Dart, of Stilwell, and Hummingbird, of Phoenix, received Cherokee National Treasure medals and plaques from Principal Chief Bill John Baker and Deputy Chief S. Joe Crittenden during an awards banquet hosted at Sequoyah High School.
Dart received the Cherokee National Treasure honor for his ability to produce Southeastern-style baskets from traditional materials. At age 16, Dart began weaving traditional honeysuckle, buckbrush and wood splint baskets. Largely self-taught, Dart works to preserve and share the basketry tradition with fellow Cherokees.
In 2016, he exhibited a replica of a large traditional burden basket woven of hand-split oak and hickory at the Chickasaw Nation’s Artesian Art Market. The piece was awarded best of show and featured in the book “Oklahoma Cherokee Baskets.”
“I have few words to describe how I feel other than honored and humbled,” Dart wrote in a Facebook post. “The possibility (of being named a Cherokee National Treasure) has always been in the back of my mind, however, I always figured that if I was to be designated that it would be at a much later date. If my health and the good Lord will it, I will have many years ahead of me with this title over my head…I feel motivated to push on, do much higher quality work so that I can represent our tribe well in art markets local and abroad. I promise that I will always do my best to behave in a manor befitting a national treasure, to treat people with the utmost of respect that all human beings deserve. And I will always, as long as my health allows, teach those who desire to learn from me so that our art of basketry, that has continued nonstop since pre-contact, will continue well past my time on this earth.”
A painter, graphic artist and commercial illustrator, Hummingbird received the honor of Cherokee National Treasure for working to keep traditional Cherokee art alive. Born in Tahlequah, Hummingbird later attended high school in Nashville, Tennessee. He refined his skills as an artist within programs in various institutions, including the American Academy of Art in Chicago. Hummingbird became a full-time artist in 1983. His paintings depict Cherokee and wider Native American themes. He also produces mixed-media masks, giclée reproductions and children’s book illustrations. Among other accomplishments, Hummingbird’s work won a fellowship award from the Southwestern Association for Indian Arts Indian Market.
“It was a surprise, and I was really speechless whenever I found out,” Hummingbird said. “I’m 65-and-a-half years old, and I’ve been doing my art for over 30-something years, and I just figured living the way I do it would never happen to me. My hometown is Tahlequah, and I was involved in Cherokee arts when I was back there. I have some deep roots out there.”
Baker said the Cherokee National Treasures preserve and advance critical elements of tribal culture.
“We will always honor these men and women because they ensure unique Cherokee knowledge is conserved for future generations,” he said. “Mike and Jesse absolutely deserve this special honor, along with our deepest respect for their expertise in their respective art disciplines.”
Other Cherokee Awards
Cherokee Nation officials also honored the following tribal citizens and organizations that made significant contributions for statesmanship, patriotism, community leadership and devotion to the tribe:
• Julie Eddy Rokala
• Todd Hembree
• Becky Hobbs
• Chuck Hoskin
• Angela Jones
• Jack Nelson Kingfisher (posthumously)
• Shannon Buhl
• Tim Carter
• Leah Duncan
• Joe Rainwater
• Crosslin Fields Smith
• Curtis Snell
• Joe Thornton
Community Leadership Award – Individual
• Ryan Dirteater
• Roberta Springwater Gibson
• David Hampton
• Regina Ross Trainor
• Debra West
Community Leadership Award – Organization
• Cherokees of New Mexico
• Cherokee Cornstalk Shooters Society
• Cherokee National Youth Choir
• Cherokee Medicine Keepers
• Remember the Removal Bike Ride
Samuel Worcester Award for devotion to Cherokee Nation
• Dr. James Lewis
• Shawn Slaton
ᏑᏓᎵᏍᎪ ᏑᏓᎵᏁ ᎢᏗᏣᎳᎩ ᎢᎦᏕᏘᏱᏍᎬ, ᏣᎳᎩᎯ ᎠᏰᎵ ᎠᏁᎲᎢ Mike Dart ᎠᎴ Jesse Hummingbird ᎨᎦᏑᏰᏎ ᎬᎾᏕᎾ ᎠᏁᎯ ᎠᏃᏢᏅᏍᎩ ᎨᏥᎸᏉᏔᏅᎢ, ᎠᏂᎳᏍᏓᏢ ᏓᏂᎸᏉᏗᏍᎪ ᎾᎿ ᏂᎬᏩᏍᏗ ᎠᏂᎯᎵᏒ ᎠᏂᏣᎳᎩ ᏄᎾᏛᏁᎵᏓᏍᏗ ᏄᏍᏛᏃ ᎠᏁᎲᎢ.
Dart, ᏍᏗᎵᏪᎵ ᎡᎯ ᎠᎴ Hummingbird, Phoenix ᎡᎯ, ᎨᏣᎵᎡᎵᏍᏓᏁ ᏧᎾᏯᎸᏗ ᏕᎬᏩᏂᏁᎴᎢ ᏣᎳᎩᎯ ᎠᏰᎵ ᎤᎬᏫᏳᎯ ᏫᎵ ᏣᏂ ᏗᎦᏚᎲᏍᎩ ᎠᎴ Ꮝ. ᏦᏩ ᏗᎬᎩᏍᎩ ᏔᎵᏁ ᎠᏓᎴᏁ ᎤᎬᏫᏳᎯ ᎾᎿ ᏏᏉᏲ ᏧᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᏗ ᏥᏚᎾᎵᎮᎵᏍᏗᏅᎢ.
Dart ᎬᎾᏕᎾ ᎠᏁᎯ ᎠᏃᏢᏅᏍᎩ ᎨᏥᎸᏉᏔᏅᎢ ᎠᏥᎸᏉᏔᏁ ᎾᎿ ᎤᎦᎾᏮ ᏗᎦᎧᎸᎬ ᎢᏗᏟ ᎠᏁᎯ ᏥᏓᏃᏢᏍᎪ ᎢᏧᏍᏓ ᏔᎷᏣ ᏕᎪᏢᏍᎬ ᎠᏁᎯᏯ ᎤᏅᏓᏂᏗᏍᏗ ᏕᎦᏗᏍᎬᎢ. ᏓᎳᏚ ᎤᏕᏘᏴᏗ ᏥᎨᏒ ᎤᎴᏅᎮ ᏕᎪᏢᏍᎬ ᎬᎾᎦᎵᏍᎩ ᎬᏃᏌᏍᏗ ᏗᎪᏢᏗ ᎠᎴ ᎠᏓ ᏗᎦᎸᏓᎸᏗ ᏕᎬᏗᏍᎬ ᏕᎪᏢᏍᎬ ᏔᎷᏣ. ᏭᎪᏛᏃ ᎤᏩᏌ ᎤᏓᏕᏲᏅ, ᎠᏂᏐᎢᏃ ᎠᏂᏣᎳᎩ ᏕᎨᏲᎲᏍᎪ ᎥᏍᎩ ᎢᏧᏅᏗ ᏧᏃᏢᏗᎢ. 2016 ᏥᎨᏒ, ᎠᏂᏥᎩᏌ ᏛᏆ ᏧᏂᏍᏆᎸᎡᎲᎢ ᏫᏚᎪᏩᏛᏓᏁ ᎤᏔᎾ ᎳᎷᏣ ᎤᏬᏢᏅ ᎠᏓ ᏗᎦᎸᏓᎸᏗ ᎤᏩᏛᏅᎢ. ᎥᏍᎩᏃ ᏫᏓᏤᏢ ᎤᎾᏑᏰᏎ ᎾᏃ ᎪᏪᎵ “ᎣᎦᎳᎰᎷ ᏧᏃᏢᏅ ᏣᎷᏣ” ᏧᏙᎢᏛ ᏚᏂᏃᏣᏝᏁᎢ.
“ᎦᏲᎵᏊ ᎢᎧᏁᏨ ᏱᏥᏃᎲᎳ ᎢᏳᏍᏗ ᎠᏆᏓᏅᏛᏗᏍᏗᏍᎬᎢ ᎠᏏᏃ ᎾᎿ ᎡᎳᏗ ᎾᏋᏁᎲ ᎨᏒᎢ,” ᎤᎧᏛ ᎪᏪᎳ ᎤᏬᏪᎳᏁ. “ᏳᏓᎵᎭ ᎦᏓᏅᏖᏍᎬ ᎬᎦᏑᏰᏍᏗ (ᎬᎾᏕᎾ ᎠᏁᎯ ᎠᏃᏢᏅᏍᎩ ᎨᏥᎸᏉᏔᏅᎢ) ᎤᎬᏳᎵ ᎠᏎᏍᎦᏂ ᎤᏩᎦᏗᏗᏒ ᎩᎳ ᏲᎬᎦᏑᏯᎩ ᎨᎵᏍᎬᎢ. ᏙᎯ ᏱᎾᏆᏛᎿᏕᎬ ᎠᎴ ᎤᏁᎳᏅᎯ ᎣᏏ ᎤᏰᎸᏅ ᎨᏎᏍᏗ ᎢᎸᏍᎩ ᎢᏧᏕᏘᏴᏛ ᎢᎪᎯᏗ ᏯᎦᏒᎦᏟ ᎯᎢᎾ ᏨᎦᏑᏯᎩ. ᎥᏍᎩᏃᏅ ᏛᎦᏌᏙᏱ ᏓᏤᏢ ᎠᏬᏢᏅᏗ ᏥᏌᎳᏗᏍᎬ ᎢᎩᏂᎳᏍᏓᎸᎢ ᎡᏍᎦᏂ ᎠᎴ ᎢᎬᎾᏕᎾ ᎨᏙᎵᏙᎲᎢ. ᏥᏚᏍᏗᏃ ᎣᏍᏓ ᎠᏆᏕᏗᎢ ᎾᏍᎩᏯ ᎬᎾᏕᎾ ᎠᏁᎯ ᎠᏃᏢᎾᏍᎩ ᎨᏥᎸᏉᏔᏅ ᎤᎾᏕᏗ ᏥᎨᏐᎢ ᎠᎴᏃ ᎣᏍᏓ ᎦᏥᏰᎵᏎᏗ ᏂᎦᏓ ᎠᏂᏴᏫ ᏂᎬ ᎠᏁᎯ. ᏂᎪᎯᎸᏃ, ᏙᎯ ᎾᏆᏛᎿᏕᎨᏍᏗ, ᎬᏆᏕᎶᏆᎡᏗ ᏳᎾᏚᎵᎭ ᎦᏥᏰᏲᎲᏍᎨᏍᏗ ᎤᎵᏍᏆᏗᏍᏗ ᏂᎨᏒᎾ ᎢᎦᏕᎶᏆᎥ ᎠᏏ ᎠᏂᏐ ᎠᏂᏴᏫ ᎾᏂᎷᎬᎾ ᏥᎨᏒᎢ, ᎾᏃ ᏂᎬᎯᎵᏎᏍᏗ ᎪᎯᏗ ᎬᏩᏂᎩᏗ ᎨᏎᏍᏗ ᎠᎭᏂ ᎡᎶᎯ.”
ᏗᏑᏫᏍᎩ, ᏗᏟᎶᏍᏗᏍᎩᏃ, ᏩᎴᎷ ᎥᏍᏊ ᎠᎦᏑᏰᏎ ᎬᎾᏕᎾ ᎠᏁᎯ ᎠᏃᏢᏅᏍᎩ ᎨᏥᎸᏉᏔᏅᎢ ᏗᏟᎶᏍᏗᏍᎩ ᎤᎬᏩᎵ. ᏓᎵᏆ ᎤᏕᏅ ᎤᏩᎦᏗᏗᏒ Nashville, Tennessee ᏫᏚᏕᎶᏆᎡᎢ. ᎤᎪᏛ ᏭᏕᎶᏆᎡ ᏧᏣᏘᎾ ᏧᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᏗᎢ, American Academy ᏧᏙᎢᏛ Chicago ᏍᎦᏚᎩ. ᏩᎴᎷᏃ ᎥᏍᎩᏯᏊ ᎢᎦ ᎢᏛᏁ ᎨᏎ 1983 ᏂᏛᎬᏩᎴᏅᏓ. ᏧᏟᎶᏍᏔᏅᏃ ᎠᏂᏣᎳᎩ ᎠᎴ ᎠᏂᏐ ᎠᏂᏴᏫᏯ ᏧᎾᏟᎶᏍᏔᏅ ᎾᏍᎩᏯ ᎨᏐᎢ. ᎾᏃ ᏗᎳᎬᏚᎶ ᏕᎪᏢᏍᎪᎢ, ᎩᎵ ᏧᎾᏙᎢᏛ ᎤᎾᏓᎽᎩ ᏗᎾᏟᎶᏍᏔᏅᎲᏍᎩ, ᎠᎴ ᏗᏂᏲᏟ ᏧᏂᎪᎵᏰᏗ ᏗᎪᏪᎵ. ᏗᏐᎢᏃ ᏚᏓᏠᏒ ᎠᎾᏓᎪᏅᏗᏍᎬ, ᏩᎴᎷ ᏧᏟᎶᏍᏔᏅ Southwestern Association ᏧᎾᏙᎢᏛ ᎤᎾᏑᏰᏎ ᏫᏓᏤᏢ ᎨᏎ ᏂᎩᏓ ᎠᏂᏴᏫᏯ ᏂᎬ ᏗᏁᎲ ᏧᎾᏟᎶᏍᏔᏅᎯ.”ᎠᎦᏍᏆᏂᎪᏒ, ᎠᎴ Ꮭ ᎰᏩ ᎬᎩᏬᏂᎯᏍᏗ ᏱᎨᏎ ᎠᏆᏕᎶᎰᏏ,” ᎠᏗ ᏩᎴᎷ. ᏑᏓᎵᏍᎪ ᎯᏍᎩ ᎠᏰᏟ ᎢᏯᏆᏕᏘᏴᏗ, ᏦᏍᎪᎯ ᎢᏧᏕᏘᏴᏗ ᎤᎶᏒᏍᏗ ᎢᎪᎯᏛ ᏂᏗᎦᏟᎶᏍᏗᏍᎪ, ᏄᏍᏛ ᏥᎨ Ꮭ ᎢᎸᎯᏳ ᎥᏍᎩ ᏱᏂᎬᏩᎵᏍᏓᏏ ᏱᎨᎵᏍᎨᎢ. ᏓᎵᏆᏰᏃ ᏗᏇᏅᏒ ᏙᎨᏒ, ᎤᎿᏃ ᎠᏂᏣᎳᎩ ᏓᎾᏟᎶᏍᏗᎲ ᏕᎦᎵᎶᏍᎬᎢ ᎤᎿᎾ ᏥᎨᎥᎢ. ᎭᏫᏂᏳ ᏫᏓᎩᎿᏍᏕᎸᏗ ᎤᎿᎾᎢ.”
“ᏂᎪᎯᎸᏰᏃ ᏙᏥᎸᏉᏗᏍᎨᏍᏗ ᎯᎾᎾ ᎠᏂᏍᎦᏯ ᎠᎴ ᎠᏂᎨᏯ ᎠᏂᏍᏆᏂᎪᏗᏍᎬ ᎠᎦᏙᎥᎲᏍᏗ ᎠᏂᏐ ᎣᏂ ᏥᏛᎾ ᎤᏅᏙᏗ ᎠᏗ ᏗᎦᏚᎲᏍᎩ. ᎤᎶᏒᏍᏔᏅ ᎦᎵᎡᎵᎦ Mike ᎠᎴ Jesse ᎨᎦᏑᏰᏗ ᏥᏂᎦᎵᏍᏗ ᏍᏓᏯ ᏚᏂᎸᏫᏍᏓᏁᎸᎢ.”
– TRANSLATED BY DENNIS SIXKILLER