Smith wins Dist. 5 runoff election

News Writer
07/23/2017 01:45 AM
VIAN, Okla. – Candidates E.O. Smith and Uriah Grass vied for the Cherokee Nation Tribal Council’s Dist. 5 seat in a runoff election on July 22.

Smith won the seat by receiving 52.26 percent of the vote or 347 votes out of 664 total votes, according to the unofficial results from the CN Election Commission.

“I would just like to thank everybody. It’s been a very long campaign. Uriah is a good guy, I will ask his advice on some things, and I want him to know he can come to me anytime with a suggestion, and I will listen to him,” said Smith. “First thing I want to do is see our community pull together and be one. I going to work for everybody, I am going to be everybody’s councilman, and I am going to make the people glad they voted for me. I can’t wait to get started.”

Smith said he has always been a “people person” so working for the people is his main goal as the district’s councilman.

“I’m going to open an office in Vian from 9 a.m. to noon, five days a week so if you have a problem come see me and I will try to get you an answer and go to work on your problems right then,” he said. “If you can’t come during those times you can call me and we will make an appointment and I’ll meet with you. I am going to be with the people so they know that I am genuinely interested in their problems.”

Shambaugh wins runoff election for Dist. 9 council seat

07/23/2017 01:30 AM
JAY, Okla. – A July 22 runoff election to fill the Dist. 9 Cherokee Nation council seat may be remembered for the winner as well as the low voter turn out.

Candidate Mike Shambaugh defeated candidate Clifton Hughes with 54.96 percent of the vote or 421 votes. Hughes received 45.04 percent or 345 votes. In official results, only 766 voters participated in the runoff election.

Voting took place at precincts in the towns of Jay, Kansas, Kenwood and Salina. Dist. 9 include the southern portion of Delaware County south of Hwy. 20 and part of eastern Mayes County.

Shambaugh reacted to the win in an enthusiastic tone. He thanked his supporters and said he wanted to rest for a couple of days before working on his council agenda.

“I had great help on this election. I had people who stepped up and made it easy for me to mingle with the crowd. I think I’m very fortunate to serve District 9,”

Ancient artifacts found at Oklahoma construction site

07/22/2017 02:00 PM
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Officials say ancient artifacts discovered at an Oklahoma Department of Transportation construction site will be sent to the Sam Noble Museum in Norman.

Oklahoma City television station KOKH reports that crews preparing for a bridge replacement project in east central Oklahoma found the artifacts several years ago. According to the Oklahoma Department of Transportation, workers found large fire pits and obsidian rock that isn't local to Oklahoma.

Scott Sundermeyer is program director for ODOT's cultural resources program. He says the artifacts may be from Wichitan-affiliated tribes and are about 3,000 to 4,000 years old.

He says the last of the artifacts was removed from the site late last year, and that the construction project won't be delayed.

Cherokee Phoenix calls for 2018 homecoming T-shirt concepts

Assistant Editor – @cp_tsnell
07/22/2017 10:00 AM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – With its 2017 annual homecoming T-shirt now for sale, the Cherokee Phoenix is calling for Cherokee artists to submit design concepts for the news organization’s 2018 T-shirt.

In 2016, the Cherokee Phoenix staff introduced a T-shirt to differ from the tribe’s Cherokee National Holiday T-shirt. Phoenix staff members contracted with artist Buffalo Gouge for the shirt’s initial design.

For this year’s homecoming shirt, Phoenix staff members selected Daniel HorseChief’s concept out of approximately 10 designs from artists. The Cherokee Phoenix then contracted with HorseChief to create the 2017 shirt.

HorseChief said his concept comes from a four-panel painting that features Selu, the Corn Mother in Cherokee lore.

The image shows the bust of Selu, who is looking down into a Southeastern art pattern. Behind her on the left side are seven ears of corn with water under it. Behind her on the opposite side is a phoenix with fire below it. Above the phoenix is the Cherokee seven-pointed star. Above the image, written in Cherokee, are the words “Cherokee Phoenix.” Below the image, in English, is “2017 CHEROKEE HOMECOMING.”
Cherokee artist Daniel HorseChief’s Selu, or Corn Mother, concept was selected as the Cherokee Phoenix’s 2017 homecoming T-shirt artwork. The shirt is on sale at the Cherokee Phoenix office and Cherokee Nation Gift Shop in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. ARCHIVE Cherokee artist Buffalo Gouge models the Cherokee Phoenix’s 2016 homecoming T-shirt, which sold out during the Cherokee National Holiday. The Cherokee Phoenix is currently seeking ideas from Cherokee artists for the 2018 homecoming T-shirt. LINDSEY BARK/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Cherokee artist Daniel HorseChief’s Selu, or Corn Mother, concept was selected as the Cherokee Phoenix’s 2017 homecoming T-shirt artwork. The shirt is on sale at the Cherokee Phoenix office and Cherokee Nation Gift Shop in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. ARCHIVE

Northeastern State University welcomes Native American Support Center

07/21/2017 04:00 PM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – A newly created Native American Support Center has arrived at Northeastern State University.

The NASC is a federally funded program seeking to increase Native American students’ retention and completion of higher education. The center is open with services available on all three campuses in Tahlequah Muskogee and Broken Arrow.

An official opening will be held at the beginning of the fall semester.

With a five-year funding grant from the U.S. Department of Education, Title III office, the NASC was created to help Native American students combat barriers to a successful educational journey. The NASC is under the authority of the Division of Academic Affairs.

Though based within the Center for Tribal Studies, NASC branches are located in the John Vaughan Library in Tahlequah and on the Broken Arrow and Muskogee campuses.

Cherokee marches in French Bastille Day parade

07/21/2017 01:30 PM
PARIS – Airman First Class and Cherokee Nation citizen Mason Turman was one of many United States service members who helped lead the parade down Champs Elysees on July 14 in honor of France’s Bastille Day.

Turman, who is in the U.S. Air Force, marched with fellow members of the U.S. Air Forces Europe Force down the Champs-Elysees in the annual event. However, this year marked the first time the American military led the parade.

This year’s theme was “Operational Together,” and it highlighted the close relationship among all the French security services and with the Americans. While France is America’s oldest ally, the United States would not have won the Revolution without French sailors winning the Battle of the Chesapeake against the English in 1783.

The modern version of the alliance dates to World War I. The 2017 Bastille Day Parade was almost exactly 100 years from when 14,000 American soldiers arrived in France as part of the American Expeditionary Force.

The American contingent leading the parade included troops from the Army’s 1st Infantry Division, U.S. Naval Forces Europe and Marines from U.S. Marine Forces Europe.
Airman First Class and Cherokee Nation citizen Mason Turman, center, marches with U.S. Air Forces Europe Force on July 14 to help the French celebrate Bastille Day in Paris. This year was the first year the United States military led the parade. COURTESY
Airman First Class and Cherokee Nation citizen Mason Turman, center, marches with U.S. Air Forces Europe Force on July 14 to help the French celebrate Bastille Day in Paris. This year was the first year the United States military led the parade. COURTESY

CN surgical tech graduate gives back to program

Reporter – @cp_bbennett
07/21/2017 09:00 AM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – Since its 2009 inception, several of the 41 W.W. Hastings Hospital Surgical Technology Program graduates have returned to the Cherokee Nation, committed to helping provide fellow Cherokees health care.

One graduate is Rochelle Lewis, a certified surgical technologist who completed the program in 2011. She spent four years at Northeastern Health Systems, formerly Tahlequah City Hospital, before returning in 2015 to teach the program.

“I think it’s imperative for me to be able to go back and help my fellow Cherokees, to be there in a time where they are most vulnerable,” Lewis said. “We are the eagle eye to make sure that a patient has the most healthy outcome possible. I think being able to do that for fellow Cherokees is a great responsibility and a great privilege.”

The CST’s responsibilities are providing patient support in the operating room, gathering operating supplies, keeping count of supplies used, overseeing the operating room’s sterilization and handing surgeons surgical tools.

The program is 9-1/2 months and conducts two classes annually. Each class admits five students.
W.W. Hastings Hospital Surgical Technology Program instructors Rochelle Lewis, left, and Cheryl Gullett use a dummy and surgical tools to illustrate the environment a certified surgical technologist, or CST, will face in the operating room. BRITTNEY BENNETT/CHEROKEE PHOENIX Rochelle Lewis, a W.W. Hastings Hospital Surgical Technology Program instructor, sorts through surgical clamps, each with a different name and use. Certified surgical technologists must memorize the names and uses for hundreds of surgical tools to assist surgeons. BRITTNEY BENNETT/CHEROKEE PHOENIX Rochelle Lewis, a W.W. Hastings Hospital Surgical Technology Program instructor, holds two surgical clamps for comparison. While two instruments may look the same, the striations inside can drastically change how it is used and on which part of the body it is used. BRITTNEY BENNETT/CHEROKEE PHOENIX The W.W. Hastings Hospital Surgical Technology Program is 9-1/2 months and consists of classroom bookwork and clinicals at Oklahoma and Arkansas sites. The Cherokee Nation pays for all program materials that students need, including books and scrubs. BRITTNEY BENNETT/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
W.W. Hastings Hospital Surgical Technology Program instructors Rochelle Lewis, left, and Cheryl Gullett use a dummy and surgical tools to illustrate the environment a certified surgical technologist, or CST, will face in the operating room. BRITTNEY BENNETT/CHEROKEE PHOENIX

Sequoyah Birthplace Museum Begins Renovations

07/20/2017 04:00 PM
VENORE, Tenn. – Officials at the Sequoyah Birthplace Museum in Vonore, Tennessee, have announced phase one of a renovation project for the museum will soon get underway.

The main museum building will be closed beginning July 26 for extended internal and external renovations with a planned finish date for phase one in early 2018. During this time, many of the museum activities and features will still be available for visitors to experience.

However, the current exhibit area will be replaced with “an exciting new exhibit and delivery system,” museum officials said.

“This will highlight the story of the famous Overhill Cherokee, Sequoyah, our namesake, and will feature his greatest accomplishment (Cherokee syllabary). Sequoyah was born very near our museum site circa 1776,” museum officials said in a statement.

The mission of the Sequoyah Birthplace Museum, a property of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, is to promote the understanding and appreciation of the history and culture of the Cherokee Indians in Eastern Tennessee, particularly the life and contributions of Sequoyah. The museum collects, preserves, interprets and exhibits objects and data that support this mission.
A renovation project for the Sequoyah Birthplace Museum in Vonore, Tennessee, will soon get underway. The main museum building will be closed beginning July 26 for renovations with a planned finish date for phase one in early 2018. The noted Cherokee linguist Sequoyah was born very near the museum site. WILL CHAVEZ/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
A renovation project for the Sequoyah Birthplace Museum in Vonore, Tennessee, will soon get underway. The main museum building will be closed beginning July 26 for renovations with a planned finish date for phase one in early 2018. The noted Cherokee linguist Sequoyah was born very near the museum site. WILL CHAVEZ/CHEROKEE PHOENIX

CNB Engineering & Manufacturing Companies have bright future

News Writer
07/20/2017 12:00 PM
STILWELL, Okla. – For more than 48 years, Cherokee Nation Businesses Engineering & Manufacturing Companies have provided award-winning products and services to clients across the United States, as well as jobs for the Cherokee people.

With its main office in Stilwell, locals mostly refer to the company as Cherokee Nation Industries. However, a few years ago Cherokee Nation Businesses placed the company within the Engineering & Manufacturing division of Cherokee Nation Businesses along with Cherokee Nation CND, Cherokee Nation Red Wing, and Cherokee Nation Aerospace & Defense.

“We decided to come up with a name that more represented who we are and what we do,” Chris Moody, CNB’s Engineering & Manufacturing Companies president, said. “We provide engineering and manufacturing services, so engineering and manufacturing as part of Cherokee Nation Businesses became our name.”

While CNI is largely known for assembling “military aircraft products”, that is only a portion of what CNB’s Engineering & Manufacturing division does.

“Military aircraft is our primary niche, and wire harnesses and electrical assemblies is the primary product that we supply,” Moody said. “We also added additional capabilities, which are machine and metal working, and integration, which would be taking our electrical capability and our metal capability and combining them into a single product.”
An archive photo from 2010 shows Cherokee Nation Businesses Engineering & Manufacturing workers putting together wiring harnesses in Stilwell, Oklahoma. WILL CHAVEZ/CHEROKEE PHOENIX An archive photo from 2010 shows a Cherokee Nation Businesses Engineering & Manufacturing worker putting together a wiring harness possibly for a military vehicle or aircraft in Stilwell, Oklahoma. WILL CHAVEZ/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
An archive photo from 2010 shows Cherokee Nation Businesses Engineering & Manufacturing workers putting together wiring harnesses in Stilwell, Oklahoma. WILL CHAVEZ/CHEROKEE PHOENIX


Cherokee Heritage Center opens archives exhibit Aug. 14
Media Producer – @cp_rgraham
07/20/2017 09:00 AM
PARK HILL, Okla. – The Cherokee Heritage Center’s “Preserving Cherokee Culture: Holding the Past for the Future” exhibit will run from Aug. 14-19 and features nearly 50 historical artifacts.

Included in the exhibit are Gen. Stand Watie’s bowie knife, an 1866 handwritten draft of the Reconstruction Act between the U.S. government and the Cherokee Nation, stone and shell artifacts, photographs of notable Cherokees and portions of the CHC’s basket collection.

CHC Curator Callie Chunestudy said the Cherokee National Archives has more than 40,000 items in collections and 200,000 items in its archives dating back to pre-European contact.

“Our building was built in 1972 and was originally designed just as a museum,” Chunestudy said. “Throughout time we have developed into the premier cultural center for Cherokee history, culture and the arts, and with that evolution came immense growth. We are now at a point where we have to update and expand our facilities to accommodate our archives and ensure that these items remain available to preserve, promote and teach Cherokee culture for generations to come.”

CHC Archivist Jerry Thompson said the exhibit would showcase items most patrons never see.

He said the exhibit would also highlight items that are more degraded and need funding to be preserved. Money also needs to be raised for a new archives building to house the archives collection and the material culture collection, he said.

Thompson said one item in the show is an amber-type photo of Civil War Gen. Stand Watie taken between 1847-50.

“It’s one of the oldest photographs we have of Stand Watie. One of the issues that we have with that is...conservation work (needs) completed on that amber type (photo) to have the glass cleaned and to fix the framing,” he said.

Thompson said exhibit visitors would also see images from the articles of agreement and the Reconstruction Treaty of 1866 after the Civil War.

“The articles are actually the first draft of the treaty between the United States and the Cherokee Nation, and so patrons will be able to see the high degree of degradation aspect of that 33-page document. They’ll be able to notice the water damage and the burning portions of the document where most of the right corner and the right side itself of the entire 33 pages is missing,” he said.

The Cherokee National Historical Society board of trustees established the CHC in 1963. It is a nonprofit organization and a separate entity from the CN and Cherokee Nation Businesses.

Its goal is to preserve and promote the Cherokee culture while sponsoring “dynamic” educational programs, reconstructed historic villages, engaging exhibits and scholarly research stimulating interest in the enduring legacy of the Cherokee people. The center is the repository for the Cherokee National Archives, the tribe’s foremost collection of historic tribal-related documents and artifacts, cataloging the history of the Cherokee people from the 1700s to present day.

For more information, call 918-456-6007.


Cherokee students named 2017 All-State Scholars
06/28/2017 12:00 PM
CATOOSA, Okla. – Five Cherokee Nation citizens were recently named 2017 Academic All-State Scholars and received scholarships in recognition of their academic achievements.

The five Cherokees honored were Chelsea Anderson, of Warner; Ann Marie Grue, of Welch; Gideon Moore, of Muldrow; Jacob Ross Taylor, of Broken Arrow; and Brook Wigginton, of Oologah.

The honors were bestowed upon them during an event in which the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence honored the state’s top 100 high school seniors, as well as five outstanding Oklahoma public educators, during its 31st Academics Awards Banquet. The annual gala is a statewide tribute honoring the best in Oklahoma’s public schools.

The 2017 Academic All-State class hails from 77 schools in 68 school districts. This year’s honorees were selected from hundreds of nominations during the academic competition.

Scholars are nominated by their principals or superintendents and selected based on academic achievement, extracurricular activities and community involvement, as well as an essay submitted by each nominee.

With support from scholarship sponsors such as Cherokee Nation Businesses, the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence presented merit-based scholarships of $1,000 each and medallions to 100 Academic All-State Scholars.

“We very much appreciate Cherokee Nation Businesses serving as the All-State Scholarship Partner for all five of the Cherokee students who were named Academic All-Staters,” Emily Stratton, Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence executive director, said. “It is remarkable to have so many All-Staters from one class who share the same tribal heritage. Cherokee Nation must be very proud.”

CNB Executive Vice President said CNB is proud to partner with the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence “to honor these scholars for their achievements and to help support them in continuing their education.”

The Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence is a nonprofit, charitable organization founded in 1985 by then U.S. Sen. David L. Boren to recognize and encourage academic excellence in Oklahoma’s public schools. Through its Academic Awards Program, the foundation has awarded more than $4.5 million in merit-based scholarships and cash awards to honor outstanding graduating seniors as Academic All-Staters and exceptional educators as Medal for Excellence winners.

For more information on the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence, visit


2 Cherokee vets honored at July council meeting
07/14/2017 12:00 PM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – The Cherokee Nation honored a grandfather and grandson with Medals of Patriotism on July 10 at the Tribal Council meeting.

Jack De Vera, 74, of Independence, Kansas, and Sean Hutchinson, 25, of Catoosa, were acknowledged their service and sacrifices to their country.

Petty Officer 3rd Class De Vera was born Jan. 30, 1942, in Corona, California. De Vera enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1960 and arrived at the Naval Training Center in San Diego only three days after he graduated from high school. In September 1960, he attended Hospital Marine Corps School at the Naval Hospital where he received medical training in electrocardiographs. After completing school, he was stationed at the 11th Naval District Medical Office. De Vera received an honorable discharge from the Navy in 1964. After discharge, De Vera attended the San Francisco College of Mortuary Sciences and later graduated from Fullerton Community College in 1967, California State University in 1969 and, finally, Pittsburgh State University where he received a master’s degree in administration. In addition to his military career, De Vera served as a principal at schools in Caney, Kansas, and Towanda, Kansas, and worked as a teacher in California for a total of 26 years before retiring to Kansas in 2007 with his wife. De Vera is a member of American Legion Post 139.

“I just want to say thank you very much, but my grandson is the war hero here, not me,” said De Vera.

Sgt. Hutchinson was born June 17, 1991. He enlisted in the U.S. Army in June 2009. Hutchinson completed his basic and infantry training at Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri. Hutchinson was stationed in Fort Lewis in Washington. He was deployed to Afghanistan in 2011 and attached to a MARSOK/Marine Corps, Special Forces team where he served on route clearance with the 571 Sapper Company. From August to December 2011, Hutchinson cleared roadway explosives and Improvised Explosive Devices, eventually suffering from eight direct IED blasts during his time in southern Afghanistan. Due to the extent of his injuries, Hutchinson was restricted from combat and spent the remainder of his service working as a driver and mechanic. Hutchinson received a Purple Heart and several additional honors for his bravery and service. He received an honorable discharge in 2012 and now works for Cherokee Nation Businesses.

Each month the CN recognizes Cherokee service men and women for their sacrifices and as a way to demonstrate the high regard in which the tribe holds veterans. To nominate a veteran, call 918-772-4166.


Eating healthy on a budget
07/12/2017 08:00 AM
MUSKOGEE, Okla. – Eating healthy on a tight budget is a possibility for families if they make minor changes in the way they shop, plan and cook meals.

Many people believe they can’t eat healthy on a budget, but that’s not true, Denise Goss, clinical dietitian and dietician advisor at the Three Rivers Health Center, said.

“One of the big things is for people to plan ahead,” she said. “Don’t go into the grocery store without making a grocery list first and planning out the meals for the week.”

She said people tend to make “impulse buys” when they don’t make grocery lists and stick to them.

“They’ll spend more on food than they actually need,” Goss said. “A lot of times they’ll buy extra things like pop, chips and cookies. Those types of things aren’t nutritious but do cost a lot and add up on that grocery bill.”

Shopping for generic brands of commonly used groceries is another way to save money.

“They’re going to be less expensive and have just as much as far as quality goes as brand names,” she said.

Purchasing fruits and vegetables – the staples of a healthy diet and meal – in season will save money, too.

“If you can’t get them in season, do the canned or frozen,” Goss said.

If vegetables must be bought canned, she advised rinsing them in water before cooking to get rid of the extra sodium from the canning process. Canned fruits should also be rinsed to rid the syrups and sugars.

In the summer, people can shop at local farmers markets to buy locally grown produce, which is fresher than store produce.

“When you can, buy locally,” she said. “Farmers markets are great. They are a great resource for people because usually they’re going to be fresher and they don’t have to worry about what’s on them, like pesticides.”

Or better yet, growing a garden to get those fruits and vegetables is another option, Goss said.

Another money-saving tip is to clip coupons from the newspaper.

“Look at the sales ads in the newspaper and plan your menus around those sale items,” she said. “Clip coupons for items they’d normally purchase, and don’t clip the ones on items they don’t usually buy.”

Making meals from scratch is cheaper and healthier than making boxed meals, she said. Some meals to make from scratch include beans, stew or chili, which can be prepared in large quantities then reheated later for another dinner or lunches. These meals also allow for beans as meat substitutes, which is cheaper.

“Try using beans in recipes for a protein source instead of meat,” she said. “(Use) half and half – half beans and meat – for chili or tacos to save a little bit of money, too.”

Shoppers can also buy their items in bulk sizes, which allows a larger quantity of product for a cheaper price than buying several small quantities, she said. Some of those include pasta, dried beans, generic bagged cereals and meat, which can be frozen in smaller portions for future meals.

Also, allowing the children to help plan the menu, shop and prepare meals will get them excited about eating healthier, Goss said.

“Have a family fun night where they pick out a healthy recipe they want to have one night, and let them help,” she said. “Let them be a part of it when you’re planning your menu for the week, and ask them what they want for the week. Have a list of meals for the week. Kids like that.”

Plan ahead: Plan a menu at the beginning of each week. Then make a grocery list before shopping. Planning ahead helps save money so you’re not wandering around the grocery store randomly throwing items into the cart.

Don’t impulse buy: Stick to the list. Don’t shop while you’re hungry and don’t throw in soda, chips and cookies as you’re waiting in the checkout line.

Look for generic brands: Generic store brands are considerably cheaper than name brand grocery items yet have the same quality. The savings begin to add up when you buy generic brands each shopping trip.

Buy fruits and vegetables in-season: In-season fruits and vegetables are less expensive. Also, shop local farmers market to get fresh produce at cheaper prices.

Clip coupons: Clipping coupons may sound tedious, but the money saved is worth it. But only clip and use coupons on items you normally buy.

Buy in bulk: Purchasing meats, cereal, flour and other items in bulk can save money, and you won’t have to shop for those items as often. If you buy meats in bulk sizes, freeze them in sizes you can defrost and use later.

Sneak in some fruits and vegetables: It’s possible to sneak in fruits and vegetables during the day, even while sitting at work. Pack an apple or banana with your lunch or pack raw carrots or broccoli in small portions. Vegetables can even be dipped in low-fat dressing for added taste.

Let the kids help: Let the kids help plan the menu. If they’ve helped decide what meals they want, they’ll be more likely to eat it. Let the older children help prepare meals by cutting vegetables and other tasks, and let the younger kids help set the table.


OPINION: Fighting for justice in Cherokee Nation
Principal Chief
06/30/2017 12:00 PM
When the U.S. Surgeon General visited with Oklahoma tribal leaders last May, he declared that the “prescription opioid epidemic that is sweeping across the U.S. has hit Indian country particularly hard.” This statement especially applies to the Cherokee Nation, where opioid-related overdoses have more than doubled in recent years and more and more Cherokee Nation citizens suffer from opioid addiction. The opioid epidemic has affected every facet of our society: from our economy and our hospitals to our schools and our homes. Our children’s health and well-being is especially threatened by the epidemic, putting the future of the Cherokee Nation itself at risk.

When I was elected Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation in 2011, I made a commitment to protect the health and welfare of our nearly 350,000 citizens about half of whom live inside our sovereign tribal boundaries in northeast Oklahoma. We are made up of many small communities and we feel the impacts of the opioid epidemic every day, as we watch our friends, neighbors, children and parents grapple with the consequences of opioid addiction. That’s why I take this epidemic so seriously and why we have taken proactive measures to fight it. To curb abuse at the point of care, our doctors and hospitals implemented a prescription monitoring program (“PMP”). Long before it was required, our healthcare system also adopted information technologies to stop illegal distribution of prescription opioids.

Despite our best efforts, the crisis is still raging through our community. This is a matter of life and death, which is why we are doing everything in our power to prevent bad actors from flooding the Cherokee Nation with prescription opioids. Large distributors and retailers operating in the Cherokee Nation—McKesson Corporation, Cardinal Health, Inc., AmerisourceBergen, CVS Health, Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc., and Walmart Stores, Inc.—have fueled this epidemic by saturating our society with these highly-addictive painkillers, ignoring obvious warning signs that these drugs are not landing in the right hands. We pay for our citizen’s health care from cradle to grave and this epidemic has cost us hundreds of millions of dollars, not to mention the thousands of lives lost and ruined. That’s dollars we could be using for our schools, hospitals, roads or new housing projects. I cannot stand by as Cherokee Nation citizens suffer while these companies continue to make huge profits at our expense.

We must act now to protect our future – the next generation. No one has felt the impact of the opioid crisis more than our children. For children born into families struggling with opioid addiction, their tragic story is one of a cycle of abuse and neglect. According to a recent study, pregnant Native American women are up to 8.7 times more likely to be diagnosed with opiate dependency or abuse. This translates to a high volume of Cherokee babies born with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome – a disease with lifelong physical, mental, and emotional impacts on the child. Many of these babies must stay in the hospital for weeks and some must be immediately transferred to Tulsa-area hospitals via emergency helicopter to receive life-saving care. These infants are then immediately placed in our foster system. Cherokee families are torn apart before they have a chance to succeed and our children, families, and communities suffer as a result.

Enough is enough. The opioid epidemic is ripping apart families, straining our society’s resources, and wreaking havoc across the Cherokee Nation. That is why we’ve taken matters into our own hands, and are going to make sure distributors and retail pharmacies are held accountable for their negligence and greed. If the drug distributers and retailers in our communities fulfilled their duty to act as a “check” on the system by monitoring, reporting, and preventing illegal opioid activity, the epidemic could have been stopped. My hope is that this case will bring justice to our Nation and serve as an example to other communities dealing with the social and financial strains of the opioid epidemic.


Wilson releases ‘The Clockwork Dynasty’ novel
07/18/2017 09:15 AM
PORTLAND, Ore. – Robots and Native Americans usually don’t come to mind as a foundation for novels, but Cherokee Nation citizen and Oklahoma native Daniel H. Wilson has made this possible in his books.

Wilson said he enjoys writing science fiction because it allows consistent motifs such as Native Americans, robots and technology to appear in new and creative ways. With his latest novel, “The Clockwork Dynasty,” he said he emphasizes ancient and new technologies.

“Growing up in Oklahoma, I have always been fascinated by this idea of cultures clashing and how technology affects the outcome when cultures collide,” he said. “That novel (‘The Clockwork Dynasty’) is about countries and people that are modernizing and adopting new technological ideas on how to survive.”

According to its overview, the book “weaves a path through history, following a race of human-like machines that have been hiding among us for untold centuries.”

“Present day: When a young anthropologist specializing in ancient technology uncovers a terrible secret concealed in the workings of a three-hundred-year-old mechanical doll, she is thrown into a hidden world that lurks just under the surface of our own. With her career and her life at stake, June Stefanov will ally with a remarkable traveler who exposes her to a reality she never imagined, as they embark on an around-the-world adventure and discover breathtaking secrets of the past…,” the overview states.

The book was set for release on Aug. 1 for $26.95 in hardback.

Born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Wilson earned a bachelor’s degree in computer science from the University of Tulsa and a doctorate degree in robotics from Carnegie Mellon University.

He wrote “Robopocalypse” and other stories that utilize his childhood experiences in Oklahoma and in the CN. “What I find is my experiences with growing up and where I came from come into my writing naturally. You write what you know. I know Oklahoma because that is the experience I had growing up.”

The novel “Robopocalypse” has a strong emphasis on incorporating references to Native Americans and their government, Wilson said.

“The novel is basically robots and Indians who end up fighting in central Oklahoma in the Osage Nation, but there are Cherokee characters as well. I wrote it that way because if the federal government failed, there are sovereign governments who might not fail during a robot uprising,” he said.

His interest in writing and science fiction novels began while attending Booker T. Washington High School in Tulsa. During high school, he wrote and submitted science fiction stories to pulp magazines.

“While studying computer science at the University of Tulsa, I was lucky to gain arts exposure through the honors college,” Wilson said.

With “Robopocalypse,” which had its movie rights purchased by director Steven Spielberg, the robots were often futuristic, he said. Wilson changed this in “The Clockwork Dynasty” by looking at history. “Everyone associates robots with cutting edge and new technology, and I was sick of that because human beings have always been obsessed with building machines that replicate ourselves.”

Wilson also has an upcoming short story novel called “Guardian Angels and Other Monsters” that contains 15 short stories that have never been published. The theme of the stories is technology being a protector and destroyer, he said.

For more information about Wilson, view his social media accounts at Twitter (@danielwilsonpdx), Facebook ( or his website at
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