Cherokee Museums Prepare for Cherokee National Holiday

Published August 22, 2017

Free admission offered Sept. 1-3

TAHLEQUAH– Cherokee Nation museums and gift shops are gearing up for the 65th Annual Cherokee National Holiday Sept. 1-3.

The official 2017 holiday T-shirt costs $14 and is available at the Cherokee Nation Gift Shop in Tahlequah and online at

Cherokee Nation museums are taking part in the celebration by offering free admission at the Cherokee National Prison Museum, John Ross Museum and Cherokee National Supreme Court Museum.

The Cherokee Heritage Center is also offering free admission to the Cherokee National Museum, with tours through the ancient village Diligwa offered at only $2.

This year’s holiday theme is “Water is Sacred,” and the shirt was designed by Cherokee National Treasure Dan Mink. It is a reminder that water has long been a symbol of healing for Cherokees.

Seven sycamore leaves floating upon the water symbolize the sycamore tree where the water spider received our first fire. It also represents the Cherokee medicinal practice of immersing yourself in the river or creek one last time before winter while it is still warm and the autumn leaves have fallen into the water. The fabled guwisguwi, a water bird, connects us to our ancient past. Its graceful neck mimics the gentle curve of a moving stream. In contrast, mountains in the background symbolize the longevity, strength and permanence of our culture.

The Cherokee National Holiday is a commemoration of the signing of the Cherokee Nation Constitution in 1839.  It is a celebration of Cherokee heritage and culture, a reflection of our accomplishments as a sovereign nation, and honors all that is in store for the future of the Cherokee Nation.

The 65th Annual Cherokee National Holiday is scheduled for Sept. 1-3 in the Cherokee Nation capital of Tahlequah, Oklahoma. For more information, including a schedule of events, entry forms and more, please visit

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