TAHLEQUAH, OK – The Cherokee Nation will celebrate its 71st annual Cherokee National Holiday over Labor Day weekend, including a two-night concert at One Fire Field, cornhole competitions, traditional games championship, an inter-tribal powwow, parade and other longtime cultural favorites.
Traditionally, the Cherokee National Holiday draws more than 100,000 visitors from across the country. Holiday activities will be held Sept. 1-3 in Tahlequah, the capital of the Cherokee Nation.
“The Cherokee National Holiday is significant for our Cherokee people to celebrate the rebuilding of our government in Indian Territory after one of our darkest chapters in history, our removal,” said Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. “We had the strength and fortitude of our ancestors to persevere and still continue the important work to build up our tribal communities, health and well-being, language and culture and infrastructure of the Cherokee Nation. Cherokee Nation is also committed to affirming our rights as a tribal government and protecting our sovereignty to advance issues critical to our people.”
The 71st annual Cherokee National Holiday theme is “Building our Nation, Strengthening our Sovereignty.” The theme and art were created and designed to honor Cherokee Nation as a sovereign nation and to proclaim that Cherokees are a traditional people driving progress in a modern world and looking toward the future. Whether that be in new infrastructure, language and culture or building community, the Cherokee Nation thrives today as the country’s largest tribe and never forgets the foundation of strength and prosperity paved by Cherokee ancestors.
In the holiday design, the top portion represents future building projects that the Cherokee Nation has undertaken such as health care infrastructure, including building a new hospital and a new addiction treatment center. There are also seminary hall columns subtly placed in the reflection of the future landscape, a reminder of the first male and female seminaries and the strides the Cherokee Nation has made to rebuild tribal infrastructure after removal.
Underneath is the cupola atop the Cherokee National History Museum, representing the Cherokee Nation’s past and its sovereignty as a tribe. The row of people at the bottom, standing near what resembles the bottom of the seminary columns, represents the strong foundation built by the Cherokees who came before.
The artist, Cherokee National Treasure Dan Mink, designed the theme with a WPA-era style that also matches Chief Hoskin and Deputy Chief Bryan Warner’s current 12 initiative insignias.
The Cherokee National Holiday commemorates the signing of the Cherokee Nation Constitution in 1839, which re-established the tribe’s government in Indian Territory after forced removal from the Cherokees’ original homelands in the Southeast.