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  • Lani Hansen

UKB taking Tradition Keeper nominations

Updated: Aug 23, 2018

TAHLEQUAH - The United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians is now taking nominations for 2018 Tradition Keepers until September 10 at 5 p.m.

One man and one woman will be selected for the honor and receive $250 during the 68th Annual Keetoowah Celebration taking place October 5-6 at the UKB grounds.

Tradition Keepers are outstanding individuals dedicated to continuing the Keetoowah Cherokee culture through practicing a variety of ancient skills and traditions. They are unselfish with their craft and willing to share their knowledge with other members and the public.

"The Tradition Keeper’s Award is important for recognition and encouragement of Keetoowah members to keep our language and traditions alive," said Ernestine Berry, director for the John Hair Cultural Center and Museum. "Our language and our traditions are what make us unique; they set our culture apart from other tribes and races."

Nominees must be exclusive UKB members. Those who submit forms should also include a recent picture of the nominee and a photograph of the individual's work. If selected, nominees may also be asked to gift a piece of their traditional work to the JHCCM, if applicable.

Past Tradition Keepers have been recognized for a variety of skills according to Berry, who was nominated in 2016 for her knowledge of Keetoowah history.

"We still have people who practice speaking the language at home and teaching certain traditions such as beading, basket weaving, weaving of cloth, gig making, bow making, marble making, and gathering and preparing wild foods," she said. "There are also those who practice helping and caring for one another as our ancestors taught us to do. This is our heritage and the legacy we leave for those who come behind us."

Applications can be found at the reception desk in the UKB Services building or downloaded here.

Completed forms can be dropped off at the JHCCM located at 18627 W. Keetoowah Circle in Tahlequah or by mail to PO Box 746, Tahlequah, Oklahoma 74465. All applications should be addressed to Ernestine Berry. For more information, contact Berry at 918-871-2866.



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