Osiyo! We invite you to join us for the Cherokee National Holiday, a celebration of Cherokee heritage, cultural awareness and reuniting families. Thousands of Cherokees and visitors from across the United States and abroad make the pilgrimage to the historic Cherokee Nation capital in Tahlequah, Oklahoma to renew friendships and celebrate the Cherokee spirit. The holiday has been observed annually on Labor Day weekend since 1953 to commemorate the signing of the 1839 Cherokee Constitution and the Act of Union reuniting Cherokees both East and West after the Trail of Tears. With an exciting array of entertainment, cultural and athletic events, it has grown into one of the largest festivals in Oklahoma, attracting more than 100,000 visitors from across the world.
This multi-day celebration is jam-packed with sports activities for all ages, from traditional games such as Cherokee marbles, the cornstalk shoot and blowgun competition to the more familiar golf and softball tournaments. Hundreds of vendors and craftspeople set up booths where visitors may view and purchase authentic Native American-made products and foods. Music lovers will enjoy many events, including gospel and bluegrass music, a toe-tapping fiddler’s contest and a concert from the award-winning Cherokee National Youth Choir.
History buffs are invited to visit one of our exciting museums that highlight aspects of Cherokee life, such as the John Ross Museum, Cherokee Supreme Court Museum, and the Cherokee National Prison Museum. Nearby is the Cherokee Heritage Center and Family Research Center, that includes the Diligwa Living History Village. History is made every year as the Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation delivers the annual State of the Nation Address to the Cherokee people.
Those with children will especially enjoy the annual parade downtown, storytelling, children’s games, and fun hands-on traditional crafts events. The Inter-Tribal powwow held on the Cherokee Nation Cultural Grounds is always a crowd favorite and highlights the Holiday celebration nightly as dancers from all over the United States compete for prizes and top honors.
The Cherokee National Holiday is a festive time in Tahlequah. We hope it will be an event you and your family will want to experience every Labor Day weekend
9:00am: Golf Tournament, ages 50 & over, 2 person scramble- Cherokee Springs Golf Course
6:00pm-7:00pm: "First Contact: Perspective of a Nighthawk Keetoowah Cherokee, 1905." First-ever translation, by Drs. Eva Garroutte & Durbin Feeling - Rawls Room, Tahlequah Public Library
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