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Tahlequah is a city in Cherokee County, Oklahoma, United States located at the foothills of the Ozark Mountains. It is part of the Green Country region of Oklahoma and was established as a capital of the 19th-century Cherokee Nation in 1839, as part of the new settlement in Indian Territory after the Cherokee Native Americans were forced west from the American Southeast on the Trail of Tears.The city's population was 15,753 at the 2010 census, an increase of 8.96 percent from 14,458 at the 2000 census. The 2014 estimated population is 16,496.It is the county seat of Cherokee County. The main campus of Northeastern State University is located in the city. Tahlequah is the capital of the two federally recognized Cherokee tribes based in Oklahoma, the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians and the modern Cherokee Nation.HistoryEtymologyMany linguists believe the word 'Tahlequah' and the word 'Teh-li-co' are the same as 'di li gwa,' the Cherokee word for grain or rice. . Scholars report the Cherokee word 'di li gwa' describes a type of native grain with a red hue that grew in the flat open areas of east Tennessee. One area, Great Tellico, was named for the grass with the red seed tops. Others interpret a word 'tel-i-quah' as 'plains;' however, there is no word for 'plains' in the Cherokee lexicon, and the word 'tel-i-quah' is not found in the lexicon. The idea that 'tahlequah' means 'plains' lends weight to the belief that the name refers to the wide open grassy areas of Great Tellico.Use our United States online attractions planner to arrange the details of your trip to Tahlequah and other destinations.
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