TAHLEQUAH, Okla. — Cherokee Nation is hosting a special reception on Saturday, Sept. 3, at 2 p.m. to celebrate the opening of its newest exhibit, “We Are Cherokee: Cherokee Freedmen and the Right to Citizenship.”
The exhibit is on display now at the Cherokee National History Museum and examines the history of Black slavery in Cherokee Nation.
The reception will feature official remarks from Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr., who has championed the tribe’s efforts for reconciliation, and various Cherokee Freedmen advocates and community advisors.
“Cherokee history is full of rich moments, full of great triumphs, full of Cherokee people acting collectively to overcome tragedy, work through trauma, and build a great nation. But we have to tell the whole of the story,” said Chief Hoskin. “We have to recognize that there were times that we imposed trauma on others; we have to acknowledge that we enslaved African-Americans under our own law. If we ignore or suppress that, we do to Freedmen and their descendants the same things that have been done to Cherokee people. Our story has been suppressed; our story has been denied. Any nation is a stronger nation if they tell the whole of their story: the tragedy, the triumph, and the chapters that are dark and difficult.”
The exhibit is presented as part of the Cherokee Freedmen Art and History Project, established in November 2020, which seeks materials and stories to broaden Cherokee Nation’s understanding of the Cherokee Freedmen experience.
“We Are Cherokee: Cherokee Freedmen and the Right to Citizenship” features the stories, histories, images and documents of Cherokee Freedmen, alongside nine original artworks by Cherokee Nation artists created specifically for the project.
The Cherokee National History Museum is located at 101 S. Muskogee Avenue and is open Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Cherokee Nation’s robust tourism offerings currently include award-winning specialty and event tours, the operation of six Cherokee Nation museums, and various Cherokee Nation retail operations. For more information, please visit www.VisitCherokeeNation.com.