Tribal marshals recognized
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – Five Cherokee Nation Marshal Service officers were recognized with at the Oct. 19 Cherokee Nation Tribal Council meeting.
Chad McCarter and Brent Mull tied in a vote by their peers to be honored, while the marshals’ Medal of Valor award was given to Shannon Buhl, Tony Asbill and James Carney.
Buhl and Carney are members of the Special Operations Team, which assisted Cherokee County officers with an armed and barricaded subject who was reported for shooting at his neighbors.
Asbill responded to an incident in Mayes County for a reported kidnapping. He assisted the Oklahoma Highway Patrol officer who was being fired at by an individual. Asbill assessed the threat and quickly reacted and helped put an end to the threat.
CNMS Director Sharon Wright said she appreciated the opportunity to honor the officers at the meeting.
“Our officers often go out into situations where the citizens at large are in an unsafe environment and they bring safety back into the environments so I’m very proud of all of them,” Wright said. “Their peers recognized them this year and I’m proud to see them here.”
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – The Cherokee Nation honored a World War II veteran, a Vietnam veteran and a veteran on government contract during Operation Iraqi Freedom with Cherokee Medals of Patriotism during the Sept. 15 Tribal Council meeting.
William Wood, 94, of Vinita; Gary Craig Daugherty, 68, of Stilwell; and Peggy Zuber, 59, of Tulsa, received medals and plaques from Principal Chief Bill John Baker and Deputy Chief S. Joe Crittenden, acknowledging their service to the country.
Wood was born in 1920 to John Edward and Helen Wood. He graduated from Nowata High School and joined the U.S. Air Force in 1942. He attended training in Ontario and Taft, California, learning to fly single engine planes. In 1943, Wood transitioned to the B-25 bomber. He was sent to India in 1944 where his aircraft was shot in the left wing and the tail. In all, Wood flew 63 missions and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, two air medals and four campaign ribbons for his service.
“I can’t explain what it means to be recognized by my tribe,” Wood said. “It’s a great day for me to be recognized by Cherokees, and it’s just something I can’t express.”
Daugherty was born in 1946 to Grover Eugene and Ernestine Craig Daugherty. He attended Wauhillau School for first through eighth grades and graduated from Stilwell High School. In 1969, Daugherty enlisted in the U.S. Army and received basic training at Fort Polk, Louisiana. He was stationed in Germany and served overseas during the Vietnam War. Daugherty received an honorable discharge in 1971 and was awarded the Bronze Star and Army Commendation Medal for his service.
Zuber was born in 1955 to Ray and Nancy Zuber. She followed her father’s footsteps by joining the U.S. Navy in 1976. Zuber completed basic training in Orlando, Florida, and served four years.
After her service, she enlisted in the U.S. Army Reserves. During Zuber’s 17 years, she served in various overseas operations in Belgium and Germany.
After retiring in 2001, she worked as a U.S. Department of Defense contractor on the ground in Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Zuber now works for Cherokee Nation Businesses as a contract analyst for government contracts.
Each month the tribe honors Cherokee service men and women for their sacrifices and as a way to demonstrate the high regard in which the tribe holds all veterans.
Native Americans, including Cherokees, are thought to have more citizens serving per capita than any other ethnic group, according to the U.S. Department of Defense. To nominate a veteran who is a Cherokee Nation citizen, call 918-453-5541 or 1-800-256-0671, ext. 5541.
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – On Sept. 15, the Tribal Council amended the tribe’s election code to address notary public issues stemming from Cherokee Nation citizens in California.
According to the act, the purpose is to address notary public requirements to assure legal notarization of At-Large absentee ballots.
“A voter shall mark his ballot in permanent black or blue ball point ink; seal the ballot in the secrecy envelope; fill it out completely and sign the affidavit on the front of the affidavit envelope in the presence of a notary public; the affidavit envelope must be notarized and the notary seal affixed for the ballot to be counted; and return the documents inside the postage paid return envelope via the United States mail to the Election Commission,” the legislation states. “Only those absentee ballots which are mailed to the Election Commission and which reach the Election Commission post office box in Tahlequah, Oklahoma, no later than 7 p.m. on election day shall be counted; provided that personal delivery of an absentee ballot shall be accepted from the Wednesday prior to election day until election day only if the voter or a person designated by the voter delivers the ballot to the Election Services Office between the hours of 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. during those four days.”
Tribal Councilor Julia Coates abstained from the act’s vote, saying the act would make better policy than legislation.
“I don’t necessarily have any opposition. It’s a fairly meaningless amendment that simply describes how a ballot or an envelope is to be arranged. It’s not something I would necessarily favor legislating,” Coates said. “What I am happy about is that we have worked, and this body has worked, and we have gotten a promise from the Election Commission that they will shift the language on the Cherokee Nation ballot so that it is the same language that is acceptable under California law. And it’s language that should be acceptable under any state, including Oklahoma. So I’m glad for the acknowledgement and the understanding of the people on this body that there was an issue here.”
Tribal Councilor Janelle Fulbright said acquiring a notary in California isn’t as easy as it is in Oklahoma.
“But out there it’s a totally different world. And I think this is going to ease the pathway for them to, you know, make it easier for them to vote, and that’s what we want. And we certainly never intended or meant in any way to disenfranchise someone or make it difficult for them to vote,” she said.
After some discussion, the act passed by acclamation with Coates abstaining.
Also, councilors appointed six people to the Cherokee Health Partners board. The board is comprised of employees from the tribe and Northeastern Health System, which is formerly known as Tahlequah City Hospital. Those appointments were Ricky Kelly, Sandie Taggart, Ami Sams, Brian Hail, Connie Davis and Dr. Roger Montgomery.
According to board’s website, the NHS and CN joined forces to fight heart disease among Native Americans. From this union, Cherokee Health Partners was born. It states that CN and NHS leaders realized they could offer quality care and improved services to both communities if they worked together.
The Tribal Council also approved CN citizen Steven Barrick as a Cherokee Nation Gaming Commissioner.
Barrick replaces Jason Soper. Barrick’s term began on Sept. 16 and will end on Sept. 30, 2017.
The CNGC is the independent tribal gaming regulatory authority that ensures fairness and integrity of gaming activity within CN gaming facilities, as well as to protect the Nation’s assets and the public health and safety of those who work and visit CN gaming facilities.
“It’s a pleasure to serve the Nation and I’m excited to get started,” Barrick said during the meeting.
The council also authorized the tribe to become a National Congress of American Indians member, as well as named Principal Chief Bill John Baker as the tribe’s delegate. The tribe’s alternate delegates included Deputy Chief S. Joe Crittenden and all the Tribal Councilors. The motion passed with Tribal Councilor David Thornton voting against it.
The NCAI is the oldest, largest and most representative American Indian and Alaska Native organization serving the broad interests of tribal governments and communities.
Councilors also passed three resolutions to donate surplus items: a surplus travel trailer to a citizen in Sequoyah County, exercise equipment to the Claremore Housing Authority and three flagpoles to the community organization Owen School House in Park Hill.
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – The Tribal Councils of the Cherokee Nation, United Keetoowah Band and Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians passed three pieces of legislation, including affirming equality among the three tribes, at the annual Tri-Council meeting on Aug. 15 at Northeastern State University.
Although the resolutions passed unanimously, the resolution affirming equality among the three tribes caused about an hour’s worth of debate after CN Tribal Councilor Lee Keener offered an amendment to change the name Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma to Cherokee Nation.
“Our constitution has us as Cherokee Nation only, and also updating or amending this would make it the same as the second and third propositions that are before us,” Keener said. “It would be consistent with all three.”
However, UKB Chief Wickliffe, who chaired the meeting, took issue with the amendment.
“We are representing the Cherokee Nation, the original, all three of us sitting here,” Wickliffe said. “We’re federally recognized. You people are too, and the Eastern Band. I don’t think there needs to be superiority anywhere. If we’re going to work together, let’s do it right.”
Keener said he did not mean to have one tribe over another, but if Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma was to be in the first legislation then it would need to be in the other two as well.
“I’m not understanding. That’s just our name. We’re not better than anyone else that’s just our name,” Keener added. “I don’t understand the opposition.”
After discussion among the three tribes and a recess, a compromise was suggested. Rather than naming all three tribes, the councils decided to accept EBCI Chief Michell Hicks’ suggestion of changing the names to “the three federally recognized Cherokee tribes.”
“Instead of postponing this issue…what if we said the ‘three federally recognized Cherokee tribes.’ And we don’t get into these technicalities because we’re fussing over technicalities here. Make it something more generic. But I think when it comes to the federal government, obviously they’ll recognize the stamps of the three federally recognized Cherokee tribes.”
Wickliffe and Keener, as well as all councilors, accepted the compromise.
The councils also passed a resolution to combat the regulations the federal government is attempting to pass with regards to federal recognition.
Tribal officials said the standards for becoming federally recognized are potentially going to be reduced allowing for smaller state recognized tribes to seek federal recognition.
Currently, to be acknowledged, a tribe must have history dating back nearly 200 years. But with the possible changes it would only mean the group seeking the recognition could have history dating back to the early 1900s. The resolution states the three tribes being against the more lenient guidelines.
CN Tribal Councilor Joe Byrd said legislation was to keep other Cherokee groups throughout the United States from seeking federal recognition.
“We only have three federal recognized tribes in the United States, only three, and we don’t need any more the federal government is attempting to recognize,” he said. “They’re trying to water down policies from the Bureau of Indian Affairs’ state recognized tribes. We do not condone that. So we want to keep three federal Cherokee tribes in the United States and that’s it. That’s all we’re trying to do here.”
The Tri-Council also passed a resolution supporting the establishment of a steering committee for the cultural preservation of historically significant Cherokee sites and heritage events.
The UKB hosted the nearly weeklong Tri-Council gathering, which included pre-meetings and cultural activities. The EBCI will host the next meeting in 2015. According to EBCI officials, they are looking to have the meeting in Red Clay, Tenn.
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – At a special meeting on Aug. 28, the Tribal Council unanimously approved the Cherokee Nation’s fiscal year 2015 comprehensive operating and capital budgets for a total of $731.3 million.
The operating budget, which is the tribe’s overall budget, was approved for approximately $611.7 million. The capital budget, which funds construction projects, was approved for approximately $119.6 million.
According to a previous Cherokee Phoenix story, the tribe had about $73 million more at the beginning of FY15 than it did at the start of FY14. The tribe’s fiscal year runs from Oct. 1 to Sept. 30.
CN officials said the increase was because of new grant awards, increases in motor vehicle tax revenues related to the car tag expansion, changes in the rebate structure of the tobacco tax compact, proceeds from contract support cost settlement as well as increased Indian Health Service funding for the Vinita Health Center and contract health care.
Officials said programs and services that received the largest increases this fiscal year are Higher Education scholarships at $11.37 million and Charitable Contributions with an $890,000 budget increase.
Charitable contributions are made to communities and organizations to improve communities and help organizations perform.
Officials said the Day Training and Summer Youth Employment Program fund received a $275,000 increase, while the Vocational Assistance Program that helps CN citizens train for and gain employment received a $150,000 budget increase.
The Citizens Access to Transparency fund was increased by $650,000 for a total budget of $800,000. This program assists citizens who are seeking information about their tribal government, including how money is spent. The additional funding will provide free one-year subscriptions for the Cherokee Phoenix to Cherokee households with good addresses, both in the 14-county jurisdiction and outside the jurisdiction.
Tribal Council Speaker Tina Glory Jordan said working on the different budgets takes a lot of work.
“This is an ongoing, yearly thing and a very important part of our duties, which we have taken very seriously this year,” she said. “I think everyone on this council has done a very good job. I think we’ve come up with a really good budget for the Cherokee people for the next (fiscal) year.”
Councilors also unanimously modified the tribe’s overall budget for FY14 by $5.45 million for a total budget authority of $623.87 million. Approximately $1.15 million came from grants, while $4.3 million resulted from modification requests such as $2.49 million going to the General Fund and $687,000 going to the Motor Fuel Tax Fund.
The next council meeting is at 6 p.m. on Sept. 15.
BY WILL CHAVEZ
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – Elmer C. Tadpole Jr., his brother Thomas Tadpole and Richard Acorn were the three Cherokee veterans honored with Cherokee Warrior awards during the Aug. 11 Tribal Council meeting.
Elmer was born in June 1940 to Elmer Tadpole Sr. and Lillian Napier Tadpole in Muskogee. His father was an original enrollee with Cherokee family history tracing back to 1737.
When Elmer was 4 years old, his family moved to Tulsa where he grew up and went to school. On his 17th birthday, in 1957, he joined the U.S. Navy Reserves. After graduating from high school he went active duty serving on the USS Woodson DE and USS Hornet CV-12.
The USS Woodson DE was home ported at New Orleans where the boat patrolled from St. Louis down the Mississippi River into the Gulf of Mexico to Miami. He then transferred to the USS Hornet CV-12.
The USS Hornet CV-12 was home ported at Long Beach, Calif., and was part of the Pacific Sixth Fleet patrolling Japan, China, South Korea, Vietnam, Philippines, Hawaii and the West Coast of the United States. After this stint he was transferred to a naval supply and training base in Subic Bay, Philippines.
There, Elmer performed duties such as security and training exercises. He was honorably discharged in June 1963.
Elmer said he accepted the Warrior Award for “all the veterans lost in service.”
Thomas Tadpole was born in Tulsa on July 21, 1948, to Elmer Sr. and Lillian Tadpole.
Thomas lived in Tulsa and graduated from Tulsa Central High School in 1966. In 1968, Thomas volunteered for the U.S. Air Force and completed basic training at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio after which he attended Security Police Training at Lackland AFB. In 1970, Thomas volunteered for duty in Vietnam and served there from September 1970 to September 1971 at Tan Son Nhut Air Base. He was assigned to Military Assistance Command Vietnam/7th Air Force, 12th Recon Intelligence Technical Squadron.
Staff Sgt. Thomas Tadpole was honorably discharged in May 1972 and was awarded various medals and ribbons including USAF Commendation Medal (1971-Vietnam), Vietnam Service Medal with three Campaign Stars, Vietnam Campaign Medal w/device, Vietnam Cross of Gallantry and a Presidential Unit Citation (Vietnam).
Thomas returned to Tulsa where he was re-employed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. He spent 34 years with the Corps of Engineers as a construction representative and project engineer working on military and civil works construction projects in several states and retired in 2004. He and his wife Floy live in Claremore.
“I want to thank you for this. I think this is a great thing to do for veterans,” he said during the meeting.
Richard F. Acorn was born July 20, 1934, in Stilwell to Lillie Mae Acorn and Fred Aguirre in the family home place where Richard still lives. Shortly after his birth, his father and mother divorced. He was raised and adopted by his grandfather and grandmother Rev. John B. Acorn and Adeline Smith Acorn.
After graduating from Sequoyah Indian School in Tahlequah in 1952, Acorn moved to Wichita, Kan., and worked in a sheet metal shop until 1955 when he moved back to Oklahoma to do plumbing with his uncle Bill Acorn. At this time he also met and married Shirley Dreadfulwater.
Acorn was drafted into the Army in 1957. He was sent to Fort Chaffee, Ark., for basic training. After training he was assigned to overseas duty with 7th Army Headquarters, 78th Ordinance Company Field Supply, Mannheim, Germany, and drivers training for military vehicles in Mannheim.
After his tour in Germany, Acorn returned back to the United States to join his family and they moved back to Wichita in 1959 where he worked at Cessna Air Craft Company and joined the U.S. Army Reserve Unit 5048th. He spent four years in the reserves and was honorably discharged in 1963.
In 1965, with the death of his wife, he was left with three girls ages 5, 3 and 18 months. In 1967, he met Judith Ann, who had two girls and two boys, and they married and had a son together. They are still together after 47 years of marriage.
In 1971, Richard moved back to Oklahoma, and in 1973 he began working for the Indian Health Service as an inspector. In 1983, he began working for the Cherokee Nation in Community Development and security. He currently serves as a security guard.
“I’m proud to have been a part of the world’s greatest armed forces. I’m proud to work for the Cherokee Nation,” Acorn said after receiving the Cherokee Warrior medal.
BY WILL CHAVEZ
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – At its Aug. 11 meeting, the Tribal Council approved a request to participate in the Indian Health Service’s 2014 Joint Venture Construction Program so that it can build a hospital in Tahlequah.
If the tribe’s request is approved, the IHS would agree to provide staffing and operations funding. Under the agreement, the Cherokee Nation would purchase the necessary equipment and construct the facility.
The CN has a construction budget of $54.1 million, and the construction is managed by Cherokee Nation Construction Resources LLC.
CN Health Services Executive Director Connie Davis said the CN would not break ground for the hospital until it receives word about whether the tribe can participate in the program. To do so would disqualify the CN from being considered by the IHS.
The IHS is authorized to establish Joint Venture Construction Program projects with tribes for the construction of health care facilities as long as tribes are able to spend tribal funds or other non-IHS funds, including loan guarantees, for the construction of a tribally owned health care facility.
In exchange, for a minimum of 20 years, the IHS agrees to lease the health care facility and the land under a no-cost lease and agrees to provide equipment, supplies and staffing for the operation and maintenance of the facility, according to IHS information.
The CN is receiving funding for the hospital from its business arm, Cherokee Nation Businesses. The CNB board has also allocated additional funding to improve upon the hospital’s plans. In April, the board approved $7.5 million to the hospital’s construction budget to “strengthen” the hospital’s construction in the event of a tornado. In February, it added $650,000 for a 1,500-square-foot area that will house a C-section unit and storage for the intensive care unit.
In other business, the council unanimously approved a resolution to receive 35 to 50 head of bison through the Intertribal Buffalo Council in Rapid City, S.D. The ITBC is a cooperative of 57 Native American nations with more than 15,000 head of bison.
The resolution states “the Cherokee Nation as a working member in the Intertribal Buffalo Council is taking necessary steps for the development and required expertise needed for American Bison husbandry.”
The buffalo are coming from the Badlands of South Dakota and will be fenced in on CN land near Kenwood in Delaware County.
“We’re getting 35 to 50 or whatever we can haul. We’ve already got our fences built on the Cherokee Nation ranch, and we’re ready to receive them,” Tribal Councilor Curtis Snell said.
The council also approved a resolution to accept 1,000 pounds of bison meat from the ITBC. The meat will be distributed during the Cherokee National Holiday, Snell said.
The council also added $3,334 to the tribe’s comprehensive capital budget for fiscal year 2014 for a total budget authority of $103.4 million. Also, $4.6 million was added to the tribe’s comprehensive operating budget for a total budget authority of $618.4 million.
Also, during his State of the Nation address, Principal Chief Bill John Baker said the tribe’s school clothing voucher program has “been a true success,” having provided $100 vouchers to more than 7,000 students.
The next council meeting is 6 p.m. on Sept. 15.