http://www.cherokeephoenix.orgA map created by the Arkansas Archeological Survey shows a Cherokee reservation and Cherokee settlements in the late 1700s and early 1800s in what is today Arkansas. In 1828, these Cherokee Old Settlers were forced to abandon their Arkansas settlements and move into Indian Territory, now Oklahoma. COURTESY
A map created by the Arkansas Archeological Survey shows a Cherokee reservation and Cherokee settlements in the late 1700s and early 1800s in what is today Arkansas. In 1828, these Cherokee Old Settlers were forced to abandon their Arkansas settlements and move into Indian Territory, now Oklahoma. COURTESY

TOTA conference highlights Cherokee Old Settlers

Arkansas Archeological Survey Director George Sabo III speaks to an audience on what led the Cherokee Old Settlers to settle in Arkansas during his presentation “Cherokee Old Settlers in Arkansas,” on Oct. 16 at the 22nd annual Trail of Tears Conference and Symposium in Pocola, Oklahoma. WILL CHAVEZ/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Arkansas Archeological Survey Director George Sabo III speaks to an audience on what led the Cherokee Old Settlers to settle in Arkansas during his presentation “Cherokee Old Settlers in Arkansas,” on Oct. 16 at the 22nd annual Trail of Tears Conference and Symposium in Pocola, Oklahoma. WILL CHAVEZ/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
BY KENLEA HENSON
Reporter
11/15/2017 08:15 AM
POCOLA, Okla. – George Sabo III, Arkansas Archeological Survey director at the University of Arkansas, spoke about Cherokee Old Settlers on Oct. 16 during the 22nd annual Trail of Tears Conference and Symposium.

“My goal is to examine the experiences and accomplishments of Cherokee Old Settlers in Arkansas within a framework that considers historical events setting the stage for Cherokee arrivals during the late 18th and early 19th centuries,” he said.

Sabo highlighted historical events from the first encounters between Natives and Europeans in the mid-16th century to the French and Spanish alliance with Native leaders that led to early Cherokee settlements in Arkansas. These early settlers are known today as Old Settlers.

In the 17th century, Sabo said French and Spanish documents show that tribes such as the Tunicas, Caddo, Quapaw and Osage inhabited lands in Arkansas.

According to Sabo’s research, some of the first Old Settlers settled along the St. Francis River in northeastern Arkansas after “Anglo-Americans” violated the 1785 Treaty of Hopewell. The Cherokee, Choctaw and Chickasaw had signed the treaty with the new U.S. Congress. By 1805 approximately 1,000 Old Settlers were living along the St. Francis River, but they weren’t alone. People from the Abenaki, Delaware, Illinois, Miami and Shawnee tribes also occupied the area after the Revolutionary War.

Sabo discussed two events that led Cherokees to relocate to Arkansas in the early 19th century. One was an 1808 land cession between Upper Louisiana Gov. William Clark and Osage Chief Pawhuska. Although Pawhuska thought the treaty would secure hunting rights in the territory for the Osage, Clark planned for the territory to be open for settlement by other tribes.

The other event was an earthquake known as the New Madrid earthquake, which it and its aftershocks occurred from December 1811 to February 1812 in northeastern Arkansas and southeastern Missouri. The earthquakes destroyed Native settlements along the St. Francis River, including those of the Old Settlers. Sabo referenced historian Conevery Bolton Valencius, who noted that the earthquakes weren’t just a series of events to the southeastern Natives but “signs portending grave cultural and religious implications.”

Those two events plus the continuous conflict in the eastern Cherokee homelands resulted in the Old Settlers and more eastern Cherokees traveling west to the northern banks of the Arkansas River near present-day Russellville, Arkansas, to settle. Sabo suggests the Quapaw were in “friendly relationships” with the Cherokee newcomers.

“The Quapaws were, indeed, perfectly comfortable with an upstream Cherokee settlement area that could serve as a buffer separating Quapaws from Osages, among whom antagonisms still occasionally flared,” he said.

While in the new territory it was not peaceful for the Old Settlers. The Osage saw the land as theirs and attacked Cherokee settlements. For nearly a decade, the Old Settlers and the Osage warred.

Sabo mentioned one battle between the Old Settlers and Osages in 1817. The Cherokees organized 600 fighters and “attacked” Osage Chief Clermont’s town, killing more than 30 Osage and taking more than 100 prisoners. This event led the Osage to petition for a peace negotiation, which resulted in a land cession known as Lovely’s Purchase. The cession obtained an area of land that extended north of the Arkansas River to southern Missouri and 40 miles west from Fort Smith, Arkansas. Sabo said the ceded land was to act as a “buffer” between the Osages and Old Settlers.

“Cherokee assessments of the continuously changing geopolitical landscape enabled them to gain an upper hand over Osages,” he said.

After securing the land, the Old Settlers advanced in “American-style civilization.” They developed well-structured housing, schools and churches such as the Dwight Mission. Many developed ranches and fenced fields for crops and livestock. Sabo said the Old Settlers also tried to stay true to their culture.

“There were consequently two faces to Cherokee settlements in Arkansas, one illustrating a successful march toward civilization outwardly embracing white American ideals, the other preserving important cultural institutions including social structure, political leadership and religious belief and practice,” Sabo said.

All seemed well for the Cherokees. However, after the Treaty of Ghent was signed in 1814, ending the war between Great Britain, France and the United States, “Anglo-American” settlements in Arkansas multiplied. As the “Anglo” population grew, so did the “racial perspective” of Natives. The tribes that were once viewed as civilized were now seen as “savage.”

“In the view of territorial and federal officials, southeastern Indians including Cherokees should be removed even farther west to make way for the advance of American civilization,” Sabo said. “By the end of the second decade of the 19th century, these sentiments galvanized into legislative action at state, territorial and federal levels across the South to forcibly remove Indians from all lands in the path of expanding Anglo-American settlement.”

Hoping to escape removal, some Old Settler leaders went to Washington, D.C., to convince officials that they should be allowed to purchase their Arkansas lands. The Eastern Cherokees were also in Washington asking to remain on their homelands. Sabo said Congress and President John Quincy Adams’ administration would not budge.

Although the Old Settlers had to abandon their lands, where they were relocated to in 1828 wasn’t far. They settled parts of present-day Sequoyah, Muskogee and McIntosh counties in what is now eastern Oklahoma. Some of them settled again along the Arkansas River and formed the communities of Webbers Falls and Tahlonteeskee, later renamed Gore.

“The one small consolation for the Old Settlers was that their newly granted lands were located a comparatively short distance up the Arkansas River, and the move took place without most of the horror that accompanied the larger-scale Trail of Tears removals that commenced a decade later,” Sabo said. “And here we are today, celebrating a legacy of trial and tribulation but also of perseverance and success.”

Culture

BY LINDSEY BARK
Reporter
01/22/2018 08:15 AM
TAHLEQUAH – On a cold and windy Jan. 9, Cherokee Nation cultural biologists and Environmental Resources specialists harvested sunchokes, also known as Jerusalem artichokes, at the Heirloom Garden and Native Plant Site on the Tribal Complex. It is believed the sunchoke was a main food source for Cherokee people prior to European contact. “The sunchoke is a very important cultural plant. So that was one of the plants that we really wanted to establish in the Seed Bank and the native plant site. We were lucky enough to be gifted some really nice specimens from the Eastern Band (of Cherokee Indians) several years ago. They brought us three really nice plants. The three plants have really expanded,” Environmental Resources Senior Director Pat Gwin said. Gwin said the sunchoke is able to produce in mass amounts to harvest for the Seed Bank and as a food source. “Sunchoke, it was an important plant for a reason. It grows an extremely large amount of product for the amount of space, time and effort that you put into it,” he said. “We produce lots and lots of seeds every year.” Though the harvest ran a little late this season, Gwin said he expected hundreds to thousands of sunchoke tubers to yield. The plant is commonly harvested in the winter and may have been a winter food source for Cherokee because of its ability to grow in cold weather. Gwin said pre-European contact, the sunchoke was an important food source though it “fell out of favor” after contact. The plant has recently started to rise under the name of Jerusalem artichoke. The sunchoke resembles a sunflower when in full bloom. When harvested, the tuber underneath the ground resembles a potato, or water chestnut, and has similar qualities and textures due to its root structure. “When I have cooked these in the past, I’ve noticed that sort of eating them raw kind of tastes like a raw potato or even kind of like water chestnut. If you cook them, and don’t cook them at a high heat, they’ll kind of keep the texture of a water chestnut. They can mostly be cooked just the way that we would cook a potato,” Feather Smith-Trevino, CN cultural biologist, said. She said sunchokes are not commonly found in a grocery store or produced commercially, possibly because of its inability to “keep” once it is out of the ground. “With the potato, once we gather those, they can be stored for months and months at a time and they won’t go bad. But with Jerusalem artichokes, once they’re pulled out of the ground their usually only good for maybe about another week to two weeks. They don’t keep much longer than that,” Smith-Trevino said. For this year’s Seed Bank, around 88 packages were created for Cherokees to grow and harvest their own sunchoke plants.
BY STAFF REPORTS
01/19/2018 12:30 PM
PARK HILL – Native American youth are invited to participate in the 2018 Cherokee Art Market Youth Competition and Show, scheduled for April 7 through May 5. All artists must be citizens of a federally recognized tribe, in grades 6-12, and are limited to one entry per person. There is no fee to participate in the competition. Entries will be received between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. on March 29 at Cherokee Nation Businesses, 950 Main Pkwy., in Tahlequah. All submissions must include an entry form attached to the artwork, an artist agreement form and a copy of the artist’s Certificate Degree of Indian Blood card or tribal citizenship card. Artwork is evaluated by division and grade level. Awards consist Best in Show - $250; first place - $150; second place - $125; third place - $100; Bill Rabbit Art Legacy Award - $100. The Best in Show winner will also receive a free booth at the Cherokee Art Market in October. A reception will be held from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on April 6 at the Cherokee Heritage Center in conjunction with the 47th annual Trail of Tears Art Show. Winning artwork selected from the Cherokee Art Market Youth Competition will remain on display throughout the duration of the Trail of Tears Art Show. Cherokee Nation Cultural Tourism is hosting the Cherokee Art Market Youth Competition. Applications are available at <a href="http://www.CherokeeArtMarket.com" target="_blank">www.CherokeeArtMarket.com</a>. For more information, call Deborah Fritts at 918-384-6990 or <a href="mailto: cherokeeartmarket@cnent.com">cherokeeartmarket@cnent.com</a>. The CHC is located at 21192 S. Keeler Drive.
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 STAFF REPORTS
01/08/2018 02:30 PM
TAHLEQUAH – The Cherokee Speakers Bureau will be held Thursday Jan. 11 from 12:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. We will meet in the Community Ballroom that is located behind the Restaurant of the Cherokee. All Cherokee speakers are invited to attend. If you want to bring a side dish or a dessert, feel free to bring it. Come speak Cherokee and enjoy food and fellowship. For further information about the event, please contact: the Language Program at 918-453-5151; John Ross at 918-453-6170; or Roy Boney Jr. 918-453-5487. Tsalagi aniwonisgi unadatlugv dodvnatlosi Nvgineiga Unolvtani 11 ganvsulvi 12:30 p.m. adalenisgi 4 p.m. igohida. Na Anitsalagi tsunalisdayetiyi tsigotlv unaditli wayvsdi onadilvyvi utani kanvsula dodvnatlosi. Naniv Anitsalagi aniwonisgi otsitayohiha uniluhisdii. Alisdayvdi ayohisdi yodulia. Dodayotsadatlisani ale dodayotsalisdayvna hilutsvi. Ugodesdi tsadulihesdi tsadelayohisdi hiina wigehiyadvdi: Tsalagi Gawonihisdi Unadotlvsv 918-453-5151; John Ross 918-453-6170; or Roy Boney Jr. 918-453-5487.
BY TRAVIS SNELL
Assistant Editor – @cp_tsnell
12/31/2017 10:00 AM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – With its 2017 annual homecoming T-shirt now for sale, the Cherokee Phoenix is calling for Cherokee artists to submit design concepts for the news organization’s 2018 T-shirt. In 2016, the Cherokee Phoenix staff introduced a T-shirt to differ from the tribe’s Cherokee National Holiday T-shirt. Phoenix staff members contracted with artist Buffalo Gouge for the shirt’s initial design. For this year’s homecoming shirt, Phoenix staff members selected Daniel HorseChief’s concept out of approximately 10 designs from artists. The Cherokee Phoenix then contracted with HorseChief to create the 2017 shirt. HorseChief said his concept comes from a four-panel painting that features Selu, the Corn Mother in Cherokee lore. The image shows the bust of Selu, who is looking down into a Southeastern art pattern. Behind her on the left side are seven ears of corn with water under it. Behind her on the opposite side is a phoenix with fire below it. Above the phoenix is the Cherokee seven-pointed star. Above the image, written in Cherokee, are the words “Cherokee Phoenix.” Below the image, in English, is “2017 CHEROKEE HOMECOMING.” The limited-quantity, black shirts are short-sleeved, ranging in sizes small to 3XL and sell for $20 plus tax. The shirts are available at the Cherokee Phoenix office in Room 231 of the Annex Building (Old Motel) on the Tribal Complex. For more information, call 918-453-5269. They are also available at the Cherokee Nation Gift Shop, als0 on the Tribal Complex, or online at <a href="http://cherokeegiftshop.com" target="_blank">http://cherokeegiftshop.com</a>. Phoenix staff members will also have shirts available at the Cherokee Phoenix booths at the W.W. Keeler Tribal Complex and Capital Square during the Cherokee National Holiday in September. The Cherokee Phoenix is accepting concept ideas from artists who are Cherokee Nation, United Keetoowah Band or Eastern Band citizens until midnight on Jan. 1. Artist can email detailed concepts to <a href="mailto: travis-snell@cherokee.org">travis-snell@cherokee.org</a>. For artists contemplating submitting design ideas, please note that if your concept is chosen and you sign a contract, the Cherokee Phoenix will own the artwork because we consider it a commissioned piece. As for what Phoenix staff members look for in a concept, we ask that artists “think Cherokee National Holiday” and include a phoenix.
BY STACIE GUTHRIE
Reporter – @cp_sguthrie
12/20/2017 08:15 AM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – After seeing a need for more people to create metal works of art, Cherokee artist and jeweler Wolf Walker decided it was important to keep the art form alive in Cherokee culture. Walker said after visiting the Five Civilized Tribes Museum in Muskogee he noticed there was no metal jewelry on display. And after speaking to the museum director he learned that there hadn’t been for years. “It’s dissipating for some reason. I don’t know why. So that’s important for me to keep alive,” he said. With this in mind, Walker decided to teach metal smith classes at the Cherokee Arts Center with the hope of passing on his knowledge and love for the craft. “We’re having a beginner metal smith class to introduce people to the procedures of basic soldering, cutting, hammering, concepts of temperature, blades for the saw. But more importantly (it’s) having them come up with the creative idea that they’ve always thought about making but never thought that it could be or didn’t think that they had the talent to make,” Walker said. When teaching a class, Walker said it’s important to let students work at their paces. “They move along at their own speed because we don’t have a time clock here,” he said. “When they’re comfortable with moving on to the next stage and they reach how far they want to go and then they can move on to the next stage.” Walker said his Nov. 21 class learned at a “fast” pace, which “excited” him. “That makes me excited because they’re teaching me at the same time because a student always teaches the instructor more than what the instructor teaches the student,” he said. “That’s my philosophy.” Walker said he doesn’t influence students, only helps them imagine their ideas come about. “I don’t push them toward that (Cherokee) traditional way because a lot of them, the students come in, they don’t have any idea of how to apply the designs or the stories they’ve heard with it,” he said. “So I help them develop with that traditional sense because that’s one thing I want them to understand that they have to have, a base of understanding where they want to start from.” Walker said if people wish to enroll in the class he encourages them to do so. “You can come in here as a beginner, or you can come in here as a intermediate, or you can come in here as somebody who wants to learn just something in just one class…I can help you out with that,” he said. “I make them feel comfortable because they’re my boss. They know what they want. I don’t know what they want. I just guide them. I make people feel comfortable with what they’re doing because I want to learn from them. The more mistakes they make, the more I learn.” Although the classes are currently offered in Tahlequah, Walker hopes to take them to communities within the Cherokee Nation’s jurisdiction in 2018. Beginner classes are $35 per student and are from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. every Tuesday. For more information or to register, visit <a href="http://www.wolfwalkerjewelry.com" target="_blank">www.wolfwalkerjewelry.com</a>.