News Release

Cherokee Nation

Skilled in gathering and weaving natural materials and dyes, Cherokee National Treasure Bessie Russell is widely known for creating authentic, handcrafted Cherokee baskets.

“Bessie Russell: Weaving a Tradition” opened August 31 and will feature basketry and clay bead jewelry created throughout Russell’s career.

“Bessie’s talent and dedication to preserving the time-honored tradition of basket-weaving shine through in each piece she creates,” said Krystan Moser, manager of cultural collections and exhibits for Cherokee Nation. “Whether using commercial or natural materials, her pieces convey a sense of tradition woven into each piece.”

The basketry exhibit will run through October 30 and includes works for sale to the public. It will also include pieces created by Russell’s daughters, Vicki Coppedge and Teresa Million, plus her great-grandson, Jordan Robbins.

Pictured: "Bessie Russell: Weaving A Tradition" basketry exhibit.

Pictured: "Bessie Russell: Weaving A Tradition" basketry exhibit.

Russell received the Cherokee National Treasure designation in 1999 for her prolific work with honeysuckle, buckbrush and commercial reed. She is also recognized for her tireless efforts to pass on the knowledge of processing and weaving natural materials to the next generation of basket weavers, including both of her daughters.

A Cherokee Nation citizen from Rocky Ford, Russell learned traditional Cherokee basketry from Cherokee National Treasures Thelma Forrest and the late Mary Foreman.

The Saline Courthouse is the last of nine district courthouses built in the 1800s by the Cherokee Nation. After years of ongoing work to restore, preserve and modernize the structure, Cherokee Nation reopened the site in August 2020 as a cultural museum with two featured galleries. One gallery features historical and cultural exhibits, while the other is dedicated to showcasing a different Cherokee artist every two months.

The Saline Courthouse Museum is located at 55870 S. 490 Rd. in Rose.

Cherokee Nation museums offer free admission and are open Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. For information on Cherokee Nation Cultural Tourism, including museum operations, please call (877) 779-6977 or visit www.VisitCherokeeNation.com.

About Cherokee Nation Cultural Tourism

Cherokee Nation Cultural Tourism is managed by Cherokee Nation Businesses and was created in 2007 to preserve and promote the history and culture of the Cherokee people. Efforts by the tribe include award-winning cultural, specialty and event tours and the operation of six Cherokee Nation museums, the Cherokee Heritage Center, two Cherokee Nation welcome centers and various retail operations.

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