A Cherokee language watch produced by Fossil is available in select Cherokee Nation gift shops and online at www.CherokeeGiftShop.com. COURTESY PHOTO
Fossil introduces unique Cherokee language watch
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – After 191 years, Sequoyah’s syllabary stands the test of time and is the face of the new Cherokee Nation Fossil watch for men that is in select Cherokee Nation gift shops and online at http://www.CherokeeGiftShop.com
The $100 watch features a white dial with the CN logo printed in black and centered underneath the watch hands. Encircling the dial are markers in the Cherokee language printed in black representing the traditional numbers.
The watch has a sliver crown for a date wheel that shows the date in black on a white background. The watch bezel, which protects the surface of the watch face by securing the crystal, is stainless steel with 12 decorative divots and compliments the silver body and band.
“This custom Cherokee watch provides another terrific way to increase awareness of our culture and history,” Principal Chief Bill John Baker said. “Our written language is one of our most valuable cultural assets and any modern avenue to promote it keeps it relevant among our citizens.”
Fossil is a global design, marketing and distribution company that specializes in consumer fashion accessories and has partnered with several high-profile brands, including the National Football League.
With Fossil, CN continues to increase its retail presence and grow its brand through Cherokee language-based retail items. In the fall of 2011, the CN introduced Nike-produced Oklahoma collegiate hats and T-shirts logoed in the Cherokee language.
CN gift shops also present a wide selection of Cherokee and Native American art featuring authentic baskets, sculptures, paintings, jewelry and more.
Cherokee merchandise includes distinctive Cherokee branded apparel such as CN “Osiyo” T-shirts; books along with historical and genealogical literature, authentic jewelry, cultural CDs and Cherokee gifts such as distinctive dolls, pins and Pendleton blankets.
The website http://www.CherokeeGiftShop.com
also features authentic Native American merchandise including apparel, art, books, gifts and jewelry.
CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. – Trail of Tears Association members from nine states attended an Oct. 7 grave-marking ceremony at the Trail of Tears State Park for Nancy Bushyhead Walker Hilderbrand, who died there during the forced removals of Cherokee people.
Trail of Tears Association President Jack Baker said more than 176 years ago, during the removal, more than half the Cherokee Nation traveled along a path just a few feet from Hilderbrand’s grave. It has been the nine TOTA state chapters’ jobs to find paths, trails, roads and campsites used by Cherokees during the winter of 1838-39 and mark them, he said.
“In Oklahoma, we didn’t have a lot of trails because of them ended at depots right inside the border (between Arkansas and Indian Territory), but we thought a fitting project for the Oklahoma chapter would be to identify and mark the graves of the people who came on the Trail of Tears because those are the ones whose stories should be told,” Baker said. “We wanted to recognize those people, and we wanted to bring their families together, which we’ve done many, many times.”
The grave markers state: “In honor of one who endured the forced removal of the Cherokees in 1838-39. The Trail of Tears Association Oklahoma Chapter.” The plaque also has the TOTA and CN seals.
Baker said he believes Bushyhead would be “astounded” that Cherokees still remember her and paid their respects to her 176 years later.
Hilderbrand is also the great-great-great grandmother of Principal Chief Bill John Baker, who attended the ceremony held at his ancestor’s gravesite near the Mississippi River.
“The first time I came here was with the (Remember the Removal) bike riders and I bawled. This is personal. This is part of what the Trail of Tears Association has done for so many families around the Cherokee Nation,” Chief Baker said.
He read his grandmother’s biography while her grave marker was unveiled.
Hilderbrand was born about 1812 in the CN East in what is now Bradley County, Tennessee. She was the daughter of Oo-noo-doo-to, known in English as Bushyhead, and his wife, Nancy Foreman.
About 1830, she married John Walker, a prominent political figure in the CN East who was killed in 1834. After his death, she married Lewis Hilderbrand around 1836.
During the removal, the Hilderbrands headed west in a detachment led by James Brown. Lewis was its assistant conductor. Nancy died in January 1839 after crossing the Mississippi River near Cape Girardeau. Local people maintained her grave for decades. It and the surrounding area next to the river were designated as a Trail of Tears Historic Site in 2001.
Chief Baker thanked the TOTA for its dedication and said the interpretive panel should help clear up a long-held misconception about his ancestor.
In 1961, the Rotary Club of Cape Girardeau placed a bronze marker on her grave to honor her but erroneously called her “Princess Otahki” and the daughter of Rev. Jesse Bushyhead, who led a removal detachment that passed by her grave after crossing the nearby Mississippi River in late 1838 or early 1839.
She was actually the reverend’s sister. The interpretive panel, which also includes her grave marker, serves to clarify that misconception and explain she was not a princess.
Chief Baker also attended an interpretive panel dedication on Oct. 7 at Bollinger Mill State Historic Site in Burfordville. While speaking to the crowd, he asked them to close their eyes and visualize a Cherokee removal detachment coming through the mill during the winter of 1838-39.
He also thanked the CN citizens in attendance who work to preserve and mark Trail of Tears sites.
“It not only keeps our history and heritage alive, but you’re bringing it to life for all those that are coming after us. Your research and your dedication is not in vain,” he said.
Denise Dowling, Trail of Tears State Park natural resource manager near Cape Girardeau, said the interpretive panels help people who know nothing about the removal or that it even occurred understand it. Being able to research and “find the little pieces” of proof that Cherokees passed through the area and stopped at the mill for supplies is important, she said.
All 13 Cherokee detachments stopped at the mill. They began moving in August 1838 with the last two detachments arriving in Indian Territory on March 24, 1839.
“It’s just phenomenal to be able to truly connect a place to an event such as the removal. From my perspective it’s incredibly important to be able to have something like this here so that I can help to educate people about a truly nasty piece of our history,” Dowling said.
On Oct. 7, TOTA representatives also unveiled Trail of Tears markers in Jackson. Proctor and Gamble and the Cape Girardeau County Historical Society sponsored those markers. A day later in Charleston, a marker titled the “Geography of Removal” was unveiled that explains how detachments faced challenges navigating around the rivers and swamps in southeastern Missouri at that time.
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – On Oct. 15, Cherokee Nation museums will provide free activities for families who want their children to experience fun, educational adventures during fall break.
The museums are the Cherokee National Prison Museum, the Cherokee National Supreme Court Museum and the John Ross Museum.
At the Cherokee National Prison Museum there will be photo tinting with watercolors. At the Cherokee National Supreme Court Museum there will be Cherokee syllabary lessons, and at the John Ross Museum there will be a beaded bracelet class.
Educational activities will be from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
There will also be special activities such as a scavenger hunts at each museum.
The Cherokee National Supreme Court Museum is located at 122 E. Keetoowah St., and the Cherokee National Prison Museum is at 124 E. Choctaw St. The John Ross Museum is located at 22366 S. 530 Road in Park Hill. For information, call 1-877-779-6977 or visit <a href="http://www.visitcherokeenation.com" target="_blank">www.visitcherokeenation.com</a>.
FORT SMITH, Ark. – On Sept. 12, citizens of various tribal nations, as well as historians, gathered at the Fort Smith National Historic Site to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the 1865 Fort Smith Council.
In September 1865 representatives from 16 Indian nations and the U.S. Commissioner of Indian Affairs met at Fort Smith to re-establish post-Civil War relations between the tribes and the U.S. government.
The Fort Smith Council of 1865 provided the foundation for the 1866 treaties that significantly altered conditions in Indian Territory and paved the way for Oklahoma statehood.
Dr. Bill Corbett – a retired history professor from the Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, Oklahoma – presented “Why the Fort Smith Council?” to explain why the council occurred and state that what happened 150 years ago still affects people’s lives.
He said from Sept. 8-23 in 1865 federal officials met representatives from as many as 16 tribes.
“Ostensibly, the purpose of these officials was to re-establish relations with those assembled tribes who had treaties of alliance with the Confederate States of America,” he said. “During the Civil War all of the Five Civilized Tribes as well as many of the Plains tribes signed treaties of alliance with the Confederacy.”
Because of these alliances, during the war Congress severed ties with tribes, which stopped government annuities or payments to tribes and the delivery of goods promised in treaties, Corbett said.
Combined, the Cherokee, Choctaw, Chickasaw, Muscogee (Creek) and Seminole nations had the majority of citizens living in Indian Territory and controlled most of its land.
Along with re-establishing tribal relations, Corbett said the federal commissioners expanded their agenda to chip away at the “autonomy and sovereignty” of the five tribes. He said their efforts failed in Fort Smith.
The earlier Homestead and Pacific Railroad acts of the 1850s were also meant to chip away at Indian sovereignty and take lands for settlers and railroads. And in 1857, the Kansas Territory began to organize for statehood and looked south to Indian Territory to accommodate more settlers and rail lines.
In 1861, a militant, pro-Southern faction emerged in the Cherokee Nation led by Stand Watie, an “arch enemy” of Principal Chief John Ross. Made of mostly mixed-blood Cherokees and “inter-married citizens,” the group advocated separating from the U.S. and allying with the Confederacy. Another Cherokee group called the Pin Indians, led by missionaries Evan and John Jones countered Watie’s group and supported the Union. Ross advocated neutrality, but eventually was forced to sign an alliance with the Confederacy in 1861 because Watie threatened to take over as principal chief and surrounding tribes had signed treaties with the Confederacy.
Corbett said differences within the Cherokee Nation that began during the forced removals 23 years earlier resurfaced when tribal citizens chose sides for the Civil War.
“The Civil War in Indian Territory for the Cherokees, Creeks and Seminoles produced a conflict that killed thousands and destroyed prosperous farms and plantations,” he said.
Throughout the Civil War, Ross lobbied the Office of Indian Affairs and indirectly the president on behalf of the Nation to defend the tribe’s sovereignty.
The five tribes in Indian Territory held title to their lands and were promised in their removal treaties that no territorial government would be established over their lands, Corbett said, but throughout the war some members of Congress lobbied to take Indian lands as punishment for tribes siding with the Confederacy.
U.S. Commissioner of Indian Affairs Dennis Cooley came to Fort Smith in September 1865 with “unequivocal conditions” for a treaty between the U.S. and attending tribes. He was to gain “peace and friendship” from tribes associated with the Confederacy, establish a central territorial government for Indian Territory, end of slavery there, gain tribal citizenship for former slaves, acquire land to relocate Indian tribes not living in Indian Territory, recognize tribes that remained loyal to the Union, sell bonds invested for Southern states and restrict the presence of whites in Indian Territory.
Corbett said the 1865 meetings began on Sept. 8 with tribes that had remained loyal to the U.S. Cherokee representatives and other “disloyal” tribes met with Cooley and the federal delegation the following week. Some tribal delegates informed Cooley they could not make a treaty with him without the consent of their respective councils.
Even before Ross arrived in Fort Smith for the meeting, Cooley “castigated” him for leading the Cherokees into an alliance with the Confederacy, but ignored all of the things Ross did during the war to distance the tribe from the Confederacy such as repudiating the Confederacy alliance in 1862 and abolishing slavery in the Nation in 1863. When Ross arrived for the meeting, Cooley continued his assault on him calling him a “conspirator” against the government, Corbett said.
The commission refused to recognize Ross as principal chief and negotiated with Assistant Chief Lewis Downing. The Nation signed a peace treaty with the federal government. The Creek Nation also signed a treaty but refused to make their slaves citizens, and the Seminole Nation signed the same treaty and retained their land holdings. The Choctaw and Chickasaw nations had remained loyal to the U.S. and signed a peace treaty and seemed accepting of many of Cooley’s conditions, Corbett said.
He said he believes the Fort Smith Council occurred because of three reasons: to make Indian Territory “available to exploitation” by railroad companies, mining interests, businesses and speculators; to destroy tribal governments and establish a single territorial government; and to use retribution against tribes for siding with the Confederacy to force them to accept new conditions that violated their treaty rights, particularly the treaty rights of the Five Civilized Tribes.
“The alliance with the Confederacy fueled efforts by political leaders in the North to undo the Indian republics,” Corbett said.
GLENPOOL, Okla. – Cherokee Nation citizen Bill Glass Jr. will be the Honored Elder Artist for the Greater Tulsa Indian Art Festival in February. Each year the festival honors a Native American artist.
According to Tulsa Indian Art Festival, Glass’ art has helped him win awards throughout his career, including awards at the Santa Fe Indian Market, Heard Museum Show, Philbrook Art Center American Indian National Exhibition and Tulsa Indian Art Festival.
“He was named a Cherokee National Treasure in 2009, Master Artist of the Five Civilized Tribes Museum in 1986, and is a recipient of the Cherokee Medal of Honor,” the TIAF release states. “Over the years, Bill has expanded his range of media to include bronze sculpture and installation pieces. In 1994, Bill designed and created large light fixtures for the Talking Leaves Job Corp facility. Bill and his son Demos Glass were among the five Cherokee artists that formed the Cherokee Artists Gadugi Team, Inc.”
For more information about the festival call 918-298-2300 or email <a href="mailto: email@example.com">firstname.lastname@example.org</a>.
PARK HILL, Okla. – Cherokee artist Danny McCarter, of Tahlequah, possesses skills handed down by Cherokee people for hundreds of years. He makes blowguns from river cane and the darts shot from it.
Along with knowing these skills, he uses a blowgun at his job as a villager in the Cherokee Heritage Center’s Diligwa Village. He interprets for the village’s visitors the Cherokee lifeways of the mid-1700s.
To make darts, he uses a thistle plant and a wooden shaft, which is usually difficult for a person when first trying.
“I can teach people to make a blowgun in one day...but the dart is really the art part because it takes a lot of dexterity to roll the dart and catch the thistle on there,” he said. “It looks simple when you see somebody do it that’s done it a thousand times, but it’s really difficult.”
His late uncle, J.C. McCarter, who worked in the CHC’s Ancient Village, introduced him to the blowgun. Danny’s brother, Rob, and another villager named Scott Rackliff also had a hand in teaching Danny about the blowgun and dart making when they worked in the village in the 1980s.
Danny said from what he’s studied it is not known where the river cane blowgun originated or who invented it, but it has always been used for hunting. Some cultures in South America used it in warfare because they could deliver tranquilizers with darts. However, he said, Cherokee people used the blowgun to hunt squirrels, rabbits and birds and relied on accuracy to kill those animals. Cherokee youths also used it to keep animals out of gardens.
He said Cherokees were people small in stature, so most tools they used didn’t require great strength but technique instead. He said some people try to use a large puff of air to blow a dart from a blowgun when all that’s required is a “quick, hard” burst of breath.
He said he’s won the Cherokee National Holiday blowgun contest with just a 4-1/2-foot long blowgun when competitors used longer blowguns to shoot at a target 45 feet away. He conceded that darts coming out his shorter blowgun are somewhat thicker or heavier so they can travel that distance.
Danny begins gathering the Scottish Thistle that he uses to fletch his darts after it blooms about mid-August in northeastern Oklahoma. Its purple blooms will first appear in the northern part of the Cherokee Nation and later in the southern part. He said thistle in Sequoyah County might not bloom until mid-September.
“You don’t want to pick it while it’s purple. You want to pick it while it’s brown. If you gather it while it’s purple and try to put it up (save it for later), it will mold,” he said.
He said for accuracy and distance, thistle is the best material for fletching. He said most Oklahoma Cherokees only use their blowguns to compete in contests in which a circular target is 45 feet away and that most blowguns are 8- to 10-feet-long. As with a rifle, the longer the blowgun the farther a dart can travel and maintain its velocity.
For fletching, he takes a dried thistle bulb and removes the brown, seedy part from the pod, avoiding pulling out the bulb’s white, fluffy downy that will form the fletching.
“That’s all you want, just the downy part on the inside,” he said.
He then finds a straight, wooden skewer and notches it on top. He said a person could carve the dart out of woods such as river cane and bois d’arc, which he said both make pretty and sturdy darts. Other woods used for dart shafts are oak, ash, maple, hickory and walnut. However, to save time, he purchases a 100-pack of wooden skewers, usually used to skewer food, for his dart shafts.
After notching the top of a skewer, he takes quilting thread and knots on one end and places in the notch. He then places the downy part of the thistle pod against the stick and wraps the thread around the downy to attach it to the stick. It takes an intricate use of his hands and his teeth to attach the thistle downy to the stick with the thread.
He ties the end of the thread where the downy ends on the stick and then rolls the stick in his hands to get rid of any remaining seeds or loose downy.
“We’ve used all kinds of materials for that fletching. We’ve used the downy feathers of birds, squirrel tail, and rabbit fur. The Choctaws of Mississippi use raw cotton because that’s what they have in their area, but really thistle is the greatest material,” he said. “It’s keeps your dart in the middle of your gun. It also gives you something to blow against, and it also gives you a guide like feathers on an arrow.”
DAHLONEGA, Ga. – The next meeting of the Georgia Chapter of the Trail of Tears Association will take place at 10:30 a.m. on Nov. 14 at the Funk Heritage Center in Waleska.
The Funk Heritage Center is located on the campus of Reinhardt University near the intersection of Hwy. 140 and Hwy. 108. The center is Georgia’s official frontier and southeastern Indian interpretive center. It features the art collection of the late Margaret Rogers as well as the Sellars collection of antique and specialized tools.
The featured speaker at this month’s meeting is Dr. Joseph Kitchens, executive director of the Funk Heritage Center. Dr. Kitchens will talk about the Hickory Log collection of artifacts. These artifacts were uncovered when excavation began at the site of the current Wal-Mart in Canton.
He will also discuss the plans to create a new exhibit space to accommodate some of the artifacts and interpret the history of the Trail of Tears, the tragic and forced removal of the Native Americans from the southeast. The Funk Heritage Center was recently added to the Trail of Tears National Historic Trail as an interpretive site. The historic trail is administered by the National Park Service and supported by the Trail of Tears Association.
The Nov. 14 meeting will coincide with the recognition of Native American Day at the Funk Heritage Center from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. This is a free public event. There will be hot dogs and drinks for sale or people may bring a picnic lunch. Call the museum at 770-720-5967 for directions.
Also during the meeting, an election for the positions of president, vice President, secretary, and treasurer for the Georgia TOTA chapter will take place.
The Trail of Tears Association is dedicated to identifying and preserving sites associated with the removal of Native Americans from the southeast. The organization is also committed to educating the public about this tragic period in our country’s history. The association consists of nine state chapters representing the nine states that the Cherokee and other tribes traveled through on their way to present-day Arkansas and Oklahoma.
People in Georgia need not be a member to attend Georgia chapter meetings nor have Native American heritage, just an interest and desire to learn more about this fascinating subject. Meetings are free and open to the public. For more information about the TOTA, visit the National website at www.nationaltota.org or the Georgia Chapter website <a href="http://www.gatrailoftears.org" target="_blank">www.gatrailoftears.org</a>. For questions about the Nov. 14 meeting, contact Tony Harris at <a href="mailto: email@example.com">firstname.lastname@example.org</a>.