Smiths have tradition of working at CHC
Feather Smith-Trevino weaves a basket at the Diligwa village at the Cherokee Heritage Center in Park Hill, Okla. Her grandmother was one of the first villagers of the CHC’s Ancient Village in 1967. Smith-Trevino now works at the center with her father, Rex Smith. TESINA JACKSON/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Feather Smith-Trevino stands with her father, Rex Smith, at the Cherokee Heritage Center’s Diligwa village in Park Hill, Okla. The Smith family has been associated with the CHC since the Ancient Village opened in 1967. Rex said there have been six sisters and four brothers in his family who have worked at the CHC. He works there with his daughter. TESINA JACKSON/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
PARK HILL, Okla. – Since the opening of the Ancient Village in 1967, working at the Cherokee Heritage Center has been a tradition for Rex Smith and his family.
Rex, who works maintenance and grounds keeping at the CHC, started working in the recently razed Ancient Village with his mother, Betty Smith, in 1967. From 1970 to 1985 he worked with the Trail of Tears drama and, after some time away, came back in 2000 to work his current position.
“I just, overall, have fun out here. Still enjoy it,” he said. “This is where I started at and hopefully this is where I end my career as a worker. Unless something goes wrong, this is where I want to be for the next 10 years.”
Rex said that in the past there have been six sisters and four brothers in his family who worked at the CHC. “I’ve had a good relationship with my family and my kids,” he said.
According to a June 2013 Cherokee Phoenix article, work began on the CHC on Feb. 23, 1966 and the Ancient Village opened in 1967. The amphitheater, which hosted the Trail of Tears drama, opened in 1969. Construction of the CHC’s museum, which was designed to resemble a Cherokee longhouse from the old Cherokee country in the southeast, began in 1973 and it opened a year later.
In 1985, the museum was remodeled and more technology was used for its exhibits, and in 2001, in cooperation with the National Park Service, a permanent Trail of Tears exhibit was installed in the museum that utilizes artifacts and statues to tell the story behind the forced removal of Cherokee people from their southeastern homes in the late 1830s.
“This is one of the places I started at and I knew I could do this, this is fun, exciting and I love to do what I get to do out here,” Rex said.
Today, he works with his daughter, Feather Smith-Trevino, who works as a villager in the new Diligwa village. His grandson, Calvin, also occasionally works in the village, and his son, Justin, used to work at the CHC but now works at the John Ross Museum.
“It’s kind of the family business,” Feather said. “My grandmother was one of the first villagers out in the Ancient Village in 1967, so my dad grew up out here, and then I came out here when I was volunteering in 2001. I worked with the drama for five years before I actually started here in 2006.”
Smith-Trevino, who works in the Diligwa village, said working with her family has been fun and has helped her learned a lot about her Cherokee culture.
“It’s a lot of fun. It’s been really rewarding to be out here all these years,” she said. “I’ve learned a lot about my culture during that time, but it’s also nice to get to educate people. The culture, it really defines who I am, who we are. It’s one of those things that when I was younger I didn’t realize exactly how important it was to me, but as I grew up I kind of got to realizing that everything about me revolves around the Cherokee Nation, and it really helps to define who I am. It’s been rewarding and has led me to what it is that I want to do and has helped me figure out what I want to be in life.”
ᎠᏭᏂᏴᏍᏗ, ᎣᎦᎵᎰᎹ. – ᏂᏛᏓᎴᏂᏍᎩ ᏧᎵᏍᏚᎢᏒ ᎾᎿ ᎤᏪᏘ ᎤᏍᏗ ᎦᏚᎲᎢ ᎾᎿ ᏐᏁᎳᏚ ᎢᏍᎪᎯᏧᏈ ᏑᏓᎵᏍᎪ ᎦᎵᏉᎦ ᎤᏕᏘᏴᏌᏗᏒ, ᏂᏚᎸᏫᏍᏓᏁᎰ Ꮎ ᏣᎳᎩᎯ ᏧᎾᏓᎴᏅ ᎠᏰᏟ ᎾᎿ ᎤᎯ ᏂᏧᎵᏍᏔᏅᏍᏔᏅ Ꮎ Rex Smith ᎠᎴ ᏚᏓᏘᎾᎥᎢ.
Rex, ᏚᎸᏫᏍᏓᏁᎭ ᏙᏯᏗᏢ ᎠᎴ ᎣᏍᏓ ᏄᏩᎾᏕᎪ ᎦᏄᎸ ᏱᎩ ᎠᎦᎵᏍᎪᎢ ᎾᎿ CHC, ᎤᎴᏅᎲ ᏚᎸᏫᏍᏓᏁᎲ ᎾᎿ ᎪᎯᎦ ᏗᏟᎶᏍᏔᏅ ᏥᏄᏍᏕᎢ ᎤᏪᏘ ᎦᏚᎲ ᎤᏥ ᎤᎾᎵᎪᎯ, Betty Smith, ᎾᎿ ᏐᏁᎳᏚ ᎢᏍᎪᎯᏧᏈ
ᏑᏓᎵᏍᎪ ᎦᎵᏉᎦ. ᎠᎴᏂᏍᎩ ᏐᏁᎳᏚ ᎢᏍᎪᎯᏧᏈ ᎦᎵᏆᏍᎪ ᎤᏕᏘᏴᏌᏗᏒ ᏩᏍᏗ ᏐᏁᎳᏚ ᎢᏍᎪᎯᏧᏈ ᏁᎳᏍᎪ ᎯᏍᎩ ᎤᏕᏘᏴᏌᏗᏒ ᏚᎸᏫᏍᏓᏁᎸ ᎠᎾᏛᏁᎵᏍᎬ ᎦᏅᏅ ᏚᎾᏠᏱᎸ ᎠᎴ, ᎣᏂ ᏝᎦ ᎢᎸᏢ ᏭᏪᏙᎸ, ᎣᎷᏨ ᎾᎿ ᏔᎵ ᏯᎦᏴᎵ ᎤᏕᏘᏴᏌᏗᏒ ᏚᎸᏫᏍᏓᏁᎸ ᎤᏂᎩᏒᎢ.
“ᏙᎯᏳ, ᏂᎦᏓ ᎨᏒ, ᎤᏬᎸᏓ ᎡᏓᏍᏗ ᎾᎿᎢ. ᏏᏊ ᎣᏍᏓ ᎡᏓᏍᏗ,” ᎠᏗᏍᎬᎢ. “ᎠᎭᏂᏃ ᎠᏆᎴᏅᎲᎢ ᎠᎴ ᎤᏚᎩ ᎠᏋᎭ ᎾᎿ ᎠᎩᏍᏆᏗᏍᏗ ᎠᎭᏂ ᏓᎩᎸᏫᏍᏓᏁᎲ. ᎪᎱᏍᏗ ᎡᏍᎦ ᏄᎵᏍᏔᏅ ᏱᎩ, ᎠᎭᏂ ᎠᏆᏚᎵ ᏗᎩᎸᏫᏍᏓᏁᏗ ᎾᎿ ᏍᎪᎯ ᏧᏕᏘᏴᏓ.”
Rex ᎠᏗᏍᎬ ᏧᏩᎪᏔᏅᏍᏔᏅ ᎾᎿ ᏑᏓᎵ ᏗᎬᎩᏙ ᎠᎴ ᏅᎩ ᎣᏣᏟᏅᏢ ᏚᏂᎸᏫᏍᏓᏁᎲ ᎾᎿ CHC. “ᎣᏍᏓ ᏦᎦᏓᏰᎸᎯ ᏂᎦᏓ ᎣᏥᏏᏓᏁᎸ ᎠᎴ ᏗᏂᏲᏟ ᏓᎦᎧᎲᎢ,” ᎠᏗᏍᎬᎢ.
ᏧᎾᏙᎵᏤᎸ ᎾᎿ ᏕᎭᎷᏱ ᎧᎸ ᏔᎵ ᏯᎦᏴᎵ ᏦᎦᏚ ᎤᏕᏘᏴᏌᏗᏒ ᏣᎳᎩ ᏧᎴᎯᏌᏅ ᎪᏪᎸ, ᏗᎦᎸᏫᏍᏓᏁᏗ ᎠᏓᎴᏂ ᎾᎿ CHC ᎾᎿ ᎧᎦᎵ ᏔᎵᏍᎪ ᏦᎢᏁ, ᏐᏁᎳᏚ ᎢᏍᎪᎯᏧᏈ ᏑᏓᎵᏍᎪ ᏑᏓᎵ ᎤᏕᏘᏴᏌᏗᏒᎢ ᎠᎴ ᎤᏪᏘ ᎤᏍᏗ ᎦᏚᎲ ᎠᎵᏍᏚᎢᎠ ᏐᏁᎳᏚ ᎢᏍᎪᎯᏧᏈ ᏑᏓᎵᏍᎪ ᎦᎵᏉᎩ ᎤᏕᏘᏴᏌᏗᏒᎢ. ᎤᎾᏛᏁᎸᏗ, ᎾᏍᎩ ᏓᎾᏁᎶᎲᏍᎬ ᏅᏃᎯ ᏚᎾᏠᏱᎸ, ᎤᎵᏍᏚᎢᏒ ᏐᏁᎳᏚ ᎢᏍᎪᎯᏧᏈ ᏑᏓᎵᏍᎪ ᏐᏁᎳ ᎤᏕᏘᏴᏌᏗᏒ. ᎤᎾᎴᏅᎾ ᎨᏒ ᎾᎿ CHC’S ᎤᏪᏘ ᎤᏂᏍᏆᏂᎪᏔᏅᎲᏍᏗ, ᎾᏍᎩ ᏚᎾᏟᎶᏛ ᎤᏠᏯ ᎾᎿ ᏣᎳᎩ ᎦᏅᎯᏓᎠᏓᏁᎸ ᏂᏓᏳᏓᎴᏅ ᎤᏪᏘ ᏣᎳᎩ ᏍᎦᏚᎩ ᎾᎿ ᎤᎦᎾᏮᎧᎸᎬ ᎢᏗᏢ, ᎤᏓᎴᏅᎲ ᏐᏁᎳᏚ ᎢᏍᎪᎯᏧᏈ ᎦᎵᏆᏍᎪ ᏦᎢ ᎤᏕᏘᏴᏌᏗᏒ ᎠᎴ ᏑᏕᏘᏴᏓ ᎣᏂ ᎤᎵᏍᏚᎢᏒᎢ.
ᎾᎿ ᏁᎳᏚ ᎢᏍᎪᎯᏧᏐ ᏁᎵᏍᎪ ᎯᏍᎩ ᎤᏕᏘᏴᏌᏗᏒ, ᎾᎿ ᎤᏪᏘ ᎤᏂᏍᏆᏂᎪᏔᏅᎲᏍᏗ ᎣᏍᏓ ᏄᏅᏁᎸ ᎠᎴ ᎤᎪᏛ ᏖᎦᎾᎵᏥ ᎤᏅᏔᏅ ᎾᎿ ᎤᏂᏢᎾᎥᎢ, ᎠᎴ ᎾᎿ ᏔᎵ ᏯᎦᏴᎵ ᏌᏊ ᎤᏕᏘᏴᏌᏗᏒ, ᏚᎾᎵᎪᏅ ᎾᎿ ᏂᎬᎾᏛ Park Service, ᏂᎪᎯᎸ ᎢᏳᎵᏍᏙᏗ ᎦᏅᏅ ᏚᎾᏠᏱᎸ ᎤᏂᎪᏩᏛᏗ ᏄᏅᏅᏔᏅ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎧᏃᎮᏍᎩ ᏗᎨᏥᏱᎳᏫᏛᎲ ᎠᏂᏣᎳᎩ ᏚᏁᏅᏒ ᎾᎿ ᎤᎦᎾᏮᎧᎸᎬ ᎢᏗᏢ ᏚᏁᏅᏒ ᎾᎿ ᏁᎳᏚ ᎢᏍᎪᎯᏧᏈ ᏦᏍᎪ ᎤᏕᏘᏴᏌᏗᏒᎢ.
“ᎯᎠ ᏌᏊ ᎨᏒ ᎤᏙᏢᏒ ᎠᏆᎴᏅᎲᎢ ᎠᎴ ᎠᏆᏅᏔ ᎡᎵ ᎢᎬᏆᏛᏗ ᎨᏒ, ᎤᏬᏝᏓ, ᎡᏓᏍᏗ ᎠᎴ ᎠᎩᎸᏉᏓ ᏂᎦᏛᏁᎲ ᎠᎭᏂ,” ᎠᏗᏍᎬ Rex.
ᎪᎯ ᎢᎦ, ᎤᏪᏥ ᎠᎨᏯ ᏚᏂᎸᏫᏍᏓᏁᎯ, Feather Smith-Trevino ᏧᏙᎩᏓ, ᎾᎿ ᏚᎸᏫᏍᏓᏁ ᎾᎿ Diligwa ᎤᏂᏚᎲᎢ. ᎤᎵᏏ ᎠᏧᏣ, Calvin, ᏴᏓᎭ ᏚᎸᏫᏍᏓᏁᎰ ᎤᏂᏚᎲᎢ, ᎠᎴ ᎤᏪᏣ ᎠᏧᏣ Justin, ᏌᏊ ᎢᏳᏩᎪᏛ ᏚᎸᏫᏍᏓᏁᎸ ᎾᎿ CHC ᎠᏎᏃ ᏃᏊ John Ross Museum ᏚᎸᏫᏍᏓᏁᎯ.
“ᏍᎩᏯ ᎢᏳᏍᏗ ᏏᏓᏁᎸ ᏗᎦᎸᏫᏍᏓᏁᏗ,” ᎤᏛᏅ Feather. ᎡᎵᏏ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏌᏊ ᎢᎬᏱ ᎤᎴᏅᏓ ᏧᎸᏫᏍᏓᏁᎸ ᎾᎿ ᎤᏪᏘ ᎤᏂᏚᎲ ᎾᎿ ᏐᏁᎳᏚ ᎢᏍᎪᎯᏧᏈ ᏑᏓᎵᏍᎪ ᎦᎵᏉᎩ ᎤᏕᏘᏴᏌᏗᏒ, ᎡᏙᏓᏃ ᎠᎭᏂ ᎤᏛᏒ, ᎠᎴ ᎠᏯ ᎠᎩᎷᏨ ᎾᎿ ᏦᏣᎵᏍᎪᎸᏗᏍᎬ ᏙᎩᎸᏫᏍᏓᏁᎲᎢ ᎾᎿ ᏔᎵ ᏯᎦᏴᎵ ᏌᏊ ᎤᏕᏘᏴᏌᏗᏒᎢ. ᏓᎩᎸᏫᏍᏓᏁᎸ ᎾᎿ ᎠᎾᏛᏁᎵᏍᎬ ᎯᏍᎩ ᏧᏕᏘᏴᏓ Ꮟ Ꮩ ᎾᏆᎴᏅᏓ ᏔᎵ ᏯᎦᏴᎵ ᏑᏓᎵ ᎤᏕᏘᏴᏌᏗᏒᎢ.”
Smith-Trevino, ᎾᎿ ᏧᎸᏫᏍᏓᏁᎯ Diligwa ᎤᏂᏚᎲᎢ, ᎠᏗᏍᎬ ᏚᎸᏫᏍᏓᏁᎲ ᎤᎾᎵᎪᎯ ᏏᏓᏁᎸ ᎤᏩᏟᏗ ᎠᎴ ᎤᏍᏕᎸᎭ ᎤᏕᎶᏆᎠ ᎤᎪᏓ ᎾᎿ ᎠᏂᏣᎳᎩ ᎢᏳᎾᏛᏁᎵᏓᏍᏗ.
“ᎢᎦ ᎤᏬᏢᏗ. ᎣᏍᏓ ᎠᏓᏅᏓᏗᏍᏗ ᎢᎦ ᎾᎪᎯᎳ ᏂᏓᎩᎸᏫᏍᏓᏁᎰ,” ᎤᏛᏅ. ᎤᎪᏓ ᎠᏆᏕᎶᏆᎠ ᏳᎾᏛᏁᎵᏓᏍᏗ ᎾᎯᏳ ᏥᎨᏎ, ᏃᎴᏍᏊ ᎣᏍᏓ ᎠᏓᏅᏓᏗᏍᏗ ᎨᏒ ᏗᎨᏲᏗ ᎠᏂᏴᏫ. ᏯᏛᏁᎵᏓᏍᏗ, ᎾᏍᎩ ᎠᎩᏃᎮᏍᎪ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎨᏒ ᎠᏯ, ᎾᏍᎩ ᎨᏒᎢ. ᏌᏊ ᏄᏓᎴ Ꮭ ᏙᎯᏳ ᏱᎨᎵᎨ ᏄᎵᏍᎨᏗᏴᎢ, ᎠᏎᏃ ᎠᏆᏛᏌ ᎠᏆᎴᏅᎲ ᎦᏕᎶᏆᏍᎬ ᎪᎵᎬ ᏂᎦᏓ ᎠᎦᏚᏫᏍᏛ ᎾᎿ ᎠᏯ ᎠᎴ ᏣᎳᎩ ᎠᏰᎵ, ᎠᎴ ᏙᎯᏳ ᎠᎩᏍᏕᎵᏍᎪ ᎠᏆᏓᏙᏟᏍᏗᎢ. ᎣᏍᏓ ᎠᏓᏅᏓᏗᏍᏗ ᎠᎴ ᎠᏆᏘᏁᎾ ᎾᎿ ᎠᏆᏚᎵᏍᎬ ᏯᏆᏛᏗ ᎠᎴ ᎠᎩᏍᏕᎸᎭ ᎢᏳᏍᏗ ᎠᏆᏚᎵᏍᎬ ᏯᏆᏛᏗ ᎦᎴᏂᏙᎲᎢ.”