An artist’s rendering of the renovated Cherokee National Capitol building. Work on the building is expected to be completed by summer 2013. (Photos courtesy Cherokee Nation)

Cherokee Nation to Restore Historic Capitol Building


The Cherokee Nation has embarked on a restoration project to refresh the Cherokee Nation Capitol building to its late 1800s appearance.

The building was built in 1869 when it held all three branches of the nation’s government. Today, the judicial branch of government is housed there and the building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is designated as a National Landmark.

“This has been a centerpiece of the Cherokee Nation for 140 years. Many great decisions have been made about our government, about our people in this very building,” said Principal Chief Bill John Baker at a press conference announcing the restoration. “Many decisions are still being made that are of extreme importance to the Cherokee people.”

The restoration will preserve the building’s existing materials and restore the historic integrity of the building. Restoration includes roof repairs with new historic era shingles, a new gutter system and a replica cupola. New doors and windows, a new back porch and exterior waterproofing will also be done.

The project is scheduled for completion by this summer and is expected to cost $500,000. It will be partially funded by the Save America’s Treasures program, which is administered by the National Parks Service.

“As council people, as the principal chief, we take an oath to preserve the culture and heritage and language of the Cherokee people. If we had one symbol of sovereignty, this is it,” John Baker said about the building, which is located in Tahlequah, Oklahoma.

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