By TEDDYE SNELL
Tahlequah is steeped in Cherokee history, particularly when it comes to the Civil War era.
The Cherokee Nation has spent several years restoring a number of local historical sites, including its courthouse on the downtown square, the Supreme Court Museum and the Cherokee National Prison. As such, interest in cultural tourism is growing.
On Wednesday, Oct. 30, a group from Golden Opportunities Elder Care in Bartlesville will tour several of the tribe’s historic site that highlight the Cherokee Nation’s connection to the Civil War.
“We plan on having anywhere from 12 to 24 people making the trip,” said Jennifer Ennis, community relations coordinator for Golden Opportunities. “After arriving in Tahlequah, we’ll board the Osiyo shuttle and take tours.”
Ennis said the agency often plans outings for a group.
“Traveling that way is extremely cost-effective, since all the expenses are shared and drastically reduced,” she said. “Group travel also provides the opportunity to see a maximum number of places at the least expense. The seniors enjoy the trips, and we like to keep them active and healthy.”
The group will make stops at the historic Fort Gibson site, the George Murrell Home, and will trace Stand Watie’s march through town, visit the Cherokee Nation Courthouse and the Honey Springs Battle site.
The courthouse, which houses the judicial branch of the tribe, was built in 1869 and occupied by all three branches of government prior to statehood. The building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is also designated a National Landmark.
Principal chief welcomes the visitors
CN Principal Chief Bill John Baker welcomes visitors to the area, and hopes they gain an appreciation for the culture by learning about its history.
“It’s always exciting to share Cherokee culture and history through group tours, and it is especially rewarding to share these stories with people who live within the Cherokee Nation,” said Baker. “Cherokee Nation group tours offer a unique opportunity for friends to share in an enjoyable experience with authentic Cherokee culture and to participate in traditional Cherokee activities.”
The Cherokee Nation encompasses 14 counties in Northeast Oklahoma, many of which have historic sites. With three historical tours and dozens of authentic cultural attractions, plus recreational activities and nightlife, Cherokee Nation Cultural Tourism can create an experience that is a custom fit for any group’s needs.
The History Tour stops at the Cherokee Heritage Center and Museum, which houses the Trail of Tears exhibit; the Murrell Home, the only ante-bellum plantation home in Oklahoma; the Cherokee National Capitol Building (courthouse), Cherokee National Supreme Court Museum and Cherokee National Prison Museum; and Northeastern State University’s Seminary Hall, formerly the Cherokee Female Seminary and the first institution of higher learning for women west of the Mississippi River.
The Will Rogers History Tour celebrates the life and work of Oklahoma’s favorite son and Cherokee citizen with a visit to the Will Rogers Museum; Rogers’ birthplace, Dog Iron Ranch; the historic downtowns of Oologah and Claremore; and the J.M. Davis Arms Museum.
The Civil War History Tour commemorates the 150th anniversary of the American Civil War and features stops at the historic capitol square in Tahlequah, the Murrell Home, Fort Gibson historic site and Honey Springs battle site.
“Group tours can be built into exciting day trips, fun-filled weekend getaways or compelling week-long excursions filled with culture, exploration, food and fun,” said Travis Noland, communications manager for Cherokee Nation Businesses.
For ticketing and additional information on the Cherokee Nation Cultural Tourism program, call (877) 779-6977, or visit www.CherokeeTourismOK.com.