PARK HILL, OK. An exhibit showcasing portraits of Cherokee
people from all walks of life is on display at the Cherokee Heritage
Center through April 6.
CHC Curator Mickel Yantz said "Cherokee Nation: A Portrait of
a People" is a traveling exhibit consisting of portraits taken in
the Tahlequah area 12 years ago by award-winning photographer David
The exhibit has been traveling for 10 years and has even traveled
to the Smithsonian's Arts and Industries Building in October 2001.
"We wanted to bring this back and show what happened 12 years
ago, but we also wanted to honor the people that were there. Some
of these people aren't with us anymore, and we wanted...their families
to see the portraits," Yantz said.
Cherokees from different backgrounds such as firefighters, artisans,
Cherokee National Treasures, politicians and every day people are
a part of the exhibit, Yantz said.
"We have plenty of National Treasures that are on display. Actually,
what's really exciting about this exhibit is that we've been able
to showcase some of the permanent (art) collection at the (Cherokee)
Heritage Center that complements the (National Treasure) portraits
that are on display," he said.
In addition to the photographs, pottery, baskets, weavings and
personal items that belonged to the people who are a part of the
exhibit but now deceased are on display.
A photo of CHC Gift Shop lead cashier Colleen Jumper and her
son is a part of the exhibit. She said Fitzgerald wanted a portrait
of a Cherokee mother and child. At first she said she was not interested
in sitting for a photo, but eventually Fitzgerald convinced her
to take part.
"It's just a picture to me. I like it because it has my son
in it. He's 15 now. He was 2 at the time, so it's good to his picture
all over the place," she said.
Fitzgerald is a lifelong Oklahoma resident and has been a professional
photographer for more than 40 years. He was inducted into the Oklahoma
Journalism Hall of Fame in April 2005 and has been named Oklahoma
Photographer of the Year three times. His work has been published
in periodicals as well as popular "coffee table" photography books,
including "Oklahoma," "Oklahoma II," "Oklahoma III," "Cherokee,"
"Chickasaw," and "Portrait of the Ozarks."
The portraits included in the "Cherokee Nation: A Portrait of
a People" were taken for the 2002 book "Cherokee." Fitzgerald also
photographed Cherokee people in 1998 while researching the Trail
of Tears, which led to the portraiture project for the State Museum
of History in Oklahoma.
Fitzgerald started taking pictures in 1964, during a two-week
training stint in the Army. Before that he had been illustrating
greeting cards. Along with coffee table books, his photos have been
displayed in museums and galleries and appeared in documentaries
The CHC is located at 21192 S. Keeler Drive in Park Hill. For
more information, call 1-888-999-6007 or email email@example.com
The Cherokee Heritage Center is the premier cultural center for
Cherokee tribal history, culture, and the arts, located in the heart
of the Cherokee Nation in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. It was established
in 1963 by the Board of Trustees of the Cherokee National Historical
Society to preserve and promote the Cherokee culture while sponsoring
dynamic educational programs, reconstructed historic villages, engaging
exhibits, and scholarly research stimulating interest in the enduring
legacy of the Cherokee people.