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 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.