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.”
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Culture

BY STAFF REPORTS
04/24/2018 10:00 AM
CHATSWORTH, Ga. – The next meeting of the Georgia Chapter of the Trail of Tears Association will begin at 10:30 a.m. on May 12 at the Vann House. The meeting will be the second in a series of meetings commemorating the 180th anniversary of the Cherokee removal. The guest speaker will be former association president, Leslie Thomas. Her presentation is titled “The Round-up and Life in the Encampments.” The meeting is open and free to the public. The U.S. Army established Fort New Echota in 1836 during the Cherokee Removal period in present-day Calhoun, Gordon County, Georgia. It was later renamed Fort Wool in 1838 and abandoned later in 1838 after Cherokee people were rounded up and sent west. The TOTA was created to support the Trail of Tears National Historic Trail established by an act of Congress in 1987. It is dedicated to identifying and preserving sites associated with the removal of Native Americans from the southeastern United States. The Georgia TOTA chapter is one of nine state chapters representing the nine states that the Cherokee and other tribes traveled through on their way to Indian Territory (now Oklahoma). GCTOTA meetings are free and open to the public. People need not have Native American ancestry to attend GATOTA meetings, just an interest and desire to learn more about this tragic period in this country’s history. For more information, email Walter Knapp at <a href="mailto: walt@wjkwrites.com">walt@wjkwrites.com</a>.
BY LINDSEY BARK
Reporter
04/24/2018 08:30 AM
TAHLEQUAH – Northeastern State University’s John Vaughan Library Special Collections is displaying the works of Cherokee Nation citizen and award-wining artist Troy Jackson in an exhibit called “The Arrival” that runs April 5 to May 4. During an April 5 reception, the public was invited to view Jackson’s work and speak with the artist. “I’m honored to have him here. We try to make it a point to be a cultural destination and really represent culture in the area and the Cherokee people. So certainly having Mr. Jackson’s art on display here is an honor for us but it’s also in line with our mission,” NSU Director of Libraries Steven Edscorn said. Edscorn added that NSU’s library is a “cultural repository” and the Special Collections focuses on American Indian studies and history, specifically on the tribes of Oklahoma. Jackson, a NSU alumnus, began his love for art as a child with the ambition to become a painter. While in college in 1977, he was inspired by a ceramics class to learn pottery. It wasn’t until 2010 that he began to sculpt. Jackson said his sculptures contain layers of meaning from the materials to the designs used in his work. Most of his sculptures, including those in the library, are made of steel and clay. “The reason I do that is because they really don’t like each other. In today’s society it seems like we’re always mixing things. Everything is being mixed together. So when we mix two things together that doesn’t seem to fit, we have to find a way to make them fit. And that’s why I use the steel and clay,” Jackson said. In designing a piece, Jackson incorporates his Cherokee roots and the ideology of mixing nature and industry. For example, he uses gears, cogs and fish all in one piece. “My future intentions are to introduce the irony of our strengths and weaknesses in a mixed Native American and European culture,” Jackson said. “Gears and cogs represent the Industrial Revolution that developed during the 19th century. The fish are symbolic of nature in its abundance and how important it was for the early American Indians survival. The irony is that for us today, machinery and technology are needed to help preserve a natural environment that was once self-contained.” Jackson, a full-time artist, is also a former educator, teaching classes at the University of Arkansas during his assistantship for graduate school and as an adjunct instructor for NSU and Bacone College in Muskogee. He also is on the Cherokee Arts Center advisory board in Tahlequah. “The Arrival,” located on the first floor of the library, runs in conjunction with NSU’s Symposium on the American Indian. For more information call 918-316-0187.
BY STAFF REPORTS
04/22/2018 04:00 PM
SULPHUR – Explore your Native American heritage at the Five Tribes Ancestry Conference on June 7-9 at the Chickasaw Cultural Center. The Inter-Tribal Council of the Five Civilized Tribes, whose mission is to unite the governments of the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Muscogee Creek and Seminole nations, has endorsed this first-of-its-kind conference. “The Five Tribes have a shared history due to the creation of the Dawes Rolls at the turn of the last century,” Cherokee Heritage Center Executive Director Dr. Charles Gourd said. “The vast majority of our visitors at CHC are interested in researching their family heritage, but they just aren’t sure where to start. Working with the Five Tribes, we have created a one-of-a-kind conference that will provide a better understanding of genealogical methodology and introduce available records to aid individuals in their family research.” The three-day event is expected to provide tools to research Native American ancestry and discussion topics with guest speakers, including keynote speaker Dr. Daniel F. Littlefield Jr., director of the Sequoyah Research Center at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. “Archives, historical societies and other genealogical institutions, especially in the south-southeast, have all seen an increase in the number of people seeking information about their family ancestry,” Littlefield said. “The majority of researchers are focused on validating their family’s claim to Indian ancestry and, thus, tribal citizenship. It is our responsibility to assist these individuals to the best of our ability while educating the public about the realities of the search.” The cost to attend is $150 and includes a conference bag and flash drive with digital copies of presentation materials. Registration forms are available at <a href="http://www.CherokeeHeritage.org" target="_blank">www.CherokeeHeritage.org</a>. The deadline to register is May 31. The CHC is presenting the Five Tribes Ancestry Conference, but it will take place at the Chickasaw Cultural Center at 867 Charles Cooper Memorial Road. For more information, including accommodations and registration, call 918-456-6007, ext. 6162 or email <a href="mailto: ashley-vann@cherokee.org">ashley-vann@cherokee.org</a> or <a href="mailto: gene-norris@cherokee.org">gene-norris@cherokee.org</a>.
BY STAFF REPORTS
04/20/2018 04:00 PM
PARK HILL – The Cherokee Heritage Center is hosting cultural classes designed to preserve, promote and teach traditional Cherokee art. The Saturday workshops are held once a month and provide hands-on learning opportunities with various traditional art forms. Registration is open for the May 5 class on flat reed basketry and plant dyes and the June 2 class on flint knapping. Both classes are from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and cost $40 each. Early registration is recommended as class size is limited. For more information or to RSVP, call Tonia Weavel at 918-456-6007, ext. 6161, or email <a href="mailto: tonia-weavel@cherokee.org">tonia-weavel@cherokee.org</a>. The CHC is located at 21192 S. Keeler Drive.
BY STAFF REPORTS
04/19/2018 10:00 AM
PARK HILL – The Cherokee Heritage Center recently received nearly $12,000 in grants from the Oklahoma Arts Council to support three new cultural artists in its interactive exhibits for the 2018 tourism season. “The addition of these artists to our staff will aid in our efforts to provide an engaging and interactive environment for visiting guests,” CHC Executive Director Dr. Charles Gourd said. “We are thankful for the support of the OAC, which continues to support our mission to preserve, promote and teach Cherokee history, art and culture.” Cherokee Nation citizens Lily Drywater and Geoff Little are providing cultural demonstrations in the ancient Cherokee village, Diligwa, which authentically portrays Cherokee life in the early 1700s. Drywater performs traditional finger weaving, and Little demonstrates the art of bow making. CN citizen Charlotte Wolfe has joined the team in Adams Corner Rural Village, which represents Cherokee life in the 1890s before Oklahoma statehood. Wolfe demonstrates Cherokee basketry and cornhusk dolls. “As a young girl, I had a hunger for my heritage and a desire to immerse myself in the Cherokee culture,” said Wolfe. “That spark has fueled my career, and I have had the privilege to study a variety of Cherokee art forms, many from Cherokee National Treasures. I feel that each one is a gift passed down to me, and I take great pride in sharing that knowledge with guests visiting the heritage center. I hope that each guest leaves with a better understanding of Cherokee culture, and that they feel inspired to learn more.” The CHC is the premier cultural center for Cherokee history, culture and the arts. It’s located at 21192 S. Keeler Drive. Summer hours are from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Funding provided by the Oklahoma Arts Council is supported financially by the state and the National Endowment for the Arts. The OAC is the state agency for the support and development of the arts. Its mission is to lead in the advancement of Oklahoma’s thriving arts industry. It provides more than 400 grants to nearly 225 organizations in communities statewide each year, organizes professional development opportunities for the state’s arts and cultural industry, and manages works of art in the Oklahoma Public Art Collection and the public spaces of the state Capitol. Additional information is available at <a href="http://www.arts.ok.gov" target="_blank">arts.ok.gov</a>.
BY STAFF REPORTS
04/18/2018 12:15 PM
TAHLEQUAH – Following the Native film series and keynote speakers throughout the week, the Northeastern State University 46th annual Symposium on the American Indian will conclude with the NSU Powwow. The powwow begins at 2 p.m. on April 21 in the University Center Ballroom. Kelly Anquoe will begin the day by teaching a dance workshop that will provide an opportunity for individuals to learn about the styles of dance and types of regalia that will be seen during the powwow. There will also be time for questions related to powwow protocol. The Learning Traditional Dance Workshop will be at 2 p.m. A Gourd Dance will begin the powwow at 3 p.m., followed by a dinner break from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. and the Grand Entry/Intertribal will begin at 7 p.m. and conclude at midnight. Event leaders include the master of ceremonies Stanley John (Navajo), head lady dancer Robyn Chanate (Cherokee/Kiowa), head man dancer Daniel Roberts (Muscogee Creek/Aleut/Choctaw), head gourd dancer Chris Chanate (Kiowa/Cherokee), head singer Joel Deerinwater (Muscogee Creek/Cherokee), Color Guard from the Mvskoke Creek Nation Honor Guard and the arena director Tony Ballou (Cherokee/Creek/Navajo). Traditional arts vendors will be set up at the event along with institutional and organizational display booths. Symposium activities are free and the public is encouraged to attend. For more information, visit <a href="http://www.nsuok.edu/symposium" target="_blank">www.nsuok.edu/symposium</a>.