Jackson honored with grand prize at 48th annual Trail of Tears Art Show and Sale

April 8, 2019

The 48th annual Trail of Tears Art Show grand prize was awarded to Troy Jackson, Cherokee Nation, for “Faith in the Creator.”The 48th annual Trail of Tears Art Show grand prize was awarded to Troy Jackson, Cherokee Nation, for “Faith in the Creator.”

Special exhibit on display through May 5

TAHLEQUAH, Okla. — Winners of the 48th Annual Trail of Tears Art Show and Sale were announced Friday during an awards celebration at the Cherokee Heritage Center.

Cherokee National Treasure Troy Jackson received the grand prize for his sculpture “Faith in the Creator.” This marks the sixth grand prize win for Jackson at the Trail of Tears Art Show.

“Being recognized at this show means so much to me,” Jackson said. “It took me a long time to get to this level and every year the competition gets better and better. This year’s show is proof of that. This is a large show filled with quality work and I am honored and humbled to receive this award amongst so many talented artists and friends.”

The sculpture stands about 5 and a half feet tall and is made of clay and steel. Jackson used both traditional and contemporary methods combining wheel throwing and hand building techniques, and used oxides to give the clay its earth-tone finish.

“The piece was influenced by my Cherokee and European family backgrounds,” Jackson explained. “Each had different beliefs and different ideas, but both had strong ties to Christianity. While religion can sometimes be a hard subject to tackle, I found the shared belief in a creator inspiring. I hope this piece helps others recognize that there is a way for families to share a belief and find unity in faith.”

The Trail of Tears Art Show and Sale is the longest-running American Indian art show in Oklahoma, featuring a variety of authentic Native art. The show features 153 items from 89 artists, representing 19 tribal nations.

“The Trail of Tears Art Show and Sale continues to be one of the heritage center’s most popular exhibitions,” said Dr. Charles Gourd, executive director for Cherokee Heritage Center.

“We take great pride in this longstanding show and in the value and quality of the authentic Native American art that is showcased within it. We hope the public will join us as we reflect on this significant time in our history and celebrate the talented artists that are dedicated to preserving, promoting and teaching that history through art.”

The 48th annual Trail of Tears Art Show and Sale runs through May 5, and all artwork featured in the show is available to purchase.

The following summary highlights the grand prize and first-place winners:


Trail of Tears Art Show
Category / Place
Artist Name / Affiliation / Art Piece
GRAND PRIZE Troy Jackson, Cherokee Nation, “Faith in the Creator”
Painting, First Place Johnnie Diacon, Muscogee Creek Nation, “Super Indians: Origins”
Sculpture, First Place Tama Roberts, Cherokee Nation, “Rise Up and Fly”
Basketry, First Place Vivian Garner Cottrell, Cherokee National Treasure, “United First Nations”
Pottery, First Place Troy Jackson, Cherokee National Treasure, “Bird Effigy Pot”
Jewelry, First Place Toneh Chuleewah, Cherokee Nation, “Indian River Bracelet”
Graphics, First Place Melinda Schwakhofer, Muscogee Creek Nation, “Road to Oklahoma”
Miniature, First Place Norma Howard, Choctaw/Chickasaw , “Saturday Morning”
Trail of Tears Award Daniel M. HorseChief , Cherokee Nation, “Renewal”
Bill Rabbit Legacy Award Roy Boney, Jr., Cherokee Nation, “Painting Herself to Life”
Emerging Artists, First Place Gary Henson, Cherokee Nation, “Todaka, War Chief and Corn Woman Head Pots”
Betty Garner Elder Award Toneh Chuleewah, Cherokee Nation, “Indian River Bracelet”


Winners were also announced for the Cherokee Art Market Youth Competition. The annual youth competition features art by Native youth in grades 6-12. The artists recognized with the Best of Show award will also receive a booth space at the annual Cherokee Art Market in the fall.

The following summary highlights the 2019 Cherokee Art Market Youth Competition first-place winners and judge’s choice awards:


Cherokee Art Market Youth Competition
Show / Category / Place
Artist Name / Affiliation / Art Piece
BEST OF SHOW Emma Sherron, Cherokee Nation / Ponca Tribe, “Woven Wall Hanging”
Two Dimensional, First Place, Grades 6-8 Aiden Bearpaw, Cherokee Nation, “Forced Removal”
Two Dimensional, First Place, Grades 9-10 Caitlyn McWhorter, Cherokee Nation, “The Great Battle of Aganunitsi and the Uktena”
Two Dimensional, First Place, Grades 11-12 Macey Conner , Cherokee Nation, “Alasgida Sudetiyvda Ganvhida (Year Long Dance)”
Three Dimensional, First Place, Grades 6-8 Emma Sherron, Cherokee Nation / Ponca Tribe, “Woven Wall Hanging”
Three Dimensional, First Place, Grades 9-10 Tanner Williams, Cherokee Nation, “Duck, Duck, Goose”
Three Dimensional, First Place, Grades 11-12 Chandler Jackson, Cherokee Nation, “Mandala Pot”
Judge’s Choice Jordan Crittenden, Cherokee Nation, “Stomp Skirt with Belt”
Judge’s Choice Samantha Lawson, Cherokee Nation, “Tsula”
Judge’s Choice Kelsey Morgan, Chickasaw Nation / Cherokee Nation, “Gosdaya Gadaldodi”
Bill Rabbit Award Macey Conner, Cherokee Nation, “Alasgida Sudetiyvda Ganvhida (Year Long Dance)”


The 48th annual Trail of Tears Art Show is made possible through the generous support of Chickasaw Nation, Bank of Oklahoma, Cherokee Nation Businesses, Garner-Cottrell Family, BancFirst, Rabbit Studios and Holiday Inn.

The Trail of Tears Art Show began in 1972 with the intent to create a venue where diverse art forms can be used to exhibit American Indian heritage. Initiated before the completion of the museum, the art show was held in the rain shelter of the Tsa-La-Gi Amphitheater. In 1975, it became the first major exhibition in the present museum. The Cherokee Heritage Center is the premier cultural center for Cherokee tribal history, culture and the arts. It is located at 21192 S. Keeler Drive, Park Hill, Oklahoma.