(Photo by: Amanda Rutland/MCNPR) Artist Daniel Horsechief looking toward statue titled ‘Transcendent’ as it is delivered to Blairsville, Ga.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Sept. 26, 2017
CONTACT Neely Tsoodle
P.O. Box 580
Okmulgee, OK 74447
Muscogee (Creek) Nation, Native American Nations recognized with commemorative statue
Blairsville, Ga. — We Are Still Here is the name of the organization that unveiled “Transcendent,” the statue that now overlooks Meeks Park, Blairsville, Ga. The 10-foot transcending warrior overlooking the park was revealed Sept. 21 before community, state and tribal leaders of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation, Eastern and Oklahoma Cherokee and Keetoowah Nations.
We Are Still Here are an organization called Leadership Union is made up of Blairsville leaders whose mission is to educate the history of the “Trail of Tears” and the Muskogean people who once lived in this area, the Cherokee and the Mvskoke (Muscogee) to be exact. Kathie Tiger Garrett became the face of the organization, not purposely but because she inadvertently met the man who chairs the organization. Jim Brown and Garrett became the perfect duo to help raise awareness.
Garrett explained how her son was learning the Native American ties to the area. She was astonished that no one in her son’s classroom or school for that matter knew that Mvskoke people were still alive and thriving. Even more surprising, the class didn’t even realize her son was an Mvskoke Native. “We are a people that’s growing and thriving economically, in the gospel, in the traditions and in our language,” said Garrett. This became her mission to have a commemorative piece placed in the community.
Daniel Horsechief, Cherokee and Pawnee, was selected to fashion a sculpture that would capture its history. He worked with We Are Still Here to come up with “Transcendent,” which represents the original people who lived here that didn’t rely on the outside world, yet rose from adversity. “We worked on this together for three years,” said Horsechief. “You realize what a team effort it is. Even the artist, it’s your hands but it’s actually the visions given to you by the Almighty.”
We Are Still Here raised more than $40,000 for the sculpture and event cost. The occasion was marked with a proclamation read by Muscogee (Creek) Nation Second Chief Louis Hicks, hymn singing from the Native Praise group of Oklahoma, a stickball exhibition from the Eastern Band of Cherokee and stompdance performance from the Chickasaw Nation.
“It’s a humbling thought to be a part of something so great and the Creator to allow me to play a little part. It was emotional for me,” said Garrett. “It’s who we are. That’s our tradition, we’ve not gone anywhere. Even though you know we were removed years ago, our ancestors but yet we are still here,” said Garrett.
(photo by: Neely Tsoodle/MCNPR) Tribal Officials and state artist during the unveiling Sept. 21.