By Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker
Not only is this how we say hello in Cherokee, it’s also how we’ve been saying hello to the world for the past two and a half years through our award-winning television and online program, “Osiyo, Voices of the Cherokee People.” This past weekend, the show was honored by the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences with two Heartland Emmys after being nominated for a whopping 10 awards overall. OsiyoTV, as we fondly refer to it, was recognized with its first Emmy last year after being nominated for five. The Heartland chapter of the Emmys recognizes outstanding television programming in Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, Colorado and Wyoming, and heartfelt congratulations go out to the entire OsiyoTV team for their outstanding work and accomplishments.
Since this show launched in February of 2015, we’ve told the stories of more than 100 Cherokees, past and present, who truly embody what it means to be Cherokee. We’ve profiled artists, professional athletes, coaches, opera singers, Grammy-winning recording artists, MMA fighters, models, pageant winners and even a trick rider who starred in a hit movie.
But OsiyoTV has also introduced our audiences to quieter moments, such as our Cherokee language radio show and gospel music, cooking kanuchi, families digging for wild onions or gigging for crawdads, or even Cherokees speaking to their struggles with substance abuse and how they found the will to overcome and help others who are also struggling. For history lovers, the Cherokee Almanac tells the stories you won’t usually find in the history books. The “Let’s Talk Cherokee” language lessons featuring our Cherokee immersion school students inspire us that our youth will keep the Cherokee language alive for the future.
Produced, directed and hosted by an all-Native staff, we couldn’t be more proud of what they’ve achieved. But more importantly, we’re so pleased with what these stories have meant to our people. No matter where I travel, people always make a point to tell me how much they enjoy the show. Many times they’ve seen a story about a relative or a friend, but more often they tell me it reminds them of someone who was special to them who is no longer with us. Other times they tell me it harkens them back to their childhood and experiences they shared with their parents or grandparents growing up. For our Cherokees who’ve left the 14 counties of the Cherokee Nation, it’s a connection they may have been missing for many years they’ve been longing to reestablish.
When I took the oath of Principal Chief, part of that duty and responsibility was to protect and promote the Cherokee culture. So while these stories and shows are entertaining and heartwarming, they’re also meant to be a historical record and a way to keep our Cherokee heritage thriving.
No culture can survive unless it is carefully preserved and passed down to the next generation, and that’s what OsiyoTV is doing. The show and its team comprised of Emmy-winning journalist and Cherokee Nation citizen Jennifer Loren, along with Cherokee producers, directors, researchers and editors behind the scenes are culture-keepers in a digital age. They take great care to research, verify and document our culture, customs, language and the wisdom of today’s elders, so that it all may be passed to the next seven generations.
If you aren’t already a fan of the show, please take the time to see what you’re missing. Visit www.osiyo.tv to watch full episodes of this Emmy-winning program from anywhere in the world, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The website also displays television showtimes for Oklahoma, northwest Arkansas, southwest Missouri and southeast Kansas. We’ll have more exciting news to announce soon about the show, so as they say in the TV business, stay tuned!
By Krystan Moser
One of the most notable figures in Cherokee history is Sequoyah, the creator of the Cherokee syllabary. Sequoyah, or George Guess, was born around 1770 in what is now the state of Tennessee. Sequoyah spent more than a decade studying the structure of the Cherokee language, and in 1821 he unveiled a written version of the language.
By Ricardo Marmolejo, CNMC Program Manager at Fort Bliss, TX
Cherokee Nation Management & Consulting recently established a new technique for training environmental officers at the Fort Bliss Army post in El Paso, Texas. The new approach allows environmental officers to experience the day-to-day operations of each department managed by the Base Environmental Division.
The training sessions, which began last month, highlight Fort Bliss Main Post Historic District’s history through interactive, outdoor lessons.
By Keli Gonzales
Winged serpents, rattlesnakes, spiders and warriors are prominent in Cherokee iconography and often misinterpreted as Central American motifs. The history of these designs dates back to the mound-building societies of the Mississippian and protohistoric periods of North America. Many Cherokee artists (as well as other artists belonging to the tribes whose homelands were in the Southeast, such as the Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek and Seminole) use Mississippian Era designs in their work today. Various establishments throughout the Cherokee Nation display these types of images.