KULLIHOMA, Okla. – Much to the surprise of some of the young men in the competition, the first and third place finishers in Saturday’s youth cornstalk shoot were young ladies. These are young women who understand how to handle a bow and arrow.
Summer Parker, a Cherokee from Wagoner, Oklahoma, finished first, and Chickasaw youngster Hailey Alexander finished third. Chickasaw Amon Walker took second place to keep heads held high for the guys as the 54th Chickasaw Annual Meeting and 26th Annual Festival – a weeklong celebration – ends this Saturday in Tishomingo.
TAHLEQUAH – He calls himself an ‘aboriginal revivalist’ – a term he came up with because, as he says, he’s aboriginal and he revitalizes things.
“It just makes me sound cool,” Noel Grayson says and chuckles.
Grayson is a Cherokee National Treasure in bow making and flint knapping. If you Google him, a number of YouTube videos will pop up and you may watch him demonstrate his craft – making Cherokee bows and flint knapping arrows in the traditional way.
However, this night he is making traditional Southeastern style pucker-toe moccasins, but you won’t find a video of that – yet.
“Knowing how to make these moccasins is really simple if you know the technique,” he said. “See this basketball court? This is the pattern that we’re going be using.”
Grayson gestures toward the back of room and the women seated in front of him realize they are sitting at one end of a gym. Indeed, at the opposite end of the room is a basketball goal and the free throw line is clearly marked. They are inside the Wellness Center of the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians attending a class offered by the tribe’s John Hair Museum and Cultural Center in Tahlequah.
He asks for a volunteer so he can demonstrate how to measure the foot and draw the pattern. He has her stand on a piece of cardboard. Then using a piece of twine, he measures all the way around the widest part of the woman’s foot and marks the width by knotting the twine.
“Most Native Americans have a foot that is as long as it is around,” he said.
He stretches the length of twine out. His volunteer has a slightly longer foot, but many in the room find their foot is indeed as long as it is big around.
Grayson marks the length of her foot on the cardboard then marks where the widest part of her foot falls. He uses the knotted twine to measure how wide to make the pattern at that point. It looks like he’s marking the points of a cross [†].
He then uses the twine like a compass to draw a semi-circle from the center of the cross over toe of the foot, joining the left and right arms of the cross.
Cherokee Nation Cultural Tourism offering moccasin class at John Ross Museum
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. - As part of the celebration of Native American Heritage Month and “Rock Your Mocs Day,” Cherokee Nation officials are hosting a Nov. 11 class for participants to create their own pair of moccasins.
The class will be held at the John Ross Museum from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. All materials will be provided to make traditional pucker-toe moccasins. Attendees are asked to bring a sack lunch.
Registration is $25 and limited to 25 people on a first-come, first-served basis at www.VisitCherokeeNation.com.
“Rock Your Mocs Day” was founded in 2011 by Laguna Pueblo member Jessica Atsye, in an effort to unite all tribes by its individuals wearing moccasins on Nov. 15 and then sharing a photo on social media. The preferred hashtag for this year is #RYM2014.
For more information about the national event, visit www.facebook.com/RockYourMocs.
The John Ross Museum highlights the life of John Ross, Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation for more than 38 years, and houses exhibits and interactive displays on the Trail of Tears, Civil War, Cherokee Golden Age and Cherokee Nation's passion for the education of its people. The John Ross Museum is located at 22366 S. 530 Rd. in Park Hill.
For information on Cherokee Nation Cultural Tourism, including museum operations, please call (877) 779-6977 or visit www.VisitCherokeeNation.com.
TULSA – He’s a culinary school dropout who hasn’t managed to leave the stove.
“I’m pretty good at this. I like to burn stuff,” laughs Justin Phillips, who is Cherokee and Ponca.
Coincidentally, he dropped out of culinary school to go fight wild fires even though he had enrolled in culinary school to end his firefighting career.
“I was out in Talihina working for the BIA (Bureau of Indian Affairs),” he said. “It was a good job.”
But cooking was what he was truly good at.
“I started (in the restaurant business) on my birthday. When I turned 16, I started at El Chico in Muskogee. I started washing dishes. A year later, I was pretty much co-kitchen manager of that place,” Phillips said.
Now in his 30’s, Phillips is getting a taste of success as the owner of LeGrubs Catering Company. He operates a popular food truck on the weekends and counts two Tulsa hotels among his regular clientele.
Today, he’s talking food and dreams while cooking up a meal for a Tulsa Cancer Society luncheon. Chicken breasts are charring on the grill while Phillips sautés roasted red potatoes with fresh bell peppers, Vidalia onions and lots of seasoning.