By Keith Purtell
Osti, 65, who has been named a Cherokee National Treasure, said local artists travel too much to make a living.
“I know that I and most of the other artists around here have had to go all around the country,” she said. “My first 18 years, all of my sales were out of state.”
She agrees with an idea suggested by Cherokee Nation Community Tourism Event Coordinator Donna Tinnin. The tourism group wants to promote Tahlequah as an art destination.
As an Oklahoman myself, I do not see the significance of Cherokee artistry as relevant to Native America as it may be to non-Natives and new agers. Every non-native still claims Cherokee blood of some sort.
It is not to say there are no full blooded Cherokees or that the Cherokee alphabet Sequoyah made is not important to Indian country, but it seems even the history of the Cherokee nation has been diluted by being moved to Oklahoma. What about the Cherokees from North Carolina? Nobody ever talks about them.
Even the western/southwest Oklahoma tribes like the Cheyenne, Comanche, Kiowa, Apache, Caddo and Arapaho still have a better edge on crafts and culture than the Cherokee.
Tahlequah has its significance to the State government of Oklahoma, but I do not see its value in artistry compared to Santa Fe or Anadarko still.
As one who has driven hundreds of miles to get to Tahlequah, I find this article interesting also.
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