TAHLEQUAH, Okla. — As a result of the ongoing surge of COVID-19 cases across Green Country, the Cherokee Nation is shifting to virtual activities for its 69th annual Cherokee National Holiday.
The upcoming Cherokee National Holiday was planned to happen over Labor Day weekend. Several of the canceled activities include:
- inter-tribal powwow
- softball and golf tournament
- stickball exhibition
- other traditional games
- a car show
- downtown artisan markets to shop
Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. released this statement about the cancellation:
“The health and safety of our Cherokee people must be at the core of every decision we make.
Today, unfortunately, the W.W. Hastings Hospital Intensive Care Unit remains full due to the COVID-19 Delta variant, hospitalizations are on the rise, and we grieve over the loss of Cherokee speakers and elders who fell ill at the hands of this virus. Positive cases have rapidly increased across the reservation, causing our health system, and others, to feel overwhelming stresses including a lack of available in-patient beds.
Though we all looked forward to a return to in-person fellowship and celebratory activities for this year’s 69th annual Cherokee National Holiday, it is critical that we continue to rely on medical science, facts, and compassion as we make these decisions. Relying on the guidance of our Cherokee Nation Public Health team and the crucial data they continue to monitor related to local COVID-19 cases, we believe that large, in-person gatherings during the Cherokee National Holiday weekend – when tens of thousands of visitors would typically visit the reservation to celebrate – present too great a risk to the health and safety of our Cherokee families and communities. While this is disappointing, we must all remember that protecting one another is the Cherokee way.
Shifting our focus to virtual activities will provide an extra level of protection and will once again allow Cherokees all around the world to take part in the celebration of our Cherokee heritage, traditions and culture during the Holiday weekend.”
The Cherokee Nation's health system recently recorded 789 new COVID-19 cases in the week of Aug. 1. About 90 percent of new cases reported have been due to the Delta variant strain. The upward trend of cases has continued since June.
Visit the official website of the Cherokee National Holiday for more information on virtual events.
The Cherokee National Holiday commemorates the signing of the Cherokee Nation Constitution in 1839, which re-established the tribe’s government in Indian Territory after forced removal from the Cherokees’ original homelands in the Southeast.
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