Cherokee Days returns to Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, DC

Cherokee National Treasure Tonia Hogner-Weavel displays handmade dolls representing the evolution of Cherokee textiles at the 2018 Cherokee Days at National Museum of the American Indian.(Photo: Cherokee Nation)

Sixth annual Cherokee Days festival to be held April 12–14

News Release

Cherokee Nation

For the sixth consecutive year, Cherokee Days is returning to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C.

The three-day festival runs April 12–14 and showcases the shared history and cultural lifeways of the three Cherokee tribes: Cherokee Nation, Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, and United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians.

“It’s an honor to return to National Museum of the American Indian with our brothers and sisters from the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians and the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. This annual cultural celebration is a special collaboration for all of us,” Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker said. “The spirit of Cherokee Days affords us a unique opportunity to showcase our talented artisans and respected historians. Preserving our culture means sharing it with the next generation, and that’s what we will again be doing in the nation’s capital.”

Guests will enjoy various cultural demonstrations such as storytelling, traditional flute music, weaponry, woodcarving, beadwork, traditional games, basket weaving, pottery demonstrations, and dance performances. Hands-on activities in the imagiNations Activity Center will include making silhouette drawings and miniature gourd necklaces.

“You will see culture and heritage that existed prior to removal and hear how the need for more land and the discovery of gold led to the division of the historic Cherokee Nation into three parts,” United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians Principal Chief Joe Bunch said. “Each one has separate and distinct tribal governments with their own rich traditions and histories.”

As part of the Cherokee Days event, the museum will be celebrating a new installation in the special exhibition Nation to Nation: Treaties Between the United States and American Indian Nations. The Treaty of New Echota (1835) was an agreement made by a small group of Cherokee citizens with the U.S. government ceding all Cherokee lands in the East in exchange for lands west of the Mississippi River, though they had no legal right to represent the tribe. On loan from the National Archives, the treaty will be on display through the fall of 2019.

Two banner exhibitions will also be on display, courtesy of Cherokee Nation. Cherokee Culture examines the unique culture of the Cherokee people by exploring traditional cooking, traditional sports, language, and the arts. This exhibition will be on display during the weekend in the museum’s Potomac Atrium.

The second exhibition, A Story of Cherokee Removal, shares the story of removal on the infamous Trail of Tears from the Cherokee perspective and addresses the devastating costs of greed and oppression. It also shows how the tribe persevered, adapted and learned to thrive. Featured within the exhibition are quotations from witnesses of the Cherokee Trail of Tears, historical timelines, and a Trail of Tears route map. This exhibition will be on display in the museum’s fourth floor April 12–Oct. 30.

The production team behind Osiyo, Voices of the Cherokee People will screen episodes from the newest season of its Emmy-winning series each day and host a Q&A on Saturday, April 13.

Those unable to attend the festivities in person can still take part in the Cherokee Days experience through an interactive website with live streaming at www.CherokeeDays.com.

About Cherokee Nation

The Cherokee Nation is the federally recognized government of the Cherokee people and has inherent sovereign status recognized by treaty and law. The seat of tribal government is the W.W. Keeler Complex near Tahlequah, Oklahoma, the capital of the Cherokee Nation. 

With more than 370,000 citizens, 11,000 employees and a variety of tribal enterprises ranging from aerospace and defense contracts to entertainment venues, Cherokee Nation is one of the largest employers in northeastern Oklahoma and the largest tribal nation in the United States. 

To learn more, please visit www.cherokee.org.

About the National Museum of the American Indian

The National Museum of the American Indian is committed to advancing knowledge and understanding of the Native cultures of the Western Hemisphere—past, present, and future—through partnership with Native people and others. 

Located on the National Mall at Fourth Street and Independence Avenue S.W., the museum is open each day from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (closed Dec. 25). 

The museum is on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and at AmericanIndian.si.edu.

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