http://www.cherokeephoenix.orgCherokee Nation translation specialist Durbin Feeling prepares students for testing in his Cherokee literature text class at Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, Okla. ROBERT STINSON/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Cherokee Nation translation specialist Durbin Feeling prepares students for testing in his Cherokee literature text class at Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, Okla. ROBERT STINSON/CHEROKEE PHOENIX

CHEROKEE TRANSLATORS: Curiosity leads Feeling to Cherokee literacy

Cherokee Nation translation specialist Durbin Feeling passes out papers for the Cherokee literature text course he teaches at Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, Okla. ROBERT STINSON/CHEROKEE PHOENIX Durbin Feeling
Cherokee Nation translation specialist Durbin Feeling passes out papers for the Cherokee literature text course he teaches at Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, Okla. ROBERT STINSON/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
BY JAMI MURPHY
Former Reporter
02/14/2012 08:08 AM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – Cherokee Nation translation specialist Durbin Feeling said curiosity led to his learning to read and write the Cherokee language.

“I learned to read (Cherokee) when I was 12 years old. I learned that while watching my dad always reading his testament,” Feeling said. “One day when I was playing around I got curious and stood by him, and what he would do is take his pen out and guide me while he was reading.”
Feeling said eventually he picked out short words to read.

“Maybe I would read about two syllables or something like that and the next syllable I may not know, so I went to the back of the testament where there was a pronunciation guide…I would go back and forth like that. It’s kind of self-taught I guess,” he said.

Becoming literate in the language eventually led Feeling to the CN, where he’s worked off and on for 30 years. He said he initially worked in the translation department. Today, he still translates, but with better technology.

He said he just finished making 12,000 Cherokee words available on Google and that his work is compatible with Apple’s iPhone and Droid smartphones.

“Much of the things can be written in Cherokee in Google. You can also text and email in Cherokee,” he said.
Feeling said the language has progressed in the past decade because of technology and the tribe’s Cherokee Language Immersion School.

“It’s quite a ways in the last maybe 10 years I should say because I think the best thing that has happened so far is the immersion. Even though the kids aren’t picking up the words that well yet,” he said.

He said immersion students are slowly learning the language because it is complex.
“So it’s kind of challenging, and I think some of those things are the things that the kids are slow in picking up, but hopefully they will.”

Feeling said there are many things he’s proud to be associated with, such as writing books, helping create the Cherokee dictionary and teaching at Northeastern State University, but he’s also proud of his translation work.

Translating the language, he said, is how one becomes immersed in the language and that’s when one can really “know” the language.

“A person can speak, but until they get into translation and become familiar with the parts of speech and the morphology and all the other things that go into learning a language, the linguistic part, that’s when a person will really have learned their language,” he said. “You got to do your own work. We shouldn’t look at it negative. We have a guy who is a student at Northeastern. He was 16 years old when he first came to the conference. He was already studying on his own. He taught the syllabary to himself. He could read, but he couldn’t understand what he was reading.”

Feeling said when he came to the CN in 1976 he was teaching in communities and that students needed learning materials then and still do.

“I realized that the students need other things, you know learning materials and things. I started doing what the students needed and kind of neglected the teaching part…The boss that I had said ‘you got to be out there teaching. That’s why I hired you. Don’t be sitting around writing things,’ But that’s exactly what they need. We need a lot of research even today in Cherokee. There are documents and literature out there that hasn’t even been touched at all.”

jami-custer@cherokee.org


918-453-5560



ᏣᎳᎩ

ᏓᎵᏆ, ᎣᎦᎵᎰᎹ.----- ᏣᎳᎩ ᎠᏰᎵ ᏗᏁᎶᏗᏍᎩ ᎠᎦᏔᎯ Durbin Feeling ᎠᏗᏍᎬᎢ ᎠᏍᏆᏂᎪᏍᎬ ᎤᏘᏅᏎ ᎤᏕᎶᏆᏍᏗ ᏧᎪᎵᏰᏗ ᎠᎴ ᏧᏬᏪᎶᏗ ᏣᎳᎩ ᎦᏬᏂᎯᏍᏗ.
“ᎠᏆᏕᎶᏆᎥ ᏗᎩᎪᎵᏰᏗ (ᏗᏣᎳᎩ) ᎾᏍᎩ ᏔᎳᏚ ᏯᏆᏕᏘᏴᏓ ᏥᎨᏒ. ᎠᏆᏕᎶᏆᎥ ᎾᎿ ᏥᎦᏙᏍᏛ ᎡᏙᏓ ᏂᎪᎯᎸ ᏓᎪᎵᏰᏍᎬ ᎪᏪᎵ ᏗᎦᎸᏉᏗ,” ᎤᏛᏅ Feeling. “ᏌᏊ ᎢᎦ ᏕᎦᏁᎶᎲᏍᎬ ᎠᎩᏍᏆᏂᎪᏒ ᎠᎴ ᎾᎥ ᏩᏆᎴᏅ, ᎠᎴ ᎢᏳᏍᏗ ᎾᏛᏁᎲ ᏗᎪᏪᎶᏗ ᎠᏱᏍᎬ ᎾᏍᎩᎾ ᎬᏗ ᎠᏎᎯᎲ ᎠᎪᎵᏰᏍᎬᎢ.”
Feeling ᎤᏛᏅ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎤᎴᏅᎮ ᏔᎵᎭ ᎢᏗᎧᏁᎢᏍᏗ ᏓᎪᎵᏰᏍᎬᎢ.
“ᎠᏎᏱᏃ ᏔᎵᎭ ᎢᏗᎧᏕᎢᏍᏗ ᏥᎪᎵᏰᏍᎬ ᏃᏊᏃ ᏦᎢᏁ ᎧᏁᎢᏍᏗ ᏬᏟᎢᎶᏝ Ꮭ ᏯᏆᏅᏖ, ᏃᏊᏃ ᎣᏂ ᎤᎦᏅᏓᏛ ᎦᎸᏉᏗ ᎪᏪᎵ ᏫᏥᎪᎵᏰᏍᎬ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏚᏃᏴᎬ ᎠᏓᏕᏲᎲᏍᎩ ᏥᏕᎪᏪᎳ….. ᎾᎿ ᏫᎨᏙᎲ ᎠᎴ ᎢᏥᎪᎵᏰᏍᎪᎢ. ᎾᏍᎩᏃ ᏂᎦᏛᏁᎲ ᎠᏋᏌ ᏓᏆᏓᏕᏲᏅ ᏗᎩᎪᎵᏰᏗ ᎨᎵᎠ,” ᎠᏗᏍᎬ.

ᎣᏍᏓ ᏗᎪᎵᏰᏍᎦ ᎠᎴ ᏗᎪᏪᎵᏍᎩ ᏄᎵᏍᏔᎾ ᏣᎳᎩ ᎦᏬᏂᎯᏍᏗ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎤᏘᏃᎸ ᏣᎳᎩ ᎠᏰᎵ, ᎾᎿᏃ ᏚᎸᏫᏍᏓᏁᎳ ᏦᏍᎪᎯ ᏧᏕᏘᏴᏓ ᎠᏎᏃ ᎢᏴᏓᎭ ᎤᏣᏘᏂ ᏚᎸᏫᏍᏓᏁᎵᏙᎸᎢ. ᏃᏊᏃ ᏥᎩ ᏧᎾᏁᎶᏙᏗ ᎤᎾᏓᏢᎬ ᏚᎸᏫᏍᏓᏁᎰ, ᎠᏎᏃ ᎬᏗᏍᎪ ᎪᎯ ᎢᏤ ᎤᏃᎷᏩᏛᎲᎾᎢ.
ᎤᏛᏅ ᎨᎳᏊ ᎤᏍᏆᏓ ᎪᏢᏍᎬ ᏔᎳᏚ ᏯᎦᏴᎵ ᎢᎦ ᏣᎳᎩ ᏗᎧᏁᎢᏍᏗ ᎾᎿ ᎫᎦᎵ ᏧᏅᏙᏗ ᎠᎴ ᎯᎠ ᏂᏚᏩᏁᎸ ᏗᏙᎵᎩ ᏒᎦᏔ iᏗᏟᏃᎮᏗ ᎠᎴ Droid ᏌᎹᏗ ᏗᏟᏃᎮᏗ.


“ᎤᎪᏛ ᏧᏓᎴᏅᏓ ᎡᎵᏊ ᏣᎳᎩ ᎪᏪᎶᏙᏗ ᎾᎿ ᎫᎦᎵᎢ. ᎠᎴᏗᏍᏊ ᏖᎦᏍᏗ ᎠᎴ ᎢᎺᎵ ᎢᎦᎬᏁᏗ ᏣᎳᎩᎭᎢ,” ᎠᏗᏍᎬᎢ.
Feeling ᎠᏗᏍᎬ ᎦᏬᏂᎯᏍᏗ ᎤᎪᏓ ᎤᏟᎢᎸᏓ ᎠᏕᎶᏆᏍᏗ ᎢᏗᏝ ᎤᎬᏩᏟ ᎨᏒ ᏍᎪᎯ ᎾᏕᏘᏯ ᏂᏓᎬᏩᏓᎴᏅᏓ ᎾᏍᎩᎾ ᎢᏤ ᎬᏔᏂᏓᏍᏗ ᎠᏃᎷᏩᏗᏍᎬ ᎾᎿ ᏣᎳᎩ ᎠᏰᎵ ᎠᎴ ᏧᎾᏍᏗ ᏗᏂᏲᏟ ᏧᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᏗᎢ.
“ᎡᎳᏪᎢ ᎨᏒ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏍᎪᎯ ᎢᎸᏢ ᏧᏕᏘᏴᏓ ᎨᎵ ᎠᏎᏃ ᎣᏍᏓ ᏄᎵᏍᏔᎾ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏣᎳᎩ ᏧᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᏗ ᏧᎵᏍᏚᎢᏒ. ᏙᎯᏳᏃ Ꮭ ᎣᏍᏓ ᎤᎾᏕᎶᏆᎥ ᏱᎩ ᏃᏊ ᎨᏒᎢ,” ᎠᏗᏍᎬ.
ᏣᎳᎩ ᏧᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᏗ ᏗᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᎩ ᎤᏍᎦᏃᎵ ᎠᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᎪ ᎦᏬᏂᎯᏍᏗ
ᏂᏗᎦᎵᏍᏙᏗ ᎡᎵ ᎠᏍᏓᏯ ᎠᏕᎶᏆᏍᏗᎢ.

“ᎡᎵᏃ ᎠᎦᏎᏍᏙ ᎠᏕᎶᏆᏍᏗᎢ, ᎠᎴᏃ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏄᏍᏛ ᎤᏂᏍᏓᏲᎯᏎᎰ ᎨᎳᏊᏴ ᎤᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᏗ, ᎠᏉᎯᏳᏃ ᏛᎾᏕᎶᏆᎢ.”
Feeling ᎤᏛᏅ ᎤᎪᏗ ᏧᏓᎴᏅᏓ ᎤᏪᎳᏗᏙᎳ ᎾᎾᏛᏁᎲ ᏚᏂᎸᏫᏍᏓᏁᎲ ᎠᎵᎮᎵᎪ ᏄᏛᏁᎸ, ᏯᏛᎾ ᎪᏪᎵ ᏓᏃᏪᎵᏍᎬᎢ, ᎤᎵᏍᏕᎸᎭ, ᎤᏬᏢᏅ ᎤᎪᏓ ᏣᎳᎩ ᏗᎧᏁᎢᏍᏗ ᏗᎪᏪᎳ ᎠᎴ ᏓᏕᏲᎲᏍᎪ ᎤᏴᏢᎢᏗᏢ ᏍᎦᏚᎩ ᏩᎦᎸᎳᏗᏴ ᏧᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᏗ, ᏏᏊᏃ ᎠᎵᎮᎵᎪ ᏧᎾᏁᎶᏙᏗ ᏚᎸᏫᏍᏓᏁᎲ.
ᎠᏁᎶᏗᏍᎪ ᎦᏬᏂᎯᏍᏗ, ᎠᏗᏍᎬᎢ, ᎾᏍᎩᎾ ᎾᏛᏁᎲ ᎧᎵᏬ ᏣᎳᎩ ᎦᏬᏂᎯᏍᏗ ᎠᏓᏅᏖᏍᎪ ᏃᎴᏍᏊ “ᎪᎵᎪᎢ” ᎦᏬᏂᎯᏍᏗ ᎨᏒᎢ.

“ᎠᏏᏴᏫ ᏣᎳᎩ ᏱᎦᏬᏂᎯ, ᎠᏎᏃ ᎬᏂ ᎠᏁᎶᏙᏗ ᏳᏟᎵᎶᏝ ᎾᎿᏂ ᏗᎬᏙᏗ ᎨᏐ ᏂᎦᏓ ᏂᏕᎦᎵᏍᏗᏍᎬ ᏗᎧᏁᏍᏗ ᏂᎦᏓ ᏗᏙᎵᎩ ᎨᏒ ᏱᎪᏪᎳᏅ ᏣᎳᎩᎭ ᏚᏳᎪᏛ, ᎾᏍᎩ ᏧᎦᏎᏍᏔᏅ ᏧᏕᎶᏆᎥ, ᎾᏍᎩᎾ ᏳᏭᏟᎢᎶᏝ ᏃᏊ ᎤᏕᎶᏆᎥ ᏱᎩ ᏣᎳᎩ ᎦᏬᏂᎯᏍᏗ,” ᎠᏗᏍᎬᎢ. “ ᎠᏎᏃ ᏨᏌ ᎢᏣᏛᏗ. ᏝᏃ ᏫᏓᎧᏅᏓ ᏱᎩ Ꮭ ᏱᏂᎦᎦᏛᎦ ᎡᎵᏍᏗ ᏱᎩ. ᎠᏍᎦᏯ ᏓᏕᎶᏆᎠ ᏩᎦᎸᎳᏗᏴ ᏧᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᏗ. ᏓᎳᏚ ᎢᏳᏕᏘᏴᏓ ᎨᏎ ᎢᎬᏱ ᎤᏪᏙᎳ ᏓᎾᏠᏍᎬᎢ. ᎦᏳᎳᏃ ᎤᎴᏅᏓ ᎨᏒ ᏚᎦᏎᏍᏛ ᏣᎳᎩ. ᎤᏩᏌ ᏚᏓᏕᏲᏁ ᏣᎳᎩ ᏗᎪᎵᏰᏙᏗ, ᎡᎵᏊ ᎠᎪᎵᏰᏍᎬ, ᎠᏎᏍᎩᏂ Ꮭ ᏳᏅᏖ ᏳᎪᎵᏰ ᎢᏳᏍᏗ ᎠᎪᎵᏰᏍᎬᎢ.”

Feeling ᎤᏛᏅ ᏧᎷᏨ ᏣᎳᎩ ᎠᏰᎵ ᎾᎿ ᏐᏁᎳᏚ ᎢᏯᎦᏴᎵ ᎦᎵᏆᏍᎪ ᏑᏓᎵ ᎤᏕᏘᏴᏌᏗᏍᏒ ᏓᏕᏲᎲᏍᎬ ᏍᎦᏚᎩ ᏚᏙᏢᏒ ᎠᎴ ᏗᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᎩ ᏚᏂᏂᎬᎬ ᏧᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᏙᏗ ᏗᎪᏪᎵ ᎾᎯᏳ ᏥᎨᏒ ᎠᎴ ᏃᏊ ᏥᎩ ᎤᏠᏯ.

“ᎠᏆᏕᎶᎰᏒ ᎾᎿ ᏗᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᎩ ᏄᏓᎴ ᎪᎱᏍᏗ ᎤᏂᏂᎬᎬ, ᏧᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᏙᏗ ᎠᎴ ᏧᏓᎴᏅᏓ ᎬᏔᏂᏓᏍᏗ. ᎠᏆᎴᏅᎲ ᏂᎦᏛᏁᎲ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏗᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᎩ ᎤᏂᏂᎬᎬ ᎠᎴ ᏝᎦ Ꮩ ᎾᏮᏁᎸ ᏕᎦᏕᏲᎲᏍᎬᎢ……. ᏧᎧᏍᏟ ᎠᎩᎾᏝᎢ ᏕᎭᏕᏲᏅᎢ ᎠᏉᏎᎸ. ᎾᏍᎩᏃ ᏄᏰᎸᏓ ᏥᎬᎾᏢᏅᎢ. ᏝᏍᏗ ᏱᏦᏝᏩᏕᎨᏍᏗ ᏱᏙᏪᎵᏍᎨᏍᏗ, ᎾᏍᎩᏃ ᎢᏳᏍᏗ ᎤᏂᏂᎬᎦ. ᎤᎪᏗᏃ ᎠᎪᎵᏰᎢᏓᏍᏗ ᎠᎦᏎᏍᏙᏗ ᎤᏚᎵᏛ ᎪᎯ ᏥᎩ. ᏚᏂᎾᎢ ᏣᎳᎩ ᏗᎪᏪᎵ ᏧᏪᏘ ᎩᎶ ᏧᏃᏪᎳᏅ ᏗᏒᏂᎸ ᎠᎴ ᏗᎪᎵᏰᏓ ᏂᎨᏒᎾ.”

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.