Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Officials Fight to Keep Sequoyah's Home From Closing This Week

State and Cherokee Nation officials were working Tuesday to keep Sequoyah’s Cabin, the county’s top visitor attraction, open.

The Oklahoma Historical Society, due to state budget cuts, had to consider closing the historic site, and informed Site Manager Jerry Dobbs Tuesday morning that he should close the gate on Wednesday.

But Dobbs said things were changing minute by minute on Tuesday as the historical society, which owns the site, communicated with the Cherokee Nation. The society and Cherokee Nation have been working on a solution to keeping Sequoyah’s Cabin open by selling the site to the tribe.

Dobbs said that the initial order, delivered by the state historical society on Tuesday, to shut the site’s gates on Wednesday was changed later to staying open so that an appraiser could visit the site. As of Tuesday afternoon, the site’s gates were to be closed on Friday and Saturday, but the site will be open on Sunday for the annual Blair family reunion.

“There have been developments minute by minute,” Dobbs said.

He added that it is believed the Cherokee Nation hopes to announce the purchase and continuing operation of the site during the Cherokee National Holiday over the Labor Day weekend.

Dobbs said, “We could be closed a week or so, or possibly for months. We don’t know.”

Regardless, Dobbs, who has been at Sequoyah’s Cabin for 27 years, is “being forced to retire.” He said it is hoped he can continue with the Cherokee Nation if the tribe purchases the site.

Kathy Dickson, Oklahoma Historical Society Historical Programs administrator, confirmed the society is working on a “new partnership” to keep the site open, but said she “wasn’t at liberty to say” who the partnership was with. She said the historical society hoped to have an announcement about Sequoyah’s Cabin on Friday.

“We have no intention of walking away from the property,” Dickson said.

She said rumors that Spiro Mounds in LeFlore County is to be closed were false.

Dobbs said site employees were told earlier this year that they must seek funds elsewhere and sponsorships to keep their sites open.

“The well has run dry,” Dobbs said about state funding.

Sally Maxwell, Senior News Director

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