Tahlequah Daily Press

September 17, 2013

Celebrating the Keetoowah way

Dignitaries, veterans, marching bands part of the parade

By TEDDYE SNELL
Staff Writer

TAHLEQUAH — Hundreds of area residents and visitors took advantage of Saturday’s cooler weather, turning out in droves for the 63rd annual United Keetoowah Cherokee Celebration parade.

The event featured bands, floats and UKB royalty, as well as veterans, tribal councilors, tribal administrators and local officials.

“Everybody loves a parade,” said Shelly Longmire, visitor to the area. “My family and I come to both this and the Cherokee National Holiday every year.”

The parade was led by the UKB color guard, followed by UKB Chief George Wickliffe and Deputy Chief Charlie Locust. While all the other tribal dignitaries rode in open cars or floats, Wickliffe and Locust opted to ride in closed cars, with only their name and title visible on the side of the vehicles.

Miss Keetoowah Jessica Bluebird and Junior Miss Keetoowah Lauren Grayson waved to well-wishers from the backs of convertibles.

Parade Grand Marshal Dora Grayson wore a brightly colored traditional red tear dress. Grayson is a tribal elder and retired from the UKB Title VI nutrition program in 2011. Dora is the only remaining living member of the Da-Co-Tah Indian Club, which was instrumental in making the Five Civilized Tribes Museum in Muskogee a reality. She has volunteered for Muskogee Regional Medical Center and the American Red Cross.

Other parade entries featured this year’s celebration theme, “Weaving Our Past Into Our Future,” including tribal elders weaving baskets with younger members, and a float with three women with painted faces acting out a stickball game.

-- tsnell@tahlequahdailypress.com

ONLINE EXCLUSIVE

To view a slideshow of photos taken during the 63rd Keetoowah Cherokee Celebration, visit www.tahlequahTDP.com/online exclusives.