃ ᎠᏂᏴᏫ ᏗᎬᏩᏂᏙᏗ ᎾᏍᎩᎾ ᎤᎾᏚᎵᏍᎩ ᎤᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᏗ ᎦᏬᏂᏓ ᎠᎴ ᎤᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᏗ ᎤᏂᎪᎵᏰᏗ ᎠᎴ ᎤᏂᎪᎵᏰᏗᎢ.


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 KENLEA HENSON
Reporter
05/18/2018 08:00 AM
TAHLEQUAH – Every year on May 7 the Descendants of the Cherokee Seminaries Students Organization hold its annual reunion at Northeastern State University where it awards two NSU students with scholarships. This year’s recipients were Cherokee Nation citizens Bryley Hoodenpyle and Marilyn Tschida. Both students received a $1,000 scholarship based on their GPAs, activities and interviews. Hoodenpyle said her fourth great-grandmother’s aunt and two cousins attended the Cherokee Male and Female seminaries, which she discovered through online research and NSU’s archives. She said after college she plans to attend NSU’s optometry school. “It means a lot to me to receive this scholarship just because this university has given so much to me and has helped me grow personally,” Hoodenpyle said. “NSU has developed me as a student and as a leader so its really awesome to me that my family played a part in that story however many years ago.” Tschida is an education graduate student and plans to graduate in December. She said she found her grandmother’s name in the Cherokee Female Seminary roll book in NSU’s archives and decided to apply for the scholarship. “I am really proud to accept it, I think she would be very proud for me to have gotten something on her behalf,” Tschida said. On May 7, 1889, the Cherokee Female Seminary reopened north of Tahlequah after a fire destroyed it two years earlier. So, no matter what day May 7 falls on, the descendants of students who attended the Cherokee Male and Female seminaries gather to honor their ancestors and their time at the schools. DCSSO President Rick Ward said the reunion is the oldest tradition on NSU’s campus, accruing annually for 167 years with the exception of one year during World War II. “It started out as a picnic, but it wasn’t the descendants getting together it was the actual students of the seminaries coming together, bringing food and visiting out in front of the sycamore tree,” he said. After noticing the number seminary students fading away, Jack Brown established the DCSSO in 1975. Brown served as the executive vice president of the Cherokee Seminaries Students Alumni Association for years. He wanted to get the descendants of the alumni involved in the activities of the association as well as keep the tradition alive. In 1984 the name officially changed to the Descendants of Cherokee Seminaries Students Organization. The state bought the Female Seminary in 1909, which now serves as Seminary Hall and the centerpiece of NSU. DCSSO Secretary Ginny Wilson said she wants to keep the reunion tradition alive for her grandmother, who was a student at the Female Seminary. “I do this for my grandmother. We used to bring her up here to this reunion. It was always the one thing in her life she wanted to do,” Wilson said. Wilson said the DCSSO follows the same format as their ancestors did during their reunions, which consists of the organization’s meeting, lunch, a speaker, the Cherokee choir and Miss Cherokee. “We follow that format as close as we can to just do the same thing. It’s gotten a whole lot smaller, but that’s what we do as descendants in memory of those people,” she said. Since the DCSSO established a scholarship for students who are descendants in the early 2000s, its goal is to continue to provide that scholarship. “Our biggest plan is to increase our scholarship amount. That’s the most important, but also to keep the (May 7) tradition going at Northeastern. Otherwise it will die,” Wilson said.
BY STAFF REPORTS
05/16/2018 12:00 PM
SALLISAW – Enjoy a day of traditional Cherokee art, music and more, honoring legendary statesman and inventor of the Cherokee syllabary, Sequoyah. The event will be held in conjunction with Cherokee Nation’s Traditional Native Games. Sequoyah Day begins at 10 a.m. on May 19 at Sequoyah’s Cabin Museum. “We are proud to bring to life an event like Sequoyah Day. It’s a unique daylong celebration of Cherokee history and culture at the home of the man who pioneered the Cherokee syllabary,” Principal Chief Bill John Baker said. “Now that Cherokee Nation owns and operates the Sequoyah Cabin Park, we can organize these types of family-driven events that are both educational and fun for all.” The event runs until 4 p.m. and features live performances, activities for children and cultural demonstrations such as pottery, flint-knapping, bow-making, stone carving and graphics. The event includes multiple performances from the Cherokee National Youth Choir and a special language presentation at 1:30 p.m. Sequoyah built the cabin in 1829 and welcomes more than 12,000 visitors each year. It was designated as a National Historic Landmark in 1966 and a National Literary Landmark in 2006. The homestead includes a one-room cabin and nearly 200 acres. Prior to reopening under CN management in 2017, Sequoyah’s Cabin Museum received much-needed repairs and renovations. The museum now features large displays that share the story of Sequoyah, his development of the Cherokee syllabary and the Cherokee language today. The museum also features a retail space offering Cherokee Nation apparel, gifts and souvenirs. The museum is located at Highway 101, 7 miles east of Highway 59. For more information, visit <a href="http://www.VisitCherokeeNation.com" target="_blank">www.VisitCherokeeNation.com</a>.
BY STAFF REPORTS
05/09/2018 12:00 PM
PARK HILL – Explore the messages of John Ross in his correspondences with fellow tribesmen and political allies throughout his 38 years as principal chief of the Cherokee Nation. “The Letters of John Ross” is the tribe’s first digital exhibit and allows guests to view documents that are usually off view and housed in collections at the Gilcrease Museum in Tulsa. Featured writings address topics such as delegation nominations, potential resolutions, rumors of assassination plots and the possible removal of Cherokee people to Mexico. “This is the first exhibit of its kind for Cherokee Nation, and we are eager to see how the public responds,” Travis Owens, Cherokee Nation Businesses cultural tourism director, said. “The digital format enables guests to focus on their specific interests in an interactive and engaging way.” The exhibit runs May 4 through Jan. 31 at the John Ross Museum, which highlights Ross’ life and legacy and houses exhibits and interactive displays on the Trail of Tears, Civil War, Cherokee Golden Age and tribe’s passion for education. The museum is housed in an old, rural school building known as School #51 and sits at the foot of Ross Cemetery, where Ross and other notable CN citizens are buried. The museum is located at 22366 S. 530 Road. It’s open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. For information, call -1877-779-6977 or visit <a href="http://www.VisitCherokeeNation.com" target="_blank">www.VisitCherokeeNation.com</a>.
BY STAFF REPORTS
05/09/2018 10:00 AM
TAHLEQUAH – The Cherokee Speakers Bureau will be held Thursday May 10, 2018 from 12:30 – 4 p.m. 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. Tsalagi aniwonisgi unadatlugv dodvnatlosi Nvgineiga Anisgvti 10, 2018, ganvsulvi 12:30pm adalenisgi 4 p.m. 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.
BY STAFF REPORTS
05/08/2018 08:00 AM
BENTONVILLE, Ark. – The Museum of Native American History will host storytelling and a beadwork class on May 12. The museum is located at 202 S.W. “O” St. Admission is free, and the events are open to all. From 10:30 a.m. to 11 a.m., MONAH staff will share traditional Yup'ik (Alaska) and Cherokee stories about how berries came to be just in time for berry season. “Our stories for the day include ‘Berry Magic,’ written and illustrated by Teri Sloat and Betty Huffmon, and ‘The First Strawberries: A Cherokee Story,’ retold by Joseph Bruchac and illustrated by Anna Vojtech. Stick around after the stories to make a self-portrait using nature and try akutaq, a traditional Yup'ik dish made with berries,” MONAH Director Charlotte Buchanan-Yale said. Storytime is geared toward ages 4 and up, but kids of all ages and their adults are welcome. A Creative Visions artist will host and teach a “Beadwork for Beginners” class beginning at 5:30 p.m. in the museum. Join Cherokee beadwork and jewelry artist Carolyn Chumwalooky for an in-depth introduction to the intricate art of beading. This hands-on workshop will lead participants through the process of creating a beaded keychain to take home. Registration is free and required. Supplies and refreshments will be provided. For more information, call the museum at 479-273-2456 or visit <a href="http://www.momah.us" target="_blank">www.momah.us</a>.
BY STAFF REPORTS
05/04/2018 04:00 PM
TAHLEQUAH – According to a Cherokee Nation press release, the tribe has started interior renovations of the Cherokee National Capitol building that are expected to help prepare it to serve as a museum in future years. “We are beginning the interior restoration of our most iconic building,” Principal Chief Bill John Baker said. “Because so much critical history has happened on those premises, it’s important we take the proper steps to ensure its preservation for future generations. This historic structure will soon begin a new chapter as a museum that will educate Cherokees and visitors alike about the powerful and inspiring story of the Cherokee people.” According to CN Communications, Cherokee Nation Businesses is funding the project and Cherokee Nation Cultural Tourism is managing it. Officials said the estimated budget for renovations is $2.3 million. The project consists of plaster restoration, new public restrooms, new flooring, a new geothermal HVAC system and the addition of an elevator and second stairwell, the release states. “Preservation projects are one of the most rewarding investments we can make,” CNB CEO Shawn Slaton said. “Once renovations are complete, this iconic building will serve as a museum and further expand the tribe’s impressive tourism offerings within the Cherokee Nation.” The release states that Builders Unlimited, a TERO-certified company, is performing the work while being managed by Cherokee Nation Cultural Tourism. Renovations are slated to be complete in early 2019, according to the release. “We’ve had a longstanding commitment to the preservation of our historic sites,” CNB Executive Vice President Chuck Garrett said. “This project, along with the many others we’ve completed, is another way of keeping our history and culture alive and gives us an opportunity to share our Cherokee story with the world.” This is the latest of several preservation projects to take place at the Capitol. In 2013, a replica cupola was constructed to bring the building back to its 1870s appearance. A few years later, the building underwent a masonry restoration in which more than 2,000 bricks were replaced to strengthen the structure. That work also included removing paint from the existing brick to help return the building to its historic look. Additional restoration work throughout the years has included roof repairs with new decking and historic era shingles, restoration of soffits and fascia, a gutter system and updated doors and windows. The Capitol building was built in 1869, and all three branches of the CN government occupied it prior to statehood. The building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is designated a National Landmark.