http://www.cherokeephoenix.orgTwo spears mark the ground as a disc-shaped stone is rolled during a game of chunkey. Chunkey is an ancient Cherokee sport that was played for the first time at the 65th annual Cherokee National Holiday Traditional Native Games on Sept. 3 at One Fire Field in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. LINDSEY BARK/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Two spears mark the ground as a disc-shaped stone is rolled during a game of chunkey. Chunkey is an ancient Cherokee sport that was played for the first time at the 65th annual Cherokee National Holiday Traditional Native Games on Sept. 3 at One Fire Field in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. LINDSEY BARK/CHEROKEE PHOENIX

Cherokee National Holiday sees first-ever chunkey game

United Keetoowah Band citizen Charlotte Wolfe, right, competes in the women’s division of chunkey at the 65th annual Cherokee National Holiday Traditional Native Games on Sept. 3 at One Fire Field in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. The object is to throw an 8-foot-long wooden spear at a rolling disc-shaped stone, and the closest spear to land near the stone when it stops rolling gets a point. LINDSEY BARK/CHEROKEE PHOENIX Cherokee Nation citizen Mark Thompson, foreground, competes against his brother, Darren Eagle, in the men’s division of chunkey at 65th annual Cherokee National Holiday Traditional Native Games on Sept. 3 at One Fire Field in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. LINDSEY BARK/CHEROKEE PHOENIX Chunkey competitor Ed Deerinwater watches as he attempts to land his spear near the chunkey stone as it rolls during the 65th annual Cherokee National Holiday Traditional Native Games on Sept. 3 at One Fire Field in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. LINDSEY BARK/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
United Keetoowah Band citizen Charlotte Wolfe, right, competes in the women’s division of chunkey at the 65th annual Cherokee National Holiday Traditional Native Games on Sept. 3 at One Fire Field in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. The object is to throw an 8-foot-long wooden spear at a rolling disc-shaped stone, and the closest spear to land near the stone when it stops rolling gets a point. LINDSEY BARK/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
BY LINDSEY BARK
Reporter
09/08/2017 08:15 AM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – After intriguing the public in 2016 about an ancient Cherokee game called chunkey, Cherokee Nation citizen Jim Cosby brought the game to this year’s Cherokee National Holiday’s Traditional Native Games on Sept. 3 at the One Fire Field.

The event marked the first time the ancient game, which possibly precedes stickball and was used as a means to gamble, was played at the annual tribal holiday.

Before reintroducing chunkey, Cosby said he had to research its history and rules.

“Unfortunately there’s not a lot of documented history on the game, and we got all the history we could. We play as close to what we have discovered, as we could find that’s out there,” Cosby said.

The object is to throw an 8-foot-long wooden spear, typically made of hickory, at a rolling disc-shaped stone. The closest spear to land near the stone when it stops rolling gets a point. The first person to 11 points wins.

Two chunkey stones were used in this year’s games, both carved from Georgia granite by Cherokee artists Eddie Morrison and Matt Girty. Both stones were retired after the Cherokee Traditional Native Games to be preserved for future games.

“Back in the old days the towns owned the chunkey stones. They were considered a precious object. We know the Cherokee played because a bunch of chunkey stones were excavated from our original homelands,” Cosby said.

He also said chunkey was known as a violent game, not physically, but in the gambling that surrounded it. Cosby said people would bet their possessions, and if they lost, criminal activity, and even suicide, ensued among the communities that played.

“It was just almost a war-like game. The game itself wasn’t violent, but the things surrounding it kind of were,” he said. “Back in the day, each person would gamble. They would put something, and if they lost it was tragic. It was a big deal.”

The future of chunkey lays in the hands of those interested in learning to play and helping preserve Cherokee culture and history.

United Keetoowah Band citizen Charlotte Wolfe said the game is now played for fun and fellowship.

“It’s really exciting to see it come back and to have women involved as well and children. It’s really for any age, anybody. That’s awesome. It’s a less intimidating game for families to come out and enjoy,” Wolfe said. “When we play these games, its more than just a game, it’s a fellowship. So it brings people together, and the fellowship can make any event enjoyable.”

CN citizen Mark Thompson said he hopes chunkey keeps growing and generates more interest to help “keep the history alive.”

“People love it, and it’s real fun to play. It just only made sense to add it to the (Traditional) Native Games because it’s one of our oldest games,” Cosby said.

Chunkey tournament winners in the women’s division were first-place Charlotte Wolfe, second-place Clarissa Eagle and third-place Tracey Eagle. Men’s division winners were first-place Marcus Thompson, second-place Brock Lewis and third-place Mark Thompson. In the children’s division, winners were first-place Gavin Langston, second-place Farris Sutteer and third-place Nathan Langston.

For more information, visit the Cherokee Chunkey Players Facebook page.
ᏣᎳᎩ

ᏓᎵᏆ, ᎣᎦᎵᎰᎹ.----ᏴᏫ ᎠᏁᏙᎲ ᎠᎩᏁᎢᏍᏔᏅ ᎯᎠ ᏔᎵ ᏯᎦᏴᎵ ᏓᎳᏚ ᏧᏕᏘᏴᏌᏗᏒᎢ ᎯᎠ ᎢᎴᎯᏳ ᎠᏂᏣᎳᎩ ᏧᎾᏁᎶᏅᎯ ᎯᎠ ᎠᏃᏎᎲᎢ ᏨᏅᎩ, ᏣᎳᎩ ᎠᎨᎵ ᎨᎳ Jim Cosby ᎤᏲᏢ ᎯᎠ ᏗᏁᎶᏗ ᎯᎠ ᏧᏕᏘᏴᏌᏗ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎠᏂᏣᎳᎩ ᎠᎾᏕᎾ ᎤᎾᏕᏘᏱᏍᎬ ᎤᎾᏕᏘᏱᏍᎬ ᎢᎴᎯᏳ ᏧᎾᏁᎶᏅ ᎠᏁᎯᏯᎢ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏚᎵᏍᏗ ᏦᎢᏁ ᎾᎿ ᏌᏊ ᎪᏛᎢ ᏠᎨᏏ.

ᎯᎠ ᏓᎾᏁᎶᎲᏍᎬ ᎤᏙᏪᎳᏅ ᎢᎬᏱ ᎢᎴᎯᏳ ᎯᎠ ᎤᏪ ᎢᎴᎯᏳ ᏧᎾᏁᎶᏅᎢ, ᎾᏍᎩ ᎠᏉᎯᏳ ᎢᎬᏱ ᎾᏃ ᎠᎾᏁᏦᏍᎬᎢ ᎠᎴ ᎠᏅᏗᏍᎬ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏗᎬᏩᏟ ᏓᎾᏁᎶᎲᏍᎬᎢ, ᎾᏍᎩᏃ ᎤᎾᏕᏘᏱᏍᎬ ᎠᏂᎾᏍᏓᏢ ᎤᏂᏆᎸᎡᎲᎢ.
ᏏᏃ ᏂᏚᎾᏁᎶᏅᎾ ᏨᏅᎩ, Cosby ᎠᏗᏍᎬ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎤᎪᏓ ᎤᎪᎵᏰᎢᏓᏍᏗ ᏄᏍᏛ ᏄᎾᏛᏁᎵᏙᎸ ᎠᎴ ᏧᏂᏍᏓᏩᏛᏍᏙᏗ ᏚᏂᎲᎢ.

“ᏙᎯᏳᏃ ᎠᏆᏕᎶᎰᏒ Ꮮ ᎰᏩ ᎢᎸᏢ ᏱᎪᏪᎵ ᎧᎬᎮᏍᎩ ᎯᎠ ᏗᏁᎶᏗ, ᎠᎴ ᏱᏚᏂᎾ ᎪᏪᎵ ᎯᎠ ᎨᏒᎢ. ᏙᎦᏁᎶᏅ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏄᏍᏛ ᎣᎩᏩᏛᎲ ᎣᏥᎪᎵᏱᏍᎬᎢ, ᎾᏍᎩ ᎣᎩᏩᏛᎲᎢ,” ᎠᏗᏍᎬᎢ Cosby.

ᏄᏍᏛᏃ ᎯᎠ ᏮᎾᏕᎨ ᏧᏁᎳ ᎢᎳᏏᏓ ᎢᎦᏅᎯᏓ ᎪᏍᏓᏱ , ᎾᏍᎩᎾ ᏩᏁᎢ ᎠᏓ ᎪᏢᏔᏅ ᎨᏎᎢ, ᎾᏍᎩ ᏭᎾᏕᎨ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎠᎵᏐᏩᎴᏟᏒ ᎦᏐᏆᎸ ᏅᏯ. ᎾᏍᎩᏃ ᎾᎠᏂᎨᏍᏗ ᏭᏗᏨ ᎾᎿ ᎪᏍᏓᏱ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎦᏐᏆᎸᎢ ᎦᏅᏍᎬᎢ, ᎾᏍᎩᏃ ᎢᎬᏱ ᏴᏫ ᎾᎿ ᏌᏚ ᎤᏅᏅᎢ ᎠᏓᏠᏍᎬᎢ.

ᏔᎵ ᏨᏅᎩ ᏅᏯ ᏓᏅᏗᏍᎬᎢ ᎯᎠ ᏧᏕᏘᏴᏌᏗ ᏓᎾᏁᎶᎲᏍᎬᎢ, ᎢᏧᎳ ᏧᏃᏢᏅ ᎾᎿ ᏣᏥ granite ᏅᏯ ᎾᎿ ᎠᏣᎳᎩ ᎪᏢᏅᏍᎩ Eddie Morrison ᎠᎴ Matt Girty. ᎢᏧᎳ ᏅᏯ ᏙᎢ ᏂᏚᏅᏁᎸ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎤᏂᏍᏆᏓ ᏣᎳᎩ ᎪᎯᎨ ᏧᎾᏁᎶᏗ ᎠᏂᎯᏯ ᏧᎾᏁᎶᏗ ᎤᎾᎵᏏᏅᏔᏅ ᎾᎿ ᎣᏂ ᏧᎾᏁᎶᏙᏗ.

“ᎪᎯᎦ ᏥᎨᏒ ᎤᏂᏚᎲ ᏚᏂᎲ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏨᏅᎩ ᏅᏯ ᏧᎾᏁᎶᏙᏗ. ᏚᎾᎦᏎᏍᏛᏃ ᏧᏂᎨᏳᎯ ᎨᏒᎢ. ᎣᎦᏅᏔ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎠᏂᏣᎳᎩ ᏓᎾᏁᎶᏗᏍᎬ ᎾᏗᎦᎵᏍᏙᏗ ᎤᎪᏓ ᏨᏅᎩ ᏅᏯ ᏚᏂᏅᏩᏢᏎᎢ ᎾᎿ ᎢᎬᏱ ᏚᎾᏁᎳᏛᎢ,” ᎠᏗᏍᎬᎢ Cosby.

ᎯᎠᏃ ᏄᏪᏒ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏨᏅᎩ ᎤᎾᏅᏛ ᎾᎿ ᏗᎦᎾᏰᎦ ᎨᏒ, ᏝᏃ ᏗᎵᏍᏗ ᎨᏒ, ᎾᏍᎩᏂ ᏓᏂᏆᎾᏲᎯᎲ ᎤᎳᏗᏢᎢ. Cosby ᎠᏗᏍᎬ ᏴᏫ ᏓᏂᎬᏩᏢᏍᎬ ᎤᏂᎾᎥ, ᎠᎴ ᎢᏳᏃ ᏳᏂᏲᎱᏎᎵ, ᎠᏂᏍᎦᏅᏨᎲᏍᎬ, ᎠᎴ ᎤᏅᏌ ᏓᎾᏓᎯᎲᎢ, ᎤᎾᎵᏍᏓᏁᎸᎲᏍᎬ ᎾᎿ ᏍᎦᏚᎩ ᎾᎿ ᎠᏁᎯ ᏚᎾᏁᎶᏅᎯ.

“ᎤᏠᏯᏈ ᎢᏳᏍᏗ ᎨᏒ ᎠᏂᏲᏍᎩ ᏓᎾᏟᎲᎢ. ᏓᎾᏁᎶᎲᏍᎬ Ꮭ ᎤᏁᎫᏥᏓ ᏱᎨᏎ, ᎠᏎᏃ ᎤᎳᏗᏢ ᎨᏒ,” ᎠᏗᏍᎬᎢ. “ᎾᎯᏳ ᏥᎨᏒ, ᎠᏏᏴᏫᎭ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏓᏂᏆᎾᏲᎯᎲ. ᎪᎱᏍᏗ ᏓᏂᎬᏩᏢᏍᎬ, ᎠᎴ ᏳᏲᎱᏎᎵ Ꮭ ᎣᏍᏓ ᏱᎨᏎᎢ. ᎤᏔᎾ ᏧᏂᏬᏂᎯᏍᏗ ᎨᏒᎢ.”

ᎤᏩᎪᏗᏗᏒ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏨᏅᎩ ᎠᏂᏴᏫ ᏧᏃᏰᏂ ᎠᏝᎢ ᎾᏃ ᎤᎾᏚᎵᏍᎩ ᎤᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᏗ ᏧᎾᏁᎶᏗ ᎠᎴ ᎠᏂᏍᏕᎵᏍᎩ ᎠᎵᏏᏅᏙᏗ ᎠᏂᏣᎳᎩ ᏳᎾᏛᏁᎵᏓᏍᏗ ᎠᎴ ᏂᏧᎵᏍᏔᏅᏍᏔᏅᎢ.

ᎠᏂᎩᏚᏩᎩ ᎠᏂᏴᏫᏯᏍᏛ ᎨᎳ ᎠᏗᏍᎬ ᎯᎠ ᏗᏁᎶᏗ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏓᎾᏁᎶᎲᏍᎪ ᎤᏬᎸᏛᎢ ᎠᎴ ᏱᏚᎾᏓᏟᏌᏅ.

“ᎣᏍᏓ ᎠᏓᏅᏓᏗᏍᏗ ᎠᎪᏩᏛᏗ ᏓᎾᏁᎶᎲᏍᎬ ᎠᎴ ᎠᏂᎨᏯ ᎠᏁᎸᏗᏙᎲ ᎾᏍᏊ ᎠᎴ ᏗᏂᏲᏟᎢ. ᏂᎦᏛᏃ ᏗᎬᏩᎾᏁᎶᏗ ᎠᎴ ᎯᎳ ᎢᏳᏕᏘᏴᏓ ᏱᎩ ᎾᏍᏊ, ᏂᎦᎵᏍᏗᏊ ᎩᎶᎢ. ᎢᎦᏃ ᎣᏍᏓ. Ꮭ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎢᎦ ᎠᏍᎢᏍᏗ ᏱᎨᏐ ᎯᎠ ᏓᎾᏁᎶᎲᏍᎬ ᎾᎿ ᏏᏓᏁᎸ ᏗᎬᏩᎾᏁᎶᏗ ᎠᎴ ᎬᏩᏂᎸᏉᏙᏗ,” ᎠᏗᏍᎬ ᏩᎭᏱ. “ᎾᏍᎩ ᏱᏙᎦᏁᎶᏂ ᎯᎠ ᏗᏁᎶᏙᏗ, ᎤᎪᏙᏃ Ꮩ ᏗᏁᎶᏗᏊ, ᎾᏍᎩᏯ ᏗᏓᏟᏐᏗ ᏥᎨᏐᎢ. ᎾᏍᎩᏃ ᏕᎦᏟᏏᏍᎪ ᎠᏂᏴᏫ, ᎠᎴ ᏓᎾᏟᏃᎮᏍᎪ ᏃᎴᏍᏊ ᎠᏂᎸᏉᏗᏍᎪᎢ.”

ᏣᎳᎩ ᎠᏰᎵ ᎨᎳ Mark Thompson ᎠᏗᏍᎬ ᎤᏚᎩ ᎤᏩ ᏨᏅᎩ ᏗᏁᎶᏗ ᎤᏛᎯᏍᏗᎢ ᎠᎴ ᎤᏂᎩᏍᏗ ᎠᏍᏕᎸᏗ ᎾᏍᎩ “ᎪᎯᎦ ᏄᎵᏍᏔᏅ ᏚᎾᏁᎶᏅ ᎬᏃᏗ ᎢᏳᎵᏍᏙᏗᎢ.”

“ᎠᏂᏴᏫ ᎤᏂᎸᏉᏔᏅ, ᎠᎴ ᎢᎦ ᎤᏬᎸᏗ ᏗᏁᎶᏗᎢ. ᎾᏍᎩᏃ ᎢᏳᏍᏗ ᎣᏏᏊ ᏱᎩ ᎾᏍᎩ (ᎪᎯᎦ ᏚᎾᏁᎶᏅ) ᎪᏂᎯᏯ ᏧᎾᏁᎶᏗ ᏅᏗᎦᎵᏍᏙᏗ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎠᎦᏴᎵ ᏧᎾᏁᎶᏗ ᎨᏒᎢ,” ᎠᏗᏍᎬᎢ Cosby.

ᏨᏅᎩ ᎠᎾᏓᎪᎾᏗᏍᎬ ᎤᎾᏓᏠᏒᎢ ᎾᎿ ᎠᏂᏴᏯ ᎢᎬᏱ ᎤᏓᏠᏒ Charlotte Wolfe, ᏔᎵᏁ ᎠᏌᏍᏛ Clarissa Eagle ᎠᎴ ᏦᎢᏳ ᎠᏌᏍᏛ Tracey Eagle. ᎠᏂᏍᎦᏱ ᎠᎾᏓᎪᎾᏗᏍᎬ ᎢᎬᏱ ᎤᏓᏠᏒ Marcus Thompson, ᏔᎵᏁ ᎠᏌᏍᏛ Brock Lewis ᎠᎴ ᏦᎢᏁ Mark Thompson. ᎾᏍᎩᏃ ᏗᏂᏲᏟ ᎠᎾᏓᎪᎾᏗᏍᎬᎢ, ᎤᎾᏓᏠᏒᎢ ᎢᎬᏱ Gavin Langston, ᏔᎵᏁᏃ Farris Sutter ᎠᎴ ᏦᎢᏁᎢ Nathan Langston.

ᎤᎪᏛ ᎠᏕᎶᎰᎯᏍᏗ ᏲᏚᎵ, visit the Cherokee Players Facebook page.

– TRANSLATION BY ANNA SIXKILLER

About the Author
Lindsey Bark grew up and resides in the Tagg Flats community in Delaware County. She graduated from Northeastern State University in 2012 with a bachelor’s degree in mass communication, emphasizing in journalism. She started working for the Cherokee Phoenix in 2016.
 
Working for the Cherokee Phoenix, Lindsey hopes to gain as much knowledge as she can about Cherokee culture and people. She is a full-blood Cherokee and a citizen of the United Keetoowah Band.
 
Her favorite activities are playing stickball and pitching horseshoes. She is a member of the Nighthawks Stickball team in Tahlequah and enjoys performing stickball demonstrations in various communities. She is also a member of the Oklahoma Horseshoe Pitchers Association and competes in sanctioned tournaments throughout the state.
 
Previously a member of the Native American Journalists Association, she has won three NAJA awards and hopes to continue as a member with the Cherokee Phoenix.
lindsey-bark@cherokee.org • 918-772-4223
Lindsey Bark grew up and resides in the Tagg Flats community in Delaware County. She graduated from Northeastern State University in 2012 with a bachelor’s degree in mass communication, emphasizing in journalism. She started working for the Cherokee Phoenix in 2016. Working for the Cherokee Phoenix, Lindsey hopes to gain as much knowledge as she can about Cherokee culture and people. She is a full-blood Cherokee and a citizen of the United Keetoowah Band. Her favorite activities are playing stickball and pitching horseshoes. She is a member of the Nighthawks Stickball team in Tahlequah and enjoys performing stickball demonstrations in various communities. She is also a member of the Oklahoma Horseshoe Pitchers Association and competes in sanctioned tournaments throughout the state. Previously a member of the Native American Journalists Association, she has won three NAJA awards and hopes to continue as a member with the Cherokee Phoenix.

Multimedia

BY BRITTNEY BENNETT
Reporter – @cp_bbennett
02/23/2018 08:00 AM
YUKON – Though it’s taken several years for Cherokee metal artist Tommy Roe Mitchell to find his stride, his distinctive style is now giving him the opportunity to pursue his passion while stepping out from his father’s shadow. He grew up close to the art business, as his father Ron is a well-known Cherokee artist who began his career in the 1970s. While both have experience in metal art, Tommy said he’s now setting his work apart with painting and grinding techniques. “Dad was doing metal artwork, but he wasn’t doing it to the extent that I am now, not with the color,” Tommy said. “He would actually cut the piece out, grind the edges and heat-treat it, but he wasn’t putting the grinding marks in it like I have. Dad never even thought about using the grinder the way I was doing, so already this was out of his league.” Tommy said he usually draws inspiration from things he sees on television and YouTube. Once he completes a design on sketchpad, he transfers it onto poster board and then onto 14- to 18-gauge sheet metal with a magic marker. The design is then cut with a plasma cutter before he uses a grinder to smooth jagged edges and polish out imperfections. Once satisfied, he grinds grooves into the metal to give the illusion of feathers and depth. “I want a nice, smooth, flat surface to start creating, and that’s when I start with the grinding effects,” he said. “I want a three-dimensional look. People have come up to it and actually felt behind it because it looks thicker than it really is. It’s just the way the grinding is.” Once the overall look comes together, Tommy heat-treats the piece or moves it to his paint booth before sealing it with an automotive clear coat for a smooth finish. While expanding his range to include hummingbirds and cardinals, his roots lie in mythical symbolism, including his piece “Dance of the Phoenix.” “Metal artists, they like doing the eagle feathers. I wanted to do something similar, but I don’t want to copy anybody’s work. We thought, ‘Phoenix, why not?’ Who knows what a Phoenix feather looks like? It’s a mythical bird so this is my interpretation of what the flaming feathers look like. It’s the bird that rose from the fire, kind of like me.” In addition to creating versions of the phoenix, Tommy creates his interpretation of what individual feathers might look like on the creature. The feathers are called “Phoenix Spirit Feathers.” He has also taken inspiration from Cherokee myths and legends, including that of the Raven Mocker, a feared witch that preys on the sick and frail. “I was wanting something a little scary, and I started looking into the Cherokee myths, and we came up with something rather scary, which was the Raven Mocker,” he said. “That one is just a little more dramatic, a little more scary.” Strangely enough, the blooming of Tommy’s metalwork came after being diagnosed with acute anxiety disorder. “When I was diagnosed with acute anxiety disorder, I did not want to rely on the medication. They gave me that to begin with, and I couldn’t take it. I struggled with that so we talked to a therapist, and he suggested art is a relaxing way of dealing with stress. So I thought, ‘OK, I can do this. This is something right up my alley.’” Tommy said this is the first time his artwork has been something he “truly enjoys” and is “eager” for the public to see more. “I think they’re really nice-looking, and I feel really comfortable doing it. The greatest compliment on this artwork is when I take it to an art show and someone loves it so much that they’re willing to pay for it and take it home and hang it up on their walls. That’s the compliment that I like.” For more information, visit <a href="http://www.dragonfiremetalart.net" target="_blank">www.dragonfiremetalart.net</a> or search “DragonFire Metal Art” on Facebook.
BY STAFF REPORTS
02/22/2018 12:00 PM
ROCKY MOUNTAIN – The Rocky Mountain Cherokee Community Organization will host Cherokee language classes beginning March 17 at its community building near Stilwell. The classes will last eight weeks and will have alternating sessions or hours. The first Saturday class will last from 10 a.m. to noon, and the following Saturday the class will be from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. This will continue until the eights weeks are completed. Lawrence Panther, a Cherokee Nation Cherokee Language Program translator, will instruct the classes. He said his objectives are for his students to learn how to read and write the Cherokee syllabary and how to speak Cherokee. “These classes will primarily focus on the syllabary chart, thus helping the students enhance their reading, writing and speaking skills. There will be activity materials to progress their learning skills. Classroom setting will require speaking Cherokee, worksheets will be provided, and I will lecture as well,” he said. “At the end of the eight sessions, they will have a better understanding of the syllabary chart. Lecture and understanding the syllabary chart will further their reading, writing and speaking skills.” The community building is located about 5 miles west of Stilwell. From Stilwell, travel on Hwy 100 west for 3 miles and then turn onto Rocky Mountain School Road and continue about 2 miles. The RMCCO Community Building is located across the road from the school’s softball field. The RMCCO is affiliated with the CN Community and Cultural Outreach. Advancement of the Cherokee culture and communities in the Nation’s jurisdictional area, as well the tribe’s many satellite communities, is important for the future of the CN, according to the CCO program. It also states the CCO is designed to strengthen Cherokee communities. Visit the RMCCO Facebook page for more information.
BY STAFF REPORTS
02/21/2018 12:00 PM
PARK HILL – The Cherokee Heritage Center is hosting a series of cultural classes designed to preserve, promote and teach traditional Cherokee art. The Saturday workshops are held once a month and provide hands-on learning opportunities of traditional art forms. Registration is open for the March 10 class on round reed basketry and the April 7 class on Cherokee moccasins. Both classes are from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and cost $40 each. Early registration is recommended as class size is limited. For more information or to RSVP, call Tonia Weavel at 918-456-6007, ext. 6161, or email <a href="mailto: tonia-weavel@cherokee.org">tonia-weavel@cherokee.org</a>. The CHC is located at 21192 S. Keeler Drive.
BY ASSOCIATED PRESS
02/16/2018 08:00 AM
ST. LOUIS (AP) – Kathy Dickerson worries about the future of the Kiowa culture. Dickerson is a St. Louis artist and citizen of the Kiowa Tribe of Oklahoma. She said she does bead work, some silversmithing and brain tanning, where she takes the brain of an animal and uses it to tan the hide. Each tribe’s crafts are a part of its identity, she said. The Kiowa moccasins she makes are different from those made by other tribes, even neighboring tribes. Her work isn’t creative, she said, she’s reproducing art from Kiowa tradition. “We still do things that our ancestors did, and I’m still teaching my grandchildren what I was taught,” Dickerson said. People who are not part of federally recognized American Indian tribes fabricate their artwork and their history, she said. They fool people who don’t know much about American Indians, skewing their understanding of tribes. She said the problem is apparent in St. Louis, where non-Native people are brought in to give cultural presentations at community festivals. “They get the person that has dreamcatchers and tom-toms,” Dickerson said. “Things that are China-made and look like stereotypical American Indian stuff. These non-Natives that are not in a community, they don’t understand what Indians are.” The Missouri House Special Committee on Small Business has unanimously approved a bill that would ban people who are not citizens of federally recognized American Indian tribes from selling their arts and crafts as authentic American Indian work. Under federal law, members of state- and federally recognized tribes can sell their work as authentic. Chief Grey Elk of the Northern Cherokee Nation said all the work of their tribe is “authentic dating back to antiquity,” and the tribe’s artisans follow styles and patterns passed down through generations. “All we do is reproduce that,” he said. Grey Elk said the proposed legislation grew out of the animosity between the Northern Cherokee and the Cherokee Nation in Oklahoma, a federally recognized tribe. The CN has long disputed the legitimacy of the Northern Cherokee Nation. “We’ve never got along, and it’s because we call them ‘Treaty Cherokees,’ and they call us ‘Wannabes,’” Grey Elk said. “We refused to sign any treaties, and they signed 50.” The Northern Cherokee Nation is a nonprofit group that states it is an American Indian tribe recognized by the State of Missouri, not the federal government. Then-Gov. Kit Bond issued a proclamation in June 1983, where he acknowledged the existence of the Northern Cherokee Tribe “as an American Indian Tribe within the State of Missouri,” and declared June 24, 1983 “Northern Cherokee Recognition Day.” Some, including Rep. Rocky Miller, the bill’s sponsor and a CN citizen say that proclamation does not make the Northern Cherokee a state-recognized tribe. Missouri has no established process for recognizing state tribes, and a list of state-recognized tribes will vary, depending on who you ask. The Indian Arts and Crafts Board, which enforces federal law regulating the sale of American Indian art, doesn’t keep a current list of state-recognized tribes but was informed in 2014 by the Attorney General’s office that Missouri had no state-recognized tribes. The Attorney General’s office directed the Missourian to the Secretary of State’s office, which provided a list of 11 federally recognized tribes with a presence in Missouri, including the Absentee Shawnee of Oklahoma and the Sac and Fox Nation of Missouri in Kansas and Nebraska. The tribes on the Secretary of State’s list are centered in surrounding states of Kansas, Oklahoma and Nebraska, and used to live on land in what is now Missouri. The Northern Cherokee Nation was not on the list. Grey Elk said he asked Gov. Eric Greitens to check to see if the proclamation is legitimate recognition. Miller, a Lake Ozark Republican, said any move to formally recognize the Northern Cherokee would be “ridiculous.” He said all tribal recognition should come from the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs. CN Assistant Attorney General Alayna Farris testified in support of the bill at a small business committee hearing on Jan. 24. At that hearing, she said the Northern Cherokee Nation and other tribes that are not federally recognized are appropriating authentic Cherokee culture and erode trust in the American Indian art market. Most American Indian art is regulated by the federal Indian Arts and Crafts Act of 1990, which allows artisans from federally and state-recognized tribes to advertise their work as American Indian-made. That would exclude the Northern Cherokee if they are not state-recognized, but Miller said the law is still necessary to give local law enforcement the ability to prosecute. “It’s just a much quicker and easier way to stop this theft of our heritage,” Miller said. Cases taken on by federal authorities can take a long time, Miller said, like the case of Terry Lee Whetstone, a Missouri man who pleaded guilty to violating the federal law in 2015, several years after he was reported to the Indian Arts and Crafts Board. Whetstone was eventually sentenced to three years of probation and ordered to stop selling his art or playing his flute unless he makes it clear that he is not a member of an American Indian tribe. The bill is similar to one passed in the Oklahoma legislature in 2016. That bill amended Oklahoma’s 1974 Indian Arts and Craft Sales Act to protect artists from federally recognized American Indian tribes. Peggy Fontenot, who is a member of the state-recognized Patawomeck Tribe of Virginia, sued Oklahoma soon after the bill was passed. She is arguing the law infringed on her right to truthfully describe her art as American Indian-made when she sold her art in the state. Oklahoma halted enforcement of the law in January 2017, pending the results of the case. Pre-trial motions have delayed the case in the Western District Court of Oklahoma, so the law is still not being enforced. Grey Elk said he has an antagonistic history with Miller, stemming from a dispute over the proposed placement of a sewage treatment facility at the headwaters of the Blue Springs Creek, which is in Miller’s district. Grey Elk also said he thinks Miller is against the Northern Cherokee because he is a CN citizen. “Rocky, I’m sure, could care less whether we label our stuff we make for powwows ‘Native American made,’” Grey Elk said. “Somebody down there has undoubtedly put a burr in his saddle.” Miller said he didn’t want the treatment plant on that creek, either. He said his issue was with Grey Elk making that land “fake holy ground” in order to stop the plant. “He’s basically a fraud, and he’s stealing my family’s heritage, and the people who join him are doing the same,” Miller said. Miller said he’s pushing the bill because he doesn’t like people who break the law, and he doesn’t like people who take his heritage. His family was forced out of their home and to the Indian Territory in what is now Oklahoma, Miller said. “For someone to come along and make light of that by making fake arts and crafts, it angers me,” he said. Dickerson said that when people don’t know much about American Indians, they’ll gravitate toward people who fit their idea of what an American Indian should be. Much of that is influenced by Hollywood portrayals of American Indians, and isn’t accurate. “When we go out, people ask, ‘Can you glam it up a bit, can you throw a little bit of Hollywood into it?’” Dickerson said. “And it’s like, no, this is what it is. We’re showing you our culture. We don’t want to create something that’s glamorous over what’s real.” Those watered-down and stereotypical perceptions of what an American Indian is take away from unique tribal identities, she said, and people posing as Native Americans do the same. “They copy off of different tribes and they kind of make a hodgepodge of these works that you cant tell who it belongs to,” Dickerson said. “But these non-Natives, they’re taking it and they’re bastardizing the culture because they’re not going by anything but what they feel the American Indian is about.” Grey Elk said the Northern Cherokee’s works aren’t made just to be sold. The group’s website advertises several works, including jewelry and paintings, with contact information for the artists listed, but Grey Elk said they mostly sell at powwows. If someone is interested in a work, they’re happy to sell it and make another. Grey Elk said most American Indian tribes consider the powwow a chance to show off their culture, skills and wares. “And maybe it makes them a little money to boot,” he added.
BY STAFF REPORTS
02/15/2018 12:00 PM
RAPID CITY, S.D. – The First Peoples Fund recently welcomed a new cohort of artist fellows who embody the “Collective Spirit” and whose lives reflect the traditional values at the heart of FPF’s mission - generosity, wisdom, respect, integrity, strength, fortitude and humility. And one of the 15 artists selected to receive the ABL fellowship is writer and Cherokee Nation citizen Traci Sorell of Olathe, Kansas. “I am humbled to receive this fellowship. I hadn’t initially realized all the marketing costs related to the launch of a debut picture book. My friend suggested that I apply for the First Peoples Fund’s Artist in Business Leadership fellowship because it provides training, support and financial resources to artists wanting to grow their business,” Sorell said. “I am so grateful to be selected and look forward to the professional training that First Peoples Fund will provide me and the other fellows when we gather in Santa Fe, New Mexico, next month (March).” Sorell said the fellowship will help her launch an author website and design and print promotional materials for her book “We Are Grateful: Otsaliheliga,” which is set for release on Sept. 4. The fellowship also will create a free downloadable curriculum guide for teachers and anyone else to download from Sorell’s website and pay for travel to book-related events. “These costs would be very difficult for me to cover without the fellowship’s help,” she said. “Having this support also allows me to focus my time on writing more books and getting them ready for submission because that’s what is required to grow my business as a children’s book author.” Each year First Peoples offers two fellowship-grant programs for artists: Artist in Business Leadership and Cultural Capital. “We have such a range of mediums,” First Peoples Fund Program Manager Mary Bordeaux (Sicangu Lakota) said. “Everything from Indigenous foods to performing artists. We have artists using traditional techniques in modern ways. I’m excited about working with the artists, seeing them grow, and their projects come to fruition.” Through projects of their design, as well as assistance and training provided by First Peoples Fund, it is hoped the 15 artists selected will develop skills to help them grow a thriving business for themselves and their families. “When an individual artist is uplifted and supported, they impact their families, communities and the benefits can ripple out regionally and nationally. This inspires artists to fully honor their cultural creativity and frees them to embrace their Native identity and voice,” Bordeaux said. “The Artist in Business Leadership fellows are doing work within to stabilize themselves as artists.” Receiving the fellowship goes beyond support for a year or a single project. Artist fellows are brought into the First Peoples Fund family and introduced to a network of artists, market opportunities and have a chance to build relationships while they grow their confidence and ability as artists. Founded in 1995, First Peoples Fund honors and supports the “Collective Spirit” of First Peoples artists and culture bearers and strives to make a difference, pass on ancestral knowledge and extend a hand of generosity. For more information, visit <a href="http://www.firstpeoplesfund.org" target="_blank">www.firstpeoplesfund.org</a> or email <a href="mailto: info@firstpeoplesfund.org">info@firstpeoplesfund.org</a>.
BY KENLEA HENSON
Reporter
01/30/2018 08:00 AM
TAHLEQUAH – Cherokee Nation citizen Brian Barlow was awarded a $10,000 Dreamstarter grant in 2017 to make a difference in his community. Since then, he’s been working to integrate the Cherokee language into the town’s Walmart. Growing up in the CN capital, Barlow said he’s seen less and less of the Cherokee language being used, especially among the youth. Through language classes in high school and tribal activities such as the CN Youth Council and “Remember the Removal” bicycle ride he said learning the Cherokee language has become important to him. So when he heard about the Dreamstarter grant he knew it would be the perfect opportunity to put forth his vision to engage more youth with the language. His idea was to integrate the language into Tahlequah’s Walmart by translating the produce section into Cherokee and placing Cherokee phonetics, community level phonetics and the syllabary on produce labels. “You can grow up in Tahlequah and not know any Cherokee, and I don’t think that should be acceptable. You should at least know some words,” Barlow said. “So the idea is to revitalize the language by putting it into the grocery store where like grandma can take grandbaby to the grocery store and use it as a teaching tool.” He said using phonetics rather than just the syllabary simplifies it and make words easier to learn. “Syllabary can be confusing if you don’t know how to read it. Syllabary is really cool. Don’t get me wrong. Sequoyah was a genius, but I just don’t think people have time to learn it. So putting the phonetics in would help the learning process,” Barlow said. The Dreamstarter Grant is through Olympic gold medalist Billy Mills’ organization Running Strong for American Indian Youth. Each year, 10 American Indians under the age of 30 are awarded the grant to aid nonprofit projects that will benefit their community’s youth in some way. Since receiving the grant, Barlow has worked with Cherokee language specialists John Ross and Roy Boney Jr. to get Walmart’s year-round produce translated into Cherokee. As of now, he is working with Walmart’s marketing and licensing department to get the produce labels to “code.” If his idea is successful in Tahlequah, Barlow said he hopes to implement the Cherokee language in other Walmarts in other Cherokee communities such as Stilwell and Jay. However, his vision isn’t stopping there. He also said working with a company like Walmart could open opportunities for other Native tribes to put their language in their local Walmart stores. “I think it would help tribal communities across the U.S. Everyone has to eat. We all have to go to the store and get food, so what better way than to the put language where the food is,” he said. Barlow said he hopes to have the Cherokee language on produce labels in Tahlequah’s Walmart by Thanksgiving.