- By Tribal Business News Staff
VINITA, Okla. — Travelers on iconic Route 66 now have a new stop to add to their itinerary with the opening of the Cherokee Nation Anna Mitchell Cultural & Welcome Center.
Named in honor of the late Cherokee National Treasure Anna Belle Sixkiller Mitchell, the center showcases the history of both Cherokee Nation and the Vinita community while honoring Mitchell’s efforts to revitalize Cherokee pottery. Mitchell was a renowned artist recognized for her traditional handmade pottery. She was designated a Cherokee National Treasure in 1988.
“This $5 million investment is one that we can all be proud of,” Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. said in a statement. “We proudly open this new center in honor of the late Anna Mitchell to recognize her efforts not only in pottery, but in cultural preservation. This facility will be a beacon for Cherokee culture and art, and will have a positive and enduring economic impact on the local economy.”
The facility is the first of its kind and is the vision of Cherokee Nation First Lady January Hoskin, who saw an opportunity for the tribe to expand its tourism offerings along Route 66.
“Cherokee art and culture are simply beautiful and worth celebrating,” First Lady Hoskin in a statement. “As First Lady, I have tried to do my part to support the existing facilities and programs, but also encourage the expansion of access to Cherokee art and culture across the reservation and beyond. Vinita’s status as a historic Cherokee town along major thoroughfares means that Anna Mitchell’s legacy and this beautiful center will be a true gateway to all of Cherokee Nation.”
Located in Vinita, a town on the north end of the Cherokee Reservation, the 9,400-square-foot, two-story stone building is situated on 8-acres overlooking historic Route 66.
“Like Cherokee Nation Businesses itself, the Anna Mitchell Cultural & Welcome Center is founded with purpose,” Cherokee Nation Businesses Executive Chairman Bill John Baker said in a statement. “We have a purpose and passion for developing our communities, supporting our local and regional economies, and preserving our culture. The vision and hard work of everyone involved in this project furthers CNB’s purpose.”
Formerly known as the Vinita Country Club, the property underwent renovations to join the tribe’s award-winning cultural tourism efforts. The cultural and welcome center now features an exhibit gallery, a grab-and-go café with Native-inspired cuisine, a gift shop, and flexible space for cultural classes and events.