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Osiyo, Voices of the Cherokee People Season 4, Episode 2

(Hound dogs baying)
the Cherokee connection to the classic children’s
novel-turned-film “Where the Red Fern Grows.” ED FITE>>The original movie
was, was shot here because Wilson Rawls was from
just up the road. JENNIFER LOREN>>Plus… LISA RUTHERFORD>>The capes go
back, uh… Historically, de Soto described these feather
capes. Cherokee women were wearing them as late as 1762. JENNIFER LOREN>>Constructing
feather capes. It’s one of many art forms Lisa Rutherford
proudly produces, carrying on our ancestors’ cultural
legacy. And competitive cyclist Hannah Jordan. We race
up Pikes Peak alongside the teenager and learn
what inspires her. HANNAH JORDAN>>When the
lights are completely out and you’re on your last breath, what
did you leave with the world? MAN 1>>The Cherokees. WOMAN 1>>A thriving
American Indian tribe. MAN 2>>Our history… WOMAN 2>>our culture… WOMAN 3>>our people… MAN 1>>our future. MAN 3>>The principles
of a historic nation MAN 1>>sewn into the
fabric of the modern world. WOMAN 2>>Hundreds of
thousands strong… WOMAN 3>>learning… WOMAN 1>>growing… MAN 1>>succeeding… MAN 3>>and steadfast. WOMAN 1>>In the past, we have
persevered through struggle, WOMAN 2>>but the
future is ours to write. MAN 1>>Osiyo! WOMAN 2>>Osiyo. WOMAN 1>>Osiyo! MAN 1>>These are the voices
of the Cherokee people. BILL JOHN BAKER>>Osiyo. I’m
Principal Chief Bill John Baker. Welcome to the Cherokee
Nation and OsiyoTV. This is how we share our culture, our
heritage, our history and our language with you. Wado. JENNIFER LOREN>>Osiyo.
It’s how we say “hello” in Cherokee. I’m your host,
Jennifer Loren, at Swannanoa near Tahlequah, Oklahoma. This
is the site of an old film set. “Where the Red Fern
Grows” was shot here in the 1970s. We’ll have more on that
later on in the show. But first, Hannah Jordan is a
Cherokee Nation citizen and a competitive young cyclist. We
caught up with Hannah as she chases her Olympic dreams
– dreams that are close to becoming a reality after
only three years on a bike. (Racing bike on the move) (Slow, poignant music begins) HANNAH JORDAN>>When the
lights are completely out and you’re on your last breath,
what did you leave with the world? Did you inspire the
world? Did you, what did you do as a human to improve the
world? I’d rather lose, like, a thousand times than finally,
like, hit that glory moment, like, at the Olympics or
becoming pro or just even this next year. They never thought
I could do any of this. Like, now I feel like I’m holding
someone else’s jersey and someone else’s medal. Like,
I don’t even feel like it’s mine. And it just feels weird to
have your first national
championship title. (Music continues) HANNAH JORDAN>>My first race
was when I was 13 1/2. It was two months after I learned how
to ride a bike. And I did 63 miles a day before that. Two
months after that, I did my first criterium, and I took
second. Last year, I did fifty-eight races in seven different states.
What I’m racing is a hill climb nationals, and it’s 13
miles of pure, brutal, awesome pain. And the elevation is
14,000 feet of gnarliness. I think it’ll be cool because
it speaks to more my style of riding because it’s geared
for tiny people, because tiny people get up hills faster,
so I get to fly past them all
the way up the hill. RACE ANNOUNCER>>Alright,
ladies, have the ride that you came here for. There’s no
question as we are now ready to watch you in three, two,
one! And sending off our first wave here of women 50-59 as
they’re all chasing junior Hannah Jordan up Pikes Peak. HANNAH JORDAN>>When I’m
racing, there’s, like, it’s almost like a focus, like
a hyper focus where, like, nothing’s going through except
for, like, “stay on their wheel,” and, like, being in
front and stuff so I can cover those breakaways, because
usually I don’t have a teammate with me. So I’m
having to, like, focus and, like, be able to be hyper
aware of my surroundings. I’ve never had a coach. Most of my
rides have been riding twice a week with a group. Some of
my goals are to be in the Olympics. I was at the
Olympic Training Center at
the Women’s Talent ID Camp. KORI SEEHAFER>>Past
participants of the Talent ID Camp have raced in Europe,
and they have raced in world championships for our country
as well as the Olympics, and they’ve gone on
to medal as well. HANNAH JORDAN>>It was
definitely an eye-opener. And it was full of lots of
experiences, and it was tough. And it was, like, very cool
to, like, be able to train like an Olympian for a week.
And it was so cool to meet everybody and see what’s
behind the scenes. KORI SEEHAFER>>A lot of our
athletes are junior athletes, meaning they’re under 18, and
they have participated in national championships or some
bigger national events. And they look at those results to
see potential athletes that might continue with the sport
and want to grow with cycling. So Hannah was
enlist from that. HANNAH JORDAN>>They look
strictly at race results. And the cool thing was is that
they had no clue about my story. When I was little,
like, no one ever picked me to do anything. And it was like,
I had that fire and drive, but not one ever, like, touched it
because “she’s the kid with the feeding tube. She’s
little. She’s new at this. She’ll never do this. She’ll
never do that.” And it was, like, “If you just give me a
shot, I can show you what I can do.” It’s called a gastro
tube, which I call it a “G-tube.” It’s constantly pumping sugar
through my stomach giving me glucose. Your body needs
glucose for your brain to function. Usually people have,
like, some kind of glucose storage, and their body
produces it. And so they think I don’t either have one or it
doesn’t function. And so this constantly keeps it level. I
was really sick, like, I knew that I was sick, and I almost,
I guess you could say, I tuned it out. Like, I was sleeping
20 hours a day, where it was, like, for me that was my
normal. I want to make my country proud, show off what I
can do and look back in like 100 years. “Well, this was the
girl that did cycling, and she had a G-tube, and she never
gave up no matter how hard the road was. She kept trying.” ALICIA JORDAN>>We drove her
all over the country trying to keep her alive. You know, we
drove her to New York and, literally, from one coast to
the next. After you’ve been through something like that, I
went through all this energy, we did, to try and keep her
as healthy as we could. And, like, why wouldn’t we go
through that much more energy to let her live her life? It
is kind of mind-blowing. I still can’t believe she’s
going up that mountain. I mean, look at it. It’s like,
“Oh my gosh! It’s so huge.” HANNAH JORDAN>>I think it’s
made me a better cyclist. If you look at the fact that “I
can’t do this” and “I can’t do that” and “It’s a mountain.”
And even though it’s a mountain, I sort of look my
problems face on and look almost past through them. So
the “hill” climb – they lied. It was a mountain, and it was
a big mountain. And if you think about it, so it was
Pikes Peak and you had to climb all the way to the top
to the summit. It’s 14,115 feet. This year, I was the
youngest person to ever do it. And last year, there was no
juniors, girls or guys. I was the youngest cyclist actually
to even do it, male or female. A problem is only temporary,
and as long as you, like, have the mindset and drive to do
it, it’ll carry you nearly anywhere you want to go. I
wouldn’t change anything about my life. The journey was
hard, but this is just the beginning. I’m not really sure
what the journey might be ahead. It’s sort of, like, a
toss-up in the air, but I’m going to train my brains out
and see what else comes up along. It’s sort of every
day is an adventure. (theme music) JENNIFER LOREN>>Cherokee
artists living here in the Cherokee Nation are a
tight-knit group, always learning from one another.
Artist Lisa Rutherford has cultivated a love for that
learning and passes on as much as she can through living
history interpretations. (Mellow acoustic music plays) LISA RUTHERFORD>>It’s just a
lot of fun to do this. It’s a great life to be able to do
art. It’s not like work to me. It’s more like play. (Music continues) (Scraping sounds) I was born in Tahlequah and
raised on my family’s ranch, and I grew up on a dairy until
I was about 12. And then my family sold the dairy and
went to raising strictly beef cattle. So I’ve been a
farm girl all my life. (Pony whinnies) I think that indirectly it did
contribute to me becoming an artist because I learned if
something broke, I had to find a way to fix it. And we just
learned to work with what we had. I grew up helping my dad.
I liked to be outside helping him with the tractors and the
balers and the equipment and stuff. I like that more than
being in the house. So I’ve been tinkering around with
tools and making things pretty much all my life. (Music continues) And I was actually an art
major in college. I didn’t have art classes in school,
though. So I didn’t really have any formal training. And
when I got in college, my advisor told me I wasn’t good
enough to be an artist, so I should probably change my
major, but… I did, and I didn’t really get into art
again until probably late 2004, 2005. A friend of mine
took me up to Bill Glass’ studio and introduced me to
Bill while they were working on the project for the
Passage at Chattanooga. (Music plays) I volunteered on that project
and worked with them for about four months until they
completed it. And then I got to go back to Chattanooga,
back where my ancestors left on the Trail of Tears, and my
name is on a plaque on the wall there today. So it’s kind
of gratifying to have my name there when I know my
ancestors had to leave there. It’s kind of a way of saying,
“We’re still here.” Bill handed me a piece of
fired clay and a brush and some red iron oxide. He shook my
hand and said, “Here.” He said, “Put five coats on here, and
brush it off between the coats.” So that’s pretty much how my
ceramic career got revived. (Scraping sounds) BILL GLASS>>One thing –
Lisa’s always full of ideas, though. I mean, she’s never,
lacks a… Soon as she comes in, she’s got another
idea already in her head. LISA RUTHERFORD>>Bill is what
got me back into art. Had a lot of really good teachers.
And I guess I’ve learned from the best, so I feel like I
have come full circle since he is the reason I started doing
the ceramics and pottery. (Music changes) I’ve been making feather capes
since probably 2010. Some of my Eastern Band friends
started wearing them, and I couldn’t afford one, so I
decided to try to learn to make my own. And I’ve made, I
think I’ve made 22 or 23 capes since then. The capes go back,
uh… Historically, de Soto described these feather capes.
The men wore full-length ones. Cherokee women were wearing
them as late as 1762, and they’re made on a handtied
knit base. And I sew a feather onto every knot in the net.
So there’s about 750 feathers in them. It’s very labor
intensive, time-consuming. I spend a
lot of time sorting those feathers. I want them to curve
toward the back, so you have to sort them according
to size and curve. That
just takes a lot of time. I’ve made them for two Miss
Cherokees. I’ve made a couple for some of the Eastern Band’s
Miss Cherokees, and I have some on the runway now and then. I’ve
been in a few fashion shows. (Light, upbeat music plays) I work at the historic Murrell
Home in Park Hill, and I work as a living history
interpreter. I’ve always been interested in history and the
historic arts. I want to know how things were made, and I
like to figure out how things are done. A lot of people say,
“Oh, you’re so talented. You can do all of these things.”
But when it comes to living history, well, what I do were
things that everybody knew how to do. It wasn’t considered
art back then. It was necessity. But I enjoy it, and
I enjoy working with kids and explaining to them how things
are made. I’ve met a lot of interesting people. I’ve
got to travel to a lot of different places to
do living history. I really hate to see things
lost. I think it’s important for kids to know how things
are done and to learn. I grew up on a farm, and I had
horses, and I was always outside. Kids today, it’s
really sad. They don’t know how to do the things that I
grew up doing. It may look intimidating, but these are
the steps that you go through to make it. You can learn
to do this, too. So there’s always, always
something to learn. (theme music) (Language segment music
(Lawrence speaks in Cherokee)
Let’s talk Cherokee. JENNIFER LOREN>>The Cherokee
syllabary is the writing system invented by Sequoyah.
Each character represents a syllable in the Cherokee
language. In this syllabary chart, the top row contains
the six vowel sounds. The subsequent rows include
the consonant sounds. LAWRENCE PANTHER>>
(Repeats in Cherokee) LOGAN>>(Repeats) LAWRENCE PANTHER>>
(Repeats in Cherokee) LOGAN>>(Repeats) LAWRENCE PANTHER>>
(Repeats in Cherokee) LOGAN>>(Repeats) LAWRENCE PANTHER>>
(Repeats in Cherokee) LOGAN>>(Repeats) LAWRENCE PANTHER>>
(Repeats in Cherokee) LOGAN>>(Repeats) LAWRENCE PANTHER>>
(Repeats in Cherokee) LOGAN>>(Repeats) LAWRENCE PANTHER>>
GUH. (Repeats first
word in Cherokee) LOGAN>>GUH. LAWRENCE PANTHER>>Turkey.
(Repeats in Cherokee) LOGAN>>(Repeats) LAWRENCE PANTHER>>I saw two
wild turkeys near the road. (Repeats first
word in Cherokee) LOGAN>>(Repeats) LAWRENCE PANTHER>>(Repeats
second word in Cherokee) LOGAN>>(Repeats) LAWRENCE PANTHER>>(Repeats
third word in Cherokee) LOGAN>>(Repeats) LAWRENCE PANTHER>>(Repeats
fourth word in Cherokee) LOGAN>>(Repeats) LAWRENCE PANTHER>>(Repeats
fifth word in Cherokee) LOGAN>>(Repeats) LAWRENCE PANTHER>>(Repeats
sixth word in Cherokee) LOGAN>>(Repeats) LAWRENCE PANTHER>>(Repeats
final word in Cherokee) LOGAN>>(Repeats) (Segment music ends) (“Cherokee Almanac”
segment music plays) JENNIFER LOREN>>He was best
known as the author of “Where the Red Fern Grows” and
“Summer of the Monkeys.” Woodrow Wilson Rawls was a
Cherokee Nation citizen who wrote stories based on his
childhood growing up in the hills of northeastern Oklahoma
around the Illinois River. As there was no school in
his community of Scraper, Oklahoma, Woody, as he was
known, was educated at home by his mother. As in “Where
the Red Fern Grows,” Rawls’ grandparents owned
a small general store. GRANDPA>>Hey, Billy! JENNIFER LOREN>>And his
grandmother would order books for the children. Jack
London’s “Call of the Wild” was the book that Rawls would
cite as his influence in becoming an author. He wanted
to write adventure stories like that, about dogs and
the outdoors for boys like himself. And so, he would
practice writing on the river bank and tell the stories
to his coon dog, Rowdy. WILSON RAWLS>>Anything I
could hear, I’d try in the only way I could to describe
what I’d heard – with that stick in the sand. To this day, you can
find those sandbar words all through these stories. JENNIFER LOREN>>As a young
man, Wilson Rawls wrote “Where the Red Fern Grows” and many
other stories. But since he was mostly uneducated, he
couldn’t spell or punctuate and ended up burning all
of his manuscripts out of frustration. It wasn’t until he
married his wife, Sophie, that she convinced him to rewrite
his stories. With Sophie’s help, Rawls rewrote “Where the
Red Fern Grows” completely from memory and published
it in 1961. It originally appeared in three parts in
the Saturday Evening Post as “The Hounds of Youth.” The book
quickly became a favorite among schoolteachers and children
alike. And Rawls followed that success with his second
novel, “Summer of the Monkeys,” in 1976. Though it took him most
of his life, Rawls accomplished his dream of writing children’s
novels about animals and the outdoors. Woodrow
Wilson Rawls died in 1984 after spending his last years
visiting thousands of schools, speaking to schoolchildren
all over the country. (theme music) JENNIFER LOREN>>The legacy of
Wilson Rawls’ “Where the Red Fern Grows” runs deep here in
the Cherokee Nation. It’s a story that’s woven into American
literature and film, and it all started right here along
the banks of the Illinois River. (Stream rippling) (Hounds barking, baying
over banjo music) BOB RYALS>>I’ve coon hunted
my entire life. Been around hounds my entire life. My
grandparents had hounds. Great-grandparents had hounds,
so (chuckles) it’s something that I’ve done forever. Well,
I’m Bob Ryals. I have been a part of this coon hunting
club, I guess, since it started. In order to be a coon
hunter, it has a whole lot to do with the hound, that… it
is a team of the hunter and the dog. The festival today
is, it’s basically because of the movie. It’s why we have
it, and several of the people that are here were, took part
in the first movie. I was a little bitty guy, about 9
years old, in that movie. (Hound barking) Probably the thing that causes
so many of us to like to do it is to take a young dog and
work with the young dog and then see that dog get to the
point where it can run and tree its own coon, which was a
lot of what the movie “Where the Red Fern Grows” was about. (Movie soundtrack music plays) BILLY>>Alright. I’ve taught
you everything I know. Now, we’re going to see if you’re
coon dogs or if you’re not. (Hounds barking) JENNIFER LOREN>>It’s a
well-known and well-loved children’s book about a young
boy and his two coon dogs. “Where the Red Fern Grows”
was written by Woodrow Wilson Rawls, who based the story on
his childhood growing up in the hills of northeastern
Oklahoma. The book was published in 1961 and in
1974 was adapted into the
first of several films. (Movie soundtrack music plays) WILSON RAWLS>>When I was a
boy, I grew up in the Ozarks of Oklahoma. My folks were
poor, and the parcel of land we lived on was allotted to my
mother because of the Cherokee blood that flowed in her
veins. Except for one thing, I was the happiest boy alive. JENNIFER LOREN>>Wilson
Rawls wrote and recorded the narration for the original
film. That’s his voice you hear in the opening shot. Both
“Where the Red Fern Grows” movies were produced right
here in the Cherokee Nation on land belonging to
Cherokee Nation citizens. ED FITE>>When you look at
Ridge Top over there all the way around, this bowl, at one time
this was all owned by my family. JENNIFER LOREN>>Ed Fite
showed us around his family’s land called Swannanoa, where
the movies were shot, and shares his memories
of the production. ED FITE>>Wilson Rawls’ book
is something that’s impacted elementary children all over
the United States and outside the United States for decades.
And so it, it made sense to me as the landowner now in 1999
when they wanted to remake the original movie. Come on. We
wanted them to come because, I, anywhere that you go in the
United States and you talk about “Where the Red Fern
Grows,” you’re going to have somebody that’s going to raise
up – “Yeah, I read that book.” JENNIFER LOREN>>So tell me what
it was like for you as a kid. ED FITE>>When they showed
up, it was, I’d never seen anything like that. They
brought in trucks. They brought in trailers. They brought in
generators, and they had emergency services, security.
It was a big undertaking. (Hounds baying,
raccoon chittering) The original movie was, was
shot here because Wilson Rawls was from just up the road. JENNIFER LOREN>>While the
farmhouse and other structures from the film production are
no longer standing, you can visit locations from the
original movie within the
Cherokee Nation. ED FITE>>Jincy’s restaurant
down at the old Qualls store, and then they went up here to
a local spring adjacent to the highway, and then they did
some things that, what was called Dripping Springs State
Park, Natural Falls State Park. You know, really, what
that book has is a huge sphere of influence on
eastern Oklahoma. JENNIFER LOREN>>You may
remember Rex Corley. He was one of the actors from the
original film. He shared more memories of life on the set. REX CORLEY>>Rubin Pritchard.
I was the ornery little kid who fell on the axe and
died, and everybody stood
up and applauded. (Character wretches in pain) I grew up doing those same
kind of things. We coon hunted. We squirrel hunted. We
did every kind of hunting and fishing you could imagine
because, you know, for a long time that’s how we put food
on the table. But one of the shoots that we did was right
there on the steps of, you know, his grandpa’s grocery
store, the general store. RUBIN>>We’ll meet ya tomorrow
night down by our pasture gate. REX CORLEY>>We did that take
42 times, and all of us had chewing tobacco in our mouth,
well at least my brother and I. John Lindsey, who played
the part of Rainie. They wouldn’t let us change
tobacco. We had the same chaw in for the entire 42 takes,
so. It was everything I could do to keep from getting sick. JENNIFER LOREN>>When Wilson
Rawls was still alive, he received countless letters
from young fans of his books. Boxes of those letters are
housed at the Cherokee National Archives in the
Wilson Rawls Collection, located just outside of
Tahlequah, Oklahoma, the capital of the
Cherokee Nation. JERRY THOMPSON>>And this
is where we have all of our Wilson Rawls manuscripts and
fan letters. Alright. So what we have here are some of the
handwritten manuscripts for “Where the Red Fern Grows,”
and as you can see, some of them, the majority of these
are the working manuscript, so you see the editorial process
that he took in writing. Some of the paragraphs are stricken
out. Uh, some of the words are stricken through. There are
paragraph indents, question marks about if they’re going
to change this a little bit or what he’s actually working
towards. And so later on, of course, it will be typed up
for the book itself, but this is really the working
manuscript for “Where the Red Fern Grows.” The majority of
the stuff that we do have are approximately 30 boxes of fan
letters. One of the things that we do here with Cherokee
National Archives is we preserve not only our culture
and our history, but also those who have an impact
on our society – not just Cherokee society, but also
ours as a whole who are Cherokee. And Wilson Rawls
is one of those people. (Dogs barking,
men goading on dogs) BOB RYALS>>Well, I think the
fact that the book was so popular, and then they
actually made the movie in the setting where the book took
place, it is something that the community should be proud
of. They’re able to look at that movie and say,
“That’s my grandpa.” “That was my grandpa’s dog.” ED FITE>>It’s kind of like
reading, uh, George Orwell’s “1984” or reading “Kill a
Mockingbird.” You know, there’s just a half a dozen
books or so in the, you know, that all of us realize are
paramount to our education. And “Where the Red Fern Grows”
is one of those half a dozen books that most people realize,
recognize when it’s brought up. JENNIFER LOREN>>Though Wilson
Rawls died in 1984, his life and work is immortalized
through the story of “Where the Red Fern Grows” and
throughout the Cherokee Nation. The year before he
passed away, Rawls spoke to a group of students about the
impact the film has on him. WILSON RAWLS>>While I was
working with the movie, I got to see something that very few
men on this earth will ever see. I saw my boyhood
life all come back to
life right before my eyes. JENNIFER LOREN>>We hope you
enjoyed our show and that you’ll consider learning more
about our tribe at There is no Cherokee word for
“good-bye” because we know we’ll see you again. We say
(speaks in Cherokee). Wado. (theme music) (theme music) NARRATOR>>In the Cherokee
Nation, news happens every day. JENNIFER LOREN>>Cherokee
Nation’s economic impact on the state of Oklahoma
now exceeds $2 billion. BILL JOHN BAKER>>The dollars
that are generated here are
creating jobs. MELISSA CURRY>>It
benefits everyone. NARRATOR>>Creating headlines. JENNIFER LOREN>>The new
469,000-square-foot health facility is the result of the
largest joint-venture agreement
ever. MAN 1>>For the people of the
Cherokee Nation, it’ll impact them for generations to come. NARRATOR>>Creating
opportunities. JENNIFER LOREN>>Cherokee
Nation employees can now take eight weeks of paid
maternity leave. WOMAN 1>>We have lots of
young mothers and young families, and this is
something that’s very exciting. JENNIFER LOREN>>This year,
the tribe awarded $5 million to superintendents from about
100 public school districts. CHUCK HOSKIN JR.>>When
it comes to education,
we’re all in it together. NARRATOR>>Creating a
better place to call home. JENNIFER LOREN>>The Wilma P.
Mankiller Health Center in Stilwell, Oklahoma,
nearly doubled in size. WOMAN 2>>It’s going
to provide more jobs. NARRATOR>>For more
Cherokee Nation news, visit

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