64th Annual Cherokee National Holiday - Sept 2-4, 2016

About the Artwork: Designer, Cherokee National Treasure Dan Mink. At the center of the design is a deer sugar skull decorated with elements of predator and prey. Inside the skull are snake skin, fish scales and patterns associated with Southeast Woodland design native to the Cherokee people. The cape feathers directly under the deer embrace the tribe’s 14 counties. The background is a sunset over Lake Tenkiller, marked with the seven-pointed star. The circle is encompassed by three patterns, including deer tracks to embody a successful hunt, stylized turkey feathers and scales. The three patterns represent the three federally recognized Cherokee tribes. Lastly, the seven Buffalo Carp fish under the circle honor the seven Cherokee clans. If you look closely, you might even find a bear hidden in the design!

THE 64th CHEROKEE NATIONAL HOLIDAY

TAHLEQUAH, OK, SEPT. 2-4, 2016

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.

This year's theme, "Stewards of Our Land," reflects the Cherokee Nation's commitment to the environment, as well as the preservation of our traditional lands, wildlife and natural resources.

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 (Ya’ll come!)

Please check back often for new information and holiday announcements. Entry forms and flyers are in the download section, below. 

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