Holidays and Celebrations

Cherokee Officials Expect Record-Breaking National Holiday Attendance

Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. says the celebration is all about honoring ancestors of the past and today's equality.

Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr.
Sue Ogrocki / AP

The 70th annual Cherokee National Holiday begins this weekend in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. The holiday celebrates the signing of the 1839 Cherokee Nation constitution. And to many, there's no prouder time to be Cherokee.Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. says 1839 was a pivotal time in Cherokee History."Cherokee people were divided politically," he said. "We endured a great deal of trauma because of our forced removal along the Trail of Tears. And then that effort to unify the nation resulted in our constitution. And so that's what we celebrate when we celebrate the Cherokee National Holiday."

The Senate Committee on Indian Affairs holds a hearing on

Freedmen Fight For Tribal Citizenship On Legal Path Marred By Politics

The descendants of formerly enslaved tribal citizens have been fighting on a rocky legal path for two decades for their right to be citizens.


This is the first time the holiday will be fully in-person since the pandemic. During his State of the Nation Speech, Hoskin Jr. will drive home the message of equality among Cherokees and Freedmen, which is something his administration has worked hard on. 

A woman strums a guitar.

Indigenous Languages Aren't Dead: How Music Is Upholding Them

Rappers, folk singers and reggae musicians singing in their Native tongue represent ways the Cherokee language is engaging new and younger speakers.


"This is really about honoring our ancestors' commitment over 150 years ago in the Treaty of 1866. So we're really giving honor to our ancestors. And we're committing ourselves to equality," he continued.National Holiday will feature traditional games like chunkey, blowgun and stickball, a powwow, Cherokee artisan market with 200 vendors and a parade that's in both Cherokee and English on Saturday. 

Fort Smith Imparts The History Of The Five Tribes' Treacherous Journey

Fort Smith Imparts The History Of The Five Tribes' Treacherous Journey

Fort Smith National Historic Site was the Five Tribes' final stop before what's now Oklahoma, but some groups are erasing its history from schools.


"That journey down that parade route just kind of drives home," Hoskin Jr. said. "The Cherokee Nation is a huge tribe, lots of people. We all have this connection. And I think focusing on the parade and the joy that people have, that's really fun for me. But there's a lot to do at the Cherokee National Holiday. It's a big weekend."Cherokee Nation officials are expecting record-breaking attendance for the holiday throughout the weekend.