Cherokee National Treasures hold book signing
Cherokee National Treasure Eddie Morrison signs his page in the “Cherokee National Treasures: In Their Own Words” book for a visitor on Sept. 2 at the Cherokee Heritage Center in Park Hill, Oklahoma. LINDSEY BARK/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Recently named Cherokee National Treasures honorees Jesse Hummingbird, foreground, and Mike Dart also signed the “Cherokee National Treasures: In Their Own Words” book on Sept. 2 during the 65th annual Cherokee National Holiday. LINDSEY BARK/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
PARK HILL, Okla. – The Cherokee National Treasure book-signing tour made it’s way to the Cherokee Heritage Center on Sept. 2 during the 65th annual Cherokee National Holiday. The book “Cherokee National Treasure: In their Own Words” was released in April.
A group of about 12 Cherokee National Treasures sat the atrium to autograph the books.
“The Cherokee National Treasure book was recently published, so they’re kind of doing a book tour and the (Cherokee National) Treasures council scheduled several dates in several different areas around the Cherokee Nation. For the (Cherokee National) holiday, since we get the most business…they scheduled them to be here in our atrium with our gift shop where you can purchase the books as well,” CHC Curator Callie Chunestudy said.
Cherokee National Treasure Eddie Morrison, who was named a treasure in 2014 for his work in carving, signed books for visitors.
“This book they put out about all the National Treasures past and present, I think, is very, very good. I hope they have a lot of success with it. The way they’re doing it having all the signing for all the National Treasures is quite an honor to even be in that book. It’s a good deal,” he said.
Also at the signing were two new Cherokee National Treasures: Jesse Hummingbird and Mike Dart.
Hummingbird said he was speechless when he learned of his being named a Cherokee National Treasure for his work as a painter, graphic artist and commercial illustrator.
Dart began learning basketry at the age of 16 and is “self-taught” with influences from other Cherokee basket makers such as Bessie Russell and Shawna Cain. The 40-year-old said he didn’t expect to become a Cherokee National Treasure until later in life.
“This is something, I say, is in the back of every Cherokee artists mind that maybe one day that this might happen. But it was really something I thought I would get much later than at the age that I am,” Dart said.
Though Hummingbird and Dart’s profiles did not make it into the book, they still signed it.
“I think being a National Treasure is one of the best achievements an artist or storyteller or whatever you do that enhances or carries on the traditions of the culture of the Cherokee people that one person can have. I’m very honored to be a National Treasure,” Morrison said.