CHC gets grant from Carolyn Watson Rural Oklahoma Community Foundation

BY STAFF REPORTS
06/30/2016 04:00 PM
PARK HILL, Okla. – The Cherokee Heritage Center is getting an $8,500 grant from the Carolyn Watson Rural Oklahoma Community Foundation to expand its award-winning Cultural Outreach Program by providing free services within Cherokee, Adair, Sequoyah, LeFlore, Latimer and Haskell counties.

“We are so pleased to be receiving this grant and are looking forward to utilizing it to further our reach in northeast Oklahoma,” CHC Executive Director Candessa Tehee said. “These funds will allow us to continue our work promoting Cherokee culture so our history and traditions may thrive for generations to come.”

The Cultural Outreach Program has been recognized by the American Association of State and Local History. The program aims to engage and enlighten participants, inspire curiosity and foster learning through hands-on art classes, interactive theatrical storytelling and cultural presentations.

For more information, call Gina Burnett at 918-456-6007, ext.6144 or email gina-burnett@cherokee.org.
The Carolyn Watson Rural Oklahoma Community Foundation was founded by the late Carolyn Watson, CEO and chairman of Shamrock Bank N.A. in 1995 to improve the quality of life in rural Oklahoma.
Through its two grant programs, the organization promotes education, health, literacy and arts and the humanities in 20 Oklahoma counties. Since its inception, the foundation has awarded nearly $900,000 in grants to schools, teachers and communities in rural Oklahoma. Additionally, the Carolyn Watson Opportunities Scholarship offers awards of up to $10,000 per academic year for high school seniors graduating from 62 rural Oklahoma counties to attend college.
The Cherokee Heritage Center in Park Hill, Oklahoma, is being awarded an $8,500 grant from the Carolyn Watson Rural Oklahoma Community Foundation. COURTESY
The Cherokee Heritage Center in Park Hill, Oklahoma, is being awarded an $8,500 grant from the Carolyn Watson Rural Oklahoma Community Foundation. COURTESY

Tribe honors 30 groups with Community Impact Awards

BY STAFF REPORTS
06/30/2016 12:00 PM
TAHELQUAH, Okla. – The Cherokee Nation on June 3 honored 30 community organizations formed and run by CN citizens who do volunteer work, promote Cherokee culture and make other contributions.

About 500 organization members attended the tribe’s Community Impact Awards banquet held at Northeastern State University. Most of the organizations honored are located within the tribe’s 14-county jurisdiction and range from organizations that run shelters to those building playgrounds.

“These Cherokee Nation citizens deserve our praise for doing extremely important work to improve the lives of others in their cities and communities,” Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin Jr. said. “That work includes mentoring Cherokee youth with their homework after school to running nutrition centers as volunteers for our elders, which is why it’s fitting that we honor these groups each year.”

Breanna Potter, 21, a CN citizen from Sallisaw, started the Brushy Youth Dream Team after she noticed there were not many places for teens to hang out in the Brushy community.

The tribe honored her with the Community Inspiration Award.
Cherokee Nation Community and Cultural Outreach Director Rob Daugherty welcomes attendees to the Community Impact Awards banquet on June 3 at Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. The CN honored 30 community organizations formed and run by CN citizens. COURTESY
Cherokee Nation Community and Cultural Outreach Director Rob Daugherty welcomes attendees to the Community Impact Awards banquet on June 3 at Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. The CN honored 30 community organizations formed and run by CN citizens. COURTESY
http://moonhawkart.com

CN donates money to TCSO for equipment

BY LENZY KREHBIEL-BURTON
Special Correspondent
06/30/2016 08:15 AM
TULSA, Okla. – The Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office is getting some new equipment courtesy of the Cherokee Nation.

On June 15, Tribal Councilor Buel Anglen presented a $5,000 check to the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office on behalf of the Nation.

The funds, generated by the tribe’s motor vehicle tag compact with the state, will go towards replacing some of the department’s bulletproof vests, which last about five years. With each vest priced at about $700 each, the contribution will cover seven vests.

Officials with the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office said they expect to replace about 40 full-time deputies’ vests this year. That figure does not include participants in the department’s currently suspended reserve deputy program.

With most of his constituents living in Tulsa County, Anglen said the contribution was overdue. His district includes the city of Tulsa north of Admiral Boulevard, Sperry and portions of Collinsville, Skiatook and Owasso.
Buel Anglen
Buel Anglen

CNB attorney speaks at national women’s conference

BY STAFF REPORTS
06/29/2016 04:00 PM
ANAHEIM, Calif. – Cherokee Nation citizen and Cherokee Nation Businesses staff attorney Tralynna Scott recently spoke at the inaugural Native American Women’s Leadership Training conference in Anaheim.

The conference, presented by Native Nation Events’ Leadership Solutions Group, is designed to provide participants with tangible solutions in developing and fostering leadership abilities within tribal communities.

“Historically, Cherokee Nation was a matriarchal society where women held great responsibility and power within the tribe,” Scott said. “I feel we should honor our culture and give great reverence to women, especially our elders. I participate in events like this to encourage not only female leadership, but leadership in general, and to honor those who came before us and paved the way for us to continue their accomplishments.”

Scott said she’s dedicated her career to her tribe while volunteering to encourage education and promote leadership, as well as supporting Native American youth.

She serves her alma mater as the assistant director of Native American Student Recruitment for the Native American Alumni of Notre Dame board of directors and volunteers as an attorney and advocate for Native American children involved in deprivation cases with Tulsa Lawyers for Children.
Tralynna Scott
Tralynna Scott
http://www.rakerknives.com

Editorial Board to meet July 12 via conference call

BY STAFF REPORTS
06/29/2016 02:00 PM
The Cherokee Phoenix Editorial Board will meet at 9 a.m. CST, July 12, 2016, via conference call. It is an open meeting and the public is welcome to attend by using the conference call information to join the meeting. Click here to viewthe agenda.

Dial-in: 866-210-1669
Entry code: 4183136#

Claremore Indian Hospital to sponsor VA Enrollment Fair

BY STAFF REPORTS
06/29/2016 12:00 PM
CLAREMORE, Okla. – The Claremore Indian Hospital on July 6 will sponsor a U.S. Veterans Affairs Enrollment Fair to assist Native American veteran patients in applying for eligibility for health care services through the VA.

The fair is slated for 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in its Large Conference Room as benefit coordinators and representatives from the VA and Disabled American Veterans assist with application processing.

To enroll, veterans must bring financial information such as income and resources and their DD-214 military discharge papers.

If already enrolled, call 918-342-6507, 918-342-6240 or 918-342-6559 to update your file.

Also, the VA now requires all veterans to complete a MEANS test yearly. Veterans who have not completed tests in the past year, can complete them at the fair.

Doctor accepts patient’s invitation to prom

BY RENEE FITE
Tahlequah Daily Press
06/29/2016 08:30 AM
HULBERT, Okla. – A date to the prom with someone special is a dream shared by many girls and boys, and one that recently came true for Cherokee Nation citizen Paige Walls.

The Hulbert High School senior expected her dad to be her escort to prom, but when he couldn’t get off work, another stand-in was given a written invitation with “yes” and “no” boxes to check in reply.

Dr. James Lewis, a W.W. Hastings Hospital pediatrician, said he didn’t hesitate to say “Yes” to the young girl who calls him “Dr. Grandpa” while on a follow-up visit.

Lewis has been the 18-year-old’s pediatrician since birth, when she was diagnosed with CDKL5, a rare neurological seizure disorder. Children with CDKL5 all have developmental delay and Paige can’t communicate.

“I was blown away, very honored,” said Lewis. “I said ‘I’d love to.’ She’s part of the family. I even did a house call when she was so sick.”
Dr. James Lewis, a W.W. Hastings Hospital pediatrician, takes a photo with Paige Walls, one of his patients, at the Hulbert High School prom. Walls asked Lewis to take her to the prom after her father couldn’t get off work to take her. COURTESY The letter Hulbert High School senior Paige Wells wrote to Dr. James Lewis asking him to take her to the prom. She affectionately calls him Grandpa. COURTESY Dr. James Lewis, a W.W. Hastings Hospital pediatrician, helps Hulbert High School senior Paige Wells out of a van and into her prom. Lewis took Walls to the prom after she asked him. COURTESY
Dr. James Lewis, a W.W. Hastings Hospital pediatrician, takes a photo with Paige Walls, one of his patients, at the Hulbert High School prom. Walls asked Lewis to take her to the prom after her father couldn’t get off work to take her. COURTESY

ᎦᏚᏏ ᎦᏚᎲ, ᎣᎦᎳᎰᎻ. – ᎩᎶ ᎤᏓᏤᎵᏛ ᎤᎾᎵᎪᏗ ᏗᏂᏍᏆᏗᏍᎩ ᎠᎾᏓᏟᏏᏍᎬ ᎠᎾᏍᎩᏥᏍᎪ ᎢᎸᏍᎩ ᎠᏂᎨᏳᏣ ᎠᎴ ᎠᏂᏧᏣ, ᏌᏊᏃ ᎤᏙᎯᏳ ᏄᎵᏍᏓᏁᎴᎢ ᏞᎩᎯᏊ Paige Wells ᏧᏙᎢᏏ ᏣᎳᎩ ᏣᏰᎵ ᎨᎳ.

ᎦᏚᏏ ᏧᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᏗ ᏗᏍᏆᏗᏍᎩ ᎤᏙᏓ ᏫᏓᏳᏘᏂᏙᎳ ᎡᎵᏍᎨ ᏗᏂᏍᏆᏗᏍᎩ ᏗᎾᏓᏟᏏᏍᎬ, ᎠᏎᏍᎩᏂ ᎥᏝ ᏰᎵ ᎦᏳᏠᎯᏍᏗ ᏱᎨᏎ ᏧᎸᏫᏍᏓᏁᏗᎢ, ᎩᎶ ᏅᏩᏓᎴ ᏩᎪᏪᎳᏁᎴ “ᎥᎥ” ᎾᎴᏱᎩ “ᎥᏝ” ᎤᏬᏪᎶᏗ ᏅᎩ ᏧᏅᏏᏱ ᎧᏁᏌᎢᏱ ᎦᏬᎯᎵᏴᏍᎬᎢ. ᎦᎾᎦᏘ James Lewis, W.W. Hastings ᏧᏂᏢᎩ ᏗᏂᏲᏟ ᏧᎦᏎᏍᏗᏕᎩ, ᎥᏝ ᏳᏙᎯᏤ “ᎥᎥ” ᏣᎪᏎᎴ ᎠᏔᏄᏣ “ᎦᎾᎦᏔ ᎡᏚᏚ” ᎤᏬᏎᎯ ᏧᏂᏢᎩ ᏫᎤᏪᏓᏍᏗ ᏱᎩ.

ᎯᎾᎾ ᏁᎳᏚ ᎢᏳᏕᏘᏴᏓ ᎠᏔᏄᏥ ᎥᏍᎩ Lewis ᎦᎾᎦᏘ ᏭᏩᎧᎰ ᎦᏳᏕᏅᎯ, CDKL5 ᎦᏰᏥᏩᏛᎡᎸ, ᎰᏩ ᎠᏛᎪᏗ ᏂᎨᏒᎾ ᏧᏩᏚᏂ ᎢᏳᎾᎵᏍᏓᏁᎯ ᏧᎾᎸᏕᎯ ᎥᏳᎩ. ᏗᏂᏲᏟ CDKL5 ᎤᏁᎯ ᎤᏍᎦᏃᎵ ᎤᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᏗᎢ ᎠᎴ ᎥᏝ ᎣᏍᎩ ᎦᏳᎾᏓᏟᏃᎮᏗ ᏱᎩ.

“ᎤᎶᏒᏍᏛᏅ ᎠᎦᏍᏆᎾᎪᏒ, ᎠᏩᎵᎮᎵᏨᏃ” ᎤᏛᏁ Lewis. “ᎤᎶᏒᏍᏔᏅ ᏯᏆᏚᎵ ᎠᏆᏛᏅᎢ. ᎤᏠᎢᏊ ᏏᏓᏁᎸ ᎢᏱᎩ. ᏧᏪᏅᏒᎯᏰᏃ ᏧᏥᏩᏛᎯᏙᎸ ᎤᎪᏛ ᏧᏓᏂᎸᎢ”.

Lewis ᎢᏛᏎ “ᏔᎵᏁ ᏫᏓᏤᏢ” ᏅᏗᎦᎵᏍᏙᏗ ᎪᎯ ᎣᏦᎵᎩ ᏂᎨᏐ ᎤᏛᏁ Paige ᎤᏥ Mona Walls.

“ᎤᎵᏏᏊ ᎡᎵᏍᏗ ᎠᏥᎨᏳᎢ” ᎤᏛᏁ Mona, ᎥᏍᎩᏰᏃ ᎤᏬᏪᎳᏁ ᎠᎦᏛᏛᎲᏍᎬᎢ. “ᎡᎵᏍᏊ ᎤᏪᏘ ᎢᏯᏛᏁᏗ ᏱᎩ, ᎠᏎᏍᎩᏂ ᎠᏆᏚᎵᏍᎬ Paige ᎤᏛᏗᎢ. ᏩᏥᏅᏁᎴᎢ ᎠᎦᏛᏛᎲᏍᎬᎢ”. Lewis ᎢᏃ ᎤᎪᎵᎡᎴᎢ.

Mona ᎮᏃ ᏂᎦᏓ ᎠᎵᎮᎵᏤᏗ. ᏂᎬᎯᏰᏃ ᎠᎦᏘᏂᏙᎳ Houston ᎠᎴᏂᏍᎩ Memphis ᎢᏴ ᏩᏍᏗ, ᎠᎴ ᏭᏕᎶᏆᎥ ᎢᏳᏛᏁᏗ ᎤᎦᏎᏍᏙᏗ ᎤᎸᏕᎯᎯ. ᏔᎵᏔᏚᎦ ᏳᏛᏅ Mona ᎯᎳ ᎢᎦᎸᎳᏗ ᏥᏲᏎᎰᎢ? ᎤᏙᎯᏩᏃ ᎠᎦᏔᎿᎢ”, ᎤᏛᏁ Lewis.

ᎯᎠᏃ ᏣᎦᏛᏛᏁ ᏫᎤᏅᏓᏗᏍᏓᏁ ᏥᏓᏕᎶᏆᏍᎬ Tulsa Edison ᏗᏂᏍᏆᏗᏍᎩ ᎠᎾᏓᏟᏏᏍᎬ ᏧᏂᏍᏆᎸᎡᎴᎢ 1964 ᏥᎨᏒᎢ.

“ᎤᏓᎯᏕᎸᏃ ᎠᎩᏘᏅᏍᏙᏗ”, ᎤᏛᏁ Lewis, “ᎠᏎᏃ ᎡᏍᎦᏂᏊ ᏓᏥᏁᎸ ᏗᎦᏚᎴᏂ ᏩᏭᏣᏅ ᎤᎿᎾ ᏫᏕᏥᏠᏒ”.

ᎯᎠᏃ ᎤᏤᏟᏛ ᎤᏂᏍᏆᎸᎡᎲ, ᎠᏓᎲᎳᎨ ᎠᏂᏥᎸᏍᎩ ᏧᏠᏱᎭ ᏧᎵᏑᏫᏛ ᏧᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᏗ ᏧᎾᏑᏰᏛ ᏕᏥᏅᏁᎸ ᎠᎨᏳᏣ Lewis ᎢᏃᏍᏊ ᎠᏥᎸᏍᎩ ᎠᏥᏅᏁᎴᎢ ᎾᎯᏳ ᏒᎯᏰ ᏚᎾᏠᏏ.

“ᎣᏍᏓ ᎨᏒ ᎾᎯᏳ ᏒᎯᏰᎢ. ᎦᎵᏦᏕ ᏬᎩᏂᏴᏢ. ᎤᏪᏘ ᏗᎦᏚᎴᏂ ᎠᎲ ᎤᏟᏗᏢ ᏙᏍᏗᏙᎬ ᏙᎩᎾᏟᎶᏍᏔᏅ ᎤᏂᎪᏗ ᏗᏂᏲᏟ “ᎪᎩᏂᏲᎵᎸ” ᎠᎴ ᎤᎾᏄᎩᏢᏅᎢ,” ᎤᏛᏁ Lewis. “ᎤᏖᏗ ᏏᏆ ᎭᏫᏯ ᎠᎴ ᏥᏔᎦ ᎣᎩᎬᎢ.

ᎩᎳ ᎠᎴᏂᏍᎩ ᎤᏕᎵᏛ ᎬᏗ ᎠᏛᏁᎸᏗ ᎤᏛᏁᎸᏅ ᎾᎯᏳ ᎤᏒᎢ”.

Mona ᎡᏙᎲᎢ, ᎠᏎᏍᎩᏂ ᎠᏴ ᏓᏳᏬᏢ ᎤᏪᏥ ᎠᎨᏳᏣ ᎠᎦᎵᏍᏉᎸᏓᏁᎲ “ᎤᎾᏝᏃᎮᏗ ᎤᎾᎵᎪᎯ”.

“ᎣᏍᏓ ᎤᏓᏅᏛ ᎨᎵᎠ. ᎤᏅᏛᏃ ᎠᎵᏘᏁᎲᎢ,” ᎤᏛᏁ Mona. ᎤᎾᎦᏙᏍᏛ ᎠᏛᏁᎵᏍᎬ, ᎠᎪᎠᏂᏴᏎᏃ ᏱᏓᏥᏲᏏ ᏍᏗᎩᏛ ᎥᏝ ᏱᎦᎸᏉᏗᎮᎢ ᎠᏎᏃ ᏯᎪᎠᏂᏴ ᎣᏍᏓ ᎠᏓᏅᏓᏗᏍᎨᎢ.”

ᎠᏂ Walls ᏏᏓᏁᎸ ᎠᎾᎵᎮᎵᎨᎢ.

“ᎠᏆᎵᎮᎵᏨ ᎥᏍᎩ ᏥᎾᎦᏛᏁᎸᎢ. ᎤᏓᏤᏟᏛ ᎠᎦᏓᏅᏓᏗᏍᏔᏅᎢ,” ᎤᏛᏁ Mona. “ᎣᏥᎸᏉᏓᏅ ᏣᏩᎦᏘᏃᏙᎸᎢ. ᎥᏝ ᎤᏓᎸᏉᏗ ᏱᎩ.”

“ᎤᏂᎪᏗᏃ ᎠᏂᏴᏫ ᎦᎾᎦᏔ ᎡᏚᏚ ᏧᎦᏎᏍᏗᏕᎩ ᎬᏩᏲᎵᎸᎢ”

“ᎦᎵᏆᏚ ᏁᎳᏚᏃ ᎢᏧᎾᏕᏘᏴᏗ ᎠᏁᏙᎲ ᎤᎾᏓᏅᏘᏳ ᎨᏒᎢ”, ᎤᏛᏁ Lewis “ ᎠᏂᎨᏳᏣᏃ ᏧᏬᏚᎯ ᏚᎾᏏᏃᎲᎢ, ᎠᏂᏧᎠᏃ ᏚᎾᎵᏍᏇᏛᎬᎢ ᎠᎴ ᎠᏍᏘ ᎢᏧᏍᏗ ᏚᎾᏯᏢᎢ.”

ᏧᎵᎢᏃ ᏚᎪᎲᎢ ᎠᎴ ᎾᎥ ᎢᏧᎾᏓᎵᏛ, Mariyln DeWoody, ᎦᏚᏏ ᏧᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᏗ ᏄᎬᏫᏳᏒᎢ.

“ᎪᎯᎩ ᎦᎦᏥᎪᎥ ᎨᏒᎩᏢ”. ᎤᏛᏁᎢ. “ᎠᏩᎵᎮᎵᏤᎸᏃ ᏥᏲᏘᏂᏙᎸ Paige.”

ᎢᏧᎳᏃ ᏲᏎᎢᎧ ᎪᎱᏍᏗ ᎦᏰᎦᏛᏁᏗ ᏱᎨᏎ ᎥᏍᎩ ᎢᏳᎾᏍᏗ ᎤᎾᏓᏤᏟᏛ ᏗᏂᏲᏟ ᏱᏚᏂᏍᏆᏛ ᎤᏁᎵᏎ, ᏂᏛᎦᎵᏍᏙᏗ ᎥᏝ ᎪᎱᏍᏗ ᏱᏓᏅᏛᏁᎰ ᎢᎦ ᎨᏒᎢ.

“ᏲᏎᎢᎧ ᏣᎳᎩ ᎠᏰᎵ ᎢᎸᏢ ᎬᏩᏁᏓᏍᏗ ᏱᎨᏎ ᏗᎬᏩᎾᏁᎶᏗ, ᏗᏂᏰᎸ ᏧᎾᏢᏃᎪᎯᏍᏙᏗ, ᏗᏕᏲᎲᏍᎩ, ᏧᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᏗ ᎣᏌᏂ ᎧᏅᏑᎸ, ᎤᎾᏛᏁᎶᏗᏃ ᎠᏂᏐᎢᏃ ᎠᎾᏴᏫᏍᏊ,” ᎠᏗ Lewis. “ᎢᎸᏍᎩ ᏧᏏᏫ ᏓᏓᏁᎳ ᏗᎵᏆ ᎦᏚᎲ ᎡᎵᏍᏗᎧ ᏌᏊ ᏯᎾᏙᎵ.”

Mona ᎤᏪᎯᏓᏁᎢ, ᏝᏰᏃ ᏯᏆᏅᏔ ᎤᎿᎾ ᏫᏥᏲᎪᏗ ᎾᏊ ᏥᏓᏍᏆᏛ ᎤᏛᏁᎢ.

“ᎤᎸᏉᏗᏰᏃ ᏗᎧᏃᎩᏍᏗ ᎠᎴ ᎠᏂᏴᏫ ᏧᏟᏃᎮᏙᏗ ᎠᎴ ᏧᏟᎶᏍᏙᏗᎢ. ᎩᎶᏃ ᎥᏍᏊ ᏔᎵᏊ ᎢᏳᏟᎶᏛ ᎤᏩᏥ ᎦᏳᏪᏅᏗ ᎢᎪᎯᏛ ᏏᎩ ᎨᏒ ᎦᏳᏩᏛᎯᏓᏍᏗ ᏱᎩ ᎤᏙᎯᏳ ᎣᏍᏓ ᏱᎩ,” ᎠᏗ Mona.

ᎤᏍᏆᏛᏃ ᎩᎳ ᎠᎴᏂᏍᎩ ᎤᏕᎵᏛ ᎬᏗ ᎠᏛᏁᎸᏗ ᏗᏂᏍᏆᏗᏍᎩ ᎠᎾᏓᏟᏏᏍᎬ, ᏧᏁᎳ ᎠᏟᎢᎵᏒ ᎤᎶᏐᏅ ᎨᏒᎩ ᎠᏏᏊᏃ ᏚᎾᏓᏟᎶᏍᏔᏅᎩ.

“ᎤᏂᎪᏗ ᎠᏂᏴᏫ ᎬᏩᎷᏤᎸ ᏗᎨᎦᎵᎶᏍᏙᏗ ᎤᎬᏩᎵ,”ᎤᏛᏁ Mona.

ᎠᎾᎵᏍᎩᏍᎬ ᎤᎾᎴᏅᎮᎢ ᎬᏂᎨᏒ ᎾᏅᏁᎲ ᎠᎵᏍᏆᏗᏍᎬᎢ.

ᎩᎳ ᎠᎬᏱ ᎩᎶ ᏭᏘᏂᏙᎴ Lewis ᏗᏂᏍᏆᏗᏍᎩ ᎠᎾᏓᏟᏏᏍᎬᎢ, ᏁᎳᎩ ᎢᎸᏍᎩ ᎢᏳᎪᎦᏘ ᏧᏪᏙᎸ ᏗᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᎩ ᏓᏂᏍᏆᏗᏍᎬᎢ.

“ᎣᏍᏓ ᎨᏒᎩ. ᎣᏍᏗᏃ ᏫᎨᏓ,” ᎤᏛᏁᎢ.

Culture

CN gives $500K to NMAI
BY STAFF REPORTS
06/27/2016 08:00 AM
WASHINGTON – When the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian opens its exhibition, “Americans,” in fall 2017 it will be due in part to a significant contribution from the Cherokee Nation.

The CN is the first major contributor, providing $500,000 to the exhibition that will dispel myths and educate the more than 1.7 million average annual museum visitors about major moments in American history, including the forced removal of Cherokees known as the Trail of Tears.

“It is an honor for us to be the first of what we hope are many partners to fund this much-needed educational exhibit,” Principal Chief Bill John Baker said. “As Cherokee people, we lost our homes, land and thousands of lives, but we survived and persevered, and today our sovereign government is stronger than ever. That’s an inspiring American story, and, sadly, it is getting lost incrementally in our country’s classrooms. It is our responsibility to help share the true accounts of our history with the visitors of the National Museum of the American Indian.”

“Americans” is a 10-year exhibition consisting of six sections within a 9,200-square-foot gallery. It will present a plethora of Indian imagery spanning six centuries that opens a conversation with visitors about the omnipresence of such imagery in American life.

The exhibition uses certain points in American history as frames of reference. One section examines the Trail of Tears, taking visitors beyond the specifics of Cherokee removal and focusing on the national consequences of the passage of the 1830 Indian Removal Act. Furthermore, the exhibition will demonstrate the failure of the act to diminish Southeast Native nations and address how their descendants and non-Native alike reflect on the removal today.

“The museum is embarking on a vast effort to confront popular myths about Native Americans and the national origin myths that influence how most Americans are taught about history,” Kevin Gover, museum director, said. “This undertaking invites visitors to make a personal connection with these myths and ask themselves how ideas of ‘Indian-ness’ affect their own lives and perceptions of the United States. The Cherokee Nation gift will be a vital part of our success in this pursuit.”

The Cherokee experience will also be a part of Native Knowledge 360°, a strategy to introduce to grades 4-12 contextualized and historically accurate educational materials with native content to standard school curricula and national standards across the country.

Cherokee Nation Businesses, the tribe’s holding company, is funding the effort to further its mission of preserving Cherokee culture and history. This contribution expands a partnership that began in 2014 with “Cherokee Days,” an annual event centered on Cherokee culture. Storytellers, musicians, artists and leaders interact with the museum’s visitors to promote mutual understanding and cultural appreciation during the annual three-day event. Those unable to attend the event can still take part in the “Cherokee Days” experience through the interactive website Anadisgoi.com/CherokeeDays, which provides an agenda of daily activities and performances, access to information and photos from each tribe’s social media accounts and streaming throughout the event.

Education

TOSS conference gives teachers free professional development
BY TRAVIS SNELL
Assistant Editor – @cp_tsnell
06/09/2016 08:00 AM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – With Oklahoma public schools facing massive budget cuts next fiscal year, Lee Ann Reeves, a Cherokee Nation citizen who teaches seventh and eighth grade language arts at Oklahoma Union, said she appreciated the chance to earn free professional development hours at the tribe’s Teachers of Successful Students conference June 7-8 at Northeastern State University.

“At our school we offer our own professional development for us to get our hours, but a lot of teachers go outside of that to get enrichment,” Reeves said. “When the schools see something that is free they are all for you going.”

Reeves said being a teacher at a school with Cherokee students she wanted to get more information on how to be a better teacher and how to incorporate more strategies in the classroom.

“We have a lot of kids who have tribal cards that go to our school, and so I want to better inform them of some of the Cherokee Nation offerings,” she said. “It shows me different strategies I can use to reach the students who may need a little different way to reach them, strategies I haven’t seen before, I haven’t used, from my instructors as well as other teachers who are in the classroom with me.”

Now in its fourth year, the TOSS conference offers professional development workshops for teachers at public schools located in the tribe’s jurisdiction. The tribe’s Education Services held the conference for at least 150 teachers at NSU’s University Center.

Dr. Gloria Sly, Education Services education liaison, said the initiative is provided through the tribe’s Motor Vehicle Tax funding so that public schoolteachers can focus on areas where schools receive failing grades from the Oklahoma Department of Education.

“It was based on the public schools’ need to have professional development in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) areas because that’s where a lot of them were really failing or receiving F’s, and so we thought we could assist the public schoolteachers and make it accessible to them in this 14-county area because our little schools have just taken cuts and taken cuts, and it’s harder for them to pay for their teachers to go to attend a professional development,” Sly said.

She said the conference also focused on reading and had 79 workshops for five school groups: early childhood, elementary, middle school, junior high and high school. The workshops varied in length from 45 minutes to two hours, and the conference was completely self-contained for convenience, Sly said.

“We keep them self-contained in this building from beginning to end because one year we tried it where they would have to go to another building for a workshop, and all those that traveled back and forth got lost. We ended up with a very small population at the end of the day. So now we keep them in one building,” she said.

Sly added that the tribe pays for housing so teachers who have to drive longer distances don’t have to leave town or pay for hotel rooms.

“We pay for housing for those that come from up north like Nowata, Bluejacket. They come down here and they stay in seminary suites. We pay for that. Northeastern is a partner. As a partner they give us a very good rate. So they’ll come in Tuesday night, the night before, and be here and leave the last day,” she said.

Carrie Steele, a CN citizen and math teacher at Kansas High School, said she appreciated that the conference was free and a short drive for her.

“There is hardly any free training anymore and especially close to home. We always have to go to Tulsa or Oklahoma City. Tahlequah is a great place to have a meeting,” Steele said.

Sly said many teachers get most, if not all, of their professional development for the whole year at the conference.

“Because they have to have 15 hours of professional development, we have 15, 16 hours here,” she said. “What it all boils down to is the achievement of a lot of Cherokee students. We want them to have the best education they can. In order to have the best education they have to have the best teachers. In order to help those teachers to be able to reach our students we do this.”

Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin Jr. said with the TOSS conference the tribe has assumed a role in giving teachers better tools to teach Cherokee youth.

“As we prepare our citizens for a growing global economy, it’s critical to have a strong academic foundation. TOSS is a unique gathering because it is a chance to share what truly works in classrooms as we try to better engage kids and spark that interest in lifelong learning,” he said.

Council

Legislators transfer landfill company to tribe
BY STACIE GUTHRIE
Reporter – @cp_sguthrie
06/16/2016 08:30 AM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – At its June 13 meeting, the Tribal Council voted to transfer Cherokee Nation Waste Management LLC, which operates a landfill in Stilwell, back under the tribe.

At the May 26 Rules Committee meeting, Natural Resources Secretary Sara Hill told Tribal Councilors the resolution would eliminate the LLC and brings it back under the tribe’s fold.

“We’re wanting to eliminate the Cherokee Nation Waste Management entity and move the landfill back under the Cherokee Nation, which is where it started back before the LLC was created,” she said. “So we’re going to put the Cherokee Nation Waste Management group out and put the landfill back under the control of the Cherokee Nation itself.”

She also said for that to occur the tribe would need to incur the $1.5 million debt the LLC has.

“It’s about $1.5 million debt for equipment that they took out in 2014. They want to move that debt from the LLC over to the Cherokee Nation itself,” Hill said. “The Cherokee Nation will be responsible for that debt instead of the LLC. This includes consent to be sued… If we didn’t pay our loan to the bank (Welch State Bank) the bank could sue us to get the money that we owe them back.”

[BLOCKQUOTE]During the Rules Committee meeting, Tribal Councilor Joe Byrd asked Hill if the CN is looking to permanently close the landfill in the future. Hill said that “every landfill closes eventually.”

“Every landfill has a life cycle…When you sit down to plan a landfill you should plan it for 100 years worth of operations, closure and post-closure because it’s a long-term business,” she said. “But what there hasn’t really been at Cherokee Nation is a long-term strategic plan for the landfill, and that’s what we’d like to do. We’d like to go in and look at a closure, post-closure plan and set a date so we know, ‘OK, the landfill, it was open in the (19)80s. It can’t run forever.’ So we’re going to look at what is the best date to close that on, and that can be a 5-to-10-year time span potentially looking at that. But those are not decisions that we have made right now.”

The resolution passed unanimously. Tribal Councilors Janees Taylor, David Thornton and Wanda Hatfield were absent.

Legislators also unanimously renewed the Cherokee Immersion Charter School as a state charter school for another five years.

“This ensures our youth who are immersed in our Cherokee language each day are not only learning the culture to pass on to future generations, but learning it based on a curriculum that is state-certified,” Byrd said. “Research shows that bilingual learners often think more critically and are analytical, but this charter also ensures students learn the same grade-level standards as their counterparts across the state.”

According to CN Communications, the school serves more than 100 students from preschool to eighth grade.

Tribal Councilors also approved a grant application that would provide storm shelters to select Head Starts within the tribe’s jurisdiction.

During the June 13 Education Committee meeting, Marshal Shannon Buhl said, if obtained, the grant would provide safe rooms at various Head Starts.

“This grant is only intended for Head Start programs that’s on tribal lands, so there’s eight of them,” he said. “It’s going to be eight facilities in Kenwood, Cherry Tree, Pryor, Walhalla up in Nowata, Redbird, Jay. Those are going to be 400-square-foot facilities that’s going to be attached to the existing building, and they can hold about 80 people.”

He said the other two locations would be in Tahlequah.

“There’s going to be two facilities at the Children’s Village (Early Head Start) at the circle (at Sequoyah Schools). One is specifically for infants and the other will be for other children,” he said. “The big one’s going to be 2,000 square foot and hold about 400 people. The second one is going to be 800 square foot and going to hold about 160 people for the infants.”

Buhl said the approximate $800,000 grant is specifically for staff, students and those picking up students during a storm.

“These are not community storm shelters,” he said. “They’re specifically paid for and designed for the staff, students and any parents or family members that are there to pick the kids up if a storm happens.”

In other business, legislators:

• Increased the fiscal year 2016 capital budget by $129.5 million to $291.8 million,

• Increased the FY 2016 operating budget by $11.4 million to $676.6 million, and

• Confirmed Evan M. McLemore to the Cherokee Nation Administration Appeals Board.

Health

CN making ‘invisible epidemic’ visible
BY SHEILA STOGSDILL
Special Correspondent
06/28/2016 12:00 PM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – The Cherokee Nation is blazing a path in hepatitis C treatment with a project that is curing Cherokees infected with the disease. At the project’s center is Dr. Jorge Mera, infectious diseases director, who in October founded a hepatitis C elimination project.

The CN has the first health organization in the country to start such a program, he said.

“But before the elimination program we started addressing the problem in 2012 through September of 2015 with increased screenings other patient care,” Mera said.

The project has screened 12,000 Cherokee patients for hepatitis C, and among those testing positive, more than 300 have been treated and are considered cured of the infection that causes liver disease, officials said.

That project earned Mera the distinction of being honored in May at the White House ceremony on National Hepatitis Testing Day.

“The award is a wonderful recognition from the White House to all the Cherokee Nation providers, health professionals and administration for making this program a success in changing lives and combating hepatitis C,” Mera said after the ceremony. “We have a lot of work ahead, but I think we have made the invisible epidemic, now visible.”

An estimated 3.5 million people have hepatitis C, according to the U.S. Health and Human Services. According to a CN press release, the number of hepatitis C-related deaths reached an all-time high of 19,659.

However, Mera said, patients are now being treated with Food and Drug Administration-approved hepatitis C virus antivirals.

“The cost of a treatment varies, but a treatment may cost from $52,000 to over $100,000 depending on the combination of drugs used,” Mera said. “Of the patients who have completed treatment we have a cure rate that is around 90 percent.”

The program’s protocol follows the American Association for the Study of Liver Disease and Extended Community Health Outcomes recommendations.

“No patients have died while receiving antiviral drugs but several patients have died of end stage liver disease either before they received treatment or after they completed treatment,” Mera said.

No hepatitis C vaccine exists, but there is ongoing research to develop one, he said.

“It is the No. 1 cause of mortality of the reportable infectious diseases in the United States,” Mera said. “It causes more deaths than the other 59 diseases combined.”

Mera said in the United States more that 70 percent of the infected are in the Baby Boomer Generation, people born between 1945-65.

“In Cherokee Nation the patients we are detecting now have an average age of 44,” Mera said. “Around 50 percent of our patients are in the Baby Boomer age group but the other half is younger.”

Within the elimination program, there are research studies regarding transmission risk factors in the CN population, Mera said.

The highest risk of contracting hepatitis C is probably in people who inject drugs by sharing contaminated needles, syringes or paraphernalia used during the injection process and having unprotected sex with an infected partner, he said.

Treatment of patients with substance abuse disorders is also important because this will decrease their chances of using drugs. So having behavioral health, rehab services and opioid substitution programs are also important parts of prevention.

“Also, tattooing is a possible risk factor so only getting tattoos done by professionals who are licensed,” Mera said.

Treatment of infected patients also is a form of prevention because once a patient is cured he or she cannot transmit the infection, he said.

“Most patients are asymptomatic,” Mera said. “When symptoms appear it usually is a manifestation of advanced liver disease or liver cancer.”

Screening is the key to early detection of the disease, he said.

Eighty-five percent of patients will develop a chronic infection and between 20 percent and 30 percent will develop cirrhosis of the liver, he said.

Facts About Hepatitis C

• Hepatitis C can begin as acute infections, but in some people, the virus remains in the body, resulting in chronic disease and long-term liver problems.

• Hepatitis C ranges in severity from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a serious, lifelong illness that attacks the liver. It is spread primarily through contact with the blood of an infected person. About 75 percent to 80 percent of people infected with the virus develop chronic infection, a long-term illness when the virus remains in a person’s body. It can lead to serious liver problems, including cirrhosis or scarring of the liver or liver cancer.

Opinion

OPINION: Utilizing new tools to stay connected with at-large citizens
BY BILL JOHN BAKER
Principal Chief
06/01/2016 02:00 PM
Cherokee Nation citizens in at-large communities across Oklahoma and the United States are a vital part of our tribal government and are critical to our success. The Cherokee Nation has more than 330,000 citizens, and almost 205,000 of our enrolled citizenry live outside the tribe’s northeast Oklahoma jurisdiction. It is important we keep all our citizens as informed and up to date as we can.

We recently launched a website www.cherokeesatlarge.org dedicated exclusively to connecting Cherokee Nation citizens residing beyond the tribe’s 14 counties with information on federal and tribal programs and services. The new site features unique information for Cherokee Nation citizens on home loans and IHS health care options. There are details about higher education scholarships available to any Cherokee no matter where you live.

It’s a good way for Cherokees to interact, participate and remain connected to our government. I believe our bond as Cherokee people can never be broken, whether you live inside or outside the jurisdictional boundaries. It is important that all citizens be informed of what is happening with the Cherokee Nation. We all share similar values, Cherokee values: a commitment to family and community and a respect for preserving our heritage and culture.

Many of our at-large citizens are involved with the nearly two dozen at-large Cherokee community organizations across the country. These groups make up the Cherokee Nation Community Association and are coordinated through the tribe’s Community and Cultural Outreach department. The new website provides vital information on Cherokee community gatherings near you. These are the community groups we visit regularly to share news updates, photo ID cards and voter registration information.

In Oklahoma alone there are more than 90,000 Cherokee Nation citizens who reside outside our 14-county tribal boundary. Through our negotiated state compacts, all Cherokee Nation citizens in Oklahoma are eligible for a Cherokee Nation Hunting and Fishing license and Cherokee vehicle tags. The new website has information on both of these opportunities.

Improving communication at the Cherokee Nation has been a longstanding goal, and it’s the reason we have launched an award-winning television show, “Osiyo, Voices of the Cherokee People,” which can be streamed online at www.osiyo.tv. We also mail an award-winning magazine to all citizens called “Anadisgoi.” Both the show and magazine profile exceptional citizens, current events and stories on Cherokee history and cultural preservation.

The new site is something I have talked about with folks across the country as I travel. There was a need and desire for more information, so we set out to fulfill it.

This administration is devoted to improving our tribe, protecting our families and creating more hope for the Cherokee people. The strength of the Cherokee Nation has always been its people. Passionate Cherokees are driving us forward and deserve every opportunity to better know and understand the tribe.

People

Gourd appointed to USDA Coordinating Committee
BY STAFF REPORTS
06/26/2016 10:00 AM
WASHINGTON – U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Thomas Vilsack has appointed Dr. Charles Gourd to the Forest Resource Coordinating Committee as an Indian tribe representative.

Gourd, a Cherokee Nation citizen from Keys, Oklahoma, said he “considers it an honor and privilege to serve” on the national board.

“My work through the years has been to find resources that promote, preserve and protect forest areas in Indian Country. The USDA is a tremendous resource that enables multiple interests in agricultural pursuits, including forest management, to coordinate and share the benefits of our magnificent forest resources,” he said.

The committee provides coordination within the USDA, state agencies and private-sector interests to effectively address national priorities for private, non-industrial forest conservation. There are 20 members of the committee who work with the U.S. Forest Service, which includes the National Parks, state agencies and the 20 percent of all U.S. forests that are in private ownership.

“This opportunity became available when a classmate from the Kennedy School of Government, Steve Kohen, left as head of the State of Maryland Forest Service to become the director of Cooperative Forestry at USDA,” Gourd said. “He contacted me and indicated that a position to represent Indian Country was open on the committee and that I had been nominated. That set in motion a series of letters of recommendation from a number of elected leaders of Indian Nations and individuals who had an interest in USDA and the Forest Service.”

Gourd thanked Chickasaw Nation Gov. Bill Anoatubby, Choctaw Nation Chief Gary Batton, Muscogee (Creek) Nation Chief Bill Fife and Pam Kingfisher, who serves as the regional director of the USDA Farm to School program, for “their timely and complementary letters” that helped provide him the opportunity to serve on the committee.

“Most of all, I look forward to providing information both to the Forest Service, Indian tribes and nations, public and private forest owners, as well as the general public who shares our interests and desires for preservation of our great national forest resources. This will be a great learning experience and my hope is to provide meaningful representation to the entities involved,” Gourd said.
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