Restoration of Cherokee National Capitol exterior begins

BY WILL CHAVEZ
Assistant Editor – @cp_wchavez
04/02/2015 12:00 PM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – Tribal leaders gathered on March 26 at the Cherokee National Capitol to announce that the nearly 150-year-old building will undergo masonry restoration this spring and summer to ensure the historic landmark remains a part of downtown.

Scaffolding is already in place on the south side of the building where workers will begin stripping the exterior paint and sealant, reapply mortar and replace any damaged bricks, which should result in a more authentic look for the structure.

Cherokee Nation Cultural Tourism is overseeing the project at a cost of $500,000, and it is expected to be complete in August in time for the annual Cherokee National Holiday on Labor Day weekend.

“We are truly blessed to be here with the resources to protect and restore the most-photographed, the most-iconic building in the Cherokee Nation,” said Principal Chief Bill John Baker. “It’s especially a special building to the Cherokee people because it tells of our resurgence in Indian Territory to bring our government back to life when we could have gone about our way and given up, but our people didn’t give up. They went about building this building.”

The Capitol was built in 1869 and occupied by all three branches of the tribe’s government prior to statehood. Today, it houses the judicial branch of the CN. The building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is also designated a National Landmark.

Baker said in the early 1990s it was discovered that the building was deteriorating and if something wasn’t done the bricks “would just crumble and completely fall apart.”

“The tribe was not near as successful or near as blessed then, and the only solution that we could come up with was to seal it and paint it to protect it for better days,” Baker said.

In 2013, a replica cupola was constructed to bring the building back to its 1870s appearance. Originally, the cupola was used to aid airflow through the upper floors of the building. Over time it was also used for office space as well as a jury room before being destroyed in a 1928 fire.

Other previous restoration work on the building includes roof repairs with new decking and historic era shingles, restoration of soffits and fascia, a gutter system and updated doors and windows.
ᏣᎳᎩ

ᏓᎵᏆ, ᎣᎦᎵᎻᎹ. – ᎠᏂᎳᏍᏓᏢ ᏗᎾᏓᏘᏂᏙ ᎤᎾᏓᏟᏌᏅ ᎾᎿ ᎠᏅᏱ ᏔᎵᏍᎪ ᏑᏓᎵᏁ ᎾᎿ ᎠᏂᏣᎳᎩ ᎬᎾᏕᎾ ᏧᏂᎳᏫᏍᏗ ᎬᏂᎨᏒ ᎢᏳᏅᏗᎢ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏍᎪᎯᏧᏈ ᎯᎦᏍᎪ ᎢᏳᏕᏘᏴᏓ ᎠᏓᏁᎸ ᎾᎿ ᎣᏍᏓ ᏂᏛᏅᏁᎵ ᎯᎠ ᎪᎨᏯ ᎠᎴ ᎪᎦ ᎢᎦᏅᏔ ᎢᏳᎵᏍᏙᏗ ᎯᎠ ᎤᏪᏘ ᎠᏓᏁᎸ Ꮟ ᎪᎯᏓ ᎢᏳᎵᏍᏙᏗᎢ ᎠᎪᏩᏛᏗᎢ.

ᎤᏂᎵᏓᏍᏗ ᎦᏳᎳ ᎤᎾᏛᏅᎢᏍᏗ ᎾᎿ ᎤᎦᎾᏮ ᎢᏗᏝ ᎠᏓᏁᎸ ᎾᎿ ᏧᏂᎸᏫᏍᏓᏁᎯ ᎤᎾᎴᏅᏗ ᎾᏅᏕᏍᎬ ᎤᏪᏘ ᎠᏑᏫᏒᎢ ᎠᎴ ᏓᏍᏚᏛᎢ, ᎢᏤ ᏧᏄᎶᏙᏗ ᎠᎴ ᏗᏤ ᏧᎬᏓᏅ ᏧᏂᏠᏗ ᎾᎿ ᏧᏲᏨ ᎨᏒᎢ, ᎾᏍᎩ ᏥᏄᏍᏛ ᎤᏪᏘ ᏗᎧᏃᏗ ᎢᏳᎵᏍᏙᏗᎢᎣ.

ᏣᎳᎩ ᎠᏰᎵ ᏂᏧᎵᏍᏔᏅᏍᏔᏅ ᎠᏂᎦᏖᏃᎵᏙ ᎤᎾᏙᏢᎯ ᎾᏍᎩᎾ ᎠᎾᏈᏱᎭ ᎯᎠ ᎾᎾᏛᏁᎲᎢ ᎾᎿ ᎯᏍᎩᏧᏈ ᏯᎦᏴᎵ ᏧᎬᏩᎶᏗ, ᎠᎴ ᏚᏄᎪᏛ ᎾᎿ ᎦᎶᏂ ᎧᎸ ᎾᎿ ᎠᏂᏣᎳᎩ ᎬᎾᏕᎾ ᎠᏍᏆᎵᏍᎬᎢ ᎾᎿ ᏗᎦᎸᏫᏍᏓᏁᏗ ᏂᎨᏒᎾ ᎢᎦ ᎠᏍᏆᏗᏍᎬ ᏒᎾᏙᏓQsd.

“ᎢᎦ ᎠᎵᎮᎵᏍᏗ ᎠᎭᏂ ᎠᎴ ᎢᎩᎭ ᎢᎩᏍᏕᎵᏍᎩ ᎠᎴ ᎣᏍᏓ ᎢᎬᏗ ᏂᎦᎥ ᏓᎾᏟᎶᏍᏗᏍᎪ, iii ᎠᏓᏁᎸ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏣᎳᎩ ᎠᏰᎵ,” ᎠᏗᏍᎬ ᎤᎬᏫᏳᎯ Bill John Baker. “ᎾᏍᎩ ᎨᏒ ᎤᏤᎵᏛ ᎠᏓᏁᎸ ᎾᎿ ᎠᏂᏣᎳᎩ ᎠᏂᏴᏫ ᎨᏒ ᏅᏗᎦᎵᏍᏙᏗ ᎧᏃᎮᎯ ᎤᏍᏆᏂᎪᏛ ᎠᏤᎲᏍᎬ ᎾᎿ ᏧᏂᎷᏤ ᎠᎴ ᎤᏂᏤᎲᏍᏔᏅ ᎠᏰᎵ ᎤᏙᏢᏒ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎾᎯᏳ Ꮭ ᏱᏚᏂᏲᏎ, ᎠᏎᏃ ᎤᎾᏟᏂᎬᏁᎴ ᎢᎤᎾᏁᏍᎨᎲᎢ ᎯᎠ ᎠᏓᏁᎸᎢ.”

ᎯᎠ ᎠᏰᎵ ᏧᏂᎳᏫᎢᏍᏗ ᎠᏓᏁᎸ ᎤᎾᏁᏍᎨᎲ ᏁᎳᏚ ᎢᏍᎪᎯᏧᏈ ᏑᏓᎵᏍᎪᏐᏁᎳ ᎤᏕᏘᏴᏌᏗᏒ ᎠᎴ ᏚᏂᏴᏔᏅ ᏦᎢ ᏚᏩᎾᎦᏢ ᎠᏂᎳᏍᏓᏢ ᏧᏂᎧᎾᏩᏛᏍᏗ Ꮟ ᏗᏍᎦᏚᎩ ᏂᏗᎦᎵᏍᏗᏍᎬᎾ ᏥᎨᏎᎢ. ᎪᎯ ᎢᎦ, Ꮟ ᏌᏊ ᏧᏂᎧᎾᏩᏛᏍᏗ ᎤᏂᎭ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎯᎠ ᏗᏄᎪᏗᏍᎩ ᏄᏁᎵᏏᏙᎸᎢ ᏗᎧᎾᏩᏛᏍᏗ ᎾᎿ ᏣᎳᎩ ᎠᏰᎵ. ᎯᎠ ᎠᏓᏁᎸ ᏫᎪᏪᎵ ᎬᎾᏕᎾ ᏫᏚᏃᏪᎶᏗ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏧᏪᏘ ᏧᏍᏆᏂᎪᏓ ᏚᏙᏢᏒ ᎠᎴ ᎾᏍᏊ ᎠᏎᎸ ᎾᎿ ᎬᎾᏕᎾ ᎦᏓ ᎠᎲᎢ.

“ᎯᎠ ᎠᏂᎳᏍᏓᏢ Ꮭ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎢᎦ ᏳᏂᎿᎡᎢ ᎣᏍᏓ ᏱᏄᎾᏛᏁ, ᎠᎴ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎢᏳᏍᏗ ᎣᎩᏩᏛᎲ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎠᏍᏚᏗ ᎠᎴ ᎠᏑᏫᏍᏗ ᎠᎵᏏᏅᏙᏗ ᎾᎿ ᏓᏤᎸ ᎢᎦ,” ᎤᏛᏅ Baker.

ᏔᎵ ᏯᎦᏴᎵ ᏦᎦᏚ ᎤᏕᏘᏴᏌᏗᏒ, ᎤᏠᏯ ᎤᏪᏘ ᏂᎬᏅ ᏄᏅᏁᎸ ᎾᎿ ᎦᏌᎾᎵ ᎦᏚ ᎤᏍᏗ ᎦᎵᏦᏕ ᎤᏂᏝᏅ ᎾᎿ ᏁᎳᏚ ᎢᏍᎪᎯᏧᏈ ᎦᎵᏆᏍᎪ ᎤᏕᏘᏴᏌᏗᏒ ᏥᏄᏍᏕᎢ. ᏧᏓᎴᏅᎲ, ᎾᎿ ᎤᏍᏗ ᎦᎵᏦᏕ ᎾᎿ ᎤᏃᎴ ᏂᏓᏳᏴᏍᏙᏗ ᎨᏎ ᎾᎿ ᏔᎵᏁ ᎠᏲᏓᏝᎲ ᎤᏃᎸᏗ. ᎠᏟᎢᎵᏒ ᎾᎿ ᏧᏂᎸᏫᏍᏓᏁᎯ ᎤᏂᏴᏍᏗ ᏄᏅᏁᎴ ᎠᎴ ᎠᏂᏑᎵᏲᎦ ᏭᏂᏴᏍᏗ ᎨᏎ Ꮟ ᎾᎪᎲᏍᎬᎾ ᏥᎨᏎᎢ.

ᏗᏐᎢ ᎾᏞᎬ ᎣᏍᏓ ᏄᏅᏁᎸᎢ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎠᏓᏁᎸᎢ ᎤᏂᎳᏦᏔᎾ ᎠᎴ ᏗᏤ ᏚᏂᏒᏓᎾᎳᏛ ᎠᎴ ᎢᏤ ᎠᎴ ᎤᏪᏘ ᏗᎧᏃᏗ ᎤᏂᎳᏦᏔᎾᎢ, ᎣᏍᏓ ᏗᏤ ᏂᏚᏅᏔᏅ ᎤᏍᏗ ᏗᏯᏖᏂ ᎫᏢᏍᎦ ᏧᏯᏖᏂ ᏚᏠᏒᎢ, ᎠᎹ ᏧᏪᏓᏍᏗ ᎠᎴ ᏗᎦᎶᏍᏗ ᏃᎴ ᏗᏦᎳᎾ.

About the Author
Will lives in Tahlequah, Okla., but calls Marble City, Okla., his hometown. He is Cherokee and San Felipe Pueblo and grew up learning the Cherokee language, traditions and culture from his Cherokee mother and family. He also appreciates his father’s Pueblo culture and when possible attends annual traditional dances held on the San Felipe Reservation near Albuquerque, N.M.

He e ...
WILL-CHAVEZ@cherokee.org • 918-207-3961
Will lives in Tahlequah, Okla., but calls Marble City, Okla., his hometown. He is Cherokee and San Felipe Pueblo and grew up learning the Cherokee language, traditions and culture from his Cherokee mother and family. He also appreciates his father’s Pueblo culture and when possible attends annual traditional dances held on the San Felipe Reservation near Albuquerque, N.M. He e ...

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