On Easter Sunday, April 10, 1887, the Cherokee Female Seminary caught fire and was a complete loss. Only the exterior brickwork and the classical brick columns remained standing. Three of those columns still stand in front of the Cherokee Heritage Center. OKLAHOMA HISTORICAL SOCIETY
Little-known Cherokee Female Seminary facts shared
Students stand in front of the newly build Cherokee Female Seminary north of Tahlequah in the Cherokee Nation before Oklahoma statehood. The seminary or high school was dedicated on May 7, 1889, and is now used by Northeastern State University for classrooms and offices. OKLAHOMA HISTORICAL SOCIETY
WESTVILLE, Okla. – Guest speaker Luke Williams shared little-known facts about the construction and use of the second Cherokee Female Seminary during the Goingsnake District Heritage Association meeting on April 18.
In October 1846, Principal Chief John Ross proposed the creation of two Cherokee Nation high schools or seminaries, one for males and one for females. Construction began in 1847 with the male seminary located about a mile and a half southwest of Tahlequah and the female seminary located in Park Hill, about a mile and half south of town.
“Both of these structures consisted of three-storied brick buildings with classical-style columns on three sides. The buildings measured 185 feet long and 109 feet wide, and each one of these buildings cost in excess of $60,000,” Williams said.
Some subjects taught at the schools included geometry, Greek history, algebra, geography and vocal music.
“These rigorous academics prepared young Cherokees to become educators,” he said.
On Easter Sunday, April 10, 1887, the Cherokee Female Seminary caught fire and was a complete loss. Only the exterior brickwork and the classical brick columns remained standing. Three of those columns still stand in front of the Cherokee Heritage Center.
A month later, Principal Chief Dennis Bushyhead recommended the reconstruction of the seminary and signed a bill on May 21, 1887, to order its construction on the north edge of Tahlequah near a fresh water source called Hendricks Spring.
Charles Edward Ilsley of St. Louis, who owned an architectural firm, was chosen to design the building. He completed its design in July 1887, and it called for a three-story brick building that had two main wings in an L shape. The Richardsonian-Romanesque style of the building called for two three-story towers with conical roofs, a five-story bell tower and numerous round-top arches over windows and doors.
The construction project was to cost $57,500. The CN National Council requested a project completion date of Aug. 1, 1888. Construction began Nov. 3, 1887. Because the nearest railroad was 30 miles away in Muskogee, the construction project relied on materials that were acquired locally, Williams said.
“Quarries near Tahlequah provided the lime and sandstone necessary for the large foundation stone and the window sills. Yellow pine timber provided the lumber for the joists, the studding and the flooring, and local kilns fired the extra bricks required for this project,” he said.
In autumn 1888, the council approved an additional $4,000 for completion of the project, which included funding for a wrought-iron fence surrounding it.
On April 18, 1889, Ilsley transferred the completed building into the hands of the tribe’s building committee, and on May 7 a celebration was held “to celebrate the revival of the Cherokee Female Seminary.” On Aug. 26, the seminary opened its doors with an enrollment of 232 young women.
Williams said the building contained modern conveniences including indoor toilets, hot and cold water, a steam heating system and a trunk elevator. Also, the building had 356 windows and two 70-foot chimneys to provide ventilation for the building’s boiler. The 98-foot bell tower on the east side of the building stood out on the north side of Tahlequah.
“The L-shaped building consisted of a main east-to-west wing measuring 226-feet long and 78-feet wide. A smaller north-to-south wing measured 146-feet long and 40-feet wide,” he said.
The first floor contained a front vestibule that included a fireplace, a hallway that ran down the length of the 226-foot long building, five large classrooms, a parlor, chapel, kitchen, kitchen storage, and a dining room (in the north-south wing), which was the largest room on the first floor.
The second floor contained only dormitory rooms that lined both sides of the hallways. The third floor contained large bedrooms with closets and smaller bedrooms with no closets. The far northeast corner of the third floor contained the sick ward.
About three years after the seminary’s construction, the toilets and the building’s sewer system failed. The system was set up to allow sewer to empty into a pit about 300 yards from the building, Williams said. Water quickly filled the pit and water and sewage backed up into the seminary.
“If that’s not bad enough, this sewer pit was only 100 yards from Hendricks Spring. Remember, this is where they are getting their source of fresh drinking water,” he said. “The Cherokee Advocate referred to the seminary’s plumbing problems as, quote, ‘a health destroyer.’ After several students died and the constant fear of typhoid fever, the Cherokee National Council ordered the indoor toilets sealed. After this closure, the students used a row of outdoor privies that were constructed out on the east lawn.”
In March 1909, the “dissolving” CN government sold the seminary building to the new state of Oklahoma for $45,000. In September 1909, the doors reopened as the Northeastern State Normal School.
Today, the building is used for classrooms for Northeastern State University. On May 7, 2014, CN, NSU and state officials celebrated the 125th anniversary of the building being opened on May 7, 1889.
ᎢᎪᏓ ᏗᎦᏚᎲ, ᎣᎦᎵᎰᎹ. – ᎦᏬᏂᏍᎩ Luke Williams ᎤᏃᎮᏢ ᎤᏅᏛ ᎢᎦ ᎤᎾᏁᏍᎨᎲ ᎠᎴ ᏄᏅᏔᏅ ᏔᎵᏁ ᎤᎾᏁᏍᎨᏓ ᎠᏂᏣᎳᎩ ᎠᏂᎨᏯ ᏧᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᏗ ᎤᏬᏂᏒ ᎾᎿ ᎢᎾᏓᏛᎠᎾ ᏍᎦᏚᎩ ᏧᎾᏓᎴᏅ ᎤᎾᏙᏢᎯ ᏓᎾᏠᏍᎬ ᎾᎿ ᎧᏬᏂ ᏁᎳᏚᏏᏁ.
ᎾᎿ ᏚᏂᏃᏗ ᎧᎸ ᏁᎳᏚ ᎢᏍᎪᎯᏧᏈ ᏅᎩᏍᎪ ᏑᏓᎵ ᎤᏕᏘᏴᏌᏗᏒ, ᎤᎬᏫᏳᎯ ᏣᏂ ᎫᏫᏍᎫᏫ ᎤᏃᎮᎸ ᎤᏃᎮᎸ ᏗᎪᏢᏗ ᏔᎵ ᏣᎳᎩ ᎠᏰᎵ ᎦᎸᎳᏗ ᏧᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᏗ ᎠᎴ ᎤᎾᏅᏔ ᎤᎾᏕᎶᏆᎥ ᎤᎪᏛ ᏧᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᏗᎢ, ᏌᏊ ᎾᎿ ᎠᏂᏧᏣ ᎠᎴ ᏌᏊ ᎾᏍᏊ ᎠᏂᎨᏳᏣ. ᎠᎾᏁᏍᎨᎲ ᎤᎾᎴᏅᎲ ᏁᎳᏚ ᎢᏍᎪᎯᏧᏈ ᏅᎩᏍᎪ ᎦᎵᏉᎩ ᎤᏕᏘᏴᏌᏗᏍᏒᎢ ᎾᎿ ᎠᏂᏧᏣ ᏧᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᏗᎢ ᎤᏙᏢᏒ ᎾᎿ ᏑᏟᎶᏓ ᎠᏰᏟ ᎤᎦᎾᏮ ᎤᏕᎵᎬ ᎢᏗᏢ ᏓᎵᏆ ᎠᎴ ᎠᏂᎨᏳᏣ ᏧᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᏗ ᎾᎿ ᎠᏭᏂᏴᏍᏗ, ᎾᏍᎩ ᎠᏎ ᏑᏟᎶᏓ ᎠᎴ ᎠᏰᏟ ᎤᎦᎾᏩ ᎢᏗᏢ ᏓᎵᏆ ᎦᏚᎲᎢ.
“ᎢᏧᎳ ᎯᎠ ᏓᎾᏁᏍᎨᏍᎬ ᏦᎢ ᎢᏗᎦᎸᎳᏗ ᏂᏚᏅᏁᎸ ᏗᎬᏓᏅ ᏚᏅᏔᏅ ᎾᎿ ᏧᏔᎾ ᏚᏁᏘᏁ ᏦᎢ ᏂᏚᏅᏏᏴ. ᎯᎠ ᎠᎾᏁᏍᎨᏍᎬ ᎠᏟᎶᏓ ᏍᎪᎯᏧᏈ ᏁᎳᏍᎪ ᎯᏍᎩ ᎢᎳᏏᏓ ᎢᎦᏅᎯᏓ ᎠᎴ ᏍᎪᎯᏧᏈ ᏐᏁᎳ ᎢᎳᏏᏗ ᎢᏯᏖᎾ, ᎠᎴ ᏌᏊᎭ ᎯᎠ ᏓᎾᏁᏍᎨᏍᎬ ᏓᎵᎬᏩᏢᏍᎬ ᏑᏓᎵᏍᎪ ᏯᎦᏴᎵ,” ᎠᏗᏍᎬ Williams.
ᎢᎦᏓᏃ ᏗᎪᏪᎵ ᏓᏅᏗᏍᎬ ᏓᎾᏕᏲᎲᏍᎬ ᏧᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᏗ ᎾᎿ geometry, Greek history, algebra, geography ᎠᎴ vocal ᏗᎧᏃᎩᏍᏗ.
ᎾᎿ ᎤᎵᎮᎵᏍᏗ ᏧᏪᏥ ᏧᏅᏍᎦᎶᏗ ᎤᎾᏙᏓᏆᏍᎬ ᎦᏰᏉᏂ ᏍᎪᎯᏁ, ᏁᎳᏚ ᎢᏍᎪᎯᏧᏈ ᏁᎵᏍᎪ ᎦᎵᏉᎩ ᎤᏕᏘᏴᏌᏗᏒ, ᎾᎿ ᏣᎳᎩ ᎠᏂᎨᏳᏣ ᏧᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᏗ ᎪᎱᏍᏗ ᏧᎵᏍᏙᏔᏁ ᎤᏥᏠᏎ ᎠᎴ ᏂᎦᏓᏊ ᎢᏳᏍᏗ ᎤᎪᏁᎢ.
ᎾᏍᎩ ᎤᏩᏌ ᏗᎬᏓᏅ ᏗᎬᏔᏅ ᏚᏂᎸᏫᏍᏓᏁᎸ ᎠᎴ ᏧᏔᎾ ᏥᏕᎨᏘ ᏧᏩᏌ ᏕᎦᏙᎨ. ᏦᎢ ᎢᎦ Ꮟ ᏕᎨᏔ ᎢᎬᏯᏗᏢ ᏣᎳᎩᎯ ᏧᎾᏓᎴᏅ ᎠᏰᏟ.
ᏏᏅᏓ ᎢᏴ ᏭᏟᎢᎶᏟ, ᎤᎬᏫᏁᎯ Dennis Bushyhead ᎣᏏ ᏱᎦ ᏱᎦᏁᏍᎨᎯᏎᏂ ᎯᎠ ᏧᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᏗᎢ ᎠᎴ ᎤᏃᏪᎳᏅ ᎠᏔᏲᎯᎯ ᎠᏂᏍᎬᏘ ᏔᎵᏍᎪ ᏌᏊᎯᏁ, ᏁᎳᏚ ᎢᏍᎪᎯᏧᏈ ᏁᎵᏍᎪ ᎦᎵᏉᎩᏁ ᎤᏕᏘᏴᏌᏗᏒ, ᎤᏓᏅᏍᏗ ᎤᎾᏁᎢᏍᏗ ᎤᏴᏢ ᎢᏗᏝ ᎠᏍᏛ ᏓᎵᏆ ᎾᎠᏂᎨ ᎢᏤᎢ ᎠᎹ ᎦᏁᎲ ᏚᏙᎥ Hendrick’s ᎦᏅᎪᎬᎢ.
Charles Edward Ilsley of St. Louis, ᎾᏍᏯ ᎤᏤᎵ ᎨᏎ ᎾᏍᎩ architectural firm. ᎾᏍᎩ ᎠᏑᏰᏓ ᎨᏎ ᎾᎿ ᏧᏟᎶᏍᏙᏗ ᎦᎵᏦᏕ ᎠᏁᎩᏍᏗᎢ.ᎤᏍᏆᏕ ᏓᏟᎶᏍᏗᏍᎬ ᎦᏰᏉᏂ ᏁᎳᏚ ᎢᏍᎪᎯᏧᏈ ᏁᎵᏍᎪ ᎦᎵᏉᎩ ᎤᏕᏘᏴᏌᏗᏒ, ᎠᎴ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏦᎢ ᏯᎦᎸᎳᏗ ᏗᎬᏓᏅ ᎬᏔᏅ ᎠᏁᏍᎨᎲᎢ ᎾᎿ ᏔᎵ ᏂᏚᎬᏫᏁᏒ ᏕᎪᏯᏕ ᎤᏠᏯ L ᎤᏙᏢᏒᎢ. ᎾᎿ Richardsonian—Romanesque ᎤᏠᏯ ᎠᏁᎩᏍᏗ ᏚᏙᎡᎢ ᎾᎿ ᏔᎵ ᎠᎴ ᏦᎢ ᎢᎬᎸᎳᏗ ᎾᎿ conical ᎦᎵᏦᏘ, ᎯᏍᎩ ᏯᎦᏴᎵ ᎤᎭᎸᏂ ᎤᎾᏗᎢ ᎠᎴ ᎢᎸᏍᎦ ᏗᎦᏐᏆᎸ ᎦᎸᎳᏗ ᎢᎬᎾ ᎾᎿ ᏦᎳᏂ ᎠᎴ ᏗᎦᎶᏍᏗᎢ.
ᎾᏍᎩ ᎯᎠ ᏳᎾᏁᏍᎨᎯ ᎯᎩᏍᎪ ᎦᎵᏉᎩ ᏯᎦᏴᎵ ᎯᏍᎩᏧᏈ ᏧᎵᎬᏩᎶᏗ ᎨᏎᎢ. ᏣᎳᎩ ᎠᏰᎵ ᎬᎾᏕᎾ ᏗᏂᎳᏫᎩ ᎤᏂᏁᏤ ᎯᎠ ᎤᎾᏁᎢᏍᏗ ᎤᏂᏍᏆᏗᏍᏗ ᎾᎿ ᎦᎶᏂ ᎢᎬᏱ, ᏁᎳᏚᎢᏍᎪᎯᏧ ᏁᎵᏍᎪ ᏧᏁᎳ. ᎠᎾᏁᏍᎨᏍᎬ ᎤᎾᎴᏅᎲ ᏅᏓᏕᏆ ᏦᎢᏁ, ᏁᎳᏚ ᎢᏍᎪᎯᏧᏈ ᏁᎵᏍᎪ ᎦᎵᏉᎩ ᎤᏕᏘᏴᏌᏗᏒᎢ. ᏅᏗᎦᎵᏍᏙᏗᏍᎨ ᎾᎠᏂᎨᏍᏗ ᎠᏥᎳᎦᏅᏅ ᏦᏍᎪ ᎢᏳᏟᎶᏓ ᎨᏎ ᎫᏐᎢ, ᏂᎦᏓ ᎠᏁᎢᏍᏙᏗ ᎠᏅᏔᏅᏍᎬ ᎾᎥᏆ ᎠᎾᏁᎶᏗᏍᎬ ᎤᏂᏩᎯᏍᏗ, ᎠᏗᏍᎬ Williams.
ᏅᏯ ᎤᏂᎴᏍᏗ ᎾᎥ ᏓᎵᏆ ᎠᏓᏁᎸᏍᎬ ᎪᏍᏚᎤᏁᎬ ᎠᎴ ᏃᏯᏅᏯ ᎠᏎ ᏗᎬᏙᏗ ᎨᏒ ᎯᎠ ᎤᏔᎾ ᏚᎫᏍᏓᎥ ᏅᏯ ᎠᎴ ᏦᎳᏂ ᏅᎩ ᏂᏕᎬᏛᎢ. ᏗᏓᎶᏂᎨ ᏃᏥ ᎠᏁᏢᏍᎬ ᏧᏯᏖᎾ ᎾᎿ ᏗᏒᏓᎾᎳᏗᏍᏗ, ᎠᏁᎢᏍᏙᏗ ᎠᎴ ᎠᏲᏓᏠᏙᏗ, ᎠᎴ ᎾᎥ ᏗᎬᏓᏅ ᏧᏃᏢᏗ ᎾᎿ ᎤᎪᏛ ᏱᏚᏂᏂᎬᎦ ᎾᎿ ᎠᎾᏁᏍᎨᏍᎬᎢ,” ᎠᏗᏍᎬᎢ.
ᎤᎳᎪᎲᏍᏗ ᏁᎳᏚ ᎢᏍᎪᎯᏧᏈ ᏁᎵᏍᎪ ᏧᏁᎳ ᎤᏕᏘᏴᏌᏗᏒ, ᏗᏂᎳᏫᎦ ᎤᏂᎶᎯᏍᏔᏅ ᎤᎪᏛ ᎯᎠ ᎢᎦ ᏅᎩ ᏯᎦᏴᎵ ᎤᏂᏍᏆᏗᏍᏙᏗ ᎠᎾᏁᏍᎨᏍᎬᎢ, ᎾᏍᎩ ᎠᏠᏯᏍᏛ ᎤᏂᏩᎯᏍᏙᏗ ᏔᎷᎩᏍᎩ ᎤᎾᏐᏯᏍᏙᏗ ᎬᏩᏕᏯᏓ ᎣᏂ.
ᎾᎿ ᎧᏬᏂ ᏁᎳᏚᏏᏁ, ᏁᎳᏚ ᎢᏍᎪᎯᏧᏈ ᏁᎵᏍᎪ ᏐᏁᎳ ᎤᏕᏘᏴᏌᏗᏒ, Ilsley ᏫᏚᏲᏎ ᎾᎿ ᎠᏍᏆᏙᏅ ᎠᏓᏁᎸ ᎾᎿ ᏧᏃᏱᎾ ᎠᏂᎳᏍᏓᏢ ᏗᎾᏁᏍᎨᏍᎩ ᎠᏂᎧᎻᏗ, ᎠᎴ ᎾᎿ ᎠᏂᏍᎬᏘ ᎦᎵᏉᎩᏁ ᎠᎾᎵᎮᎵᎬ ᎤᏂᏍᏆᎸᎲᎢ “ᎠᎾᎵᎮᎵᎬ ᎠᎾᎴᏂᏍᎬ ᎾᎿ ᏣᎳᎩ ᎠᏂᎨᏳᏣ ᏧᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᏗ,” ᎾᎿ ᎦᎶᏂ ᏔᎵᏍᎪ ᏑᏓᎵᏁ, ᏧᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᏗ ᏚᏂᏍᏚᎢᏒ ᏗᎦᎶᎯᏍᏗ ᎠᎴ ᎦᏳᎳ ᏧᏃᏪᎳᏅ ᏔᎵᏧᏈ ᏦᏍᎪ ᏔᎵ ᏯᏂ ᎠᏂᎨᏳᏣ ᏧᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᏗ ᎤᎬᏩᏟ.
Williams ᎠᏗᏍᎬ ᎠᏓᏁᎸ ᎣᏍᏓ ᏂᎬᎾᏅ ᏯᏛᎾ ᎦᎵᏦᏕ ᏕᎪᏢᏒ ᏙᏯ ᏤᏓᏍᏗ, ᎤᏗᏢᎦ ᎠᎴ ᎤᏴᏢ ᎠᎹ ᏃᎴ ᎠᎹ ᎤᏔᏃᎸᏓ ᎠᎦᏃᏗᏍᎩ ᎪᏢᏒ ᎠᎴ ᏴᏫ ᎤᎾᏦᏗ ᎠᎵᏌᎳᏗᏍᎩ. ᎾᏍᏊ, ᎠᏓᏁᎸ ᏦᎢᏧᏈ ᎯᎦᏍᎪ ᏑᏓᎵ ᏗᏦᎳᏂ ᏕᎪᏢᏒ ᎠᎴ ᏔᎵ ᎦᎵᏆᏍᎪ ᎢᎳᏏᏓ ᎢᎦᏘ ᏓᎱᏣᏬᎳᏛ ᎾᎿ ᎤᏃᎴ ᎤᏪᏓᏍᏗ ᎾᎿ ᎠᏓᏁᎸ ᎤᏔᎾ ᎠᏙᏙᏗ. ᎾᏍᎩᏃ ᏐᏁᎳᏍᎪ ᏧᏁᎳ ᎢᎳᏏᏓ ᎢᎦᏘ ᎤᎭᎸᎾ ᎦᏛᎢ ᎾᎿ ᎧᎸᎬ ᎢᏗᏢ ᎠᏓᏁᎸᎢ ᎾᎿ ᎤᏴᏢ ᎢᏗᏢ ᎨᏒ ᏓᎵᏆ.
“ᎾᏅ L ᎢᏳᏍᏗ ᎠᏓᏁᎸ ᎤᏠᏯᏍᏛ ᏄᎬᏫᏳᏒ ᎧᎸᎬ ᎠᎴ ᎤᏕᎵᎬ ᏫᎪᏯᏛ ᎠᏟᎶᏓ ᏔᎵᏧᏈ ᏔᎵᏍᎪ ᏑᏓᎵ ᎢᎳᏏᏓ ᎢᎦᏅᎯᏓ ᎠᎴ ᎦᎵᏆᏍᎪ ᏧᏁᎳ ᎢᎳᏏᏓ ᎢᏯᏖᎾ. ᎤᏍᏗᎯᎨ ᎤᏓᏢ ᏩᎪᏛ ᏫᎪᏯᏛ ᎠᏟᎶᎠ ᏍᎪᎯᏧᏈ ᏅᎩᏍᎪ ᏑᏓᎵ ᎢᎳᏏᏓ ᎢᎦᏅᎯᏓ ᎠᎴ ᏅᎩᏍᎪ ᎢᎳᏏᏓ ᎢᏯᏖᎾ,” ᎠᏗᏍᎬᎢ.
ᎢᎬᏱ ᎠᏲᏓᏝᎲ ᎠᏠᏯᏍᏛ ᎢᎬᏱ ᎠᏍᏚᏅ ᎠᏴᏍᏙᏗ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎠᏠᏯᏍᏗ ᎪᏛᏗᎢ, ᎤᏠᏅᏛ ᎡᏓᏍᏗ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎪᏠᏯ ᎢᎦᏅᎯᏓ ᏔᎵᏧᏈ ᏔᎵᏍᎪ ᏑᏓᎵ ᎢᎳᏏᏓ ᎢᎦᏅᎯᏓ ᎠᏓᏁᎸᎢ, ᎯᏍᎩ ᏧᏔᎾ ᏕᎧᏅᏑᎸ, ᎤᎾᏅᏗ, ᎤᎾᏓᏙᎵᏍᏙᏗ, ᎠᏓᏍᏓᏴᏗ, ᎠᎾᏓᏍᏓᏴᎲᏍᎩ ᎤᏂᏍᏆᏂᎪᏔᏅᎲᏍᏗ, ᎠᎴ ᎤᎾᎵᏍᏓᏴᏗᎢ (ᎾᎿ ᎤᏴᏢ--ᎤᎦᎾᏮ ᎪᏯᏛᎢ), ᎾᏍᎩ ᏭᏔᏂᏴ ᎧᏅᏑᎸ ᎾᎿ ᎢᎬᏱ ᎠᏲᏓᏢᎲᎢ.
ᏔᎵᏁ ᎠᏲᏓᏢᎲ ᏕᎧᏅᏑᎸ ᎢᏧᎳ ᏗᎬᎪᏛ ᎠᏰᏟ ᎦᎳᏅᏛᎢ. ᏦᎢᏁ ᎠᏲᏓᏢᎲ ᏧᏔᎾ ᏗᏒᏍᏗ ᏕᎧᏅᏑᎸ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏗᎾᏬ ᏗᎦᏛᏗ ᏗᎪᏢᎯ ᎠᎴ ᏧᏍᏗᎯᎨ ᏗᏒᏍᏗ ᏕᎧᏅᏑᎸ ᏗᎾᏬ ᏗᎦᏛᏗ ᏂᏗᎪᏢᏒᎾ. ᎾᏍᎩᏃ ᎤᏴᏢᎧᎸᎬ ᎢᏗᏢ ᎤᏅᏏᏴ ᎾᎿ ᏦᎢᏁ ᎠᏲᏓᏢᎲ ᎾᎿ ᏧᏂᏢᎩ ᎤᏂᏴᏍᏗ ᎨᎡᎢ.
ᎾᏍᎩ ᎠᏎ ᏦᎢ ᏧᏕᏘᏴᏓ ᎣᏂᏧᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᏗ ᎤᎾᏁᏍᎨᏓ, ᏙᏯ ᏧᏁᏓᏍᏗ ᎠᎴ ᎠᏓᏁᎸ ᏂᎦᏓ ᏧᏒᏙᏓ ᏂᏕᎬᏅᏗᏓᏅ ᏚᏓᏲᏒ ᏚᏲᏨ. ᎾᏍᎩ ᏂᎬᎾᏅ ᏂᎦᏓ ᎤᏲ ᎨᏒ ᎠᏟᎦ ᏂᎬᏅ ᏦᎢᏧᏈ ᎢᎳᏏᏓ ᎠᏂᎩᏓ ᎾᎿ ᎤᏔᎾ ᎠᏓᏁᎸᎢ, ᎤᏛᏅ Williams. ᎠᎹ ᎤᏟᏍᏗ ᎤᎧᎵᏨ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎠᏔᎴᏒ ᎠᎴ ᎠᎹ ᎠᎴ ᏧᏓᎴᏅᏓ ᎤᏲ ᏂᎦᏓ ᏧᏏᏅᏎ ᎾᎿ ᏧᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᏗᎢ.
“ᎢᏳᏃ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎡᎵ ᎤᏐᏅ ᏂᎨᏒᎾ ᏱᎩ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏂᎦᏓ ᎤᏲ ᎨᏒ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏍᎪᎯᏧᏈᏛ ᎢᎳᏏᏓ ᎤᏣᏘᏂ ᎨᏒ ᎦᏅᎪᎬ ᎠᎹ Hendricks Spring ᏚᏙᎥᎢ. ᎢᏣᏅᏓᏛ, ᎾᎿᏃ ᎠᏂᏁᎩᏍᎬ ᎤᏴᏢ ᎠᎹ ᎤᎾᏗᏔᏍᏗ,” ᎠᏗᏍᎬᎢ. “ᏣᎳᎩ Advocate ᎤᏂᏃᎮᏢ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏧᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᏗ ᎯᎠ ᏧᏒᏙᏓ ᏓᏲᎬ ᏂᎦᎵᏍᏗᏍᎬ ᎾᏍᎩ ‘ᏙᎯ ᎠᎯᎯ’ ᎤᎾᏛᏅᎢ.’ ᏃᏊᏃ ᎢᎸᏍᎩ ᏯᏂ ᏗᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᎩ ᏚᏂᏲᎱᏒ ᎠᎴ ᎠᏂᏍᎦᎢᎲ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎤᏍᎦᏎᏗ ᎤᏗᏢᎲᏍᎩ, ᎠᏂᏣᎳᎩ ᎬᎾᏕᎾ ᏗᏂᎳᏫᎦ ᎤᎾᏓᏅᏒ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎦᎵᏦᏕ ᎪᏢᏒ ᏙᏯ ᎤᏁᏓᏍᏗ ᎠᏍᏚᏗᎢ. ᎣᏂ ᎯᎠ ᎤᏂᏍᏚᎾ, ᏗᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᎩ ᎤᎾᎴᎾᏅᎲ ᏙᏯ ᏚᏃᏢᏅ ᏙᏯ ᏧᏁᏓᏍᏗᎢ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎧᎸᎬ ᎢᏗᏢ ᎣᏂ.”
ᎠᏅᏱ ᏐᏁᎳᏚ ᎢᏍᎪᎯᏧᏈ ᏐᏁᎳ ᎤᏕᏘᏴᏌᏗᏒ, “ᎠᏲᎬ” ᏣᎳᎩ ᎠᏰᎵ ᎠᏰᎵ ᎤᏙᏢᏒ ᎤᏂᎾᏗᏅᏒ ᏧᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᏗ ᎠᏓᏁᎸ ᎾᎿ ᎢᏤ ᏍᎦᏚᎩ ᎣᎦᎵᎰᎹ ᎾᎿ ᏅᎩᏍᎪᎯᏍᎩ ᏯᎦᏴᎵ ᏚᏂᎬᏩᎶᏔᏅ. ᏚᎵᏍᏗ ᏐᏁᎳᏚ ᎢᏍᎪᎯᏧᏈ ᏐᏁᎳ ᎤᏕᏘᏴᏌᏗᏒ, ᏗᎦᎶᎯᏍᏗ ᏚᏂᏍᏚᎢᏒ ᎾᎿ ᎤᏴᏢᎢ ᎧᎸᎬ ᏍᎦᏚᎩ ᎣᏍᏓ ᏧᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᏗ.
ᎪᎯᎢᎦ, ᎠᏓᏁᎸ ᏃᏊ ᏧᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᏗᎢ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎤᏴᏢᎢ ᎧᎸᎬ ᏍᎦᏚᎩ ᎦᎸᎳᏗ ᏧᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᏗᎢ. ᎾᏍᎩ ᎠᏂᏍᎬᏘ ᎦᎵᏉᎩᏁ, ᏔᎵ ᏯᎦᏴᎵ ᏂᎦᏚ ᎤᏕᏘᏴᏌᏗᏒ, CN, NSU ᎠᎴ ᏍᎦᏚᎩ ᏧᏂᎸᏫᏍᏓᏁᎯ ᎤᎾᎵᎮᎵᏨ ᏍᎪᎯᏧᏈ ᎯᏍᎩᏦᏁ ᎾᏕᏘᏯ ᎾᎿ ᎾᏓᏁᎶᎢ ᏧᎵᏍᏚᎢᏎ ᎠᏂᏍᎬᏘ ᎦᎵᏉᎩᏁ, ᏁᎳᏚ ᎢᏍᎪᎯᏧᏈ ᏁᎵᏍᎪ ᏐᏁᎳ ᎤᏕᏘᏴᏌᏗᏒᎢ.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org">email@example.com</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. – Cherokee National Treasure Tommy Wildcat recently released a CD tilted “Donadagohv’i” or “See You Again,” which consists of 10 original flute compositions that are either studio productions or recorded performances.
The Native American Music Award-winning flutist said he’s been playing for 25 years and has traveled across the nation and abroad sharing Cherokee culture via his music.
“It’s important to share my music with people to promote the beautiful word of our American Indian heritage, but it also inspires those around me and those who are just finding their Cherokee heritage to get involved,” Wildcat said.
Wildcat has performed at historical sites, festivals, powwows and CN at-large community events. He’s made 18 trips to Hawaii, visited 37 universities and taken four European tours. He’s also been a featured performer at the New Orleans Jazz Festival, Stockholm Water Festival and Cherokee Days at the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C.
Before gaining recognition as a flutist, Wildcat made Cherokee crafts such as blowguns, darts, clay bead necklaces and river cane flutes. While making flutes and perfecting their sounds, Wildcat taught himself to play and developed a love for it.
“I was already making blowguns, but I was really interested in trying to make the river cane flutes, so I just kept trying to make them and after probably a hundred of them, every flute I made would make a sound. Every time I made a flute I would have to tune it up, so it gave me a lot of practice,” he said. “I enjoyed it so much, and it became the strongest tradition that helped me help my family and promote our heritage.”
In 2013, Wildcat was named a Cherokee National Treasure for his flute making, which remains one of his proudest accomplishments. The title is bestowed to CN citizens who have dedicated their lives to teaching, mentoring and advocating traditional Cherokee arts.
As a way to fund his travels, he began selling cassette tapes of his music, which later transitioned to CDs. Soon individuals and businesses were requesting his CDs, and within the first year Wildcat sold 10,000 CDs. For “Donadagohv’i,” his eighth CD, Wildcat dedicated it to his late father, Cherokee National Treasure Tom Webber Wildcat, and his mother, Annie Wildcat. He said the title is his thank you to his family and friends for their love and support. “Donadagohv’i, which means I’ll see you again, is my personal wado (thank you) to all my family and friends that helped me from my very my first venue and small venues to the big venues.”
Wildcat’s family and friends inspired each song on “Donadagohv’i.” He said he titled the songs after Cherokee words and phrases that have significant meaning to him.
“I’ve titled my songs after Cherokee words that are used throughout our Cherokee-speaking communities, which is something I wanted to really promote. Inspiration is in our Cherokee words, like my song ‘Osda,’ which means much more than good or fine. When our elders tell our young people osda it inspires them that they did good or something about them is great,” he said.
Wildcat said he wants to perform and compose music as long as he can, but it’s also important the younger generations take initiative to keep traditional music alive. “It’s very important to me and our heritage that the next generation continue on with the pride we always have had in our parents, grandparents, ancestors, with flute music and all of our music.”
“Donadagohv’i” can be purchased at the Cherokee Nation, Cherokee Heritage Center, Hard Rock Hotel & Casino and Roland Casino gift shops or by ordering directly from Wildcat via Facebook.
PARK HILL, Okla. – Cherokee Heritage Center genealogists Gene Norris and Ashley Vann agree that knowing one’s genealogy is important for various reasons such as giving people a look into their ancestors’ lives, bringing light to certain traits or even genetic illnesses or diseases.
“The importance of genealogy is finding out who your family is, and that’s the baseline of any genealogy regardless what minority that you may find within the research,” Vann said.
Common questions that arise when beginning genealogical research are people wanting to know from whom and where they come, Vann said.
“The aspect of genealogy most people are into, the knowing of ‘where do I come from? What are the quirks that that ancestors is? What makes me, me?’ I see a lot of people do that, especially on television because they will start revealing their family genealogy and maybe a special eye effect,” she said. “Maybe they have two different colors of eyes and they realize that’s passed down from generation to generation.”
Norris, who began conducting genealogy research 35 years ago, said one thing that interested him about researching his ancestors were the “connections” he found.
“My mom was adopted at 3, so I didn’t know my birth uncles until later. Turned out one was an artist, and I like to do art. So, you know...there’s also (these) kind of connections you find with these ancestors and those are what fascinated me,” he said. “I think that’s why you should get into genealogy is because of that reason, of wanting to know more about who they were, where they came from, not to have a specific purpose in mind.”
As for diseases or illnesses passed down genetically, Norris said he learned a commonality between a client’s great-grandfather and father’s deaths.
“I got on Ancestry (.com) and started looking at these records. They were in Texas. They weren’t here at the time of Dawes (Rolls). But I came across a Texas death certificate of her great-grandfather, and when I printed that off for her she saw the cause of death, and that is what her dad had died from and she got very emotional about it because she didn’t realize that it was genetic,” he said. “A lot of people don’t realize that, but for her to actually see it there in print, in front of her, it made her step back and she had that ‘ah ha’ moment and got very emotional about it.”
Although Norris and Vann have strong interests in genealogy, that’s not the case for everyone. Norris said his interest stemmed from a fascination with history.
“It’s interesting that in regards to genealogy that those that are into genealogy, that are really into it, usually are the only one in their immediate family that is interested in it. The reason behind that, I do not have any idea,” he said. “For me, history is very fascinating. Not just family history, but general history and learning about who our ancestors were in a sense of what they did on a daily basis, where they came from. Try to flesh them out, so to speak, where they’re not just a name and a date on a piece of paper.”
For more information, call 918-456-6007 or visit <a href="http://www.cherokeeheritage.org" target="_blank">cherokeeheritage.org</a>.
CATOOSA, Okla. – Cherokee National Treasures will be signing copies of a book about themselves from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino on Dec. 1.
The signing is scheduled for the Cherokee Gift Shop inside the casino. Treasures will sign the recently released “Cherokee National Treasures: In Their Own Words,” which can be purchased for $49.99.
The book gives readers an opportunity to get to know each Cherokee National Treasure through their own stories and what motivates them to teach and carry on Cherokee language and traditions.
The Cherokee National Treasure award was established in 1988 by the tribe and Cherokee National Historical Society. To date, the tribe has awarded 94 CN citizens the honor of Cherokee National Treasure to those who have shown exceptional knowledge of Cherokee art and culture. Those selected actively work to preserve and revive traditional cultural practices that are in danger of being lost from generation to generation.
The CN published the book with Pamela Jumper Thurman and Cherokee National Treasure Shawna Morton Cain serving as editors. Cherokee National Treasures Kathryn Kelley, Betty Jo Smith, Lorene Drywater, Dorothy Ice, Al Herrin, Bessie Russell, Edith Catcher Knight, Thelma Vann Forrest, Durbin Feeling, Donald Vann and Betty Christie Frogg served on the Cherokee National Treasures Book Review Board.
To buy a copy, visit any CN gift shop or <a href="http://www.cherokeegiftshop.com" target="_blank">www.cherokeegiftshop.com</a>. Copies can also be purchased at most major book stores and online at <a href="http://www.amazon.com" target="_blank">www.amazon.com</a>.
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – Fewer and fewer Cherokee people are speaking their native language, and the Cherokee Nation is losing elder speakers each year, so a monthly gathering of speakers is important for keeping the language alive, Cherokee Speakers Bureau officials said.
On Nov. 9, the CSB held a gathering for Cherokee speakers in the Tsa-La-Gi Community Meeting Room for lunch, fellowship and to speak Cherokee.
The CSB formed in 2007 to give Cherokee speakers an opportunity to speak the language with others. Ten years later, the CSB continues to be important for the language’s preservation.
“This event is very important because we don’t get to talk in Cherokee very much anymore because like places where we work not all co-workers can speak it. So this event allows us to all come together to speak the language,” Kathy Sierra, CN Cherokee Language Program assistant, said. “I come to speak Cherokee, to see all my friends and just be together, you know. One of my speaker friends works at (W.W.) Hastings (Hospital) so we don’t get to see each other and speak Cherokee until this event.”
Along with speaking Cherokee and having lunch, the event consists of storytelling, singing, community reports and word translation.
CN translator specialist Dennis Sixkiller, who serves as the meetings’ facilitator, said attending the CSB and talking with other Cherokee speakers has refreshed his memory of the language.
“I was kind of forgetting how to say some things in Cherokee. But from having a job (at Cherokee Nation) and being around people at the Speakers Bureau that speak Cherokee has really helped my language,” he said. “I just visited with a guy I grew up with, and a few years back I probably couldn’t talk to him in as much Cherokee as I did today, so it really has helped me out, and I really enjoy it.”
For CN translator specialist Bonnie Kirk keeping the language alive is “crucial.” She said not only is it important for the older speakers to keep speaking the language, but it’s also important to teach others so CSB meetings continue.
“I think right now it’s crucial to carry on the language that the Creator gave us. If we don’t, it’s going to be a lost art. We are fighting to keep that culture and teach our kids to speak Cherokee because if we don’t it’s going to be an end to a lot of our culture and to events like this,” she said. “This is our tenth year, and to this day we try to spread the word to different communities, and hopefully it will continue a long time because we really enjoy seeing each other once a month and speaking Cherokee with each other, and I hope that for the next generations, too.”
Although the CSB is designated for Cherokee speakers anyone is welcome to attend, but only Cherokee is spoken.
“We have a lot of students from different areas that just sit and listen, so everyone is welcome,” Kirk said.
The next CSB meeting will be held from 12:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Dec. 14 in the same meeting room. For more information, call Roy Boney Jr. at 918-453-5487.
GROVE, Okla. – Nearly 100 descendants and friends gathered for a memorial ceremony on Oct. 28 at Snell Cemetery to honor three Trail of Tears survivors.
The Oklahoma Chapter of the Trail of Tears Association honored Johnaky Snell, Akie (Sharp) Silversmith and Ahnawake “Annie” (Spirit) Snell.
The biography of each survivor was read and metal plaques were attached to their headstones. The plaques read: “In honor of one who endured the forced removal of the Cherokees in 1838-39.” It also includes the Cherokee Nation and TOTA seals.
“We are marking the graves of people who came on the forced removal from the East. I think it is very appropriate that we remember the people that came so we don’t forget the forced removal and what they did by enduring the Trail of Tears and if they had not done that we would not be here. One of the purposes we mark graves is to let people know this is their ancestor that came on the forced removal and to bring them together as a family,” National TOTA President Jack Baker said.
In 1993, TOTA formed to aid the National Parks Service in “protecting and preserving” the Trail of Tears routes, which Congress recognized as a national historical trail in 1987. In 1996, nine state TOTA chapters were organized in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri, North Carolina, Tennessee and Oklahoma.
Oklahoma Chapter member David Hampton said each state chapter works on projects, mostly locating and marking trail segments. However, because the removal trails ended at the Arkansas border, the Oklahoma Chapter didn’t have trails to mark.
“Since the Trail generally ended at the Arkansas border and people disbanded when people got into the Cherokee Nation, the Oklahoma Chapter picked marking the graves as one of its projects from the very beginning, so we have been doing that over the last 18 years,” Hampton said.
The Oklahoma Chapter has marked 153 graves in the CN and is looking for more Trail survivors, as well as accepting applications from people wanting ancestors’ graves marked.
“We have specific criteria of what a Trail of Tears survivor is. It started after the roundup in May 1838. If you came (to Indian Territory, now Oklahoma) before that we are currently not marking those people’s graves. They (survivors) also came on a Cherokee detachment that disbanded in early 1839,” Hampton said. “We verify if they’re eligible, and if there are other people in that same cemetery that are eligible…we mark them, too.”
Steven Snell, of Grove, attended the ceremony with his family to honor Johnaky Snell.
“I didn’t realize my heritage going back to the Trail of Tears actually had people buried here in this cemetery. It’s just really nice they’re being recognized like this and being shown some respect,” he said.
Bob Fields, of Diamond, Missouri, attended to honor his great-great grandmother Akie (Sharp) Silversmith. He read her biography during the ceremony.
“I appreciate the Trail of Tears Association for doing this. It was a good ceremony, and I am glad they did it to recognize her life and her endearment on the Trail of Tears and the fact that she got through it. She would have never thought of her family would be here over a hundred years after she died, so I think that’s pretty good deal,” Fields said.
LeeAnn Dreadfulwater, of Park Hill, read the biography of her great-great-great grandmother Ahnawake “Annie” (Spirit) Snell.
“I think it’s a wonderful honor. She was just a little girl when she was on the Trail coming with all her brothers and sisters and her family. I can’t imagine what she must of seen, encountered and endured. It makes me really proud to come from someone like that who went on to live a really incredible life, a very full life where she was able to make a good home in a new land and to live into the new century, which must have been really incredible, too,” Dreadfulwater said.
To nominate an ancestor who survived the Trail of Tears, mail a request to Oklahoma TOTA Chapter President Curtis Rohr at 24880 S. 4106 Road, Claremore, OK, 74019 or call 918-341-4689.
Johnaky Snell was born about 1826 in Cherokee Nation East, most likely on Shooting Creek in what is present-day Clay County, North Carolina. His father was Goo-tah-skah, also known as Pickup in English, and his mother was Wah-li-sah. He had four known siblings or half siblings: Ah-to-he, Oo-yi-yah-sah-nah-ske, Lah-chi-le and Kah-se.
As a young man, he endured the forced removal to the west in a currently unknown detachment.
On July 25, 1865, he married a Cherokee, Katy Schrimsher. They were parents of eight children surviving to adulthood: Jane (Snell) Bushyhead, Ida (Snell) Six Mitchell Scraper, Lulu (Snell) Gourd, Joe Coon Snell, Charles Snell, Alexander Snell, Nona (Snell) O’Fields and Nancy Snell, as well as one daughter who died in infancy, Mary Snell.
During the Civil War, Johnaky served in the Union Army in Company H of the Second Indian Home Guard. After the war he returned to his farm near the Honey Creek area in what is present-day Delaware County, Oklahoma. He died on July 4, 1902, and was buried in the Snell Cemetery.
<strong>Akie Sharp Silversmith</strong>
Akie Sharp was born about 1829 in Cherokee Nation East. She was the oldest of four children to Ah-ne-kah-yah, also know as “Sharp” in English, and Nancy.
As a young girl, Akie and her family were forced on the removal west in the Oldfields/Forman detachment, which left the East on Oct. 10, 1838, and arrived on Feb. 2, 1839. The family then settled in what became the Delaware District of Cherokee Nation, present-day Delaware County, Oklahoma.
By 1851, Akie mothered a daughter by the name Ah-li, who died in childhood. Ah-li’s father was unknown. In 1852, Akie married Albert McGhee, a white man, and the pair had one daughter, Sarah (McGhee) Fields. After separation from Albert, Akie married Wilson Silversmith, a Cherokee. They had two children, John Silversmith and Bettie (Silversmith) Fields. During the Civil War, Wilson died and Akie and her family supported themselves by farming east of Grove in the Delaware District. She died on July 9, 1895, and was buried in Snell Cemetery.
<strong>Ahnawake “Annie” (Spirit) Snell</strong>
Ahnawake or Annie Spirit was born about 1826 on the Etowah River, Cherokee Nation East, near present-day Rome, Georgia. Her father was known as “The Spirit,” and her mother was Chah-wah-yoo-kah. Annie had three full siblings and two half sisters from her mother’s previous marriage to George Vann.
Together the family traveled on the forced removal to the West in the George Hicks detachment, which left the East in September 1838 and arrived in March 1839. Her father was a teamster in the detachment.
After arrival, the family initially settled in the Flint District, present-day southern Adair or northern Sequoyah County, Oklahoma. Spirit appears to have died within a few years after removal.
In 1848, Annie married Samuel Mayes, a white man. They were parents of Sarah (Mayes) Ballard, Elmira (Mayes) Finn Gladney and William (Penn) Mayes. After the Mayes family moved to the Saline District, near Grand River, Samuel died in 1858. In 1862, Annie married Simon Snell, a Cherokee, who was serving in the Union Army. The pair settled in the Delaware District and had one son, Charles Snell. After Simon’s death in 1877, Annie maintained the farm near Honey Creek. She died on Feb. 20, 1910, and was buried near Simon in Snell Cemetery.