Page 54

GC GREEN COUNTRY SCENE

THE HERITAGE OF THE CHEROKEE IS CRUCIAL TO THE HISTORY OF OKLAHOMA. AND A VISIT TO THE CHEROKEE HERITAGE CENTER HELPS EDUCATE VISITORS TO A HARSH TIME PERIOD FOR THE TRIBE AND HONOR THOSE WHO ENDURED. BY HANNAH GRAY GORDON

If you’re looking for an authentic cultural experience close to home, nothing quite compares to a visit to the Cherokee Heritage Center (CHC) located in Tahlequah. This nonprofit organization rests in the center of the Cherokee Nation and highlights the tribe’s history, culture and art. Having a solid understanding of historical events and cultures such as the Cherokee Nation is vital to improving our nation and ourselves. During the 1800s, Cherokees, along with other nations, were forced to walk along

54 MARCH 2017

the Trail of Tears, suffering through miles and months of hardship, lack of food and water, illness and abuse. They were relocated in this fashion to Indian Territory, now Oklahoma. “The National Park Service has designated the Center as the interpretive site for the western terminus of the Trail of Tears,” says Tonia Weavel, interim director of the Cherokee Heritage Center. The Center houses the Cherokee National Archives, a collection of historical tribal documents and artifacts gathered from the 1700s through present day.

Established in 1963 by the Cherokee National Historical Society, the center preserves a variety of cultural elements. The museum features a gallery for rotating shows and exhibits and houses a gift shop and the Trail of Tears exhibit. The grounds of the Center were formerly the Cherokee Female Seminary, one of the first higher learning institutions for western women. Various events occur throughout the year to promote the organization and further educate visitors. If you enjoy living art exhibits, the Center features Diligwa, an authentic portrayal of life as a Cherokee in 1710. The original Diligwa was the primary Cherokee town located in Tennessee. Positioned on 4 acres proximate to the Center’s main building, the CHC exhibit displays 19 wattle and daub buildings and 14 interpretive stations. Cherokee games are played on two game areas: a marble field and stickball field. The exhibit was opened in 2013 and creates an in-person experience of early 1800s life as a Cherokee. Stations inside the village also include stickball, basket making, flint knapping, blowguns and the dugout canoe.

Profile for Preview 918

March 2017 (Vol. 31, No. 3)  

Where to Dine. What to Do. Where to Find It. When It's Happening. Preview 918 For over 30 years, Preview has been the best resource for dis...

March 2017 (Vol. 31, No. 3)  

Where to Dine. What to Do. Where to Find It. When It's Happening. Preview 918 For over 30 years, Preview has been the best resource for dis...