CN pavilion to honor 1843 peace gathering
An artist’s rendering shows the a pavilion that should be complete by the spring, just in time for the 175th anniversary of the 1843 peace gathering that was held in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. ROGER GRAHAM/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – Cherokee Nation Businesses recently began construction on a pavilion east of the Cherokee National Capitol building on Water Street.
Casey Ashwill, superintendent of the general contractor Builders Unlimited Inc., said the aggregate was set in November, but pouring the structure’s slab was delayed until erosion prevention measures were met. Ashwill said he expected to “get a green light” soon on continuing construction.
Builders Unlimited officials said the estimated cost of the pavilion was $500,000. CNB officials said CNB is paying for the site and Cultural Tourism would manage it.
Principal Chief Bill John Baker said the open-air space would serve many purposes in the Cherokee Nation’s capital, including community events, music performances, markets and outdoor cultural classes in addition to beautifying downtown Tahlequah.
“The rectangular structure will be 4,000 square feet and hold around 1,000 people. The pavilion’s design is a tribute to our history at Cherokee Nation. It is based on the large log structure that was built after removal (Trail of Tears) to house the re-formed Cherokee government,” Baker said.
In 1843, the structure housed a large inter-tribal peace gathering that was called “the most important Indian council ever held on the American continent” during its era. Then-Principal Chief John Ross saw the need for tribal governments to come together and stand united on issues that would ensure the survival of Native people. It is estimated 10,000 people attended the 1843 meeting.
A painting by John Mix Stanley depicts the 1843 event. The Smithsonian Museum of American Art owns the painting, and a copy hangs in the Gilcrease Museum in Tulsa. A print of the intertribal meeting painting remains on display at the Cherokee National Capitol building. The grounds of the peace gathering later became home to the Capitol Square in downtown Tahlequah.
Officials estimated the pavilion would be completed by the spring, in time for the 175th anniversary of the 1843 peace gathering. Baker said upon completion, the CN plans to host an inter-tribal event and invite tribes from around the country to celebrate that anniversary and the pavilion.