Exhibit explores Chief Lewis Downing’s history, influence

07/10/2017 02:00 PM
PARK HILL, Okla. – Lewis Downing served as principal chief of the Cherokee Nation for 15 years following the death of Chief John Ross in 1866. A new exhibit at John Ross Museum explores the change in leadership and Downing’s efforts to rebuild the CN in the years following the Civil War.

“The Life of Lewis Downing” exhibit runs July 14 through Dec. 31.

The John Ross Museum highlights the life of John Ross, who served as principal chief 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 education. 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 John Ross Museum is located at 22366 S. 530 Road.

CN museums are open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

For information, call 1-877-779-6977 or visit www.VisitCherokeeNation.com.


Assistant Editor – @cp_tsnell
07/22/2017 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.
Media Producer – @cp_rgraham
07/20/2017 09:00 AM
PARK HILL, Okla. – The Cherokee Heritage Center’s “Preserving Cherokee Culture: Holding the Past for the Future” exhibit will run from Aug. 14-19 and features nearly 50 historical artifacts. Included in the exhibit are Gen. Stand Watie’s bowie knife, an 1866 handwritten draft of the Reconstruction Act between the U.S. government and the Cherokee Nation, stone and shell artifacts, photographs of notable Cherokees and portions of the CHC’s basket collection. CHC Curator Callie Chunestudy said the Cherokee National Archives has more than 40,000 items in collections and 200,000 items in its archives dating back to pre-European contact. “Our building was built in 1972 and was originally designed just as a museum,” Chunestudy said. “Throughout time we have developed into the premier cultural center for Cherokee history, culture and the arts, and with that evolution came immense growth. We are now at a point where we have to update and expand our facilities to accommodate our archives and ensure that these items remain available to preserve, promote and teach Cherokee culture for generations to come.” CHC Archivist Jerry Thompson said the exhibit would showcase items most patrons never see. He said the exhibit would also highlight items that are more degraded and need funding to be preserved. Money also needs to be raised for a new archives building to house the archives collection and the material culture collection, he said. Thompson said one item in the show is an amber-type photo of Civil War Gen. Stand Watie taken between 1847-50. “It’s one of the oldest photographs we have of Stand Watie. One of the issues that we have with that is...conservation work (needs) completed on that amber type (photo) to have the glass cleaned and to fix the framing,” he said. Thompson said exhibit visitors would also see images from the articles of agreement and the Reconstruction Treaty of 1866 after the Civil War. “The articles are actually the first draft of the treaty between the United States and the Cherokee Nation, and so patrons will be able to see the high degree of degradation aspect of that 33-page document. They’ll be able to notice the water damage and the burning portions of the document where most of the right corner and the right side itself of the entire 33 pages is missing,” he said. The Cherokee National Historical Society board of trustees established the CHC in 1963. It is a nonprofit organization and a separate entity from the CN and Cherokee Nation Businesses. Its goal is to preserve and promote the Cherokee culture while sponsoring “dynamic” educational programs, reconstructed historic villages, engaging exhibits and scholarly research stimulating interest in the enduring legacy of the Cherokee people. The center is the repository for the Cherokee National Archives, the tribe’s foremost collection of historic tribal-related documents and artifacts, cataloging the history of the Cherokee people from the 1700s to present day. For more information, call 918-456-6007.
News Writer
07/18/2017 04:00 PM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – The Cherokee National Holiday quilt show coordinators are seeking entries for the annual event, which is set for 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Sept. 1-2 and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Sept. 3 in Sequoyah High School’s old gym. The show began in the 1980s, and the Cherokee Nation sponsors it annually as part of the holiday. Tammy Bigfeather, quilt show coordinator, took over the show’s coordination in 2016 and said more has been added to it than previous years. “We have added a lot of fun and exciting things. We are now having demonstrations over quilting techniques and quilting crafts,” she said. “We have also added new categories to the quilt show for people to exhibit in.” The show now has 18 categories, 17 of which requiring quilts to be made within the past five years. The “Quilts of the Past” category requires quilts to have been made from July 1998 to July 2012. All categories will receive first-, second- and third-place ribbons, on which viewers vote. “We invite people to come out and help us determine the 2017 winners,” Bigfeather said. “Admission is free, and you get to enjoy some cool air while shopping and taking in the beauty of many different quilts and techniques.” There will also be additional awards, including “Best of Show-Grand Prize,” “Chief’s Choice,” “Deputy Chief’s Choice,” “Chief’s Wife’s Choice,” “Deputy Chief’s Wife’s Choice” and the “Vintage Award.” The show’s committee will vote on the “Vintage Award,” which must be a quilt made before 1998. In addition to the new categories and awards, the show will have vendors and quilting demonstrations for those interested from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Sept. 2 in the old gym. “We hope everyone will join us for an afternoon quilting friends, fellowship and shopping,” Bigfeather said. “Our vendors will supply us with a wide variety of quilting fabrics and products.” Betty Kirk, of Stilwell, entered the 2016 quilt show for her granddaughter with the quilt titled, “The Life of Christ.” It took Kirk nine months to complete its blocks and a year to complete the whole quilt. “I took pages from Christian coloring books and traced it onto fabric and started embroidering away. I worked on it in my free time – on lunch breaks, after work and on weekends,” Kirk said. “Sewing is relaxing to me, but I wanted to make a quilt that is one of a kind and that is about something I believe in.” For quilters like Kirk, the show is about showcasing their works and encouraging others to keep that tradition alive. “I don’t think very many people are still quilting,” she said. “I am teaching my granddaughter to quilt so we can keep it going, and I am hoping she will enter hers this year, too.” The quilt show is a free to enter, open to all ages and non-Native Americans are welcome. The application deadline is Aug. 25, but committee members ask that applications be sent in as early as possible. For more information, call Bigfeather at 918-453-5536 or email <a href="mailto: tammy-bigfeather@cherokee.org">tammy-bigfeather@cherokee.org</a>. Entry forms can also be found on <a href="http://www.cherokee.org" target="_blank">www.cherokee.org</a> under the Cherokee National Holiday tab. <strong>Quilt Show Categories</strong> Quilts made within the last five years (July 2012 to July 2017). Exception: Category 1200 – “Quilts of the Past” - Made between July 1998 to July 2012. 100-Hand Pieced/Hand Quilted 200-Hand Pieced/Machine Quilted 300-Machine Pieced/Hand Quilted 400-Machine Pieced/Machine Quilted 500-Mixed Technique 600-Specialty Technique 700-T-shirt 800-Embroidered 75% with piecework 900-Appliqued 75% with piecework 1000-Paper Pieced 1100-Baby Quilt 1200-Quilts of the Past: 6-19 yr. old quilts 1300-Youth Quilt-17 yrs. old and younger 1400-Youth Quilting Projects (under 12) 1500-Youth Quilting Projects (13-17) 1600-Wall Hanging 1700-Purse or Clothing 1800-Miscellaneous items Vintage Award: Made before July 1998
07/17/2017 12:00 PM
TULSA, Okla. – The Intertribal Indian Club of Tulsa will host its 40th annual Powwow of Champions on Aug. 11-13 at Oral Roberts University located at 7777 S. Lewis. IICOT officials said the powwow represents one expression of American Indian Heritage. “It is one of the most meaningful ways in which Native American traditional values and culture can be presented to contemporary peoples, Indian and non-Indian alike,” officials said. “The powwow is a natural bridge to bring together and enhance Indian and non-Indian relationships. Indian dancing and singing is a traditional art enhanced by both traditional and modern Indian dress. It can be enjoyed and appreciated by both participants and spectators alike. Outstanding singers and dancers serve as classical role models for our youth, and our future cultural resource. The pow wow provides one of the principal settings by which these artistic traditions can be learned, valued and preserved as well as extending Indian hospitality to non-Indian people and promoting intercultural exchange.” Officials added that the most important part of the powwow is the drum. “The drum has been likened to the heartbeat of the American Indian people. Many tribes have added to the rich tradition and literally hundreds of songs are in the command of the singers. Without the drum, these songs and singers, there would be no dance,” officials said. The powwow begins at 6 p.m. on Aug. 11 with gourd dancing and the grand entry at 8 p.m. Officials said gourd dancers wear shoulder blankets, half red and half blue, velvet sashes of various colors and some with mescal been bandoliers. Each carries a shaker, or a gourd rattle, in their right hand and a fan made of feathers in their left hand, officials said, to honor veterans. Doors open at 11 a.m. on Aug. 12 with gourd dancing beginning at noon. Officials said afternoon events include tiny tot girls and boys competitions as well as golden age men and women competitions. Grand entry is at 6 p.m. followed by competitions such as the Harry Adams memorial straight dance, which is named after an IICOT founder, and the women cloth, fancy shawl and jingle dances. On Aug. 13, doors open at 11 a.m. with gourd dancing beginning at noon. An hour break from dancing will be held at 3 p.m., officials said, before the grand entry at 4 p.m. Officials said dancing includes ladies buckskin, men’s grass dance and men’s straight dance. Also during the weekend will be a Native American art/craft mart displaying for sale items such as beadwork, pottery, paintings, books, beads and other items. Traditional foods will also be a prominent part of the powwow, officials said, such as Indian Tacos, corn soup and fry bread. Admission is $8 per day or $15 for a weekend pass. Children 5 and under are free, while seniors 55 and older are $7 per day. Free parking is available. For more information, call 918-378-4494 or 918-838-8276. For vendor information, call 918-378-4494. To advertise in the IICOT souvenir program call 918-838-8276.
Media Producer – @cp_rgraham
07/10/2017 03:00 PM
JAY, Okla. – Huckleberry Festival visitors were treated to time-tested classic rock on July 1 at the RFC Music Fest when the predominantly Cherokee band nighTTrain stepped on stage. The five-member band includes three Cherokee Nation citizens in James Dunham, lead guitar; Waylon Barnes, guitar, keyboards and vocals; and his brother Tuff Barnes, who performs on drums and vocals. Other members include Jeff Elmer, bass and vocals, and Joe Hall, lead vocals and guitar. Dunham talked about the band’s Native presence and their longevity. “Yeah, three of us are Cherokee officially and one who’s a kind of off-the-record Cherokee. But we must be doing something right. In about a week we will have been together eight years.” He added that while the band plays classic rock, its set list is diverse. “We play from America to Metallica and all songs in between,” he said. As for its upcoming schedule, nighTTrain performs frequently at tribal venues including Cherokee casinos. “We’ve got some dates coming up at the Hard Rock in Tulsa, at ‘Riffs.’ We’ve got Fort Gibson casino. We’ve got Grove casino and West Siloam casino. That covers us for the next couple of months,” he said. Dunham said he also wants fans to know that the band also has a single out. “We just went into Crisp recording studio over in Fayetteville (Arkansas). We recorded our take on Phil Collins’ “In The Air Tonight.” And we actually have that for sale by digital download, along with all the popular sites iTunes, Amazon music, Google music, it’s out there,” he said. Tuff Barnes said he had had a rough start after joining the band eight years ago. “When we first started out I couldn’t practice because I had heart surgery, so they were about three months ahead of me when we finally all got together. But we’ve come a long ways and play a lot of different venues now,” he said. Waylon Barnes said playing with Cherokees musicians is fairly common for him. “I’ve been playing with these Cherokees for the last eight years. Before that I played music with my dad, who was also Cherokee,” he said. Waylon Barnes said he believes the band’s longevity has placed them on a good path. “Yeah, with our band I think we’re hitting a pretty good stride. There are lots of gigs, and we just keep going up and up. With all of us having day jobs, it’s hard to stay on top of things all the time, but you got to do what you got to do.” For more information on nighTTrain’s, visit www.nighttrainonline.com or www.facebook.com/nighttrainrox.