Agalisiga “chuj” Mackey

Cherokee Nation

GRANTEE: Agalisiga “chuj” Mackey
NATIVE HERITAGE: Cherokee Nation
LOCATION: Tahlequah, Oklahoma
AWARD: 2023 LIFT– Early Career Support for Native Artists 
SOCIAL MEDIA: Instagram, Facebook & Tik Tok

Agalisiga “Chuj” Mackey is a Cherokee guitarist/musician and singer/songwriter from the Cherokee Nation in Northeast Oklahoma. Mackey spent the early years of his life growing up on a creek bank in the small traditional Cherokee community of Kenwood, where his mother’s family settled after the forced removal of Cherokees from what is now North Carolina. Mackey then moved to Tahelquah, the Cherokee Nation capital, to become a language learner at the Cherokee Immersion Charter School. Mackey grew up participating in traditional ceremonies, ceremonial songs being the foundation of his voice which he carries with him as he creates more modern music.

Mackey writes and sings original country-folk music in the Cherokee language. He is inspired by classic country and blues sounds and themes. Additionally, he has performed at various events including the Cherokee National Holiday and the grand opening of the Bob Dylan Center in Tulsa, OK. His goal is to perpetuate the Cherokee language and culture. In addition to his artistic endeavors, Mackey is an adult language student through the Cherokee Language Master Apprenticeship program and a father to a son who he plans to teach both Cherokee and music to.

Cherokee youth seeing their language and culture in a modern medium will remind them that their language and culture inspires creation”

– Agalisiga “chuj” Mackey (Cherokee Nation)


Mackey’s LIFT Project, ᏳᏩᏒᎢ ᎤᎾᏤᎵ (Yuwasv Unatseli), will be a country-folk album entirely written, sung, and performed in the Cherokee language. The album highlights the everyday life and experiences of Cherokee people in small traditional communities of Northeastern Oklahoma, an experience that is unique and not highlighted in mainstream media. Mackey will perform the album in a concert series held within the Cherokee Nation.

Verified by MonsterInsights