Cherokee National Treasures honored with luncheon
Cherokee National Treasures gather for a group photo at the annual holiday luncheon hosted by the Cherokee Nation and Cherokee Nation Businesses on Dec. 4 in the O-Si-Yo Room at the W.W. Keeler Tribal Complex. The treasures were thanked for their contributions to Cherokee culture. LINDSEY BARK/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Cherokee National Treasure Lorene Drywater listens as tribal officials speak about the Cherokee National Treasure program and its efforts to help the treasures share their arts at during a luncheon on Dec. 4 in the O-Si-Yo Room at the W.W. Keeler Tribal Complex. LINDSEY BARK/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – The Cherokee National Treasures were honored by Cherokee Nation and Cherokee Nation Business officials with an annual holiday luncheon on Dec. 4 in the O-Si-Yo Room at the W.W. Keeler Tribal Complex.
Treasures enjoyed a lunch catered by the Restaurant of the Cherokees and received $100 gift cards and chances to win door prizes.
The luncheon was hosted by CNB, which officially took on the program in 2015.
“Today’s event was the annual holiday luncheon for Cherokee National Treasures. This event brings treasures together to celebrate the holidays and a special meal together where they can visit and just catch up with everyone before the busy Christmas season,” CNB Senior Vice President of Marketing and Cultural Tourism Molly Jarvis said.
Tribal Councilor and Cherokee National Treasure Victoria Vazquez spoke about the day’s importance. “It’s very important because throughout the year (Cherokee) National Treasures continually contribute to sharing the art and culture and language that they have learned and used for many years. A lot of times it’s done without anyone knowing about what they’ve done. So it’s a way to pay back for their giving because a lot of these treasures are elderly and probably have been doing this thing that they do probably for 25, 30 years. This is just a small pay back for them.”
CN officials spoke about the CNT program and what it means to keep the arts, language and culture alive. Principal Chief Bill John Baker said since the recognition of treasures, the value of their art has increased.
“I was talking to Lorene (Drywater)…and her (buffalo grass) dolls have gone up seven and a half times, which is part of the marketing,” Baker said. “I hope that all of our art goes up in value because it’s priceless. It truly is priceless. But it’s my honor and privilege to work with you and work for you. I’m always there with an open ear, an open mind and an open heart to help you do what you do.”
Jane Osti, a Cherokee National Treasure for pottery, said she came to the event to see her “treasure” friends and thinks the program is on a “good path” with the mentoring program.
“I think we are on a really good path with our mentoring. I think if we continue that, we can continue our arts and language and culture. I think that everybody is wanting to work toward that, that we have a good group of people that care about it,” Osti said.
Many treasures brought their “Cherokee National Treasures: In Their Own Words” books to be signed by other treasures with the opportunity to visit and take photos.
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