Okla. The Cherokee Nation Color Guard is making an effort
to bring back a piece of Cherokee culture and artistry that has
been missing from the tribe since the 1980s.
group recently presented a turkey feather cape to Miss Cherokee
Brook Hudson at a spring powwow and hopes to educate Cherokee people
about the history of feather capes among the Cherokee.
of the color guard, Don Stroud, said he is familiar with capes because
his sister, Virginia Stroud, once served as Miss Cherokee and was
the first to where a turkey feather cape during her 1969 reign.
said information about feather capes worn by ancient Cherokees was
sparse, but it was known they did wear feather capes
before European contact. The capes were fashioned like a cloak that
covered a persons torso and was tied at the chest.
wasnt until more recently that journals with descriptions
became available, he said. They were worn by both men
and women. It was for warmth. This was something that was practical.
on information found among the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians
in North Carolina, feather capes were made from feathers from different
types of birds and for all people in the tribe.
construction method for feather cape was to use a net backing. The
feathers were tied to the net at the intersections of the strings
on the net. Stroud said no diagrams of capes remain from the time
they were made and used in the 1600s and earlier. Also, Stroud said
no exact directions exist of how the capes were made.
said she thought the powwow was an appropriate place to receive
the turkey feather cape because it allowed the color guard to educate
people about the cape and its place in history.
think its very unique and I feel very honored to be wearing
it, she said. I understand the meaning of it. Hes
(Stroud) talked to me about it, so I just felt very humbled when
he chose me to bring the cape back.
said the color guard is hoping to present a turkey cape annually
to Miss Cherokee.
been in contact with a local artist who makes clothing for powwows,
and shes willing to take a look at what information we have,
added that hes concerned some people will nitpick
about the capes authenticity.
dont want to put Brook or any other Miss Cherokee in that
position, he said.
said if someone has concerns about the authenticity of the cape,
they should contact the color guard. The color guard unofficially
adopts every Miss Cherokee, Stroud said.
they put that crown and banner on they just inherited a bunch of
aunts and uncles. Theyre going to look after her, he
feather cape presented to Hudson was made in New York, but has authentic
said he attempted to make a feather cape himself, but didnt
like the results. He recently received an idea for improving his
netting and said he will attempt to make another cape.
color guard also wears traditional Cherokee clothing during some
of its ceremonies. Members wear hunting jackets made by local Cherokee
artists and finger-woven cloth belts and bandolier bags like those
worn by Cherokee warriors in the 18th and 19th centuries.
also said the guard is looking for more members. Currently, there
are seven members, men and women, who volunteer their time to post
United States and CN colors. They make up the official CN Color
Guard recognized by the Tribal Council.
more information about the cape, call Stroud at 918-456-3637. For
more information on the guard, call Stroud or Rogan Noble at 918-453-5694
in the CN Office of Veterans Affairs.