More than 100,000 visitors are expected for the 63rd Cherokee National Holiday, which runs Sept. 4-6 Tahlequah. The tribe's largest annual celebration commemorates the signing of the Cherokee Nation Constitution in 1839.
This year's "reunion" theme incorporates family gatherings and large-scale activities and extends this year to the bison herd that has returned to Cherokee Nation soil for the first time in 40 years.
New attractions include a performance of "Peter and the Wolf" in Cherokee on Sept. 5, tours on traditional Cherokee plants, a reunion for descendants of former Principal Chief John Ross, a tribal film festival and free trolley transportation around Tahlequah. Annual favorites also return to the Cherokee National Holiday, such as the only parade emceed in Cherokee, the State of the Nation address by Principal Chief Bill John Baker and one of the largest inter tribal powwows in the country. All events are free.
"The Cherokee National Holiday is something we look forward to each and every year. It marks the largest homecoming of Cherokee citizens and is a three-day celebration of Cherokee history and heritage," said Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker. "From the annual powwow to the downtown parade, cultural demonstrations to the traditional games, great food and wonderful music, there is something for everyone to experience. We encourage everyone to come enjoy the hospitality of the Cherokee Nation."
The tribe's One Big Family Reunion event is scheduled from 1-4 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 5, at the W.W. Keeler Complex. It is designed to help Cherokee citizens trace their family lineage to the Dawes Roll. Tribal officials are hoping to use data collected to create a family tree database similar to Ancestry.com.
Chief Baker will deliver his State of the Nation address at 11:30 a.m. Sept. 5 at the Cherokee Nation Capitol Square.
Sally Maxwell, Senior News Director
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