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Grant number like: PY-263674-19

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Northeastern Oklahoma State University (Tahlequah, OK 74464-2301)
Brenda Kay Bradford (Project Director: May 2018 to present)

Common Heritage
Preservation and Access

[Grant products]

$11,957 (approved)
$10,996 (awarded)

Grant period:
1/1/2019 – 2/29/2020

Paving the Way: Green Country’s Cultural and Historical Preservation Initiative

A two-day digitization event to be held during the fall 2019 Northeastern State University (NSU) Homecoming weekend to document the history of Tahlequah and its surrounding communities.  The project would solicit materials relating to the settlement of the area after the Trail of Tears and the establishment of the Cherokee Male and Female Seminaries.  Built in 1889, Seminary Hall on NSU’s campus was originally the Cherokee National Female Seminary.  The proposed project would bring together several university divisions, including the library’s Special Collections and Archives, the Center for Tribal Studies and American Indian Heritage Committee, the Native American Support Center, and the Alumni Association, in collaboration with the Oklahoma Department of Libraries, the Cherokee Heritage Center, the Cherokee Capital Chapter/National Society Daughters of the American Revolution, the Oklahoma Historical Society, and the Indian Territory Genealogical and Historical Society.  Programs for the public would include two local history lectures and preservation workshops focused on family artifacts and disaster response.  With donor permission, digitized items would be preserved at the NSU Special Collections and Archives.

Tahlequah, OK is one of the most historically significant cities west of the Mississippi River as it was the final stop for displaced Native Americans at the end of the forced Indian removals commonly known as the Trail of Tears. The vast array of rich Indigenous cultural and regional artifacts within the surrounding communities is indicative of a unique culture and are one-of-a-kind and irreplaceable. Working in partnership with cultural and historical organizations to create an atmosphere of community awareness, provide publicly accessible preservation presentations, and provide complementary digital preservation of regionally historically significant materials and memorabilia is a proactive undertaking towards preservation concerns and public accessibility to the materials. The vast array of cultural material that remains in the homes of community members would aid in the preservation of historically significant materials, allowing for these objects to be accessed by everyone.