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Students learn about Cherokee life and arts at Indian Territory Days

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Students get firsthand experience with cultural arts such as finger weaving at the Cherokee Heritage Center during Indian Territory Days. - PROVIDED
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  • Students get firsthand experience with cultural arts such as finger weaving at the Cherokee Heritage Center during Indian Territory Days.

Cherokee Heritage Center is inviting Oklahoma students to Indian Territory Days to experience Cherokee culture.

Indian Territory Days is 9:30 a.m.-2 p.m. March 31-April 1 and features hands-on exhibits for public, private and homeschooled children in kindergarten through 12th grades.

They can learn about the Cherokee life in the 1890s through cultural stations where they can make art and participate in traditional games.

“Our mission is to preserve, promote and teach Cherokee history and culture,” said Tonia Weavel, education director. “It’s been a real treat to see thousands of children in my tenure here in 15 years have a really authentic Cherokee experience. I assure every school that you’ll go away knowing something more than you did when you came.”

Children can play games like Stickball, Cherokee marbles, blowgun shooting and Chunkey, in which they roll a disc and throw sticks to where they think the disc will stop, and listen to storytellers.

“[A blowgun] was the first toy typically given to boys because boy toys were miniature weapons,” Weavel said. “It was a favorite of young Cherokee boys in all of our historical times, and it continues to be a very favorite.”

Children also will have a chance to try crafts such as finger weaving, loom weaving, netting, pottery and basket weaving.

“In the 1890s, we were employing and using a written language,” Weavel said. “So children will have the opportunity to hear the language, see the syllabary and practice writing the syllabary characters.”

To promote participation, the Cherokee Heritage Center staff give the students a list of 10 things to do at the center. If they complete seven, they are rewarded with the gift of a reproduction of an arrowhead.

Living history

The 1890s were peaceful before statehood and the roar of allotment came through.

Adams Corner Rural Village is comprised of seven buildings that represent Cherokee life during that time, and the village offers self-guided tours and demonstrations like bow shooting and flint mapping, which is the making of stone tools like arrowheads.

The museum houses a permanent exhibit on the Trail of Tears and currently features a rotating exhibit called Cherokee Syllabary: From Talking Leaves to Pixels.

Almost 800 children are registered for Indian Territory Days from within about 150 miles of Cherokee Heritage Center, 21192 S. Keeler Drive, in Park Hill.

For more information or to register your, contact Tonia Weavel at 918-456-6007 ext. 6161 or by email at tonia-weavel@cherokee.org.

Print Headline: Learning territory, Students learn about Cherokee life and arts at Cherokee Heritage Center’s Indian Territory Days.

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