Cherokee National Historical Society names new executive director for Cherokee Heritage Center

June 2, 2017

Dr. Charles Gourd to lead CHC beginning June 5

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TAHLEQUAH, Okla. — The Cherokee National Historical Society Board of Trustees has selected Dr. Charles Gourd as the new executive director of the Cherokee Heritage Center.

Dr. Gourd is a Cherokee Nation citizen from Park Hill with an extensive background in nonprofit fundraising strategies, donor relations and Native affairs.

As the executive director, Dr. Gourd will work alongside the CNHS board of trustees to ensure the Cherokee Heritage Center continues to advance its mission to preserve, promote and teach Cherokee history and culture.

“I am honored to be selected for this position and have the opportunity to work with so many others who share my passion and long-term interest in the future of the Cherokee Heritage Center,” said Dr. Gourd. “This is also somewhat of a homecoming for me, as I was one of the first tour guides at CHC and also participated in the Trail of Tears drama when I was young. I have worked for the tribe off and on throughout my lifetime, but this position felt more like a calling than a job, so I came out of retirement to serve the Cherokee people.”

Dr. Gourd has more than 30 years of experience in grant research, writing, management and administration. He previously served as executive director for the Oklahoma Indian Affairs Commission and serves on numerous federal peer review panels for federal agencies.

He earned a Bachelor of Arts in history in 1971 and a Master of Public School Administration in 1992 from Northeastern State University. He also earned a Master of Arts from the University of Oklahoma and a Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of Kansas in 1984.

“We are responsible for how our culture is presented to and perceived by the world,” said Gourd. “However, culture is not a static concept. Our history and traditions need to be preserved, but at the same time, we must help the world recognize our advancements so they may view us as the progressive, vibrant people we are.”

The Cherokee Heritage Center is the premier cultural center for Cherokee history, culture and the arts. It is located at 21192 S. Keeler Drive, Park Hill.