I have to be absolutely honest, I have had a hard time writing this particular blog. I found it to be overwhelming. Friday morning I walked onto the Council grounds with my sons and saw everyone working together to get things ready for the day’s events and I began to cry. I tear up now just writing about it. For me, it felt like history and present day coming together as one.
The morning began with the flag raising ceremony. United Keetoowah Band Principal Chief George Wickliffe, Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians Principal Chief Michell Hicks and Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker were introduced by Tennessee State Senator Mike Bell and State Representative Dan Howell. I was moved watching them shake hands and embrace one another.
The Color Guard from the Eastern Band of Cherokee Nation marched out as Rick Bird sang a Flag Song. He continued singing and playing drum through the entire Flag Raising.
After the flag raising ceremony the Leaders held council at Red Clay together for the first time in 177 years. I watched on in awe as children sang in Cherokee followed by the meeting being conducted in mostly Cherokee. Stressing the importance of continuing as one nation of people. This was a moment in time that can never be repeated. There is only one first time and I got to be witness.
The following two days were of celebration and education. Diamond surrounded himself with many artifacts and answered all questions asked in an attempt to bring more understanding.
There were singers, dancers and storytellers of all ages.
Beautiful handmade jewelry, paintings and all manner of crafts were everywhere. People were dressed in period clothing. There was unity and celebration in the air. I will say again, it was overwhelming. In a good way. Cherokee children played in the creek at the Blue Hole. It truly was surreal.
I feel blessed to have been there. Even more grateful that I was able to have my children witness history in the making. I hope many of you got to be apart of this day. For those that didn’t you can still visit the museum and Council Grounds. There are meetings every year. There is nothing like enjoying Cherokee history live and in person. I hope to bump into you there.