History honorees announced

The Cherokee Heritage Center announced its SevenStar award winners to include the late John Ketcher, winner of the Stalwart award, and Barbara McAlister, winner of the Contemporary Achievement award, at its 2011 Honoring Dinner on Oct. 22, 2011.

SevenStar honorees are individuals or groups recognized for promoting the Cherokee National Historical Society’s mission to preserve, promote and teach Cherokee history and culture.

John Ketcher was honored with the 2011 Stalwart award, which is presented to a Cherokee Heritage Center supporter who has served as a long-time member, volunteer, employee, board member or associate that has significantly contributed to the Center’s success.

Ketcher demonstrated an ongoing passion and commitment to fostering Cherokee history, language and the arts throughout his life. He served 10 years as deputy principal chief for the Cherokee Nation and two years on the Cherokee tribal council. Prior to his work at the Cherokee Nation, he worked as resident director at the Haskell Institute in Lawrence, Kan., for 10 years and served as director of student activities and resident living at Concho Indian School in El Reno, Okla.

His efforts to teach the Cherokee culture to others began long before the Historical Society was established. Ketcher’s lifetime commitment to the Society’s mission will continue to serve as an inspiration for future generations.

Barbara McAlister was honored with the 2011 Contemporary Achievement award, which is presented to a Cherokee who is accomplished in a chosen field, has brought honor to the Cherokee Nation and serves as an inspiration for others.

An American dramatic mezzo-soprano, McAlister has appeared in more than 55 concerts throughout the world. She has given recitals, singing opera arias and Native American songs in the Cherokee, Chippewa, and Winnebago languages. She created the role of Qualla in Lindor Chlarsson’s opera “Mountain Windsong,” based on the Cherokee Trail of Tears and played Selu in the Trail of Tears drama/musical at Tsa-la-gi outdoor amphitheater in Tahlequah, Okla.

McAlister received the Cherokee Medal of Honor in 1999. She is currently a fine arts instructor and performer for the Cherokee Nation.

“While this event was an important fundraiser for the Heritage Center, it was so much more as we took this opportunity to honor two Cherokee patriots through our SevenStar Award.” said Carey Tilley, executive director at the Cherokee Heritage Center. “Ms. McAlister’s music has enriched the life of people throughout the world while Mr. Ketcher lived a life of public service as a warrior, teacher, councilman, Deputy Chief, and ambassador that should be an example for us all.”

The 2011 Honoring Dinner sponsors were Cherokee Nation Businesses and Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa as Major Event Sponsors; Cherokee Nation Executive Branch as Table Sponsors; and Council of the Cherokee Nation, Noksi Press/Redstone Investments, Northeastern State University, and Rogers State University Foundation as Evening Sponsors.

The Committee for the 2011 Honoring Dinner included Winnie Perdue as Chairperson, Mary Ellen Meredith, Debbie Sutor, Lisa Hammond, Carey Tilley, Joy Stines, Mickel Yantz and Mary Grayson.

The Cherokee National Historical Society was formed in 1963 by a group of visionary Cherokee citizens who shared a desire to establish a permanent culture keeping institution for the Cherokee people. In 1964 they received their 501(c) 3 non- profit organizational status and set about creating programs in keeping with its mission of preserving, promoting, and teaching about Cherokee history and culture. Immediately after formation, the Society laid out their plans to create the Cherokee Heritage Center, a multi-faceted tribal education and cultural center.

The Cherokee Heritage Center is open February through April, Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; May through Labor Day, daily, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and September 6 through December, Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Admission is $8.50 per adult, $7.50 per senior (55 and older) and students with proper identification, and $5 per child. Admission price includes all attractions. Entry to the grounds and museum store are free.
The Cherokee Heritage Center is located at 21192 S. Keeler Drive, Park Hill, OK 74451. For additional information, please call (888) 999-6007 or visit http://www.CherokeeHeritage.org