http://www.cherokeephoenix.orgRoger Cain, Cherokee Nation River Cane Initiative researcher, right, discusses the plan to burn underneath river cane near Sallisaw Creek in southern Adair County with CN Wildlife Fire Coordinator David Comingdeer. Areas under the cane were burned on Jan. 9 to help the cane grow better in the spring. WILL CHAVEZ/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Roger Cain, Cherokee Nation River Cane Initiative researcher, right, discusses the plan to burn underneath river cane near Sallisaw Creek in southern Adair County with CN Wildlife Fire Coordinator David Comingdeer. Areas under the cane were burned on Jan. 9 to help the cane grow better in the spring. WILL CHAVEZ/CHEROKEE PHOENIX

Tribe helps river cane thrive by using fire

Cherokee Nation Wildlife Fire Coordinator David Comingdeer on Jan. 9 uses a torch to light a fire line near a river cane field near Sallisaw Creek in southern Adair County to help river cane grow better. WILL CHAVEZ/CHEROKEE PHOENIX Cherokee Nation Wildlife Fire Coordinator David Comingdeer uses a torch to light a fire line near a river cane field on Jan. 9 in Adair County. Areas under the cane were burned to help the plant grow better in the spring. WILL CHAVEZ/CHEROKEE PHOENIX Roger Cain, Cherokee Nation River Cane Initiative researcher, stands in a field of stunted river cane that has been eaten by cattle. Cain is working with the CN to get the cane, located on tribal land, fenced off from the cattle. WILL CHAVEZ/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Cherokee Nation Wildlife Fire Coordinator David Comingdeer uses a torch to light a fire line near a river cane field on Jan. 9 in Adair County. Areas under the cane were burned to help the plant grow better in the spring. WILL CHAVEZ/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
BY WILL CHAVEZ
Assistant Editor – @cp_wchavez
01/15/2015 08:15 AM
Video with default Cherokee Phoenix Frame
LINE SWITCH, Okla. – A river cane field located on Cherokee Nation land in southern Adair County got some needed help using fire.

On land adjacent to Sallisaw Creek, Roger Cain, researcher for the Cherokee Nation River Cane Initiative, joined Cherokee Nation Wildlife Fire Coordinator David Comingdeer and his son Spencer for a “controlled burn” under the native river cane growing next to the creek.

The river cane project began in 2011 to preserve, map and perpetuate the growth of river cane in the CN.

“So far we’ve identified 60 acres of river cane on tribal land out of about 18,000 acres. We’re here today on this plot that has been partially poisoned, and we’re trying to correct the problem by burning off the old cane, and hopefully we’ll connect two separate cane breaks together,” Cain said. “Burning cane breaks hasn’t been done since before statehood. Before statehood we were able to burn and do all sorts of stuff as a tribe...so this is pretty unique. We’re doing something other tribes wish they could do, and we’re glad we can do it and protect our tribal resources.”

Cain said the burn is done in the winter to remove the river cane’s competition. River cane grows in the winter, and if its competition is eliminated it will get a head start in the spring and grow taller and larger.
When the cane reaches a certain height it will develop a canopy and won’t have to compete as much with other plants around it because it will block out the sun, he said.

Comingdeer said he and his son attempted a “controlled burn” on Jan. 9, while the conditions were good with good humidity and little wind. However, the “fuel” or leaves needed to keep the fire going were compacted due to recent rainfall.

“A lot of our native species and our plants that are in this area that we use for our artwork, our basketry, our materials that we harvest for certain things like our medicine...are fire dependent. If you don’t have fire occasionally in those areas, than those native species simply die off. Other invasive species will come in and choke them out,” Comingdeer said. “The fire didn’t carry well through most of the cane itself, but if it doesn’t burn, it doesn’t need fire right now, so we’ll come back when the conditions for fire are a little bit better.”

Comingdeer said the plants growing in the area near Sallisaw Creek are similar to plants that grew in the Cherokee’s eastern homelands, so that’s why many Cherokee gravitated to the area after the forced removal.

Another problem for the river cane on this piece of tribal land is cattle are continuously eating the cane and preventing it from growing taller. Cain said the cattle are after the protein in the cane, which is a grass and is 30 to 40 percent protein. On the other side of the fence where the cattle are not able to graze, the river cane is much taller.

Cain said tribal leaders have pledged to fence in the river cane to prevent the cattle from eating it.

A third problem for the river cane is poisoning. Some of the cane near the creek was killed by poison possibly used by the rancher leasing the land to kill milk thistle and other weeds in the pasture next to the cane field. Milk thistle can cause nitrate poisoning in cattle and push out beneficial plants.

“The resulting run off from the poison washed down the field and bisected a canebrake as it washed into the creek,” Cain said.

River cane can be used to make blowguns, and milk thistle bulbs are used to help make blowgun darts.

Also, when ranchers mow over larger cane stalks they create spikes that are dangerous to animals and people, Cain added. People cutting cane and leaving spikes is one of Cain’s major complaints and safety concerns in canebrakes.

River cane was the Cherokees’ plastic, Cain said. It was used for shelter, weapons, mats, chairs, food and supplied material for baskets.

Unfortunately not much of the river cane found on the 60 acres of tribal land is fit for “traditional art” such as baskets, Cain said, because it has not been taken care of and is attempting to grow under the canopy of trees. River cane once grew 40 feet tall in the area, but now cane growing only 20 feet tall can be found.

“What we are finding is that river cane is best when a man is working with it and helping maintain it,” he said. “That’s what we’re trying to do here is help its visibility to the sun increase as well as trying something we’ve never done as a tribe in using our traditional fire knowledge to improve the environment.”
ᏣᎳᎩ

ᏢᏓᏥ, ᎣᎦᎵᎰᎹ – ᎢᎯᏯ ᏠᎨᏏ ᎤᏰᎬ ᎾᎿ ᏣᎳᎩ ᎠᏰᎵ ᎦᏓ ᎤᎲᎢ ᎤᎦᎾᏮ ᎢᏗᏢ ᏓᏫᏍᎦᎵ ᏍᎦᏚᎩ ᏚᏂᏍᏕᎸᎲᎢ ᎠᏥᎳ ᎠᏅᏗᏍᎬᎢ.

ᎾᎿ ᎦᏙ ᎠᎲ ᏚᏓᎲᏢ ᏌᎷᏂᎨᏴ ᎤᏪᏴ, Roger Cain, ᎤᎦᏛᏂᏙ ᎤᏂᎧᎲ ᏣᎳᎩ ᎠᏰᎵ ᎢᎯᏯ ᎤᎦᏎᏍᏗ, ᎤᏖᎳᏛ ᏣᎳᎩ ᎠᏰᎵ ᎢᎾᎨ ᏕᎦᎵᎬ ᏧᏂᎸᏫᏍᏓᏁᎯ ᏗᏘᏂᏙ David Comingdeer ᎠᎴ ᎤᏪᏥ ᎠᏫᏄᏣ Spencer ᏧᏙᎩᏓ ᎾᎿ “ᎠᎦᏎᏍᏗ ᎠᏂᎴᏂᏍᎬ” ᎭᏫᎾᏗᏢ ᏅᏍᎩ ᎢᎯᏯ ᎤᏛᎯᏍᏗ ᎠᎹᏳᏟᏗ.

ᎾᎿ ᎢᎯᏯ ᎤᎾᎦᏎᏍᏛ ᎤᎾᎴᏅᎲ ᏔᎵ ᏯᎦᏴᎵ ᏌᏚ ᎤᏕᏘᏴᏌᏗᏒ ᎤᎾᎵᏏᏅᏙᏗ, ᎤᎾᏟᎶᏍᏗ ᎠᎴ ᎤᎾᎦᏎᏍᏙᏗ ᎤᏛᏏᏗᏒ ᎢᎯᏯ ᎾᎿ ᏣᎳᎩ ᎠᏰᎵ.

“ᏃᏊᏃ ᎨᏒ ᎣᎦᏟᎶ ᏑᏓᎵᏍᎪ ᎢᏳᏟᎶᏓ ᎢᎦ ᎢᎯᏯ ᎤᏰᎬ ᎾᎿ ᏣᎳᎩ ᎠᏰᎵ ᎦᏓ ᎤᏂᎲ ᎾᎿ ᏯᏛᎾ ᏁᎳᏚ ᎢᏍᎪᎯᏧᏈ ᎢᏳᏟᎶᏓ. ᎠᎭᏂ ᎣᏤᏙ ᎪᎯ ᎢᎦ ᎾᏍᎩᎾ ᎢᎦᏓ ᎤᏂᏢᎯ ᎢᎯᏯ, ᎠᎴ ᎣᏣᏁᎶᏗ ᎣᏍᏓ ᎢᏲᎬᏗ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎣᏥᎪᎲᏍᏗ ᎤᏪᏘ ᎢᎯᏯ, ᎠᎴ ᎤᏚᎦ ᎯᎠ ᏔᎵ ᏚᏙᏢᏒ ᎾᎿ ᏌᏊ ᎢᏳᎵᏍᏙᏗᎢ,” ᎠᏗᏍᎬ Cain. “ᏦᏣᎪᎲᏍᏗ ᎢᎯᏯ Ꮭ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎢᏯᏛᏁᎸ ᏱᎩ ᎾᏍᎩᏂ Ꮟ ᏗᏍᎦᏚᎩ ᏂᏗᎦᎵᏍᏗᏍᎬ ᏥᎨᏎᎢ. ᎾᎯᏳ ᏥᎨᏎ ᎡᎵᏊ ᎬᎪᎲᏍᏙᏗ ᎨᏒ ᎾᎿᎢ ᎠᏂᎳᏍᏓᏢᎢ ᎨᏒᎢ…. ᎾᏍᎩᏃ ᎢᏳᏍᏗ ᎠᏂᏐᎢ ᏓᏂᎳᏍᏓᏢ ᎬᏩᎾᏚᎵᏗ ᏝᏃ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏱᏂᎬᎾᏛᎦ, ᎠᎴ ᎣᏣᎵᎮᎵᎦ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎢᎦᏲᎦᏛᏗ ᎨᏒ ᎣᏣᎵᏏᏅᏗᏍᎬᎢ ᎾᎿ ᏣᎳᎩ ᎠᏰᎵ ᏧᎬᏩᎶᏗ ᎨᏒᎢ.”

Cain ᎠᏗᏍᎬ ᎪᎳ ᎠᎾᎪᎲᏍᏗᏍᎪ ᎠᏂᏛᏗᏍᎬ ᎢᎯᏯ ᎤᏪᏘ ᎡᎳᏗ. ᎢᎯᏯ ᎠᏛᏍᎬ ᎪᎳ, ᎾᏍᎩᏃ ᎡᎳᏗ ᎤᏪᏘ ᎨᏒ ᏯᎪᎲᏍᏔᏂ ᎾᎿ ᎠᎯᏓ ᎠᏛᏍᎪ ᎪᎨᏯ ᎢᎾ ᎢᎦᏘ ᏂᎦᎵᏍᏗᏍᎪ ᎠᎴ ᎤᏓᏃᎢ.

ᎾᏍᎩᏃ ᎢᎯᏯ ᎤᏛᎯᏍᏗ ᏳᏭᎷᏣ ᎧᎵ ᏂᎦᎵᏍᏗᏍᎪ ᎦᎸᎳᏗ Ꮭ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎢᎦ ᏗᏐᎢ ᎤᏱᎬ ᎾᎥ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎢᎦᏘ ᏱᏂᎦᎵᏍᏗᏍᎪ ᎠᎴ ᎤᏗᏞᎩ ᎨᏒ Ꮭ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎢᎦ ᏱᏂᎦᎵᏍᏗᏍᎪ, ᎠᏗᏍᎬᎢ.

Comingdeer ᎠᏗᏍᎬ ᎤᏩᏌ ᎠᎴ ᎤᏪᏣ ᎠᏫᏒᏣ ᏛᎠᎾᏁᎶᏔᏂ “ᎠᎦᏎᏍᏗ ᎠᏁᎴᏂᏍᎬ” ᎾᎿ ᎤᏃᎸᏔᏂ ᎧᎸ ᏐᏁᎵᏁ, ᎾᎿ ᎣᏍᏓ ᎢᎦ ᎨᏒ ᎠᎴ ᏂᎦᏃᎸᏍᎬᎾ. ᎠᏎᏍᎩᏂ, ᎾᎿ “ᎪᏔᏍᎩ” ᎠᎴ ᏧᎦᎶᎦ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎪᏙᏍᎪ ᎠᎴ ᏂᎦᏯ ᎠᏓᏪᎳᎩᏍᎪ ᎠᏎᏃ ᏗᎦᏓᏁᎯ ᎨᏒ ᎾᎿ ᎤᎦᎾᏅ ᎨᏒᎢ.

“ᏧᏓᎴᏅᏓ ᎡᎯᏯ ᎠᏛᏒᏍᎪ ᎾᎿ ᎢᎯᏯ ᎤᏰᎬ ᎾᎿ ᎬᏔᏂᏓᏍᏗ ᎠᏃᏢᏅᏍᎬ, ᏔᎷᏣ ᏱᎩ, ᎠᏎᎸ ᎨᏐ ᎢᏴ ᏂᎬᎾᏕᏍᏗᎢ ᎠᎴ ᏅᏬᏘ ᏱᎩ….. ᎾᏍᎩᎾ ᏴᎪᎲᏍᏗ ᎤᎪᏙ ᏂᎦᎵᏍᏗᏍᎪ. ᎢᏳᏃ ᎾᎪᎲᏍᎬᎾ ᏴᏓᎭ ᎾᎿ, ᏯᎵᏛᏓ. ᏐᎢᏃ ᎨᏒ ᎤᎵᏗᏢ ᏄᏓᎴ ᎦᏄᎸ ᎠᏛᏍᎬ ᏳᎭᏬᏍᏓ,” ᎠᏗᏍᎬ Comingdeer. “ ᏝᏃ Ꮩ ᏳᎪᏁ ᎢᎯᏲ ᎤᏩᏌ ᏂᎦᏓᏊ ᎢᏳᏍᏗ ᎢᎯᏯ, ᎠᏎᏃ ᏄᎪᏅᎾ ᏱᎩ, ᏝᏃ ᎠᎪᎲᏍᏙᏗ ᏱᎨᏐ, ᏲᏍᏗᎷᎦᏃ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏱᏓᏤᏟ ᎦᎴᏃᏗᎢ.”

Comingdeer ᎠᏗᏍᎬ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎢᎾᎨ ᎠᏛᏍᎬ ᏧᏰᎦ ᏌᎷᏂᎨᏴ ᎤᏪᏴ ᎤᏠᏯᏊ ᎢᏳᏍᏗ ᎠᏛᏒᏍᎪ ᎾᎿ ᎧᎸᎬ ᎢᏗᏢ ᏙᏗᎨᏅᏒ ᏗᎦᏂᎩᏒ, ᎾᏍᎩᏃ ᎢᏳᏍᏗ ᎠᎭᏂ ᏕᎩᎷᏤ ᎡᎩᏱᎶᏞᎢ.

ᏐᎢᏃ ᎤᏡᏗᏍᎩ ᎢᎯᏯ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎠᎭᏂ ᏩᏥᏂ ᎤᏤᎵᎪ ᏩᎦ ᏂᎪᎯᎸ ᎠᏂᎩᏍᎪ ᎢᎯᏯ ᎠᎴ ᎠᏂᏲᏍᏗᏍᎬ Ꮮ ᎣᏍᏓ ᏯᏛᏍᎪᎢ. Cain ᎠᏗᏍᎬ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏩᎦ ᎤᏂᎸᏉᏓ ᎠᏓᎵᏥᏍᏗᏍᎩ ᎤᏪᎲ ᎢᎯᏯ, ᎤᏠᏯ ᎦᏄᎸ ᎤᎪᏓ ᎤᏪᎭ ᎤᎾᎵᏥᏍᏗᏍᎩ. ᏐᎢᏃ ᎨᏒ ᎠᏐᏴ ᎤᏗᏗᏢ ᎢᎯᏯ ᎢᎾ ᎢᎦᏘ ᏂᎦᎵᏍᏗᏍᎪᎢ.

Cain ᎠᏗᏍᎬ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎠᏂᎳᏍᏓᏢ ᏗᎾᏓᏘᏂᏙ ᎤᏂᏁᏨ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎢᎯᏯ ᎠᏛᏍᎬ ᏧᎾᏐᏴᏍᏗᎢ ᏩᎦ ᎤᏂᎩᏍᏗ ᏂᎨᏒᎾ ᎢᎯᏯ.

ᏦᎢᏁ ᏃᏒᎾ ᎨᏒ ᎢᎯᏯ ᎾᎿ ᎠᏂᎯᎰ. ᎢᎦᏓ ᎢᎯᏯ ᎠᎹᏳᏟᏗ ᎤᏰᎬ ᎦᎵᏬᎪ ᎠᏅᏔᏅᏍᎬ ᏩᎦ ᏗᎾᏛᎯᏍᏗᏍᎩ ᎠᏅᏔᏅᏍᎬ ᎠᏂᏢᏍᎬ ᎦᏄᎸ ᏄᏂᎸᏉᏛᎾ ᎾᎿ ᎠᎹᏯ ᎠᏂᎩᏍᎬ ᏫᎦᎷᎪ ᎢᎯᏯ ᏧᏰᎬᎢ. ᎤᏅᏗ ᎦᏁᎲᏍᎩ ᎦᏄᎸ ᎡᎵᏊ ᏂᎦ ᎤᏗᏑᏯ nitrate ᎡᏍᎦ ᎠᎴ ᏧᎾᏓᏂᎳ ᏱᎾᎾᎵᏍᏗ ᏩᎦ ᏃᎴᏍᏊ ᎤᏰᎾᎥ ᏧᏓᎴᏅᏓ ᎦᏄᎸ.

“ᎾᏍᎩᎾ ᏂᎦᎵᏍᏗᏍᎬ ᎠᏓᎯᎯ ᏫᎨᏯᏛᎬ ᏠᎨᏏ ᎠᎴ ᏂᎦᏓ ᎤᏠᏯᏍᏗ ᎢᎯᏯ ᎤᏰᎬ,” ᎠᏗᏍᎬ Cain.

ᎢᎯᏯ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏚᏇᏍᏗ ᏗᎪᏢᏙᏗ, ᎠᎴ ᏥᏥ ᎤᏥᎸᏅ ᏗᏲᏍᏙᏗ ᏗᎪᏢᏙᏗ ᎾᎿ ᏚᏇᏍᏗ ᏗᏍᏓᏲᏍᏙᏗ.

ᏃᎴᏍᏊ, ᏩᎦ ᏗᎾᏛᎯᏍᏗᏍᎩ ᏳᏂᎦᎵᏏ ᎦᏄᎸ ᎢᎯᏯ ᎤᏴᏗᏅᏓ ᎤᏲᏨ ᎪᏍᏓᏯ ᏂᎦᎵᏍᏗᏍᎪ ᎦᎾᏞᎢ ᎠᎴ ᏴᏫ ᎢᎦᎾᏰᎪᎢ ᎠᏗᏍᎬ Cain, ᏴᏫ ᎠᏂᎦᎵᏍᎬ ᎢᎯᏯ ᎾᏍᎩᏃ ᏗᎪᏍᏓᏯ ᏂᎦᎵᏍᏗᏍᎬ ᎾᎿ ᎦᎾᏱᏍᎪ ᎠᏗᏍᎬ ᎦᏬᏂᏍᎩ Cain ᏧᏙᎩᏓ.

ᎢᎯᏯ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎠᏂᏣᎳᎩ ᎠᏅᏗᏍᎬ ᎾᏍᎩᏯ ‘plastic’ ᎠᏗᏍᎬ Cain. ᎠᏅᏗᏍᎬᏃ ᏧᏂᏴᏍᏗ ᏓᏃᏢᏗᏍᎬ, ᎤᏂᏃᎭᎵᏓᏍᏙᏗ, ᏗᏰᏍᏛᏓ, ᏗᎦᏍᎩᎶ, ᎠᎵᏍᏓᏴᏗ ᎠᎴ ᏔᎷᏣ.

ᏝᏊᏃ ᎪᎯᏴ ᏥᎩ ᎤᏟ ᎢᎦ ᎢᎯᏯ ᎬᏴᏫᏛᏗ ᏱᎩ ᎾᎿ ᏑᏓᎵᏍᎪ ᎢᏳᏟᎶᏓ ᎠᎲ ᎦᏓ ᎾᏍᎩ “ᎪᎱᏍᏗ ᎦᎪᏢᏙᏗ” ᏯᏛᎾ ᏔᎷᏣ, ᎠᏗᏍᎬ Cain, ᏅᏗᎦᎵᏍᏙᏗ Ꮭ ᎩᎶ ᎤᎦᏎᏍᏔᏅ ᏱᎩ ᎠᎴ ᏕᏡᎬ ᎭᏫᎾᏗᏝ ᏓᏛᏍᎪ ᎤᏓᏩᏗᏍᎬ. ᎢᎯᏯ ᎪᎯᎩ ᏥᎨᏒ ᏅᎦᏍᎪ ᎢᎳᏏᏓ ᎢᏗᎦᏘ ᏂᎦᎵᏍᏗᏍᎬ, ᏃᏊᏃ ᏥᎩ ᏔᎵᏍᎪ ᎢᎳᏏᏓ ᎤᏛᏏ ᏱᏛᏴᏩᏘ.

“ᎢᏳᏍᏗᏃ ᎣᏥᏩᏗᏍᎬ ᎾᎿ ᎢᎯᏯ ᎣᏍᏓ ᎨᏐ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎠᏴᏫ ᎤᎦᏎᏍᏔᏅ ᏱᎩ,” ᎠᏗᏍᎬ. “ᎾᏍᎩᏃ ᏃᏣᏛᏁ ᎣᏥᏍᏕᎵ ᎬᏂᎨᏒ ᎢᏳᎵᏍᏙᏗ ᎤᏛᎯᏍᏗᎢ ᎣᏣᏁᎶᏗᎢ ᏝᏃ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎩᎶ ᎢᏳᏛᏁᎸᎢ ᏱᎩ ᎠᏥᎳ ᎤᏔᏅ ᏱᎩ ᏓᏤᏢ ᎢᏳᎵᏍᏙᏗᎢ ᎢᎯᏯ.”

About the Author
Will lives in Tahlequah, Okla., but calls Marble City, Okla., his hometown. He is Cherokee and San Felipe Pueblo and grew up learning the Cherokee language, traditions and culture from his Cherokee mother and family. He also appreciates his father’s Pueblo culture and when possible attends annual traditional dances held on the San Felipe Reservation near Albuquerque, N.M.

He enjoys studying and writing about Cherokee history and culture and writing stories about Cherokee veterans. For Will, the most enjoyable part of writing for the Cherokee Phoenix is having the opportunity to meet Cherokee people from all walks of life.
He earned a mass communications degree in 1993 from Northeastern State University with minors in marketing and psychology. He is a member of the Native American Journalists Association.

Will has worked in the newspaper and public relations field for 20 years. He has performed public relations work for the Cherokee Nation and has been a reporter and a photographer for the Cherokee Phoenix for more than 18 years. He was named interim executive editor on Dec. 8, 2015, by the Cherokee Phoenix Editorial Board.
WILL-CHAVEZ@cherokee.org • 918-207-3961
Will lives in Tahlequah, Okla., but calls Marble City, Okla., his hometown. He is Cherokee and San Felipe Pueblo and grew up learning the Cherokee language, traditions and culture from his Cherokee mother and family. He also appreciates his father’s Pueblo culture and when possible attends annual traditional dances held on the San Felipe Reservation near Albuquerque, N.M. He enjoys studying and writing about Cherokee history and culture and writing stories about Cherokee veterans. For Will, the most enjoyable part of writing for the Cherokee Phoenix is having the opportunity to meet Cherokee people from all walks of life. He earned a mass communications degree in 1993 from Northeastern State University with minors in marketing and psychology. He is a member of the Native American Journalists Association. Will has worked in the newspaper and public relations field for 20 years. He has performed public relations work for the Cherokee Nation and has been a reporter and a photographer for the Cherokee Phoenix for more than 18 years. He was named interim executive editor on Dec. 8, 2015, by the Cherokee Phoenix Editorial Board.

Multimedia

BY ROGER GRAHAM
Multimedia Producer – @cp_rgraham
05/22/2018 04:00 PM
AKINS – Visitors to the first “Sequoyah Day” event held May 20 experienced all things Cherokee such as art, music, lectures, performances, demonstrations and National Treasures all on the grounds of the historic Sequoyah’s Cabin Museum where the Cherokee syllabary creator lived. “This is a chance to celebrate Sequoyah’s life and his legacy,” Cherokee Nation Cultural Tourism Director Travis Owens said. “We’ve had a flute-playing performance, the Cherokee National Youth Choir performed. We had the Girty Family Singers and presenters on our language today.” Others attending the event included Cherokee National Treasures Lorene Drywater and David Scott, as well as Cherokee artists Roy Boney, Jeff Edwards and Mary HorseChief. Tribal Councilors Bryan Warner and E.O. Junior Smith, and 2017-18 Miss Cherokee Madison Whitekiller also attended. Another highlight was the Traditional Native Games competition. CN citizen and games coordinator Bayly Wright said “Sequoyah Day” was a great place to hold Cherokee marbles, cornstalk shoot, horseshoes, blowgun, a hatchet throw and chunky competitions. “Today is the second of the five competitions leading up to the championships, which will be held on Aug. 25, the weekend before the Cherokee National Holiday,” she said. For more information on cultural events, visit <a href="http://www.visitcherokeenation.com" target="_blank">www.visitcherokeenation.com</a> or call 1-877-779-6977.
BY KENLEA HENSON
Reporter
05/18/2018 08:00 AM
TAHLEQUAH – Every year on May 7 the Descendants of the Cherokee Seminaries Students Organization hold its annual reunion at Northeastern State University where it awards two NSU students with scholarships. This year’s recipients were Cherokee Nation citizens Bryley Hoodenpyle and Marilyn Tschida. Both students received a $1,000 scholarship based on their GPAs, activities and interviews. Hoodenpyle said her fourth great-grandmother’s aunt and two cousins attended the Cherokee Male and Female seminaries, which she discovered through online research and NSU’s archives. She said after college she plans to attend NSU’s optometry school. “It means a lot to me to receive this scholarship just because this university has given so much to me and has helped me grow personally,” Hoodenpyle said. “NSU has developed me as a student and as a leader so its really awesome to me that my family played a part in that story however many years ago.” Tschida is an education graduate student and plans to graduate in December. She said she found her grandmother’s name in the Cherokee Female Seminary roll book in NSU’s archives and decided to apply for the scholarship. “I am really proud to accept it, I think she would be very proud for me to have gotten something on her behalf,” Tschida said. On May 7, 1889, the Cherokee Female Seminary reopened north of Tahlequah after a fire destroyed it two years earlier. So, no matter what day May 7 falls on, the descendants of students who attended the Cherokee Male and Female seminaries gather to honor their ancestors and their time at the schools. DCSSO President Rick Ward said the reunion is the oldest tradition on NSU’s campus, accruing annually for 167 years with the exception of one year during World War II. “It started out as a picnic, but it wasn’t the descendants getting together it was the actual students of the seminaries coming together, bringing food and visiting out in front of the sycamore tree,” he said. After noticing the number seminary students fading away, Jack Brown established the DCSSO in 1975. Brown served as the executive vice president of the Cherokee Seminaries Students Alumni Association for years. He wanted to get the descendants of the alumni involved in the activities of the association as well as keep the tradition alive. In 1984 the name officially changed to the Descendants of Cherokee Seminaries Students Organization. The state bought the Female Seminary in 1909, which now serves as Seminary Hall and the centerpiece of NSU. DCSSO Secretary Ginny Wilson said she wants to keep the reunion tradition alive for her grandmother, who was a student at the Female Seminary. “I do this for my grandmother. We used to bring her up here to this reunion. It was always the one thing in her life she wanted to do,” Wilson said. Wilson said the DCSSO follows the same format as their ancestors did during their reunions, which consists of the organization’s meeting, lunch, a speaker, the Cherokee choir and Miss Cherokee. “We follow that format as close as we can to just do the same thing. It’s gotten a whole lot smaller, but that’s what we do as descendants in memory of those people,” she said. Since the DCSSO established a scholarship for students who are descendants in the early 2000s, its goal is to continue to provide that scholarship. “Our biggest plan is to increase our scholarship amount. That’s the most important, but also to keep the (May 7) tradition going at Northeastern. Otherwise it will die,” Wilson said.
BY STAFF REPORTS
05/16/2018 12:00 PM
SALLISAW – Enjoy a day of traditional Cherokee art, music and more, honoring legendary statesman and inventor of the Cherokee syllabary, Sequoyah. The event will be held in conjunction with Cherokee Nation’s Traditional Native Games. Sequoyah Day begins at 10 a.m. on May 19 at Sequoyah’s Cabin Museum. “We are proud to bring to life an event like Sequoyah Day. It’s a unique daylong celebration of Cherokee history and culture at the home of the man who pioneered the Cherokee syllabary,” Principal Chief Bill John Baker said. “Now that Cherokee Nation owns and operates the Sequoyah Cabin Park, we can organize these types of family-driven events that are both educational and fun for all.” The event runs until 4 p.m. and features live performances, activities for children and cultural demonstrations such as pottery, flint-knapping, bow-making, stone carving and graphics. The event includes multiple performances from the Cherokee National Youth Choir and a special language presentation at 1:30 p.m. Sequoyah built the cabin in 1829 and welcomes more than 12,000 visitors each year. It was designated as a National Historic Landmark in 1966 and a National Literary Landmark in 2006. The homestead includes a one-room cabin and nearly 200 acres. Prior to reopening under CN management in 2017, Sequoyah’s Cabin Museum received much-needed repairs and renovations. The museum now features large displays that share the story of Sequoyah, his development of the Cherokee syllabary and the Cherokee language today. The museum also features a retail space offering Cherokee Nation apparel, gifts and souvenirs. The museum is located at Highway 101, 7 miles east of Highway 59. For more information, visit <a href="http://www.VisitCherokeeNation.com" target="_blank">www.VisitCherokeeNation.com</a>.
BY STAFF REPORTS
05/09/2018 12:00 PM
PARK HILL – Explore the messages of John Ross in his correspondences with fellow tribesmen and political allies throughout his 38 years as principal chief of the Cherokee Nation. “The Letters of John Ross” is the tribe’s first digital exhibit and allows guests to view documents that are usually off view and housed in collections at the Gilcrease Museum in Tulsa. Featured writings address topics such as delegation nominations, potential resolutions, rumors of assassination plots and the possible removal of Cherokee people to Mexico. “This is the first exhibit of its kind for Cherokee Nation, and we are eager to see how the public responds,” Travis Owens, Cherokee Nation Businesses cultural tourism director, said. “The digital format enables guests to focus on their specific interests in an interactive and engaging way.” The exhibit runs May 4 through Jan. 31 at the John Ross Museum, which highlights Ross’ life and legacy and houses exhibits and interactive displays on the Trail of Tears, Civil War, Cherokee Golden Age and tribe’s passion for education. The museum is housed in an old, rural school building known as School #51 and sits at the foot of Ross Cemetery, where Ross and other notable CN citizens are buried. The museum is located at 22366 S. 530 Road. It’s open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. For information, call -1877-779-6977 or visit <a href="http://www.VisitCherokeeNation.com" target="_blank">www.VisitCherokeeNation.com</a>.
BY STAFF REPORTS
05/09/2018 10:00 AM
TAHLEQUAH – The Cherokee Speakers Bureau will be held Thursday May 10, 2018 from 12:30 – 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 Anisgvti 10, 2018, ganvsulvi 12:30pm 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
05/08/2018 08:00 AM
BENTONVILLE, Ark. – The Museum of Native American History will host storytelling and a beadwork class on May 12. The museum is located at 202 S.W. “O” St. Admission is free, and the events are open to all. From 10:30 a.m. to 11 a.m., MONAH staff will share traditional Yup'ik (Alaska) and Cherokee stories about how berries came to be just in time for berry season. “Our stories for the day include ‘Berry Magic,’ written and illustrated by Teri Sloat and Betty Huffmon, and ‘The First Strawberries: A Cherokee Story,’ retold by Joseph Bruchac and illustrated by Anna Vojtech. Stick around after the stories to make a self-portrait using nature and try akutaq, a traditional Yup'ik dish made with berries,” MONAH Director Charlotte Buchanan-Yale said. Storytime is geared toward ages 4 and up, but kids of all ages and their adults are welcome. A Creative Visions artist will host and teach a “Beadwork for Beginners” class beginning at 5:30 p.m. in the museum. Join Cherokee beadwork and jewelry artist Carolyn Chumwalooky for an in-depth introduction to the intricate art of beading. This hands-on workshop will lead participants through the process of creating a beaded keychain to take home. Registration is free and required. Supplies and refreshments will be provided. For more information, call the museum at 479-273-2456 or visit <a href="http://www.momah.us" target="_blank">www.momah.us</a>.