http://www.cherokeephoenix.orgThe musical production “Nanyehi: Beloved Woman of the Cherokee” makes its Tahlequah, Okla., debut on Aug. 27 at the Northeastern State University Center for the Performing Arts. One of the highlights of the production was a traditional stickball game. TESINA JACKSON/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
The musical production “Nanyehi: Beloved Woman of the Cherokee” makes its Tahlequah, Okla., debut on Aug. 27 at the Northeastern State University Center for the Performing Arts. One of the highlights of the production was a traditional stickball game. TESINA JACKSON/CHEROKEE PHOENIX

Nancy Ward musical debuts at Cherokee National Holiday

Kingfisher, played by Josh Stacy, and Nancy Ward, or Nanyehi, played by Michelle Honaker, sing “O Great Spirit” during the Cherokee wedding scene of the musical production “Nanyehi: Beloved Woman of the Cherokee.” The musical made its Tahlequah, Okla., debut on Aug. 27 at the Northeastern State University Center for the Performing Arts. TESINA JACKSON/CHEROKEE PHOENIX Nanyehi, played by Michelle Honaker, picks up her husband’s rifle after he is killed in the Battle of Taliwa during the Aug. 27 performance of “Nanyehi: Beloved Woman of the Cherokee” at the Northeastern State University Center for the Performing Arts in Tahlequah, Okla. TESINA JACKSON/CHEROKEE PHOENIX  Cherokee Peace Chief Attakullakulla, played by Michael Stopp, places a turkey feather cape around Nanyehi after the Battle of Taliwa while Cherokee War Chief Oconastota, played by Tommy Cummings, says the cape symbolizes her as the beloved woman of the Cherokee. The musical production “Nanyehi: Beloved Woman of the Cherokee” made its Tahlequah, Okla., debut on Aug. 27 at the Northeastern State University Center for the Performing Arts. TESINA JACKSON/CHEROKEE PHOENIX Nanyehi sings “Donadagohvi, Until We Meet Again,” at her husband Kingfisher’s grave during the Aug. 27 production of “Nanyehi: Beloved Woman of the Cherokee” at the Northeastern State University Center for the Performing Arts in Tahlequah, Okla. Nanyehi was named Beloved Woman after taking the place of her husband in battle after he was killed. She later married white trader Bryant Ward. TESINA JACKSON/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Kingfisher, played by Josh Stacy, and Nancy Ward, or Nanyehi, played by Michelle Honaker, sing “O Great Spirit” during the Cherokee wedding scene of the musical production “Nanyehi: Beloved Woman of the Cherokee.” The musical made its Tahlequah, Okla., debut on Aug. 27 at the Northeastern State University Center for the Performing Arts. TESINA JACKSON/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
BY TESINA JACKSON
Former Reporter
09/09/2013 08:18 AM
Video with default Cherokee Phoenix Frame
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – The musical “Nanyehi: Beloved Woman of the Cherokee” made its Tahlequah debut on Aug. 27 at the Northeastern State University Center for the Performing Arts.

Written by Becky Hobbs, the musical is about the life of a Cherokee woman named Nanyehi, later known as Nancy Ward. Ward, a Wolf Clan member, was born in Echota, Cherokee Nation, now Georgia, and was named Beloved Woman after taking the place of her husband in battle after he was killed. She later married white trader Bryant Ward. She died in 1822.

Hobbs said she hoped to inspire and make a difference with people after they watched the production.

“There are a lot of people who have given up hope today and especially young people,” she said. “We look around and they’re living in a virtual world. I want to inspire people to do better to make this world a better place.”

In 1776, after the illegal sale of lands in Tennessee, Ward’s cousin, Dragging Canoe, organized a series of attacks against white settlers. However, Ward sent runners to warn the whites of the approaching attacks. Dragging Canoe was wounded and three of the attacks were unsuccessful.

“That Nanyehi could be such a strong woman back then when woman weren’t considered, weren’t important, but this just shows in the Indian culture they were,” CN citizen Linda Wing Garrett said. “So just having that strength all the way through the show, even to her death, that people still listened to her.”

Highlights from the musical include the Battle of Taliwa, a Cherokee marriage ceremony, Ward saving the life of a white settler and a stickball game.

The two-act production also included several dance numbers and songs such as “Song of the Nunnehi” or spirit people, “Pass the Whiskey,” “This Land is Not Our Land” and “There Will Be Blood.”

CN citizen Jenna Stocks choreographed the dances.

“The songs are really contemporary and they use contemporary instruments, so the dancing has been more contemporary and less traditional,” Stocks said. “It’s a very meaningful play. It’s meaningful to the Cherokee Nation because she was a strong leader, and so I think it’s very touching, Michelle (Honaker), the lead, does a really great job of acting and portraying Nanyehi.”

Hobbs came up with the idea of telling Ward’s story via a musical after writing some of the songs now in the production in the 1990s. It was after meeting Nick Sweet, who directed the Cherokee Heritage Center’s Trail of Tears drama that the musical “Nanyehi, Beloved Woman of the Cherokee” was set into motion. Today, the production contains 17 songs.

Hobbs of Bartlesville is best known for writing “Angels Among Us,” recorded by Alabama, as well as writing and recording her hits, “Jones on the Jukebox” and “Honky Tonk Saturday Night.” Her co-writer, Sweet, is a freelance stage director who has directed more than 100 productions, including the historical outdoor drama “Trail of Tears” in 2002 at the CHC.

For “Nanyehi,” Sweet directed the musical production and Hobbs served as musical director.

“We have a cast of over 40 and we have great, great people,” Hobbs said. “We have a lot of talent.”

New York-based actress and Hawaiian-born Michelle Honaker played the role of Ward, which she was cast for the musical’s premiere in Georgia in 2012 and for the past two summers. Honaker has also played the female lead in “Unto These Hills,” the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians’ outdoor drama in Cherokee, N.C.

Other characters included Dragging Canoe, Ward’s mother Tenia, Cherokee chiefs Attakullakulla and Oconastota, Ward’s first husband Kingfisher and second husband Bryant Ward and Ward’s friend Sequina.

Hobbs said she believed that almost all of the cast members, aside from Honaker, are from within the CN’s 14-county jurisdiction or surrounding area. She added that a majority of the members are CN citizens.

One of the CN citizens is Derrick Branson of Tahlequah. Branson, 18, plays a Cherokee warrior named John Stuart and Muscogee Creek warrior named Issac Thomas.

Branson said in high school he performed in productions but none were as deep as the Ward musical.

“It’s deeper emotionally than the other musicals that I’ve been in and it gives a message,” he said. “Other musicals that I’ve been in haven’t really given a clear message to society about struggles. It delivers a message about the struggles of the Cherokee Nation and struggles along the way and Nanyehi and her story of the Cherokee Nation.”

tesina-jackson@cherokee.org


918-453-5000, ext. 6139

Culture

BY STAFF REPORTS
06/14/2018 08:30 AM
FORT SMITH, Ark. – Cherokee artist Daniel HorseChief is designing the Lighthorse Monument for the U.S. Marshals Museum in Fort Smith after being selected by the Five Tribes InterTribal Council. HorseChief’s life-size bronze statue will reflect a Native law enforcement officer of the post-Civil War era patrolling Indian Territory. His attire will include a Native-designed hunting jacket and the base of the statue traditional Southeast Indian designs to honor the ancestral homelands of the Five Tribes that consist of the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Muscogee (Creek) and Seminole, prior to forced removal. The tribes referred to their law enforcement entities as lighthorsemen. Formed in some of the tribes as early as the late 18th century, the law enforcement companies remain on duty today under the title of marshals. “This design truly honors our Native law enforcement who historically and today serve as protectors of our tribal people and land,” Principal Chief Bill John Baker, who also serves as president of the Five Tribes InterTribal Council, said. “This monument is to honor the dedication and sacrifice of Choctaw, Chickasaw, Cherokee, Muscogee (Creek) and Seminole lawmen and Indian U.S. Marshals who worked tirelessly to bring peace and order to Indian Territory and its borders.” Leaders of the Five Tribes selected HorseChief’s design during this past April’s InterTribal Council gathering. It was presented on June 4 to the U.S. Marshals Museum board. HorseChief, of Sallisaw, Oklahoma, also designed statues for Sequoyah High School, Northeastern State University, the Cherokee Heritage Center and the Cherokee Nation Veterans Center in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. The Lighthorse Monument will be set at the center of a 40-foot square plaza outside the museum. A completion date has not been announced. “The United States Marshals Museum is honored to be the home of the Five Civilized Tribes Lighthorse monument,” Dr. R. Cole Goodman, chairman of the U.S. Marshals Museum board of directors, said. “Sculptor Daniel HorseChief’s ability to bring to life such beauty and movement in honoring the history of tribal law enforcement and their connectivity to the U.S. Marshals will enhance the museum’s guest experience. This is also an opportunity to showcase an understanding of the importance of the history of this city, this region and our country.” The U.S. Marshals Museum is slated to open in late 2019 and will highlight the 225-year history and achievements of America’s oldest federal law enforcement agency, from their creation in 1789 to the present.
BY STAFF REPORTS
06/11/2018 12:00 PM
TAHLEQUAH – The Cherokee Speakers Bureau will be held Thursday June 14 from 12:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. 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. Tsalagi aniwonisgi unadatlugv dodvnatlosi Nvgineiga Dehaluyi 14 ganvsulvi 12:30 p.m. adalenisgi 4 p.m. 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.
BY STAFF REPORTS
06/08/2018 05:15 PM
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – The Sequoyah National Research Center is offering the 2018 Sequoyah Chapbook Award for emerging American Indian and Alaska Native poets, with the winner receiving 250 copies of the chapbook that will be archived in the Center’s Tribal Writers Digital Library. The award is open to any enrolled citizen of a federally recognized tribe in the United States. Poetry manuscripts should be 20 to 36 pages in length and may be submitted in hard copy or digitally. Hard copy manuscript should be single-spaced, one poem per page, paginated, with a table of contents and bound with a binder clip. Digital submissions should be single-spaced, one poem per page (start each poem on a new page). Individual poems may have been published previously in a journal or magazine, but we will not accept work that has appeared as a whole (self-published or otherwise). A cover letter should include a short bio and identify the writer’s tribal affiliation along with name, mailing address, email and phone number. Those submitting paper copy should include a self-addressed stamped envelope for confirmation of receipt of the manuscript. Manuscripts will not be returned. Mail hard copy submissions to H.K. Hummel, Department of English, 501 Stabler Hall, University of Arkansas at Little Rock, 2801 South University Avenue, Little Rock, AR 72204. Manuscripts in hard copy must be postmarked by Sept. 1. Electronic submissions should reach the editor by noon, Central Standard Time, on Sept. 1. Digital submissions and questions regarding contest should be sent to <a href="mailto: dflittlefiel@ualr.edu">dflittlefiel@ualr.edu</a> and <a href="mailto: mevanslooten@ualr.edu">mevanslooten@ualr.edu</a>. The collections of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock Sequoyah National Research Center constitute the largest assemblage of Native American and Native Alaskan expression in the world. Its mission is to acquire and preserve the writings and ideas of Native North Americans.
BY STAFF REPORTS
06/07/2018 12:00 PM
CLAREMORE – An “Enhanced Tour” of Will Rogers Memorial Museums is bringing a new level of information to people visiting the memorial in Claremore and the Oologah Birthplace Ranch. The voice of Michael Wallis, author of “Rt. 66 – the Mother Road” and voice of the Sheriff in Disney Pixar movie “Cars,” narrates a tour of the museum starting in the west gallery through the final journey of the American cowboy philosopher. Using an electronic device, areas in both museums are marked with “Stop” numbers to provide audio information, images and other content. There are 16 enhanced features in the museum. The “Enhanced Tour” can also be accessed from the website, www.willrogers.com and people can take the tour anytime. Each month people come from most of the United States and foreign countries to learn more about Will Rogers. Now, through use of smart devices, they are able to see what he had to say about their state or country. “Will commented on about every state and many countries,” Tad Jones, museum executive director, said. “He was aware of their politics and their surroundings and shared them in his writings. The new ‘Enhanced Tour’ will allow visitors to search their state or country and read what Will had to say about them and hopefully have a new connection with him.” An “Enhanced Tour” brochure is available at the museum entry with a map and numbers for various galleries and stops. “This program will be ever-changing and expanding as we add more content to each page and visitors will really enjoy listening to Michael Wallis’ voice as he gives a personal tour,” Jones said. The museum and ranch are open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily and are closed Thanksgiving and Christmas. From Nov. 11 through Feb. 28, the museums are closed Monday and Tuesday. Visit <a href="http://www.willrogers.com" target="_blank">willrogers.com</a> for more information.
BY LINDSEY BARK
Reporter
06/06/2018 12:00 PM
TAHLEQUAH – During a March meeting, Cherokee speakers added 88 newly translated words to the tribe’s language. The new additions contain science, art and grammar terminology, which will be added to a terminology booklet. Since 2007, a Cherokee language consortium of fluent speakers from the Cherokee Nation, United Keetoowah Band and Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians have translated more than 2,500 modern English words into Cherokee. “The reason we formed was because there are so many words that we did not have in Cherokee, for instance, ‘computer.’ All the newer stuff that we have in school and that we use in our homes, we didn’t have Cherokee words for that,” Anna Sixkiller, CN translator specialist, said. Kathy Sierra, language consortium chairwoman, said at each quarterly meeting, a new list of words is brought and translations begin by writing out the English version, looking at the definition and describing the words using the Cherokee language. “Just about everything that we say is described. We find the best description for that word,” she said. Sixkiller said one English word, such as balloon, could have a long Cherokee name because Cherokee is a descriptive language. She said the translation for balloon is “you put air in there and it goes out.” Also, laser printer when translated into Cherokee is described as “it lights up” and “it prints.” Sixkiller said the consortium looks at the linguistics of the English word in what it does, who does it and when in time someone does it. “The English language and the Cherokee language are two different languages. They don’t mix. I think the Cherokee language is unique, pretty and to the point,” Sixkiller said. Sierra said the EBCI’s Cherokee dialect differs from Oklahoma Cherokees’ dialect and that the group takes that into consideration when translating words. In the terminology booklet, Sixkiller said some words with two translations are marked with an (e) or (w) to denote eastern and western-style Cherokee. The next language consortium meeting is set for June 13-15 in Cherokee, North Carolina, home of the EBCI. To view the new words, <a href="http://www.cherokeephoenix.org/Docs/2018/6/42325__art_180518_88words_lb.pdf" target="_blank">click here</a>.
BY MARK DREADFULWATER
Multimedia Editor – @cp_mdreadfulwat
06/04/2018 08:30 AM
CLAREMORE – Humorist, newspaper columnist, social commentator and actor are a few words to describe William Penn Adair Rogers, better known as Will Rogers. Another is Cherokee. Will was born Nov. 4, 1879, to Clement Vann and Mary America Schrimsher Rogers in Indian Territory near present-day Oologah. Built in 1875, the Birthplace Ranch where Will grew up was known as “the White House on the Verdigris River.” Clement was a prominent Cherokee politician, and the home was used as a meeting place for commerce, government, social events and funerals, according to willrogers.com. “His dad was very involved in the Cherokee Nation,” Tad Jones, Will Rogers Memorial Museum and Will Rogers Birthplace Ranch executive director, said. “He sat on the council and was a judge. He was very involved in Cherokee politics.” According the website, the home was a “seat of power and site of culture” and a working ranch. Will worked as a cowboy on the 400-acre ranch, learning to lasso from a freed slave. He later used that skill on the Vaudeville stage and in movies. Clement moved to nearby Claremore after Mary died in 1890. However, the family has always owned the home and acreage. Today, the home is conserved and used as homage to the family. “We hope people that come to the ranch will see what it was like for the Rogers family in that time in history,” Jones said. “That’s why they come here.” It hosts annual events such as Family Day, Frontier Days Kids Camp and the Will Rogers/Wiley Post Fly-In. It’s located at 9501 E. 380 Road and is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free, but donations are encouraged. As for Will’s life and career outside the Birthplace Ranch, the Will Rogers Memorial Museum in Claremore houses the largest collection of memorabilia and his entire writings collection. According to the website, the memorial has become “a world class museum of paintings sculptures and other artifacts” about the life and times of Will. “Will has been gone since 1935 and the facility was built in 1938,” Jones said. “Our biggest thing now is we are kind of reintroducing Will Rogers to a new generation. There are very few people alive that remember Will. Most travelers coming through know just a little bit about Will Rogers. So our process now is how do we tell that story to a new generation of people that don’t know anything about him or very little. That’s one of our biggest challenges.” Jones said he and his staff are working to design exhibits using better technology to share with the public. One project was slated to launch in mid-May. “We are going to have a new audio tour…and that will be good for visitors.” Jones said. “The world-renowned voice of Michael Wallace of the Pixar movie ‘Cars’ fame is going to be doing the audio tour. We’ll have that audio tour at the Birthplace and Memorial Museum for visitors.” Among the museums’ posters, statues, paintings and furnishings, guests can visit its movie theater to view one of Will’s 71 films. The museum also hosts annual lecture series, Halloween Night and pictures with Santa Claus. Will died in a plane crash on Aug. 15, 1935, in Point Barrow, Alaska, along with famed aviator Wiley Post. He was buried in California but later interred on the museum’s grounds. According to the website, his wife, Betty, and three of their four children are also buried there. The museum is at 1720 W. Will Rogers Blvd. It’s open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $7 for adults and $5 for seniors 62 and older and military personnel with ID. Children ages 6 to 17 are $3 and children under 5 are free. For more information, visit <a href="http://www.willrogers.com" target="_blank">willrogers.com</a>, call 918-343-8116 or email <a href="mailto: wrinfo@willrogers.com">wrinfo@willrogers.com</a>.