Cherokee National Holiday
The Cherokee National Holiday is an annual event held each Labor Day weekend in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. The event celebrates the September 6, 1839 signing of the Cherokee Nation Constitution in Oklahoma after the Trail of Tears Indian removal ended.
Origins and activities
Originally began in 1953, the event has grown into one of the largest festivals in Oklahoma, attracting in excess of 70,000 attendees coming from all over the United States. Many attendees are also tribal members of the "Five Civilized Tribes" (the Cherokees, and also the Chickasaws, the Choctaws, Creeks, and Seminoles). Others who routinely attend the event are the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians located in western North Carolina and also the United Keetowah Band which, like the Cherokee Nation, are headquartered in Tahlequah.
The holiday hosts many different cultural and artistic events such as a two night inter-tribal pow wow, stickball, Cherokee marbles, horseshoes and cornstalk shoot tournaments, softball tournaments, rodeos, car and art shows, gospel singings, the annual Miss Cherokee pageant, the Cherokee National Holiday parade, and the annual "State of the Nation" address by the Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation.
Each year a committee chooses a new theme for the annual celebration. Some recent themes have included:
- Planting the Seed Corn For Our Children's Future – (56th Annual) 2008
- The Cherokee Nation Continues in Full Force and Effect – (54th Annual) 2006
- Celebrating the State of Sequoyah – (53rd Annual) 2005
- The Spirit of the Trail – (52nd Annual) 2004
- The Strength of Our Nation – (51st Annual) 2003
- Building One Fire – (50th Annual) 2002
- Celebrating The Seven Clans – (49th Annual) 2001