TAHLEQUAH, Okla. — Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. and Deputy Principal Chief Bryan Warner will sign Wednesday a first of its kind agreement with the National Park Service to allow Cherokee citizens to gather culturally significant plants within the Buffalo National River Park in Arkansas for traditional use.
The agreement will be the first between the Cherokee Nation and National Park Service Buffalo National River. It is also the first of its kind in the region between a tribe and NPS.
The agreement says Cherokee Nation will establish a process for Cherokee Nation citizens to gather 76 traditional plants in certain areas of the Buffalo National park including the Lost Valley, Tyler Bend, Buffalo Point and Rush areas.
During the event Chief Hoskin will also sign an executive order dedicating nearly 1,000 acres of land inside the Cherokee Nation Reservation as the Cherokee Nation Medicine Keepers Preserve.
The Cherokee Nation Medicine Keepers Preserve property in Adair County is among the most botanically diverse tribal lands within the Cherokee Nation Reservation and marks it as protected conservation lands for traditional gathering and cultural activities as designated under the Cherokee Nation Park, Wildlands, Fishing and Hunting Preserve Act.
The NPS, Medicine Keepers and other Cherokee Nation officials will join for the two signing events.