TAHLEQUAH, Okla. — The Cherokee Nation is officially kicking off the 68th Cherokee National Holiday with the launch of a redesigned Cherokee National Holiday website where the public can register to watch Holiday events online and compete for prizes.
The online portal of content for the Cherokee National Holiday is available at holiday.cherokee.org. Events that will be broadcast online include the annual Cherokee art show, a virtual tour of the tribe’s heirloom garden, cultural demonstrations, traditional food and games, live genealogy including a question-answer session, the annual Holiday quilt show, Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr.’s annual State of the Nation address, and much more.
The tribe is also hosting a virtual powwow and a virtual car show through the redeveloped Holiday site, and both will incorporate social elements allowing competitors to submit their own videos and compete for prizes. The Holiday website will also showcase T-shirts and other memorabilia for sale, along with digital souvenirs to download.
“Though we are going to miss the in-person fellowship that traditionally accompanies the Cherokee National Holiday, we are happy to showcase the Cherokee people, our language, our culture and our traditions online for all the world to see,” said Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. “Providing this content in an online format is the safe and responsible thing to do to protect our communities, including those who are among the most vulnerable to the effects of COVID-19: our Cherokee speakers. While this year is unlike any other we have faced as Cherokee people, I am confident we will have a great time celebrating online, while also looking forward to a return to our in-person Holiday gatherings in 2021.”
The tribe is also planning to host drive-in movie nights Sept. 3-5, and a drive-in fireworks show on Sept. 6.
The drive-in movie nights are presented by the Cherokee Nation Film Office and will be held at One Fire Field near the Cherokee Nation complex in Tahlequah, with attendees remaining in their vehicles during the event. Each drive-in movie night will be limited to 300 vehicles. Tickets are free and will be available at holiday.cherokee.org.
The drive-in fireworks event will also allow attendees to remain in their vehicles for a show that takes place at the Cherokee Springs Plaza in Tahlequah on Sept. 6.
“Each and every year, over 100,000 people visit Cherokee County, Oklahoma, for the Cherokee National Holiday, so it is no surprise that the economic impact of the Cherokee National Holiday is very significant to Cherokee vendors and artisans who participate,” said Austin Patton, Cherokee National Holiday coordinator. “To help mitigate the impact on those Cherokee vendors and artisans, we are developing a new online Native American artisans peer-to-peer marketplace called Spider Market. We’re excited about this new marketplace and the possibilities it will be providing to artisans not only this year, but in the coming years as well.”
Once the new marketplace is launched online, the public can visit the website and find authentic arts and crafts made by Cherokee artisans. The release of the new online marketplace will also accompany the launch of the Cherokee Nation Spider Gallery’s redeveloped website. Details and links to both websites will be announced soon.
The Cherokee National Holiday commemorates the signing of the Cherokee Nation Constitution in 1839, which re-established the tribe’s government in Indian Territory after forced removal from the Cherokees’ original homelands in the Southeast.
The theme for the 68th Cherokee National Holiday is “We the People of the Cherokee Nation: Celebrating Tribal Sovereignty.”
Learn more on the Holiday website at holiday.cherokee.org and follow along on social media with #CherokeeHoliday2020. The Cherokee Nation is on Facebook at Facebook.com/TheCherokeeNation, on Twitter @CherokeeNation, and on Instagram @TheCherokeeNation.