Guest Opinion. Tourism is important for Cherokee Nation and all of northeast Oklahoma. Our tribe’s numerous museums and cultural sites simultaneously showcase and preserve our rich heritage while creating jobs and economic opportunities for many citizens.

The beautiful cultural art made by Cherokees is worth celebrating. As Principal Chief, I have taken an oath of office to preserve and defend our culture. It’s a responsibility I take very seriously because every county within our 7,000-square-mile reservation has significant cultural treasures.

Never miss Indian Country’s biggest stories and breaking news. Sign up to get our reporting sent straight to your inbox every weekday morning. 

The latest addition to Cherokee Nation’s cultural tourism footprint is the Cherokee Nation Anna Mitchell Cultural and Welcome Center, which we recently dedicated in Vinita. Located in Craig County, the 9,400-square-foot, two-story stone building is situated on 8 acres overlooking historic Route 66. It will celebrate Anna Mitchell’s legacy and be a gateway to all of Cherokee Nation along the iconic highway.

The center shares the history of both Cherokee Nation and the Vinita community while also honoring the late Anna Mitchell’s achievements in pottery and cultural preservation. She was widely known for her traditional, handmade pottery and for sharing her knowledge and artistic skills with others. Mitchell was a renowned artist and authority on both Southeastern and Eastern Woodlands-style pottery and was designated a Cherokee National Treasure in 1988.

The new center represents a $5 million investment that will be a beacon for Cherokee culture and art for a long time to come. We can all be proud of its positive and enduring impact on the local economy.

Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin, Jr.

This first of its kind facility was the vision of Cherokee Nation First Lady January Hoskin, who has championed the expansion of access to Cherokee art and culture across the reservation and beyond. She saw an opportunity to bolster tourism and elevate Cherokee Nation’s presence along Route 66 in Vinita.

Seven Cherokee artists, including many National Treasures, are featured in the center’s inaugural exhibition, “Anna’s Legacy: A Cherokee Pottery Renaissance.” Each artist was influenced in some way by her. The center also boasts several original works of art as well as outdoor public art installations.

The space is a world-class venue to support talented Cherokee artists and artisans. They will be able to display their art to the public and sell it to supporters of the arts. Through Cherokee Nation’s operation of this facility, we will advertise Cherokee artists and help them carry our culture and our story throughout the world.

As global interest in Native American culture grows, it is important for tribes like Cherokee Nation to realize the benefits of sharing our unique heritage. Our mission is to preserve and promote Cherokee culture, and this state-of-the-art site allows us to do that better than ever. It also features a grab-and-go café with Native-inspired cuisine, a gift shop, and flexible space for cultural classes and events. It will be open to the public seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, please go to www.VisitCherokeeNation.com.

Our tribal culture and history connect us to the past, to all our ancestors who went before us, and it is what guides us toward our collective future. Anna Mitchell’s legacy lives on through her work and the way she inspired so many Cherokee artists. Now those artists have a new setting to showcase their work and inspire the next generation.

Chuck Hoskin, Jr. is the principal chief of the Cherokee Nation.

More Stories Like This

Federal Government Shutdowns are Bad for Indian Country and Entire Country
The Cherokee Phoenix Newspaper and Transparency in Government
Experiences of an At-large Cherokee Nation Citizen
CALL TO ACTION: Call Members of Congress to Support Special Diabetes Program for Indians Expires Sept. 30
Engaging the Federal Government to Meet Its Promises

Native News is free to read.

We hope you enjoyed the story you've just read. For the past dozen years, we’ve covered the most important news stories that are usually overlooked by other media. From the protests at Standing Rock and the rise of the American Indian Movement (AIM), to the ongoing epidemic of Murdered and Missing Indigenous People (MMIP) and the past-due reckoning related to assimilation, cultural genocide and Indian Boarding Schools.

Our news is free for everyone to read, but it is not free to produce. That’s why we’re asking you to make a donation to help support our efforts. Any contribution — big or small — helps.  Most readers donate between $10 and $25 to help us cover the costs of salaries, travel and maintaining our digital platforms. If you’re in a position to do so, we ask you to consider making a recurring donation of $12 per month to join the Founder's Circle. All donations help us remain a force for change in Indian Country and tell the stories that are so often ignored, erased or overlooked.

Donate to Native News Online today and support independent Indigenous journalism. Thank you. 

About The Author
Author: Chuck Hoskin JrEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.