Cherokee Heritage Center presents distinguished awards at SevenStar Gala

October 22, 2018

Annual event recognizes contributions to Cherokee culture

TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – The Cherokee Heritage Center recently hosted its annual SevenStar Gala on Oct. 20 at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa.

Four prestigious awards were given to recognize those who promote the Cherokee National Historical Society's mission to preserve, promote, and teach Cherokee history and culture.

Dr. Charles W. Grim received this year’s Contemporary Achievement Award. The award recognizes a Cherokee who is accomplished in a chosen field, has brought honor to the Cherokee people and serves as an inspiration for others.

Grim was chosen for his outstanding work in the health care field. He currently serves as the executive director of Health Services for the Cherokee Nation. His duties include overseeing Cherokee Nation’s W.W. Hastings Hospital as well as eight Cherokee Nation Health Services clinics throughout the tribe’s 14-county jurisdictional area.

Cherokee Nation’s newspaper, The Cherokee Phoenix, was honored with the Stalwart Award for significant contributions to the heritage center’s success. Executive Editor Brandon Scott accepted the award on behalf of the newspaper staff.

The monthly publication shares the stories of the Cherokee people and the events and news that impact them most. This year, the paper did a series on genealogy, which shared personal ancestry research of its staff writers. The features highlighted the comprehensive services of the Cherokee Family Research Center and helped the newspaper staff build relationships with its readers.

The Warrior Award recognizes a Cherokee citizen who has served in one of the United States’ uniformed services. This year’s honoree was John V. Paden.

Paden grew up in Park Hill and went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in business management from the University of San Diego. He served four years in the U. S. Navy, two of which were spent in the Submarine Service.

Following his service, Paden began working for Cherokee Nation, where he recently retired as security manager. Paden’s military pledge of honor, courage and commitment fueled his service to both his country and his 20-year career with the tribe.

Cherokee artist Bill Glass Jr. was honored with the Tradition Bearer Award for achievements in preserving Cherokee traditions through crafts, history and/or storytelling. The renowned Cherokee artist is known for experimenting with a variety of techniques and materials.

Working from his home studio near Locust Grove, he not only mastered his craft, but further developed his own unique talents in ceramics, sculpture and custom glazes.

CHC also recognized Roger Phelan with its inaugural Volunteer of the Year award. Phelan has volunteered more than 500 hours so far this year and is an invaluable asset to the Cherokee Heritage Center. He can be found almost daily welcoming visitors and assisting them with their genealogy research.

In addition to the awards, the gala hosted a silent auction featuring a wide variety of mixed-medium arts and one-on-one art classes led by Cherokee National Treasures Jane Osti, Vivian Garner Cottrell and Tonia Hogner-Weavel.

Weavel also joined Cherokee artists MaryBeth Timothy and Matthew Anderson to provide art demonstrations throughout the event. Upon completion, each item was auctioned to the audience to raise additional funds for the organization.

The SevenStar Gala had a number of prominent sponsors, including Cherokee Nation Businesses, Chickasaw Nation and Muscogee Creek Nation.

For a list of all sponsors, please visit

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.