Cherokee Nation hosts exhibit on first Cherokee Christmas

BY STAFF REPORTS
11/20/2020 01:00 PM
Main Cherokee Phoenix
According to a Cherokee Nation press release, the first Cherokee Christmas took place in 1805 when Moravian missionaries were invited by Cherokee James Vann to his home in Georgia. The Christmas exhibit showcases not only how those Cherokee traditions began, but also shows how quickly they grew in popularity, the release states. COURTESY
TAHLEQUAH – The Cherokee National History Museum is sharing the story of the first Cherokee Christmas until Jan. 2 in an exhibit at the Cherokee National History Museum.

According to a CN press release, the first Cherokee Christmas took place in 1805 when Moravian missionaries were invited by Cherokee James Vann to his home in Georgia. The release states the home was decorated with natural materials and beeswax candles. Moravian stars were made out of paper and scriptures were written on scrolls to decorate the first Christmas tree in the CN, according to the release.

The Christmas exhibit showcases not only how those Cherokee traditions began, but also shows how quickly they grew in popularity, the release states. It also states that in just a few years, the Christmas celebration at the Vann home hosted hundreds and featured singing, prayers and Bible readings in both English and Cherokee.

As part of the Christmas exhibit, the museum will host a special segment of Exploring Cherokee History, featuring an interview with the interpreter at the historic Vann home in Georgia.

Beginning Dec. 14, children who visit select CN museums will receive a free, take-home craft kit to make their own gourd ornaments. A step-by-step instruction video will be posted to the Visit Cherokee Nation YouTube, Facebook and Instagram pages for those who wish to follow along. Kits will be distributed at the Cherokee National History Museum, Saline Courthouse Museum and Sequoyah’s Cabin Museum on a first-come, first-served basis.

The Cherokee National History Museum is in one of the tribe’s most iconic structures, the Cherokee National Capitol building. It housed CN’s executive, legislative and judicial offices until 1906 and was most recently home to the tribe’s Supreme Court until fall 2018.

The Cherokee National History Museum opened in 2019 and shares the history and culture of the CN within 4,000 square feet of permanent exhibit space that features Cherokee lifestyle from pre-European contact through the Trail of Tears and the revitalization of the tribe after the American Civil War. It is at 101 S. Muskogee Ave.

CN museums are open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. For information, call 1-877-779-6977 or visit www.VisitCherokeeNation.com.

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