“Cherokee National Treasures: In Their Own Words” Receives International Recognition

Published April 27, 2018

The book’s authentic portrayal of nearly 100 Cherokee culture keepers earns a silver medal in the internationally renowned 22nd IPPY Awards

TAHLQUAH“Cherokee National Treasures: In Their Own Words” has won the 2018 silver medal in the Coffee Table Books category in the 2018 Independent Publisher Book Awards. The Independent Publisher Book Awards, or IPPY Awards, recognize excellence in a broad range of diverse subjects and reward authors and publishers who “take chances and break new ground,” according to award show directors. Cherokee Nation Chief Bill John Baker is delighted to see the collection of the stories and memories the Treasures reveal.

“This book offers readers an authentic look into Cherokee culture and heritage,” Baker said. “All of these Treasures are individual sources of knowledge. Their creative expertise helps define our people today and ensures our tribal culture remains strong for the future.”

Shawna Morton Cain and Pamela Jumper Thurman led the project and served as editors. They were joined by Betty Christie Frogg and Gayle Parnell Samuels, all of whom took years to compile and chronicle the life stories, artwork and photographs of nearly 100 revered Cherokee culture keepers into one timeless account. “Cherokee National Treasures: In Their Own Words” is the only tribal project to win the award this year.

“The time and effort spent on the book—interviewing, gathering and writing the stories and snapping photos—was an honor and a privilege. It turned out just lovely, a historical archive that will live on for years,” Jumper Thurman said.

The IPPYs are known for representing a diverse cross section of independent authors and publishers. More than 60 percent of this year’s winners are female, including the all-female editing group of “Cherokee National Treasures: In Their Own Words.”

“I am proud of this expansive collaboration between Cherokee artists, their families, those who shared their stories and those who assisted in collecting these oral and pictorial histories,” Morton Cain said, a Cherokee National Treasure herself. “This unique publication is one told, written and produced by Cherokees working together to present Cherokee art and traditions in their own voices, sharing with the world their personal stories, experiences and perspectives as Cherokee artists.”

Now in its 22nd year, the IPPY Awards reward authors and publishers who “take chances and break new ground.” Small presses, university presses and self-publishing services give experimental and entrepreneurial authors a platform to share their stories, impart wisdom and speak out against ignorance and prejudice.

“I was honored to work with Shawna, Pam and Betty on this amazing project,” Parnell Samuels said. “I sincerely hope that it will serve not only to open a piece of our Cherokee world to non-Cherokees, but will, as it has done for me, bring other Cherokees closer to our culture, art and traditional values.”

“Cherokee National Treasures: In Their Own Words” rose above many thousands of other competitors. This year’s contest drew 4,500 entries, and medals will go to authors and publishers from 43 U.S. states, six Canadian provinces and at least a dozen countries. Editors of the book say this is a unique way to share the work and knowledge of Cherokee National Treasures, both living and those who’ve walked on, to a worldwide audience in a truly authentic way.

“For me, the biggest reason for getting the National Treasures book completed and out there is for the Cherokee people,” said Christie Frogg, also a Cherokee National Treasure herself. “In my mind, we wanted to honor the people for who they are and what they do as Cherokees who teach and work to keep our traditions alive. I believe we accomplished this by using their own words and pictures to tell their stories.”

The honor of Cherokee National Treasure is bestowed upon Cherokee Nation citizens who have shown exceptional knowledge of Cherokee art and culture. Those selected actively work to preserve and revive traditional cultural practices that are in danger of being lost from generation to generation. The award was established in 1988 by the Cherokee Nation and Cherokee National Historical Society.

IPPY medal-winning books, including “Cherokee National Treasures: In Their Own Words,” and the team who worked on the book will be celebrated on May 29 during the annual BookExpo publishing convention in New York. Gold, silver and bronze IPPY medallions will be awarded in 83 national, 24 regional and 11 e-book categories.

To purchase the award-winning “Cherokee National Treasures: In Their Own Words” for your home or coffee table, visitwww.CherokeeGiftShop.com.

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