TAHLEQUAH, Okla. — — Two Confederate monuments that were placed on the Cherokee Nation Capitol Square close to one hundred years ago, were removed on Saturday.
The Cherokee Nation did not place the monuments originally, they were placed when the area belonged to the state and operated as a county courthouse.
“We’ve suffered for centuries with too many others telling our story for us as they see fit,” Chief Hoskin said. “It’s difficult to tell our story when we have non-Indian-driven monuments talking about the Confederacy, when they greet people as they come into our Cherokee Nation museum. It was time for a change.”
Both of the Confederate monuments honored General Stand Watie, who was the last to surrender during the Civil War.
The former Cherokee Nation Courthouse at the capitol square is now a Cherokee history museum.
“There are some painful references on these monuments and I think we live in a time when we need to be mindful of the unity we have here on the courthouse Capitol Square. If there is one place at the Cherokee Nation that should stand for unity it should be here. After all, this is where we reconstituted our government and came back together as a people, and I think we need to do that today.”
The Cherokee Nation reclaimed ownership of the location in 1979.
“Today marks a new chapter in the history of the capitol square in which Cherokees, for the first time in over a century, can exercise control of the entirety of the square and let Cherokees, not non-Cherokees, tell our story more fully,” Hoskin added.
The Cherokee Nation is currently working on plans for the capitol square, some of which include a monument dedicated to the Trail of Tears.
“A lot is going on in this country in terms of racial strife and the Cherokee Nation plays a role in healing, and this is one of the ways we can do that,” Chief Hoskin said.
Stay in touch with us anytime, anywhere.
Sign up for newsletters emailed to your inbox. Select from these options: Breaking News, Severe Weather, School Closings, Daily Headlines and Daily Forecasts.