The home of Cherokee Edward “Ned” Wilkerson Bushyhead in San Diego. Bushyhead moved to California and eventually started the San Diego Union-Tribune newspaper. COURTESY PHOTO
Bushyhead served as major Cherokee-San Diego connection
BY PHIL KONSTANTIN
SAN DIEGO – San Diego is 1,250 miles from Tahlequah, Okla., as the crow flies. Being so far away, one might not think it has many Cherokee connections. But that thinking is wrong. In fact, San Diego’s association with members of the Cherokee Nation goes back to the 1800s.
Edward “Ned” Wilkerson Bushyhead was part of an influential Cherokee family. His immediate family served on the CN Supreme Court and as principal chief. At age 7, Bushyhead traveled the Trail of Tears with his family. Settling near Fort Smith, Ark., he apprenticed out early at a newspaper. This career would follow him much of his life. He worked on the Cherokee Advocate and the Cherokee Messenger.
The gold rush of 1849 motivated many Cherokees to move to California. Bushyhead followed the trail laid by members of his own family. After giving up his quest for gold, he stayed in California and got back into the publishing business.
In 1868, Bushyhead moved a newspaper from central California to San Diego. His co-publisher and he called their new paper “The Union.” His daily paper was the third daily newspaper in California at the time of its first publication. While Bushyhead eventually sold his interest in The Union, it continued to grow. The San Diego Union-Tribune (or U-T, as it is called) is San Diego’s largest newspaper.
Bushyhead was not satisfied in just running a newspaper. He also had an interest in law enforcement. He held the position of elected sheriff of San Diego County from 1882-86. In those days, San Diego County ran all the way to the Arizona state line. From 1899 through 1903, Bushyhead served as the chief of police for San Diego. He was the only person to have held both of these positions.
When Bushyhead died in 1907, his remains were taken back to Tahlequah. His life in San Diego was not forgotten. In an editorial after his death a prominent San Diegan said if there are any more Cherokees like Bushyhead in Oklahoma that they would be happy to have them come to San Diego to Live.
One of his Victorian homes still stands in San Diego’s Old Town as part of a living museum. There is even an area in San Diego called Cherokee Point.
Bushyhead may be gone, but a Cherokee presence continues on in San Diego. The San Diego Cherokee Community is one of the CN’s satellite communities. Hundreds of Cherokees call San Diego home. San Diego Cherokees have lots of family and many friends in the 14 counties. The SDCC strives to keep that connection strong. The SDCC has provided both goods and money for charities in and around Tahlequah. Following in Bushyhead’s footsteps, the San Diego membership includes published authors and law enforcement officials. The SDCC gathers on a regular basis to share history, language, music, stories and all things Cherokee.
For more information, visit http://sandiegocherokeecommunity.com or Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/pages/San-Diego-Cherokee-Community/141274513308
CATOOSA, Okla. – Navajo artist Ric Charlie won Best of Show for his jewelry piece “Navajo Bling” at the 12th annual Cherokee Art Market held Oct. 14-15 at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa.
Artists from throughout the nation competed in eight categories: painting, sculpture, beadwork/quillwork, basketry, pottery, textiles, jewelry and diverse art forms. Sixty artists received awards, and 150 artists displayed and sold their art during the event.
Charlie, 59, of Tuba City, Arizona, makes jewelry, paints and sculpts.
“I can’t make a living with those (painting and sculpting), but I do it for therapy,” he said. “I’ve enjoyed all kinds of art, ever since I was a kid.”
He said his winning necklace was inspired by “a nice summer day” when he was out of school and had time on his hands. “Navajo Bling” is a 14-karat gold jewelry set featuring more than 1,700 individually set diamonds and is valued at $75,000.
“As a kid I was always involved in creating things because on the reservation you had to. I learned a lot from my grandfather because he was the creator of many things,” he said. “The work that I do now is something I only dreamed about doing. When I started making jewelry, I said, ‘I really want to get into gold. I really want to get into diamonds. I really want to do this type of work.’ It’s just a dream come true.”
Charlie said he “dreamed big” as a child. “If you don’t dream big, it won’t happen.”
He’s participated in other art shows such as the Santa Fe Indian Market, but this was the first time he entered the Cherokee Art Market. He said he plans to enter his work again.
“I find it (Cherokee Art Market) really personal. People here are very, very friendly and welcoming, too. The level of artwork here is incredible,” Charlie said.
Cherokee artist Bryan Waytula won Best of Class for Class 1: Painting, Drawing, Graphics & Photography for his painting titled “We Stand as One.” Cherokee sculpture Bill Glass Jr. won Best of Class for Class 2: Sculpture for his piece “The Discussion Revolves.” In the Class 5: Pottery Division, Cherokee artist Troy Jackson won Best of Class for his work “Bird Effigy.”
Cherokee Art Market Manager Deborah Fritts said one artist came from Alaska and another came from Maine and other artists from in between.
She said the show has come a long way from its first year in 2005 when it was held under tents in the casino parking lot. It has been held inside the casino since 2009.
Fritts attends other art shows to “scope” out artists and to network. She also meets with other art market coordinators.
“A lot of the people that win at the other shows, like at Santa Fe (Indian Market) or the Heard Museum (Phoenix), they come to our show,” she said.
Dallin Maybee is chief operating officer for the Southwest Association for Indian Arts, the nonprofit association that produces the Santa Fe Indian Market. He said the Cherokee Art Market has its own “personality,” and he wouldn’t compare it to Santa Fe but “it’s a great show.”
“This brings an incredible competitive field of artists. It’s a nice show. It’s intimate. You see a lot of your friends here, and the prize money helps,” Maybee said. “I come to this show every time that I can just because it’s a good time.”
For a full list of winners, visit <a href="http://www.Cherokeeartmarket.com" target="_blank">Cherokeeartmarket.com</a>.
CARTERSVILLE, Ga. – The next meeting of the Georgia Chapter of the Trail of Tears Association will begin at 10:30 a.m. on Nov. 11 at the Bartow History Museum.
The speaker will be Jim Langford, and his topic will be “Impact of de Soto on Southeastern Native Americans.” Langford is a member and former officer of the Society of Georgia Archaeology and has been doing research on the Native American presence in the Southeast for many years.
The Bartow History Museum is located at 4 E. Church St. Its phone number is 770-382-3818.
The TOTA was created to support the Trail of Tears National Historic Trail established by an act of Congress in 1987. It is dedicated to identifying and preserving sites associated with the removal of Native Americans from the southeastern United States. The Georgia TOTA chapter is one of nine state chapters representing the nine states that the Cherokee and other tribes traveled through on their way to Indian Territory, now Oklahoma.
GATOTA meetings are free and open to the public. People need not have Native American ancestry to attend GATOTA meetings, just an interest and desire to learn more about this tragic period in this country’s history.
For more information, visit <a href="http://www.nationaltota.com" target="_blank">www.nationaltota.com</a> or <a href="http://www.gatrailoftears.org" target="_blank">www.gatrailoftears.org</a>. For more information about the November meeting, email Tony Harris at <a href="mailto: email@example.com">firstname.lastname@example.org</a>.
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: email@example.com">firstname.lastname@example.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.
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – Families looking for a fun, educational adventure for their children during fall break should plan to visit the Cherokee Nation museums on Oct. 20.
Museums participating are the Cherokee National Prison Museum, the Cherokee National Supreme Court Museum and the John Ross Museum.
Enjoy free admission and special activities at all three locations.
There will be paper bandolier bags at the Cherokee National Prison Museum, Cherokee syllabary lessons at the Cherokee National Supreme Court Museum and make your own clay beads at the John Ross Museum. The educational activities occur from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The Cherokee National Prison was the only penitentiary building in Indian Territory from 1875 to 1901. It housed sentenced and accused prisoners from throughout the territory. The interpretive site and museum give visitors an idea about how law and order operated in Indian Territory. The site features a working blacksmith area and reconstructed gallows, exhibits about famous prisoners and daring escapes, local outlaws and Cherokee patriots, jail cells and much more.
Built in 1844, the Cherokee National Supreme Court Museum is Oklahoma’s oldest public building. The 1,950-square-foot museum features exhibits on the Cherokee National Judicial System; the Cherokee Advocate and Cherokee Phoenix newspapers; and the Cherokee language, with various historical items, including photos, stories, objects and furniture. Touch screen kiosks offer visitors documentary-style learning on various legal topics as well as teaching conversational Cherokee.
The John Ross Museum highlights the life of John Ross, principal chief of the CN for more than 38 years, and houses exhibits and interactive displays on the Trail of Tears, Civil War, Cherokee Golden Age and Cherokee Nation’s passion for the education of its people. The museum is housed in an old, rural school building known as School No. 51 and sits at the foot of Ross Cemetery, where John Ross and other notable Cherokee citizens are buried.
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., both in Tahlequah. The John Ross Museum is located at 22366 S. 530 Road in Park Hill.
For more information, call 1-877-779-6977 or visit <a href="http://www.visitcherokeenation.com" target="_blank">www.visitcherokeenation.com</a>.
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – With the hope of teaching more Cherokees soapstone carving, United Keetoowah Band citizen Matt Girty is spreading his knowledge of the ancient art by offering classes in Tahlequah to people willing to learn.
His latest class was on Sept. 16 at the UKB Culture Center, where students gained insight and hands-on experience with soapstone carving.
“My goal was to get more carvers out here because I see a lot of opportunity. So what many people are going to have to do around here is look within their self, look (at) who they are, and most of us out here are Cherokees,” he said. “If I can do it, there’s more out here that can do it. Even if they don’t get seen...then they’ve got a piece of their culture. They can show whoever they want to…so that way it’ll stay alive here within us and not die like it almost has been.”
Girty said he starts his students with creating a turtle.
“This right here is basically to get them to figure out their shapes and to get their hands on soapstone,” he said. “Figure out how to work it, how it feels on your hands.”
As for tools, Girty uses X-Acto knives, files and hacksaws to shape his works.
“I wanted these guys to get the feel of the grass roots of it because that’s how our people did it, not with power tools,” he said. “I want them to get the slow process of it, to get the blocking out and taking off a lot of the object to get to your main goal of making your object piece. So I want them to get used to doing it by hand first before they jump on any power tools.”
By creating stone carved art, Girty said he feels he’s helping keep the art form alive.
“It’s better for me to pass this on because this is all I know how to do that could better our people,” he said. “In my opinion, we should all be able to create beauty and make people smile in everything we do…to keep us going as Cherokee people.”
UKB citizen Ernestine Berry said she is no stranger to the art world, so when she heard about Girty’s class she decided to take it.
“I’m always interested in anything having to do with art,” she said. “I haven’t done stone carving before. I’ve done a little bit of woodcarving. I also have a degree in art for the University in Tulsa. So, I’ve done a little bit of artwork.”
She said Girty is a “good” teacher and thinks what he does, by teaching and preserving the culture, is important.
“I think anything to do with our tradition and our heritage is important to our people,” she said. “It helps us to know who we are. It helps to know where we came from, and it helps us to understand the ancestors and what they went through and the kind of lives that they lived.”
Berry said she encourages anyone interested in preserving Cherokee culture to take Girty’s class.
“It’s an enjoyable thing as well as a learning experience,” she said. “I just encourage anybody who wants to come, to come, because we’re not exclusive here. We accept everybody, Keetoowahs, Cherokee Nation, non-Indians, other tribes, anybody that wants to come.”
So far Girty has taught two classes and hopes to continue teaching, while building upon each one to help students create more advanced pieces.
“I have an idea for you to carve bears. The next class I want you to bring whatever you want to carve and then we can do it,” he said. “Next thing, I have a vision of our old pipe effigies that we used to make. That will be an advanced class because that’s what I’m (personally) doing now is recreating these ceremonial objects.”
Girty hopes to have his next class in either late November or early December.
“I’m here for instruction. Everything I know, it’s no secret,” he said. “I want to show you everything I know, then in turn you go show who you know. Come back and show me what you did, and hopefully you become to be a lot better than I am.”
For more information, find him under Matt Girty on Facebook.
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – The Cherokee Speakers Bureau meeting will be held 12:30-4 p.m., Oct. 12 in the Community Ballroom located behind the Restaurant of the Cherokees in Tahlequah.
All Cherokee speakers are invited to attend. Participants who wish to bring a side dish or dessert for lunch may do so.
The monthly meeting allows area Cherokee speakers to meet and fellowship using the Cherokee language. The speakers share songs, tell handed-down stories in Cherokee, hear presentations and share a meal.
For further information about the event, contact the Language Program at 918-453-5151 or John Ross at 918-453-6170 or Roy Boney, Jr. at 918-453-5487.