NSU housing honors female physician in Indian Territory

11/24/2015 04:00 PM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – Northeastern State University students made their mark on the university’s history recently when they voted to name the new student housing building after Isabel “Belle” Cobb.

Cobb, a Cherokee National Seminary alumna, is the second woman to have a building named after her on the Tahlequah campus.

Students had the opportunity to choose among four names: Francis Baker, John Hackler, Gideon Morgan and Cobb. This shortlist was researched and compiled with the assistance of NSU Archives and conversations with individuals who had extensive knowledge about the history of the National Female Seminary and Northeastern.

A total of 266 votes were cast, with Cobb receiving 43 percent of the vote. Morgan received 26 percent, Hacker 16 percent and Baker 14 percent.

Cobb was born in 1858 near Morgantown, Tennessee, and her family moved to land near what would later become Wagoner in the spring of 1870.
Northeastern State University students recently named a new student housing building on the Tahlequah, Oklahoma, campus after Isabel “Belle” Cobb, a Cherokee National Seminary alumna and the first female doctor in Indian Territory. COURTESY
Northeastern State University students recently named a new student housing building on the Tahlequah, Oklahoma, campus after Isabel “Belle” Cobb, a Cherokee National Seminary alumna and the first female doctor in Indian Territory. COURTESY

Document: Homecoming parade crash suspect wasn't intoxicated

11/24/2015 12:00 PM
STILLWATER, Okla. (AP) — A court document indicates the woman accused of killing four people and injuring dozens of others after driving through Oklahoma State University's homecoming parade last month had a blood-alcohol content lower than the legal intoxication threshold.

The Tulsa World reported Saturday that 25-year-old Adacia Chambers, a Cherokee Nation citizen, was ordered to submit to a blood alcohol test at Stillwater Medical Center following the Oct. 24 crash.

A document filed Thursday in Payne County District Court by defense attorney Tony Coleman indicates her blood-alcohol content was 0.01. The legal threshold for intoxication is 0.08.

Chambers initially was suspected of driving while under the influence after authorities say she ran a red light and purposely drove around a barricade and over a police motorcycle before crashing into spectators at OSU's homecoming parade. Prosecutors say evidence suggests it was "an intentional act."

Prosecutors have not responded to the latest filing.

Group asks judge to lift gag order in OSU crash case

11/24/2015 10:00 AM
STILLWATER, Okla. (AP) — An association of the state's newspapers wants a judge to lift a gag order in the murder case against a woman accused of killing four people and injuring dozens during Oklahoma State University's homecoming parade last month.

The Oklahoman reports the Oklahoma Press Association is asking the judge in the case against Cherokee Nation citizen Adacia Chambers for permission to intervene and request the gag be lifted.

The association, which serves almost every newspaper in Oklahoma, says the court ordered the gag without a proper hearing and evidentiary foundation.

Judge Louis A. Duel put the gag in place earlier this month barring lawyers, witnesses, victims and family members from making any statements about the case.

CN honors top TERO-certified businesses of 2015

11/24/2015 08:00 AM
CATOOSA, Okla. – Cherokee Nation officials honored 10 Tribal Employment Rights Office-certified businesses at its eighth annual TERO Awards banquet on Nov. 19 at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino.

According to CN Communications, hundreds of Native business owners attended the banquet. One of those business owners was Delbert Davis, who owns Davis Excavation. His company received the Community Leadership Award.

“It’s a great honor to be recognized for just helping,” Davis, who has owned his business for the past 16 years, said.

Other certified Indian-owned businesses that were recognized were:

• Meeks Lithographing Company, of Tulsa, with the Customer Service Award,
Principal Chief Bill John Baker speaks at the Cherokee Nation’s eighth annual Tribal Employee Rights Office Awards banquet on Nov. 19 in Catoosa, Oklahoma. COURTESY
Principal Chief Bill John Baker speaks at the Cherokee Nation’s eighth annual Tribal Employee Rights Office Awards banquet on Nov. 19 in Catoosa, Oklahoma. COURTESY

Stanley signs with LA KISS football team

11/23/2015 04:00 PM
LOS ANGELES – The LA KISS have been assigned quarterback Nathan Stanley, who was most recently on the San Jose SaberCats when they won the 2015 Arena Bowl Championship. The third-year quarterback looks to bring his championship pedigree to the LA KISS for the upcoming 2016 season.

“We are very excited to have a player of Nate Stanley’s caliber join the LA KISS,” said Omarr Smith, KISS head coach, said on Nov. 9. “Over the last two seasons, Nate has proven to be one of the top up-and-coming signal callers in this league. I have seen Nate mature on and off the field over the last two seasons and I am looking forward to watching Nate compete at the quarterback position. I think big things are in the future for Nate and the LA KISS.”

Stanley, a 6-foot, 4-inch, 225-pound quarterback from Southeastern Louisiana University, is entering his third year in the AFL. Stanley’s career started in 2014 when he threw for 2,436 yards and 50 touchdowns as a rookie for the San Jose SaberCats. The following season Stanley was a backup quarterback for the SaberCats, but he still put up impressive numbers throwing for 723 yards and 20 touchdowns in 9 games. In Week 7, Stanley was named “Russell Athlete Offensive Player of the Week”, when he threw for 242 yards and 7 touchdowns in a victory over the Las Vegas Outlaws.

“We are very happy to have Nate a part the LA KISS family,” said Joe Windham, CEO of the LA KISS. “We know he will fit in our organization nicely since he has been with Omarr the last two seasons so there should be no learning curve.”

Stanley is originally from Tahlequah, Oklahoma, where he played high school football at Sequoyah High School. From there he went to the University of Mississippi before transferring to Southeastern Louisiana University. In 2013, the Baltimore Ravens signed him as an undrafted free agent.
Cherokee Nation citizen Nathan Stanley, shown here with the San Jose SaberCats, signed with the Arena Football League’s LA KISS on Nov. 9 in Los Angeles. SAN JOSE SABERCATS
Cherokee Nation citizen Nathan Stanley, shown here with the San Jose SaberCats, signed with the Arena Football League’s LA KISS on Nov. 9 in Los Angeles. SAN JOSE SABERCATS

Book highlights history of Bacone College

11/23/2015 12:00 PM
MUSKOGEE, Okla. – To celebrate Bacone College’s 135th year, historian Russell M. Lawson has written a complete narrative history of Bacone College. Published by Indian University Press, “Marking the Jesus Road: Bacone College through the Years,” highlights the contributions of students to the intellectual life of this small college in Muskogee.

The college, founded by Christian missionaries to the American Indians of eastern and western Oklahoma, still reaches out to American Indians, as well as Caucasian, Black, Hispanic, and Asian students, to provide a liberal arts education in a small college.

The 329-page illustrated paperback sells for $19.99, and can be purchased through the Bacone College Bookstore, located at 2299 Old Bacone Road, Muskogee.

For more information, visit http://www.bacone.edu/student-life/bookstore/ or contact Russell Lawson, lawsonr@bacone.edu.
“Marking the Jesus Road: Bacone College through the Years” by Russell M. Lawson
“Marking the Jesus Road: Bacone College through the Years” by Russell M. Lawson

9 Cherokees recognized for dedication, contributions

11/23/2015 08:00 AM
TULSA, Okla. – Nine Cherokee Nation citizens who demonstrate leadership, initiative and dedication were recently recognized in the National Center for American Enterprise Development Native American 40 Under 40, the Global Gaming Magazine 40 Under 40 Emerging Leaders and the iON Oklahoma Magazine 30 Under 30 lists.

The NCAIED award recognizes 40 emerging American Indian leaders from across Indian Country who demonstrate leadership, initiative and dedication and make significant contributions to their tribes.

NCAIED Cherokee awardees were CN Treasurer Lacey Horn, CN Senior Assistant Attorney General Chrissi Ross-Nimmo, Cherokee Nation Businesses Communications Director Travis Noland, Citizen Potawatomi Nation Public Information Director Jennifer Bell and A-sa-ma-di Business Solutions President and owner Andrea Lesher.

Lacey Horn

According to CN Communications, since 2011 Horn has helped upgrade the tribe’s bond rating, promoted financial disclosure and transparency and received Excellence in Financial Reporting awards from the Government Finance Officers Association. Horn was also named to the 2012 Oklahoma Online Magazine’s 40 Under 40 list and, in 2014, Executive of the Year by the Native American Finance Officers Association.


Fort Smith Historic Site to close for 2 weeks for improvements
11/20/2015 10:30 AM
FORT SMITH, Ark. – The Fort Smith National Historic Site closed its visitor center on Nov. 18 until Dec. 2 for the installation of a new heating and air conditioning system.

The new HVAC unit will replace an older, less efficient system. The decision to close is due to visitor safety concerns, dust, noise, and the heavy equipment used to install the new system. The visitor center will reopen at 9 a.m., Dec. 3.

During the time of the closure, the park will conduct business out of the Frisco Railroad Station located at 100 Garrison Avenue. Services available to visitors at the Frisco Station location will include interpretive tours, the park’s orientation video, and bookstore sales. Entrance fees will be waived during the main visitor center closure, and National Park Service Park Passes will be available for purchase at the Frisco location.

“Making the decision to close the visitor center for two weeks was tough, but it is the right thing to do for visitor safety and project efficiency. We have worked to provide as many services to the public and hope to make this a seamless transition throughout the project,” said FSNHS Superintendent Lisa Conard Frost.

The Fort Smith National Historic Site is located in downtown Fort Smith. To access the free parking lot from Garrison Avenue, turn south on 4th Street and west on Garland Avenue.

For more information on the park, call 479-783-3961 or visit www.nps.gov.


$900K in grants awarded to school, Indian center
11/20/2015 08:30 AM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – The U.S. Education and Interior departments recently awarded more than $900,000 in grants between Grand View School and the American Indian Resource Center to help Native youths become college and career ready.

Grand View School was awarded approximately $341,000 for the first year of funding with the possibility of being funded up to four years, depending on congressional approval.

“One of the things we want to do is provide mentoring and shadowing opportunities so they can see other successful people from this area,” Margaret Carlile, Grand View School federal grants director, said.

Superintendent Ed Kennedy said the grant would get Native American youths in schools or in other organizations better prepared for college or career fields as they move through the process.

“We worked with our grant writer and we took the approach that we were going to try to work and get parents educated early on about the opportunities for their kids, and get them talking to their kids at an early age for this,” he said. “We want them successful wherever they go so that they can take that next step once they leave high school.”

Pamela Iron, AIRC public relations liaison, said the AIRC’s grant of $584,000 for the next four years would benefit Cherokee County students in grades 5-8.

“AIRC is partnering with the Cherokee Nation Foundation, the Cherokee Immersion (Charter) School and the Cherokee Nation educational department to provide a holistic approach for career and college readiness that includes financial literacy, ACT prep, after-school tutoring, career readiness and leadership development,” Iron said. “Approximately 1,700 youth, in 12 rural schools, will benefit from the Four Directions Grant. Project Venture, an evidenced-based experiential adventure curriculum aimed at developing personal skills such as internal locus of control, decision make/problem solving and judgment, will be used for the leadership development component.”

Iron also said a new computer lab at the Cherokee Immersion Charter School would be part of the after-school tutoring program.

Other activities include college campus tours and science, technology, engineering and math-related activities in the 12 targeted schools and summer camps, she said.

The awards were a part of a $5.3 million grant funding for the new Native Youth Community Projects program. According to a release, the Department of Education is making grants to a dozen recipients in nine states that would impact more than 30 tribes and involve more than 48 schools.

“These grants are an unprecedented investment in Native youth, and a recognition that tribal communities are best positioned to drive solutions and lead change,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. “These grants are a down payment on President Obama’s commitment last summer at his historic trip to the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota to create new opportunities for American Indian youth to cultivate the next generation of Native leaders.”

U.S. Secretary of Interior Sally Jewell said the grant funding is part of the Obama administration’s commitment to self-determination.

“By putting tribal communities in the driver’s seat for developing a strong and prosperous future for Indian Country,” Jewell said. “These grants provide tools to tribes to not only assist in the transition from federal to tribal control of school operations and management but also ensure college-readiness for the next generation of Native American leaders.”

For more information, visit www.whitehouse.gov/nativeamericans.


Tribal Council approves Littlejohn to tribe’s AAB
11/17/2015 02:00 PM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – The Tribal Council approved the newest member of the Cherokee Nation Administrative Appeals Board on Nov. 16 at the legislative body’s monthly meeting after moving forward the nomination from the Rules Committee meeting earlier in the day.

Tribal Councilors, minus an absent Jack Baker, unanimously approved Junior Dewayne Littlejohn during the Rules Committee meeting and full Tribal Council. Littlejohn will begin serving Dec. 15 for a term of four years.

“Junior Dewayne Littlejohn is duly qualified and should be appointed as a Member of the
Administrative Appeals Board,” the legislation reads.

The AAB is a board comprised of three members who hear employee grievances, including wrongful termination cases. The board’s other two members are James Cosby and Nathan Barnard.

The Tribal Council also approved two budget modifications.

The first modification passed the Executive and Finance Committee on Oct. 29 and increased the tribe’s budget by $4.2 million to more than $651 million. It included $3.97 million related to carryover of a Department of Labor grant.

The second passed the committee on Nov. 16 and increased the tribe’s total operating budget by more than $1.1 million to more than $653 million. It contained $760,000 related to an increase in the Tribe’s Employment Rights Office program from TERO fees to be collected.

Also during the meeting, Health Services Director Connie Davis recognized Craig Edgmon, a home health nurse for the tribe’s Redbird Smith Health Center, who successfully resuscitated an unresponsive patient during a home visit.

“And because of his heroic efforts this patient survived that event,” she said. “He went on the next week to teach a CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) class where the following week one of his students passed on that and paid it forward and successfully resuscitated yet another patient out in the field. That shows what your efforts have done.”

In other news, Cherokee Nation Businesses CEO Shawn Slaton said that the Outpost 1 convenient store on the Tribal Complex is expected to be open around Feb. 1. Once opened the fuel system would be shut down for about three months until new fueling stations can be added. Slaton also said the Roland Casino hotel is expected to open near Dec. 1 and that CNB’s television show “OsiyoTV” would expand to the Oklahoma City area playing at 9:30 a.m. on Sunday mornings on channel CW 34.

In addition, he said that CNB Native American employment rate is at 81.6 percent with 73.5 percent of that strictly CN citizens.

Deputy Principal Chief S. Joe Crittenden also recognized two CN citizens for their military service, Christopher Dale Mayfield for his service in Operation Desert Storm and Jerry Wane Daniels for his time in Vietnam.


Teehee enters medical field because of the challenge
11/12/2015 12:00 PM
VENTURA, Calif. – Cherokee Nation citizen Kevin Teehee is a self-employed physician, practicing emergency medicine in Van Nuys. He also serves on the board of directors and is past medical of an Indian Health Service urban clinic.

As a child Teehee attended elementary school in Tahlequah, Oklahoma, but was raised mostly in California after his parents moved there for work. He said he often visits Tahlequah and has relatives working at the CN W.W. Hastings Hospital there.

Teehee attended the University of California-Berkeley for his undergraduate degree before going to the University of California Los Angeles’ Charles Drew School of Medicine. He said he entered the medical field because he loves the science of the human body and the challenges that treating people bring.

“The opportunity to help people, fulfill an important role in society and be adequately compensated are a bonus,” he said. “I am fortunate to be in rare position as a Native physician. There are not many of us, hence I receive regular requests to assist on boards, work with nonprofits or maybe write an article. I usually prefer less attention, but try never to turn down a request to be of service to others. They seem to be well-liked and received, so I guess I will keep doing them when requested. I guess it gives my kids something to remember me by one day, and one never knows when the last opportunity will be to be an influence on others.”

He also serves on the board of directors of American Indian Health & Services in Santa Barbara and recently published his story in the American Indian Graduate Center Magazine’s fall edition.

Teehee is considered an independent contractor and sole corporation, but most of his work is done through Emergent Medical Associates with much of his time being spent at Valley Presbyterian Hospital Emergency Department in Van Nuys.

According to an article on Teehee in UCLA’s health magazine in 2014, he is one of 250 Native Americans actively practicing medicine in the United States.

“The part of medicine I am still most passionate about is the first challenging seconds of meeting an apprehensive patient who may be distrustful of doctors, receiving information through a translator or frightened by the uncertainty of their medical condition,” Teehee stated in the UCLA article. “I intentionally use words that will make the patient and family members comfortable and will give them confidence in the care they will receive. Often, I use humor. If I can get the patient to crack a smile, then the rest is easy.”

To read his biography published in the AIGC fall magazine visit http://www.aigcs.org/aigc-publications/the-american-indian-graduate-magazine-fall-2015/.


OPINION: Natural Resources secretary to ensure habitats, environments remain clean
Principal Chief
11/03/2015 10:30 AM
At the Cherokee Nation we are committed to protecting our air, water, land and wildlife for future generations. That’s why I recently announced the first-ever appointment to an important Cabinet-level position in my administration. This position was originally established by the 1999 Constitutional Convention. Unfortunately, it was never filled, but this key advisory role cannot go vacant any longer.

I have appointed attorney Sara Hill as the new secretary of Natural Resources, and last month she was confirmed by the CN Tribal Council and took her oath of office. In her role as secretary she will ensure our natural resources are properly preserved for the future of the CN and our people. I am so proud to say we are finally making our natural and environmental resources a priority. Our natural habitats and environment must be a factor in every decision we make. We have a responsibility to leave this land, this water and this air pure and clean for future generations.

Sara previously served as the deputy attorney general of the CN, with expertise on environmental issues, water rights and natural resource protection. Her hard work has helped the CN maximize our inherent sovereign rights, and she has been critical in developing preservation programs that benefit our citizens.

She chairs the CN Interdisciplinary Water Work Group and is working on the feasibility of a potential hydroelectric project on the Arkansas River. Sara has long served the CN in many ways, successfully representing our interests before the Oklahoma Supreme Court in Cherokee Nation v. Nomura – a case that successfully upheld full compliance of the Oklahoma Indian Child Welfare Act for out-of-state Indian child adoption cases. Additionally, she is a dedicated special assistant United States attorney for the Northern District of Oklahoma.

Part of her mission will be ensuring that sustainability is a part of every conversation we have and every decision we make at the CN. Since time immemorial Cherokees have considered the impact of our actions on our environment and our surroundings. Our elders teach us about our connection to plants, animals and all natural elements.

We must be steadfast in the stewardship of our natural resources. We have an obligation to protect these precious resources for the next seven generations. As our teachings tell us, that is the Cherokee way.

We cannot leave today’s environmental issues for our children and grandchildren to solve. That is an unfair burden. The secretary of Natural Resources will work at the highest level of my administration, assuring that we are protecting and preserving our natural resources and environment. We have a better vision of preservation, and we must take action to ensure we reach our goals.

With the secretary of Natural Resources in place, coupled with the leadership of the Tribal Council, we have the ability to develop laws that will truly enhance the sustainability of our land, water and air for generations to come. The Cherokee people deserve that. Clean air, safe water and a fertile land will always be our foundation for long-term health as a tribe and a people.


‘Maud’s Line’ first novel by Verble
11/19/2015 02:00 PM
LEXINGTON, Ky. – Cherokee Nation citizen Margaret Verble recently had her first book, “Maud’s Line,” published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

The book is set in eastern Oklahoma, near Fort Gibson in Muskogee County, where Verble’s family is from.

“My whole family, other than my mother, was sitting down that whole section line (near Fort Gibson) and in Muskogee,” she said.

After her family moved from Oklahoma, she grew up near Nashville, Tennessee, went to college there and received two degrees, as well as a doctorate in the education field. She now lives in Lexington, running a business.

Verble said she always enjoyed writing and during the years had several academic articles published. She started writing fiction about 20 years ago.

“(I wrote) Just sort of in my basement simply just because I had a deep urge to do it. And I started doing it every day, and I’ve been doing it every day since. I was just compelled to do it,” she said.

“Maud’s Line” takes place during the late 1920s and features an 18-year-old female character named Maud, who lives with her father and brother on their original Cherokee allotment land.

For years, Verble tried to get another book she had written to get published with no luck. It was set in the same area of the country, but was a more Native American-oriented book.

“I have a real deep passion for that book and tried to get it published for years, but I really got some good advice. If you want to sell a book in New York you have to write it about a single character, particularly a first novel,” she said. “Well you know, that sort of goes against the whole Indian grain. So I had to pick a time period in the tribal history where it was really the low point and where there was a real denigration of the tribe.”

She said many people in the late 1920s had to fend for themselves.

“So that particular historical period then would be a good time to create a character who is a strong character, who is out fending for herself even though she is nestled down there in her family. She has a real individual consciousness as opposed to more of a tribal consciousness,” Verble said of Maud.

Verble began writing “Maud’s Line” in 2012.

“I wrote it very quickly, unusually quickly. I wrote it in about 14 months. Of course I was writing about things I was extremely familiar with,” she said. “Maud is fictional. Booker is fictional. But a lot of those characters, Maud’s aunts and uncles, you know those are my grandparents, my great aunts and uncles. People I’ve known all my life.”

Although the writing was done quickly, she aid it took time to get it published.

“You know you go through all sorts of editing processes after you finish it, and it takes a long time, particularly with this book. It’s with a major publisher. Takes a long time to get a book out,” she said.

With regards to selling a book that is based on Native American descent, Verble said it’s a difficult task in New York. “It’s hard to sell Indians in New York, and I hate to say that, but it’s the truth.”

Many people who write about Natives must decide, she said, whether they will write a book about “Indians” or one about “people as people who happen also to be Indians.”

“And that’s a real distinction. I chose to write about people who are people. You know, being Indian is not right at the top of their minds. You don’t go around every day thinking ‘I’m a Cherokee Indian,’” Verble said. “I think if you want to write a novel that you can get a really good publisher on that you really have to write about people who are people and have people problems and they may happen to be Indians.”

Amazon and retailers such as Wal-Mart and Target carry the book. For more information, visit http://www.margaretverble.com.
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