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.”
Video Frame selected by Cherokee Phoenix
Jerusalem artichoke, also known as sunchoke, is harvested from the ground at the Cherokee Nation Heirloom Garden and Native Plant Site on Jan. 9 in Tahlequah. LINDSEY BARK/CHEROKEE PHOENIX A 5-gallon bucket is filled with Jerusalem artichoke, also known as sunchoke, at the Cherokee Nation Heirloom Garden and Native Plant Site. The sunchoke has a tuber root structure that resembles a potato. LINDSEY BARK/CHEROKEE PHOENIX Cooked sunchoke resembles fried potatoes although they can be cooked in various ways and have the flavor and texture of a potato or water chestnut. LINDSEY BARK/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Jerusalem artichoke, also known as sunchoke, is harvested from the ground at the Cherokee Nation Heirloom Garden and Native Plant Site on Jan. 9 in Tahlequah. LINDSEY BARK/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
https://www.facebook.com/CASA-of-Cherokee-Country-184365501631027/

Cherokee Art Market hosting Native youth art competition

BY STAFF REPORTS
01/19/2018 12:30 PM
PARK HILL – Native American youth are invited to participate in the 2018 Cherokee Art Market Youth Competition and Show, scheduled for April 7 through May 5.

All artists must be citizens of a federally recognized tribe, in grades 6-12, and are limited to one entry per person. There is no fee to participate in the competition.

Entries will be received between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. on March 29 at Cherokee Nation Businesses, 950 Main Pkwy., in Tahlequah. All submissions must include an entry form attached to the artwork, an artist agreement form and a copy of the artist’s Certificate Degree of Indian Blood card or tribal citizenship card.

Artwork is evaluated by division and grade level. Awards consist Best in Show - $250; first place - $150; second place - $125; third place - $100; Bill Rabbit Art Legacy Award - $100. The Best in Show winner will also receive a free booth at the Cherokee Art Market in October.

A reception will be held from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on April 6 at the Cherokee Heritage Center in conjunction with the 47th annual Trail of Tears Art Show. Winning artwork selected from the Cherokee Art Market Youth Competition will remain on display throughout the duration of the Trail of Tears Art Show.

CFRC shines light on Cherokee genealogy

BY BRITTNEY BENNETT
Reporter – @cp_bbennett &
STACIE GUTHRIE
Reporter – @cp_sguthrie
01/16/2018 08:30 AM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – The Cherokee Family Research Center located within the Cherokee Heritage Center has been assisting individuals with tracing their family genealogies since the 1980s.

“We educate people,” Gene Morris, CFRC genealogist, said. “We’re here to promote our mission, which is preserve, promote and teach Cherokee history and culture. That’s what we do on a daily basis with genealogy.”

The CFRC is one of two locations in Oklahoma specializing in Native American genealogy and should not be confused with the Cherokee Nation Registration Department.

“We (CFRC) have no right to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ that someone is Cherokee,” Ashley Vann, CFRC genealogist, said. “What we are able to tell them is ‘yes’ or ‘no’ about a paper trail to back up that family’s story that’s been handed down from generation to generation.”

Morris and Vann can be hired to help individuals complete their genealogies for a fee of $30 per hour, or $20 per hour for Cherokee National Historical Society members. For those wishing to conduct their own research, the CFRC resources area and the genealogy library are accessible from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday with paid admission into the museum.
Video Frame selected by Cherokee Phoenix
The library at the Cherokee Family Research Center contains books, periodicals, archives and other material available for visitors to use as resource material for tracing Cherokee ancestries. LINDSEY BARK/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
The library at the Cherokee Family Research Center contains books, periodicals, archives and other material available for visitors to use as resource material for tracing Cherokee ancestries. LINDSEY BARK/CHEROKEE PHOENIX

Cherokee Speakers Bureau to meet Jan. 11

BY STAFF REPORTS
01/08/2018 02:30 PM
TAHLEQUAH – The Cherokee Speakers Bureau will be held Thursday Jan. 11 from 12:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. We will meet in the Community Ballroom that is located behind the Restaurant of the Cherokee. All Cherokee speakers are invited to attend. If you want to bring a side dish or a dessert, feel free to bring it. Come speak Cherokee and enjoy food and fellowship.

For further information about the event, please contact: the Language Program at 918-453-5151; John Ross at 918-453-6170; or Roy Boney Jr. 918-453-5487.

Tsalagi aniwonisgi unadatlugv dodvnatlosi Nvgineiga Unolvtani 11 ganvsulvi 12:30 p.m. adalenisgi 4 p.m. igohida. Na Anitsalagi tsunalisdayetiyi tsigotlv unaditli wayvsdi onadilvyvi utani kanvsula dodvnatlosi. Naniv Anitsalagi aniwonisgi otsitayohiha uniluhisdii. Alisdayvdi ayohisdi yodulia. Dodayotsadatlisani ale dodayotsalisdayvna hilutsvi.

Ugodesdi tsadulihesdi tsadelayohisdi hiina wigehiyadvdi: Tsalagi Gawonihisdi Unadotlvsv 918-453-5151; John Ross 918-453-6170; or Roy Boney Jr. 918-453-5487.

ᏣᎳᎩ ᎠᏂᏬᏂᏍᎩ ᎤᎾᏓᏡᎬ ᏙᏛᎾᏠᏏ ᏅᎩᏁᎢᎦ ᎤᏃᎸᏔᏂ 11 ᎦᏅᏑᎸᎢ 12:30 p.m. ᎠᏓᎴᏂᏍᎩ 4 p.m. ᎢᎪᎯᏓ. Ꮎ ᎠᏂᏣᎳᎩ ᏧᎾᎵᏍᏓᏰᏘᏱ ᏥᎪᏢ ᎤᎾᏗᏟ ᏩᏴᏍᏗ ᎣᎾᏗᎸᏴᎢ ᎤᏔᏂ ᎧᏅᏑᎸ ᏙᏛᎾᏠᏏ. ᎾᏂᎥ ᎠᏂᏣᎳᎩ ᎠᏂᏬᏂᏍᎩ ᎣᏥᏔᏲᎯᎭ ᎤᏂᎷᎯᏍᏗᎢ. ᎠᎵᏍᏓᏴᏗ ᎠᏲᎯᏍᏗ ᏲᏚᎵᎠ. ᏙᏓᏲᏣᏓᏟᏌᏂ ᎠᎴ ᏙᏓᏲᏣᎵᏍᏓᏴᎾ ᎯᎷᏨᎢ.

ᎤᎪᏕᏍᏗ ᏣᏚᎵᎮᏍᏗ ᏣᏕᎳᏲᎯᏍᏗ ᎯᎢᎾ ᏫᎨᎯᏯᏛᏗ: ᏣᎳᎩ ᎦᏬᏂᎯᏍᏗ ᎤᎾᏙᏢᏒ 918-453-5151; John Ross 918-453-6170; or Roy Boney Jr. 918-453-5487.

Cherokee Phoenix calls for 2018 homecoming T-shirt concepts

BY TRAVIS SNELL
Assistant Editor – @cp_tsnell
12/31/2017 10:00 AM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – With its 2017 annual homecoming T-shirt now for sale, the Cherokee Phoenix is calling for Cherokee artists to submit design concepts for the news organization’s 2018 T-shirt.

In 2016, the Cherokee Phoenix staff introduced a T-shirt to differ from the tribe’s Cherokee National Holiday T-shirt. Phoenix staff members contracted with artist Buffalo Gouge for the shirt’s initial design.

For this year’s homecoming shirt, Phoenix staff members selected Daniel HorseChief’s concept out of approximately 10 designs from artists. The Cherokee Phoenix then contracted with HorseChief to create the 2017 shirt.

HorseChief said his concept comes from a four-panel painting that features Selu, the Corn Mother in Cherokee lore.

The image shows the bust of Selu, who is looking down into a Southeastern art pattern. Behind her on the left side are seven ears of corn with water under it. Behind her on the opposite side is a phoenix with fire below it. Above the phoenix is the Cherokee seven-pointed star. Above the image, written in Cherokee, are the words “Cherokee Phoenix.” Below the image, in English, is “2017 CHEROKEE HOMECOMING.”
Cherokee artist Daniel HorseChief’s Selu, or Corn Mother, concept was selected as the Cherokee Phoenix’s 2017 homecoming T-shirt artwork. The shirt is on sale at the Cherokee Phoenix office and Cherokee Nation Gift Shop in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. ARCHIVE Cherokee artist Buffalo Gouge models the Cherokee Phoenix’s 2016 homecoming T-shirt, which sold out during the Cherokee National Holiday. The Cherokee Phoenix is currently seeking ideas from Cherokee artists for the 2018 homecoming T-shirt. LINDSEY BARK/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Cherokee artist Daniel HorseChief’s Selu, or Corn Mother, concept was selected as the Cherokee Phoenix’s 2017 homecoming T-shirt artwork. The shirt is on sale at the Cherokee Phoenix office and Cherokee Nation Gift Shop in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. ARCHIVE
http://www.wherethecasinomoneygoes.com

Walker hopes to teach others about metal crafting

BY STACIE GUTHRIE
Reporter – @cp_sguthrie
12/20/2017 08:15 AM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – After seeing a need for more people to create metal works of art, Cherokee artist and jeweler Wolf Walker decided it was important to keep the art form alive in Cherokee culture.

Walker said after visiting the Five Civilized Tribes Museum in Muskogee he noticed there was no metal jewelry on display. And after speaking to the museum director he learned that there hadn’t been for years.

“It’s dissipating for some reason. I don’t know why. So that’s important for me to keep alive,” he said.

With this in mind, Walker decided to teach metal smith classes at the Cherokee Arts Center with the hope of passing on his knowledge and love for the craft.

“We’re having a beginner metal smith class to introduce people to the procedures of basic soldering, cutting, hammering, concepts of temperature, blades for the saw. But more importantly (it’s) having them come up with the creative idea that they’ve always thought about making but never thought that it could be or didn’t think that they had the talent to make,” Walker said.
Video Frame selected by Cherokee Phoenix
Instructor Wolf Walker helps student Vicki Coppedge during a Nov. 21 metal smith class at the Cherokee Arts Center in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. Walker hopes to get more people interested in the art form. STACIE GUTHRIE/CHEROKEE PHOENIX Vicki Coppedge cuts a piece of copper during a Nov. 21 metal smith class at the Cherokee Arts Center in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. Wolf Walker teaches the classes from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Tuesdays. STACIE GUTHRIE/CHEROKEE PHOENIX Cherokee instructor Wolf Walker watches as Ryan Coppedge uses a torch during a Nov. 21 metal smith class at the Cherokee Arts Center in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. STACIE GUTHRIE/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Instructor Wolf Walker helps student Vicki Coppedge during a Nov. 21 metal smith class at the Cherokee Arts Center in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. Walker hopes to get more people interested in the art form. STACIE GUTHRIE/CHEROKEE PHOENIX

Casting call set for ‘Nanyehi’ musical

BY STAFF REPORTS
12/15/2017 01:15 PM
TULSA, Okla. – Auditions for “Nanyehi,” a musical about the Cherokee Beloved Woman, Nancy Ward, are scheduled for Jan. 13-14 at the Fly Loft.

On Jan. 13, auditions will be held from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. with auditions for dancers beginning at 3 p.m. On Jan. 14, auditions will be held from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. as producers seek a cast of nearly 30 actors.

Ward was a Cherokee woman who was first honored in the 18th century as a war woman but then as a peacemaker during the American Revolution.

The casting call supports the musical’s May 4-5 production at The Joint inside Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa.

Principal cast members will be compensated. Available principal roles include Nanyehi, the title role and female lead; Tenia; Kingfisher; Fivekiller; Attakullakulla; Oconastota; and young Nanyehi. More than 20 additional supporting roles are also available.
Auditions for “Nanyehi,” a musical about the Cherokee Beloved Woman, Nancy Ward, are scheduled for Jan. 13-14 at the Fly Loft. Ward was first honored in the 18th century as a war woman but then as a peacemaker during the American Revolution. ARCHIVE
Auditions for “Nanyehi,” a musical about the Cherokee Beloved Woman, Nancy Ward, are scheduled for Jan. 13-14 at the Fly Loft. Ward was first honored in the 18th century as a war woman but then as a peacemaker during the American Revolution. ARCHIVE

Cherokee Speakers Bureau set for Dec. 14

BY STAFF REPORTS
12/12/2017 04:00 PM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – The Cherokee Speakers Bureau will be held Thursday December 14, 2017 from 12:30 - 4pm. We will meet in the Community Ballroom that is located behind the Restaurant of the Cherokee. All Cherokee speakers are invited to attend. If you want to bring a side dish or a dessert, feel free to bring it. Come speak Cherokee and enjoy food and fellowship.

For further information about the event, please contact: the Language Program at (918) 453-5151; John Ross at (918) 453-6170; or Roy Boney, Jr. (918) 453-5487.

Tsalagi aniwonisgi unadatlugv dodvnatlosi Nvgineiga Vsgiyi 14, 2017, ganvsulvi 12:30pm adalenisgi 4:00pm igohida. Na Anitsalagi tsunalisdayetiyi tsigotlv unaditli wayvsdi onadilvyvi utani kanvsula dodvnatlosi. Naniv Anitsalagi aniwonisgi otsitayohiha uniluhisdii. Alisdayvdi ayohisdi yodulia. Dodayotsadatlisani ale dodayotsalisdayvna hilutsvi.

Ugodesdi tsadulihesdi tsadelayohisdi hiina wigehiyadvdi: Tsalagi Gawonihisdi Unadotlvsv (918) 453-5151; John Ross (918) 453-6170; or Roy Boney, Jr. (918) 453-5487.

ᏣᎳᎩ ᎠᏂᏬᏂᏍᎩ ᎤᎾᏓᏡᎬ ᏙᏛᎾᏠᏏ ᏅᎩᏁᎢᎦ ᎥᏍᎩᏱ 14, 2017, ᎦᏅᏑᎸᎢ 12:30pm ᎠᏓᎴᏂᏍᎩ 4:00pm ᎢᎪᎯᏓ. Ꮎ ᎠᏂᏣᎳᎩ ᏧᎾᎵᏍᏓᏰᏘᏱ ᏥᎪᏢ ᎤᎾᏗᏟ ᏩᏴᏍᏗ ᎣᎾᏗᎸᏴᎢ ᎤᏔᏂ ᎧᏅᏑᎸ ᏙᏛᎾᏠᏏ. ᎾᏂᎥ ᎠᏂᏣᎳᎩ ᎠᏂᏬᏂᏍᎩ ᎣᏥᏔᏲᎯᎭ ᎤᏂᎷᎯᏍᏗᎢ. ᎠᎵᏍᏓᏴᏗ ᎠᏲᎯᏍᏗ ᏲᏚᎵᎠ. ᏙᏓᏲᏣᏓᏟᏌᏂ ᎠᎴ ᏙᏓᏲᏣᎵᏍᏓᏴᎾ ᎯᎷᏨᎢ.

ᎤᎪᏕᏍᏗ ᏣᏚᎵᎮᏍᏗ ᏣᏕᎳᏲᎯᏍᏗ ᎯᎢᎾ ᏫᎨᎯᏯᏛᏗ: ᏣᎳᎩ ᎦᏬᏂᎯᏍᏗ ᎤᎾᏙᏢᏒ (918) 453-5151; John Ross (918) 453-6170; or Roy Boney, Jr. (918) 453-5487.

Wildcat releases new Cherokee flute CD

BY KENLEA HENSON
Reporter
12/08/2017 08:15 AM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – Cherokee National Treasure Tommy Wildcat recently released a CD tilted “Donadagohv’i” or “See You Again,” which consists of 10 original flute compositions that are either studio productions or recorded performances.

The Native American Music Award-winning flutist said he’s been playing for 25 years and has traveled across the nation and abroad sharing Cherokee culture via his music.

“It’s important to share my music with people to promote the beautiful word of our American Indian heritage, but it also inspires those around me and those who are just finding their Cherokee heritage to get involved,” Wildcat said.

Wildcat has performed at historical sites, festivals, powwows and CN at-large community events. He’s made 18 trips to Hawaii, visited 37 universities and taken four European tours. He’s also been a featured performer at the New Orleans Jazz Festival, Stockholm Water Festival and Cherokee Days at the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C.
Before gaining recognition as a flutist, Wildcat made Cherokee crafts such as blowguns, darts, clay bead necklaces and river cane flutes. While making flutes and perfecting their sounds, Wildcat taught himself to play and developed a love for it.

Cherokee National Treasure Tommy Wildcat’s new CD titled “Donadagohv’i” or “See You Again” features 10 flute compositions inspired by his family and friends. All songs on the album are titled after words spoken in the Cherokee language that hold a significance importance. KENLEA HENSON/CHEROKEE PHOENIX Flutist Tommy Wildcat plays for a crowd at the Cherokee Capital Square in Tahlequah, Oklahoma in this 2013 photo. Wildcat recently released his eighth CD of flute music. WILL CHAVEZ/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Cherokee National Treasure Tommy Wildcat’s new CD titled “Donadagohv’i” or “See You Again” features 10 flute compositions inspired by his family and friends. All songs on the album are titled after words spoken in the Cherokee language that hold a significance importance. KENLEA HENSON/CHEROKEE PHOENIX

Culture

Norris, Vann highlight genealogy’s importance
BY STACIE GUTHRIE
Reporter – @cp_sguthrie
12/04/2017 08:15 AM
PARK HILL, Okla. – Cherokee Heritage Center genealogists Gene Norris and Ashley Vann agree that knowing one’s genealogy is important for various reasons such as giving people a look into their ancestors’ lives, bringing light to certain traits or even genetic illnesses or diseases.

“The importance of genealogy is finding out who your family is, and that’s the baseline of any genealogy regardless what minority that you may find within the research,” Vann said.

Common questions that arise when beginning genealogical research are people wanting to know from whom and where they come, Vann said.

“The aspect of genealogy most people are into, the knowing of ‘where do I come from? What are the quirks that that ancestors is? What makes me, me?’ I see a lot of people do that, especially on television because they will start revealing their family genealogy and maybe a special eye effect,” she said. “Maybe they have two different colors of eyes and they realize that’s passed down from generation to generation.”

Norris, who began conducting genealogy research 35 years ago, said one thing that interested him about researching his ancestors were the “connections” he found.

“My mom was adopted at 3, so I didn’t know my birth uncles until later. Turned out one was an artist, and I like to do art. So, you know...there’s also (these) kind of connections you find with these ancestors and those are what fascinated me,” he said. “I think that’s why you should get into genealogy is because of that reason, of wanting to know more about who they were, where they came from, not to have a specific purpose in mind.”

As for diseases or illnesses passed down genetically, Norris said he learned a commonality between a client’s great-grandfather and father’s deaths.

“I got on Ancestry (.com) and started looking at these records. They were in Texas. They weren’t here at the time of Dawes (Rolls). But I came across a Texas death certificate of her great-grandfather, and when I printed that off for her she saw the cause of death, and that is what her dad had died from and she got very emotional about it because she didn’t realize that it was genetic,” he said. “A lot of people don’t realize that, but for her to actually see it there in print, in front of her, it made her step back and she had that ‘ah ha’ moment and got very emotional about it.”

Although Norris and Vann have strong interests in genealogy, that’s not the case for everyone. Norris said his interest stemmed from a fascination with history.

“It’s interesting that in regards to genealogy that those that are into genealogy, that are really into it, usually are the only one in their immediate family that is interested in it. The reason behind that, I do not have any idea,” he said. “For me, history is very fascinating. Not just family history, but general history and learning about who our ancestors were in a sense of what they did on a daily basis, where they came from. Try to flesh them out, so to speak, where they’re not just a name and a date on a piece of paper.”

For more information, call 918-456-6007 or visit cherokeeheritage.org.

Education

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.
CLMAP graduates will be selected and employed as instructors in the pilot project.

CNB is funding the program with $180,000 going toward salaries, materials and tools necessary to aid CLMAP instructors in conducting their teachings. Included in the funding is classroom space, meals for participating students, travel for natural language environment field trips, staff training, administrative costs and indirect costs where applicable.

“It’s a great day in the Cherokee Nation that we get the opportunity to take our language program to another level,” Principal Chief Bill John Baker said.

CLMAP first-year participant and CN citizen Jeromy Miller said he is participating in CLMAP to help his children, who attend the immersion school, continue learning Cherokee at home and bridge the language gap.

“I didn’t have the language myself. I wasn’t able to teach my kids growing up how to speak in their tribal language, their own Cherokee language,” Miller said. “Now that I am learning the language I can bring that home as well, and I can complete the circle in my house of communicating in our tribal tongue.”

The CLMAP began in 2015 to create Cherokee speakers and teachers from adult second-language learners. The program promotes the revitalization of the Cherokee language with participants spending 40 hours a week immersed in the language to become proficient speakers.

The program recently received new office and classroom space on the second floor of the Cort Mall above the Kawi Café in Tahlequah. The space is needed for the program’s expansion.

“It gives us enough space to have breakout classrooms as well as a main classroom. It also provides office space for our staff members, and that’s not something that we’ve had. We started as a very small program and so we needed a small space. But at this point we’ve expanded and we’ve been very successful and we want to make sure that people are accommodated,” Mackey said.

For more information about the 14th Generation Master Apprentice Program, call 918-207-4950.

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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