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Traveling Exhibit at Stilwell Public Library Celebrates Ned Christie’s Storied Life
By Tourism Industry Partner
TAHLEQUAH, Okla., (December 14, 2010) --- Cherokee statesman Ned Christie would have been 154 years old today, but the celebration of his life is shadowed by controversy and misunderstanding.
To further promote discussion and education regarding the legendary Cherokee Nation citizen, the Ned Christie traveling exhibit is now on display through Jan. 7, at the Stilwell Public Library located at 5 North 6th Street, Stilwell, OK 74960.
The five-panel exhibit presents a biography of Ned Christie, legal jurisdictional battles faced by the Cherokee Nation, details regarding the 1887 murder of marshal Dan Maples, and the national media attention that occurred over the five-year period.
“A key component of the cultural tourism program is education and through exhibits like this we’re able to share the Cherokee story,” said Molly Jarvis, Vice President of Cultural Tourism at Cherokee Nation Entertainment. “Ned Christie is a prominent figure in Cherokee Nation history. His trials and tribulations must continue to be discussed to promote a better understanding of justice and the truth surrounding his life’s experiences.”
Ned Christie was assassinated on Nov. 3, 1892, after a five-year standoff with the federal government following the allegation of murder of Daniel Maples in May 1887. Christie was denied the right to a trial in the Cherokee courts due to the federal government’s intervention because the crime involved a United States citizen and on-duty marshal. He was bound to the jurisdiction of the United States Court for the Western District of Arkansas in Fort Smith, Ark., which had oversight of Indian Territory under Judge Isaac C. Parker. Refusing to stand trial in a “white man’s court,” Christie elected to remain at large. In 1918, twenty-six years after his assassination, an individual who was also at the scene on the night of Maples’ murder exonerated Christie for the crime with testimony of the facts and the naming of the true killer.
More than a century has passed and controversy continues to surround the events leading to and the assassination of Christie. Despite the fact he was a well-respected Cherokee councilor and was never convicted in United States or Indian courts for any crime, many historians continue to portray Christie as an outlaw and murderer of a deputy marshal.
“Controversy and misunderstanding continue to plague Ned Christie more than 100 years after his death,” added Jarvis. “This is the primary reason why we must continue to share his story as well as the stories of the Cherokee Nation.”
Christie was born on Dec. 14, 1852, in the Goingsnake District of the Cherokee Nation. He was the second child and first-born son of Trail of Tears survivors, Watt and Lydia Christie. He was a blacksmith and gunsmith by trade, and in 1885 was elected to the Cherokee National Council under the administration of Principal Chief Dennis Bushyhead. During his time on the council, Christie became well known for his intense speeches that promoted tribal sovereignty for the Cherokee Nation.
The Ned Christie Exhibit at the Stilwell Public Library is open Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-5:30 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. The library will be closed Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. For additional library information, please call (918) 696-7512.
Cherokee Nation Cultural Tourism is sponsoring the Ned Christie Exhibit and also offers a wide array of special events and four historically authentic cultural tours.
For information on the Cherokee Nation Cultural Tourism program, call (877) 779-6977 or visit http://www.CherokeeTourismOK.com.
About Cherokee Nation Cultural Tourism Group
The Cherokee Nation Cultural Tourism Group is managed by Cherokee Nation Entertainment and was created in 2007 to promote the story of the Cherokee people. Efforts by the Cherokee Nation include developing guided community and educational tours, creating tourism partnerships and programs throughout northeastern Oklahoma, and launching a new Cherokee tourism-specific web site. For more information, please visit http://www.cherokeetourismok.com.
About Cherokee Nation Entertainment
Cherokee Nation Entertainment is the gaming, hospitality, retail and tourism entity of the Cherokee Nation. Cherokee Nation Entertainment operates the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, five Cherokee Casinos, Cherokee Casino Will Rogers Downs, three hotels, two golf courses and many other retail operations in northeastern Oklahoma. For more information, please visit http://www.cherokeestarrewards.com.
About Cherokee Nation
The Cherokee Nation is the sovereign operating government of the Cherokee people. It is a federally recognized tribe of more than 300,000 Cherokee citizens, with its capitol located in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. Employing more than 6,500 people, Cherokee Nation’s annual economic impact in Oklahoma and surrounding areas is more than $1 billion. To learn more, please visit http://www.cherokee.org.
Cherokee Nation Entertainment