Cherokee Nation rolls out new events for 70th holiday

A new event for the Cherokee National Holiday, as seen on the official holiday website, is a cornhole tournament. 

TAHLEQUAH – This year’s Cherokee National Holiday will debut what organizers call the biggest changes in its 70-year history with a full roster of both in-person and online events. 

“I’m most excited about the new Cherokee Talks series that will be streamed live from One Fire Field with an in-person audience both Saturday and Sunday,” holiday coordinator Austin Patton said. “This will feature over eight leaders and experts offering presentations and some demonstrations on culturally and traditionally impactful issues to the Cherokee people. There are so many new events this year, and I’m excited for them all.”

Other new events include the Anvdvnelisgi ᎠᏅᏛᏁᎵᏍᎩ album release party at One Fire Field and a Cherokee singing event called “Cherokees Singing Together: A Community Gospel Gathering.”

“And, we must not forget the new ‘cornament,’ the cornhole tournament and Cherokee National Holiday fishing tournament,” Patton said. “The fishing tournament takes place on Sept. 10. These events are bringing extremely popular sports to the Holiday lineup, and it has been really great to work with our coordinators and fellow Cherokee and 2022 Bassmaster Classic Champion Jason Christie to make the fishing tournament possible.”

The Cherokee Talks series, which will be held at various times throughout the day Sept. 3 at One Fire Field, will touch on hunting, history, community values, storytelling, traditional medicine and more. 

The cornhole tournament will take place Sept. 3, a Saturday, at 9:30 a.m. at One Fire Field in Tahlequah. The inaugural Cherokee National Holiday Bass Fishing Tournament will take place from 7 a.m. to a 2 p.m. weigh-in on Sept. 10 at Lake Tenkiller.

The Anvdvnelisgi ᎠᏅᏛᏁᎵᏍᎩ album release party will take place at 6:30 p.m., Sept. 3 at One Fire Field. The free Cherokees Singing Together event is scheduled for 2 p.m., Sept. 3 at the Sequoyah High School lower gymnasium.

“An all-Cherokee singing event at the Cherokee National Holiday is actually a relatively rare event,” Patton said. “It just hasn’t happened in several years. That ends this year as we are having two huge Cherokee speaking events. Focusing on culture and traditions, it is the obvious and most important thing I can do as a director of this event, but also just as a Cherokee Nation citizen. The coordinators and scores of other people working on this event have poured their blood, sweat and tears into this event, and I’m just so excited to debut the result to people around the world.”

He added that when planning the 70th annual Cherokee National Holiday, the goal was to “make it the biggest and best celebration we have ever had.”

“I have no doubt that goal will be accomplished,” Patton said. “But what was equally important to me is that we turn up the focus on what matters. We had over 160,000 people attend online last year – by far the biggest holiday ever – and 90,000 or so of those people had never attended a Cherokee National Holiday in-person. What that tells me is that this event is a huge opportunity to showcase the values of the Cherokee people, our culture, our language and so much more. We have to take the opportunity to make sure we are educating the world and creating opportunities for our youth to carry the torch forward; the holiday is a conduit to make that connection with people. Maybe someone sitting at their desk in NYC will attend virtually and start advocating in support of Native issues, who knows. But the opportunity is there. Focusing on what matters most, attendees can expect greater focus and emphasis on Cherokee language and culturally important activities such as our traditional games throughout the schedule of events.”

For more information, visit thecherokeeholiday.com.