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Cherokee Nation preserves culture, supports art through new construction
The Deep Creek exhibit at Cherokee Casino & Hotel West Siloam Springs, an art display featuring authentic Cherokee art recreating a scene from the late 1790s to the early 1800s of a Cherokee family of two outside a summer home.

TAHLEQUAH, OKLA.- Cherokee Nation and Cherokee Nation Businesses are using new construction and renovations to procure, preserve and display cultural artifacts and artwork.

The tribe and its businesses have spent nearly $300,000 with many Cherokee artists on art, artifacts and display items in 2014. The numbers continue to grow as more construction projects are complete.

“The Cherokee culture is widely recognized for its historic and modern-day contributions to the landscape of American Indian art,” said Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker. “For the Cherokee Nation, supporting and preserving those contributions is a matter of law and a principle I have endorsed for years. By making investments in our Cherokee artisans, we are preserving our culture and heritage while increasing our ability to share it with the world.”

In accordance with Cherokee Nation law, when the price of a renovation or new construction project exceeds $500,000, 1 percent of the cost is set aside for procurement of Cherokee art.

The law calls for those funds to be used for any form of art deemed historic, cultural or traditional, including crafts, paintings, beadwork, sculptures and landscaping. It also allows for the expense of preserving, displaying and installing such art.

“Our investments in remaining the regional entertainment leader, as well as our investments into the infrastructure for tribal health facilities, show our commitment to improving access to jobs and services for Cherokee people,” said Shawn Slaton, chief executive officer of Cherokee Nation Businesses. “Earmarking specific funds from these investments shows our commitment to preserving Cherokee culture and art for future generations.”

Renovations to the first hotel tower, built in 2004, at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa are providing new ways to display Cherokee artwork and artifacts to guests. Rooms will include three-dimensional art such as textiles, baskets, painted feathers, arrows, moccasins, blowguns, soapstone pipes, stickball items and walking sticks, in addition to reproduction wall art.

At the Cherokee Nation Veterans Center in Tahlequah, original paintings hang throughout the building and display cases are filled with memorabilia and photographs associated with Cherokee citizens who have served in the military.

Cherokee art and artifacts are on display at most tribal properties, including government and business offices, health centers and each of the eight Cherokee Casinos.

A catalogue of the tribe’s collection is accessible through an online art database at .

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