3 tribes take part in NMAI’s ‘Cherokee Days’
About 100 museum guests as wells as citizens of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and Cherokee Nation take part in a traditional EBCI social dance on the opening day of “Cherokee Days” on April 3 at the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C. COURTESY
Cherokee National Youth Choir member Jaycee Jackson helps 3-year-old museum guest Lula Tiger of Washington, D.C., create a cornhusk doll on April 3 during “Cherokee Days” at the National Museum of the American Indian. COURTESY
Cherokee Nation citizen Mason Gray creates a traditional arrow during “Cherokee Days” ” at the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C. The “Cherokee Days” included an exhibit showcasing a timeline of historical milestones, live cultural art demonstrations and cultural performances. COURTESY
Lucile Lossiah, an Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians citizen, weaves a basket during the National Museum of the American Indian’s “Cherokee Days” in Washington, D.C. COURTESY
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – The National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C., hosted “Cherokee Days” on April 3-5 to share the true Cherokee story with the public.
For the first time in intertribal history, the Cherokee Nation, Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians worked together to share the Cherokee story with an exhibit showcasing a timeline of historical milestones, live cultural art demonstrations and cultural performances.
Along with cultural presentations, Cherokee scholars shared information about the Cherokee language and history and interacted with museum visitors to share accurate information about the tribes. Children also were able to make and take clay medallions and cornhusk dolls.
Carolyn McClellan, a Cherokee Nation citizen and NMAI Community and Constituent Services assistant director, was the festival’s logistics manager. She said she expected a “tremendous response” from the public because while volunteering at the museum’s welcome desk on a weekly basis, she’s asked questions about the Cherokee people and what information and artifacts about the Cherokee the museum has.
“I’m so excited to have all three federally recognized Cherokee tribes here for a three-day festival at the museum. It’s monumental. I just never dreamt it possible that everybody would come at one time. Nothing like this has ever happened at the museum,” she said.
McClellan said she’s worked on having a Cherokee event at the museum for about two years. The museum offers space to tribes that want to showcase their cultures and histories. She approached the CN’s Cultural Tourism Office approximately two years ago about having a Cherokee-themed event at the NMAI and then reached out to EBCI representatives.
She said the main purpose was to share an accurate picture of Cherokee life ways, culture and history.
“It’s to educate the public that Cherokee people are alive and well, that we’ve maintained our language, that we have a vibrant history and we have a wonderful culture that we want to share,” she said. “We want to let them know there are opportunities to come to Cherokee country whether it be in North Carolina or Oklahoma and promote cultural tourism for the tribes for individuals here that have an interest in continuing relationships that they’ll be starting over the course of these next three days.”
Cherokee National Treasure Shawna Cain said the event was a wonderful experience. She demonstrated basket making and met visitors from Germany, Sweden, Russia, Japan, Ukraine and the United States.
“So many visitors were unaware that we have three federally recognized Cherokee nations,” she said. “This was such a bonding experience as Cherokee people, reminding us we are really one people who share a rich history and culture. Overall, we were pleasantly exhausted by the first day’s end from the many visitors who came to see and learn about Cherokees and their culture.”
Cain said the experience allowed artists from all three nations to sit together and share stories, techniques and fellowship, which does not occur often enough.
It was important to her, she said, to convey to those visiting “Cherokee Days” that Cherokee people have “a rich history of survival, perseverance and success,” not only historically, but also as contemporary Cherokees living in the 21st century.
“I hoped people walked away understanding that we do often dress in time-period clothing to teach about our past and embrace the present. However, just because we aren’t wearing feathers, beads, moccasins and such when we are walking down the street, we are still Cherokees. As Cherokees we walk in two worlds, are very much alive and well and proud of our people and history,” Cain said.
Another Cherokee National Treasure attending the event, Tommy Wildcat, said he was honored to promote his Cherokee heritage to people from around the world.
“I’m here as a Cherokee Nation representative, one of seven National Treasures, to represent our heritage and culture,” he said. “I’m recognized for river cane flute making, and I’m here with a river cane flutes and performing (playing his flute). I’ve always done my best to promote the beauty of the Cherokee heritage and inform the public.”
He said many people he met at the museum claimed Indian heritage and were interested in the Cherokee language and traditions.
“The interest is strong with many people even if they are not citizens of our tribe. They try and want to keep connected, so it’s great that the National Museum of American Indians is hosting ‘Cherokee Days,’” he said.
ᏓᎵᏆ ᎣᎦᎵᎰᎹ, – ᎾᏍᎩᏃ ᏂᎬᎾᏛ ᎤᏪᏘ ᎠᏍᏆᏂᎪᏗᏓᏅ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎠᎹᏱᏟ ᎠᏂᏴᏫᏯ ᎾᎿ ᏩᏒᏓᏃᎢ, D.C., ᎤᏂᏍᏆᎸᎡᎸ “ᏣᎳᎩ ᏧᏒᎯᏓ” ᎾᎿ ᎧᏬᏂ ᏦᎢᏁ---ᎯᏍᎩᏁ ᎢᎪᎯᏓ ᎤᎾᏯᏙᏍᏗ ᏚᏳᎪᏛ ᏣᎳᎩ ᎧᏃᎮᏓ ᎾᏂᎥ ᏴᏫ.
ᎾᏍᎩᏃ ᎢᎬᏱ ᎯᎠ ᎠᏍᏆᎳ ᏄᎵᏍᏔᏂᏙᎸᎢ, ᏣᎳᎩ ᎠᏰᎵ, ᏣᎳᎩᏱ ᎠᏰᎵ ᎠᏂᏴᏫᏯ ᎠᎴ ᎠᏂᎩᏚᏩᎩ ᎠᏂᏴᏫᏯ ᏂᎦᏓ ᏌᏊ ᏚᏂᎸᏫᏍᏓᏁᎲ ᎠᏂᏯᏙᏍᎪ ᏣᎳᎩ ᎤᏂᏃᎮᏓ ᎬᏂᎨᏒ ᎾᏅᏁᎲ ᎠᏟᎢᎵᏒ ᎤᏦᏎᏗ ᏄᎵᏍᏔᏂᏙᎸ, ᎤᎾᏕᏅ ᏄᏍᏛ ᎨᎦᏁᏢ ᎬᏂᎨᏒ ᎾᏄᏁᎲ ᎠᎴ ᏄᏍᏛ ᏧᏂᎶᏒᎢ.
ᎾᏍᎩᏃ ᎾᎾᏛᏁᎲ ᏄᏍᏛ ᎢᎩᎶᏒ, ᏣᎳᎩ ᏧᎾᏕᎶᏆᎥ ᎤᏂᏃᎮᎸ ᏄᎵᏍᏔᏂᏙᎸ ᎾᎿ ᏣᎳᎩ ᎦᏬᏂᎯᏍᏗ ᎠᎴ ᏄᎵᏍᏔᏂᏙᎸ ᎠᎴ ᏓᎾᏟᏃᎮᏗᏍᎬ ᎾᎿ ᎠᎾᏓᏩᏛᎯᏙ ᏓᏂᏃᎯᏎᎲ ᏄᏍᏛ ᏄᎵᏍᏔᏂᏙᎸ ᏧᎾᏓᎴᏅᏓ ᎠᏂᏴᏫᏯᎢ. ᏗᏂᏲᏟ ᎾᏍᏊ ᎡᎵᏊ ᎦᏓᏆᎵ ᎠᏂᎩᏍᎬ ᏓᏃᏢᏍᎬ ᏧᎾᏯᎶᏗ ᎠᎴ ᏗᏁᎶᏗ ᏓᏃᏢᏍᎬ ᏎᎷ ᎤᏄᎶᏔᏅ ᎠᏅᏗᏍᎬᎢ.
Carolyn McClellan, ᏣᎳᎩ ᎠᏰᎵ ᎨᎳ ᎠᎴ NMAI ᏍᎦᏚᎩ ᎠᎴ ᏗᎧᎾᏩᏛᏍᏗ ᏗᎬᏩᏃᏢᏗ ᏯᎾᏛᏁᎯ ᎠᎵᏍᏕᎵᏍᎩ ᏗᏎᎮᎵᏙᎯ, ᎾᏍᎩ ᎠᏍᏆᎵᏍᎬ ᎠᏓᏅᏖᎵᏙᎯ ᎨᏒ. ᎠᏗᏍᎬ ᎤᏬᎯᏳᏒ “ᎤᏂᎪᏓ ᏧᏂᎷᎯᏍᏗ” ᎠᏁᏙᎯ ᏅᏗᎦᎵᏍᏙᏗᏍᎬ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎠᎵᏍᎪᎸᏗᏍᎬ ᏧᏚᎸᏫᏍᏓᏁᎲ ᎤᏪᏘ ᎤᏂᏍᏆᏂᎪᏔᏅᎲᏍᏗ ᏓᏂᎷᎬ ᏗᏟᏃᎮᏗᏍᎩ ᏒᎾᏙᏓᏆᏍᏗ ᏂᏕᎦᎵᏍᏔᏁᎬ, ᏓᏛᏛᎲᏍᎬ ᎠᏂᏴᏫ ᎠᏂᏣᎳᎩ ᎠᏂᏴᏫ ᎠᎴ ᎢᏳᏍᏗ ᎧᏃᎮᏓ ᎠᎴ ᎤᏅᏔᏅᏔᏅ ᎠᏂᏣᎳᎩ ᎾᎿ ᎠᏍᏆᏂᎪᏔᏅᎲᏍᏗ ᎤᏂᎲᎢ.
“ᎢᎦ ᎦᎵᎡᎵᎬ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏂᎦᏓ ᏦᎢ ᏯᏂ ᎠᏂᏴᏫᏯ ᏩᏥᏂ ᏗᎪᎵᎦ ᎠᏂᏣᎳᎩ ᎠᏂᎳᏍᏓᏢ ᎤᏁᏙᎸ ᏦᎢ ᎢᎦ ᎠᏍᏆᎵᏍᎬ ᎾᎿᎢ. ᎢᎦ ᎤᏍᏆᏂᎪᏛ. Ꮭ ᎢᎴᎯᏳ ᎠᏆᏓᏅᏖᎸ ᏱᎨᏎ ᎾᎿ ᏂᎦᏓ ᎤᏂᎷᎯᏍᏗᏱ. ᏝᏃ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎢᏳᏍᏗ ᎪᎱᏍᏗ ᎢᏳᎵᏍᏔᏅ ᏱᎨᏎᎢ ᎠᎭᏂ ᎤᏪᏘ ᎤᏂᏍᏆᏂᎪᏔᏅᎲᏍᏗᎢ,” ᎤᏛᏅᎢ.
McClellan ᎤᏛᏅ ᏚᎸᏫᏍᏓᏁᎲ ᎠᏂᏣᎳᎩ ᎤᏰᎸᏗ ᎤᏍᏆᎸᏗᏱ ᎾᎿ ᏔᎵ ᏧᏕᏘᏴᏓ. ᎾᎿ ᎤᏪᏘ ᎤᏂᏍᏆᏂᎪᏔᏅᎲᏍᏗ ᎤᎵᏍᎪᎸᏔᏅ ᎤᏂᏟᏅᏗ ᏴᏫ ᎤᏂᎪᏩᏛᏗ ᏄᏍᏛ ᏄᎾᏛᏁᎵᏍᏔᏅ ᎠᎴ ᏄᎵᏍᏔᏅᏍᏔᏅᎢ. ᏚᎷᏤᎸ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏣᎳᎩ ᎠᏰᎵ ᏂᏧᎵᏍᏔᏅᏍᏔᏅ Tourism ᏧᏂᎸᏫᏍᏓᏁᎯ ᎾᎿ ᏔᎵ ᏯᏕᏘᏯ ᏥᎨᏒᎢ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎤᏍᏆᎸᏗ ᎠᏂᏣᎳᎩ ᏄᎾᎵᏍᏔᏅ ᎾᎿ NMAI ᎠᎴ ᏃᏊ ᎤᏙᏯᏅᎯᏛ ᎾᎿ EBCI ᎠᎾᏓᏅᏖᎵᏙᎯ.
ᎤᏛᏅ ᎠᏍᎪᎵᏴ ᎾᎿ ᎠᏂᏐᎢ ᎤᏂᎪᏩᏛᏗ ᏚᏳᎪᏛ ᏓᏟᎶᏍᏛ ᏄᎵᏍᏔᏅ ᎠᏂᏣᎳᎩ ᎤᎾᏕᏅ ᎤᏂᎶᏒ, ᏄᎾᏛᏁᎵᏙᎸ ᎠᎴ ᏄᎵᏍᏔᏅᏅᎢ.
ᏗᎨᏲᏗ ᎾᏂᎥ ᎠᏂᏴᏫ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎠᏂᏣᎳᎩ ᏗᏅᏃᏗ ᎨᏒ ᎠᎴ ᏙᎯ, ᎠᎴ ᏂᎦᏯᎢᏎᏍᏗ ᎣᎩᏬᏂᎯᏍᏗ ᎨᏒ, ᎾᏍᎩ ᎤᏟᏂᎩᏓ ᎢᎩᎲ ᏂᎦᏛᏁᎸᏍᏔᏅ ᎢᎩᎦᏛᎴᏒ ᏗᏗᏃᎯᏎᏗ ᎠᏂᏴᏫ,” ᎤᏛᏅᎢ. “ᎢᎦᏚᎵ ᎤᎾᏅᏓ ᎢᏳᎵᏍᏙᏗ ᎾᎿ ᏓᏝᏅᏓᏍᏗᏍᎬ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎢᏳᏍᏗ ᎤᎷᎯᏍᏗ ᏣᎳᎩ ᎢᎩᏚᎲ ᏣᎳᎩ ᎤᏪᏘ ᏱᎩ ᎠᎴ ᎣᎦᎵᎰᎹ ᏱᎩ ᎠᎴ ᎢᏗᏍᏕᎸᏗ ᏄᎵᏍᏔᏅᏍᏔᏅ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎢᏗᏅᏍᏓᏢ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎠᏏᏴᏫᎭ ᎠᏁᏙᎲ ᎤᎵᏍᎨᏓ ᏄᏅᏅ ᎯᎠ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏦᎢ ᏧᏙᏓᏆᏗ.”
ᏣᎳᎩ ᎬᎾᏕᎾ ᎠᏁᎯ ᎠᏃᏢᏅᏍᎩ ᎨᏥᎸᏉᏔᏅᎢ ᎨᎳ Shawna Cain ᎤᏛᏅ ᎯᎠ ᏣᏍᏆᎵᎭ ᎢᎦ ᎣᏍᏓ ᎨᏒ ᎡᏓᏍᏗᎢ. ᏔᎷᏣᏃ ᏗᎪᏢᏗ ᏓᏎᎮᎲᎢ ᎠᎴ ᎢᎾ ᏗᏁᎯ ᏚᏟᏃᎮᏔᏅᎢ ᏯᏛᎾ Germany, Sweeden, Russia, Japan, Ukraine ᎠᎴ ᎠᎹᏱᏟ.
“ᎢᎦ ᎤᎾᏣᏍᏈᏍᏓ Ꮭ ᏳᎾᏅᏖ ᏦᎢ ᏳᎾᏓᏈᎦ ᎠᏁᎲᎢ ᏩᏥᏂ ᏧᏬᏟᏍᏙᏗ ᎨᏒ ᏣᎳᎩ ᎠᏰᎵ,” ᎤᏛᏅ.
“ᎢᎦ ᎤᏍᏆᏂᎪᏛ ᏗᏓᏚᏓᎸᏁᏗ ᎤᏠᏯᏍᏛ ᏣᎳᎩ ᎠᏂᏴᏫ ᎠᏁᎲᎢ, ᎠᏓᏅᏓᏓᏍᏗᎭ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎢᏗᏌᏊ ᎢᏗᏴᏫ ᎨᏒ ᎠᎴ ᎤᏠᏱᎭ ᎢᎩᎦᏛᎴᏒᎢ. ᏄᏓᎴᏒᎢ, ᎢᎦᎢ ᏕᏓᏍᏔᏱᏍᎬᎢ ᎢᎬᏱ ᎢᎦ ᎤᎵᏍᏆᏓ ᎤᎾᏥᏍᏈᏍᏓ ᎠᎾᏓᏩᏛᎯᏙ ᎤᏁᏙᎸ ᏕᏗᎪᎲ ᎠᎴ ᎤᎾᏕᎶᏆᎥ ᏄᎾᎵᏍᏓᏁᎸ ᎠᏂᏣᎳᎩ ᎠᎴ ᏄᏍᏛ ᎤᏂᎲ ᎢᏳᎾᏛᏁᎵᏓᏍᏗ.”
Cain ᎤᏛᏅ ᏄᏍᏛ ᎤᏕᎶᏆᎥ ᎤᎵᏍᎪᎸᏓᏁᎸ ᎠᏃᏢᏅᏍᎩ ᏂᏙᏓᏳᎾᏂᎩᏓ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏦᎢ ᎠᏰᎵ ᏂᏙᏓᏳᎾᏂᎩᏓ ᏂᎦᏓ ᎣᎦᏅᏅ ᎠᎴ ᏗᎧᏃᎮᏢᏓ ᎣᎩᏃᎮᏢᏅ, ᎢᏳᏍᏗ ᎣᏦᏢᏍᎩ ᎨᏒ ᏙᏣᏓᏃᎯᏎᎸ ᏃᏣᏛᏁᎲ ᎠᎴ ᏙᎦᏟᏃᎮᏢᎢ, ᏝᏃ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎤᏟ ᎢᎦ ᏱᏂᎦᎵᏍᏗᏍᎪᎢ.
ᎤᎵᏍᎨᏗ ᏄᎵᏍᏓᏁᎸ, ᎠᏗᏍᎬ, ᏓᎾᏓᏩᏛᎯᏙᎯᎢ “ᏣᎳᎩ ᏧᏒᎯᏓ” ᎾᏍᎩ ᎠᏂᏣᎳᎩ ᎠᏂᏴᏫ ᎤᏂᎭ “ᎤᏟᏂᎩᏓ ᎧᏃᎮᏗ ᎤᏂᎨᏛᏁᏒᎢ, ᎤᎾᏟᏂᎬᏁᎸ ᎠᎴ ᏄᎵᏍᏔᏅᎢ,” ᏝᏙ ᎧᏃᎮᏓᏊ ᎤᏩᏌ ᎾᏍᎩᏍᎩᏂ ᎠᏂᏣᎳᎩ ᎠᏁᎲᎢ ᏃᏊ ᎾᎿ ᏔᎵᏍᎪ ᏌᏊ ᏯᎦᏴᎵ ᎤᏕᏘᏴᏌᏗᏒᎢ.
“ᎠᏉᎯᏳ ᎠᏂᏴᏫ ᎤᎾᏂᎩᏒ ᎠᏃᎵᎬ ᎾᏍᎩ Ꮭ ᎠᏎ ᏂᏚᏓᎴ ᏦᎦᏄᏬᏍᏗ ᏱᎩ ᏦᎦᏕᏲᏗ ᏄᏍᏛ ᏦᎩᎶᏒ ᎠᎴ ᎣᎩᎸᏉᏙᏗ ᏃᏊ. ᏃᏍᎩᏂ, ᏝᏃ ᎠᏎ ᏦᎦᏄᏬᏍᏗ ᏱᎩ ᎾᎿ ᏧᎩᏓᏟ, ᎠᏕᎳ ᏗᏯᏠᏗ, ᏗᎦᏃᏥ ᏗᎳᏑᎶ ᎠᎴ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎢᏳᏍᏗ ᏲᏣᎠ, ᎣᏥᏣᎳᎩ. ᎣᏥᏣᎳᎩ ᏥᎩ ᏔᎵ ᏤᎶᎯ ᎣᏣᎢᏐ, ᏦᏨᏃᏗ ᎠᎴ ᏙᎯ ᎠᎴ ᎣᏍᏓ ᏃᎦᏛᎾ ᎠᎴ ᏒᎦᏛᏁᎵ,” ᎤᏛᏅ Cain.
ᏐᎢᏃ ᏣᎳᎩ ᎬᎾᏕᎾ ᎠᏁᎯ ᎠᏃᏢᏅᏍᎩ ᎨᏥᎸᏉᏔᏅ ᎨᎳ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏒᏙᎲᎢ, Tommy Wildcat, ᎠᏗᏍᎬ ᎠᎵᎮᎵᎬ ᏓᏍᏕᎵᏍᎬ ᎠᏂᏣᎳᎩ ᏧᎾᏓᎴᏅ ᎠᏂᏴᏫ ᎡᎶᎯ ᏫᏚᏳᎪᏛᎢ.
“ᎠᎭᏂ ᎨᏙᎯ ᏣᎳᎩ ᎠᏰᎵ ᏂᎦᏥᏯᏛᏁᎲ, ᏌᏊ ᎾᏃ ᎦᎵᏉᎩ ᎬᎾᏕᎾ ᎠᏁᎯ ᎠᏃᏢᏅᏍᎩ, ᎦᎵᎡᎵᎬ ᎨᏙᎯ ᎬᏂᎨᏒ ᏂᎬᏁ ᏦᏕᏓᎴᏅᎢ ᎠᎴ ᏃᎦᏛᏁᎸᎢ,” ᎤᏛᏅᎢ.
“ᎬᏉᏟᏍᏙᏗᏃ ᎾᎿ ᎢᎯᏯ ᏗᎪᏢᏔᏅ ᏗᎦᏤᏡᎯᏍᏗ ᏕᎪᏢᏍᎪᎢ, ᎠᎴ ᎨᏙᎭ ᏥᏁᎭ ᎢᎯᏯ ᎪᏢᏔᏅ ᎦᏨᏡᎯᏍᏗ ᎠᎴ ᏙᏓᏥᏃᎩᏍᏔᏂ. ᎦᏁᏁᎸᏗᏍᎪ ᎢᎦ ᎢᎬᏩᏛᏗ ᎤᏬᏚᎯ ᏯᏮᏗ ᏗᏆᏓᎴᏅᎯ ᎠᎴ ᎦᏥᏃᎯᏎᏗ ᎠᏂᏴᏫ.”
ᎤᏛᏅ ᎤᎪᏓ ᎠᏂᏴᏫ ᏚᏟᏃᎮᏔᏅ ᎾᎿ ᎤᏪᏘ ᎤᏂᏍᏆᏂᎪᏙᏗ ᎠᏂᏴᏫᏯ ᎠᎾᏗᏍᎬᎢ ᎠᎴ ᎤᎵᏍᎨᏓ ᏄᎾᎵᏍᏓᏁᎲ ᏣᎳᎩ ᎦᏬᏂᎯᏍᏗ ᎠᎴ ᎢᏳᎾᏛᏁᎵᏓᏍᏗ.
“ᎤᎵᏍᎨᏓᏃ ᎨᏒ ᎤᏟᏂᎩᏓ ᎤᏂᎪᏓ ᎠᏂᏴᏫ ᎾᏍᏊ ᎠᏁᎳ ᏂᎨᏒᎾ ᏱᎩᏍᏊ ᎠᎴ ᎠᏂᎳᏍᏓᏢ ᏂᎨᏒᎾ ᏱᎩ. ᎠᎾᏁᎸᏗᏍᎪ ᎠᎴ ᎤᎾᏚᎵᏍᎪ ᏗᏓᏛᎪᏙᏗ ᏗᏓᏂᏴᏗᎢ, ᎣᏍᏓ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎬᎾᏕᎾ ᎤᏪᏘ ᎤᏂᏍᏆᏂᎪᏙᏗ ᎠᎹᏱᏟ ᎠᏂᏴᏫᏯ ᎤᏂᏍᏆᎸᎡᎲᎢ ‘ᏣᎳᎩ ᏧᏒᎯᏓ” ᎤᏛᏅᎢ.