About the Artwork
Our 65th Cherokee National Holiday theme is “Water is Sacred. ” ᎠᎹ (“a ma” or water) has long been a symbol of healing for Cherokees. Seven sycamore leaves floating upon the water symbolize the sycamore tree where the water spider received our first fire. It also represents the Cherokee medicinal practice of immersing yourself in the river or creek one last time before winter while it is still warm and the autumn leaves have fallen into the water. The fabled guwisguwi, a water bird, connects us to our ancient past. Its graceful neck mimics the gentle curve of a moving stream. In contrast, mountains in the background symbolize the longevity, strength and permanence of our culture. This year’s exclusive artwork can be found on materials throughout the Holiday, including the official t-shirt and program, and is the creation of Cherokee National Treasure Dan Mink.
Click here for the Online Interactive Map
Click here to take the Online Tour
Hard copies of this year's schedule will be available at Info Booths located at WW Keeler Complex, One Fire Field, Cherokee Heritage Center, Intertribal Powwow and (Saturday only) Capitol Square. Please scroll down to the DOWNLOADS section for flyers, entry forms, schedules, maps and more! (updated frequently)
Osiyo! We invite you to join us for the Cherokee National Holiday, a celebration of Cherokee heritage, cultural awareness and reuniting families. Thousands of Cherokees and visitors from across the United States and abroad make the pilgrimage to the historic Cherokee Nation capital in Tahlequah, Oklahoma to renew friendships and celebrate the Cherokee spirit. The holiday has been observed annually since 1953 to commemorate the signing of the 1839 Cherokee Constitution and the Act of Union reuniting Cherokees both East and West after the Trail of Tears. With an exciting array of entertainment, cultural and athletic events, it has grown into one of the largest festivals in Oklahoma, attracting more than 100,000 visitors from across the world.
This multi-day celebration is jam-packed with sports activities for all ages, from traditional games such as Cherokee marbles, the cornstalk shoot and blowgun competition to the more familiar golf and softball tournaments. Hundreds of vendors and crafts people set up booths where visitors may view and purchase authentic Native American-made products and foods. Music lovers will enjoy many events, including gospel and bluegrass music, a toe-tapping fiddler’s contest and a concert from the award-winning Cherokee National Youth Choir.
History buffs are invited to visit one of our exciting museums that highlight aspects of Cherokee life, such as the Ross Museum, Cherokee Supreme Court Museum and the Cherokee National Prison Museum. Nearby is the Cherokee Heritage Center and Family Research Center, that includes the Diligwa Living History Village. History is made every year as the Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation delivers the annual State of the Nation Address to the Cherokee people.
Those with children will especially enjoy the annual parade downtown, storytelling, children’s games and fun hands-on traditional crafts events. The Inter-Tribal powwow held on the Cherokee Nation Cultural Grounds is always a crowd favorite, and highlights the Holiday celebration nightly as dancers from all over the United States compete for prizes and top honors.
The Cherokee National Holiday is a festive time in Tahlequah. We hope it will be an event you and your family will want to experience every Labor Day weekend.
Wi tse do lv i (Y'all come!)
Please check back often for new information and holiday announcements, including our full schedule for 2017. Entry forms and flyers will be added in the download section directly below, as they become available.
For more information about the Cherokee National Holiday, please write to firstname.lastname@example.org