MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

September 12, 2013

Annual Keetowah celebration to fill weekend


— TAHLEQUAH — The 63rd annual Keetoowah Cherokee Celebration begins today. On the schedule for tonight is a gospel singing, stomp dance and arts, crafts and food vendors.

On Saturday, there will be a dignitary breakfast, 5K and 1K fun run, parade, state of the nation ceremony, hog fry, children’s activities, turtle races, volleyball, horseshoes, cornstalk shoot, blowgun shoot, marbles demonstration, and stickball game. There will also be free bingo, arts, crafts and food vendors.

Another event associated with the celebration — but not on this weekend — will be the men’s fast pitch and co-ed softball tournaments, set for Oct. 4-5 at the Sequoyah ball fields.

The theme for the celebration is “Weaving the past into our Future.”

The United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians in Oklahoma is steeped in tradition and is committed in preserving the history, culture and language of its people, according to a media release. The tribe offers several language classes each season in communities across the 14 counties of Northeastern Oklahoma.

Keeping the culture in the forefront is always a priority. The UKB offers regular classes in making Keetoowah Cherokee crafts, including baskets, marbles, stickballs, stickball sticks, bows, blowguns, darts, among others.

In 2011, the UKB opened a museum with the permanent gallery featuring the history of the Keetoowah Cherokees. The tribe has recently received a grant to fund phase II of the museum, which will double its size.

Information: (918) 431-1818 or (918) 456-6533.