Cherokee Nation Steps In To Save Sequoyah's Cabin

Sunday, September 4th 2016, 2:58 pm
By: Tess Maune

The Cherokee Nation is stepping in to make sure one of Oklahoma's historic landmarks stays open for future generations.

The state's budget crisis is forcing the sale of Sequoyah's cabin.

The Oklahoma Historical Society says its budget has gone down 40 percent in the past eight years. It costs $100,000 to maintain Sequoyah's cabin. It's one of several state-owned sites set to change hands.

A sign posted on the gate outside Sequoyah's Cabin says the site is closed.

The Oklahoma Historical Society shut down the National Historical Landmark last week. It's a property that is dear to the Cherokee people.

"We're strong believers in education, and Sequoyah just simply put that forward," said Chuck Hoskin, Cherokee Nation chief of staff.

Sequoyah developed  the Cherokee Alphabet in the 1820s. It's the only original syllabary ever created in the Western Hemisphere. 

"We're extremely proud of him, most everything we have - especially in today's world - came from the development of the alphabet," he said.
Sequoyah built the one-room cabin in 1829 near Sallisaw.  The 100-acre property was donated to the historical society in 1936. The cabin was then enclosed in a stone WPA building for preservation. 

"They've been great stewards of the property, and we've worked in tandem with them over the years in trying to help develop, improve and maintain that facility," said Cherokee Nation Chief of Staff Chuck Hoskin.

Hoskin says the tribe will soon own the property. After 80 years, the state is selling it.

"They have a lot of property they simply cannot maintain financially because of those cuts," he said.

The state and the tribe call it a partnership.  They plan to work together to advertise and draw in tourists - the keep Oklahoma's history alive.

The historical society says the money it makes from selling Sequoyah's cabin will be invested in other state-owned historic properties. The Cherokee Nation will reopen the site as soon as possible.