Thank you to the One Feather and its readers for allowing me the space to write to you. I am the (relatively new) executive director of the Museum of the Cherokee Indian, having started in May 2021. When I was hired, the Museum Board tasked me with updating our permanent exhibit. This exhibit was part of an innovative project done in 1998. And while it was a leader in the representation of Native people, its timeline currently ends at about 1920 – leaving over 100 years of our story untold.
We’re fortunate to be one of the oldest tribal museums in the country – created in 1948. Many people have dedicated their time, knowledge, and expertise to make the Museum a wonderful community asset for many years.
We have been focused on serving our visitors who come to the Museum to learn our Cherokee story – which is so important – but, I am also interested in making sure we serve our Cherokee community, no matter where they currently live. To achieve that goal, we have some ambitious plans.
I’ve mentioned updating the permanent exhibit, and that will be a piece of our overall strategic plan. We are dedicated to the protection and care of our collections and our story, so updating aging infrastructure and increasing security are urgent priorities. We’re very excited about our planning, and are doing groundwork now – but, this is where I need you all. Over the next year, we will be soliciting your help and input. We will have advisory groups, a survey, and a section on our website for you to submit comments, thoughts, and ideas. I’m so looking forward to hearing more from you about the story we want to tell.
As we move into 2022, we will be sharing our foundational work––building on the work done before, for our children seven generations yet to come. You will be able to see the values that are guiding us in these efforts. This matters to the deepest part of our core, and I know it does to you as well. I’m grateful to be able to do this work together.
With deepest gratitude; sgi,
Shana Bushyhead Condill
Museum of the Cherokee Indian executive director