Cherokee Phoenix Radio March 1, 2015

03/01/2015 12:00 PM
  • In this week's broadcast:
  • During a Feb. 10 presentation in the Tribal Complex, Cherokee Nation Community & Cultural Outreach Director Rob Daugherty said the tribe faces a crisis with regards to saving the Cherokee language.
  • We feature Cherokee Nation citizen Jeremy Caughman and his wife Nona as they have found a way to make cosmetic auto repairs affordable by creating a mobile unit to conduct their work.
  • much more.

Sequoyah National Research Center seeks interns for summer 2015

02/28/2015 04:00 PM
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – The Sequoyah National Research Center is seeking three tribally affiliated student interns for summer 2015 during the period of June 1 through July 31. Interns will work at least 25 hours per week in the center doing basic archival and research work under the direction of SNRC staff.

The SNRC at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock houses the papers and special collections of tribal individuals and organizations, the world’s largest archival collection of newspapers and other periodicals published by tribal individuals and organizations, and the Dr. J. W. Wiggins Collection of Native American Art, consisting more than 2,500 artworks.

The goal of the American Indian Student Internship Program is to provide students an experiential learning environment in which to acquire an understanding of the value of archives and the research potential of the collections of the center and to engage in academic research and practical database building activities related to tribal culture, society, and issues. Interns are expected to demonstrate the value of their experience by either a summary report of work, finding aids for collections, reports of research or other written work that may be shared with their home institutions.

To qualify for an internship, students must: be tribally affiliated, have completed at least 60 college hours, and be in good standing at their home institutions of higher learning.

Applications should include a unofficial copy of the student’s academic transcript, a recommendation letter from the head of the student’s major department or from another relevant academic official, and a statement of no more than one page expressing why the intern experience would likely be beneficial to the student’s academic or career goals.

To assist the student in meeting expenses during the two-month tenure of the internship, the Center will provide on-campus housing and $2,000 to defray other living expenses.

Students interested in applying should send applications or inquiries by email to Daniel F. Littlefield at; Robert E. Sanderson at; Erin H. Fehr at; or by mail to: SNRC, University Plaza, Suite 500, University of Arkansas at Little Rock, 2801 S. University Avenue, Little Rock, AR 72204. The SNRC must receive applications by March 15. The SNRC staff will select three applicants and three alternates. Staff will notify students of their decision by April 1.

For information regarding UALR and its guest housing facilities, visit For information on the SNRC and its work, visit
Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III (10) takes flight for a first down after being tackled by Seahawks cornerback Brandon Browner (39) during the first quarter of their NFL playoff football game on Jan. 6, 2013, in Landover, Maryland. The Washington team has filed court papers saying a federal government decision to cancel the team’s trademark infringes on free-speech rights and unfairly singles out the team. RICHARD LIPSKI/ASSOCIATED PRESS
Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III (10) takes flight for a first down after being tackled by Seahawks cornerback Brandon Browner (39) during the first quarter of their NFL playoff football game on Jan. 6, 2013, in Landover, Maryland. The Washington team has filed court papers saying a federal government decision to cancel the team’s trademark infringes on free-speech rights and unfairly singles out the team. RICHARD LIPSKI/ASSOCIATED PRESS

Redskins: Canceling trademark violates free-speech rights

02/28/2015 12:00 PM
ALEXANDRIA, Va. – A federal government decision to cancel the Washington Redskins’ trademark because it may be disparaging infringes on free-speech rights and unfairly singles the team out, lawyers argued in court papers filed Feb. 23.

The team wants to overturn a decision in 2014 by the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board to cancel the Redskins’ trademark on the grounds that it may be offensive to Native Americans. But the team’s attorneys say the law barring registration of disparaging trademarks is unconstitutional under the First Amendment.

The trademark board’s decision unfairly singles out the Redskins “for disfavored treatment based solely on the content of its protected speech, interfering with the ongoing public discourse over the Redskins’ name by choosing sides and cutting off the debate. This the U.S. Constitution does not tolerate,” the lawyers write in their brief.

The lawyers argue that the government has no business deciding that a name such as Redskins is disparaging and undeserving of trademark protection while deeming other names such as Braves to be content-neutral and allowable for trademarks.

The team still disputes that Redskins is a disparaging term and has asked the judge to rule in the team’s favor based on that argument. But the court papers filed Feb. 23 focus on the constitutionality of the law that bans registration of disparaging trademarks.

The government has intervened in the civil lawsuit to defend the law’s constitutionality. In similar cases, government lawyers have argued that the law doesn’t ban disparaging speech; it just denies the protection of a federal trademark to those words. For instance, the Redskins would not be prohibited from calling themselves the Redskins just because they lose the trademark case – they would just lose some of the legal protections that go along with a registered trademark.

The team says free-speech protections should be understood more broadly. The team says the First Amendment can be violated by government restrictions that burden speech even if they don’t ban it outright. The team argues that canceling a trademark represents such a burden, especially for a football club that has used the name since 1933.

A lawyer for the group of Native Americans that sought cancellation of the trademark did not return a call seeking comment Feb. 24.

The team also argues that canceling the trademark after decades of lawful registration amounts due a denial of due process because of the difficulty in trying to defend itself so many years after the fact.

A hearing on the issue is scheduled for May 5.

Keener told not to use official photo for campaign

Senior Reporter
02/28/2015 08:00 AM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – In a Feb. 13 letter, Cherokee Nation Attorney General Todd Hembree informed Tribal Councilor Lee Keener that he could not use the Cherokee Nation-owned Tribal Council photograph of himself in his campaign materials for deputy chief.

“It has come to the attention of the Office of the Attorney General that you have used tribal property for campaign purposes,” Hembree writes. “On numerous political advertisements, letters and emails you have used a photograph of yourself that was paid for by the Cherokee Nation Tribal Council and is currently owned by the Cherokee Nation. Much like council stationary, tribal vehicles or other tribal equipment, pictures owned by the Nation cannot be used in campaign efforts.”

Hembree tells Keener to “cease and desist any use of the photograph in question” and attached the photo for clarification. He also requests that Keener removed the photo from any website, email or any electronic form and that it not be disseminated on printed material.

Hembree also states that he sent a courtesy copy of the letter to the rest of the Tribal Council to “ensure that all officials are aware that use of Cherokee Nation owned photographs in campaign materials is prohibited.”

Keener told the Cherokee Phoenix he would abide by Hembree’s letter and stop using the photo.

“The attorney general alerted me to an issue with a particular picture we were using on campaign materials. I am happy to comply and will cease using the photo,” Keener said.

Hembree said a CN citizen brought Keener’s use of the official photograph to his attention.

Click here to read Attorney General Todd Hembree’s letter to Keener.
Tribal Councilor Harley Buzzard, left, asks Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin Jr. (not pictured) a question during the Feb. 26 Rules Committee meeting about tribal motor vehicle tax revenues going to schools outside the Cherokee Nation jurisdiction. JAMI MURPHY/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Tribal Councilor Harley Buzzard, left, asks Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin Jr. (not pictured) a question during the Feb. 26 Rules Committee meeting about tribal motor vehicle tax revenues going to schools outside the Cherokee Nation jurisdiction. JAMI MURPHY/CHEROKEE PHOENIX

Council approves car tag funds to schools outside jurisdiction

02/27/2015 04:00 PM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – At its Feb. 26 meeting, the Tribal Council approved an act that gives Cherokee Nation motor vehicle tax revenues to schools outside the tribe’s jurisdictional boundaries but within Tulsa, Rogers, Mayes, Wagoner and Muskogee counties.

The monies those schools receive would be based off the number of CN citizens attending each school. Tribal officials said schools would receive about $143 per CN citizen enrolled.

Officials said the tribe has garnered about $1.5 million in motor vehicle sales in the non-jurisdictional areas of the five counties since Nov. 1, 2013, when the compact went into effect.

Tribal Councilor Victoria Vazquez, who sponsored the bill, made the motion to approve the act and was seconded by Tribal Councilor Don Garvin.

However, Tribal Councilor Dick Lay said he didn’t think the bigger schools in the non-jurisdictional areas of Tulsa, Rogers, Mayes, Wagoner and Muskogee counties should benefit from the funding and that the tribe should focus more on the rural schools.

Lay also motioned to amend the legislation by asking that half the money go to the schools in the non-jurisdictional area of the five counties and half stay within the tribe’s jurisdiction.

“I motion to amend the legislation to leave everything the same except the new jurisdiction, compact jurisdiction, to share the revenue and proceeds 50/50 with the old in-jurisdiction legislation,” he said.

He then asked Vazquez if his amendment would work.

“I’m not sure its up to me. I would like to have input from our secretary of state (Chuck Hoskin Jr.),” she said.

Hoskin said the tribe’s administration was confident in the legislation as written.

“The legislation we put before you is consistent with the compact that this body approved, that the Cherokee Nation signed. And I, with respect to Councilman Lay, think that would not be consistent with it,” Hoskin said. “I’ve heard his arguments and respect him greatly but respectfully disagree.”

Vazquez refused the amendment and Lay requested that it be put in the form of a motion, but his motion failed for lack of a second.

The act passed 10-3 with Tribal Councilors Tina Glory Jordan, David Walkingstick and Lay voting against it. Tribal Councilors Curtis Snell, Julia Coates, Cara Cowan Watts and David Thornton were absent.

The council also confirmed CN citizens to various boards and commissions. Carrie Philpott was approved to the Registration Committee, and Rick Smith, Frances Head, Lyndon Emberton and Joe Hutchison were approved to the Elected Officials Citizen Committee.

Also, surplus office equipment was approved for donation to the Indian Capital Technology Center’s criminal justice program, Hulbert School, Greasy Community Building, the Tri-Community W.E.B., Chewey Neighborhood Association, the Chelsea Boys and Girls Club, Safenet Services Organization, Friends of the Library in Delaware County, Delaware County Fair Board and Delaware County Boys and Girls Club.

Councilors also approved two five-year, trust-land leases for TNT Fireworks. Each lease will last for four weeks in June and July. One lease was approved in Kay County for $7,328 annually and one in Rogers County for $5,000 annually.

Also passed was an act to set stipends for the Elected Officials Citizen Committee. The act will pay each member $500 “to cover all expenses they incur to attend up to three of their meetings.” Members are charged with the responsibility of setting salaries for all CN elected officials.

Councilors also approved Human Services to submit an application for funding to the Oklahoma Office of Juvenile Affairs for Youth Shelter Services and Prevention. Legislators also authorized the Bureau of Indian Affairs to revise and update the tribe’s inventory of tribal transportation facilities.

Other resolutions passed consisted of support for the Autry National Center’s Civil War and the West exhibit and the placement of land into trust for the Clinic in the Woods and Cascade properties in Tahlequah. Officials said the properties would be used for the tribe’s Behavioral Health.

Councilors also unanimously passed an act relating to intoxicating liquors. The act allows the tribe to take Cherokees into tribal court and offer them services that may not be available outside of the tribe’s courts.

Also, Tribal Councilor Jodie Fishinghawk was elected the council’s new secretary until her council term ends in August.

Survival International announces 2nd photography contest

02/27/2015 12:00 PM
LONDON – Following the success of its first-ever photography competition, Survival International, the global movement for tribal peoples’ rights, has announced its second worldwide photography contest, which aims to celebrate photography as a powerful medium for raising awareness of tribal peoples, their unique ways of life and the threats to their existence.

Both amateur and professional photographers are encouraged to enter. Photographs can be submitted in the guardians category, which are images showing tribal peoples as guardians of the natural world; the community category, which are portraits of relationships between individuals, families or tribes; and the survival category, which are images showing tribal peoples’ diverse ways of life.

The judging panel consists of Survival’s Director Stephen Corry, Survival Italy Coordinator Francesca Casella, The Little Black Gallery Co-Founder Ghislain Pascal and Max Houghton, senior lecturer in photography at the London College of Communication.

The 12 winning entries will be published in Survival’s 2016 calendar with the overall winner’s image featured on the cover. The closing date for entries is April 30.

For more information, visit:
The Moman twins, Rylie, left, and Haylie, were born at 28 weeks and 6 days to Cherokee Nation citizen Tyler and Destiny Moman on Jan. 7 in Tulsa, Okla. This picture of the monoamniotic twins, in which they shared the same amniotic sac and placenta, was taken in February. COURTESY
The Moman twins, Rylie, left, and Haylie, were born at 28 weeks and 6 days to Cherokee Nation citizen Tyler and Destiny Moman on Jan. 7 in Tulsa, Okla. This picture of the monoamniotic twins, in which they shared the same amniotic sac and placenta, was taken in February. COURTESY

CN citizen, wife have rare set of twins

02/27/2015 08:00 AM
TULSA, Okla. – Cherokee Nation citizen Tyler Moman and his wife Destiny said they were “blessed with two miracles” on Jan. 7 when Rylie Dawn and Haylie Reece – a set of monoamniotic twins – were delivered at 28 weeks and 6 days in gestation at St. John Medical Center.

The difference between monoamniotic twins and other twins are that monoamniotic twins share the same amniotic sac and placenta. This means umbilical cords can easily tangle or kink as the twins grow in the womb.

Monoamniotic twins are rare and have a 50 percent birth survival rate, Tyler said.

Destiny said the twins must be monitored closely because as they grow in the womb they can strangle one another with their umbilical cords.

“With mono-mono twins, at 24 weeks they always want to start monitoring you because about 24 weeks is when the babies start getting their growth spurt and start moving around more often, and they want to keep an eye on their heart rates,” she said. “Because the babies’ cords can knot or wrap around each other’s throats and strangle each other or cause harm between the two, which is kind of what started to happened with my two.”

Tyler said Destiny started having problems as the babies’ heart rates dropped on Jan. 6 while being monitored at the hospital. The Grove couple welcomed the babies early the next morning.

At birth Rylie weighed 3 pounds and Haylie was 2 pounds, 10 ounces. Both babies had to be on oxygen and feeding tubes. Destiny said they were also in isolation early on, monitored every few hours and still have a long way to go but are much improved.

Other problems the girls may face is a “slower development of growing.”

“At a year old they might look 6 months old or something or a little smaller, but then again there’s been twins that have grown tremendously compared to, you know, most twins,” Destiny said.

Both babies have heart murmurs, but Destiny said those are expected with premature babies. Most often murmurs remedy themselves with medication and growth.

“Rylie now weighs 4 pounds, 15 ounces. She’s been off oxygen now for 6 days (as of Feb. 9). She still has her VSD (ventricular septal defect – a hole in the wall of the heart between the bottom two chambers) but that’s normal for her. They say hers is so small it might close on its own in her first year,” Destiny said. “So Rylie has knocked out three of her milestones. She can breath on her own, keep her own temperature and is over 4 pounds.”

Destiny said Haylie now weighs 4 pounds, 10 ounces, and like her sister, is off the oxygen tube but still uses a feeding tube.

“She is keeping her own temperature up also. They both have almost outgrown their preemie clothes. They both have been taken off their Prolacta (human milk-based nutritional product) and are now on a different fortifier that gives them 24 extra calories. My milk gives them only 20 calories…They no longer have a pic line in anymore so no more IV fluids,” she said. “They get a vitamin once a day. They should be off their caffeine soon. They both still have their feeding tubes but they moved them to their noses so they can nipple feed. They will keep those in till they can take 50 percent of their feedings and then they will take them out.”

She said the girls are getting better and stronger every day and she cannot wait until they can go home.

A Go-Fund Me Crowdsource fund has been established to raise funds to allow Destiny to stay at the hospital, as well as car seats tailored for premature babies.

Visit for more information.


Georgia TOTA Chapter meeting set for March 14
02/22/2015 04:00 PM
DAHLONEGA, Ga. – The next meeting of the Georgia Chapter of the Trail of Tears Association will begin at 10:30 a.m. on March 14 at the University of North Georgia in Dahlonega.

The speaker will be GCTOTA board member Walter J. Knapp, instructor of Native American Culture and History at UNG. The topic will be “Successes and Challenges for Native Americans Today and in the Future”.

for directions to the university. The meeting will be held in the Adult Education building across from the main entrance to the campus between a pizza place and a Dairy Queen. The address is 82 College Circle Drive.

The Trail of Tears Association was created to support the Trail of Tears National Historic Trail established by an act of Congress in 1987. The TOTA is dedicated to identifying and preserving sites associated with the removal of Native Americans from the southeast. The association consists of nine state chapters representing the nine states that the Cherokee, Creek and other tribes traveled through on their way to Indian Territory, now Oklahoma.

The GCTOTA meetings are free and open to the public. People need not have Native American ancestry to attend the meetings, just an interest and desire to learn more about this fascinating and tragic period in this country’s history.

For more information about the TOTA, visit the National TOTA website at
and the Georgia Chapter website at For questions about the March meeting, email Tony Harris at


Bickfords present endowed challenge scholarship to RSU
02/26/2015 02:00 PM
CLAREMORE, Okla. (AP) – A local family, dedicated to the support of Native American communities, presented the endowed “Live an Honest Day” challenge scholarship of $25,000 to Rogers State University during the recent Claremore Chamber of Commerce Gridiron.

The Bickford family endowment to RSU was established for Native American students who plan to go into careers involving science, technology, engineering and/or math (STEM).

Community members and businesses have been asked to join in the challenge by donating toward the scholarship.

The endowment was established in memory of Paul Bickford, a longtime resident and supporter of Claremore, who died from a vehicle accident in April 2013. Paul was an advocate for Native American organizations, specifically the American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES).

[BLOCKQUOTE]Owner of Cherokee Data Solutions Pamela Bickford, said her husband (Paul) understood that by instilling the love of STEM in today’s youth, brightens the future of tomorrow. For almost a decade, the Bickfords have sponsored AISES in Rogers County, increasing the representation of Native Americans in STEM through pre-college, college and professional programs.

In addition to AISES, Paul Bickford judged VEX Robotics competitions locally, and at the national level as a lead judge for the VEX World Championship events.

“Paul’s life’s work was dedicated to future generations,” said Pamela. “Currently, Native American drop-out rates, as well as poverty, drug abuse, domestic abuse and suicide rates are alarmingly high. It’s concerning to us as Native Americans, and so it made sense as a family to share Paul’s life mission — to encourage success among youth, particularly Native American students.”

Individuals and businesses wanting to accept the “Live an Honest Day” challenge, can visit any RCB Bank location and donate directly to the PFB Live an Honest Day Foundation.

“There’s no amount that’s too much or too little. Individuals, corporations and foundations are stepping up to join us in the essence of Paul’s mission for students in STEM,” Pamela said. “Our family stands in awe of everyone’s generosity, and more, that the future matters.”


Taylor named to Claremore Indian Hospital board
02/01/2015 12:00 PM
CLAREMORE, Okla. – Principal Chief Bill John Baker recently named Tribal Councilor Janees Taylor as the tribe’s representative to the Claremore Indian Hospital advisory board.

Taylor, of Pryor, replaced Tribal Councilor Dick Lay who resigned in December. As a board member, Taylor will work to promote the CN’s interest in decisions that are made at the Indian Health Service-operated hospital.

“A lot of positive changes have been made at Claremore Indian Hospital in the last couple of years, and I hope to be a part of it,” Taylor said. “Claremore Indian Hospital is unique in that it is not controlled by the Cherokee Nation, like our other health centers and W.W. Hastings Hospital are. For that reason, continuing to have a Cherokee Nation representative on this board will help our own health care system work toward a seamless transition for our citizens using Claremore Indian Hospital.”

The advisory board meets quarterly to discuss current hospital policy and operations.

“Councilor Taylor brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to the board of directors. She will be a strong advocate for the hospital’s commitment to quality health care for Native people in northeast Oklahoma,” Baker said.

Taylor had her first meeting as a board member on Jan. 20.


State, tribal leaders seek Insure Oklahoma expansion
02/23/2015 09:30 AM
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) – While state leaders remain steadfastly opposed to a Medicaid expansion offered under the federal health care law, some of Oklahoma’s 39 federally recognized Native American tribes are exploring opportunities for a federal waiver that could mean health insurance for about 40,000 low-income uninsured tribal citizens.

Oklahoma Health Care Authority CEO Nico Gomez said talks are underway about seeking an expansion of the state’s Insure Oklahoma program to include some of the estimated 80,000 Native Americans in Oklahoma without health insurance. Gomez estimated as many as half of those tribal citizens could qualify for the program, depending on where the income threshold is set.

Although still conceptual, Gomez said the idea would involve the tribal citizen paying a portion of the health insurance premium, the tribe paying a portion and the federal government paying the largest part.

“We’re not looking at tapping into any state revenue, not now or in the future,” Gomez said. “Frankly, if it required any state revenue, I’m not sure we’d even be having this conversation.”

Gomez said the proposal was initially discussed the first week of February with tribal representatives, and that he planned to brief members of the Health Care Authority’s governing board during its regular meeting on Feb. 12. Some of the state’s largest tribes, including the Chickasaw and Cherokee nations, are involved in discussions, Gomez said.

Insure Oklahoma provides health coverage to about 18,000 low-income Oklahoma residents, mostly through a program in which the cost of premiums are shared by the state (60 percent), the employer (25 percent) and the employee (15 percent). The state portion of the program is funded through a tax on tobacco sales, but a federal waiver that allows the program to operate has only been approved through the end of the year.

Gomez said expanding the program to include a tribal option could help ensure the federal waiver continues.

Billy James, a 31-year-old University of Oklahoma student and a citizen of the Chickasaw Nation, said he wants to have health insurance but can’t afford the premiums.

“I’m trying to hold out as long as I can,” said James, who is finishing his master’s degree and currently unemployed. “I’m kind of scared about not having insurance, but I’ve got to tough it out a little while longer.”

A spokesman for Gov. Mary Fallin, a staunch supporter of the Insure Oklahoma program, said the governor is excited about the potential of a tribal expansion.

“We’re particularly excited about the fact that it would not cost the state any tax dollars, which is important as we deal with our current shortfall,” Fallin spokesman Alex Weintz said.

Currently, there are about 130,000 Native Americans in the state’s Medicaid program, which is about 16 percent of the overall Medicaid population in Oklahoma.


OPINION: Election season is upon us but our job doesn’t change
Executive Editor
02/09/2015 01:16 PM
The 2015 general election season is ramping up and candidates, campaigns and citizens are tuning in to what will likely be a contentious competition for seats in the administration and the Tribal Council.

Each candidate will try to convince you of their virtues while their campaign attempts to denigrate their competition. Many things will be said – some true, some not – to win support from voters. Many things will change during the coming months as voters listen and decide how they will cast their votes, and our government has new faces and ideas.

But one thing will not change: The Cherokee Phoenix will continue to be a source of accurate and unbiased news and information.

Since the passage of the Independent Press Act in 2000, the Cherokee Phoenix has been mandated by law to “report without bias the activities of the government and the news of interest to have informed citizens.” The act does not specify how we should accomplish this mission but provides some tools and direction to reach this goal. In the past 15 years we have gradually added strategic plans, policies and features to add structure and consistency to this mission.

The members of the Editorial Board, the executive editor and Cherokee Phoenix staff are prohibited from participating in political activities. This prohibition is specified in the act and although it does not guarantee the removal of bias, it does at least remove the appearance of impropriety.

Editorial policies have been enacted by the Editorial Board to provide sound guidance in the acceptance or denial of letters and columns submitted for publishing. These policies have been gradually strengthened in recent years to include prohibitions on untruthful or unverifiable claims, insulting someone’s character and political lobbying.

Advertising policies have also been enacted to ensure that political advertisements are labeled to include who paid for the ad and the relevant contact information. This should provide readers and voters with necessary information about who is placing an ad and for what purpose.

All candidates for any Cherokee Nation office can publish a free campaign announcement in the newspaper. To avoid the appearance of favoritism, the Cherokee Phoenix does not cover campaign events or rallies. Instead, we offer equal campaign publicity to all candidates through an announcement written in the candidate’s own words.

A “Meet the Candidates” guide will be published in the June 2015 newspaper. The guide will consist of responses received to a questionnaire we send to all filed candidates for Tribal Council. This guide provides a level playing field for all candidates to respond to the same questions about issues affecting the CN and its citizens.

The Cherokee Phoenix will also host a public debate between the candidates for principal and deputy chief. The debate, which will be attended by a live audience as well as broadcast live on the Internet, will provide all candidates a fair opportunity to respond to questions and offer their perspectives on important issues.

In addition to everything mentioned, the Cherokee Phoenix will also be devoting a substantial amount of news coverage to many of the issues raised during the campaign season to provide greater detail or important context to statements that deserve more than just a “sound bite.” The Cherokee Phoenix staff is required to report in a way that honors the journalistic ethics of accuracy and fairness, and this will be true of all election coverage.

One element of this coverage will be in the form of a “Truth Report” that will be published as necessary in the newspaper. This report will examine public statements made by candidates, and provide feedback to our readers about its accuracy or authenticity based on our independent investigation of the statement. We began publishing the Truth Report in 2011 at the suggestion of Editorial Board Chair John Shurr, and we have received much praise from readers who value an impartial assessment of campaign rhetoric.

These policies and features to ensure fairness did not happen overnight, but are the results of years of journalism experience working within a tribal setting. I believe that ethical reporting and fairness must be the guiding principles that determine how we conduct ourselves and perform our duties. The Cherokee people and our readers have come to rely on us as a vital source of news and information about Cherokee society, history and language.

The CN was the first Indian Nation to enact a tribal press and to publish a newspaper for Cherokee people by Cherokee people. The legacy of the Cherokee Phoenix – a legacy that we still forge today – must always be one of truth before rumor, fairness before bias, and principles before politics. The Cherokee people have come to depend on it, and we must always be committed to delivering it.


CN citizen settles into coaching at Bacone
02/15/2015 12:00 PM
MUSKOGEE, Okla. – Cherokee Nation citizen Clay Mayes III has spent a majority of his life running and competing in running competitions. Now, at age of 27, Mayes serves as Bacone College’s assistant track and cross country coach.

He started coaching at Bacone in April after buying into Bacone College President Frank Willis’ goal for a cross country team.

“Honestly, the reason I’m here is because I truly believe in the president’s statement of helping me support a solid running program,” Mayes said. “He said, ‘Clay, we’re historically a Native American college, yet we don’t fill the full cross country team. I want to change that.’ Seeing his views coincide with mine, it interested me.”

Mayes’ duties are not only to help train athletes but also to scout them.

“We signed one of the top three Native Americans in the state, and we’re looking to sign one of the other top three as well in the coming month or two,” Mayes said. “At this moment we have three Native Americans on the team and we’re looking to get 15.”

Mayes said he learned a lot about runners and their training backgrounds while running for Oklahoma State University and the University of Oklahoma. He said although this helped him learn more about the coaching aspect of running, it wasn’t the only thing that helped.

“I would say that a lot of my insight from coaching has came from my failures,” he said.

Mayes’ running career started to pick up while he was attending Sequoyah High School-Claremore.

“As a freshmen I was picked to win state. I did not win state until my high school senior year,” he said. “It was a lot of trial and error because I was really self-coached for the most part. I learned a lot from actually failing and being resilient to not give up.”

In high school, Mayes won state in the 2-mile run with a time of 9 minutes, 43.05 seconds and finished sixth in the 5,000-meter run with a time of 15:11.97 at the Nike Outdoor Championships, earning an All-American spot.

In college, he scored for OSU at the Big 12 Championships when he had a time of 31:22.58 in the 10,000 meters and finished eighth.

Mayes was part of the OSU team that won the fall 2009 NCAA men’s cross country championship. While at OSU he also finished third in the NCAA men’s cross country in 2007. While attending OU, Mayes was a member of the 2010 group that won the Big 12 Indoor Conference Championships.

Now coaching at a school with Native American roots, Mayes said he’s glad he has his Cherokee ancestry.
“Honestly, being a Cherokee citizen has been pretty awesome. It’s pretty cool how tightknit the community is,” he said. “The thing with Cherokee Nation is they do an awesome job of actually giving back to the community. That was the easiest tribe to deal with when trying to help my kids get a degree and make it financially suiting because they’re going to be more likely to be not stressed out if they’re able to get the right finances for college.”

Mayes said although he is fairly new to Bacone he looks forward to a bright future for the running program.

“Since I’m new at Bacone I expect a lot of great things to come,” he said.
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