Same Moon, Same Stars signifies that together we all live under the same sky and thus, we are all equal.
The artists of this mural are a small team from the Social Justice Program, cohort 7, at Palo Alto High School; they have been studying Cherokee Nation and have created a mural of Kimberly Teehee, the first representative of Cherokee Nation appointed as a delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives. Her appointment fulfills the 1785 Treaty of New Hopewell and the 1835 Treaty of New Echota. The lack of a Cherokee Nation representative in Congress is only one example of the rights detailed to Cherokee Nation by the US Government that have been neglected for hundreds of years. Since 2019, she has been waiting to be confirmed into the House, and once voted in she will be a non-voting member. Delegate Designee Teehee is an activist and a lobbyist on Native American issues in the United States legislative branch. As of 2023, Teehee has yet to be seated and we encourage our community to urge their elected representatives to honor the treaty.
The creators of this mural acknowledge our school and mural exists on the land of the Muwekma Ohlone people. These peoples were stripped of their federal recognition as a tribe and declared to be extinct. They represent all known surviving indigenous peoples who trace their lineages to the historic tribes of the San Francisco Bay Area. We recognize, honor, and respect this nation as the traditional stewards of the lands and water on which we now live.
In August 2019, Kimberly Teehee was appointed as the delegate for Cherokee Nation in the United States House of Representatives. Delegate Designee Teehee is placed in the center of the Cherokee Seal to symbolize how she represents many perspectives of the Cherokee Nation.
The seal of the Cherokee Nation contains a seven-pointed star inside of a wreath of oak leaves (blocked by Teehee in our art), symbolizing the eternal flame of the Cherokee people. The points of the star represent the seven traditional Cherokee clans. The arrangement of the 7 seven-pointed stars around the seal is modeled after the Cherokee Nation flag.
“Why Not Now?”
In a September 2019 interview with NowThis, Delegate Designee Teehee said, “Oftentimes I get asked ‘Why’ [seat a delegate now] and my response typically is, ‘Why not now?’ I think the time is right now because the foundation has been laid, we have a more educated congress when it comes to Indian issues, we have a more educated congress when it comes to honoring treaty rights.’” Despite the United States not honoring the Cherokee’s treaty right for so long, the treaties that guarantee this seat are still very much valid and necessary. Indigenous people in the United States today face so many issues stemming from colonialism - and today (if not yesterday) is the perfect time to start addressing them with legislative representation. While Delegate Designee Teehee was appointed in 2019, she still has not been sworn into office by the House. We encourage everyone to send a letter of support to their elected representative at www.cherokeedelegate.com to ask them to honor the treaty by seating Delegate Designee Teehee.
Seven is the most important number in Cherokee culture and history because of the seven directions, generations, and clans. The seven clans are: A-ni-gi-lo-hi (Long Hair), A-ni-sa-ho-ni (Blue), A-ni-wa-ya (Wolf), A-ni-go-te-ge-wi (Wild Potato), A-ni-a-wi (Deer), A-ni-tsi-s-qua (Bird), and A-ni-wo-di (Paint).
Fight for Funding
This shred of a fictional newspaper headline states, “Rep. Teehee and Cherokee Nation fight for Forward Funding of IHS.” Vital Indigenous services such as the Indian Health Service (IHS), are categorized as discretionary funding instead of mandatory funding which means that when the government shuts down, funding for these services stops. This poses a huge problem for the 2.6 million Indigenous peoples who benefit from the Indian Health Service. Delegate Designee Teehee and Cherokee Nation have been fighting for both mandatory funding and forward funding (an additional fiscal year of funding) for vital services. Due to their ongoing activism, the Biden Administration passed the 2023 budget with $9.1 billion dollars of forward funding for the IHS, which will cover two years. While this is a big success for Delegate Designee Teehee and a step in the right direction, she will continue her fight for mandatory funding.
Violence Against Women Act
This shred of a fictional newspaper headline states, “Teehee Fights for Justice for all Indigenous Domestic Violence Victims by Closing Loophole.” During her time as President Obama's Senior Policy Advisor for Native American Affairs, Teehee fought for many tribal causes including public safety, education, and environmental justice. One of her biggest achievements was her support for the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act in 2013, specifically fighting to close a jurisdictional loophole. Previously, non-Indigenous perpetrators of violence could not be prosecuted by tribal courts, even if they were married to tribal members and lived on a reservation. The 2013 reauthorization of the bill included a provision to allow tribal courts to prosecute non-Indigenous people for domestic violence-related crimes. The VAWA also increases accessibility to emergency housing and ensures survivors of color are supported. The 2022 VAWA reauthorization passed with additional amendments for tribal courts to prosecute crimes of stalking, sexual violence, child violence, and more.
We chose to paint Delegate Designee Teehee in the colors of the Cherokee flag as it is an important symbol of Cherokee Nation. Typically, Cherokee colors symbolize the cardinal directions: North, East, South, and West. While this holds true for yellow, da lo ni ge, which represents “up above” and green, itse iyusdi ᎢᏤ ᎢᏳᏍᏗ, which represents “here in the center,” Orange, a da lo ni ge, in the flag is shown simply to represent an “orange field.” Furthermore, white, u ne ga, is the cardinal symbol for “South” and also represents peace and happiness. It is said that white bread was used in treaty meetings in order to show the peace they brought then. Black, or gn ni ge, on the other hand, is adjacent to White, representing “West” but opposite in terms of portraying death, as black spirits always lived in the west. Red, gi ga ge, is “East” and shows “Success” and the color a warrior used to protect himself in battle.
The center of the seal of Delegate Designee Teehee’s alma mater, Northeastern State University. She was involved with the Oklahoma Intercollegiate Legislature (OIL), a student-run mock government group, and was the first person in her family to go to college and took every opportunity to enhance her understanding of government. During her time at NSU, Delegate Designee Teehee was viewed as destined to succeed by her instructors which can be seen by her support for the VAWA and MMIW Act.
The Dogwood Bloom is a flower found on Dogwood trees, native to the Ozark Mountains. This tree has served many purposes throughout Cherokee history, notably its healing elements. Its leaves can be used to treat certain skin ailments, and its bark can be brewed into a medicinal tea, used to treat anxiety and mild depression.
Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Handprint
The handprint represents all the Cherokee women and children that have been taken from their families. It is the symbol of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women (MMIW). The Violence Against Women Act has taken a step toward justice for Indigenous women, but there is still much more work to be done. For more information about MMIW and what you can do to help, please visit the NCAI website and the Coalition to Stop Violence Against Native Women.