Members, friends of Cherokees gather to remember John Rollin Ridge
On Saturday, members and friends of the Cherokees of Northern Central Valley (Sacramento) gathered at Greenwood Memorial Cemetery in Grass Valley to honor and remember John Rollin Ridge, whose Cherokee name was “Chee-squa-ta-law-ny” (Yellow Bird), according to a release.
Ridge was born March 19, 1827, in Running Waters, Georgia, and died Oct. 5, 1867, in Grass Valley.
The Ridge family were major players in Cherokee history, from New Echota, Georgia, to the Cherokee Territory, Oklahoma, to California, according to the release.
When reading a biography of John Rollin Ridge, Cherokees of Northern Central Valley Council Member Mike Webb, of Roseville, discovered Ridge was buried in Grass Valley. This started visits to the Greenwood Cemetery to find the grave, which resulted in a plan to clean up the Ridge family plot.
The council agreed to sponsor a clean up day on Sept. 29, and a commemorative program on Saturday to honor Ridge and his accomplishments as a novelist, poet, journalist, first editor of the Sacramento Bee, politician, and gold miner who also studied law. At the event, a historical overview of his life was given by Ben Ridge Goss, his great, great, great nephew. Goss, a Cherokee Nation Honored Elder, is also an advisor and past council member of the Cherokee Society of the Greater Bay Area.
Singing and drumming group Otsigeya (We Women) performed traditional and contemporary Cherokee songs of prayer, honor and remembrance. Otsigeya participants were Tonya Elliott, Keeper of the Drum, of Grass Valley, joined by Gwen Cochran of Marysville, Pattie Holzapple of Sacramento, and Jennifer West Trantham of Jackson.
Source: Cherokees of Northern Central Valley
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