Cherokee Messenger
October, 1999

Upcoming Monthly Meeting:

Thursday, November 4, 1999, 7:00 p.m. social gathering
7:30 p.m. program & meeting. Featured speaker: Robert Vann, Storyteller, from the Texas Gulf Coast Cherokee.

CCS Meeting Location: The Tracy Gee Community Center, 3599 Westcenter, one block south of Richmond, east of the Sam Houston Tollway West Belt. Guests are always eligible for the door prize awarded that night.

Other Events & Projects

The Women's Shawl Society, welcomes women of all tribes each second Saturday monthly from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. to share crafts and friendship. Call for details and meeting directions: B. J., 713-541-4170.

Saturday, October 30, 1999: The public is cordially invited to attend the Oklahoma Chapter of the Trail of Tears Association's Annual Meeting at the Senior Citizen's Center, 116 North Missouri in Claremore, OK. Following the meeting will be a ceremony at Woodlawn Cemetery to mark the final resting place of some of those who survived the infamous trail. One of those to have a small bronze marker placed at his headstone will be Elijah Hicks, who led the second detachment from the Cherokee Nation East in 1838 and arrived in Oklahoma in 1839. He was an early settler of Claremore and his home was known as Echota. It was where Woodlawn Cemetery is now located.

- From the Cherokee Nation webpage at
The Juvenile Diabetes Foundation has the 15th annual "Walk to Cure Diabetes" on Sunday, October 31, 1999, 9:00 a.m., at the Astrodome parking lot. All proceeds go to diabetes research. Contact: the Houston Gulf Coast Chapter, 713-334-4400; e-mail; website:

Most of our readers are familiar with the Shakey Hollow Ceremonial Ground, near Conroe, TX, which hosts dances the last Saturday of each month, starting with a potluck dinner at 6:00 p.m. The Davis', event organizers, want everyone to know that upcoming holidays will not disrupt these occasions and will definitely highlight them, since Christmas will be on Saturday. Call with any questions: 281-399-1661.

Stop By for Food and Fun...

at Barnes & Noble Booksellers, 7626 Westheimer at Voss Road (northwest corner), Saturday, November 13, 1999, 3:00 p.m. Judith Bruni, Vicki Henrichs, Marjorie Lowe and Terry Thompson will staff a display table to inform bookstore visitors about the Cherokee Cultural Society and to promote our upcoming Heritage Day Celebration at the Museum on November 27. Participation is part of the Barnes & Noble celebration of Native American Heritage Month, and CCS is the only Native group at B & N that day. Chefs from several local restaurants will offer free food samples! Come visit, lend your presence and enjoy a family friendly setting. Anyone who wants to join us with craft demonstrations or any other Cherokee cultural displays will be welcome. Contact Vicki for details: fax/phone 713-974-3982 or e-mail

Heritage Day

A Celebration of Native American Culture, Saturday, November 27, 1999, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., at the Houston Museum of Natural Science, Hall of the Americas.

Plans with the Museum continue to unfold for this major fun-filled event, when we can wear regalia, join in or watch Cherokee games, enjoy arts and crafts, flute playing, and much more of our Cherokee culture. Contact Judith Bruni, 281-556-1908, e-mail, to join in the demonstrations at this seasonal outing into the community or simply show up as a guest! It's a great way to round out a Thanksgiving weekend with the family.

CCS Elects Board Members

A new fiscal year for CCS begins next month when new officers take the reins to lead us into 2000. The October 7 election added five members to the seven-member board. We welcome each member and look forward to an exciting year with their leadership: B. J. Callihan, Cindy Linnenkohl (re-elected to another term), Marjorie Lowe, Jimmy Melton and Deborah Scott. Officers who are continuing their terms are Judith Bruni and Clabert Menard. Our sincere CCS thank you to outgoing President, Wade McAlister, and to Cyndie Menard, Secretary, whose steadfast efforts helped continue our mission. Special recognition goes to Terry Thompson, who has served as Membership Coordinator, and whose employer, S & B Engineers and Constructors, donates the newsletter printing. Terry is recuperating from a recent second trip to surgery for spinal problems, but he is up and active in CCS! Be sure to lend your support to all these officers and enjoy CCS even more by volunteering during the coming year.

Free E-mail Services...

with the address are available by applying at the Cherokee Nation website:

Web Gem

Click on ABORIGINAL LINKS, at for a comprehensive resource directory of Native nations, publications, and interesting sites, operated by a third year engineering student of the Cree Nation from the Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada. New Native sites are welcomed; contact their webmaster.

Cherokee Volume

Newly elected Deputy Chief of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, Hastings Shade, has self published a book entitled Myths, Legends and Old Sayings, which can be ordered directly from the author for $23.50 (price includes shipping). He offers to autograph it too. Mail orders to Rt. 3, Box 231, Hulbert, OK 74441. Contact for further details: Hastings Shade, Deputy Chief, Cherokee Nation, phone 918-456-0671 x 2212, fax 918-456-6485, e-mail:

Language Corner

Many of us are struggling to recapture our Cherokee heritage, including the language. Although there are many Cherokee speakers in eastern Oklahoma and other regions, many of the rest of us encounter it as a second language. Here is a sample to boost our knowledge. (Excerpts are from the Cherokee Observer Language Lessons at The English alphabet only is shown here.)

Film Review

SONGS IN STONE: An Arctic Journey Home.
Length: 45 minutes.
Directed by John Houston; written by John Houston and Geoff LeBoutillier; produced by Peter d'Entremont.

When Texans look north toward our Cherokee people, we think of their habitats as lush green mountains in eastern Oklahoma, Arkansas, the Carolinas, or Tennessee. When Canadians look north, they find the frozen Arctic with its vigorous Native peoples. Such is the case of frigid Cape Dorset on Baffin Island, north of Hudson Bay in eastern Canada. Until the late 40's the exquisite artwork of the Inuit inhabitants was treated with the disdain of common commercial curios.

In 1948, famous author, designer and filmmaker James Houston made a trip to Baffin Island and was handed an intriguing palm sized sculpture. Having it appraised to learn how "ancient" it was, he discovered the magnificent piece was most likely completed a few days prior to his encounter and by a local artisan of the rugged area. Now, through the dedication of his son, John Houston, the documentary film, SONGS IN STONE: An Arctic Journey Home, offers viewers the story of Inuit art on its sojourn from relative commercial and artistic obscurity to serious world wide attention. We view the Houston family, of European heritage, removed from urban comfort, settled in the frozen north and adopted as part of the Inuit extended family. Sons John and Sam were born during the 1950's into the security of the close-knit community where they became fluent in both English and the Inuktitut language.

Especially fascinating is the tribute to the late Alma Houston, mother of John and Sam, and first wife of James. She and her husband established the first cooperative of local artists, building on the community spirit of area residents at a time of local economic decline. It was her tenacity, after the early efforts of James, that helped to sustain marketable interest in Inuit art in North America and Europe. Her adventurous spirit was a driving force when she and John established the Houston North Gallery in Lunenberg, Nova Scotia in 1981, which now encompasses art treasures from other northern Canadian territories and Nova Scotia.

Along with the beautifully filmed scenery, we are treated to interviews with Inuit elders who pioneered the early cooperative. Scenes of the next generation, struggling to equal the reputations of their elders and survive external cultural forces, reflect challenges familiar to many ethnic groups. Where subtitles are used, they are legibly presented for easy reading. This is a family-friendly film that art lovers and general viewers alike can enjoy. It will prove most worthwhile for those interested in Native peoples in their struggles for respect and economic independence.

John Houston has built a fine on-line gallery at which features the dynamic carvings of the Inuit people his parents helped a half century ago. Although the art is priced for serious collectors and well beyond the usual family budget, the site offers a sample of vibrant, unique works. They reflect the courage, warmth and humor of their tenacious creators who carved from the raw stones of the cold north.

- Vicki Henrichs, Editor, Cherokee Messenger, 9-25-99
Note to vendors: Triad Films will distribute the video to dealers who wish to purchase for retail sales, but until there are dealers in this region, Houston North Gallery will sell retail to individuals for US $19.00 each. Contact for vendor copies: Triad Films, Ltd., 1657 Barrington Street, Halifax, Nova Scotia Canada B3J 2A1. E-mail Phone 902-422-7174. Contact for individual copies: Houston North Gallery, John Houston, Director, 110 Montague Street, Post Office Box 1055, Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, CANADA B0J 2C0. E-mail: Phone 902-634-8869; fax 902-634-8332.

Poetry Corner

Do You Really Hear The Music?
By Debra Anne Chapman*
Can you feel me sister?
Can you feel me brother?
The energy of love flowing with the music, as we dance a circle with the beat.

Can you hear me sister?
Can you hear me brother?
As I play the guitar and you beat the drum.
While the energy flows from the strings and sticks.

Can you feel me sister?
Can you feel me brother?
Really see the music as it combines, with energy flowing of peace and love, or sometimes of energy and anger?

Do you really hear what is there?
Do you really understand?
Can you touch my heart and soul, can you truly love this land?

Do you hear shallow notes and chords, or the beat of Mother Earth's heart, and the sound of her tears she cries, when her loved ones die unneccessarily, when her loved creatures are not treasured, when her tears turn to giant rivers.

Do you really hear the music?
Do you really care to listen?

*Copyright 1997 by Debra Anne Chapman. Reprinted with permission of Debra Anne Chapman, a Cherokee friend from the Ozarks of Missouri and a published poet.


Our sincere sympathy to CCS member Jonathan Hook, Native American activist and Cherokee Nation citizen now living in San Antonio, on the death of his father in early October.

Support CCS

The purpose of the Cherokee Cultural Society of Houston is to build community, to preserve Cherokee heritage, to perpetuate the Cherokee culture, and to build the future of our people. CCS maintains a tax exempt 501(c)(3) nonprofit status. Now you can support CCS by mailing your membership, $20 by check or money order, to the Cherokee Cultural Society of Houston, P.O. Box 23187, Houston, TX 77228-3187. Donate a membership for a loved one or a friend who lives in Indian Country.

Copyright © The Cherokee Cultural Society of Houston