Published February 4, 2017
VINITA, OKLAHOMA — The Cherokee Nation donated a traditional Cherokee bow made by Cherokee National Treasure Richard Fields to the Eastern Trails Museum in Vinita.
The bow was donated during a special ceremony Thursday and will be on display in a few weeks, following some reorganizing of the collection at the museum.
“Eastern Trails Museum is honored to have a bow made by Richard Fields in our collection. His reputation as a skilled artisan and his talent as a teacher are characteristics we greatly admire,” said Eastern Trails Museum Director Kathleen Duchamp. “The history of Vinita is closely intertwined with Cherokee history. The founder of Vinita was Cherokee, as was the county’s namesake. Many other examples of this area’s Cherokee heritage are on exhibit in the museum.”
The Eastern Trails Museum in Vinita offers several Craig County-focused exhibits, including a local Civil War battle, ranching, Native American history, railroads, Route 66 and military items.
“Eastern Trails Museum strives to preserve and share the history of Craig County. The Cherokee Nation has been a valuable partner in helping us achieve that goal. The donation of Mr. Fields’ bow is another instance of that partnership in action,” Duchamp said.
Cherokee National Treasure and Tribal Council Deputy Speaker Victoria Vazquez was also in attendance for the donation ceremony. Vazquez, who sits on the board of the museum, said she is happy with the quality of the museum and that the donation will only increase the museum’s quality.
“As a native of Vinita and board member here at Eastern Trails Museum, I am happy and we all are honored to obtain such a distinctive creation for our little gem in Craig County. Kathleen Duchamp and her staff go to great lengths to acquire authentic and important items for the museum’s collection. Owning a handmade bow gifted by a living Cherokee National Treasure is a bonus,” Vazquez said.
Fields made the bow from a Bois d’arc tree. He was recognized as a Cherokee National Treasure in 2016 for his skilled bow making.
“It’s pretty great to have a bow in a museum,” Fields said. “I think it’s a real honor.”
To view the donated bow and other exhibits, visit the Eastern Trails Museum at 215 W. Illinois Ave on Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
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