ROLAND, Okla. — Cherokee Nation Businesses is preserving and promoting Cherokee culture at each of its tribally owned properties by utilizing themes and technology to immerse guests in Cherokee art, language and history.
The tribe’s newest gaming and hospitality property, Cherokee Casino & Hotel Roland, highlights the company’s ability to enhance the entertainment experience by embracing technology and sharing the tribe’s history and culture. The venue’s design represents earth, wind, water and fire and is evident throughout the casino.
“Our Cherokee heritage is unique and beautiful,” said Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker. “Adorning our entertainment properties with cultural elements, brilliant works of Cherokee art and even subtle design motifs allows us to preserve and share our tribal culture while creating memorable impressions that invite visitors to return time and again.”
More than 25 years ago, Cherokee Nation opened its first gaming operation, a simple bingo hall, on the same property as the current casino resort. At the time, much of the technology used today was nonexistent and only conceivable within science fiction or futuristic television shows and movies.
The technological advances in gaming, security and surveillance have transformed Cherokee Casino & Hotel Roland into the region’s leading entertainment destination.
The tribe’s business arm used new methods to match the property’s increased focus on technology and art, including an animated TV wall featuring art with moving elements and audio across three separate monitors and a mosaic TV wall displaying the casino and hotel’s entire art collection.
Holographic greeters offer patrons a quick and factual education in Cherokee culture and language while also depicting the tribe’s history within Sequoyah County. The greeters feature the appearances and voices of actual employees who currently work at the property.
“It’s an honor as both an employee and as a Cherokee Nation citizen to work in an environment that expresses so much of our tribal history and culture through numerous displays,” said Chad McReynolds, general manager of Cherokee Casino & Hotel Roland. “Our guests appreciate the art and are interested in hearing the stories behind each piece. The art team really did a wonderful job with this project.”
Cherokee culture is represented throughout CNB and CNE properties by using both historical and modern mediums. The Roland location features the distinct works of 28 Cherokee artists, including eight Cherokee National Treasures: Bill Glass Jr., David Scott, Donald Vann, Jane Osti, Luther Toby Hughes, Noel Grayson, Shawna Morton Cain and William Cabbagehead.
The property boasts three-dimensional works ranging from basketry to ceramics by Shawna Morton Cain, Jane Osti and David Scott, photos by renowned Cherokee photographer Jeremy Charles, and a ceiling centerpiece reflecting the four directions on earth created by Bill and Demos Glass.
Honeysuckle baskets, woven and hand-built pottery, a historic sugar bowl and handmade hunting and fishing tools used before European contact, as well as 8-foot-tall panels displaying Ron Mitchell’s piece Art of the People are also on display.
“It is very important that we continue to preserve our culture and support Cherokee artists,” said Gina Olaya, director of cultural art and design for Cherokee Nation Businesses. “Cherokee Casino & Hotel Roland exemplifies the many ways modern technology helps us share and enjoy Cherokee history, language and art, while simultaneously creating an entertainment experience unlike anything else in the area.”
Cherokee Nation and its businesses rely on Cherokee artists and their works to bring an unmatched authenticity to all of the tribe’s properties. A catalogue of the tribe’s collection is accessible through an online art database at http://cnart.pastperfect-online.com.
CNB works alongside partnering businesses such as James R. Childers Inc., Flintco LLC and Cooper Construction & Design Inc., all of which brought their company’s skills and expertise to Cherokee Casino & Hotel Roland, to design and create facilities that correctly reflect Cherokee culture while ensuring the practicality and efficiency of each design.
The company’s cultural art department is actively involved in the process of conceptualizing, planning and opening of each CNE property. The department’s staff and art committees select each piece of art and serve an integral role in selecting culturally appropriate designs, materials, textures, colors and themes to ensure Cherokee culture, language and customs are represented accurately.
In accordance with tribal law, new construction and renovation projects fund the procurement, preservation and exhibition of cultural artifacts and artwork. The law calls for those funds to be used for any form of art deemed historical, cultural or traditional, including crafts, paintings, beadwork, sculptures and landscaping. It also allows for the expense of preserving, installing and displaying such art.
CNE operates Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa; eight Cherokee Casinos, including a horse racing track; three hotels; three golf courses and other retail operations.
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