Predominately Cherokee fraternity donates benches to CHC
Cherokee Heritage Center employees on Oct. 29 sit with members of Northeastern State University’s recently founded Sigma Nu Alpha Gamma fraternity on benches that the fraternity donated to the CHC. ROGER GRAHAM/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
PARK HILL – The Sigma Nu Alpha Gamma fraternity at Northeastern State University is so new it’s still on the school’s customary probation, but that didn’t stop its predominately Cherokee membership from taking a positive step to build and donate four park-style benches to the Cherokee Heritage Center.
Wrighter Weavel, a Cherokee Nation citizen and the fraternity’s president, said as a community services the benches were designed with Cherokee cultural significance.
“We made four benches for the four sacred directions and also for the youth, our parents, our elders and our ancestors,” he said. “So today is kind of like a memorial for them.”
Each of the benches, which are located near the long-standing columns of the original Cherokee Female Seminary near the entrance of the CHC’s museum, have a metal plate attached recognizing each of the Cherokee generations listed by Weavel.
CHC Executive Director Dr. Charles Gourd said the bench donation was much needed.
“The benches are something we’ve talked about since I’ve been here,” Gourd said. “It’s such a long walk from our parking lots, and we have so many elderly visitors who need to rest between the many attractions the Cherokee Heritage Center has to offer. I think it’s tremendous that this was their idea. It will make a big difference here.”
CHC Education Director Tonia Weavel said she was also grateful for the donations and proud of the fraternity.
“The president of the fraternity is my son,” she said. “The Cherokee Heritage Center had very little outdoor seating, so these benches will help so many. I’m very proud of all of the seven members.”
Wrighter said this type of altruistic service work would be a mainstay of the fraternity. “We will be doing at least one community service (project) every month, but if we can find two or three that would be great.”