Grand View Schools hosts Cherokee Heritage Day
Grand View School students shoot Cherokee blowguns during the school’s second annual Cherokee Heritage Day on May 3 in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. Pre-kindergarten to eight grade students were able to participate. STACIE GUTHRIE/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Students at Grand View School participate in graces during the school’s second annual Cherokee Heritage Day on May 3 in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. Glenda Sellers, the school’s community parent liaison, said students seemed to “love” graces. STACIE GUTHRIE/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – Grand View School on May 3 celebrated its second annual Cherokee Heritage Day by offering cultural activities for students in all grades in which to participate.
Glenda Sellers, the school’s community parent liaison and Cherokee Nation citizen, said the school’s student population is approximately 70 percent Cherokee so it’s important to showcase these activities.
“It’s important for the children to know that we have a story as Cherokee people, and if we don’t tell the story, they won’t know. So we’re continuing activities that their ancestors may have played many years ago, and showing them what kind of games are available out there for the Cherokee people,” she said.
Sellers said thanks to Cherokee Heritage Center employees and GVS teachers, students were able to participate in blowgun shooting, stickball, beading, Cherokee singing and graces.
Graces is usually played with two people. Each person gets two rods. One player takes a wooden hoop and, pushing apart the two rods, makes the hoop fly in the air for the other player to try and catch it. The winner is the player who catches the hoop 10 times first.
Sellers said in 2016 the event offered Cherokee marbles, but because of recent rains it was substituted for graces, which the students seemed to enjoy.
“So graces was new for the kids and they really seemed to pick it up and love it,” she said.
Disosdi Elk, 10, a fifth grade student, said he enjoyed graces because he hasn’t played it before. He said outside of school he plays stickball but wasn’t able to hit the fish while participating during Cherokee Heritage Day.
Sellers said Tribal Councilors Joe Byrd and Rex Jordan, whose council district contain parts of the school district, as well as Miss Cherokee Sky Wildcat stopped by and spoke with students.
“I think…our tribal leaders are able to be a role model for our little ones, and they see that as they grow older they could be a Miss Cherokee or they could be one of our representatives in the future,” she said.
Sellers said typically Cherokee activities happen after school, so having it during the day allowed all students to participate.
“All of the children are able to see the cultural events. When those events are offered after school only the ones that stay after school get involved with that,” she said.
CN citizen Darlene Littledeer, third grade math and Cherokee language teacher, said a lot of her Cherokee language students were the “first ones to jump out” and participate in the activities.
“You can see how much they enjoy it and they’re the first ones to jump out, ready to do all these things...because we’ve been trying to teach them things about all the cultural games and things like that during our afterschool program,” she said.
Sellers said she hopes to see Cherokee Heritage Day continue yearly.
“I’m hoping to have this continue,” she said. “Margret Carlile is our federal programs director and she has been the visionary behind all of our activities.”