Cherokee Nation to own and operate iconic Cherokee Heritage Center

TAHLEQUAH – Cherokee National Historical Society announced its plans to partner with Cherokee Nation on a strategic plan for the long-term success of the organization.

The plan requires new legislation that would dissolve the current Cherokee National Historical Society organization and transfer all assets to Cherokee Nation, including the iconic Cherokee Heritage Center. The legislation would also create a new Cherokee National Historical Society under the laws of the Cherokee Nation to provide continued oversight and guidance for the facility and its holdings.

“This is a strategic move for CHC that will better align the organization for long-term sustainability and future growth,” said Brenda Partain, president of the CNHS board of trustees. “Our board of trustees has worked diligently on this plan, and we believe in what CHC has to offer. This is the next step to advance our mission and position the organization as the world-class facility it can be. We appreciate the support and guidance we’ve received from Chief Hoskin and his executive team and look forward to taking the next step.”

CHC was established in 1963 by CNHS to preserve and promote the Cherokee culture. It is also home to the Cherokee National Archives, which is the Nation’s foremost collection of historic tribal-related documents and cultural treasures from the 1700s through present day.

“The Cherokee Heritage Center and its holdings are the heart of our rich history as Cherokees, and it is our responsibility and our privilege to ensure its success for generations to come,” said Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. “Our stories, our history, our culture all live here and thrive today because of the important work the CHC does each and every day. Our plan will enable more resources to flow to the Cherokee Heritage Center to help it become the type of world-class institution that we all envision.”

The Cherokee National Historical Society unanimously endorsed the proposed legislation earlier this week. Hoskin and CNHS trustees also briefed CHC staff on the plan. The legislation now goes to the Council of the Cherokee Nation at its Sept. 24, rules committee and a special council meeting later that same day.

Once legislation is approved, the transition is expected to be complete by the end of the year and will be seamless to the public and staff.

The organization plans to reopen to the public beginning Sept. 18 with enhanced safety measures such as physical distancing, limited occupancy, and additional cleaning and sanitization. In addition, guests and employees will be asked to complete a brief health screening and a noninvasive temperature check.

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