TAHLEQUAH, Okla. — Today marks the one-year anniversary of the signing of the Cherokee Heritage Center Act of 2020.
Last year, Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr., Deputy Chief Bryan Warner and members of the Council of the Cherokee Nation signed the act. The Council of the Cherokee Nation unanimously approved the legislation during a special council meeting held shortly before the official signing.
Following the historic measure, the iconic Cherokee Heritage Center was transferred to the Cherokee Nation. The statute also created a new Cherokee National Historical Society under the laws of the Cherokee Nation to provide continued oversight and guidance for the facility and its holdings.
“Last September, my administration worked in tandem with the Council of the Cherokee Nation and the Cherokee National Historical Society to ensure these precious artifacts will be here for our children, grandchildren and many generations to come to learn from and enjoy,” said Chief Hoskin. “We passed the Cherokee Heritage Act to increase the modern preservation efforts of our most historic objects and to make sure they are properly protected long term.”
Cherokee Heritage Act of 2020 also created a reformed Cherokee National Historical Society, a seven-member advisory board of Cherokees appointed by the executive, judicial and legislative branches. Those leaders are providing continued critical oversight and guidance for the Cherokee Heritage Center and its holdings.
The Cherokee National Archives, the Nation’s foremost collection of historic Cherokee-related documents and cultural artifacts from the 1700s through present day, were declared in a state of emergency by the Council of the Cherokee Nation due to the aging infrastructure and need for updated environmental controls at the former storage location. Subsequently, Cherokee Nation Businesses began working on a temporary new home for the cultural collections and archives.
The Cherokee National Research Center will open later this year to provide safe and secure storage for historic Cherokee-related documents and cultural artifacts, while enhancing public access to significant tribal records. The center features a 5,000-square-foot, fireproof and storm-resistant vault with industry-leading environmental controls, as well as two research rooms for artists, scholars and community members.
The Cherokee National Research Center is located inside Cherokee Springs Plaza in Tahlequah.