Cherokee Heritage Center

The Center consists of a living history Cherokee village, a museum, and small township of historical buildings. Dedicated to the perservation of Cherokee culture and history, it is one of the most widely visited Native American sites in Oklahoma.

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Thursday, June 23, 2005

More photos from Special Benefit Opening

Grape juice vendor

Cherokee flutes

Wine vendor


Cheyanne 2


Wine vendors


Wednesday, June 22, 2005

State of Sequoyah Voting Continues Apace

Should Oklahoma have been one state or two? That's the million-dollar question that was so hotly debated a century ago, when Cherokees, Muskogees, Choctaws, Chickasaws, and Seminoles voted to establish the State of Sequoyah. Today we look back at that burning issue of the day with our current museum exhibit, and we allow you the chance to cast your vote either in the museum or online. Follow this link to vote online!

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Registrations Coming in for Cherokee National Holiday

Holiday vendors are starting to sign up, and we now have confirmed 6 food vendors and 12 craft booths for the biggest event in our calendar year--Cherokee National Holiday. We'll have jewelry, traditional goods, Cherokee language tapes, New Mexico Zuni Indians bringing in artwork and jewelry, and local Cherokees with traditional baskets and silver goods. Book vendors, t-shirts, Indian tacos, kettle corn, and other good food will make this a don't-miss event!

Monday, June 20, 2005

Trail of Tears Drama Special Benefit Opening a Huge Success!

More than 150 guests showed up on Saturday afternoon to celebrate and support the opening of the annual Trail of Tears Drama. Guests enjoyed a wine tasting sponsored by Oklahoma wineries, a silent auction called by Ken Busby, president of the Oklahoma Museums Association, and a superb meal prepared by our very own Kathy and Perry Van Buskirk. It was fabulous! The event took place in Adams Corner Rural Village, and after it finished guests got to see the first performance of the drama, written by the Heritage Center's executive director Rick Fields. Click here for photo gallery.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Special Benefit Opening

Tonight is the Special Benefit Opening for the Trail of Tears Drama. The event occurs at the Heritage Center, with a reception and dinner from 4:00-8:00, followed by a performance of the drama. This year's spectacle was written by Richard Fields. Be sure to join us for this fun event!

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Trail of Tears Drama Dress Rehearsal

Last night the cast of the annual Trail of Tears drama had a full dress rehearsal--it was awesome! This year's drama features stories and legends of the Cherokees--many of the stories are “stories-within-a-story,“ which adds to the dramatic effect. In one story, a modern family prepares to send its son off to war, and while he waits for a fellow soldier to pick him up, his grandmother tells a Cherokee legend. Combining the modern with the traditional makes this year's show one you won't want to miss! Click here to view photo gallery.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Photos from Houston Outreach Trip

Archivist Tom Mooney, Interpretive Specialist Rex Smith, and Marketing Director Seth Davidson met in Houston the week before last to tour the private museum collection of board member K.S. “Bud“ Adams, Jr., and to make a presentation to the Cherokee Cultural Society of Houston.

Thanks to the hospitality of Mr. Adams and of Mrs. Marjorie Lowe, we were able to meet many people interested in the Center's mission, and to learn more about the Houston society. Rex gave a wonderful cultural presentation, explaining the use and construction of traditional bows, arrows, blowguns, pottery, and baskets. Click here for photo gallery of the trip.

Rex Smith in Houston

Cherokee Games Winners!

Blowgun, 1st, Larry OosahweeBlowgun, 2nd, Danny McCarterBlowgun, 3rd, Jr. Oosahwee

Cornstalk Shoot, 1st, Curt SewellCornstalk Shoot, 2nd, Freddie FerrellCornstalk Shoot, 3rd, Terry Birdtail

Cornstalk photo, L to R: Curt Sewell, Freddie Ferrell, Terry Birdtail.

Cherokee Games Winners

Monday, June 13, 2005

Trail of Tears Drama Offers Family Entertainment

It is time once again for the Cherokee Heritage Center’s annual production of the Trail of Tears drama. The family-friendly production begins Saturday, June 18, at 8 p.m. in the 1,800-seat Tsa La Gi Amphitheater located on the grounds of the Cherokee Heritage Center.

“Spending time with your family under the stars watching the Trail of Tears drama is a memorable experience,” said playwright Richard A. Fields. “It is a great way to get a taste of Cherokee culture, experience the pageantry of outdoor drama, and learn the story of the Cherokee removal.”

For several years numerous talented actors have performed under the night sky portraying the forced removal of the Cherokee people. This year, the new Trail of Tears drama will bring back the music, pageantry and spectacle missing from last year’s show. The new drama depicts several Cherokee myths and legends such as “Rabbit Eats with Bear” and “How Possum’s Tale Got Bare.” These stories, mixed with the removal and several aspects of Cherokee history, give the show a lighter feel that the entire family can enjoy.

“We listened to the feedback of our visitors,” said Fields. “The audiences missed the music and pageantry of previous dramas, and they wanted some lighter moments.”

Proving there is more to Cherokee history than the commonly thought of removal, known as the Trail of Tears, this year’s drama is filled with entertaining myths, legends, spectacle and dance.

“The hardest part of writing the drama was not what to write, but what not to write,” said Fields. “We wanted a story that told the story of the Trail of Tears, but was not so depressing that no one would want to hear it. We wanted to share our culture while respecting it, and this is hard to do in a short drama. The Cherokee story is too great to tell in one and a half hours, yet it is too important not to tell at all.”

Making the drama even more appealing to families is this year’s reduced ticket prices. Ticket prices have been reduced to $12 for adults, $6 for children (K – 12), and $10 for seniors (55 +) and college students (with ID). The Trail of Tears Drama opens June 18 and runs every Thursday, Friday and Saturday through September 3 at 8 p.m. with a special final performance on Sunday, September 4.

For more information on the Trail of Tears drama call (918) 456-6007, toll free at (888) 999-6007, or visit the Web site at

Photos from BBC Film Crew Visit to Center









Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Services for Julian Fite

Funeral services for Julian Fite will be held on Monday, June 6, 2:00 p.m. at the First Presbyterian Church, 500 W. Broadway, in Muskogee, OK.For a map, go to
Bradley Funeral Service
1020 W Okmulgee St
Muskogee, OK 74401
(918) 682-3361

BBC Scotland Films Documentary at Cherokee Heritage Center

Caledonia TV, a British Broadcasting Company of Scotland, visited the Cherokee Heritage Center Friday, June 3, to capture footage for their upcoming documentary on John Ross and the Five Civilized Tribes during his lifetime. The documentary, titled “Chief Braveheart,” is a historical documentary about Ross who was chief of the Cherokee Indians during the most tumultuous 40 years of the tribe's history.
The four-person camera crew interviewed Chief Chad Smith of the Cherokee Nation, Cherokee Heritage Center Executive Director Richard A. Fields, and Ancient Village interpreter Robert Lewis for their one-hour documentary. The crew also filmed numerous attractions at the Cherokee Heritage Center covering everything from Cherokee history and culture before European contact to the current state of the Cherokee Nation.
Caledonia TV specializes in productions such as documentaries, factual entertainment, history, science, current affairs, arts and education and children’s programs. For more information on the stations productions, visit While editing for “Chief Braveheart” is to be completed by the first of November, the documentary is not yet scheduled to air.
Every year, numerous people visit the Cherokee Heritage Center, in the foothills of the Ozark Mountains, to learn more about Cherokee history and culture. The center is home to the Ancient Village, Adams Corner Rural Village, the Trail of Tears exhibit, the Cherokee National Museum, the Cherokee Family Research Center, Cherokee Heritage Tours and the Tsa La Gi Amphitheater, which was named one of America’s most beautiful outdoor theater venues. The center is devoted to the preservation and promotion of Cherokee history and culture through more than 30 annual events, two competitive art shows, various attractions and the highly-acclaimed “Trail of Tears” drama. The wide variety of activities offered help the Cherokee Heritage Center reach its goal of becoming the best, and most visited, tribally specific educational facility in the world.
To learn more about the Cherokee Heritage Center, call (918) 456-6007 or visit the Web site at

Monday, June 06, 2005

Cherokee Film Festival

Cherokee International Film Festival

Please mark your calendar for Friday, October 14, 2005. The International Cherokee Film Festival workshop on multi-media will be a great one for all the Cherokee Nation information systems staff and employees. You can check out the website at for the workshop’s exact location, which will posted soon.

1 pm - 2:30 pm Friday, October 14Speaker: Marsha Kinder, Ph.D. Professor USC School Of Cinema - Television Director, The Labyrinth Project, USC Annenberg Center for Communication Los Angeles, California

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Marble Players at Heritage Center

Cherokee players of traditional marbles have been coming to the center for more than twenty years in the summer months to enjoy this game.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Passing of Trustee Julian Fite

We at the Cherokee Heritage Center are celebrating the life of board member Julian K. Fite who died today in Oklahoma City. In addition to being the vice president of our board of trustees, Julian served as a friend, mentor and supporter of the Cherokee Heritage Center and its employees.

“When we lose someone like Julian Fite, we are left with a void and we wonder if it will ever be filled,” said Executive Director Richard A. Fields. “Julian was a strong advocate for Cherokees, not only in the legal system, but in preserving our culture and promoting Cherokee arts. His strong belief was expressed by his years of service on the Cherokee National Historical Society, Inc. Board of Trustees, and his unwavering support for the Trail of Tears Drama.”

Julian’s life has left an incredible impact on the face of the Cherokee Nation and the United States. At the time of his death he served as General Council for the Cherokee Nation and as Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice at Northeastern State University. He was a member of the Oklahoma and Virginia Bar Associations, the American Bar Association and the Muskogee County Bar Association.

Traces of the greatness of Julian’s life can be seen in the work he accomplished as a member of several organizations. Not only has he been an active member of our board of trustees for the past eight years, but he was a citizen of the Cherokee Nation, a member of the the Nature Conservancy, the National Association of Former U.S. Attorneys, First Presbyterian Church, the Oklahoma Wildlife Federation, the Tahlequah Chamber of Commerce, the Arts Council of Tahlequah and Common Cause – American Civil Liberties Union. He previously served as the Oklahoma State District Attorney and was appointed by the President of the United States as the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Oklahoma.

“As saddened as I am on a personal level, the loss to Cherokees everywhere is profound because of his knowledge, support, and optimism,” said Fields. “The staff of the Cherokee Heritage Center will miss him greatly, and we extend our heartfelt sympathies to his family.”

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Heritage Center Artist at Smithsonian

Cherokee National Treasure and Heritage Center employee Kathy Van Buskirk just completed a turtle-design, honeysuckle basket for inclusion in the traveling exhibit, “Carriers of the Culture.” This exhibit will be on the road for 2 years, and in 2006 will be at the Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C. Kathy's basekt and the exhibit will also be shown at the Red Earth festival in Oklahoma City. Carriers of the Culture is a western Cherokee basketry design group, funded in part from Michigan State University. The project is designed to show contemporary arts and activities among western Cherokees. There will be other baskets by basket weavers such as Peggy Brennan, along with young artists such as Kristin Smith, who was Miss Cherokee in 2003.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Ancient Village Work Day

May 31, Tuesday, Ancient Village Work Day

Eight volunteers, including three tribal councilors, showed up on Saturday to get their hands dirty and to help us create a food storage shelter in the ancient village. Volunteers also helped patch up some of the old summer huts. The food shelter is a box on stilts above the ground that protects food from animals; this was an important device to protect foodstuffs such as venison, fruit, and vegetables. Thanks to all for helping out and contributing financially to the cause of Cherokee culture!

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