"City Of Firsts"
|Cherokee Nation||founded 1838; second capital city|
|• Mayor||Sue Catron|
|• Total||12.52 sq mi (32.43 km2)|
|• Land||12.48 sq mi (32.33 km2)|
|• Water||0.04 sq mi (0.10 km2)|
|Elevation||797 ft (243 m)|
|• Density||1,347.35/sq mi (520.21/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC-6 (Central (CST))|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC-5 (CDT)|
|GNIS feature ID||1098721|
Tahlequah ( // TAL-ə-kwah; Cherokee: ᏓᎵᏆ, da-tle-qua) is a city in Cherokee County, Oklahoma located at the foothills of the Ozark Mountains. It is part of the Green Country region of Oklahoma and was established as a capital of the 19th-century Cherokee Nation in 1839, as part of the new settlement in Indian Territory after the Cherokee Native Americans were forced west from the American Southeast on the Trail of Tears.
The city's population was 15,753 at the 2010 census, an increase of 8.96 percent over the figure of 14,458 reported in 2000.The 2019 estimated population is 16,819.
Tahlequah is the capital of the two federally recognized Cherokee tribes based in Oklahoma, the modern Cherokee Nation and the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians. Tahlequah is also the county seat of Cherokee County.The main campus of Northeastern State University is located in the city.
By 1842, Tahlequah was a growing community and had four stores. The townsite of 160 acres (65 ha) was surveyed in 1843, and in the same year an intertribal council attracted ten thousand participants representing 21 different tribes. In 1844 the National Hotel was built, and the newspaper Cherokee Advocate issued its first edition using a printing press installed in the brand-new Supreme Court building. The first school opened in 1845, and the Tahlequah post office opened in 1847. The Cherokee Male Seminary opened in 1851, offering higher education to Cherokee boys who had already received their primary education.
Many linguists believe the word 'Tahlequah' (Tah-le-quah) and the word 'Teh-li-co' are the same as 'di li gwa', the Cherokee word for grain or rice. (See Cherokee Nation Lexicon (dikaneisdi) at cherokee.org under culture/language). Scholars report the Cherokee word 'di li gwa' describes a type of native grain with a red hue that grew in the flat open areas of east Tennessee. One area, Great Tellico (Tellico Plains, Tennessee), was named for the grass with the red seed tops. Others interpret a word 'tel-i-quah' as 'plains'; however, there is no word for 'plains' in the Cherokee lexicon, and the word 'tel-i-quah' is not found in the lexicon. The idea that 'tahlequah' means 'plains' lends weight to the belief that the name refers to the wide open grassy areas of Great Tellico.
Local legend states the name is derived from Cherokee words 'ta-li' and 'ye-li-quu' meaning 'just two' or 'two is enough'. Supposedly three tribal elders had planned to meet to determine the location of the Cherokee Nation's permanent capital. Two elders arrived and waited for the third. As dusk approached, they decided that 'two is enough', or 'ta-li-ye-li-quu' which later became anglicanized to Tahlequah. According to tribal elders and Cherokee County elders, this legend first began to circulate in the 1930s. Tahlequah was a settlement as early as 1832. After the Western Cherokee agreed in 1834 to let the newer migrants settle near them, they joined their government with the Eastern Cherokee at Tahlequah in 1839. Tahlequah was named long before it was chosen as the Cherokee capital.
In 1839, Tahlequah was designated the capital of ancestors of both the Cherokee Nation and the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians. Initially the government buildings were a complex of log or framed structures. Most of these buildings were destroyed during the Civil War, during which the Cherokee became divided into two bitterly opposing sides. The Cherokee Supreme Court Building, located in downtown Tahlequah and constructed in 1844, is the oldest public building in Oklahoma.
Several markers of Cherokee and Native American heritage are found in town: street signs and business signs are noted in both the Cherokee language and English. Such signs use the syllabary created by Sequoyah, a Cherokee scholar of the 1820s who created the writing system.
After the war, a brick capitol was built and first occupied in 1870. In 1907, at the time of Oklahoma statehood, the building was converted into the Cherokee County courthouse. It was returned to the Cherokee Nation in 1970.
In 1886, the first telephone company in Indian Territory was built. The Cherokee Female Seminary, which had originally been constructed in Park Hill, burned in 1887, and was rebuilt in Tahlequah. After statehood, it was taken over by the state to become Northeastern State Normal School and the Northeastern State Teachers College (now Northeastern State University). The first bank in the Cherokee Nation opened in 1891 on Muskogee Avenue.
A major fire destroyed much of downtown Tahlequah in 1895. The buildings destroyed were mostly wooden and were replaced with brick structures.
In 1902, the Ozark and Cherokee Central Railwaybuilt a line into Tahlequah.
Tahlequah continued to grow. During the 1990s, it was the fourth fastest growing city in Oklahoma.
Tahlequah is located at km2), all land. The city is 40 miles (64 km) west of the Arkansas state line.(35.9153700, -94.9699560). The city has a total area of 12.45 square miles (32.2
Tahlequah, like most of the Southern United States, has a humid subtropical climate (Köppen Cfa) with uncomfortably hot and humid summers, generally warm but very variable springs and autumns, and cool winters with frequent frosts and occasional spells of severe weather dominated by cold, dry Canadian air.
|Climate data for Tahlequah 1981-2010, extremes 1900-2008|
|Record high °F (°C)||78|
|Average high °F (°C)||49.0|
|Average low °F (°C)||27.1|
|Record low °F (°C)||−23|
|Average precipitation inches (mm)||2.58|
|Average snowfall inches (cm)||2.1|
|Average precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in)||6||6||7||9||9||8||6||6||7||6||6||6||82|
U.S. Decennial Census
As of the 2010 census,there were 15,753 people, 6,111 households, and 3,351 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,312.75 per square mile (506.5/km2). There were 6,857 housing units at an average density of 571.4 per square mile (220.5/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 53.8% White, 2.4% African American, 30.0% Native American, 1.3% Asian, 0.0% Pacific Islander, 3.7% from other races, and 8.7% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 9.8% of the population.
Out of 6,111 households, 25.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 35.5% were married couples living together, 14.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 45.2% were non-families. 34.3% of all households were made up of individuals, and 10.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.31 and the average family size was 2.99.
In the city, the population was spread out, with 21.1% under the age of 18, 23.6% from 18 to 24, 24.3% from 25 to 44, 18.5% from 45 to 64, and 12.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 27.8 years. For every 100 females, there were 93.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 91.2 males.
As of 2013, the median household income was $29,114 and the median family income was $43,940. Males had a median income of $32,475 versus $27,939 for females. The per capita income for the city was $17,003. About 20.7% of families and 33.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 43.2% of those under age 18 and 21.8% of those age 65 or over.
Many people in Tahlequah speak Cherokee, and there is a Cherokee language immersion school in Tahlequah, Oklahoma, that educates students from pre-school through eighth grade with the Cherokee language as the medium of instruction, and no English.
Education within the Tahlequah city limits consists of one early learning center serving students in Pre-K: Sequoyah; three elementary schools serving students in Kindergarten through 5th grade: Greenwood, Cherokee, and Heritage; one middle school with grades 6 through 8: Tahlequah Middle School; and one high school with grades 9-12: Tahlequah High School. Tahlequah High School serves as the main high school within the county as well and is fed by other rural Pre-K through 8th grade schools within Cherokee County.
The Cherokee language immersion school in Tahlequah, Oklahoma educates students from pre-school through eighth grade.Because Oklahoma's official language is English, Cherokee immersion students are hindered when taking state-mandated tests because they have little competence in English. The Department of Education of Oklahoma said that in 2012 state tests: 11% of the school's sixth-graders showed proficiency in math, and 25% showed proficiency in reading; 31% of the seventh-graders showed proficiency in math, and 87% showed proficiency in reading; 50% of the eighth-graders showed proficiency in math, and 78% showed proficiency in reading. The Oklahoma Department of Education listed the charter school as a Targeted Intervention school, meaning the school was identified as a low-performing school but has not been identified as a Priority School. Ultimately, the school made a C, or a 2.33 grade point average on the state's A-F report card system. The report card shows the school getting an F in mathematics achievement and mathematics growth, a C in social studies achievement, a D in reading achievement, and an A in reading growth and student attendance. “The C we made is tremendous,” said school principal Holly Davis, “[t]here is no English instruction in our school’s younger grades, and we gave them this test in English.” She said she had anticipated the low grade because it was the school's first year as a state-funded charter school, and many students had difficulty with English. Eighth graders who graduate from the Tahlequah immersion school are fluent speakers of the language, and they usually go on to attend Sequoyah High School where classes are taught in both English and Cherokee.
Northeastern State University is the oldest institution of higher learning in the state of Oklahoma as well as one of the oldest institutions of higher learning west of the Mississippi River.Tahlequah is home to the capital of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma and about 25 percent of the students at NSU identify themselves as American Indian. The university has many courses focused on Native American linguistics, and offers Cherokee language Education as a major. Cherokee can be studied as a second language, and some classes are taught in Cherokee for first language speakers as well.
The building that once housed the Supreme Court of the Cherokee Nation has been converted into a museum and is open to the public. It reportedly is the oldest public building in Oklahoma.It was constructed on the southeast corner of the town square by James S. Pierce in 1844. The first chief justice of the Cherokee Nation, John Martin (judge) (1784–1840) held court here. The printing press for the early-day Cherokee Phoenix newspaper was also located in this building, and a reproduction of the press and the newsroom can be seen here.
The Cherokee National Capitol building was built on the town square in 1869. It contained the nation's executive and legislative offices until the tribal national government was dissolved in 1906, in preparation for Oklahoma's statehood.The building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) and is designated as a National Landmark.
The museum contains 4,000 square feet (370 m2) of space for permanent exhibits and 1,000 square feet (93 m2) of rotating gallery space. Exhibits include not only works by Cherokee artists, but also artifacts loaned by the collections of the Cherokee Nation Archives, Gilcrease Museum, Smithsonian Institution and the Oklahoma Historical Society.
Tahlequah is featured in the Newberry Medal winning civil war novel “Rifles For Watie” written in 1957 by Harold Keith.
Monroe County is a county on the southeastern border of the U.S. state of Tennessee. As of the 2010 census, the population was 44,519. Its county seat is Madisonville.
Cherokee County is a county located in the U.S. state of Oklahoma. As of the 2010 census, the population was 46,987. Its county seat is Tahlequah, which is also the capital of the Cherokee Nation.
Park Hill is an unincorporated community and census-designated place (CDP) in southwestern Cherokee County, Oklahoma, United States. The population was 3,909 at the 2010 census. It lies near Tahlequah, east of the junction of U.S. Route 62 and State Highway 82.
Vonore is a town in Monroe County, which is located on the southeast border of the U.S. state of Tennessee. The population was 1,474 as of the 2010 census. The city hall, library, community center, police department, and fire department are located on Church Street. The current mayor is Bob Lovingood.
Cherokee is an endangered-to-moribund Iroquoian language and the native language of the Cherokee people. Ethnologue states that there were 1,520 Cherokee speakers out of 376,000 Cherokee in 2018, while a tally by the three Cherokee tribes in 2019 recorded ~2,100 speakers. The number of speakers is in decline. About eight fluent speakers die each month, and only a handful of people under the age of 40 are fluent. The dialect of Cherokee in Oklahoma is "definitely endangered", and the one in North Carolina is "severely endangered" according to UNESCO. The Lower dialect, formerly spoken on the South Carolina–Georgia border, has been extinct since about 1900. The dire situation regarding the future of the two remaining dialects prompted the Tri-Council of Cherokee tribes to declare a state of emergency in June 2019, with a call to enhance revitalization efforts.
The Cherokee syllabary is a syllabary invented by Sequoyah in the late 1810s and early 1820s to write the Cherokee language. His creation of the syllabary is particularly noteworthy as he was illiterate until the creation of his syllabary. He first experimented with logograms, but his system later developed into a syllabary. In his system, each symbol represents a syllable rather than a single phoneme; the 85 characters provide a suitable method to write Cherokee. Although some symbols resemble Latin, Greek, Cyrillic, and Glagolitic letters, they are not used to represent the same sounds.
Northeastern State University (NSU) is a public university with its main campus in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. The university also has two other campuses in Muskogee and Broken Arrow as well as online. Northeastern is the oldest institution of higher learning in the state of Oklahoma as well as one of the oldest institutions of higher learning west of the Mississippi River. Tahlequah is home to the capital of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma and about 25 percent of the students at NSU identify themselves as American Indian. The university has many courses focused on Native American linguistics, and offers Cherokee language Education as a major. Cherokee can be studied as a second language, and some classes are taught in Cherokee for first language speakers as well.
Cherokee society is the culture and societal structures shared by the Cherokee Peoples. It can also mean the extended family or village. The Cherokee are Indigenous to the mountain and inland regions of the southeastern United States in the areas of present-day North Carolina, and historically in South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and Georgia. The majority of the tribe was forcefully removed to Indian Territory in Oklahoma in the 1830s.
The Cherokee Nation, also known as the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, is the largest of three Cherokee federally recognized tribes in the United States. It was established in the 20th century and includes people descended from members of the Old Cherokee Nation who relocated, due to increasing pressure, from the Southeast to Indian Territory and Cherokee who were forced to relocate on the Trail of Tears. The tribe also includes descendants of Cherokee Freedmen, Absentee Shawnee, and Natchez Nation. Over 299,862 people are enrolled in the Cherokee Nation, with 189,228 living within the state of Oklahoma.
Great Tellico was a Cherokee town at the site of present-day Tellico Plains, Tennessee, where the Tellico River emerges from the Appalachian Mountains. Great Tellico was one of the largest Cherokee towns in the region, and had a sister town nearby named Chatuga. Its name in Cherokee is more properly written Talikwa. It is sometimes spelled Telliquo, Telliquah or, in Oklahoma, Tahlequah. There were several Cherokee settlements named Tellico, the largest of which is distinguished from the others by calling it "Great". The meaning of the word "Talikwa" is thought to be lost by the Cherokees. However, in an article authored by reporter Tesina Jackson of the Cherokee Phoenix the meaning of the word is stated as "the open place where the grass grows".
Sequoyah High School is a Native American boarding school serving students in grades 7 through 12, who are members of a federally recognized Native American tribe. The school is located in Tahlequah, and is a Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) grant school operated by the Cherokee Nation.
The Cherokee Female Seminary,, serves as the centerpiece of Northeastern State University ("NSU"), located in Tahlequah, Oklahoma, United States. The building was constructed to replace the original Cherokee Female Seminary that burnt to the ground Easter Sunday, 1887. The Cherokee Council chose to rebuild the school on a 40-acre (160,000 m2) site north of Tahlequah, near Hendricks Spring. Two years later, on May 7, 1889, the dedication ceremonies were held in honor of the new building. The Female Seminary was owned and operated by the Cherokee Nation until March 6, 1909 when the State Legislature of Oklahoma passed an act providing for the creation and location of Northeastern State Normal School at Tahlequah, Oklahoma, and for the purchase from the Cherokee Tribal Government of the building, land, and equipment of the Cherokee Female Seminary. At the start of the next academic year, on September 14, the first classes were held at the newly created Northeastern State Normal School, now NSU.
The Cherokee Male Seminary was a tribal college established in 1846 by the Cherokee Nation in Indian Territory. Opening in 1851, it was one of the first institutions of higher learning in the United States to be founded west of the Mississippi River.
Native American politics remain divided over different issues such as assimilation, education, healthcare, and economic factors that affect reservations. As a nation living within the United States of America, the Native American people face conflicting opinions within their tribes, essentially those living on federally approved reservations. Interactions with the federal government and the overall American culture surrounding them influence day-to-day tribal life. Native American culture as a whole rests between the divide of the traditionalists and those who wish to trade the old ways for improved conditions.
Bill John Baker is the previous Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation. First elected in October 2011, Baker defeated three-term incumbent Chief Chad "Corntassel" Smith. Prior to his election as Chief, Baker served 12 years on the Cherokee Tribal Council. In 1999, Baker unsuccessfully ran for Deputy Chief of the Cherokee Nation.
Tahlonteeskee, Oklahoma was the first capital city of the early western Cherokee Nation. It was named for Tahlonteeskee, who was the third Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation -West (1817–1819). Today, the area of the settlement is an abandoned, barren site on private land in Sequoyah County.
The New Kituwah Academy, also known as the Atse Kituwah Academy, is a private bilingual Cherokee- and English-language immersion school for Cherokee students in kindergarten through sixth grade, located in Cherokee, North Carolina, in the Yellow Hill community of the Qualla Boundary. It is owned by the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI), and operated by the Kituwah Preservation and Education Program (KPEP).
The Cherokee Immersion School is a Cherokee language immersion school in Tahlequah, Oklahoma for children during pre-school to grade 6. It was founded by the Cherokee Nation in 2001 for the purpose of preserving the heavily endangered Cherokee language. Students must be members of a federally recognized tribe, and an application process is used as class size is limited. After finishing at the Cherokee Immersion School, students typically transfer to an affiliated school for grades 7 and 8. Attending the immersion school can help students enroll into Sequoyah High School. Total enrollment was reported to be 141 in August 2018.
Anna Mitchell was a Cherokee Nation potter who revived the historic art of Southeastern Woodlands pottery for Cherokee people in Oklahoma. She was designated as a Cherokee National Treasure and has works in numerous museum collections including the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art, among others.