One of the greatest sources of strength Cherokee people have right now is our culture and heritage. COVID-19 precautions have temporarily closed down our museums and postponed cultural events, but Cherokees across the world are using social media and other digital means to stay connected.
Cherokee Nation is active across social media platforms to share all kinds of incredible cultural knowledge. Cherokee family recipes, dances, artwork, songs, language lessons and more can help normalize this unprecedented time in world history and be an anchor for our collective spirits. Anyone with an internet connection, mobile device or streaming service can access them at no cost.
There is power in hearing the Cherokee language spoken, listening to Cherokee songs and learning Cherokee stories. Our current Miss Cherokee and Junior Miss Cherokee have recently shared traditional stories, and a host of talented performers from Cherokee Cultural Tourism and Cherokee Nation Community & Cultural Outreach have recorded entertaining and educational information. In typical Cherokee fashion, nearly all these performances have teachable lessons intertwined.
Cherokee Nation’s Education Services department has made interactive children's books in our language available online so you can download and enjoy them together. With these resources, kids can color, read and learn Cherokee vocabulary.
Members of the Cherokee National Youth Choir have taken turns recording themselves at home singing songs in Cherokee. Those clips have reached more than half a million people on social media in just a few weeks’ time. I know they are uplifting everyone who watches, and there are more videos to come.
Additionally, Cherokee Nation’s online language courses, which had been temporarily suspended, have started again. Fluent, elder speakers share the language for all levels of learners. Go to the Language section on www.cherokee.org to find hundreds of language resources and to sign up for classes.
Cherokee Nation’s YouTube channel features a collection of series about elders who reside within our communities in northeast Oklahoma. Through these videos, we can gain wisdom, advice and a better understanding of Cherokee traditions from generations that came before us.
Osiyo TV, the Emmy award-winning television show produced by Cherokee Nation, has a tremendous catalogue of uplifting stories and historical almanacs that celebrate Cherokee lifeways. You can see watch those anytime at www.osiyo.tv.
Through all these avenues, Cherokees can stay connected to our community and know that the strength of the Cherokee people remains. I hope everyone reading this will take a moment to explore these wonderful resources.
Our Cherokee people remain strong and resolute in this trying time, just as we always have. With respect for one another and the inspiration of our culture, we will persevere. Even though we are practicing social distancing, our core Cherokee values connect us to each other. We will make it through this together.
Chuck Hoskin Jr. is the Principle Chief of the Cherokee Nation.