Language preservation a goal of Cherokee art exhibit

Language preservation a goal of Cherokee art exhibit

July 29th, 2011 by Staff Report in Chattnow Art

A second exhibition of art from the Cherokee Heritage Center in Park Hill, Okla., opens Saturday at the Museum Center at Five Points in Cleveland, Tenn. "Generations: Cherokee Language Through Art" will be on display through Oct. 15.

For inspiration, Cherokee artists used characters from the Cherokee syllabary, an 85-character alphabet devised by Sequoyah, a Tennessee-born Cherokee.

The exhibition features artwork created by 93 artists, ages 3-91, from the Cherokee Nation (Oklahoma), United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians (Oklahoma) and the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (North Carolina).

"The participating artists used a variety of media, including ink, paint, quilting, baskets, wood, ceramics and even a television set to create 85 original works of art," said Cherokee Heritage Center Museum curator Mickel Yantz.

One section of the exhibit includes a DVD recording that will give the phonetic pronunciation of each character in the Cherokee syllabary.

The Museum Center, 200 E. Inman St., is open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturdays. Admission is $5 for adults; $4 for seniors, students and groups of 12 or more; free to all the first Saturday of each month.

For more information, call 423-339-5745 or visit


Aug. 20: Cherokee Family Day - Food and Crafts with Cherokee educator Tammera Hicks.

* 10 a.m.-noon. Cherokee Food Ways - Hands-on experience in making traditional foods, such as corn soup, hickory nut soup, frybread and desserts, with samples and recipes. $10 museum members, $12 for nonmembers. Reservations due by Aug. 12.

* 1-3 p.m. Family Medicine Bag - This class for ages 7 and older will show families how to sew and decorate their own medicine bag, an important item in Cherokee culture. $12 members, $15 nonmembers. Reservations due by Aug. 12.

Aug. 25: Cherokee Archaeology lecture by Russell Townsend.

* 6:30 p.m. Program by the tribal historic preservation officer for the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. $3 members, $5 nonmembers. Reservations not necessary.

Oct. 1: Cherokee Family Day - Weaponry, Stickball and Dancing with Tammera Hicks.

* 10:00 a.m.-noon. Learn the art of Cherokee weaponry using blow gun (hunting) and stickball (preparation for wars and settling of disputes). Use of blow gun available to ages 7 and older. Members $10 adults, $5 children; nonmembers $12 and $7. Reservations not required.

* 1-2 p.m. Cherokee Social Dancing. As a group, participants will learn the different dances and the roles each style played in the culture. Members $8 adults, $5 children; nonmembers $10 and $6. Reservations not required.

Oct. 15: Van trip to New Echota State Park.

* 8:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Visit the Cherokee homeland during Frontier Days at Calhoun, a re-creation of life in the 1820s with demonstrations of early 19th-century skills such as basket making, spinning, weaving, weapons, candle making and blacksmithing. Members $40, nonmembers, $45 (includes catered box lunch from Gardener's Market). Reservations due by Oct. 12.