VINITA, Okla. — Officials with Cherokee Nation and its businesses joined leaders from the city of Vinita today to unveil plans for the tribe’s future cultural tourism destination located in Craig County.
The Anna Mitchell Cultural and Welcome Center, named in honor of the late Cherokee National Treasure Anna Mitchell, will serve as a mixed-use welcome and cultural center to include a gift shop, an exhibit gallery, a grab-and-go cafe, and flexible space for cultural classes and events.
“We continually look across Cherokee Nation for opportunities to better tell the world about our wonderful history, language and culture,” said Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. “The First Lady and I have encouraged Cherokee Nation Businesses to expand the tribe’s award-winning cultural tourism efforts. The First Lady suggested Vinita, a historic Cherokee community located along Interstate 44 and historic Route 66, as a great location to showcase Cherokee art and culture. We are proud to see today’s progress and look forward to seeing the Anna Mitchell Cultural and Welcome Center bring those endeavors to Vinita.”
CNB is currently renovating the former Vinita Country Club property to grow the tribe’s robust tourism offerings to include the new cultural and welcome center. The 9,400-square-foot, two-story stone building is situated on 8 acres overlooking historic Route 66.
The Anna Mitchell Cultural and Welcome Center is slated to open later this year.
Today’s announcement held an even greater significance for Deputy Speaker of the Tribal Council Victoria Vazquez as she learned the new center will be named in legacy of her late mother, Anna Mitchell. Vazquez predicts the new center will have a positive impact on her home community.
“It is fitting that as we celebrate the founding of Vinita by the Cherokee people 150 years ago, we commemorate that history by making a new investment for future generations to share Cherokee history and culture,” Vazquez said. “I couldn’t be more proud or excited about the future of this property.”
Cherokee Nation’s tourism offerings currently include specialty and event tours and the operation of six Cherokee Nation museums, two welcome centers and various Cherokee Nation retail operations. Additional recent acquisitions include the Cherokee Heritage Center in Park Hill and Dwight Mission in Vian.
Award-winning Cherokee National Treasure and renowned artist Anna Mitchell was known as a trailblazer and was widely accepted as an authority on both Southeastern and Eastern Woodlands-style of pottery. Recognized for her traditional, handmade pottery and for helping share her knowledge and artistic skills with others, Mitchell was designated a Cherokee National Treasure in 1982. Councilor Vazquez carries on her mother’s work and was named a Cherokee National Treasure for pottery in 2012.