CN officials to attend local Christmas parades

12/06/2016 12:00 PM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – Cherokee Nation officials will attend area Christmas parades with floats during the holiday season.

At 6 p.m. on Dec. 9, the CN will have a float in the Christmas Parade of Lights in Tahlequah. The tribe will also have a float in Catoosa’s Christmas Parade, which begins at 2 p.m. on Dec. 10.

The tribe will also have a float in the Christmas Parade in Jay, which begins at 2 p.m. on Dec. 10, as well as the Christmas Parade in Hulbert, which begins at 6 p.m. on Dec. 10.

Finishing out the holiday parade season, the CN officials will have a float in the Christmas Parade of Sallisaw, which begins at 6 p.m. on Dec. 10.

CN, NSU hold ‘Lights On’ events

Media Specialist – @cp_rgraham
12/06/2016 08:15 AM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – After several years of same-day lightings, the Cherokee Nation and Northeastern State University held their holidays “Lights On” ceremonies on separate days.

On Dec. 2, CN officials turned on the tribe’s lights at approximatley 6:30 p.m. at the Cherokee Courthouse Square.

“We’re preparing to actually begin our Christmas season here at the historic courthouse of the Cherokee Nation with a lighting ceremony that’s going to take place with all the Christmas lights and decorations.” Deputy Chief S. Joe Crittenden said. “We’re getting into the Christmas season. That time when we remember the birth of Christ and we celebrate his birthday.”

The CN event included a live Nativity scene as well as corn shuck doll making, a mailbox for letters to Santa, the story of the first Christmas, refreshments and caroling from the Cherokee National Youth Choir.

NSU held its lighting ceremony on Nov. 29 at Seminary Hall.
The Cherokee Courthouse Square glows with Christmas lights on Dec. 2 in Tahlequah, Oklahoma, following the Cherokee Nation’s “Lights On” ceremony. ROGER GRAHAM/CHEROKEE PHOENIX Northeastern State University’s Seminary Hall in Tahlequah, Oklahoma, is decorated with Christmans lights on Nov. 29 for the holidays season. ROGER GRAHAM/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
The Cherokee Courthouse Square glows with Christmas lights on Dec. 2 in Tahlequah, Oklahoma, following the Cherokee Nation’s “Lights On” ceremony. ROGER GRAHAM/CHEROKEE PHOENIX

NIGC welcomes Technology Leaders Fellowship applicants

12/05/2016 04:00 PM
WASHINGTON – The National Indian Gaming Commission on Nov. 30 announced its first Technology Leaders Fellowship opportunity to support tribal economic development, self-sufficiency and strong tribal governments.

According to a NIGC release, NIGC officials said they see the importance of leadership in Indian Country year-round and have created the fellowship to help cultivate future leaders in Indian gaming.

The Indian Gaming Regulatory Act mandates that the NIGC support tribal economic development, self-sufficiency and strong tribal governments.

“In keeping with the mission of IGRA, as well as promoting our initiative of staying ahead of the technology curve, the NIGC is proud to offer this fellowship as a one-year apprenticeship-type opportunity for recent graduates in the fields of technology and who are interested in Indian gaming,” the release states.

According to the release, the Technology Leaders Fellow will assist and collaborate with NIGC technology staff on a variety of special projects. It also states that the fellowship was developed based on conversations with tribal leaders about the important role technology plays, and will continue to play in the tribal gaming industry.

Cherokee Phoenix Radio Dec. 4, 2016

12/05/2016 03:00 PM
  • In this week's broadcast:
  • We have a story on Cherokee Nation citizen Keri Spencer and the RISE program she started.
  • Also, we feature former Director of the Cherokee Nations Family Assistance Program Jerry Snell as he recently retired after 43 years with the CN.
  • much more.

North Dakota pipeline protesters vow to stay despite victory

12/05/2016 10:30 AM
CANNON BALL, N.D. (AP) — Protesters celebrated a major victory in their push to reroute the Dakota Access oil pipeline away from a tribal water source but pledged to remain camped on federal land in North Dakota anyway, despite Monday's government deadline to leave.

Hundreds of people at the Oceti Sakowin, or Seven Council Fires, encampment cheered and chanted "mni wichoni" — "water is life" in Lakota Sioux — after the Army Corps of Engineers refused Sunday to grant the company permission to extend the pipeline beneath a Missouri River reservoir.

The Standing Rock Sioux tribe and its supporters argue that extending the project beneath Lake Oahe would threaten the tribe's water source and cultural sites. The segment is the last major sticking point for the four-state, $3.8 billion project.

"The whole world is watching," said Miles Allard, a member of the Standing Rock Sioux. "I'm telling all our people to stand up and not to leave until this is over."

Despite the deadline, authorities say they won't forcibly remove the protesters.

Federal government blocks Dakota Access oil pipeline route

12/05/2016 09:30 AM
CANNON BALL, N.D. (AP) The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said Sunday that it won't grant an easement for the Dakota Access oil pipeline in southern North Dakota, handing a victory to the Standing Rock Sioux tribe and its supporters, who argued the project would threaten the tribe's water source and cultural sites.

North Dakota's leaders criticized the decision, with Gov. Jack Dalrymple calling it a "serious mistake" that "prolongs the dangerous situation" of having several hundred protesters who are camped out on federal land during cold, wintry weather. U.S. Rep. Kevin Cramer said it's a "very chilling signal" for the future of infrastructure in the United States.

The four-state, $3.8 billion project is largely complete except for the now-blocked segment underneath Lake Oahe, a Missouri River reservoir. Assistant Secretary for Civil Works Jo-Ellen Darcy said in a news release that her decision was based on the need to "explore alternate routes" for the pipeline's crossing. Her full decision doesn't rule out that it could cross under the reservoir or north of Bismarck.

"Although we have had continuing discussion and exchanges of new information with the Standing Rock Sioux and Dakota Access, it's clear that there's more work to do," Darcy said. "The best way to complete that work responsibly and expeditiously is to explore alternate routes for the pipeline crossing."

The company constructing the pipeline, Dallas-based Energy Transfer Partners, released a statement Sunday night slamming the decision as politically motivated and alleging that President Obama's administration was determined to delay the matter until he leaves office.

Family, friends honor ‘Anna Mitchell Legacy’

Senior Reporter – @cp_wchavez
12/05/2016 08:30 AM
PARK HILL, Okla. – Family and friends of Cherokee National Treasure and potter Anna Mitchell recently attended a reception for a Cherokee Heritage Center exhibit celebrating her life and legacy as a Cherokee potter.

The “Anna Mitchell Legacy” will be on display through April 1 and includes pottery Mitchell made during four decades.

Anna Belle Sixkiller Mitchell was born Oct. 16, 1926, to Oo-loo-tsa and Houston Sixkiller in Delaware County and died March 3, 2012, at age 86. The CHC and Mitchell’s family wanted to showcase her life’s work and contributions.

Mitchell’s daughter, Victoria Mitchell Vazquez, said for her mother’s exhibit she located collectors who agreed to loan pottery items made by her mother for the exhibit. She said it was her idea to recreate her mother’s studio for the exhibit, complete with original pottery tools her mother worked with, her original worktable, examples of clay and some in-the-works pieces. Her mother’s worktable came from her sister’s cellar and still has clay on it.

“I love the way it has all been put together. Jane Osti (a Mitchell student) helped a lot,” she said. “I love the panels that have all the descriptions and stories of mother. I like the easy flow of being able to go in a circle and you see some of her best work, and as you go around you see her work, her students’ work and their students’ work.”
Family members of Cherokee potter Anna Mitchell – Mark McPeek, left; Julie McPeek and Betty Mitchell; Julie Osborn; Chris Osburn; and Blake Osburn – look at a replica of her studio that is part of the “Anna Mitchell Legacy” exhibit on display through April 1 at the Cherokee Heritage Center in Park Hill, Oklahoma. WILL CHAVEZ/CHEROKEE PHOENIX Liz Mitchell reads a panel for the “Anna Mitchell Legacy” exhibit on display through April 1 at the Cherokee Heritage Center that celebrates the life and legacy of the late Cherokee potter. Liz Mitchell is Anna Mitchell’s cousin. WILL CHAVEZ/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Family members of Cherokee potter Anna Mitchell – Mark McPeek, left; Julie McPeek and Betty Mitchell; Julie Osborn; Chris Osburn; and Blake Osburn – look at a replica of her studio that is part of the “Anna Mitchell Legacy” exhibit on display through April 1 at the Cherokee Heritage Center in Park Hill, Oklahoma. WILL CHAVEZ/CHEROKEE PHOENIX

Cherokee Phoenix seeks artists for T-shirt ideas

12/04/2016 02:00 PM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – The Cherokee Phoenix is seeking citizens of the Cherokee Nation, United Keetoowah Band and Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians to submit design ideas for its 2017 Cherokee National Holiday T-shirt.

For its initial 2016 T-shirt design, the Cherokee Phoenix used CN citizen Buffalo Gouge’s design that Gouge said was inspired by the original Cherokee Phoenix logo with modern modifications.

On the 2016 shirt, a phoenix rises from the fire and the seven Cherokee clans are featured behind the bird. The Cherokee Phoenix banner is between the bird’s wingspan, and above the banner are seven stars also representing the clans.

The Cherokee Phoenix printed 200 T-shirts and sold them at its office and Cherokee National Holiday booths during the Labor Day weekend event. Shirts went on sale to the public on Sept. 2 and sold out on Sept. 3.

Assistant Editor Travis Snell said the Cherokee Phoenix would like to choose a different Cherokee artist each year to design the news organization’s holiday T-shirt. Snell said he initially thought of Gouge and approached him to be the first artist to bring the idea to life.
Cherokee artist Buffalo Gouge models the Cherokee Phoenix’s limited edition 2016 Cherokee National Holiday T-shirt that sold out during Labor Day weekend. The Cherokee Phoenix is seeking Cherokee artists to submit ideas for its 2017 T-shirt design. LINDSEY BARK/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Cherokee artist Buffalo Gouge models the Cherokee Phoenix’s limited edition 2016 Cherokee National Holiday T-shirt that sold out during Labor Day weekend. The Cherokee Phoenix is seeking Cherokee artists to submit ideas for its 2017 T-shirt design. LINDSEY BARK/CHEROKEE PHOENIX

Cherokee Phoenix brings back holiday shirts

12/04/2016 10:00 AM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – Thanks to its sellout success at the Cherokee National Holiday, the Cherokee Phoenix is bringing back its Buffalo Gouge-designed T-shirts, with a slight twist, for the upcoming shopping season.

The T-shirts will be similar to the T-shirts the Cherokee Phoenix sold at the Cherokee National Holiday during Labor Day weekend. However, the words “NATIONAL HOLIDAY” and the year “2016” will be omitted from the shopping season shirts. Also, Gouge’s signature will be moved closer to the artwork. The Cherokee Phoenix’s logo will also adorn the left sleeve.

Gouge said the Cherokee National Holiday design was inspired by the original Cherokee Phoenix logo with modern modifications. As the phoenix rises from the fire, the seven Cherokee clans are featured behind the bird. The Phoenix banner is amid the bird’s wingspan, and above the banner are seven stars also representing the clans.

“Because the national holiday shirts that Buffalo designed for us sold out so quickly and because we had so many people asking if we were going to print them again, we decided to do a second run for the holidays season with a slight modification,” Assistant Editor Travis Snell said. “We hope the people who didn’t get a shirt during the Cherokee National Holiday will get one for the upcoming shopping season.”

A run of 300 shirts were printed in graphite heather gray ranging in sizes small to 3XL. Shirts are $20 and available at the Cherokee Phoenix office. Shoppers can stop by the office located in the Annex Building (old motel) on the W.W. Keeler Complex or order by calling 918-207-4975.
Thanks to its sellout success at the Cherokee National Holiday, the Cherokee Phoenix is bringing back its Buffalo Gouge-designed T-shirts, with a slight twist, for the upcoming shopping season.
Thanks to its sellout success at the Cherokee National Holiday, the Cherokee Phoenix is bringing back its Buffalo Gouge-designed T-shirts, with a slight twist, for the upcoming shopping season.


CHC hosts 1,800 youths for Cherokee Heritage Festival
Media Specialist – @cp_rgraham
11/18/2016 08:00 AM
PARK HILL, Okla. – More than 1,800 school-age children from surrounding schools attended the annual Cherokee Heritage Festival on Nov. 3-4 at the Cherokee Heritage Center.

CHC Interim Director Tonia Weavel said 371 students visited the first day and 1,449 students visited the second day.

“We have schools today from Tulsa, McAlester, Roland, Marietta, Dahlonegah, Muskogee and others.” Weavel said. “The Cherokee Heritage Festival is a fantastic fall event where we’ve invited children to come and learn about the Cherokee culture.”

Weavel said students who attended received “hands on and up close” lessons on Cherokee culture and history. “So we’re glad they’re here. It’s going to be a good day.”


McCall works for degrees to help Natives
Senior Reporter – @cp_wchavez
12/02/2016 08:00 AM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Kelley McCall is working on her dream of earning a psychology degree at the University of New Mexico with the help of a Cherokee Nation scholarship.

McCall, 38, who has roots in the Tahlequah, Oklahoma, area, recently graduated from Central New Mexico Community College with four associate degrees, was on the dean’s list with a 3.9 grade point average and was accepted into UNM with a full scholarship for the fall.

“Basically, I just took my life and did a 180 and went back to school later in life. I got four degrees in less than four years. I think that should inspire other Cherokees that it’s never too late. You can turn your life around. You can make something of yourself, and you can help your people in the process,” she said.

After earning a psychology degree, she plans to attend graduate school before eventually going for a doctorate. At UNM she was accepted into the McNair Scholar Program, which will assist her with getting into graduate school and completing her research.

She is working in a cultural cognition psychology lab where Native Americans are studied to determine how they can be helped.

“One of the major complaints is that people are studying them, but nobody is offering a solution or help. Our whole lab is for cultural minorities, and we all are interested in research to help them, so that’s my main focus,” she said.

McCall is helping to interview Native American elders ages 50 to 88 to gather information about their education to determine if they attended boarding schools or public schools and how much education they received. As an undergraduate student she is not conducting the actual interviews, but will be able to as a graduate student.

“We’re getting their educational background and seeing how it affects them later in life, like their cognition, their opportunities, if they feel they got a good education or didn’t. So we’re trying to put that together to see how we can better educate Native American people to help them later in life,” she said.

She said Native Americans from California to New Mexico are interviewed, including Cherokees living in the Albuquerque area. McCall said her goal is to work with Cherokees living in the area because she is Cherokee and that’s who she wants “to help the most.”

“Any case where I’m helping a Native American, I’m going to take advantage of it,” she said. “That’s my main focus. Whatever I can do to help our people that’s what I want to do because I think that we’re so underrepresented, especially in the higher levels of education. I want to see what I can do to get us in higher levels of education.”

McCall said the main reason she is able to attend UNM is because of a $2,000 CN higher education scholarship.

“Instead of having to spend time working side jobs, I can actually spend more time in the research lab, so it helps me a lot and allows me to focus on my education. I still have to work, but I don’t have to make that my priority,” she said.

McCall also said she learned about Cherokee traditions and culture while visiting family in Oklahoma. In Albuquerque, her mother, Deborah McCall, also a CN citizen, is involved with a satellite Cherokee community group that’s affiliated with the tribe’s Cherokee Community Outreach program.

Kelley said her mother travels to Oklahoma annually for meetings with other Cherokee community groups in which they learn how to better organize their respective groups, learn about Cherokee culture and share and gather ideas from other community leaders.

Kelley said at monthly meetings her mother shares information she’s gathered from the CN, and CN staff visit the Albuquerque Cherokee group to share cultural activities.

“We’re learning a lot about our culture and heritage through that,” she said. “I feel like I’m part of a tradition that goes back a long way, that has solid roots, that has great fundamental values as far as family and helping each other. I feel really honored be a part of the Cherokee Nation.”


Council reconfirms Hembree as attorney general
Senior Reporter – @cp_wchavez
11/16/2016 08:30 AM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – During its Nov. 14 meeting, the Tribal Council unanimously reconfirmed Todd Hembree as the Cherokee Nation’s attorney general.

Hembree was reappointed for a period of five years from January 2017 to January 2021 after being re-nominated by Principal Chief Bill John Baker.

Hembree was first appointed to serve as attorney general in January 2012. Previous to that he served as the attorney for the Tribal Council for 12 years.

“I am very honored to be afforded the opportunity to serve the Cherokee Nation for another term as attorney general. However, the many successes that this office has had over the last several years has only been made possible due to the dedication and hard work of the staff,” Hembree said. “The Cherokee people are very fortunate to have such a group working for them.”

Legislators also unanimously approved Sheryl Rountree, of Tahlequah, to serve a five-year term on the Sequoyah High School board of education. Tribal Council approval is needed because the tribe operates the school. Rountree will serve from December 2016 to December 2021.

Her resume states she has 31 years of experience as a professional educator that includes five years as school counselor. She earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education in 1980, a master’s degree in school counseling in 1995, graduate certification as a secondary and elementary principal in 2000 and a graduate certification as a superintendent in 2002. All of her degrees and certificates were earned at Northeastern State University in Tahlequah.

She has taught or counseled students at Westville, Woodall, Tahlequah, Briggs, Grandview and Tenkiller schools.

“I appreciate the nomination, and I hope to do a good job. I’m eager,” Rountree said.

The Tribal Council also unanimously approved Dr. James Stallcup to serve on the Cherokee Nation Health Partners board.

In 2004, the CN partnered with Tahlequah City Hospital, now called Northeastern Health System, to form Cherokee Health Partners “to assure there is alternative health services in certain specialty areas and for the Cherokee Nation to work together with TCH for the best health services for its citizens.”

Stallcup, a non-Native American, is serving as the tribe’s interim executive medical director until the position is permanently filled. Stallcup has worked for the CN for about six years, with two years as medical director for the Bartlesville Health Center and Will Rogers Health Center in Nowata.

He did not attend the Nov. 14 meeting but said previously that the CN health system is “incredible” in the care that it provides and the system has “an exceptional group of providers and nursing staff.”

He also previously said he is looking forward to the opportunities the tribe will have with the new Indian Health Service Joint Venture building that will be built adjacent to W.W. Hastings Hospital in Tahlequah.

In other business, legislators unanimously approved a resolution to honor CN Security Officer Joe Polecat who “saw a large amount of smoke in the vicinity of (CN) cultural grounds” on Sept. 29 and took action. After arriving at the fire, Polecat radioed for assistance and then “took immediate action,” using fire extinguishers to try to contain the fire.

In his report, Security Manager John Paden writes Polecat used his experience as a volunteer firefighter to take control of the situation. Polecat asked Paden to locate a water hose at a nearby residence and to start watering down the property near the residence. Later, Security Officer Richard Acorn arrived on the scene when the fire was within 15 feet of the residence. Acorn and Paden watered around the property while Polecat was at the front of the fire using extinguishers.

“With Polecat’s experience as a volunteer fire fighter and quick thinking along with his concern for others, Polecat saved both homes that were in the path of the grass fire,” states the resolution. “The Council of the Cherokee Nation hereby recognizes Cherokee Citizen Joe Polecat for his service to citizens of the Cherokee Nation as a security officer and volunteer firefighter, which protects and saves people of fire danger.”

The council also modified the tribe’s operating budget for fiscal year 2017 by adding $5.4 million for a total budget authority of $661.8 million.


DIETITIAN’S CORNER: Don’t forget about breakfast
Dietetic Intern
12/01/2016 04:00 PM
Any breakfast is better than no breakfast, but a smart breakfast gives our body energy to get us through the day and help prevent us from overeating when we do eat. Skipping breakfast can lead to missing out on vitamins and minerals that are often not recuperated, which can cause a decline in our health.

Many of us run out the door in the morning forgetting breakfast or don’t have time for it. Many people state they’re just not hungry in the morning, so they don’t eat breakfast. While all of us have heard “breakfast is the most important meal of day,” there is some truth to it. Breakfast has benefits to our health and well-being. Eating breakfast kicks the metabolism into gear, and helps maintain weight or even lose weight. When the body is asleep, it goes into hibernation mode, which causes metabolism to slow down to conserve energy stores. Once we wake, we must switch out of the hibernation mode by eating breakfast. Eating breakfast helps us have a healthier diet than if we were to skip it regularly. There is a higher chance of meeting the recommended servings of vitamins and minerals daily for those who consume breakfast.

Most breakfast food items tend to be a high source of vitamins and minerals. Cereal is a common breakfast meal, which is high in vitamins and minerals. Some are actually fortified with additional vitamins. We also eat cereal with milk and sometimes fruits, which adds more vitamins and minerals to our breakfast. Milk is a source of protein, too. For those looking to get fiber into their diet or making sure they’re getting enough, you can get it through your breakfast easy. If you normally eat cold cereal, try hot cereal such as oatmeal.

Oatmeal provides at least 3-4 grams of fiber per 1 cup cooked. The hot cereal offers great benefits, too, such as lowering cholesterol, and is great for the heart. When building a breakfast, choosing a whole grain, fruits or vegetables and a protein offers all the right nutrients to start the day. Protein-rich foods help us stay full longer and stay focused.

When they tell the students at school to eat a good breakfast the week of testing, it is because breakfast improves concentration and helps with alertness. Breakfast enhances our memory, cognitive ability and attention span. All the nutrients that help with brain development, memory and concentration can be achieved by eating breakfast regularly. When we wake up, we are often irritable, restless, drowsy, feeling lethargic and forgetful. Low blood sugar levels typically cause these feelings. Since the body has been fasting while we are sleeping, blood sugars are low first thing in the morning. So, eating first thing whether being hungry or not can help stabilize the blood sugar levels and relieve those feelings. A balanced breakfast can also improve our mood. Some people are grumpy when they are hungry. Adding breakfast first thing can boost your mood and make you happier.

Breakfast is important for each person, no matter what lifestyle or health condition. An adequate breakfast can drastically improve our health in a positive direction. However, it is important for children for supporting their growth and development. Pregnant women also have increased nutritional needs, so it is crucial for pregnant women to get a balanced breakfast. Adding a starch during breakfast can also reduce feelings of nausea in the morning. Older adults tend to start eating less at meals, so skipping breakfast can make it hard to meet nutritional needs later in the day. Because some older adults have an increased appetite in the morning, it is a great time to get in an adequate meal especially with taking medications.

Those with a busy morning can achieve breakfast on the go. Items such as yogurt, granola bars, pre-made fruit cups with yogurt, instant oatmeal, toast, hard boiled eggs are all things we can either grab on the way out or take a little amount of time. Planning or even preparing breakfast the night before may be easy, too. Don’t let your schedule get in the way of your breakfast. Find what works and watch your health improve.


OPINION: Back home: Cherokee Nation secures ownership of Sequoyah’s Cabin
Principal Chief
12/01/2016 12:00 PM
Cherokee Nation was the first tribe to adopt a written language, and the impact the syllabary has had on our people and the advancements of our tribe continue still today. Sequoyah, also known as George Gist, gave us one of the most significant gifts in our history. Sequoyah’s invention of the syllabary had an immeasurable impact on us as a tribe.

Recently, Cherokee Nation finalized the purchase of Sequoyah’s Cabin, near Sallisaw, from the state. We are so proud to assume ownership and management of the historical site and have the opportunity to give it the respect and reverence it deserves.

It’s unimaginable that sites, like Abraham Lincoln’s birthplace, Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello or George Washington’s Mt. Vernon, would be operated by anyone other than the United States government. Likewise, it is only fitting that Sequoyah’s Cabin site, which is a vital part of our story, would be operated by the Cherokee Nation.

In our tribe’s long and unique history, Sequoyah made an everlasting impact and truly changed the way our people communicate, share ideas and preserve history. He was a genius who advanced the Cherokee Nation and our rich culture. Sequoyah is one of our most well-known statesmen and historical figures, and his contributions to the Cherokee Nation are immeasurable. The Cherokee syllabary is the single most important contributor to the advancement of the Cherokee people and Cherokee society.

He reshaped the future of Cherokees and all Native people, not just seven generations but infinite generations.

Chief of Staff Chuck Hoskin, in his role as a state legislator, singlehandedly led the effort to secure Sequoyah’s Cabin for our people. We are so fortunate that his strong relationship with the Oklahoma Historical Society and its executive director, Dr. Bob Blackburn, helped pave the way for our purchase of this important piece of our history.

We commend the state for being such good stewards of the 200-acre site and former home, and now it is time for Cherokee Nation to lead the preservation effort. Our relationship with Dr. Blackburn and the state’s historical society is a true partnership and will allow this project to advance for the benefit of the Cherokee Nation, the state of Oklahoma and the thousands of tourists that visit this historic site each year. Yes, it is unfortunate that after 80 years the state no longer has the resources to manage and maintain the property. But that’s where our tribal government can step in and ensure the preservation meets the highest standards. Together, we will guarantee this beautiful and historic site thrives and continues operation forever.

It is a historic achievement to add this land and site back into the tribe’s land base and bring Sequoyah’s home back to the Cherokee Nation and place it under our cultural protection. Our operation of the cabin and the surrounding land will enable us, as Cherokees, to tell the story of Sequoyah through a uniquely Cherokee perspective. We will be able to do it in our own words and in our own language, which Sequoyah helped advance.


Smith win IHS peer award
11/30/2016 04:00 PM
EL RENO, Okla. – Cherokee Nation citizen Gary Smith was recently given a Peer Recognition Award from the Indian Health Service’s Oklahoma City Area director for his work at the El Reno Indian Health Center.

Smith serves as the sole housekeeper at the El Reno Indian Health Center.

He has worked for the El Reno facility for more than a year and with IHS for 12 years. Prior to Smith’s hire as a full-time housekeeper for the El Reno facility in March 2015, he served seven years with Lawton IHS and five years with W. W. Hastings in Tahlequah. Aside from his daily duties, Smith takes on additional tasks such as repainting the facility, grounds maintenance and ensuring patient and staff safety as the facility safety officer.
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