The Cherokee Nation will host the 66th Cherokee National Holiday this Labor Day weekend when more than 100,000 visitors travel to Tahlequah to experience the annual celebration of history, culture and art.
This year’s event is Aug. 31-Sept. 2 and features more than 50 activities, including an intertribal powwow, a parade, arts and crafts vendors, music and a variety of competitions.
The theme for this year’s Holiday is “Family: A Bridge to the Future, a Link to the Past.” The theme is colorfully represented in commemorative artwork by Cherokee National Treasure Dan Mink, featuring the seven Cherokee clans and 66 interlocking hands symbolizing the link from the past to the future.
“This year’s theme of family is one that resonates with all of us. Within our Cherokee communities, one of the deepest-held traditions is respect for the importance of family and the honoring of our elders,” Principal Chief Bill John Baker said. “Those values have been passed down from generation to generation of Cherokee people and are just as important today as they have ever been. It is the reason we work so hard to develop the kinds of programs and services that make healthier and stronger Cherokee families. Today, we are proud to share this annual holiday celebration with our family and with our friends.”
The Cherokee National Holiday commemorates the signing of the Cherokee Nation Constitution in 1839, which re-established the tribe’s government in Indian Territory after forced removal from the Cherokees’ original homelands in the Southeast.
This year’s celebration features activities for all ages, including traditional games such as Cherokee marbles, a cornstalk shoot and a blowgun competition. Other sporting events include a chunkey demonstration, a stickball social game and exhibition games, horseshoe pitching, softball slow-pitch, a golf tournament, a 5K Veterans Run and a three-on-three basketball tournament.