http://www.cherokeephoenix.org“After Removal: Rebuilding the Cherokee Nation” is a new exhibit at the Gilcrease Museum in Tulsa, Oklahoma, that examines how the Cherokee Nation came to prosper after removal to Indian Territory. The museum collaborated with the CN and its citizens to interpret and approve the material, including the syllabary text that greets museum visitors. The exhibition will be on display through Jan. 21 and can be viewed from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. BRITTNEY BENNETT/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
“After Removal: Rebuilding the Cherokee Nation” is a new exhibit at the Gilcrease Museum in Tulsa, Oklahoma, that examines how the Cherokee Nation came to prosper after removal to Indian Territory. The museum collaborated with the CN and its citizens to interpret and approve the material, including the syllabary text that greets museum visitors. The exhibition will be on display through Jan. 21 and can be viewed from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. BRITTNEY BENNETT/CHEROKEE PHOENIX

Gilcrease exhibit examines post-removal CN prosperity

A Cherokee hunting coat, circa 1850-60, is on display as part of the exhibition “After Removal: Rebuilding the Cherokee Nation” at the Gilcrease Museum in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The coat is made from tanned deerskin and printed cloth lining with a dark brown velvet collar and silk threading. BRITTNEY BENNETT/CHEROKEE PHOENIX Fine china from Rose Cottage, once the home of former Cherokee Nation Principal Chief John Ross, is on display until Jan. 21 at the Gilcrease Museum in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The items are on loan from the Cherokee Heritage Center’s National Archives. BRITTNEY BENNETT/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
A Cherokee hunting coat, circa 1850-60, is on display as part of the exhibition “After Removal: Rebuilding the Cherokee Nation” at the Gilcrease Museum in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The coat is made from tanned deerskin and printed cloth lining with a dark brown velvet collar and silk threading. BRITTNEY BENNETT/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
BY BRITTNEY BENNETT
Reporter – @cp_bbennett
09/06/2017 08:15 AM
Video with default Cherokee Phoenix Frame
TULSA, Okla. – With the new “After Removal: Rebuilding the Cherokee Nation” exhibit, Gilcrease Museum visitors can see how the Cherokee Nation has come to prosper after its removal to Indian Territory.

The time before, during and after Cherokee removal from the Southeastern United States is highlighted through 64 items in the Gilcrease collection and 14 loaned items. The exhibit’s items include paintings, a hunting coat, a bandolier bag, a knife used to kill former Cherokee Phoenix Editor Elias Boudinot and fine china used at Rose Cottage in Park Hill when former Principal Chief John Ross entertained guests.

Digital exhibits are also used detailing the land that once belonged to the Cherokee people and what daily life was like in Indian Territory for students at the Cherokee Male and Female Seminaries.

The collaborative project between the museum’s Helmerich Center and CN, with several CN citizens acting as consultants to interpret and approve the material, is the culmination of two years of work.

“Our former director for the Helmerich Center for American Research at Gilcrease Museum, Duane King, this was his idea,” Natalie Panther, program center officer, said. “It’s really a story of resilience in the face of tremendous adversity, and he wanted to tell the story of how the Cherokee Nation was able to overcome incredible odds to rebuild their nation and create a successful society in Indian Territory.”

The first part of the exhibition examines removal politics.

President Andrew Jackson ordered Southeastern tribes to remove to Indian Territory by signing the Indian Removal Act on May 28, 1830. The Cherokee and other tribes were subsequently forced to move west into modern day Oklahoma. Of the estimated 16,000 Cherokees who were forced on the journey, now known as the Trail of Tears, approximately 4,000 died of exposure, starvation and disease.

“It was a highly contentious topic at the time, and it barely passed the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate,” Panther said. “There were central figures, American heroes and writers and Founding Fathers who both argued for and against Indian removal, so that’s what’s going to be highlighted in that section.”

The exhibition also walks visitors through the removal-induced factionalism that occurred between the Cherokees supporting Ross and those supporting Major John Ridge. Ross resisted removal while Ridge believed it was inevitable. Ridge was part of a group that signed Cherokee lands over to the U.S. government in the 1835 Treaty of New Echota.

“When you go through factionalism, you’re talking about how Major Ridge and John Ross were fighting, and there was violence after the signing of the Treaty of New Echota because a lot of the tribe blamed the Treaty of New Echota for the entire tribe having to move west,” she said. “There was a lot of fighting and murder, and finally all the factions signed a peace treaty in 1846 to stop the violence and agreed to forgive all previous crimes committed against each other and just to move forward.”

Panther said while the period after removal was “one of the most tumultuous periods in Cherokee history,” the Cherokees’ eventual reunification ushered in a period of prosperity dubbed the Golden Age.

“The Cherokees had built up a very independent republic, and that’s what was kind of dismantled because of forced removal,” she said. “Once they got to Indian Territory, there was factionalism and infighting, but they were able to overcome that and rebuild their government, rebuild their economy. They created an extensive public school system with 144 public schools and two institutions of higher learning, so they were really able to overcome obstacles and rebuild their nation, and that’s kind of the highlight of the Golden Age. It’s a success story, and I think it’s a story that, when you go through it, you’re going to feel confident about your tribe and being a Cherokee.”

The exhibit runs through Jan. 21 and can be viewed from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. Admission is free for CN citizens on Sept. 24 during the museum’s annual “Cherokee Day.”

For more information, visit www.gilcrease.org/exhibitions/cherokee/.
About the Author
Brittney Bennett is from Colcord, Oklahoma, and a citizen of the United Keetoowah Band.  She is a 2011 Gates Millennium Scholarship recipient and graduated from the University of Oklahoma in 2015 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and summa cum laude honors.
 
While in college, Brittney became involved with the Native American Journalists Association and was an inaugural NAJA student fellow in 2014. Continued mentorship from NAJA members and the willingness to give Natives a voice led her to accept a multimedia internship with the Cherokee Phoenix after college.  
 
She left the Cherokee Phoenix in early 2016 before being selected as a Knight-CUNYJ Fellow in New York City later that same year. During the fellowship, she received training from industry professionals with The New York Times and instructors at the City University of New York. As part of the program, she completed a social media internship with USA Today’s editorial department.
 
Now that Brittney has made her way back to the Cherokee Phoenix, she hopes to use the experience gained from her travels to benefit Indian Country and the Cherokee people.
brittney-bennett@cherokee.org • 918-453-5560
Brittney Bennett is from Colcord, Oklahoma, and a citizen of the United Keetoowah Band. She is a 2011 Gates Millennium Scholarship recipient and graduated from the University of Oklahoma in 2015 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and summa cum laude honors. While in college, Brittney became involved with the Native American Journalists Association and was an inaugural NAJA student fellow in 2014. Continued mentorship from NAJA members and the willingness to give Natives a voice led her to accept a multimedia internship with the Cherokee Phoenix after college. She left the Cherokee Phoenix in early 2016 before being selected as a Knight-CUNYJ Fellow in New York City later that same year. During the fellowship, she received training from industry professionals with The New York Times and instructors at the City University of New York. As part of the program, she completed a social media internship with USA Today’s editorial department. Now that Brittney has made her way back to the Cherokee Phoenix, she hopes to use the experience gained from her travels to benefit Indian Country and the Cherokee people.

Multimedia

BY BRITTNEY BENNETT
Reporter – @cp_bbennett &
STACIE GUTHRIE
Reporter – @cp_sguthrie
01/16/2018 08:30 AM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – The Cherokee Family Research Center located within the Cherokee Heritage Center has been assisting individuals with tracing their family genealogies since the 1980s. “We educate people,” Gene Morris, CFRC genealogist, said. “We’re here to promote our mission, which is preserve, promote and teach Cherokee history and culture. That’s what we do on a daily basis with genealogy.” The CFRC is one of two locations in Oklahoma specializing in Native American genealogy and should not be confused with the Cherokee Nation Registration Department. “We (CFRC) have no right to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ that someone is Cherokee,” Ashley Vann, CFRC genealogist, said. “What we are able to tell them is ‘yes’ or ‘no’ about a paper trail to back up that family’s story that’s been handed down from generation to generation.” Morris and Vann can be hired to help individuals complete their genealogies for a fee of $30 per hour, or $20 per hour for Cherokee National Historical Society members. For those wishing to conduct their own research, the CFRC resources area and the genealogy library are accessible from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday with paid admission into the museum. Before visiting, Norris and Vann recommend gathering as much information as possible from several free and paid websites including <a href="http://www.fold3.com" target="_blank">www.fold3.com</a>, <a href="http://www.ancestry.com" target="_blank">www.ancestry.com</a>, <a href="http://www.oklahomacemeteries.com" target="_blank">www.oklahomacemeteries.com</a> and <a href="http://www.findagrave.com" target="_blank">www.findagrave.com</a>. The CFRC will also process genealogy requests by mail, but the timeframe in which the request is filled depends on demand. “Depending upon how many folks are back here in the library at one time wanting all of our attention all at the same time and depending on if one of us is here or both us are here at that time,” Norris said. “What we try to do is do those requests in the order they are received.” For more information, visit <a href="http://www.cherokeeheritage.org" target="_blank">www.cherokeeheritage.org</a>.
BY BRITTNEY BENNETT
Reporter – @cp_bbennett
01/09/2018 08:15 AM
TAHLEQUAH – When shooters took the line for an Oklahoma Archery Shooters Association qualifier recently at Obsession Archery, Cherokee Nation citizen Michael Lackey was among them despite being in a wheelchair. “I didn’t get to play regular sports like kids that were not in a wheelchair, so my dad got me into archery and I started doing that,” Lackey said. “I’ve been shooting bows since I was about 12 or 13 years old.” Lackey joined 64 archers competing for bragging rights and prize money at the Dec. 17 qualifier. Shooters received four minutes to shoot five arrows at a five-spot target through 12 ends, or rounds, for a total of 60 arrows. Each arrow had the potential to earn up to five points depending on its target placement. Lackey shot with the compound bow he uses when hunting. “The compound is definitely easier from a wheelchair standpoint, in my opinion, because I shoot the recurve also and they’re a lot longer than your compounds. So a string will hit the wheel sometimes or you’re closer to the ground, so the limbs will hit the ground. The compound is definitely easier to shoot from a wheelchair.” Although paralyzed most of his life, Lackey said he doesn’t believe in limits. He’s an avid outdoorsman who often hunts, a skill honed by competitive archery. “It’s really helped my shooting, getting back into the target shooting,” he said. “It’s made me more consistent for hunting. I like the competition, and I like to improve myself.” The competition marked Obsession Archery’s first time hosting a qualifier for the ASA, which aims to grow archery through clubs that provide competition, training and education opportunities. It’s a development Lackey said he appreciates. “It’s harder on people who don’t have the funding to drive clear across the state to shoots. So it’s nice to have somewhere where we can do it here in town, in Tahlequah.” Obsession Archery owner John Obenrader called the development a “big deal” for his business and customers. “ASA is the main organization that I shoot for. It’s one of the biggest ones in the country. It’s where all your top archers are and at the state level. They hold championships and qualifiers all across the state. They just came to me and asked me if I wanted to shoot since I have a shop with an indoor range.” Obenrader said he hopes the competition brings in new shooters and their families to get them familiar with indoor and 3-D range shoots. “It’s pretty much a family-oriented kind of sport because a lot of times you’ll see the kids get started in it, and then mom and dad get started in it because they want to do it.” For Lackey, the qualifier was a family affair as both his children competed in the cub class. “My daughter Makayla, she’s been shooting for two or three years now. Hayden just got his first compound bow this year,” he said. “They’re both shooting really well. It’s good for them. It teaches them discipline, practicing. You got to be good to make a shot on a deer. You want to deer hunt, you got to practice and get good at shooting.” In addition to passing his archery passion onto his children, Lackey hopes to see archery grow among others in wheelchairs. “I don’t see it quite as much as I would like to see,” he said. “It’s a big challenge from sitting in a wheelchair, but I do know a lot of guys that hunt (and compete). It just takes lots of practice because I have to, I don’t have a lot of balance, so I have to kind of position myself where I can maintain my balance while I’m shooting my bow.” For more information, call Obsession Archery at 918-951-9540.
BY ROGER GRAHAM
Multimedia Producer – @cp_rgraham
12/18/2017 04:00 PM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – Between Dec. 2-9, Cherokee Nation representatives took part in Christmas parades in Nowata, Bartlesville, Fort Gibson, Locust Grove, Vian, Vinita, Tahlequah, Stilwell, Jay, Hulbert and Sallisaw. Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin Jr. said Christmas parades are an opportunity to meet citizens away from the CN capital. “These Christmas parades are something everyone including our citizens look forward to, especially in smaller towns, and there are strong Cherokee communities in all of them. This is our chance to not only wish them season’s greetings, but to learn how they’re doing,” he said. “Our Tribal councilors take advantage of this seasonal opportunity as does our Principal Chief Bill John Baker. Fellowship is a big part of the holiday season.” CN citizen and Nowata resident Brianda Medlin agreed with the secretary. “I came here to watch my cousin in the Christmas parade, but it’s nice to hear Cherokee Nation is in it too. A lot of us are Cherokee up here so that’s kind of a big deal,” she said. The following is a Cherokee Phoenix Christmas parade video wrap-up made from several locations inside the CN.
BY ROGER GRAHAM
Multimedia Producer – @cp_rgraham
12/13/2017 12:00 PM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – The annual lighting of the Cherokee Nation Capitol building was held Dec. 1 when Principal Chief Bill John Baker turned on Christmas lights decorating the downtown square. The event unofficially announced the arrival of the holiday season. Visitors enjoyed refreshments as well as music by the Cherokee Nation Youth Choir. Children were also treated to a live nativity scene and holiday train rides.
BY BRITTNEY BENNETT
Reporter – @cp_bbennett
12/12/2017 08:00 AM
TULSA, Okla. – Oklahoma audiences were treated to a special Q&A with Cherokee actor Wes Studi after screening his new film “Hostiles” on Nov. 29 during the Tribal Film Festival at Circle Cinema. “The story itself goes on to touch on the basis of the fact that we do have to come together, be it for survival or whatever,” Studi said. “It’s really a matter of survival that we bring our minds together to forge a better beginning as we move forward.” “Hostiles” is set in 1892 and follows Capt. Joseph J. Blocker (Christian Bale) as he battles hatred towards dying Cheyenne Chief Yellow Hawk (Studi) while being forced to escort him and his family from New Mexico back to their ancestral lands in Montana. The film also stars Rosamund Pike, Adam Beach, Q’orianka Kilcher and Ben Foster. Christina Burke, curator of Native American and Non-Western Art at the Philbrook Museum of Art, moderated the panel. Also participating were “Smoke Signals” director Chris Eyre and Dr. Joely Proudfit, who were tribal consultants for the film and brought in to the production to assist with creating an accurate portrayal of Cheyenne people and customs. “We were brought in pretty early on, and we were on set most of the time. I would say over 90 percent of the time, everyday on the set, both of us or at least one of us,” Proudfit said. “We had an actual Cheyenne chief come and do a blessing before we began shooting. And for a production of that caliber to take that time to allow for this culture and tradition to be a part of the process, I’ve never seen anything like that.” Studi was quick to agree and praised their efforts on the film. “(Eyre and Proudfit) really brought a lot to the table in terms of authenticity, of not only the language, but customs and other things we needed from the Cheyenne community,” he said. “I think that the film is much better off for the fact that they were there to help us.” The audience was also given a peak into the choices made during filming, including what motivated certain characters and that the cast and crew shot two versions of the ending. The panel also shared with the audience that while they have screened “Hostiles” multiple times, there are still new things to discover about its message. “This movie is a touchstone to so many ideas that we have right now in this country and that’s why I think this movie is so valuable because it’s about the gray areas,” Eyre said. “I keep watching, and I think the highest compliment to the movie is that I keep getting new things out of the movie.” Proudfit agreed, telling audiences that “you have to see it again.” “It takes time to marinate because these are such deep issues,” she said. “We’ve seen it eight times and every time we hear something new. We’ve been entertained so much with film and media now that we’re not ever asked to feel or think anymore, and I think we do that in this film.”
BY LINDSEY BARK
Reporter
12/11/2017 04:00 PM
VINITA, Okla. – On Dec. 5, Cherokee Nation and city officials unveiled a 12-foot-by-10-foot captioned photo as a mural in honor of the late Anna Belle Sixkiller Mitchell, a Cherokee National Treasure who revived Southeastern-style pottery. “This project started a year ago as a way to beautify the city and celebrate the historic nature that we have with the Cherokee Nation. As people drive by in Vinita they can learn more about our town and our community,” Vinita City Councilor Stephanie Hoskin said. The City Council worked with downtown store owners to find a space for the mural and with the Eastern Trails Museum for the mural’s photo. The project was funded through the city’s hotel tax. The photo depicts Mitchell making pottery in her studio. She is known for restoring the Southeastern-style of pottery back into the Cherokee culture. The tribe’s pottery tradition was not continued after removal to Indian Territory in the 1830s until Mitchell began making pottery in the 1960s. Mitchell was born Oct. 16, 1926, to Oo-loo-tsa and Houston Sixkiller in Delaware County. Several CN officials – including Mitchell’s daughter, Tribal Councilor Victoria Vazquez – attended the mural’s unveiling. “I saw it on the wall, and I was just blown away. It just made my heart soar because my dad especially would be so proud. He was very proud of what mom did, and if he could have been here today we would just be beaming, but I can feel what he would have felt,” Vazquez said. “Most of all, I’m just so proud of our community, the fact that we would have an idea to do this and make it happen in such a short period of time.” Cherokee National Treasure and graphic artist Dan Mink was responsible for the photo’s look. He said he was up for the challenge of designing the border and selecting the color and font. “Just thinking about what I was doing and what this lady represented, I just wanted to do a good job,” he said. “I thought the little script font that looked like a paintbrush type effect on there, I thought that, to me, it suited her well. I got the color off that vase or the pottery that’s in the picture. It was an ochre red, which is a traditional color of ours, so I took that color and made the border around it.” The mural, located at 127 S. Wilson St., will stay up until it is replaced with another notable Vinita resident who has made a contribution to the community.