Cherokee Indian Reunion

8 years 2 months 18 hours ago Saturday, October 16 2010 Oct 16, 2010 Saturday, October 16, 2010 9:16:29 PM CDT October 16, 2010 in News
COLUMBIA - The Northern Cherokee Nation of the Old Louisiana Territory met today for their annual reunion at Oakland Park.

Members of the tribe have been meeting to discuss policy and to unite as family since the 1700s.

In the United States, there are more than 6,000 Cherokee Indians. Today, more than 25 of them gathered together in Columbia.

"For a lot of us there's a strong desire to hold onto our roots," Eric Lencaster said.

Most people who were at the event are proud of their heritage, and yet, some of them didn't even know about their Cherokee backgrounds until just five or 10 years ago.

"I've not known I've been a Cherokee for very long--maybe about six or seven years," Verleta Myers said.

"I didn't really know I was Cherokee until I was 40 years old," Doug Myers said.

It turns out their grandparents hid the fact that they were Cherokee.

"It really doesn't pay to talk about those things in the old days because it could put you on the governments kill list," Michael Ballard said.

"If you were Indian, you were laughed at, you were put in schools that were government run," Verleta Myers said.

So how did they react when they found this out?

"Actually I was kind of overwhelmed a little bit, but in a way it was a good thing--that way I started digging into my heritage," said Doug Myers.

"I like myself. I'm half Indian and I'm half white, and I like both sides of it," said Lencaster.

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