TULSA, OK - The Cherokee Nation Cultural Tourism program is set to launch the 2011 season, which runs from March through October and features its four historically authentic cultural tours and a wide array of cultural events.
In April, a special presentation of the Civil War History Tour is planned to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the American Civil War. The tour includes a visit to historic Capitol Square in Tahlequah, Okla., to learn about the town’s destruction by Confederate troops. Guests will also visit the Murrell Home, an antebellum home that survived the fires of the Civil War. Visitors will explore Fort Gibson Historic Site, which changed hands several times between the states. And guests will stop at Honey Springs Battle site, a turning point in the Civil War and the largest battle fought between the states in Indian Territory.
The Cherokee Nation Cultural Tourism Group finished the previous season on a high note with multiple honors including the Oklahoma Tourism & Recreation Department’s “Tourism Organization of the Year” and “Outstanding New Attraction” Merit Awards. In addition, the program received awards from The Association for Women in Communications, The 31st Annual Telly Awards and The Oklahoma Historical Society among others.
“Cherokee Nation strives to excel in cultural tourism, preservation and education,” said Molly Jarvis, Vice President of Cultural Tourism at Cherokee Nation Entertainment. “Those three components set the tone for our program and continue to provide the direction for another high-quality season.”
The Cherokee Nation Cultural Tourism program will be presenting its four award-winning tours throughout the 2011 season including the Cherokee History Tour, Will Rogers History Tour, Civil War History Tour and Cherokee Old Settler Tour featuring authentic cultural sites and historic locations. The 2011 four cultural tours pricing is tiered and subject to a tribal tax that includes adults, seniors, and children ages 4-11 and 3 and younger.
Specialty and event-related cultural tours will also be presented during the 2011 season to coincide with a variety of festivals and events. The event related tours feature a unique, cultural-filled itinerary that will showcase Cherokee-centric events such as the Cherokee National Holiday. Cherokee Nation Cultural Tourism will also offer a variety of specialty tours including a return of History After Dark.
The Cherokee Nation realized the significance of the many historical sites and landmarks for the cultural tourism program and made a commitment to the preservation of four key locations including the Cherokee National Supreme Court Museum, the Cherokee National Prison Museum, the Cherokee National Capitol Building and Ross Cemetery.
An extension of the recently completed Ross Cemetery project, the Cherokee Nation has also started work on the new John Ross Museum, which is set to open in summer 2011. It will be the third museum wholly owned and operated by the Cherokee Nation following the dedication of the Cherokee National Supreme Court Museum in April 2010 and opening of the Cherokee National Prison Museum also in summer 2011.
The John Ross Museum will act as a gateway to Ross Cemetery and serve as a historical site showcasing materials on the Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation John Ross and history surrounding the Park Hill community.
Four Historically Authentic Cultural Tours Background and Dates
- Cherokee History Tour includes stops at the Cherokee Heritage Center and Museum, which houses the Trail of Tears exhibit; an Ancient Village; and Adam’s Corner Rural Village. Guests will also visit the Murrell Home, the only antebellum plantation home left in Oklahoma. Visitors will enjoy Tahlequah, the capital city of the great Cherokee Nation, while touring historic properties including the National Capitol Building, Cherokee National Supreme Court Museum and Cherokee National Prison Museum. Guests will then tour Northeastern State University’s Seminary Hall, which was once the Cherokee Female Seminary and the first institution of higher learning for women west of the Mississippi River and is a standing icon on the campus today.
Cherokee History Tour Dates: March 5, 12 and 19; May 7 and 14; June 4, 11 and 25; July 9, 16 and 23; Aug. 6 and 13; Sept. 10 and 17; and Oct. 1 and 15.
- Will Rogers History Tour will celebrate the life and work of Oklahoma’s favorite son and world-famous Cherokee. Guests will have the chance to tour the Will Rogers Museum in Claremore, Okla., and Rogers’ birthplace, Dog Iron Ranch, in Oologah, Okla., to view the historically restored house where he grew up. Visitors will enjoy shopping in the historic downtowns of Oologah and Claremore as well as visit the J.M. Davis Arms museum.
Will Rogers History Tour Dates: March 26; May 21; July 30; Aug. 20 and 27; and Sept. 24.
- Civil War History Tour begins with a visit to historic Capitol Square in Tahlequah, Okla., where guests learn of Confederate Brigadier General Stand Watie’s march through town, burning the Cherokee government buildings as he went. Guests will visit the Murrell Home, the only antebellum plantation home left in Oklahoma and one of the few in the area to survive the fires of the Civil War. Visitors will also see the room in the Murrell Home where Cherokee Nation Principal Chief John Ross signed allegiance to the Confederate States. Visitors will then tour Fort Gibson Historic Site to learn the history of the Fort during the War Between the States as it changed hands several times between the troops; and Honey Springs Battle site, the location of the largest battle in Indian Territory, where the Union beat the Confederacy in the turning point of the Civil War in Indian Territory.
Civil War History Tour Dates: April 2 and 16.
- Cherokee Old Settler Tour revisits a time before the Cherokee Removal, or the Trail of Tears, when a group of Cherokees willingly relocated to Arkansas beginning in 1808 and then to Indian Territory in 1828. This group was called the Western Cherokees, or Old Settlers, and guests will get a chance to view their historically important sites and learn about their history. Visitors will tour Sequoyah’s Cabin State Park, Tahlonteeskee Courthouse, Dwight Mission and the Fort Gibson Historic Site. Sequoyah’s Cabin State Park preserves on its original site the log cabin constructed in 1829 by Sequoyah, silversmith and Cherokee scholar. Dwight Mission was the site of an early printing press as well as a stopover point for many missionaries to the Cherokee. Fort Gibson Historic Site was established in 1824 to protect the western border of the United States and to maintain peace between the Cherokee and Osage tribes.
Specialty and Event-Related Cultural Tours Background and Dates
- Cherokee National Holiday – Sept. 2-5; Tahlequah, OK; is a celebration of the signing of the Cherokee Nation constitution of 1839 that recognizes the reunification of the Cherokee Nation in Indian Territory and will be celebrated by thousands of family, friends and visitors together from around the world in the Cherokee Nation’s capital, Tahlequah, over the Labor Day weekend. The theme for this year’s Cherokee National Holiday is “Jobs, Language and Community.”
- The 6th Annual Cherokee Art Market – Oct. 8-9; Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa, 777 West Cherokee Street, Catoosa, OK 74015; Features the finest Native American artwork representing more than 130 elite Native American artists from many different tribes across the nation, which will be displayed and sold at the Cherokee Art Market and includes beadwork, pottery, painting, basketry, sculptures and textiles.
- The 3rd Annual History After Dark – Oct. 20-22; Tahlequah, OK; takes a journey through times past on guided candlelight tours through Ross Cemetery featuring a unique opportunity to visit the burial grounds of Cherokee ancestors and hear stories of earlier generations with portrayals highlighting notable figures from Cherokee history.
About Cherokee Nation Cultural Tourism Department
The Cherokee Nation Cultural Tourism Department is managed by Cherokee Nation Entertainment and was created in 2007 to promote the story of the Cherokee people. Efforts by the Cherokee Nation include developing guided community and educational tours, creating tourism partnerships and programs throughout northeastern Oklahoma, and launching a new Cherokee tourism-specific web site.
About Cherokee Nation Entertainment
Cherokee Nation Entertainment is the gaming, hospitality, retail and tourism entity of the Cherokee Nation. Cherokee Nation Entertainment owns and operates the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, five Cherokee Casinos, Cherokee Casino Will Rogers Downs, three hotels, two golf courses and many other retail operations in northeastern Oklahoma.
About Cherokee Nation
The Cherokee Nation is the sovereign operating government of the Cherokee people. It is a federally recognized tribe of more than 300,000 Cherokee citizens, with its capital located in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. Employing more than 6,500 people, Cherokee Nation’s annual economic impact in Oklahoma and surrounding areas is more than $1 billion dollars.