April 08, 2010

Cherokee National Supreme Court Museum

Looking forward, back

Cherokees fete courthouse museum, mourn leader

By Clifton Adcock
The museum is the culmination of years of work and restoration. In it can be found interactive displays of a printing press that served the Cherokee Advocate from 1875 to its final edition in 1906, as well as typeset casings, including Cherokee Syllabary casings.

It also houses law books from the late 1800s, furniture, photos, information on early Cherokee court cases and a gift shop.

The two-story brick building, which sits on Capitol Square across the street from the Cherokee Nation's current courthouse, is considered the first public building in Indian Territory and has survived fire, the Civil War and the grind of time.

"Over the past 166 years, from these very steps much of the expanse of Cherokee history has been witnessed," said Jay Hannah, chairman of the board for Cherokee Nation Enterprises and master of ceremonies for the event.
A jewel restored

Area residents got their first glimpse of the Cherokee National Supreme Court Museum Wednesday.

By Teddye SnellThe Supreme Court Museum, constructed in 1844 by James S. Pierce, was the first brick building in the territory. The Cherokee Supreme and District courts both held sessions in the structure for some time, and it is the only Cherokee governmental building to survive the devastation of the Civil War.

In 1874, it was partially destroyed by fire, but was immediately rebuilt to house the offices of the tribal newspaper, the Cherokee Advocate. The Advocate remained in operation until the federal suppression of the tribal government, which began with the Curtis Act in 1898 and continued through Oklahoma statehood in 1907, after which the building was used by Cherokee County as office space.

The tribe reacquired the building in 1979, but the building wasn’t refurbished until 2008.

The museum is a feature on History Tour hosted by the Cherokee Nation Cultural Tourism Group. The building houses exhibits highlighting the tribe’s history of self-governance, language preservation, and dedication to freedom of the press.
Comment:  For more on the subject, see Cherokee Capitol Is Historic Landmark and Cherokee Nation Offers Tour Package.

Below:  "Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chad Smith speaks during a ribbon- cutting ceremony for the Cherokee National Supreme Court Museum on Wednesday in Tahlequah." (Mike Simons/Tulsa World)

No comments: