Native American of the Year

Tyler Christopher (ex-Nikolas, GENERAL HOSPITAL)and Maree Cheatham (Charlene, PORT CHARLES), were named Native American Male and Female of the Year at a pow-wow held in their honor.

The In Depth Story:

Tyler ChristopherAt the Annual White Buffalo Gazette Pow-Wow and Spirit Camp Awards Ceremony, sponsored by the White Buffalo Gazette of Haysville, KS, Christopher, who is of Choctaw and Seneca descent, and Cheatham, whose parents were Choctaw and Creek, found that they had a whole lot more in common than just soap experience: They both felt at home with their heritage when the drums started beating. "People sang and drummed for three days and nights," Cheatham reveals, adding that it was thrilling being a part of the grand entry.  "Everyone stood, and hats were removed in respect while flags and the eagle staff were brought into the arena. Then the women danced."  Christopher, who also was honored by the Gazette last year, was happy to be invited back. "I'm heavily involved in that particular community, and I go back there a few times a year to visit friends," the actor reveals, noting that he was "adopted" as a Native son by Gazette publisher Susan Seal, whom he calls a "great lady." 

Explaining the criteria by which Christopher and Cheatham were chosen, Seal tells Soaps in Depth, "  Every year, I search for individuals who have made a positive effort to preserve their Native-American heritage and present themselves as positive role models for our youth. Tyler and Maree both have demonstrated that."  Ironically, Cheatham, who had not been to the event before, ended up joining Christopher's Native family when Seal's mother, Betty Nixon, asked if she could "adopt" the actress.  "I gave her a Comanche shawl and asked her to dance," Cheatham confides, recalling the moment when she knew that entering the "family" was right.   "When we stepped out around the drum, I felt my own [late] mother's presence very strongly."


Soaps in Depth--September 5, 2000

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