Cherokee language program created for immersion school grads

BY LINDSEY BARK
Reporter
01/23/2018 08:00 AM
TAHLEQUAH – The Cherokee Nation and Cherokee Nation Businesses signed a memorandum of understanding on Jan. 10 to begin a Cherokee language pilot project called the 14th Generation Master Apprentice Program.

The program aims to have select Cherokee Language Master Apprentice Program participants teach the language to Cherokee Immersion Charter School graduates as they enter Sequoyah High School.

“We hope to make an opportunity for them to polish up their language skills and at the same time pass on the teaching techniques that we’ve developed in the adult master-apprentice program for the high school so they can be teachers one day or at least teach their family and friends,” Ryan Mackey, CLMAP curriculum supervisor, said.

The MOU states the “Cherokee Nation and CNB share a common interest in promoting and encouraging the continuous use of the Cherokee language. This requires trained and educated individuals who are prepared to further the proper use of the Cherokee language through instruction of others.”

The program is geared toward immersion school graduates attending SHS to continue learning the language in an after-school program and a 10-week summer intensive learning program.
Video Frame selected by Cherokee Phoenix
Cherokee Language Master Apprentice Program participants learn the language in their new classroom setting on the second story of the Cort Mall on Jan. 10 in Tahlequah. Graduates of CLMAP are expected to become instructors in the new 14th Generation Master Apprentice program. LINDSEY BARK/CHEROKEE PHOENIX Chris Holmes, a Sequoyah High School Cherokee language teacher, helps three students at the in January at the Tahlequah-based school. The Cherokee Nation has created a language program with select Cherokee Language Master Apprentice Program participants teaching Cherokee Immersion Charter School graduates as they enter Sequoyah High School. ROGER GRAHAM/CHEROKEE PHOENIX Sequoyah High School students study the Cherokee language during class on Jan. 18 in Tahlequah. Cherokee Immersion Charter School graduates who attend SHS can now continue learning the language from Cherokee Language Master Apprentice Program participants thanks to a new pilot project called the 14th Generation Master Apprentice Program. ROGER GRAHAM/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Cherokee Language Master Apprentice Program participants learn the language in their new classroom setting on the second story of the Cort Mall on Jan. 10 in Tahlequah. Graduates of CLMAP are expected to become instructors in the new 14th Generation Master Apprentice program. LINDSEY BARK/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
https://www.facebook.com/CASA-of-Cherokee-Country-184365501631027/

‘Killers of the Flower Moon’ author to present at NSU

BY STAFF REPORTS
01/22/2018 04:00 PM
TAHLEQUAH – David Grann, New Yorker writer and bestselling author of “The Lost City of Z” and “Killers of the Flower Moon,” has been named as the guest speaker for the 2018 Larry Adair Lectureship at Northeastern State University.

Grann will offer personal insight on his book “Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and Birth of the FBI,” at 2 p.m. on Feb. 28 in the Center for the Performing Arts.

“Killers of the Flower Moon” has spent more than 20 weeks on The New York Times nonfiction bestseller list, was the finalist for the National Book Award, a finalist for the Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction and was ranked No. 1 on both Shelf Awareness and Amazon’s Best Books of the Year in any category.

The “Killers of the Flower Moon” is set in the 1920s when the Osage Indians became the wealthiest people in the world after the discovery of oil beneath their lands in Oklahoma. The Osage people were murdered in one of the most sinister crimes in American history that became one of the FBI’s first major homicide investigations. The FBI team, which included one of the only Native Americans in the bureau, eventually caught one of the masterminds, but as Grann documents, there was a deeper and darker conspiracy that the bureau never exposed.

Following a bidding war for the film rights to “Killers of the Flower Moon,” a screenplay is now in development by Oscar winner Eric Roth, with Martin Scorsese as director and starring Leonardo DiCaprio.
David Grann “Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and Birth of the FBI”
David Grann

Reed adjusting to Ivy League school

BY KENLEA HENSON
Reporter
01/22/2018 12:00 PM
NEW YORK CITY – Cherokee Nation citizen Miriam Reed is in her second year at Columbia University, where she said she’s adjusting well to college life and New York City.

The 2016 Tahlequah High School graduate chose Columbia after attending its “Engineering Days.”

To pay for her higher learning, she received an annual scholarship of $73,000 for four years from the university and earned the Gates Millennium Scholarship. Receiving the two scholarships not only pay for schooling and books, it also covers living expenses. However, Reed still maintains a part-time job.

The transition to a big city and an Ivy League school was “surprisingly” smooth for Reed. She said she was part of an academic success program that introduced students to the campus and classes before their first semester began, which made adjustment easier.

“I was homesick at first. You miss trees more than you think you would and just little things that you wouldn’t think would be different,” Reed said. “I was part of a five-week program before classes even got started where there was fewer people, and they really took the time to introduce you to the campus and had crash course over the courses you were going to take before you took them for a grade. So it was a bit easier adjustment than it could have been if I didn’t have that.”
Cherokee Nation citizen Miriam Reed is a sophomore at Columbia University in New York City. At Columbia, Reed is involved in clubs and activities and is majoring in operational research. COURTESY Cherokee Nation citizen Miriam Reed, second from left, traveled to Morocco in North Africa this past summer to teach SAT prep to Moroccan high school students wanting to attend college in the United States. COURTESY Shown here with Colombia University mascot “Roar-ee” the lion, Cherokee Nation citizen Miriam Reed is a Columbia University dance team member. The team performs hip-hop, jazz and pom-style routines. It performs at home basketball and volleyball games as well as competes regionally and nationally. COURTESY
Cherokee Nation citizen Miriam Reed is a sophomore at Columbia University in New York City. At Columbia, Reed is involved in clubs and activities and is majoring in operational research. COURTESY

NSU to increase 4-year leadership scholarships

BY STAFF REPORTS
01/18/2018 08:15 AM
TAHLEQUAH – Beginning this fall, Northeastern State University will increase the number of President’s Leadership Class scholarships awarded to incoming freshmen each year.

According to NSU officials, the President's Leadership Class is a unique leadership and scholarship program designed to cultivate the outstanding potential of proven student leaders.

Previously offered to about 15 incoming students each fall, the President’s Leadership Class scholarship will be awarded to 20 incoming freshmen in the fall 2018 semester and will increase to 25 over the next two years. The expansion will allow for a more comprehensive scholarship experience for student leaders, officials said.

In the fall 2018 semester, incoming members of the President’s Leadership Class will receive more than $5,000 per semester for four years for housing, tuition and foundation support.

“The President's Leadership Class is among the very best student aid programs in the state in terms of length (four years) and total value,” NSU President Steve Turner said. “By increasing the number of leadership scholarships over the next two years, we are demonstrating our commitment to meet our state's need for highly skilled college graduates.”?

2018 NAJF student, mentor applications open

BY LINDSEY BARK
Reporter
12/15/2017 08:15 AM
NORMAN, Okla. – The application process for the Native American Journalists Association’s student-training program is open through Jan. 31.

The Native American Journalism Fellowship is a student-training program committed to creating the next generation of storytellers through hands-on training in a weeklong immersion experience with professional journalists.

“The Native American Journalism Fellowship is NAJA’s flagship program for Native media students. It has evolved over more than 25 years into a hands-on experience and has launched the careers of many successful NAJA members through mentorship, training and professional connections,” Rebecca Landsberry, NAJA executive director, said.

College and graduate students will be able to broaden their reporting and multimedia skills by receiving multimedia training, a professional NAJA mentor, skills for job-readiness, connections to media jobs and internships though NAJA’s national network and upper-level college credit hours.

Selected students will attend the 2018 National Native Media Conference set for July 16-22 in Miami, Florida, where they will attend regular meetings with a mentor and participate in all planned webinar trainings. Throughout the remainder of the fellowship, students are required to participate in online check-ins and trainings throughout the year, write and edit reporting assignments for inclusion on the NAJA Native Voice website and seek media-focused internships.
Cherokee Nation citizen Shea Smith, a 2017 fellow from the University of Oklahoma, takes notes during a class on mobile reporting and multi-platform storytelling during the 2017 National Native Media Conference in Anaheim, California. COURTESY
Cherokee Nation citizen Shea Smith, a 2017 fellow from the University of Oklahoma, takes notes during a class on mobile reporting and multi-platform storytelling during the 2017 National Native Media Conference in Anaheim, California. COURTESY
http://www.wherethecasinomoneygoes.com

NSU accepting Symposium on the American Indian proposals

BY STAFF REPORTS
12/13/2017 03:15 PM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – The Northeastern State University American Indian Heritage Committee is accepting proposals for individuals interested in presenting at the 46th annual Symposium on the American Indian.

Priority consideration will be given to proposals received by Dec. 15.

The symposium will be April 16-21 on NSU’s Tahlequah campus. The theme, “Walking with our Ancestors: Preserving Culture and Honoring Tradition,” will provide a space for the Indigenous community to examine American Indian history and reflect on how the collective past influences who American Indians are as Indigenous peoples today.

According to a NSU press release, American Indian people are often left out of conversations about minority groups, and many people believe they are only a part of the past not the present nor the future.

“On the contrary, American Indians are still here preserving their culture and honoring their traditions by incorporating this knowledge into their present day professional careers,” the release states. “While Indigenous communities may look different, they still managed to maintain their identity and hold fast to their language, sovereignty, and Indigenous ways of living.”

4 graduate from Cherokee language program

BY KENLEA HENSON
Reporter
12/08/2017 12:00 PM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – On Dec. 2, the Cherokee Language Master Apprentice Program graduated four students at a graduation ceremony in the Armory Municipal Center.

Larry Carney, of Tulsa; Ronnie Duncan, of Bell; Lisa O’Field, of Hulbert; and Toney Owens, of Rocky Mountain received a certificate of completion, copper gorget and Pendleton blanket.

Operated through the Cherokee Nation’s Community and Cultural Outreach, participants are taught the Cherokee language by master speakers Doris Shell, Cora Flute and Gary Vann. The program is geared towards teaching CN citizens to be proficient conversational Cherokee language speakers and teachers.

Howard Paden, CLMAP manager, said the program stemmed from a “need” for the language.

“This program gets people speaking our language again. You know, we seen a need for it because a lot of the (Cherokee) Immersion (Charter) School parents seen a need to not only push their kids to learn the language but to learn themselves and start having Cherokee speaking households,” Paden said.
Principal Chief Bill John Baker, left, stands with Ronnie Duncan, Lisa O’Field, Larry Carney and Toney Owens at the Cherokee Language Master Apprentice Program graduation ceremony on Dec. 2 at the Armory Municipal Center in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. Along with receiving certificates of completion, each graduate received a copper gorget and a Pendleton blanket. WILL CHAVEZ/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Principal Chief Bill John Baker, left, stands with Ronnie Duncan, Lisa O’Field, Larry Carney and Toney Owens at the Cherokee Language Master Apprentice Program graduation ceremony on Dec. 2 at the Armory Municipal Center in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. Along with receiving certificates of completion, each graduate received a copper gorget and a Pendleton blanket. WILL CHAVEZ/CHEROKEE PHOENIX

CNF, NSU host scholarship workshop

BY BRITTNEY BENNETT
Reporter – @cp_bbennett
12/07/2017 08:00 AM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – The Cherokee Nation Foundation and Northeastern State University’s Native American Support Center hosted a scholarship workshop Nov. 28 for students wanting to get ahead of CNF’s Jan. 31 scholarship deadline.

“This is our first (workshop) through the Native American Support Center as far as hosting the Cherokee Nation Foundation, and so we are looking forward to working with them more and bringing them on campus and getting them involved in our program,” Jade Hansen, NASC advisement and career specialist, said.

The NASC, part of NSU’s Center for Tribal Studies, provides Native students services such as financial aid information to increase retention and graduation rates.

“We really focus these workshops for our new freshmen because a lot of things I’m seeing working here at NSU is that these students are running out of money going into their second year and their third year and their fourth year,” she said. “And so with CNF, it’s pretty much like a hidden gem. It’s getting that information out that a lot of students don’t really know about with the CNF programs.”

Hansen said she was a CNF scholarship recipient while attending NSU.
Video Frame selected by Cherokee Phoenix
Marisa Hambleton, Cherokee Nation Foundation executive assistant, assists Northeastern State University students with their CNF applications during a scholarship workshop on Nov. 28 in the John Vaughn Library on NSU’s campus in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. BRITTNEY BENNETT/CHEROKEE PHOENIX Several Northeastern State University students began completing their Cherokee Nation Foundation online scholarship applications during a workshop hosted by CNF and NSU’s Native American Support Center. The CNF scholarship deadline is Jan. 31. BRITTNEY BENNETT/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Marisa Hambleton, Cherokee Nation Foundation executive assistant, assists Northeastern State University students with their CNF applications during a scholarship workshop on Nov. 28 in the John Vaughn Library on NSU’s campus in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. BRITTNEY BENNETT/CHEROKEE PHOENIX

NSU Center for Tribal Studies accepting emergency grant applications

BY STAFF REPORTS
12/06/2017 04:00 PM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – Northeastern State University’s Center for Tribal Studies is accepting applications for Emergency Fund Grants, which are designed to assist students with one-time emergencies.

The funds awarded are not intended for tuition, fees or campus housing. They are allocated for emergency needs that can affect a student’s ability to be successful in his or her academic endeavors. Emergency needs include transportation-related expenses, unexpected utility bill increases, loss in family income due to illness or death and expenses related to dependent care and/or food shortages.

Grant awards range from $20 to $400 and all applications are considered on a case-by-case basis.
The recipient must be a full-time undergraduate or graduate student at NSU, have proof of citizenship in a federally recognized tribe and be willing to complete the required three hours of volunteer service within 30 days of receiving the award.

More information about the grant and the application can be found at https://offices.nsuok.edu/centerfortribalstudies/Forms.aspx.

Culture

Sunchokes harvested at CN plant site
BY LINDSEY BARK
Reporter
01/22/2018 08:15 AM
TAHLEQUAH – On a cold and windy Jan. 9, Cherokee Nation cultural biologists and Environmental Resources specialists harvested sunchokes, also known as Jerusalem artichokes, at the Heirloom Garden and Native Plant Site on the Tribal Complex.

It is believed the sunchoke was a main food source for Cherokee people prior to European contact.

“The sunchoke is a very important cultural plant. So that was one of the plants that we really wanted to establish in the Seed Bank and the native plant site. We were lucky enough to be gifted some really nice specimens from the Eastern Band (of Cherokee Indians) several years ago. They brought us three really nice plants. The three plants have really expanded,” Environmental Resources Senior Director Pat Gwin said.

Gwin said the sunchoke is able to produce in mass amounts to harvest for the Seed Bank and as a food source.

“Sunchoke, it was an important plant for a reason. It grows an extremely large amount of product for the amount of space, time and effort that you put into it,” he said. “We produce lots and lots of seeds every year.”

Though the harvest ran a little late this season, Gwin said he expected hundreds to thousands of sunchoke tubers to yield. The plant is commonly harvested in the winter and may have been a winter food source for Cherokee because of its ability to grow in cold weather.

Gwin said pre-European contact, the sunchoke was an important food source though it “fell out of favor” after contact. The plant has recently started to rise under the name of Jerusalem artichoke.

The sunchoke resembles a sunflower when in full bloom. When harvested, the tuber underneath the ground resembles a potato, or water chestnut, and has similar qualities and textures due to its root structure.

“When I have cooked these in the past, I’ve noticed that sort of eating them raw kind of tastes like a raw potato or even kind of like water chestnut. If you cook them, and don’t cook them at a high heat, they’ll kind of keep the texture of a water chestnut. They can mostly be cooked just the way that we would cook a potato,” Feather Smith-Trevino, CN cultural biologist, said.

She said sunchokes are not commonly found in a grocery store or produced commercially, possibly because of its inability to “keep” once it is out of the ground.

“With the potato, once we gather those, they can be stored for months and months at a time and they won’t go bad. But with Jerusalem artichokes, once they’re pulled out of the ground their usually only good for maybe about another week to two weeks. They don’t keep much longer than that,” Smith-Trevino said.

For this year’s Seed Bank, around 88 packages were created for Cherokees to grow and harvest their own sunchoke plants.

Education

Residents keep Proctor School’s history alive
BY KENLEA HENSON
Reporter
11/30/2017 08:15 AM
PROCTOR, Okla. – Proctor School closed its doors in 1968 after years of providing children, mostly Cherokees, with education from primary school to eighth grade. Nearly 50 years later, local residents keep the school’s history alive in the form of a community building.

“A lot of people didn’t even know where Proctor was until we got the community center. So I know a lot of people probably don’t know there was a school here or that the school system dates farther back before statehood,” Cherokee Nation citizen Maxine Hamilton, of Proctor, said.

According to the book “History of Adair County,” the area known today as Proctor was a settling point for Cherokee Old Setters and Cherokees who arrived on the Trail of Tears. Once the CN government reformed, it divided its territory into districts with the area that would be known as Proctor being part of the Goingsnake District.

In 1841, the CN established public schools within the districts, and on March 1, 1867, the area received its first school, Tyner’s Valley. It was located on Tyner’s Creek in present-day Proctor.

It was one of eight CN schools established in the district. However, as statehood approached in 1907, and white settlers continued to move in, the tribe no longer controlled schools as they were placed under the secretary of Interior.

Tyner’s Valley caught fire twice during its occupancy. After it burned a second time, the school relocated and was named Proctor School.

Hamilton said her father sold the acreage for the school, which was built for $250.

“Tyner’s Valley didn’t have any glass windows. It just had shutters, and it was heated by a wood heater, and that is what caused both of the schools to burn down,” Hamilton said. “They didn’t want to build it back in same place a third time, so they looked for different place to put it. This land was my dad’s family’s allotted land, and he sold it for the school to be put here.”

It’s unclear exactly when Proctor School was built, but locals say the first term began in 1927.

The school started as a two-room schoolhouse, but as the town expanded and the Frisco Railroad moved in, the population grew and an additional room was needed. At one time the school educated nearly 100 students.

“In the middle room it was third through fifth grade, so the teacher had to teach third grade English, forth grade English then fifth grade English and it was the same with arithmetic. But on Friday afternoons we would have penmanship or spelling, and that’s when everybody would be learning the same,” Hamilton said.

When the Great Depression hit in the 1930s, small towns like Proctor began to die. However, the school continued until 1968 when it consolidated with the Westville School District.

CN citizen Ricky Kindle, of Proctor, was in the school’s last class to graduate the eighth grade. He said there were only four students in his graduating class, including him.

“I think it closed because there just wasn’t very many kids. That last year, there was only 26 kids in the school,” Kindle said. “Even though it was small I think being raised up with my classmates, playing ball and just growing up in a little community made us closer.”

To keep from losing the schoolhouse, residents used the lunchroom as a voting precinct and community events. They also sold meals on Saturdays, had pie auctions and quilt auctions to raise money to keep its electric.

“As long as we were using it for the community, Westville wouldn’t take it. See when the school closed, all the property went to Westville School, but as long as we used it, it was ours,” CN citizen Jake Scott, of Proctor, said.

By 2000, the school had been broken into, vandalized and began caving in. Residents once again banded together to find a solution.

“We decided we needed to tear down the old school house. So we raised money and got a grant to build a new one. We built the new building in the original size as the old schoolhouse, and we used the original sandstone rock that was on the school, not all the way around it, but we put them in front to incorporate something from the original structure,” Scott said.

Today, where the school once stood stands the Proctor Community Center. With original pieces of the school on the structure and pictures of the past covering the walls, the center not only serves as the community’s heart but as a historical reminder.

“There’s a lot of communities that were at one time a pretty good size community, but they don’t exist anymore because they don’t come together or have a place to come together,” Hamilton said. “I think if we didn’t have the community center for us to come together, our community wouldn’t exist, and if we didn’t exist, our history would never be remembered, so it’s important to have a place that can be both.”

Council

Council approves Sovereign Wealth Fund
BY STACIE GUTHRIE
Reporter – @cp_sguthrie
12/14/2017 08:15 AM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – Tribal Councilors on Dec. 11 passed an act that establishes the Cherokee Nation Sovereign Wealth Fund, a fund that is expected to “ensure the continuation of tribal operations and the general welfare of tribal citizens for future generations.”

Tribal Councilor Dick Lay spoke about the act’s importance during the Nov. 14 Rules Committee.

“So the idea was to take a small amount of funding from the businesses, set it aside for just extreme financial emergencies, and I think (Treasurer) Lacey (Horn) and her group have been working along the same lines, so we’re going to try and get those together,” Lay said.

Horn said creating a “permanent fund” was something she had wanted to do, and after working on Lay’s model with Controller Jamie Cole and Assistant Attorney General Chad Harsha they created an act to bring before Council.

“This act establishes a wealth fund, which shall be held by the treasurer in accordance with the act, and assets shall be maintained in an interest-bearing account or otherwise invested to promote growth of the fund's assets,” she said.

Within the fund, Horn said, there would be an Emergency Reserve Fund that would “receive a direct and continuing appropriation.”

“The Emergency Reserve Fund that receives the direct and continuing appropriation of 2 percent of the net income of our dividend-paying corporations as well as not less than 50 percent of funds received by the Cherokee Nation through judgment or settlement of legal claims,” she said. “That’s not to say that we couldn’t put 90 percent. That’s not to say that we couldn’t put some percent higher, but it’s just sort of setting that floor as to what’s going to go into this fund.”
The Motor Fuel Education Trust would also be moved to the new fund, which Horn confirmed would be an added “safety” measure.

“It had previously been collateralized in an interest-bearing CD that was used to borrow funds to build the Vinita (Health) Clinic, and that collateralization was removed whenever we entered into the loan with Bank of Oklahoma for the Tahlequah Joint Venture Project, and so these funds are…free and clear,” she said. “So this will take that fund, put that within the construct of the Cherokee Nation Sovereign Wealth Fund and allow us to invest that fund and continue to grow it.”

Horn said the fund could also have endowments, trusts or other funds incorporated within it periodically. “There’s often endowments, trusts that we receive from individuals that need to be invested for income-generating purposes, and this would be the perfect place to put (those) up underneath as well.”

Horn said all assets for the fund would be “reported and accounted” for separately and would support itself by not relying on any General Fund dollars.

“Expenses incurred and maintenance invested in the fund shall be paid for by the fund. So we won’t be utilizing any General Fund dollars to operate this fund it will be self-sustaining,” she said.

When it comes to distributing the fund’s money, there must be approval from two-thirds of the Tribal Council as well as the principal chief. According to the act, “a distribution from the Reserve Fund may only be made in the event that a financial emergency exists, the severity of which threatens the life, property or financial stability of the Nation.”

Also, according to the act, “a distribution from the Education Trust may only be made to satisfy a substantial need in higher education scholarships resulting from an unexpected funding loss or shortfall and distributions from all endowments, trusts or other funds held in the fund shall be made in accordance with any originating document or restriction applicable thereto, and subject to the appropriation laws of the Cherokee Nation.”

The act also notes that the fund “may not be used to finance or influence political activities.”

“I hope that you can see that we feel very strongly, very happy about this legislation that we put forward, and we hope the Tribal Council feels the same,” Horn said.

Councilors also passed an act relating to the adjustment of dividends known as the Corporation Emergency Dividend Reserve Fund Act, which is included within the Sovereign Wealth Fund.

Lay presented the act during the Oct. 26 Rules Committee meeting where he said it’s not an “original” idea but one that should be implemented as an “emergency fund.”

“It would cause the chief and the super majority of council to bring funding out of it to be used only for abject financial emergencies,” he said.

Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker was pleased to sign the Sovereign Wealth Fund into law.

“The idea of permanent fund was something we discussed within the administration several years ago. Having reached a number of major policy and legislative goals during the past six years, the time was right to focus our attention on this important safety net. I was pleased to sign this important act into law before year’s end, and appreciate the collaborative effort of my team and members of the Council in achieving this goal.”
According to the act, for-profit corporations that the tribe is the “sole or majority shareholder” and are under CN law “shall issue a monthly cash dividend in the amount of 30 percent” from a “special quarterly dividend” they “deem” appropriate. An additional 5 percent is set aside for Contract Health services for citizens. According to the act, another 2 percent would “be set aside exclusively for an unanticipated and extraordinary revenue or funding loss that creates a budget shortfall where appropriation from any other source would be unavailable.”

To view the Sovereign Wealth Fund Act, click here.

To view the Corporation Emergency Dividend Reserve Fund Act, click here.

Health

Blue Cross and Blue Shield hosting enrollment support in Vinita
BY STAFF REPORTS
01/19/2018 10:00 AM
VINITA — Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Oklahoma’s Mobile Assistance Center is hosting an education and enrollment event from 1 to 6 p.m. on Jan. 22 at the Craig County Fairgrounds and Community Center located at 915 E. Apperson Road.

Tribal citizens and all individuals who attend this free come-and-go event are invited to visit with BCBSOK representatives to receive assistance with their health insurance questions and needs. Tribal citizens have the ability to enroll in coverage on the Health Insurance Marketplace at any time, outside of the standard Open Enrollment period. Tribal citizens can also visit to see if they qualify for available financial assistance to help lower the cost of monthly payments. In some cases, this financial assistance may cover the full premium cost. Customer service support will also be available for current members who may have questions about their coverage.

“The Affordable Care Act provides American Indians with opportunities to compare and buy health insurance in a new way,” said BCBSOK President Ted Haynes. “Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Oklahoma wants to help people understand their options so they have an opportunity to enroll and choose a plan that’s right for them.”

To learn more about how to protect their health and finances and save on monthly payments, individuals may attend one of the MAC events, contact an independent, authorized BCBSOK agent, or call BCBSOK’s dedicated customer service representatives and product specialists at 855-636-8702.

To see the full schedule of MAC events, click here. For additional information about health plans and pricing, visit BCBSOK.com

Opinion

OPINION: Never too late to learn Cherokee Language
BY MARK DREADFULWATER
Multimedia Editor – @cp_mdreadfulwat
01/01/2018 02:00 PM
I am Cherokee. I know this because I have a Certificate of Indian Blood card that says so. I also have a blue card that says I’m a citizen of the Cherokee Nation. I have identified as Cherokee my entire life but I have not immersed myself enough in the culture, or most regrettably, the language.

I grew up hearing the Cherokee language, as my dad is a first-language speaker. Cherokee was the only language my paternal grandmother chose to speak on a daily basis. She knew English, but hardly ever spoke it. I heard it so often as a child I was able to understand what my grandmother and dad were saying but never learned to speak, read or write. My granny died when I was 11 and that’s when my knowledge of the language died for me. My dad still spoke it to my aunts and uncles, but for a reason I can’t remember, I stopped really listening to understand it. He would try to get me to learn by giving me directives or asking common questions in Cherokee, but I didn’t take the time to sit down and learn.

As an adult, when people ask if I know how to speak, I tell them I was too busy as a kid playing sports and doing other things to learn. I also took Cherokee I and Cherokee II while at Northeastern State University, but none of the teachings resonated with me. Hearing me say that, and now typing it, I’ve come to realize that is a lame excuse.

I’ll be honest and say I really didn’t see the need to learn the language. I didn’t think knowing Cherokee would get me any further in life. Other than speaking to a few people, I would rarely use it, so why learn. I’ve worked for the Cherokee Phoenix for 11 years. We publish Cherokee stories in our monthly paper and when time allows, we have the translators record audio of the stories in order for readers to hear it spoken by scanning a QR code from a smartphone. I’ve not paid as much attention to it as I should. It’s a great way to see and hear the language.

Now that I’m older, I regret not paying attention to the language growing up and taking the time to learn. I think my generation has made a huge contribution to the downfall of the language. But all is not lost. Although it’s more difficult, it’s not too late to learn. I realize how vital the language is to Cherokees as a people. It is more than a way to communicate. It’s embodies our identity and soul of our tradition, history and the Cherokee way of life.

With the New Year fast approaching, my resolution will be to learn Cherokee. The CN has several outlets as well as online options that are available to learn the language. I also know my dad and aunts will be eager to teach me and I believe they will say, “It’s about time.”

People

AARP Oklahoma opens Indian Elder Honors nominations
BY STAFF REPORTS
01/12/2018 12:00 PM
OKLAHOMA CITY – AARP Oklahoma is accepting nominations for its 10th annual Indian Elder Honors to celebrate 50 Native American elders who have positively impacted their respective communities, families, tribes and nation.

Since its inception in 2009, AARP Oklahoma has recognized 450 elders from all 39 tribal nations in Oklahoma.

“The AARP Indian Elder Honors recognizes the extraordinary contribution of Indian elders – many of whom have never been recognized before,” AARP Oklahoma Volunteer State President Joe Ann Vermillion said.

The 2017 honorees from 33 Oklahoma tribal nations included teachers, veterans, nurses, artists, tribal leaders, language and culture preservationists, champion archer and champion arm wrestler.

Cherokee Nation citizens Mary Rector Aitson, Dianne Barker Harrold, Marcella Morton and Joe T. Thornton, as well as United Keetoowah Band citizen Woody Hansen, were honored in 2017 and presented medallions by national and state AARP officials.

“This event celebrates a lifetime of service from these distinguished elders,” AARP State Director Sean Voskuhl said. “The common thread between the honorees, regardless of the contribution, is the commitment to community and service.”

This year’s Indian Elder Honors will be held Oct. 2 in Oklahoma City. Nomination applications are available at https://www.aarp.org/states/ok/stateeventdetails.eventId=671063&stateCode=OK/.
Nominations may be submitted electronically or mailed to AARP Oklahoma, 126 N. Bryant, Edmond, OK, 73034.

Nominees must be enrolled citizens of federally recognized Oklahoma tribal nations, at least 50 years old and be living. Nominees do not have to be AARP members. For more information, call Mashell Sourjohn at 405-715-4474 or email msourjohn@aarp.org. The deadline for submitting nominations is April 30.
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