Friday, February 13, 2015

Prayer Feather Sculptures Added to Health Centers

Cherokee Nation officials are using cultural art to provide a sense of comfort for health care patients and their families. The tribe is adding prayer feather sculptures to the landscape of two of its health facilities – the Redbird Smith Health Center in Sallisaw and at the A-Mo Health Center in Salina. Cherokee artists Bill Glass and Demos Glass, above, are shown with the sculpture at the Redbird Smith Health Center.

Principal Chief Bill John Baker said, "As Cherokee citizens are undergoing health care, displaying this important part of our culture may bring a sense of peace to what they are experiencing. Feathers symbolize strength and are key instruments in traditional Cherokee medicine and healing. I am proud that along with world-class health care, our centers are showcasing Cherokee culture and world-class Cherokee artisans like the Glass family.

Cherokee culture considers the feather a source of pride. Tribal officials are hopeful the sculptures will give patients and their families a sense of calmness as they enter health centers. The tribe is also planning to place a third prayer feather at Sequoyah Schools. The hand-constructed, stainless steel sculptures stand more than 8 feet tall. Cherokee Nation operates the largest tribal health system in the United States, which consists of eight health centers throughout the Cherokee Nation and W.W. Hastings Hospital in Tahlequah.

Sally Maxwell, Senior News Director

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