CN Deputy Chief S. Joe Crittenden and Julie Erb-Alvarez were selected as distinguished alumni and will receive their honors on Sept. 29 at the Alumni Association Honors Dinner and again Sept. 30 at the homecoming Emerald Ball. Both events are open to the public.
Awards are presented annually to NSU alumni who, through personal achievement and service, have brought honor and distinction to both themselves and the university, a NSU release states.
Crittenden graduated from NSU in 1974 with a bachelor’s degree in accounting and business administration. Crittenden has previously served on the Tribal Council, as the Eastern Oklahoma vice president for the National Congress of American Indians and as a U.S. Postal Service postmaster. He is also a Navy veteran.
“It is an honor to receive this award from Northeastern State University,” Crittenden said. “It has been 43 years since I graduated from the university, and I still wear my gold NSU class ring every single day. I was an atypical college student, returning to school after serving in the U.S. Navy during Vietnam. However, I was blessed to receive an excellent education at NSU, and what I learned there helped guide me on a long career of public service.”
TAHELQUAH, Okla. – The Northeastern State University Alumni Association board of directors has chosen two Cherokee Nation citizens as 2017 honorees of the university’s Distinguished Alumnus awards.
The $15,475 donation was matched through the foundation’s “Leave a Legacy” program and now totals more than $30,000, the release states.
“We learned about the foundation’s matching program and couldn’t resist the opportunity to double our dollars and make a lasting impact on future generations of Sequoyah graduates,” Dewayne Marshall, Sequoyah High School Alumni Association president, stated in the release. “We know that scholarships can sometimes be the deciding factor on whether or not a student goes to college and hope that our endowment will help bridge that gap. It’s important for them to know that there are alumni that care about them and support their pursuit of higher education, and hopefully, they return one day and do the same for others following in their footsteps.”
According to the release, the endowment will support one $1,500 scholarship each year to a SHS graduating senior to attend the university of his or her choice. The scholarship is payable to the university and can be applied to tuition, books, fees, housing or other education-related expenses.
“It is a great thing to impact the life of a student, and we are thrilled to have another donor join us in our mission to support Cherokee students,” CNF Executive Director Janice Randall said in the release. “We are thankful for the support we have received from our board of directors and Cherokee Nation administration and hope others will take advantage of this opportunity while it lasts.”
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. — According to a Cherokee Nation Communications release, the Sequoyah High School Alumni Association has created a scholarship opportunity for Cherokee students with the Cherokee Nation Foundation.
First Nations will award five $1,000 scholarships to Native college students majoring in agriculture and related fields, including but not limited to agribusiness management, agriscience technologies, agronomy, animal husbandry, aquaponics, environmental studies, fisheries and wildlife, food production and safety, food-related policy and legislation, food science and technology, horticulture, irrigation science, nutrition education and sustainable agriculture or food systems.
Complete information and a link to the online application can be found at www.firstnations.org/grantmaking/scholarship
. All applications must be completed and submitted by 5 p.m. Mountain Daylight Time on Sept. 28.
To be eligible, applicants must:
• Be a full-time undergraduate or graduate student majoring in an agricultural-related field, or be able to demonstrate how their degree program relates to Native food systems,
LONGMONT, Colo. – The First Nations Development Institute is accepting applications for its First Nations Native Agriculture& Food Systems Program that aims to encourage more Native American college students to enter the agricultural sector.
"He was just known for being the guy that you would go to," Andrew McKenzie recalls of his great-grandfather, whose many projects included the documentation of Kiowa history, cultural artifacts and language.
The elder McKenzie's method for writing Kiowa using English characters is still used, in a modified version, by researchers today. And Andrew McKenzie, who grew up knowing bits and pieces of the language, is one of them.
McKenzie, an assistant professor of linguistics at the University of Kansas, recently secured a grant from the federal government that will allow him to continue his great-grandfather's work in preserving the Kiowa language — a pressing need, McKenzie says, as the number of fluent Kiowa speakers dwindles by the year.
"Languages only exist in our minds, so once those speakers leave us, they take the knowledge with them, essentially, unless that knowledge is preserved through documentation," says McKenzie, who began formally studying Kiowa about 20 years ago. "In that sense, the documentation becomes essential because it would allow the language to survive into the future."
LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — At the time of his death in 1999, Parker McKenzie was regarded as the oldest living member of the Kiowa tribe. Born in a teepee in Oklahoma three years prior to the 20th century, he was also widely recognized as an amateur linguist who played a fundamental role in developing a dictionary of his native Kiowa language nearly 100 years ago.
Cherokee Nation Cultural Tourism awards the grants in the spring and fall to elementary public schools within the tribe’s 14-county jurisdiction.
Complimentary curriculum is provided to schools that receive grants and is available to teachers upon registration. Curriculum includes a teacher’s guide to prepare students for the education tour as well as a student activity.
The Cherokee History Tour visits the tribe’s historic Capitol Square, Cherokee National Supreme Court Museum, Cherokee National Prison Museum, Murrell Home, Cherokee Heritage Center and the ancient Cherokee village Diligwa in the Tahlequah area.
The Will Rogers Tour visits the Will Rogers Memorial Museum in Claremore and Dog Iron Ranch in Oologah.
CATOOSA, Okla. – The Cherokee Nation is accepting grant applications until Sept. 29 for its fall education tours. The sponsored tours provide an exclusive look at Cherokee Nation’s rich history and culture.
The Rogers County school has about 1,300 students enrolled in grades pre-kindergarten through 12.
Principal Chief Bill John Baker and Dist. 14 Tribal Councilor Keith Austin, of Claremore, visited presented the check to Claremore-Sequoyah Schools Superintendent Dr. Terry Saul.
“We are very appreciative of this partnership between the Sequoyah School district and the Cherokee Nation,” Saul said. “Our school and community would like to extend a heartfelt thank-you to Chief Baker and Councilor Austin for hearing our need and providing for our school and community.”
In operation since 1908, the gymnasium hosts events such as athletic events and practice to community events.
CLAREMORE, Okla. – Cherokee Nation officials donated $15,000 to Claremore-Sequoyah Schools on July 20 to purchase the school’s first gymnasium air-conditioning unit.
This year the summit was held July 16-25 and had approximately 150 Native American, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian students representing 76 tribes.
While attending, students could tour animal and food sciences labs as well as horticulture and freight farm programs at the University of Arkansas. They also toured the Quapaw Tribe’s food and agriculture facilities.
Summit counselor Odessa Oldham said the summit is important because it highlights the significance of learning about food and agriculture. She also said 2017 marked the “biggest” year for attendance.
“The summit is about getting Native American youth involved in agriculture. Embracing our culture and indigenous heritage, more so advocating for education and the importance of food,” she said. “We’ve been getting bigger and bigger. This year is our biggest year.”
QUAPAW, Okla. – Now in its fourth year, the Native Youth in Food and Agriculture Leadership Summit continues to teach Native students about food and agriculture while introducing them to tribes and programs that work within those industries.
“CCPI has grown so much throughout the years, and we are beyond thankful for the support we continue to receive from our academic partners,” CNF Executive Director Janice Randall said. “In only six years we have helped hundreds of Cherokee students prepare to chase their dreams and know that they will achieve great things for themselves and for the Cherokee Nation.”
The weeklong program helped students explore schools of interest, research scholarship opportunities and navigate the application process.
“We push the students to get outside of their comfort zones and explore all possibilities,” CNF Program Coordinator Jennifer Sandoval said. “Once they gather all the information and consider scholarships, they may find that their dream school is within reach and may be more affordable than they thought. Our staff is here to help guide them through the process and connect them to information and resources that will allow them to make the best decision for their future.”
The students stayed in traditional dorms and explored the campus to gain a better understanding of what college life is really like.
POTEAU, Okla. – The Cherokee Nation Foundation recently wrapped up its sixth annual Cherokee College Prep Institute at Carl Albert State College with nearly 30 high school juniors and seniors connecting with university representatives.
In Adair County, eligible schools are Cave Springs, Dahlonegah, Greasy, Maryetta, Peavine, Rocky Mountain, Watts, Westville and Zion.
In Cherokee County, eligible schools are Briggs, Grand View, Hulbert, Keys, Lowrey, Norwood, Peggs, Shady Grove, Tenkiller and Woodall.
In Sequoyah County, eligible schools are Belfonte, Brushy, Gans, Gore, Liberty, Marble City, Moffett, Muldrow and Vian.
The Carolyn Watson Rural Oklahoma Community Foundation, a fund administered by the Oklahoma City Community Foundation, is designed to enhance and enrich learning opportunities for students via grants ranging from $1,000 to $5,000. Eligible classes range from pre-kindergarten to 12th grade for projects focusing on arts and humanities, science or literacy.
OKLAHOMA CITY – Some schools located within the Cherokee Nation are eligible to apply for Classroom Enhancement Grants through the Carolyn Watson Rural Oklahoma Community Foundation to increase funding.
PARK HILL, Okla. – Cherokee Heritage Center visitors had the chance to get a glimpse into the CHC’s permanent archive collections with the “Preserving Cherokee Culture: Holding the Past for the Future” exhibit that was set to run Aug. 14-19.
“We want to just feature things that people don’t get to see very often. On average only about 1 percent of a museums holdings are on display at any given time, so this will give people a little inside look into more of the items that we have,” Callie Chunestudy, CHC curator, said.
Nearly 60 historical artifacts were selected for the exhibit, including Gen. Stand Waite’s bowie knife, a hand-written first draft of the Articles of Agreement between the Cherokee Nation and U.S. governments in 1866, photographs and more.
Chunestudy said the goal is to find a way to create a new archives and collections building.
“We are in need of a new archives and collections building, so we want to feature some of the rare and special items that we do hold so the people can understand that we really need updated housing for these,” she said. “We’ve outgrown our space immensely, and it’s time for an up-to-date archives and collections building that we’re hoping to raise money for.”
All the archives and collections are stored in the CHC basement, which Chunestudy said doesn’t allow for proper preservation techniques.
“It’s a little difficult to climate control and things like that just because of the structure of the building, and so we’re looking at building a new facility that will be up-to-date and in line for best practices for housing these items,” she said. “Without a new archives and collections building the items that are currently housed in the basement of the (Cherokee) Heritage Center are in danger of becoming damaged. It’s a secure space, but it’s not up to best practices for archives and collections so our goal is to bring that up to par.”
CHC Director Charles Gourd said those at the CHC have a “responsibility” to preserve and protect the tribe’s history.
“One of the primary functions and purposes of the Cherokee National Historical Society, and then now the (Cherokee) Heritage Center, is the preservation of our material culture. Those objects of cultural patrimony and things that are important to our history,” he said. “In the (19)95 Constitution, we were mandated and specifically designated as the repository. Now, we’re the designated repository as an act of the (Tribal) Council in 1985 to back that up. So we have a responsibility to preserve and protect all of these objects that are important to Cherokee history, government and the Cherokee people.”
According to a CHC press release, the Cherokee National Archives has more than 40,000 items in collections and 200,000 items in archives dating back to pre-European contact.
The CHC is located at 21192 S. Keeler Drive. For more information, call 918-456-6007 or visit www.cherokeeheritage.org
WELLING, Okla. – Cherokee campers not only survived but won over the “2017 Camp Cherokee Zombie Apocalypse” held July 16-21 at the Heart of the Hills campsite.
Cherokee Nation Education Services officials said “a virus” spread during the camp days across the campsite requiring campers to learn survival skills while searching for a cure.
Camp Cherokee Director Mark Vance called the zombie-themed program a success.
“Everyone is enjoying the classes. Everyone is engaged. The kids are having a blast...the staff worked hard, which made for a successful camp,” he said.
Officials said electronic devices were not allowed during camp week, although educational tools like iPads and drones were provided in individual classes. This year 150 campers attended the camp, and the camp was open to students who are CN citizens entering eighth through 12th grades for the 2017 school year.
Camp Cherokee Special Projects Coordinator Tonya Bryant said campers had 12 classes to choose from this year, including six arts classes and six science classes. Arts classes consisted of performing arts, choir, a “ZombieCom” newsroom, pottery, stickball and making traditional Cherokee weapons. Campers also participated in a science class and studied bacteria and viruses at a “Centers for Disease Control.”
“We had performing arts classes where kids learned the dance from Michael Jackson’s iconic album ‘Thriller,’” Bryant said.
Cherokee Youth Choir Director Mary Kay Henderson held vocal classes while Cherokee National Treasure Noel Grayson taught flint knapping and stone tool making."
Through the undead theme, campers learned survival skills, emergency management, journalism and timely bacterial research, which ended the “Zombie Apocalypse” on the last day of camp when a cure was found.
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – Dr. Mike Dobbins, of Fort Gibson, said he’s ready to serve his first term as the Dist. 4 Tribal Councilor and looks to improve the Cherokee Nation’s health care system.
Dobbins will take his councilor seat with 37 years of experience in health care, practicing dentistry for 20 of those years.
“I chose to run because from a distance I’ve become quite familiar with the Cherokee health system, and there are some great things about it. The framework’s in place…and a lot of good has transpired. With my experience I feel like I can lend some expertise to help improve the system. That was my primary motive in running for council...to see what I could do to improve the health care system,” Dobbins said.
He said he has more to learn about the CN Health Services and how it functions on a daily basis.
Dobbins is also involved in higher education, teaching at dental schools for the past 17 years and assisting Cherokee students interested in health care.
“I’ve assisted multiple Cherokee students with scholarship opportunities, not only with Cherokee scholarships, but with other Native American scholarships and try to help them go through college with little-to-no debt as possible,” he said.
He said in Dist. 4, he’s also heard concerns from CN citizens about housing issues.
“I’m also knowledgeable of the fact that there’s a lot of other Cherokee needs (including) infrastructure, housing, elder care. I’m also sensitive to those areas as well. I plan to be a multi-purpose councilman,” Dobbins said. “I’m on the outside right now, but I intend to see (and) get familiarized with the housing program and make sure that citizens of District 4 are considered for any housing possibilities.”
The 2017 Tribal Council election was Dobbins’ second attempt at becoming a CN legislator. He said he learned from his “mistakes” four years ago and that it was a “less stressful” campaign this time around.
“I ran four years ago and lost by two (votes) to an 18-year incumbent,” he said. “You learn by experience, and I enlisted more help, actually, this time. I tried to do a lot of myself four years ago. I’d say…most importantly I learned what not to do rather than what to do.”
Dobbins said he has an obligation to serve not only the CN citizens who helped or voted for him, but also those who did not.
“I’m their councilman now, and I feel a deep debt of obligation to fulfill that duty,” he said. “I just look forward to serving the Cherokee people on the council. I do have a busy schedule but I feel like I will be accessible. I have a busy schedule outside my councilman responsibilities, but my councilman responsibility will be my priority.”
AUSTIN, Texas – Casting for Recovery, a national nonprofit organization providing free fly fishing retreats for women with breast cancer, will hold a retreat exclusively for Native American women in October in Tahlequah, Oklahoma.
Set for Oct. 13-15, Native American women who reside in Oklahoma and have received a breast cancer diagnosis are eligible to apply. Up to 14 women will be randomly selected to attend the retreat at no cost. Meals, lodging, equipment and supplies will be provided for each participant. The deadline to apply is Aug. 11.
CfR officials said Native American women face numerous cultural and economic barriers to cancer care. By providing support, education and resources, CfR officials said they hope to improve the quality of life for Native American women, creating a ripple effect for health in their communities.
CfR officials said the program empowers women with educational resources, a new support group and fly fishing, which promotes emotional, physical, and spiritual healing. For more information or to apply for this retreat, visit https://castingforrecovery.org/breast-cancer-retreats/arkansas-oklahoma/
or call Susan Gaetz at 512-940-0246.
CfR is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit founded in 1996 featuring a program that combines breast cancer education and peer support with the therapeutic sport of fly fishing. Officials said its retreats offer opportunities for women to find inspiration, discover renewed energy for life and experience healing connections with other women and nature. CfR’s retreats are open to women of all ages, all stages of breast cancer treatment and recovery, and are free to participants.
?For more information, visit https://castingforrecovery.org
Protecting the environment and practicing conservation principles have always been important to the Cherokee people. It’s fitting that the 65th annual Cherokee National Holiday theme is “Water is Sacred.” It is something that resonates with all of us as Cherokees. Water is sacred to our people and has been forever. Water has been part of our ceremonies. Water has sustained us with food and an ability to grow our crops. Water is something we share and celebrate with our families. Our close relationship to water, the land and the traditional knowledge about our natural surroundings has always been part of who we are. Cherokee values and these historic ideas, established over multiple generations, about ecological preservation benefit all of northeast Oklahoma.
Over the past year, Cherokee Nation has put a focused effort to preserve water rights and natural resources. We have been active within our 14 counties and across Indian Country when it comes to conservation of our water. CN established the office of the secretary of Natural Resources to address a various environmental issues. Secretary Sara Hill oversees the programs and services related to preservation and conservation of our air, land, water and animal and plant life.
As a tribal government, and as Cherokees, we have a responsibility to protect the water we drink, the air we breathe, and the land we live on. We will unequivocally fight for the rights of our people to live safely in their communities. We have a right and a responsibility to protect our water. It is our duty for the next seven generations.
An excellent example of our renewed conservation efforts was a recent federal court decision naming CN the court-appointed steward of restoration efforts of Saline Creek in Mayes County. David Benham, a CN citizen originally from the Kenwood area and a property owner along the creek bank, personally sued Ozark Materials River Rock for the extreme damage done to the water. The company, which will pay for the restoration effort, mined at the foot of the creek, removing the gravel at the lower reaches. Erosion upstream redirected the creek and eroded vegetation, which in turn increased stream temperature and algae growth.
It is appropriate that the court appointed CN as the steward of Saline Creek and will manage the recovery of the damaged areas and easement. Saline Creek has spiritual as well as historical significance to CN citizens in that area. Additionally, it is one of the most beautiful creeks in northeast Oklahoma.
Earlier this year, Secretary Hill’s team defended the Arkansas and Illinois rivers, as CN played a critical role in preventing Sequoyah Fuels Corporation from disposing radioactive waste near important waterways. We are working with the company to find appropriate off-site disposal.
Recently, the tribe also earned a $75,000 grant from the Environmental Protection Agency that will help support the critical environmental work that we do at the local level. The partnership between CN and the EPA benefits our people, our environmental endeavors, and the health and beauty of northeast Oklahoma.
Together with the EPA’s federal dollars, we can sustain the environmental protection efforts that preserve our clean air, healthy land and fresh water. The CN created a five-person board, the Environmental Protection Commission, which works with Secretary Hill to help the tribe administer its environmental programs and develop community and education programs.
The CN is also a founding member of the Inter-Tribal Environmental Council, an organization that helps protect the health of Native Americans, tribal natural resources and the environment. This tribal organization was created to provide support, technical assistance, program development and training to member tribes nationwide. Today, almost 50 tribal governments are members and share best practices.
Our tribal government strives to build a better future for our people and fights for the rights of our people to live safely in their communities. Protecting the environment through CN’s active and progressive conservation programs is one of the most important things we can do to ensure we achieve that goal.
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – Approximately 70 youths in first through fourth grades were athletically evaluated on Aug. 12 at the Boys and Girls Club of Tahlequah’s flag football combine held on the infield of Tahlequah High School’s track.
Testing included speed evaluations, route running as well as passing and catching a football.
Boys and Girls Club of Tahlequah CEO Dennis Kelley said the combine testing is crucial to selecting evenly matched league teams.
“It’s for all kids across the county. You don’t have to be a Boys & Girls Club member. We have 13 clubs throughout Cherokee County in almost every school except Hulbert and Shady Grove. Our club stats for Cherokee County show we’re at about 70 percent Native American. So anyone who wants to sign up can. Boys and girls are welcome.”
Kelley said the fee for joining is $45.
“We try to keep it as low as we can. Plus, if someone can’t afford it, we try to scholarship them in. Cherokee Nation helps us with some money throughout the year, so we try to use that money for scholarships for kids who can’t afford to pay,” he said.
Cherokee Nation citizen Julie Deerinwater Anderson said bringing her son to try out was a mutual decision.
“I brought my son out today because he was very interested in flag football. It’s an opportunity for him to be a part of a team. Plus it’s his first year, so he can learn some skills without the risk of tackle football,” she said. “It’s healthy and it’s outside. It’s important to me that my son has healthy options.”
For more information, call the Boys and Girls Club of Tahlequah at 918-456-6888.