TAHLEQUAH, OK --- The Cherokee Heritage Center will continue its commitment to preserving and honoring Cherokee culture in 2011 by offering a variety of art shows, exhibitions and cultural classes. The Cherokee Heritage Center, located at 21192 S. Keeler Drive, Park Hill, Ok 74451, will celebrate its 48th year in operation.
“We are here to preserve, promote and teach Cherokee history and culture,” said Carey Tilley, Executive Director at the Cherokee Heritage Center. “This year’s art shows and exhibitions address all three objectives by offering unique glimpses into Cherokee life through the presentation of an incredible artistic tradition and sharing significant stories of the Cherokee past.”
Art Shows and Exhibitions
- Cherokee National Treasures Exhibition – Feb. 1-April 3; A tribute to the best Cherokee master artisans. Sponsored by Cherokee Nation Entertainment.
- The 40th Annual Trail of Tears Art Show – April 9-May 8; Presents authentic Native American art in one of Oklahoma’s oldest art shows. Entries are open to artists who are citizens of a federally recognized tribe. Sponsored by Bank of Oklahoma and the Chickasaw Nation.
- Cherokee National Female Seminary Exhibition – May 16-Aug. 7; Presents the story and appearance of the Female Seminary along with the archaeological discoveries made on the grounds. Sponsored by Oklahoma Humanities Council.
- Cherokee Homecoming Art Show – Aug. 13-Oct. 2; Presents authentic Cherokee art. Open to all Cherokee artists from the Cherokee Nation, Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, and United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians.
- Civil War Sesquicentennial Exhibition – Oct. 10, 2011-April 2012; Presents the story of the Cherokee Nation during the Civil War and the struggles that occurred in the area 150 years ago.
The cultural classes are designed to teach Cherokee customs through the arts. Classes are designed for the novice and intermediate learner, which require light, moderate or heavy effort as indicated. Each class will feature a historical overview of the particular medium for a better understanding of the craft. All materials are provided in the classroom and students will leave with a project.
- Quilting Class – Feb. 11, March 4, April 8, May 13; 1-5 p.m.; Light effort required; History of quilt making by Cherokees as well as basic techniques and quilt construction will be taught in this multiple session class.
- Ribbon Shirts – Feb. 25, 6–9 p.m.; Feb. 26, 9 a.m.-3 p.m.; Light effort required; The process for making a ribbon shirt will be taught in this class where each student will make their own shirt. Some sewing experience desired.
- Round Reed Basketry - March 5; 10 a.m.-3 p.m.; Light effort required; Students will learn the elements of basket making as well as the ‘double wall’ characteristic of Cherokee basketry from an experienced instructor.
- Beginning Pottery - April 2; 10 a.m.-3 p.m.; Light effort required; Southeastern pottery history will precede the class, which will teach the basic elements of hand-built pottery. Suitable for the novice student.
- Stickball Sticks - April 15-16, 6–9 p.m.; April 16, 9 a.m.-3 p.m.; Heavy effort required; The art of stickball making will be taught in a two day event. Students will learn the procedures of choosing the right kind of wood and to how to structure ball sticks.
- Blowguns - May 21, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.; Moderate effort required; River cane blowgun making and the history will be the subject of this class. The art of dart making will also be taught.
- Cane Flutes - June 4, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.; Moderate effort required; Students will learn the techniques of making a river cane flute. Each student will complete a flute from an experienced instructor.
- Tear Dress – Aug. 12, Sept. 9, Sept. 30. Oct. 28; 1-5 p.m.; Light effort required; This class will meet multiple times to teach the history, construction and finishing techniques of making a Cherokee tear dress. Some sewing experience desired.
- Flat Reed Basketry – Sept. 10; 10 a.m.-3 p.m.; Light effort required; An experienced instructor will share techniques used in weaving a Cherokee flat reed basket. Students will learn basketry construction processes and complete a basket of their own.
- Advanced Pottery – Sept. 16-17, 6-9 p.m.; Sept. 17, 9 a.m.–3 p.m.; Light effort required; Students will receive advanced instruction from a skilled artisan in the techniques of hand-built pottery, construction and firing. A historical overview will be presented. Some pottery experience desired.
- Carving – Oct. 15, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.; Moderate effort required; The ancient art of stone carving will be the subject of this class.
- Cherokee Moccasins – Nov. 5, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.; Light effort required; Cherokee moccasins, also known as pucker toe style, will be taught. Students will learn to measure, design and make moccasins.
- Advanced Beadwork – Dec. 2, 6-9 p.m.; Dec. 3, 9 a.m.-3 p.m.; Light effort required; Beadwork specific to Cherokee historical artifacts will be taught. Brief history of beadwork, material selection and beading techniques will be part of the instruction. Attendance of a beginning class is a prerequisite for this advanced class.
“These classes provide an opportunity to more deeply connect with continuing aspects of traditional Cherokee culture. Some of them fill up pretty quickly, so I encourage everyone interested to register as soon as possible,” added Tilley.
Cultural class registration is required since attendance is limited. Children must be at least 12 years of age and an adult must accompany children between ages 12-17.
About Cherokee Heritage Center
The Cherokee Heritage Center, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, is the premier cultural center for Cherokee tribal history, culture, and the arts. Located in the heart of the Cherokee Nation in Tahlequah, Okla., it was established in 1963 by the Cherokee National Historical Society to preserve and promote the Cherokee culture. The Cherokee Heritage Center is also home to the Cherokee National Archives, which is the Nation’s foremost collection of historic tribal related documents and artifacts from the 1700s through present day. The Cherokee Heritage Center is situated on the grounds of the original Cherokee Female Seminary, which is one of the first institutions of higher learning for women west of the Mississippi and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The National Park Service has designated the Center as the interpretive site for the western terminus of the Trail Of Tears for the Cherokees and other tribes forcibly removed to Indian Territory, now Oklahoma, during the 1800s.