A copy of the Cherokee Phoenix from 1829.

Native History: Inaugural Edition of ‘Cherokee Phoenix’ Published

Alysa Landry

“We are one of the few sources of a contemporary use of the language,” he said. “It’s important that we continue to use the language because it’s a service not only to people who are able to read Cherokee, but also for Cherokee who are trying to learn the language or brush up on skills.”

The paper, now based in Tahlequah, Oklahoma, reaches a print audience of 15,000, Pollard said. It also produces a weekly radio show and an electronic newsletter that goes to 40,000 people. The paper’s online edition receives about 400,000 views per month.

The Phoenix continues to fill an important role for the tribe, Pollard said. It covers politics, government, court cases and people features. The paper also serves as an advocate for language revitalization and programs that promote the traditional arts.

“Another important aspect of our coverage is that we cover a lot of the nuances of our government that don’t get covered by mainstream at all,” Pollard said. “If we don’t cover it, it does not get covered.”

Pollard said the words of Boudinot, the paper’s first editor, still are inspiring.

“We must have a newspaper that conveys the innate intelligence of our people,” Pollard said. “That is what drives what we do.”


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