Sustainable Communities: Through the Lens of Cherokee Youth

Photo by Justine Littlehead, sophomore at Stilwell High School

Photo by Justine Littlehead, sophomore at Stilwell High School

Published May 11, 2016

Cherokee Heritage Center hosts Native youth photography exhibit May 10-14

TAHLEQUAH, OKLAHOMA – Several Stilwell High School students are displaying their work during a Native youth photography exhibit at the Cherokee Heritage Center May 10-14.

The special exhibit, led by Cherokee Nation citizen Tiffanie Hardbarger-Ord, focuses on sustainable communities within the Cherokee Nation.

“Using photography, the project encouraged youth to explore the topics of community and cultural continuance,” said Hardbarger-Ord. “They put a lot of thought into their work and are very excited to share it. My hope is to continue finding creative ways to engage in community-based research that will benefit Cherokee people and their communities.”

Hardbarger-Ord is pursuing a doctorate in Community Resources and Development at Arizona State University and is an instructor at Northeastern State University in the Cherokee and Indigenous Studies Department.

Students were tasked with taking photographs based on guiding questions and then, as a group, came to a consensus on the reoccurring themes. Topics of discussion included sustainability and the importance of individual and community leadership.

“We are excited to see and share the work of these students with our community,” said Candessa Tehee, executive director for the Cherokee Heritage Center. “This work showcases an important topic among Cherokee communities and is a great way to start a conversation that is long overdue.”

A community event will be held Friday, May 13 at the Cherokee Heritage Center beginning at 5:30 p.m. Students are presenting the project in an effort to encourage dialogue between generations regarding sustaining and strengthening Cherokee communities.

The Cherokee Heritage Center is the premier cultural center for Cherokee tribal history, culture and the arts. It is located at 21192 S. Keeler Drive, Park Hill, Oklahoma.

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