Meet the Cherokee Phoenix staff Executive Editor Bryan Pollard, left, and Multimedia Editor Mark Dreadfulwater, right, will be working from 9 a.m. to noon Aug. 30, 2014 at the Cherokee Phoenix's booth at the Courthouse Square in downtown Tahlequah, Okla. Reporters Jami Murphy, left, and Tesina Jackson, right, will be working from noon to 2 p.m. Aug. 30, 2014 at the Cherokee Phoenix's booth at the Courthouse Square in downtown Tahlequah, Okla. Assistant Editor Travis Snell, left, and Administrative Officer Dena Tucker, right, will be working from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Aug. 30, 2014 at the Cherokee Phoenix's booth inside the Cherokee Nation Tribal Complex during it's annual open house in Tahlequah, Okla. Advertising Representative Kendra Sweet, left, and Reporter Stacie Guthrie, right, will be working from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Aug. 30, 2014 at the Cherokee Phoenix's booth inside the Cherokee Nation Tribal Complex during it's annual open house in Tahlequah, Okla.
Meet the Cherokee Phoenix staff

Meet the Cherokee Phoenix staff

08/29/2014 04:09 PM
The Cherokee Phoenix will be selling subscriptions and merchandise Sat. Aug. 30, 2014 during the 62nd Annual Cherokee National Holiday. Come visit with staff members from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Courthouse Square and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. inside the Cherokee Nation Tribal Complex during it's annual open house. Scroll through the photos to see when and where each staff member will be.
Sept. 2014 issue of the Cherokee Phoenix now available online
Sept. 2014 issue of the Cherokee Phoenix now available online

Sept. 2014 issue of the Cherokee Phoenix now available online

08/29/2014 02:12 PM
In this month's issue:

• Hard Rock Cherokee Tower under revamp

• Cherokee Phoenix wins awards at NAJA conference

• Tribe requests IHS help to build Tahlequah hospital

• Watt strives to enlighten others with his artwork

...and much more.

Click here to read this month's issue.
An artist’s rendering of the newly announced Cherokee Springs Plaza includes a casino, two hotels, convention center and retail space. COURTESY
An artist’s rendering of the newly announced Cherokee Springs Plaza includes a casino, two hotels, convention center and retail space. COURTESY

BREAKING: Tribe announces Cherokee Springs Plaza project

08/29/2014 01:20 PM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – During the Cherokee National Holiday weekend, Cherokee Nation and Cherokee Nation Businesses officials unveiled plans to build the Cherokee Springs Plaza, a travel destination that will include venues for dining, shopping and gaming.

An artist’s rendering shows the complex including retail spaces, restaurant sites, auto sales lots, office spaces, a convention center, two hotels and a casino.

Principal Chief Bill John Baker said purchasing the former Cherry Springs Golf Course property and the vacant land parallel to Highway 62 was a business decision of CNB “knowing that anytime they do anything it’s first class.”

“It was the largest contiguous piece of property left in the capitol of the Cherokee Nation, and they’ve been on the drawing board for almost a year now with some of the best land developers in the country coming up with their plan to make this a showpiece in not only all of Indian Country, but I think it’s going to be a showplace for Oklahoma,” Baker said.

[BLOCKQUOTE]The approximate 150 acres will bring more traffic to Tahlequah and more attention to the CN, he said.

“Just be an awesome, awesome development for this part of Oklahoma,” Baker added.

When officials unveiled the project, they said there would be spots for approximately six national restaurants.

“I don’t know anybody in this part of the country that hasn’t said ‘I wish we had this’ or ‘I wished we had that.’ People don’t realize the dollars that go to Muskogee or go to Tulsa to just go out to dinner, and we think we can reverse that to where folks from Muskogee are going to be coming this way,” Baker said. “Folks from Tulsa, they can play golf. They eat at our restaurants and eventually stay at our hotel. It’s just going to be a destination of a mixture of fine dining, shopping, a casino resort, golfing. It’s going to tie everything together here at the Cherokee Nation.”

Baker said the space would also include a convention center so people who often use convention centers at hotels in the Tulsa area can stay closer to home. He added that CNB Executive Vice President Chuck Garrett had much to do with what the CN envisioned for the property and was the “perfect fit to carry the ball.”
Garrett said he’s looking forward to helping execute Baker’s vision for the property.

“As chief said, I think that for the first time the citizens of Tahlequah and Cherokee County are going to have the entertainment and amenities that they deserve. They’re no longer going to have to travel to Tulsa, Muskogee or other larger cities outside of the area to enjoy a restaurant or some shopping opportunities that they’ve previously had to travel for,” he said. “We also hope to be providing a venue for entertainment and other community activities within a conference center that will be attached to a hotel.”

The project will be completed in three phases, Garrett said.

Phase 1 will include the “civil engineering” portion of the project that will consist of road construction and pad sites where potential businesses will be developed.
“So our initial efforts will be focused on the engineering and road construction necessary for the development including water, sewer and those sorts of things,” Garrett said.

The first thing citizens will see, he said, will be pad sites along the highway that will be the future homes of restaurants.

Phase 1 is underway and is expected to be complete in 12 to 18 months. But citizens will see work on the property within the next month, Garrett said.

Once everything is complete, Baker said, the CN would continue with its plan to move the Cherokee Nation Immersion Charter School into what will be the former Cherokee Casino Tahlequah, located west of Sequoyah Schools along Hwy 62.

“We designed it that way when we built it…so we won’t have two casinos. But when we build the one there (behind Cherokee Springs Golf Course), the one out here (Hwy 62) will become the immersion school,” Baker said.

The Cherokee Phoenix will update this story as more developments unfold.
2014 Cherokee National Holiday Guide available online
2014 Cherokee National Holiday Guide available online

2014 Cherokee National Holiday Guide available online

08/29/2014 11:40 AM
Here you will find the schedule of events for the 62nd Annual Cherokee National Holiday.

Cherokee Phoenix Editorial Board meeting

08/29/2014 10:23 AM
The Cherokee Phoenix Editorial Board will be meeting via conference call at 9 a.m. CDT, September 10, 2014. To attend, please use the conference call information listed below. The meeting agenda is here.

Dial-in: 866-210-1669

Entry code: 4331082
Faye Morrison, right, and her sister Kaye Callaway received their commemorative 50- and 45-year service pins respectively this year for service to the Veteran’s of Foreign War Auxiliary in Tahlequah, Okla. JAMI MURPHY/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Faye Morrison, right, and her sister Kaye Callaway received their commemorative 50- and 45-year service pins respectively this year for service to the Veteran’s of Foreign War Auxiliary in Tahlequah, Okla. JAMI MURPHY/CHEROKEE PHOENIX

Cherokees combine for 95 years of VFWA service

08/29/2014 08:34 AM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – Cherokee Nation citizens and sisters Faye Morrison and Kaye Callaway have been members of the Tahlequah Veteran’s of Foreign War Auxiliary since age 16. They said it’s one of the ways they give back to their country and community.

Morrison recently received her 50-year membership pin from the organization to which she said she was proud to have. She got involved with the VFWA because her parents were and it was just what you did back then, she said.

“We just were always a patriotic family,” Morrison said.

And patriotism is what has kept her a member for 50 years, he said.

“We just always had that in the back of our minds,” she said. “It was what our parents did, and we just felt like it was the thing to do. What little we could do to give back to serve our country in what way we could.”

Callaway, a retired teacher who recently received her 45-year pin, said during the years she hasn’t been as active as her sister because of different things that keep her busy, but she’s always tried to help.

“You know through the year I had the school, OEA – Oklahoma Education Association. Then during the summer, I worked with the Tahlequah Girls Softball League, so you know my year was full. But when it came to convention time, we’d usually all go to the state convention,” Callaway said. “And it was just kind of like that’s how we were raised to give back to the community. It’s not ‘give me something.’ It’s ‘what can I do for you.’”

Morrison said she and her sister remember their mother being involved in the VFWA. Before they were old enough to go into the Veterans Affairs hospital in Muskogee, she said, her mother organized bingo games there for veterans.

“I guess when it was not school time, of course, she couldn’t get a baby sitter and back then it was OK just to let your kids run around out in the parking lot. Of course, Honor Heights Park was right there. She did that for I don’t know how many years,” Morrison said, “probably at least 50 years. Once I got old enough I started going with her and helping her. For the last 30 years, I’ve been what they call the representative and it’s my job to go over and put the party on. Used to be hers, now it’s mine.”

Callaway said she enjoyed helping at the hospital as a young woman.

“It was really neat back then because we were young and we got to help all of these old men, you know. And at that time they had those cards where you slide the little red over when you get a number, and we would help them do that and ‘oh you missed one’ and, you know, their prizes were socks and bar soap, a tooth brush, a comb…and they thought they were getting a pot of gold,” Callaway said.

Morrison said sometimes she dreads driving to Muskogee, but that feeling leaves her when she gets there.
“Sometimes I think ‘Ugh, the second Tuesday of the month and I’ve got to go to Muskogee, drive over there, hot cold, rain, shine,’” Morrison said. “But you make somebody happy, even if it’s just one person.”

The VFWA has received more than 300 combined years of volunteer service from all the female members in sisters’ family, all of which are or were Cherokee, dating back to the 1950s.

Not only have the women been involved, but they have also had men serve as well, including their father Luther Hammons and brother Jerry E. Hammons.

To be a VFWA member, a woman 16 years or older must have a family member that has served in a foreign war. Dues are $10 per year.

For more information on the VFW or VFWA, Morrison asks people attend a potluck luncheon at 11;30 a.m. at the VFW on the second Monday of each month, and bring a dish.

The VFW also provides donuts and coffee to veterans from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. on the first and third Wednesday of each month from. It will host its annual bean dinner from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Veteran’s Day. The dinner is free to all veterans. For those who haven’t served it’s $3. Bingo is every Monday night at 6:30 p.m. The VFW is located on Choctaw Street near the Choctaw and Bluff Street intersection.

Missing Canadian turns up 37 years later in Tahlequah

08/29/2014 08:31 AM
Tahlequah Daily Press

TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – Authorities with the Cherokee Nation Marshal Service and Ontario Provincial Police in Canada say that until last month, a man living in Tahlequah had been presumed dead as a result of a 1977 barn fire.

“The Cherokee Nation Marshal Service, acting on a tip, did locate Ronald Stan alive and living in Tahlequah on Aug. 5,” said Amanda Clinton, the Cherokee Nation communications director.
She said the tribe would make no other comment about the discovery.

Authorities in Canada say Stan, who has been living in Tahlequah under the alias of Jeff Walton, disappeared from his home in Ontario nearly 37 years ago.

According to media reports out of Canada, Stan lived in the former Township of East Williams in Middlesex County, but was reported missing when a barn caught fire on Sept. 29, 1977.

Witnesses reportedly saw Stan near the barn before it broke out into a blaze. Remnants of a body were never found, but in 1986, Stan was declared legally dead in Canada. He had reportedly left behind a wife and children there.

But authorities in Canada say a recent audit of Stan’s disappearance somehow connected the supposedly missing person to a man living near Tahlequah, 69-year-old Jeff Walton. According to some media reports, police used Facebook connections to pinpoint Walton in Cherokee County.

Authorities have not said what Stan’s motives might have been for disappearing 37 years ago, nor whether the barn fire thought to have taken his life was or is now considered to have been suspicious. But Canadian officials have suggested Stan faces no criminal charges there.

Stan’s 35-year-old son, Jeff Walton Jr., told the Toronto Star that his family is “still trying to put all the puzzle pieces together.” He said family members from Stan’s U.S. life learned of the former life last month. Stan reportedly has grandchildren in the U.S. as well.

On April 23, 2000, Stan, under the name of Walton, married Cherokee County resident Debra E. Proctor in Eureka Springs, Arkansas.

Court records show Proctor and Stan divorced earlier this month – according to Walton Jr., because of the revelation of his father’s secret Canadian past.

In Proctor’s petition for divorce, she cites “incompatibility” between herself and Stan.

Walton Jr. told the Toronto Star that his father now suffers from vascular dementia and heart disease, and was in a nursing home when authorities began to uncover Stan’s past.

According to court documents, Stan has also gone by the name of Jeff Winton, and reportedly spent some time in Louisiana after leaving Canada.

“It’s been tough on me, but he’s still my father,” Walton Jr. told the Toronto Star. “It doesn’t change the man I knew for 35 years. Hopefully one day, he can sit down and write a book and remember all the stuff he’s been through in his life. It’d be a damn good book, I’ll tell you that, just from what I’ve heard.”
Canadian media also reported that the Ontario Provincial Police have closed their case.



Robin Williams ‘Look(s) Back in Laughter’ with Will Rogers
08/28/2014 01:43 PM
CLAREMORE, Okla. – Robin Williams joined top comedy entertainers of the late 1980s to pay tribute to Will Rogers, filming the HBO Special “Look Back in Laughter” on location at the Will Rogers Park and Ranch in Santa Monica, Calif.

Acknowledging the recent death of Robin Williams and his contributions to comedy, the entire 55-minute program, which premiered in 1987 at Will Rogers Memorial Museum in Claremore, will show at 3:30 p.m. daily in the museum theater through the end of September. A short clip will also be available on the museum website at

Narrated by Harold Ramis, who also died this year, Williams’ rare presentation shows not only his many talents, but has a poignant ending with some of Will’s famous quotes.

“Words he wrote way back then … Well they could have been written this morning,” Williams said.

“What Will Rogers said and did has lived on,” he added, citing issues of race, war and farming.

His closing Will Rogers’ quote agreeably could have been written this morning.

“When big nations quit meddling, the world will have peace.”

Williams, cast as “Ranger Tad,” takes guests on a tour of the house and Will’s life as a roper, “biggest star in movies,” “highest paid” radio broadcaster, “whiz at public speaking” and great humanitarian.

The presentation includes clips from Will’s movies and family events.

Dan Aykroyd, Chevy Chase and the late Rodney Dangerfield also make appearances in the production. Ramis was in Claremore for the premiere.


CN, NSU celebrate Cherokee Constitutions 175th anniversary
08/27/2014 12:54 PM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – The Cherokee Nation and Northeastern State University’s College of Liberal Arts are collaborating to celebrate the 175th anniversary of the Cherokee Constitution.

There will be a celebratory symposium at 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Aug. 28 at NSU-Tahlequah’s University Center Ballroom. The Cherokee Nation Color Guard will kick off the event. Following, there will be panels discussing the history of the tribe’s 1839 Constitution.

Keynote speaker, Dr. Miriam Jorgensen, will speak during lunch.

Jorgensen is a lecturer for both University of Arizona and Harvard University’s Executive Education programs in Native American Leadership. She also works at George Warren Brown School of Social Work at Washington University as an adjunct professor in Community Development with American Indian Communities.

For more information, email Dr. Diane Hammons at


3 veterans honored during Tribal Council meeting
08/14/2014 08:25 AM
Senior Reporter

TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – Elmer C. Tadpole Jr., his brother Thomas Tadpole and Richard Acorn were the three Cherokee veterans honored with Cherokee Warrior awards during the Aug. 11 Tribal Council meeting.

Elmer was born in June 1940 to Elmer Tadpole Sr. and Lillian Napier Tadpole in Muskogee. His father was an original enrollee with Cherokee family history tracing back to 1737.

When Elmer was 4 years old, his family moved to Tulsa where he grew up and went to school. On his 17th birthday, in 1957, he joined the U.S. Navy Reserves. After graduating from high school he went active duty serving on the USS Woodson DE and USS Hornet CV-12.

The USS Woodson DE was home ported at New Orleans where the boat patrolled from St. Louis down the Mississippi River into the Gulf of Mexico to Miami. He then transferred to the USS Hornet CV-12.

The USS Hornet CV-12 was home ported at Long Beach, Calif., and was part of the Pacific Sixth Fleet patrolling Japan, China, South Korea, Vietnam, Philippines, Hawaii and the West Coast of the United States. After this stint he was transferred to a naval supply and training base in Subic Bay, Philippines.

There, Elmer performed duties such as security and training exercises. He was honorably discharged in June 1963.

Elmer said he accepted the Warrior Award for “all the veterans lost in service.”

Thomas Tadpole was born in Tulsa on July 21, 1948, to Elmer Sr. and Lillian Tadpole.

Thomas lived in Tulsa and graduated from Tulsa Central High School in 1966. In 1968, Thomas volunteered for the U.S. Air Force and completed basic training at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio after which he attended Security Police Training at Lackland AFB. In 1970, Thomas volunteered for duty in Vietnam and served there from September 1970 to September 1971 at Tan Son Nhut Air Base. He was assigned to Military Assistance Command Vietnam/7th Air Force, 12th Recon Intelligence Technical Squadron.

Staff Sgt. Thomas Tadpole was honorably discharged in May 1972 and was awarded various medals and ribbons including USAF Commendation Medal (1971-Vietnam), Vietnam Service Medal with three Campaign Stars, Vietnam Campaign Medal w/device, Vietnam Cross of Gallantry and a Presidential Unit Citation (Vietnam).

Thomas returned to Tulsa where he was re-employed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. He spent 34 years with the Corps of Engineers as a construction representative and project engineer working on military and civil works construction projects in several states and retired in 2004. He and his wife Floy live in Claremore.

“I want to thank you for this. I think this is a great thing to do for veterans,” he said during the meeting.

Richard F. Acorn was born July 20, 1934, in Stilwell to Lillie Mae Acorn and Fred Aguirre in the family home place where Richard still lives. Shortly after his birth, his father and mother divorced. He was raised and adopted by his grandfather and grandmother Rev. John B. Acorn and Adeline Smith Acorn.

After graduating from Sequoyah Indian School in Tahlequah in 1952, Acorn moved to Wichita, Kan., and worked in a sheet metal shop until 1955 when he moved back to Oklahoma to do plumbing with his uncle Bill Acorn. At this time he also met and married Shirley Dreadfulwater.

Acorn was drafted into the Army in 1957. He was sent to Fort Chaffee, Ark., for basic training. After training he was assigned to overseas duty with 7th Army Headquarters, 78th Ordinance Company Field Supply, Mannheim, Germany, and drivers training for military vehicles in Mannheim.

After his tour in Germany, Acorn returned back to the United States to join his family and they moved back to Wichita in 1959 where he worked at Cessna Air Craft Company and joined the U.S. Army Reserve Unit 5048th. He spent four years in the reserves and was honorably discharged in 1963.

In 1965, with the death of his wife, he was left with three girls ages 5, 3 and 18 months. In 1967, he met Judith Ann, who had two girls and two boys, and they married and had a son together. They are still together after 47 years of marriage.

In 1971, Richard moved back to Oklahoma, and in 1973 he began working for the Indian Health Service as an inspector. In 1983, he began working for the Cherokee Nation in Community Development and security. He currently serves as a security guard.

“I’m proud to have been a part of the world’s greatest armed forces. I’m proud to work for the Cherokee Nation,” Acorn said after receiving the Cherokee Warrior medal.


Miss Cherokee winning fight against cancer
08/26/2014 08:36 AM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – Former Miss Cherokee Julie Thornton will passed her crown to the new Miss Cherokee on Aug. 23. Thornton has served as Miss Cherokee for nearly a year, visiting different areas of the United States. However, in April, she was diagnosed with soft tissue sarcoma, a type of cancer that attacks muscle and bones.

“It’s a type of cancer that causes tumors that are connected to your lymph nodes and your bones,” Thornton said. “It looks like a knot on your skin and usually they turn black and they raise up.”

But having cancer hasn’t slowed her. She said despite the diagnosis she’s remained busy with classes at Northeastern State University and is maintaining her grades, earning all A’s.

Thornton said both sides of her family has endured cancer, so she has always been careful and watchful about her body.

“My grandfather just recently passed away of stomach cancer, and a few years ago my other grandpa died of lung cancer,” she said. “So my family has always taught me to watch my body, and if something is wrong, you know, go to the doctor and make sure it’s all checked out.”

She said this spring she noticed a small knot on her thigh and visited the doctor to determine what it was.

“They said that ‘it’s just the keloids, just watch it.’ If it got bigger or anything and if it did then to come back,” Thornton said.

Keloids are a formation of a type of scar. The scar overgrows tissue at the site of a healed skin injury. It tends to affect more people of a darker pigmentation. She said she’s had keloids since a young age and that she watched the area closely. After the knot changed she returned to the doctor.

“Well it got bigger and it got to the size of a half dollar size and it turned black and it raised up,” she added. “So I went to the doctor and they performed a biopsy and they removed the tumor and (I’ve) been going through treatment ever since.”

Her treatment has consisted of chemotherapy injections as well as radiation in the form of pills. Depending on the month, she said she takes one chemo injection every two weeks.

“So like, sometimes I’ll go like once a month in a big dose or I’ll do once every two weeks in small doses. Now I’m doing just once a week (on the radiation pill),” she added. “Yeah, the medicine is working.”

The biggest issue she’s had while going through treatment is exhaustion.

“Everyday I would get tired. I can never get enough sleep it feels like. I guess like depending on the day that I get treatment, I get really moody,” she said.

She hopes her treatments will stop this fall. As for now, her goals are to continue with her classes, graduate in 2017 with a major in criminal justice and double minor in police force and homeland security. Her goal is to become a Cherokee Nation marshal when she turns 21.

Her suggestion for kids and adults is to keep a close watch on one’s body.

“But also just knowing your body, and what’s non-normal. Because like, when I got diagnosed with sarcoma, part of the whole treatment process is that you have to get pat downs every month to make sure that you don’t have any new spots as well,” she said. “Know their body. Know what’s not normal. Know if something’s out of place. Notice new spots on you or new bumps. If you don’t think something is supposed to be there, it’s probably not and you need to go to the doctor and get that checked out.”


I can have it all, but with a little help
05/05/2014 11:18 AM
Who says you can’t have it all? Lately my reality has been just that. However, I haven’t been doing it alone.

During the past year I have experienced several changes. All of which have changed not only my life, but my family’s, too.

In March 2013, I had the opportunity to finally purchase my own car, a new model. That was exciting. I had been having trouble with mine and I badly wanted to purchase a new car. I never thought I could, but I did and that was a fantastic blessing.

Two months later, my family and I moved into a new house built by the Housing Authority of Cherokee Nation under the tribes’ new home construction program. My in-laws allowed us to purchase a small piece of property from them north of Tahlequah for the home to be built upon.

I filed for the program the week of its inception in April 2012, and a year later we moved into our first new home. That was a dream come true. Without that program I’m afraid it would have been far longer for me to buy a home, a new home at that.

In June, my then-partner Mike Murphy and I discovered we were expecting our second child. So together we have four children. This news was quite surprising, but great. We thought having another child wasn’t a possibility any longer considering we’d tried for nearly two years, but we were blessed with another boy. I thought I had my hands full with one in the home (the other two live outside the home). So on Jan. 27, we welcomed the newest Murphy, Austin.

So after all these changes and the welcomed surprise why not go ahead and throw another one in the mix. Mike and I finally got married. I had taken my maternity leave a week before going into labor. So my last week of my leave we planned a small, nice ceremony on the Cherokee Nation Courthouse grounds beneath a beautiful magnolia tree. And the ceremony was just that, beautiful. CN citizen David Comingdeer officiated.

So on April 8 at 4:08 p.m. on the grounds of the historic courthouse, David gave the prayer and welcome in both Cherokee and English and proceeded with the marriage ceremony.

I have waited nearly seven years to marry Mike and for whatever reason in the past it just wasn’t the right time. So on that day I walked to a floral archway where Mike stood as Jami Custer and we left that ceremony as Mr. and Mrs. Michael Murphy.

Now I’ve returned to work, a much-awaited return in my eyes. I have missed the past three months without writing for the Cherokee Phoenix and contributing to what I feel is a much-needed news outlet for our Cherokee people. It feels great to be back working again.

Even though we’ve spent the past seven years as a couple, I want to try and be as a good of a mother and wife as I can. Why wouldn’t I? But life is a lot of work.

In today’s society, many women and men attempt to do it all. They want to work, bring up babies, have personal relationships and still try to find the time for themselves. I tell you, it’s not easy. It can be done, but there’s a lot of help behind the scenes that many don’t see.

For example, purchasing my new car couldn’t have been achieved without my employment with the Cherokee Phoenix. Working for the past seven years has allowed me the opportunity to establish better credit and work steadily and that afforded me the opportunity for the new car.

My home would not have been possible without the help of CN citizens William and Deborah Smoke. They have helped us more than words can express.
And finally, the old saying “it takes a village to raise a child” I think can be linked to our relationships. Many people have had a hand in my and Mike’s seven-year courtship, both good and bad, but either way all leading us where we are today, married.

We can have it all. But when you look at it, really look at what you’re accomplishing, I don’t think you’re doing it alone. Many people are there helping, some we can’t even see.

Thanks friends, family and extended family for all you’ve done behind the scenes.


Legg honored at White House as ‘Champion of Change’
08/14/2014 08:33 AM

TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – The White House has named Cherokee Nation citizen Daryl Legg a “Champion of Change” for going from a three-time convicted felon to someone who’s helped positively change the lives of dozens.

Legg was sentenced to prison three times for drug possession, but turned his life around and now runs a work re-entry program helping other Natives overcome similar obstacles.

Legg, 43, of Sallisaw, is the Nation’s director of vocational programs, which includes a new program called “Coming Home.” The program helps former prisoners get back on their feet upon release, including help with jobs and housing.

Since the program started in September, 53 of the 55 formerly incarcerated participants have stayed out of prison, with the majority maintaining steady jobs.

“I’m thankful I belong to a tribe that gives me the freedom to do what I love and give back,” Legg said. “The feeling of being able to be trusted again is an awesome feeling, and I’m thankful to the Cherokee Nation and the White House for this award. More than anything, I’m glad to see the reentry issue getting the attention it deserves.”

On June 30, Legg was honored at the White House with 14 other recipients. The “Champions of Change” award is given to ordinary Americans doing extraordinary things in their communities. The White House says it received more than 900 nominations for the category Legg was honored in, which is re-entry and employment for the formerly incarcerated.

Legg has been a director of CN vocational programs since 2009. It’s the same program that years earlier offered him the opportunity to learn employment skills after being sent to prison twice in Arkansas and once in Oklahoma.

Legg eventually graduated from Northeastern State University with a major in psychology in 2006 and worked his way up to a director before starting “Coming Home.”

“Daryl has helped the Cherokee Nation develop one of the most progressive reintegration programs in Oklahoma and across Indian Country. His humanity and commitment make him a deserving White House Champion of Change honoree,” Principal Chief Bill John Baker said. “Like Daryl, I believe we can’t just give up on people after incarceration. We must open doors of opportunity for our people, not keep them closed.”

The “Coming Home” program is for citizens of federally recognized Native American tribes. Applicants must contact the program within six months of release to be considered for participation.

For more information on the program, call Legg at 918-453-5000, ext. 3832 or email

For more information on the “Champions of Change” award, visit
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