Swimmer and Ketcher speak of serving with Mankiller

BY JAMI MURPHY
Senior Reporter – @cp_jmurphy
04/14/2010 07:38 AM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – Two men who worked extremely close with the late Wilma Mankiller during her political career were former Principal Chief Ross Swimmer and former Deputy Chief John A. Ketcher. Both men spoke of their relationships with her during an April 10 memorial service at the Cherokee Nation Cultural Grounds.

Swimmer recalled on how Mankiller got her start at Cherokee Nation.

“When Wilma walked into my office and told me she had recently moved back to Oklahoma…she said, ‘I want to work for the Cherokee Nation. I want to do something for my tribe.’ Well it was pretty obvious to me that she was sincere and I thought that she’d make a good hand.”

He said he hired her for community work and planning, but ended up counting on her to do whatever needed to be done. He said Mankiller was instrumental in getting 16 miles of waterline laid in the Bell community as a self-help project.

“It was a learning experience for all of us and Wilma took it to heart,” Swimmer said. “She said this is the way the Cherokees should work and work together. And I said, ‘ well Wilma, let’s just make this a standard for the Cherokee Nation. Let’s create this Community Development Department and let’s do this from now on.’”

Swimmer said she took the position in the new department and everything they did from then on involved the people and her motivation to get the work done.

He also spoke of when he asked her to run for the deputy chief seat for the 1983 election. Mankiller won the seat and Swimmer was re-elected as principal chief. They served together from 1983-85. In 1985, Swimmer took a Bureau of Indian Affairs job and Mankiller assumed the principal chief position. However, before the 1983 election, Swimmer said she had no idea he was going to ask her to run as his deputy chief candidate.

“She was taken back and said, ‘let me think about it.’ I did not give a thought to the fact that she was a woman. I thought she was the best candidate that I had available to run and that she would do a wonderful job,” he said.

“Sometimes the Creator puts us in the right place at the right time, and I was in the right place 34 years ago when I met Wilma,” he added.

Ketcher, who served as deputy chief under Mankiller from 1985-95, said she was like a family member from the day they entered office together. However, Ketcher didn’t really know Mankiller two years before serving as her deputy chief.

“This lady stopped me in the hallway and asked what I thought the chances of Wilma becoming the deputy chief to Chief Swimmer. Since I didn’t even know that Wilma was an employee of the Cherokee Nation or anything about her work history, my answer was no opinion.”

He said as the campaign heated up, he learned of her work and what she had done for the CN.

“The voters liked what they heard also and the Swimmer/Mankiller ticket was successful. I, too, had entered the race for one of the seats for the 15-member Cherokee Nation Council at that time. I garnered enough votes to get the 15th seat, the last one that was available.”

Once Swimmer took the BIA job and Mankiller became principal chief, the council chose Ketcher to replace her as deputy chief for the rest of the 1983-87 term. Mankiller picked Ketcher as her deputy chief candidate for the 1987 election, and again in 1991.

“We went to the people for our term of four years on our own. We ran together as a team. Voters must have approved of what was happening and we were elected.”

Ketcher said she always reminded him to talk with the people, not to the people.

“See what they’re thinking because they have opinions, too,” he said. “This included everybody, especially the elders.”
About the Author
Reporter

Jami Murphy graduated from Locust Grove High School in 2000. She received her bachelor’s degree in mass communications in 2006 from Northeastern State University and began working at the Cherokee Phoenix in 2007.

She said the Cherokee Phoenix has allowed her the opportunity to share valuable information with the Cherokee people on a daily basis. 

Jami married Michael Murphy in 2014. They have two sons, Caden and Austin. Together they have four children, including Johnny and Chase. They also have two grandchildren, Bentley and Baylea. 

She is a Cherokee Nation citizen and said working for the Cherokee Phoenix has meant a great deal to her. 

“My great-great-great-great grandfather, John Leaf Springston, worked for the paper long ago. It’s like coming full circle. I’ve learned so much about myself, the Cherokee people and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it.”

Jami is a member of the Native American Journalists Association, and Investigative Reporters and Editors. You can follow her on Twitter @jamilynnmurphy or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/jamimurphy2014.
jami-murphy@cherokee.org • 918-453-5560
Reporter Jami Murphy graduated from Locust Grove High School in 2000. She received her bachelor’s degree in mass communications in 2006 from Northeastern State University and began working at the Cherokee Phoenix in 2007. She said the Cherokee Phoenix has allowed her the opportunity to share valuable information with the Cherokee people on a daily basis. Jami married Michael Murphy in 2014. They have two sons, Caden and Austin. Together they have four children, including Johnny and Chase. They also have two grandchildren, Bentley and Baylea. She is a Cherokee Nation citizen and said working for the Cherokee Phoenix has meant a great deal to her. “My great-great-great-great grandfather, John Leaf Springston, worked for the paper long ago. It’s like coming full circle. I’ve learned so much about myself, the Cherokee people and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it.” Jami is a member of the Native American Journalists Association, and Investigative Reporters and Editors. You can follow her on Twitter @jamilynnmurphy or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/jamimurphy2014.

News

BY STAFF REPORTS
07/01/2016 03:00 PM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – The Cherokee Nation celebrates Charles L. Head Day in July. The tribe’s late secretary of state created the ONE FIRE against violence victim services office and task force to help victims of domestic abuse, sexual assault and dating violence. For a full list of other CN events in July, see below. <strong>July 1</strong> The Summer Food Service Program at Sequoyah High School in Tahlequah will operate through July 8. Breakfast is provided from 7 a.m. to 8 a.m. with lunch provided from 11 a.m. to noon, except on weekends and Fourth of July. For more information, call 918-453-5191. <strong>July 4</strong> The W.W. Keeler Complex, satellite offices and health centers will be closed for Independence Day. CN W.W. Hastings Hospital urgent care and emergency department as well as other CN emergency services will remain open. <strong>July 6</strong> 10 a.m. – Cultural Tourism presents its Stories on the Square event series on the Capitol Square in the gazebo in Tahlequah. For more information, visit <a href="http://www.visitcherokeenation.com" target="_blank">www.visitcherokeenation.com</a> or call 1-877-779-6977. <strong>July 8</strong> 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. – “Know Your Sugar” tour to raise awareness against diabetes visits W.W. Hastings Hospital. Artists will unveil a Cherokee-inspired sculpture made from hundreds of sugar cubes on display in the pharmacy area. 5 p.m. – Deadline to apply for the 2016 Miss Cherokee Leadership Competition for Cherokee women ages 17-22. To download the application, visit <a href="http://www.cherokee.org" target="_blank">www.cherokee.org</a> and click on the Cherokee Ambassadors link in the education section of the services tab. For more information, call 918-453-5000, ext. 4991. <strong>July 12</strong> 6 p.m. – Tribal Council meeting at the W.W. Keeler Complex. For the agenda, visit http://legislative.cherokee.org. <strong>July 15</strong> 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. – “Of The Earth” exhibit at Cherokee National Prison Museum in Tahlequah will be on display through Nov. 30. The exhibit is on gardening through the years and its importance to the Cherokee people. For more information, visit <a href="http://www.visitcherokeenation.com" target="_blank">www.visitcherokeenation.com</a> <strong>July 14</strong> 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. – GrowthWheel workshop for entrepreneurs, hosted by CN Small Business Assistance Center, will be held at Rogers State University Bartlesville campus. Attendees will participate in a hands-on, action-oriented program designed to help entrepreneurs at all stages overcome their barriers to growth. For more information, call 918-207-3955. <strong>July 13</strong> 10 a.m. – Cultural Tourism presents its Stories on the Square event series on the Capitol Square in the gazebo in Tahlequah. For more information, visit <a href="http://www.visitcherokeenation.com" target="_blank">www.visitcherokeenation.com</a> or call 1-877-779-6977. <strong>July 18</strong> 10 a.m. – CN hosts a ceremony at the Court Square in recognition of Charles L. Head Day, the tribe’s late secretary of state. The event will feature a butterfly release to raise awareness for victims of domestic violence, dating violence and child abuse. <strong>July 19</strong> 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. – Growth Wheel workshop for entrepreneurs, hosted by CN Small Business Assistance Center, will be held at the Sallisaw Career Services office. Attendees will participate in a hands-on, action-oriented program designed to help entrepreneurs at all stages overcome their barriers to growth. For more information, call 918-207-3955. <strong>July 20</strong> 10 a.m. – Cultural Tourism presents its Stories on the Square event series on the Capitol Square in the gazebo in Tahlequah. For more information, visit <a href="http://www.visitcherokeenation.com" target="_blank">www.visitcherokeenation.com</a> or call 1-877-779-6977. 5 p.m. – Deadline to apply for the Junior Miss Cherokee Leadership Competition, girls ages 13-18, and Little Cherokee Ambassadors Competition, boys and girls ages 4-12. To download the application, visit www.cherokee.org and click on the Cherokee Ambassadors link in the education section of the services tab. For more information on the Junior Miss Cherokee Leadership Competition, call 918-453-5397. For more information on the Little Cherokee Ambassador Competition, call 918-525-2266. <strong>July 21</strong> Noon – CN Community & Cultural Outreach’s Lunch & Learn lecture series presents a presentation and book signing with CN citizen and author Dr. Julie Reed. Reed will be discussing her book “Serving the Nation: Cherokee Sovereignty and Social Welfare, 1800-1907.” The event will be located in the Osiyo Training Room behind the CN Gift Shop in Tahlequah. For more information, email <a href="mailto: catherine-gray@cherokee.org">catherine-gray@cherokee.org</a>. 10 a.m. to11:30 a.m. – Growth Wheel workshop for entrepreneurs, hosted by CN Small Business Assistance Center, will be held at the Tulsa Career Services. Attendees will participate in a hands-on, action-oriented program designed to help entrepreneurs at all stages overcome their barriers to growth. For more information, call 918-207-3955. <strong>July 26</strong> 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. –Tribal Councilor Harley Buzzard hosts a community meeting at the Jay Community Center. Several CN departments and services will be on site to provide citizens with information on the tribe’s programs and services. Sandwiches and refreshments will be served, with door prizes also given away. 12:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. – Cooweescoowee Health Center hosts a blood drive in Ochelata that is open to the public. For more information, call 918-535-6042 or 918-535-6044. <strong>July 27</strong> 10 a.m. – Cultural Tourism presents its Stories on the Square event series on the Capitol Square in the gazebo in Tahlequah. For more information, visit <a href="http://www.visitcherokeenation.com" target="_blank">www.visitcherokeenation.com</a> or call 1-877-779-6977. 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. – The Vinita Health Center hosts Sports Physical Day for the student-athletes in the area. For more information, call 918-256-4822. <strong>July 28</strong> 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. – Growth Wheel workshop for entrepreneurs, hosted by CN Small Business Assistance Center, will be held at the Housing Authority of the Cherokee Nation office in Claremore. Attendees will participate in a hands-on, action-oriented program designed to help entrepreneurs at all stages overcome their barriers to growth. For more information, call 918-207-3955. 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. – CN Cancer Survivor Group hosts the group’s monthly meeting at W.W. Hastings Hospital in Tahlequah. Open to all cancer survivors, family members and caretakers. For more info, call 918-453-5759. <strong>July 29</strong> 7:05 p.m. – Come out to the ballpark and experience CN Night at ONEOK Field as the Tulsa Drillers take on the Arkansas Travelers. Several CN services and departments will be on site to provide fans with information on the tribe’s many programs and services. To purchase tickets, visit <a href="http://www.tulsadrillers.com" target="_blank">www.tulsadrillers.com</a>.
BY STAFF REPORTS
07/01/2016 10:00 AM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – Congratulations to Wauneta Wine of Columbia, Maryland, on winning a soapstone carving made by Cherokee sculptor Matthew Girty as part of the second Cherokee Phoenix giveaway. The carving, titled “Old Settlers,” is approximately 5 inches tall, including its wooden base, and 5 inches wide and depicts a Cherokee person. Wine was selected as the winner during a July 1 drawing. Entries for the quarterly giveaways are obtained by people donating to the Cherokee Phoenix elder fund or buying a subscription or merchandise. One entry is given for every $10 spent. The Cherokee Phoenix will hold its third drawing on Oct. 1 when it gives away four painted tiles by Cherokee artist MaryBeth Timothy of MoonHawk Art. The tiles are 6 inches by 8 inches titled “Bear Clan” with a bear, “Ancient Glory” with an eagle, “PeekaBoo” with a wolf and “Seven” or “GaLiQuoGi” with horses. For more information regarding the giveaways, call Samantha Cochran at 918-207-3825 or Justin Smith at 918-207-4975 or email <a href="mailto: samantha-cochran@cherokee.org">samantha-cochran@cherokee.org</a> or <a href="mailto: justin-smith@cherokee.org">justin-smith@cherokee.org</a>. For more information on Cherokee Custom Carvings, email <a href="mailto: cherokeecustomcarvings@gmail.com">cherokeecustomcarvings@gmail.com</a>. For more information on MoonHawk Art, email moonhawkart@gmail.com or visit <a href="http://www.moonhawkart.com" target="_blank">http://www.moonhawkart.com</a>.
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. For more information, visit <a href="http://www.ruraloklahoma.org" target="_blank">www.ruraloklahoma.org</a>.
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. “We’ve had two youth lock-ins with about 50 students, and we train on leadership, healthy lifestyles and teambuilding,” she said. “It’s providing them a place to go that is positive.” The teens also go through leadership training and work on community service projects together. The Spavinaw Community Building Board Inc., of Mayes County, received the Elder Care Award. Three days a week they cook meals for about 60 seniors and hold sessions on elder care, blood pressure checks, signs of dementia and other topics. They also deliver food to homebound seniors. “We have to check on our elders to make sure they are OK in our community,” board member Susan Winn said. “It’s important these elders see someone or have someone to talk to, since in many cases most are in a one-resident home.” Winn said she was honored by the Nation’s recognition. “I was almost in tears, I was so proud. It’s the first award for us and a milestone.” The following organizations received the following Community Impact Awards: • Newcomer of the Year Award: P.O.T.L.U.C.K. Society of Claremore • Mary Mead Volunteerism Award: Brushy Cherokee Action Association, Sequoyah County • Most Improved Award: C.C. Camp Community Organization of Adair County • Best in Technology Award: Tahlequah Men’s Shelter and Cherokees of Orange County, Calif. • Continuing Education Award: #4Hope Inc. of Locust Grove • Elder Care Award: Spavinaw Community Building Board Inc. and Colorado Cherokee Circle of Denver • Evaluations and Outcomes Measurements Award: Encore! Performing Society of Tahlequah • Best-In-Reporting Award: Stilwell Public Library Friends Society of Adair County and Cherokee Community of Central California • Technical Assistance Award: Tri-Community W.E.B. Association in Briggs • Grant Writer of the Year Award: Cherokee Elders Council of Locust Grove • Strong Hands Award: Orchard Road Community Outreach of Stilwell • Cultural Perpetuation Award: Cherokee National Treasures Association and Valley of the Sun Cherokees of Phoenix • Historical Preservation Award: Adair County Historical & Genealogical Association and San Diego Cherokee Community • Lifetime Achievement Award: George and Linda Miller of Webbers Falls • Community Partnership Award: Cherokees for Black Indian History Preservation in Tahlequah and Capital City Cherokees of Washington, D.C. • Outstanding Communication Award: Indian Women’s Pocahontas Club of Claremore and Cherokee Community of North Texas of Dallas • Above and Beyond Award: Neighborhood Association of Chewey • Youth Participation Award: Encore! Performing Society of Tahlequah and Kansas City Cherokee Community • Mission Accomplished Award: Native American Association of Ketchum • Community Inspiration Award: Breanna Potter of Sequoyah County and Roger Vann of Adair County (posthumously) • Organization of the Year Award: Neighborhood Association of Chewey in Adair County and Mount Hood Cherokees of Eugene, Oregon.
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. “I’ve always really wanted to contribute to Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office because I’ve regularly contributed to law enforcement agencies in Rogers County,” Anglen said. “So I found a connection and made it happen. Tulsa County is a big county and while I don’t have it all in my district, I do have a huge amount of it that’s served by Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office’s protection. They deserve some of that money just like any other law enforcement agency.”
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. <a href="http://www.cherokeephoenix.org/Docs/2016/6/10415_7.12.16CherokeePhoenixEditorialBoardMeetingAgenda.pdf" target="_blank">Click here to view</a>the agenda. Dial-in: 866-210-1669 Entry code: 4183136#