TAHLEQUAH, Okla. — Cherokee Nation officials want to provide a better understanding of the history and perspectives of Cherokee Freedmen throughout tribal history. The tribe is seeking community input to share the stories of Cherokee Freedmen, their families and their communities.
The Cherokee Freedmen History Project is collecting stories, photographs and memorabilia to help elevate the voices of Cherokee Freedmen and their descendants.
“We are already a better nation for having recognized full and equal citizenship of Freedmen descendants, but Cherokee Nation can be even further enriched by celebrating equality and developing a comprehensive understanding of Cherokee history,” said Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. “I would like to personally commend every volunteer who shares their family history, experiences and mementos so that together we all can learn and continue to grow as a tribe.”
The content gathered will help Cherokee Nation museums explore and share the history, lives and culture of Cherokee Freedmen through special projects, including an upcoming feature exhibit at the Cherokee National History Museum. All submitted materials can be shared for documentation purposes, temporarily loaned, or permanently donated.
The Cherokee Freedmen History Project seeks to provide a better understanding of Cherokee Freedmen history and to enhance how those voices are represented within the Cherokee story. The project includes continued conversations and collaboration with Cherokee Freedmen community advisors; comprehensive research for historical materials, references, documents and images; as well as ongoing assessments to identify gaps in representation and storytelling at all tribal sites.
Established by the Cherokee Nation Advisory Committee on History and Culture, the Cherokee Freedmen History Project committee includes Catherine Foreman Gray, Dawn Squirrel, Gerome Riley, Jack Baker, Mark Harrison, Melissa Payne and Ty Wilson.