- Associated Press - Thursday, September 11, 2014

TULSA, Okla. (AP) - The Cherokee Nation on Thursday contributed $100,000 to help fund a temporary exhibit at Tulsa’s Gilcrease Museum that will display about 100 items from Cherokee history.

The tribe says the exhibit, titled “Emergence of the Cherokee Nation in Indian Territory,” will open in 2017. It will tell the story of the Cherokees leading up to their forced removal from the southeastern United States along what was known as the Trail of Tears and after the tribe settled in Tahlequah and began to form a new government.

“The Gilcrease Museum has proven time and time again to be a great partner to the Cherokee Nation, and together we are creating an exhibit that showcases some of the most significant documents and artifacts in the rich history of our people,” said Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker. “For Cherokee citizens, few things are more important than preserving who we are as a tribe.

“The Gilcrease understands that and is working diligently with the Cherokee Nation to create a narrative that is authentic, accurate and appropriate,” he said.

Among the items slated for display are portraits of famous Cherokee leaders and other art and artifacts reflecting the emergence of the tribe.

The project complements the ongoing partnership between tribal translators and the museum to translate Cherokee documents to English for the first time. In November, tribal officials contributed a gift for the preservation of a collection of more than 2,000 pages handwritten by John Ross, who was Cherokee Nation principal chief leading up to forced removal and until his death in 1866.

“Gilcrease Museum and its collection of Cherokee material in our archives includes 11 lineal feet of John Ross papers that provide an invaluable resource for studying Cherokee history during a pivotal time in the tribe’s history and during the 19th century,” said Duane H. King, director of the museum’s Helmerich Center for American Research.

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