Cherokees honored at 30th annual GTIAF

BY JAMI MURPHY
Former Reporter
02/23/2017 08:00 AM
Main Cherokee Phoenix
Cherokee Nation citizens Faye and Eddie Morrison look over sports memorabilia in an artist’s booth during the Greater Tulsa Indian Art Festival on Feb. 10 in Glenpool, Oklahoma. Eddie Morrison was given the Honored Elder Artist Award at the festival. JAMI MURPHY/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Main Cherokee Phoenix
Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin Jr. accepts an award on behalf of Principal Chief Bill John Baker, who was honored as Outstanding Tribal Leader Award during the Greater Tulsa Indian Art Festival on Feb. 10 in Glenpool, Oklahoma. JAMI MURPHY/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
GLENPOOL, Okla. – The Greater Tulsa Indian Art Festival honored 12 Native Americans who have had great influence in their lifetime. Two of the honored were Cherokee Nation citizens Principal Chief Bill John Baker and artist Eddie Morrison.

Baker was honored with the Outstanding Tribal Leader Award. According to the GTIAF program, Baker has devoted much of his life in service to the Cherokee people and CN.

“He spent 12 years as a member of the Cherokee Nation Tribal Council and was elected Principal Chief in 2011 and reelected in 2015,” the program states. “He has spearheaded historic changes in the Cherokee Nation government. He recently oversaw the first Hunting and Fishing Compact with the state, which allows Cherokee Nation citizens to hunt and fish anywhere in Oklahoma.”

Baker wasn’t present for the award ceremony, but CN Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin Jr. accepted it on his behalf and said Baker was humbled to be awarded by the GTIAF.

“It was an honor to represent Chief Baker and Cherokee Nation. Chief’s leadership in preserving and protecting our language and culture is admirable. The Greater Tulsa Indian Arts Festival is a great cultural asset to the entire region as well,” Hoskin Jr. said.

Morrison was given the Honored Elder Artist Award. Morrison said he strives to produce work that represents American Indian people with pride and dignity.

“My ideas and themes come from the philosophies of Indians about life, spirituality, respect for life, animals and all that is around us and the great Creator,” he said. “When I carve, I consider the natural forms of the wood and stone, and I believe in letting the material speak for itself as it has its own story to tell.”

Others honored during the event were Dr. Jim Halsey, Jolene Bird (Santa Domingo), Minisa Crumbo (Muscogee/Citizen Band Potawatomi), Jennifer Foerster (Muscogee), William Harjo (Muscogee), Osage Nation Principal Chief Geoffrey Standing Bear, Dr. Jim Harjo (Muscogee) and Kathy Hoover (Osage/Quapaw).

The 30th anniversary theme was “Honoring Native American Athletes.” Two athletes honored with awards were University of Tulsa graduate and quarterback Dane Evans (Wichita) and Bacone College sophomore Jackson Thomas (Navajo).

The first GTIAF was held in 1987. The event brought nearly 40 artists and had about 100 dancers in its powwow. Since its fifth year the festival has helped to sponsor Native students with scholarships using the money raised during the three-day event.

For more information, visit www.tulsaindianartfestival.com.

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