PARK HILL, Okla. - Explore your heritage at the second annual Five Tribes Ancestry Conference, presented Sept. 19- 21 at the Chota Conference Center inside the newly opened Cherokee Casino Tahlequah.
The conference is the first of its kind and is endorsed by the Inter-Tribal Council of the Five Civilized Tribes, whose mission is to unite the tribal governments of the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Muscogee Creek and Seminole Nations.
“This is a catalyst for those interested in researching their family’s ancestry and building a better understanding of who they are and where they come from,” said Dr. Charles Gourd, executive director of the Cherokee Heritage Center. “We’ve seen such an increased interest from the public regarding genealogical research over the past 10 years, but the truth is, many people are intimidated by the thought of diving in. Through this conference, we hope to destigmatize the research process and inspire and empower participants so that they may be successful in their quest.”
The three-day event provides participants with the tools to research their ancestry and features a variety of discussion topics with special guest speakers, including keynote speaker Troy Wayne Poteete, former Cherokee Nation Supreme Court Justice who currently serves as executive director of the National Trail of Tears Association.
“Genealogical research continues to play a key role in defending tribal sovereignty,” Poteete said. “Tribal history becomes more meaningful when approached from the perspective of finding where one's own family fits into the unfolding tribal saga. By helping individuals connect to specific ancestors, we help foster a deeper appreciation of the sacrifices made by previous generations in order to preserve our rights to exist as tribes.”
Additional presentations include Researching Five Tribes records at the Western History Collection located at the University of Oklahoma, Preserving Five Tribes Genealogy through Oral History, Cemetery Preservation, The Importance of the US Census as a Tool, and more.
The cost to attend the conference is $125, if registered in advance, and $150 at the door. The price includes a conference bag and copies of presentation materials. Registration forms are available online at www.CherokeeHeritage.org.
The Five Tribes Ancestry Conference is hosted by the Cherokee Heritage Center and will take place at the Chota Conference Center located inside the Cherokee Casino Tahlequah. It is located at 3307 Seven Clans Ave, Tahlequah, OK.