Tahlequah: The Cherokee Capital


Balloon Glow, part of Tahlequah's annual Hot Air Balloon Festival

Tahlequah is a beautiful little city; a jewel nestled in the Cookson Hills between the Illinois River, Fort Gibson Lake and Lake Tenkiller in northeastern Oklahoma. 

When the Cherokee people first began arriving in the area some 200 years ago, they quickly began settling communities in their new homeland. Tahlequah and nearby Park Hill soon became important centers for commerce, news, education and politics among the Cherokees. Tahlequah was ultimately selected as the capital city for the Cherokee Nation. It is the oldest municipality in Oklahoma, having been incorporated by an Act of the Cherokee National Council in 1843, more than 60 years before Oklahoma became a state in 1907.

Today, with a population of approximately 15,000 permanent residents, Tahlequah has a charming small town feel with big city amenities. Prentice Hall publishers named the city one of the “Best Small Towns in America”. Major employers in the area include Cherokee Nation, Tahlequah City Hospital and Northeastern State University. Tahlequah offers abundant opportunities for year-round entertainment, shopping, outdoor and sporting activities, ancient and present day culture and some of the friendliest people you’ll ever meet. You will notice the influences of Tahlequah’s original people everywhere in the place names, street names and street signs written in the Cherokee syllabary, as well as in artwork, architecture, local businesses, food and entertainment.

General Contact
communications@cherokee.org 918-453-5000