Frequently Asked Questions


Table of Contents

1. Is your art for sale?
2. Can you make a piece of pottery just like...?
3. Where do the Cherokees live today?
4. My school is having 'Indian Day'. Can you help me?
5. Where can I get more information about Native people?

Q: Is your art for sale?

A: Yes. One can tell if a particular piece is for sale by going to the gallery that features that vessel and clicking on the piece. This will take you to an information page that features the mythology or history behind that particular piece as well as additional information such as size, color and availability. Each of the pieces in the Cherokee Images galleries are either currently for sale or have already been sold and placed in private collections. If a particular piece has already been sold, the information page for that piece will state "Private Collection". If it is available for purchase, the price will be listed.

Q: Can you make a piece of pottery just like...?

A: The answer to this is no and here's why. Each of the vessels are handmade using centuries old techniques like the old ones. They are created one coil at at time and fired usually no more than two or three vessels at a time. They are unique and although another piece may be created at some time similar to another piece, no two pieces will ever be the same.

Q: Where do the Cherokees live today?

A: This is a very good question. The best answer is just about everywhere! Approximately 45% of the tribal population of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma live within the 14 county tribal jurisdiction area in NE Oklahoma. That means that 55% live somewhere else, such as another area of Oklahoma, another state or another country. There are Cherokee organizations across the United States that are designed to give Cherokee people a sense of community away from the tribal area. There are also numerous groups seeking recognition by the federal government as a Cherokee tribal group. Currently however, there are only three groups officially recognized by the federal government as tribal entities. These are the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, The Eastern Band of Cherokees (North Carolina), and the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokees (Oklahoma).

Q: My school is having 'Indian Day'. Can you help me?

A: Yes! I want to help but it's not usually in the expected way. I get asked a lot if I can send some artwork to a school or organization or if I know of someone in New York or California or Cleveland that can come and dance. My answer to both questions is no. I understand people's desire to celebrate America's indigenous people and I commend it. But to me, one of the best ways to celebrate America's indigenous people is to truly try and understand the people. Build a recognition based on accurate information that reflects Native people today. Too many times Native people are trapped in the past and get trapped in one image (usually a headdress and horses) that represents all Native people. With nearly 400 different tribal groups and well over 200 languages spoken today, one image and one past is not sufficient. It is important to show America's Native people as contributing (art, language, culture), evolving (modern tribal governments, land areas, role models) and most importantly... alive! Like all people, while it is vital to remember the past because it truly is our foundation, we cannot live there.

Q: Where can I get more information about Native people?

A: The best place to begin is where you least expect it... in your own backyard! If you live in a large American city, or close to one, chances are there is at least one Native American organization there. According to the 1990 Census, 50% of America's tribal people live in urban areas. Start by looking in your Yellow Pages or on the Worldwide Web. If you live west of the Mississippi, chances are there are one or more reservations or tribal areas in your state. Call them. They probably have a tribal headquarters and can refer you to a department that can answer your questions or refer you to a list of tribal members or resources. Go to your local public, college or university library. There is a wide range of contemporary books on various American Indian subjects. Don't limit yourself only to books however. Utilize magazines such as "Native Peoples", videos, publishing houses specializing in Native American titles (University of Oklahoma Press) and, of course, the Worldwide Web. A good place to begin your journey is the Cherokee Images "Discovering Native America" resource page.