CN opens Cherokee National Peace Pavilion
People gather on June 21 under the Cherokee National Peace Pavilion for the return of the “Remember the Removal” Bike Ride cyclists in Tahlequah. The pavilion was opened to the public the day before. BRANDON SCOTT/CHEORKEE PHOENIX
TAHLEQUAH – The Cherokee Nation on June 20 celebrated the opening of the Cherokee National Peace Pavilion, located just east of the Cherokee National Capitol building.
According to a CN press release, more than 200 guests joined tribal officials for a ribbon-cutting ceremony and reception commemorating the 175th anniversary of an 1843 intertribal peace gathering.
In 1843, a similar structure housed the intertribal peace gathering when 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.
“Now more than ever, it is important for our people and our community to have a place where we can join together in the name of peace,” Principal Chief Bill John Baker said. “It is an honor to dedicate this pavilion alongside our brothers and sisters from the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians, as we continue to work together, support one another and unify our voice for the good of our people.”
The Cherokee National Peace Pavilion is 4,600 square feet and can accommodate around 1,000 people. In addition to beautifying the downtown area, the multipurpose space will host community events, live music performances, markets and outdoor cultural classes.
The pavilion’s design pays tribute to the gathering by interpreting the look of the large log structure that hosted what Ross called “the most important Indian council ever held on the American continent.” The original structure was built after the Indian Removal Act to house the reformed Cherokee government, and the grounds later became home to tribe’s Capitol Square.
According to a previous Cherokee Phoenix story, Builders Unlimited officials said the estimated cost of the pavilion was $500,000. CNB officials said CNB paid for the site and Cultural Tourism would manage it.
In addition to opening the pavilion, Cherokee Nation Cultural Tourism is hosting an exhibit about the 1843 intertribal peace gathering at the Cherokee National Supreme Court Museum through November 2019. The exhibit provides a look at the momentous gathering, including who attended and what was discussed. The Cherokee National Supreme Court Museum is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and is at 122 E. Keetoowah St.