TAHLEQUAH, OKLAHOMA – The Cherokee National Historical Society on Saturday honored Dr. Duane King, Stacy Leeds and the Cherokee Nation Translation Department for their contributions to the Cherokee Nation.
The awards were handed out at the Seven Star Gala, which provides an opportunity to recognize those who promote the Cherokee National Historical Society’s mission to preserve, promote, and teach Cherokee history and culture.
The Stalwart Award is given to a Cherokee Heritage Center supporter who has served as a longtime member, volunteer, employee, board member or associate and has significantly contributed to the center’s success.
This year’s honoree, King, is the executive director of Gilcrease Museum and vice president for Museum Affairs and Thomas Gilcrease Chair at the University of Tulsa.
Prior to joining Gilcrease Museum, King has served as executive director of the Southwest Museum, as assistant director of the Smithsonian Institutions’ National Museum of the American Indian at the George Gustav Heye Center in New York City, and as director of the Cherokee Heritage Center from 1982-1987.
King received his undergraduate degree from the University of Tennessee and his M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Georgia. His M.A. thesis was based on his field research of 18th Century Cherokee Sites in Tennessee, and his Ph.D. dissertation was “A Grammar and Dictionary of the Cherokee Language.” He has authored more than 100 publications on various aspects of museum studies and American Indian culture and history.
The Contemporary Achievement Award recognizes a Cherokee who is accomplished in a chosen field(s), has brought honor to the Cherokee Nation and serves as an inspiration for others.
This year’s honoree, Leeds, has served as dean and professor of law at the University of Arkansas School of Law since 2011. She holds law degrees from the University of Wisconsin (LL.M.) and the University of Tulsa (J.D.). She is also a graduate of Washington University in St. Louis (B.A.) and the University of Tennessee (M.B.A.).