Whalechaser's Musings

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Monday, July 19, 2010

Cherokee Heritage Museum, Tahlequah, Oklahoma

I visited the Cherokee Heritage Museum and the nearby historical village with my cousin, last week. The Museum building houses an extensive display of the history of events around the Trail of Tears. No pictures are allowed inside the museum. So I asked the fellow I got the tickets from if I could take his picture, reluctantly he said yes, his name is Justin

I usually get annoyed when these limitations are made, but in this case I really felt it was to honor the memory and history of the Cherokee and felt quite good about it. There were more than several videos and interviews with elder tribes-people about the effects of the banishment. It was quite moving. Words cannot describe certain things; it was akin to my first visit to The Wall in Washington DC.

We were allowed to take pictures as we toured the Cherokee Nation Ancient Village, so I got lots. Here, our guide started the tour with a comparison of a summer house and a winter house (in various stages of completeness) It seems each family had one of each and they usually sat next to each other. She did not explain why, but I suspect it had a lot to do with the weather conditions. The peaked house is the summer one; the other is winter.

Several native Cherokee men work on making arrowheads and arrows. The fellow making arrowheads was very good at the craft and was more than willing to show all the intricacies involved in making one from a rough stone.
We also saw a demonstration of how blow guns are made, along with the ammunition and a demonstration of actual use. They use deer sinew to affix fur to one end of the arrow. The fur fits snugly in the blow gun and one strong blast of breath send it to its target. Silently and deadly.
There was also a demonstration of the double sided basket weaving that is a trait of the Cherokee.
If you find yourself in northeastern Oklahoma, I highly recommend visiting this treasure.

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