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Press Release

May 14, 2018

Contact: Adam Lynn
Honey Springs Battlefield and Visitor Center, Oklahoma Historical Society
Office: 918-473-5572
alynn@okhistory.org
www.okhistory.org/honeysprings

“Of Influence: Portraits of Cherokee People” Temporary Exhibit Now on Display at the Honey Springs Battlefield Visitor Center

Checotah, Okla. — Honey Springs Battlefield and Visitor Center is proud to announce a new temporary exhibit now on display entitled “Of Influence: Portraits of Cherokee People.” Through photographs, narrative and additional panels created to focus extra attention on those Cherokees who fought in the Civil War and at the Battle of Honey Springs, the exhibit, on loan from the Oklahoma History Center, consists of portraits and stories of famed members of the Cherokee Nation from before, during and after the Civil War. The exhibit will be on display through July. Admission to the Visitor Center is free of charge. However, donations are greatly appreciated.

The impact of the Civil War in Indian Territory was devastating to all tribal nations, including the Cherokee Nation. In addition to lost economies, cultures, land and traditions, perhaps the most devastating was the immense loss of lives. The Cherokee Nation lost approximately 18 percent of its population. By 1866 the Cherokee Nation agreed to sign a treaty selling its Cherokee Strip land in what is now north-central Oklahoma and their “Neutral Lands” in southeastern Kansas to the highest bidder for no less than $1.25 per acre. They also were forced to give up right-of-way lands for future railroad development into Indian Territory, which would lead to the formation of new towns and the eventual transition into statehood. Although the Cherokee Nation endured terrible hardships during and after the Civil War, it would go on to prosper in many ways leading into the 20th century. All of the portraits and stories in the exhibit reflect the strength and character of the Cherokee Nation before, during and after the Civil War in Indian Territory and the Battle of Honey Springs.

Visitors to the exhibit will view and learn about the Cherokee Delegation sent to Washington D.C. following the Civil War; the only known photograph ever taken of Jesse Chisholm, the namesake of the famous Chisholm Cattle Trail; Alice Robertson, the first woman elected to Congress from Oklahoma and America’s first female postmaster of a Class A post office; Colonel William Penn Adair, who served as a delegate for the Cherokees in Washington D.C. after the Civil War; Stand Watie, the last Confederate General to surrender to Union forces during the Civil War, and several other photographs and stories of those who fought at the Battle of Honey Springs. Visitors will also have the unique opportunity of viewing a few original Civil War artifacts previously found on the battlefield, as well as, a large three-dimensional diorama of the Battle, among other items of Civil War interest on display at the Visitor Center. 

Visitors will also have the opportunity to tour the battlefield and learn about key aspects of the engagement and those who fought at Honey Springs. They also will have the opportunity to purchase items from the gift shop and learn about the new permanent exhibits that will open in the next few months.

For more information regarding the exhibit and Honey Springs Battlefield and Visitor Center, please email honeysprings@okhistory.org or alynn@okhistory.org, or call 918-473-5572. Honey Springs Battlefield and Visitor Center is located east of U.S. Highway 69 between Oktaha and Rentiesville. The Visitor Center is located on a hill within close proximity to the Oklahoma Blues Hall of Fame in Rentiesville, Okla. Take the second left after reaching the Oklahoma Blues Hall of Fame Museum (driving from the west).

Honey Springs Battlefield and Visitor Center is a division of the Oklahoma Historical Society. The mission of the Oklahoma Historical Society is to collect, preserve and share the history and culture of the state of Oklahoma. Founded in 1893 by members of the Territorial Press Association, the OHS maintains museums, historic sites and affiliates across the state. Through its research archives, exhibits, educational programs and publications the OHS chronicles the rich history of Oklahoma. For more information about the OHS, please visit www.okhistory.org.

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