This weekend, the Cherokee Nation pulls out all the stops and has a celebration like no other. This is the weekend of the 67th Cherokee National Holiday in Tahlequah.
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. It attracts more than 100,000 visitors from across the world.
Thousands of people fill the streets, restaurants, and museums. Many people will come to get a glimpse of the newest principal chief, Chuck Hoskin Jr., who will deliver his first State of the Nation Address at 11:30 a.m. Saturday following the 9:30 a.m. parade.
Although the Holiday runs through Sunday, Saturday's schedule is jam-packed with events. Arts and crafts are available at several locations. An intertribal powwow also is on tap Saturday evening.
Some of the athletic events are foreign to some people. Any idea what chunkey is? Know how stickball is played? Know what a cornstalk shoot is? There's also a blowgun competition and marbles competition. And no, not the kind of marbles you likely played with when you were a child. These are the size of billiard balls.
There's also softball, golf, basketball, volleyball, horseshoes and hatchet throwing. If you're not interested in athletic competitions, there's gospel singing, a car show and the Cherokee Homecoming Art Show & Sale.
Activities are held at several locations in Tahlequah. To see the full schedule of events, go to Cherokee.org, and you will find the Cherokee National Holiday information under "About the Nation."
If you want to learn more about the Cherokee people, plan to attend some of the events. You'll have a fun day, and hopefully learn a lot.