The Sequoyah's Cabin Historic Site, owned and maintained by the Oklahoma Historical Society (OHS) since the 1930s, will remain open through a partnership with the Cherokee Nation, the OHS announced Friday.
“Over the past eight years, the state appropriation to the Oklahoma Historical Society has been cut by 40 percent,” said Dr. Bob Blackburn, executive director of the OHS. “Fortunately for us and the legacy of Sequoyah, the Cherokee Nation is willing to assume ownership and keep the site open.”
The transfer of ownership was authorized by legislation approved this past session and action taken by the Oklahoma Historical Society Board of Directors in July. The Cherokee Nation will have an employee at the site at opening time on Tuesday, September 6, 2016.
“On behalf of the Cherokee people, I am pleased we can help preserve the historic cabin that Sequoyah built with his own two hands,” said Cherokee Principal Chief Bill John Baker. “This partnership with the Oklahoma Historical Society is a major step forward in our efforts to preserve our language, our historic resources and our sense of community.”
Sequoyah is known around the world for creating the only original syllabary or alphabet in the Western Hemisphere. Through his syllabary, the Cherokees have had their own written language since the 1820s.
The Sequoyah Cabin Historic Site includes the original cabin, a cover building built by the Works Progress Administration during the 1930s, exhibits, a new parking lot funded by the Cherokee Nation and more than 100 acres of land that serves as a buffer against development.
Senator Mark Allen, who represents the Sallisaw area, sees the transfer as a positive development.
“I am pleased that the Cherokee Nation will carry on the good work that the state has done since the 1930s to preserve a site associated with Sequoyah,” said Senator Allen. “I am also pleased that the Oklahoma Historical Society has found a way to find a long-term solution to what we hope is a short-term problem.”
Dr. Blackburn sees another advantage in the transfer.
“Since 1902 and federal enforcement of allotment, the Cherokee people have suffered a gradual loss of their homeland,” he said. “In one small way, the Oklahoma Historical Society is returning an important part of that land patrimony to the Cherokee people. I want to thank Chief Baker and his staff for working with us in such a cooperative manner, state to nation.”
For more information about the history of the site or the transfer, please call Kathy Dickson, OHS director of museums and sites, at 405-522-5321.
The mission of the Oklahoma Historical Society is to collect, preserve and share the history and culture of the state of Oklahoma. Founded in 1893 by members of the Territorial Press Association, the OHS maintains museums, historic sites and affiliates across the state. Through its research archives, exhibits, educational programs and publications the OHS chronicles the rich history of Oklahoma.
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