Council confirms Barteaux as District Court judge

BY STACIE GUTHRIE
Reporter – @cp_sguthrie
05/18/2017 12:00 PM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – At the May 15 Tribal Council meeting, Supreme Court Chief Justice John Garrett swore in T. Luke Barteaux as a District Court judge after legislators confirmed his appointment.

Barteaux is completing the late Bart Fite’s term, which expires on Feb. 10, 2018.

Fourteen Tribal Councilors voted to approve the appointment, while Tribal Councilors Shawn Crittenden, Harley Buzzard and Buel Anglen opposed it.

Barteaux, 33, of Bixby, said he considers the appointment the “pinnacle” of his career.

“It’s something that I never thought would happen within this amount of time, but I’m extremely honored to have been appointed by (Principal) Chief (Bill John) Baker and confirmed by the Tribal Council. I look forward to helping protect our Nation through the legal process,” he said.
T. Luke Barteaux, center, is sworn in as a Cherokee Nation District Court judge by Supreme Court Chief Justice John Garrett while Barteaux’s wife, Sarah, holds the Bible. Barteaux is completing the late Bart Fite’s term, which expires on Feb. 10, 2018. STACIE GUTHRIE/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
T. Luke Barteaux, center, is sworn in as a Cherokee Nation District Court judge by Supreme Court Chief Justice John Garrett while Barteaux’s wife, Sarah, holds the Bible. Barteaux is completing the late Bart Fite’s term, which expires on Feb. 10, 2018. STACIE GUTHRIE/CHEROKEE PHOENIX

Legislators resolve to protect tribally owned land

BY STACIE GUTHRIE
Reporter – @cp_sguthrie
04/12/2017 10:00 AM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – At the April 10 Tribal Council meeting, legislators unanimously passed an act to protect Cherokee Nation-owned lands against ingress, egress and encroachment.

‘The Principal Chief will direct appropriate offices and staff within the executive branch to not allow any individual, company or any other entity to restrict ingress/egress access to any Cherokee Nation property, to not allow any encroachment on any Cherokee properties whatsoever and if any entity has restricted ingress/egress or encroached on Cherokee Nation property to begin negotiations or legal proceedings to resolve ingress/egress problems, or remove encroachments on Cherokee Nation property,” the legislation states.

During the March 21 Rules Committee meeting, Tribal Councilor Dick Lay said he’s thought about the “protection” of tribal property since the tribe began purchasing more land.

“I’ve been thinking about this for years now, since we’ve started purchasing more property in the Cherokee Nation…the protection of our property and our lands, whether it be trust…or anything else,” he said. “I’ve checked with our legal counsel and with the assistant AG (attorney general) to make sure that this act does not interfere with any previous acts or resolutions or any other work that we’ve done previously in granting easements and that sort of thing.”

The bill follows the legislators rejecting a resolution in January to lease 190 acres of trust land in Adair County to Hunt Mill Hollow Ranch. The ranch is a hunting resort, and its owner wanted to lease the acreage to resolve a trespassing issue with the tribe. After purchasing approximately 5,000 acres nearly a decade ago, the ranch owner fenced in his property as well as CN trust land.
Tribal Councilor Dick Lay, second from left, reads an act relating to protecting land the tribe owns during the April 10 Tribal Council meeting in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. The bill authorizes the administration to prevent ingress, egress or encroachment on tribal properties. STACIE GUTHRIE/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Tribal Councilor Dick Lay, second from left, reads an act relating to protecting land the tribe owns during the April 10 Tribal Council meeting in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. The bill authorizes the administration to prevent ingress, egress or encroachment on tribal properties. STACIE GUTHRIE/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
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9 councilors have at least 95 percent attendance rate

BY JAMI MURPHY
Former Reporter
04/07/2017 04:00 PM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – According to Tribal Council records, nine of the 17 Tribal Councilors showed up for at least 95 percent of the meetings they were required to attend from Aug. 14, 2015, to March 21, 2017.

Within that timeframe, Buel Anglen led all legislators in attendance of Tribal Council and committee meetings at 99.3 percent. Anglen attended 147 of 148 meetings.

According to Tribal Council records, Tribal Council meetings consist of regular monthly meetings, which are scheduled for the first Monday after the second Saturday, and any special meetings. Committee meetings are a combination of meetings of all seven standing legislative committees: Community Service, Culture, Education, Executive & Finance, Health, Resources and Rules.

Tribal Council records also state that all legislators serve on all committee except for Bryan Warner and David Walkingstick. They are not members of the Culture Committee. Also, Frankie Hargis joined the Culture Committee during its second meeting, records state.

Joe Byrd and Keith Austin reached 98.6 percent in attendance while Jack Baker garnered 97.2 percent.
Graph showing Tribal Council attendance from August 8, 2015 to March 21, 2017
Graph showing Tribal Council attendance from August 8, 2015 to March 21, 2017

Tribal Council accepts U.S. Forest Service apology

BY JAMI MURPHY
Former Reporter
02/22/2017 12:00 PM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – Tribal Councilors on Feb. 21 unanimously voted to accept an apology from the U.S. Forest Service Southern Region for damages to a Trail of Tears site in the Cherokee National Forest near Coker Creek, Tennessee.

In July 2015, U.S. Forest Service cultural resource managers notified higher-ranked Forest Service officials that they had discovered damage made in 2014 to a site on a Trail of Tears section. The damage consisted of holes dug by a bulldozer and other heavy equipment.

“At that site, 35 large holes were dug into the historic Trail of Tears to create large, earthen berms,” Sheila Bird, Cherokee Nation special projects officer, told the Cherokee Phoenix in 2016. “They used bulldozer and other heavy equipment, and this earthmoving resulted clear and extensive damage to the historic national trail.”

She added that Forest Service employees did the work and claimed that it was done for erosion control and to prevent areas of the Trail of Tears from washing out.

“This is a well-known and mapped Trail of Tears path, but it was not marked because it was privately owned. This land was purchased by Conservation Fund and held for the U.S. Forest Service,” she said. “The District Ranger failed to follow federal laws requiring consultation with Indian tribes. The Forest Service has acknowledged fault and committed to restoring the site.”
During the Feb. 21 Tribal Council meeting, Tribal Councilor Jack Baker, center, reads legislation that asks for acceptance of an apology from the U.S. Forest Service Southern Region for damages to a Trail of Tears site in the Cherokee National Forest near Coker Creek, Tennessee. JAMI MURPHY/CHEROKEE PHOENIX John Paul Atkinson receives a medal from Deputy Chief S. Joe Crittenden after being honored with the Cherokee Medal of Freedom for his service in the U.S. Army. His friend and fellow soldier, Jesse James Collins, was also honored but was in the hospital due to service-connected injuries. JAMI MURPHY/CHEROKEE PHOENIX Cherokee Nation citizen John Thomas Cripps III, who served in the U.S. Army, is given a pin during the Feb. 21 Tribal Council meeting after being given the Cherokee Medal of Freedom. JAMI MURPHY/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
During the Feb. 21 Tribal Council meeting, Tribal Councilor Jack Baker, center, reads legislation that asks for acceptance of an apology from the U.S. Forest Service Southern Region for damages to a Trail of Tears site in the Cherokee National Forest near Coker Creek, Tennessee. JAMI MURPHY/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
http://www.cherokeecasa.org/

Tribal Council amends capital, operating budgets

BY LINDSEY BARK
Staff Writer
01/26/2017 12:00 PM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – During its Jan. 16 meeting, the Tribal Council unanimously amended the tribe’s fiscal year 2017 capital and operating budgets, increasing both funds.

With Tribal Councilors Curtis Snell and Wanda Hatfield absent, legislators added $76,837 to the capital budget for a total budget authority of $277.8 million. Officials said the increase came from a carryover environmental review for roads projects.

Legislators also increased the FY 2017 operating budget by $132,762 for a total budget authority of $664.5 million. Officials said the increase stems from grants received and authorized carryover reconciliation, new funding awards and an ending grant.

In other business, Deputy Chief S. Joe Crittenden honored three Cherokee veterans with Cherokee Warrior Awards for their military service.

Dale Leon Johnson was drafted in 1967 and sworn into the Army at Fort Polk, Louisiana. In 1968 he was transferred to Fulda, Germany, serving with Company C 19th Maintenance Battalion USAUR as a tank mechanic. He was honorably discharged as Specialist 4 in 1973. He and his wife Patricia have been married for 51 years and he recently retired from AEP/PSO after 37 years working as a lineman.
Tribal Councilor Janees Taylor reads a legislative act to amend the tribe’s comprehensive capital budget for fiscal year 2017 at the Jan. 16 Tribal Council meeting at the W.W. Keeler Complex in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. LINDSEY BARK/CHEROKEE PHOENIX Cherokee Nation citizen Jim Quetone, center, holds his Cherokee Warrior Award as he is honored by administration and Tribal Council officials for his military service at the Jan. 16 Tribal Council meeting in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. LINDSEY BARK/CHEROKEE PHOENIX Cherokee Nation Businesses and Cherokee Nation Entertainment Community Impact Team captains introduce themselves as they present a $21,406.67 check to Principal Chief Bill John Baker and Deputy Chief S. Joe Crittenden for the “Heart of a Nation” campaign at the Jan. 16 Tribal Council meeting. The money will provide tribal citizens with needed medical equipment through CN Health Services. LINDSEY BARK/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Tribal Councilor Janees Taylor reads a legislative act to amend the tribe’s comprehensive capital budget for fiscal year 2017 at the Jan. 16 Tribal Council meeting at the W.W. Keeler Complex in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. LINDSEY BARK/CHEROKEE PHOENIX

Council reconfirms Hembree as attorney general

BY WILL CHAVEZ
Assistant Editor – @cp_wchavez
11/16/2016 08:30 AM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – During its Nov. 14 meeting, the Tribal Council unanimously reconfirmed Todd Hembree as the Cherokee Nation’s attorney general.

Hembree was reappointed for a period of five years from January 2017 to January 2021 after being re-nominated by Principal Chief Bill John Baker.

Hembree was first appointed to serve as attorney general in January 2012. Previous to that he served as the attorney for the Tribal Council for 12 years.

“I am very honored to be afforded the opportunity to serve the Cherokee Nation for another term as attorney general. However, the many successes that this office has had over the last several years has only been made possible due to the dedication and hard work of the staff,” Hembree said. “The Cherokee people are very fortunate to have such a group working for them.”

Legislators also unanimously approved Sheryl Rountree, of Tahlequah, to serve a five-year term on the Sequoyah High School board of education. Tribal Council approval is needed because the tribe operates the school. Rountree will serve from December 2016 to December 2021.
http://www.billandtracirabbit.com/

Tribal Council passes Wind Farm resolution 10-6

BY JAMI MURPHY
Former Reporter
10/18/2016 04:00 PM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – The Cherokee Nation Tribal Council approved a resolution on Oct. 17 authorizing the Cherokee Nation to execute a lease agreement with Chilocco Wind Farm, LLC, a company owned by PNE Wind USA, Inc.

According to the resolution, the tribe “since time immemorial has exercised the sovereign right of self-government on behalf of the Cherokee people…” and “the Cherokee Nation encourages economic development and acknowledges renewable energy resources are necessary to prevent land and air pollution as an alternative to the use of fossil fuels and is part of our long-term solution toward energy sustainability.”

“Be it resolved by the Cherokee Nation that the Council recognizes that Chilocco Wind Farm, LLC will obtain debt financing and equity investments to fund the wind resource infrastructure project and that it is necessary to grant a limited waiver of sovereign immunity for the sole purpose of allowing Chilocco Wind Farm, LLC to initiate causes of action against the Cherokee Nation in the event of default under the terms of the Wind Resource Lease Agreement,” the legislation states.

Cherokee Nation Tribal Councilors Dick Lay and Buel Anglen both discussed openly why they would vote against the legislation.

“I think it’s going to essentially destroy our Chilocco property. It’s our trust property the only trust and only property we have left of the old Cherokee Outlet,” said Lay. “It’s impossible for me to vote for a waiver of sovereign immunity so that some foreign controlled windmill company can get a bank loan. I just can’t bring myself to do that.”
During the Cherokee Nation Tribal Council meeting in October Tribal Councilor Jack Baker discusses his reasons for not supporting the wind farm project that will be built on the Chilocco Indian School property. JAMI MURPHY/CHEROKEE PHOENIX Cherokee Nation citizen Shannon Buhl, left, takes his oath of office after being renominated as Marshal of the Cherokee Nation. JAMI MURPHY/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
During the Cherokee Nation Tribal Council meeting in October Tribal Councilor Jack Baker discusses his reasons for not supporting the wind farm project that will be built on the Chilocco Indian School property. JAMI MURPHY/CHEROKEE PHOENIX

Wind energy lease doesn’t make Council agenda

BY LINDSEY BARK
Staff Writer
09/19/2016 04:00 PM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – Six Tribal Councilors voted against adding to the agenda a resolution authorizing a wind resource lease agreement between the Cherokee Nation and Chilocco Wind Farm LLC. Despite passing the legislation an hour earlier in a reconvened Rules Committee meeting, the measure failed to get a two-thirds vote during the Sept. 12 Tribal Council meeting.

With Tribal Councilors Harley Buzzard and Rex Jordan absent, Tribal Councilors David Walkingstick, Dick Lay, Jack Baker, Shawn Crittenden, Don Garvin and Buel Anglen voted against adding the wind farm legislation to the agenda.

According to the resolution, the Tribal Council had previously authorized Cherokee Nation Businesses to obtain “grant funding to support feasibility studies as to the development of wind energy within the jurisdiction of the Cherokee Nation.” It also states that it would be “economically advantageous” for CN to create wind energy resources in Kay County on its Chilocco trust property.

“We’re looking for alternative energy,” Tribal Council Speaker Joe Byrd said. “It’s on the heels of the Dakota pipeline issue where we protect our land, we protect our resources.”

Byrd said some Tribal Councilors were not in favor of building a wind farm in the Chilocco area and wanted to keep the land untouched.
Tribal Councilor Bryan Warner, right, reads a resolution regarding the Cherokee Nation’s membership to the National Congress of American Indians at a Sept. 12 Tribal Council meeting in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. LINDSEY BARK/CHEROKEE PHOENIX Tribal Councilor David Walkingstick, middle, talks about the resolution for Cherokee Nation to support the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s fight against the Dakota Access Pipeline in North Dakota during the Sept. 12 Tribal Council meeting. LINDSEY BARK/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Tribal Councilor Bryan Warner, right, reads a resolution regarding the Cherokee Nation’s membership to the National Congress of American Indians at a Sept. 12 Tribal Council meeting in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. LINDSEY BARK/CHEROKEE PHOENIX

Councilors reimplement Whistleblower Act

BY STACIE GUTHRIE
Reporter – @cp_sguthrie
08/17/2016 12:00 PM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – At their Aug. 15 meeting, Tribal Councilors passed a new Whistleblower Protection Act after learning earlier this year it was repealed in 2012.

The act is to protect employees from “retaliatory action” when participating in “protected activities” such as reporting alleged wrongdoing of a co-worker, supervisor or elected official.

The vote passed unanimously with Tribal Councilor Wanda Hatfield absent.

During the July 12 Rules Committee meeting, Assistant Attorney General Chrissi Nimmo said the act would replace the one that legislators repealed in 2012.

“When the Ethics Act was amended in, I believe, 2012 it was included in the language… this repeals Title 28. When you repeal a title you repeal all of the title,” she said. “No one caught that at the time that the Ethics Act was passed…It should have said it repeals this section of Title 28, but what it said was it repeals Title 28. When the new Ethics Act was passed…it took out the whistleblower language.”
Tribal Councilor Janees Taylor reads a resolution during the Aug. 15 Tribal Council meeting in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. STACIE GUTHRIE/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Tribal Councilor Janees Taylor reads a resolution during the Aug. 15 Tribal Council meeting in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. STACIE GUTHRIE/CHEROKEE PHOENIX

Culture

June 22, 1839: a bloody day in Cherokee Nation
BY TESINA JACKSON
Former Reporter,
WILL CHAVEZ
Assistant Editor – @cp_wchavez &
JAMI MURPHY
Former Reporter
06/22/2017 12:00 PM
This is an archive story that the Cherokee Phoenix is publishing on the anniversary of the day that three prominent Cherokees were killed.

DUTCH MILLS, Ark. – On the morning of June 22, 1839, three small bands of Cherokees carried out “blood law” upon Major Ridge, John Ridge and Elias Boudinot – three prominent Cherokees who signed a treaty in 1835 calling for the tribe’s removal to Indian Territory.

Tribal Councilor Jack Baker said he believes “blood law” was the basis for the men’s assassinations.

“Although they did not follow all of the procedures, I do believe that was the basis for the executions,” Baker said. “I believe the proper procedure should have been followed. They should have been brought to trial and that was not done.”

The Cherokee General Council put the law, which had existed for years, into writing on Oct. 24, 1829.

According to Thurman Wilkins’ “Cherokee Tragedy,” the law stated “if any citizen or citizens of this Nation should treat and dispose of any lands belonging to this Nation without special permission from the National authorities, he or they shall suffer death; Therefore…any person or persons who shall, contrary to the will and consent of the legislative council of this Nation…enter into a treaty with any commissioner or commissioners of the United States, or any officers instructed for that purpose, and agree to sell or dispose of any part or portion of the National lands defined in this Constitution of this Nation, he or they so offending, upon conviction before any of the circuit judges aforesaid are authorized to call a court for the trial of any such person or persons so transgressing. Be it Further Resolved; that any person or persons, who shall violate the provisions of this act, and shall refuse, by resistance, to appear at the place designated for trial, or abscond, are hereby declared to be outlaws; and any person or persons, citizens of this Nation, may kill him or them so offending, in any manner most convenient…and shall not be held accountable for the same.”

It is thought that John Ross Party members carried out this law in the killings of the Ridges and Boudinot.

Major Ridge

He was born in the Cherokee town of Great Hiwassee, later a part of Tennessee. He was initiated as a warrior early and known by several names including Nunnehidihi, meaning “He Who Slays The Enemy In His Path,” and Ganundalegi, which meant “The Man Who Walks On The Mountain Top” or “The Ridge.”

He received the name Major while fighting with U.S. Gen. Andrew Jackson at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend during the Creek War in 1814. He used Major as his first name the rest of his life.

According to the Oklahoma Historical Society, in the1820s gold sparked a demand to get rid of Cherokee titles to lands within Georgia.

“While the federal government tried to create inducements to convince the Southeastern Indians to leave their homes, the discovery of gold in Georgia led to more aggressive demands for immediate removal,” the OHS website states.

While Congress debated the issues with removal, several Cherokees negotiated a removal agreement with the United States, according to the OHS.

“Major Ridge, a Cherokee planter and soldier, his son John Ridge, and his nephew Elias Boudinot conducted these negotiations with the United States despite the expressed wishes of the majority of their nation. Most Cherokees, including Principal Chief John Ross, protested and tried to stop Ridge and his so-called Treaty Party,” the OHS site states. “On May 28, 1830, while Ridge and his supporters negotiated terms of removal with the United States, Congress passed the Indian Removal Act.”

This law provided $500,000 to establish districts west of the Mississippi River, to trade eastern tribal lands for those districts, to compensate the tribes for the cost of their removal and the improvements on their homesteads, and to pay one year’s worth subsistence to those who went west, the website states.

Armed with this authority, Andrew Jackson, who was now president, authorized agents to negotiate and enforce treaties.

Major and 56 other Cherokees signed the Treaty of New Echota on Dec. 29, 1835. Major, who could not write, made his mark on the treaty. That ultimately led to his death.

According to “Cherokee Tragedy,” one of three bands of Cherokees sought to kill Major on the same morning as John Ridge and Elias Boudinot.

“Having learned that he had left the previous day for Van Buren (Arkansas), where one of his slaves lay ill, they had followed him down the Line Road. They discovered where he had spent the night, beneath the roof of Ambrose Harnage, at Cincinnati, Arkansas, and they rode ahead to form an ambush,” the book states.

Five men hid in the brush of trees where the road crossed White Rock Creek, now Little Branch, near Dutchtown, now known as Dutch Mills.

“At ten o’clock, Major Ridge came riding down the highway with a colored boy in attendance. Several rifles cracked. The Ridge slumped in his saddle, his head and body pierced by five bullets,” according to the book.

Those thought to have fired upon him were James Foreman, Anderson Springston, Bird Doublehead, Isaac Springton, James Hair and Jefferson Hair.

Major’s body was recovered by nearby settlers and buried in a cemetery in what is now Piney, Okla. He was later moved and buried near his home on Honey Creek in northern Delaware County.

John Ridge

John was born in Georgia to Major and Susannah Wickett Ridge in 1802.

Growing up, John attended school at the Springplace Mission in Georgia and then Brainerd Mission in Tennessee. In 1819, he went to the Foreign Mission School in Cornwall, Conn., which existed until 1827.

While attending the Foreign Mission School, he met his wife, the daughter of the school’s steward, Sarah Bird Northrup. The couple married in 1824. The biracial union caused uproar from the town of Cornwall resulting in John and his wife leaving.

According to Robert J. Conley’s “A Cherokee Encyclopedia” later that year, John went with his father and Chief Ross to Washington, D.C. to protest the possible removal of Cherokees from all lands east of the Mississippi River.

In 1830, President Jackson pushed his removal bill through Congress and it passed into law. In 1832, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Rev. Samuel Worcester v. Georgia that Georgia’s laws over Cherokee territory were illegal and unconstitutional. It ruled that the Cherokee Nation had sovereign status, however Jackson refused to enforce the ruling in favor of the Cherokees, which caused John to change his position.

Feeling that the Cherokees had no other course of action, he began to speak in favor of negotiating a removal treaty with the United States and on Dec. 29, 1835, along with others known as the Ridge Party or Treaty Party, he signed the Treaty of New Echota.

Those who signed the treaty were Cherokee Nation citizens but were not elected officials. After signing, he moved with his family to present-day Oklahoma in 1837.

The U.S. Senate ratified the treaty and although Chief Ross and others protested it, it led to the removal in 1838-39 known as the Trail of Tears. The U.S. Army began forcing Cherokees and their slaves (for those who had them) out of their homes. On Aug. 23, 1838, the first removal detachment of Cherokees left, and on Dec. 5, 1838, the 13th detachment left. It arrived in Indian Territory on March 18, 1839. Approximately 4,000 Cherokees died along the trail.

According to the treaty, Cherokees who wished to remain in the East could do so but would be required to become U.S. citizens by giving up their tribal status, a provision that was ignored during the removal.

Because the treaty surrendered all Cherokee land, Ross supporters, the Ross or National Party, regarded the Treaty Party as traitors.
On June 22, 1839, John, his father Major and Boudinot were assassinated for having signed the treaty.

According to “Cherokee Tragedy,” 25 men reached John’s house in the morning and, while he was still in bed, fired a gun at John’s head. The gun failed to fire. He was then dragged outside and stabbed 26 times in the torso and neck. While still alive, he was then stomped on and kicked, all in front of his wife, mother and son, John Rollin Ridge.

John was buried about 150 yards to 500 yards from his home in Polson Cemetery, which is located southeast of Grove, Okla. near the Oklahoma/Missouri state line in Delaware County.

Elias Boudinot

The sentiments among the Cherokee people in June 1839 in Indian Territory could be said were of misery, mistrust and resentment.

The last detachment of Cherokees forcibly removed from the East had arrived three months before and they were attempting to rebuild their lives. However, Chief Ross wished to reunite the tribe’s three factions, which lived together in what is now northeastern Oklahoma.

He called a meeting at an Illinois River camp ground located a few miles southeast of where Tahlequah now sits, and tried to get the Old Settlers, Cherokees who had settled the territory in the early 1800s, and members of the Treaty Party, Cherokees who had signed away Cherokee lands in the East, to reunite with his party or faction.

Boudinot, the Cherokee Phoenix’s first editor, his uncle Major Ridge and Major’s son, John, were members of the Treaty Party.

The two smaller factions declined any union with Ross, and the meeting broke up on June 21. Based on an 1890 statement by Allen Ross, John Ross’ son, men who had signed the 1835 Treaty and opposed John Ross as chief caused the anti-union dissention.

“After several days of endeavor to get together and having failed, some of the leaders of the emigrants called a secret meeting without the knowledge or consent of my father John Ross at what is now known as Double Springs about four miles northwest of Tahlequah for the purpose of making plans to effect an act of union,” Allen’s statement reads.

The discussion turned to the blood law passed by the Cherokee National Council that stated that any Cherokee who agreed or signed an agreement to sell Cherokee lands should forfeit their lives.

“Believing that the same men who had made the Treaty of 1835 were responsible for the failure of the Cherokee people to get together, this meeting decided that these three men (Boudinot and the two Ridges) should be executed as provided by the law,” Allen wrote. “The meeting further decided that this meeting must be kept from their chief because he would prevent it as he had once before at Red Clay before their removal.”

A committee was appointed to arrange details. Numbers were placed in a hat for each person present. Twelve numbers had an X mark after them, which indicated the executioners. Allen wrote he was not allowed to draw and was tasked to go his father’s home the evening before the executions and to stay with him and if possible keep him from finding out what was being done.

According to a letter written on June 26 by Boudinot’s friend and confidant, Rev. Samuel Worcester, Boudinot was living with Worcester at Park Hill near Tahlequah and was building a home about a quarter mile away. Worcester was at the construction site the morning Boudinot was killed.

“There he was, last Saturday morning, when some men came up, inquiring for medicine. He set out with them to come and get it and had walked but a few rods when he was heard to shriek, and his hired men, at and near his house ran to his help, but before they could reach the spot, the deed was done,” Worcester wrote. “They seemed to have stabbed Mr. Boudinot in the back with a knife, and then finished their dreadful work with a hatchet, inflicting seven strokes, two or three of which sunk deep into his head. To me he was a dear friend, a most intimate companion, and a most valued helper.”

An act of union was formed the next month and the newly formed council pardoned all parties connected with the assassinations of the Ridges and Boudinot.

Boudinot is buried in the Worcester Cemetery in Park Hill, about a mile from where the Cherokee Phoenix is published.
The three assassinations are thought to have helped form the basis of the July 12, 1839, act of union that brought together the Old Settlers and the Ross and Treaty parties.

Baker said Emmet Starr’s “History of the Cherokee Indians and Their Legends and Folklore” states that the Eastern and Western Cherokees came together to form one body politic. This, Baker said, led to the CN constitution two months later.

Education

UKB, NSU officials sign MOU
BY STAFF REPORTS
06/21/2017 12:00 PM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – A new cornerstone for capacity building was put into place June 14 at the United Keetoowah Band John Hair Cultural Center & Museum with the signing of a memorandum of understanding for cooperation between Northeastern State University and the UKB.

“This memorandum solidifies the collaborative opportunities for both institutions. It will help to further our respective missions for developing learning opportunities and creating educational and economic success for the health and productive futures of our populations,” UKB Chief Joe Bunch. “Our tribe is honored to sign this MOU with the university. The alliance with NSU offers incredible resources, experiences and opportunities for both entities to forge new paths and grow together. The cooperative agreement with NSU, an outstanding regional university, represents new promise, hope and progress for enhancing and developing many of the important programs and services for the UKB going forward.”

UKB Assistant Chief Jamie Thompson said the UKB Tribal Council unanimously endorsed the dedicated relationship, honoring NSU’s standards of excellence, quality teaching, challenging curricula, research and scholarly activities – particularly its goal to provide immersive learning opportunities for their faculty and students in service to the local community.

“We envision the collaborative relationship to include capacity building areas of elder community services, sustainable language, kinesiology/recreation, Indian Child Welfare, child development, tribal libraries and technology and more. The tribe and university have also agreed to consider undertaking mutually beneficial, sanctioned research and grant-funded projects,” he said.

After signing the agreement, NSU President Steve Turner cited the rich educational heritage of the Cherokee people and the university’s respect for the UKB as two key elements that led to the partnership. He also acknowledged the UKB’s commitment to higher education and deep roots with the university and the Cherokee Nation.

“We seek collaborations such as this alliance with the UKB to advance or mission of helping all of our region to achieve professional and personal success in this multicultural and global society,” Turner said. “NSU continues to devote faculty and student services resources toward collaborative projects with the tribe and other American Indians that encourage, inspire and support tribal members to lead healthy and productive lives and to encourage the pursuit of post-secondary education at our institution.”

The memorandum will be supported by a joint committee comprised of individuals from both the university and the tribe who will provide oversight for the activities and projects included in the alliance.

Council

Tribal Council, AG revamp civil code
BY JAMI MURPHY
Former Reporter
08/05/2016 12:00 PM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – The Tribal Council during its July meeting amended the Cherokee Nation’s civil code that, according to the attorney general’s office, was long overdue.

Attorney General Todd Hembree said major changes involve creating causes of actions and procedures designed to modernize the court system.

“There was an increase to statute of limitations, which is the time frame in which a Cherokee citizen can bring a cause of action,” Hembree said. “Previously, most cases could be brought within two years. Now most cases can be brought within five years, with some having a three-year limitation.”

According to legislation, civil actions, other than for the recovery of real property, can only be brought within the following periods after the cause of action shall have accrued and not afterwards:

• Within five years: an action upon any contract, agreement, or promise in writing,

• Within three years: an action upon a contract express or implied not in writing, an action upon a liability created by statute other than a forfeiture or penalty, and an action on a foreign judgment.

Another change states that the statue of limitations is one year for action for libel, slander, malicious prosecution or false imprisonment.

Hembree said also now allowing the attorney general’s office to bring actions on behalf of the CN and its citizens as “parens patriae” would have the effect of protecting the Nation and its citizens from unfair practices and harmful products.

“The Cherokee Nation Attorney General may bring a civil action in the name of the Cherokee Nation as parens patriae on behalf of tribal members of the Cherokee Nation to secure monetary relief for injuries and damages sustained by such persons by reason of any violation of law, including but not limited to, violations of the Cherokee Nation Unfair & Deceptive Practices Act,” the legislation states.

Also within the civil code amendments was a modernization of the tribe’s wrongful death statue.

“A claim for wrongful death may be brought against a person who, by his negligence or by willful, wanton or reckless acts, causes the death of another under such circumstances that the deceased could have recovered damages for personal injuries if death had not resulted,” legislation states. “A person shall be liable for the negligence or the willful, wanton or reckless act of his agents or servants to the same extent and subject to the same limits as he would be liable under this section for his own act.”

This action to recover damages must be commenced within five years of the date of death or from five years of when the next of kin knew or in the exercise of reasonable diligence.

Damages recoverable include medical and burial expenses, loss of consortium and grief of the surviving spouse, mental pain and anguish suffered by the decedent, pecuniary loss to the survivors, grief or loss of companionship of the children and parents of decedent, fair monetary value of the decedent to the personal entitled to receive damages and punitive or exemplary damages may also be recovered.

Legislation changes also include creating a section for class action lawsuits creating a cause of actions for unfair and deceptive practices and creating a cause of action for false advertising.

According to legislation, all persons may join in one action as plaintiffs if “they assert any right to relief jointly, severally, or in the alternative, in respect of or arising out of the same transaction, occurrence, personal injury or series of transactions or occurrences and if any question of law or fact common to all these persons will arise in the action” or “they have a claim, right, or interest adverse to the defendant in the property or controversy which is the subject of the action.”

Hembree said the changes within the legislation stemmed from “attacks that have been occurring on tribal courts by outside parties.”

“Although, the U.S. Supreme Court failed to decide what jurisdiction tribal courts had on non-tribal citizens or entities, because of a 4-4 tie, we can expect future attacks on tribal courts. This means we must take measures to strengthen our systems, make them easy to navigate, make them accessible to all. With these changes the Cherokee Nation has gone far in accomplishing these goals,” Hembree said.

To view all changes, visit https://cherokee.legistar.com/LegislationDetail.aspx?ID=2723275&GUID=50B9140F-1CED-41FA-A0F2-2980774E16D2&FullText=1.

Health

CN Health Services earns Public Health Innovation Award
BY STAFF REPORTS
06/22/2017 08:00 AM
ANCHORAGE, Alaska – Cherokee Nation Health Services recently received the Public Health Innovation Award from the National Indian Health Board at a national conference in June.

The Public Health Innovation Award is given annually to the tribal government, individual, organization or program that best exemplifies the advancement of public health for Native Americans and Alaskan Natives.

The tribe was recognized for its efforts at the eighth annual National Tribal Public Health Summit in Anchorage.

“Cherokee Nation Health Services strives to be a leader in health care throughout Indian Country,” Connie Davis, CNHS executive director, said. “On behalf of our Cherokee Nation Health Services employees, I thank the National Indian Health Board for this honor. It’s truly humbling for our team to receive this recognition, and I commend each and every one of our employees who make Cherokee Nation Health Services a first-class department.”

The tribe’s Public Health department educates citizens on healthy eating and exercise habits, and also addresses common challenges such as alcohol and tobacco use awareness within the tribe.

Senior Director of Public Health Lisa Pivec accepted the award and spoke about building public health infrastructure.

“The most rewarding aspect of the recognition is knowing we are honoring those who have gone before us to ensure we have this great Cherokee Nation to protect and preserve,” Pivec said. “I believe that any successes are the result of the work of so many citizens over the years, people devoted to paving the way for our next generations.”

In 2016, Pivec was also recognized by the NIHB with its area impact award. The award highlighted her impact on the tribe’s growing public health program since 1994, when Pivec helped start the tribe’s Healthy Nation program.

“Lisa led the development of public health at Cherokee Nation from its infancy, and the tribal nation is now the first Public Health Accreditation Board-accredited tribal public health system,” the NIHB said in a statement about the nomination. “Now, Cherokee citizens consider the vast number of prevention programs she developed as a part of their daily activities. Along with her staff, Lisa has created great changes in health among the Cherokee people she serves.”

In addition to presenting awards for public health innovation and area impact, the NIHB works with tribes on advocacy, training and legislation to better Native health care.

“Public health is about addressing the social determinants of health and strengthening the environments where we live, work, play, learn and worship,” Pivec said. “I have been blessed to have had the opportunity to serve and do work that doesn’t feel like a job but more like a life purpose.”

Opinion

'Remember the Removal’ training has been rewarding experience
BY WILL CHAVEZ
Assistant Editor – @cp_wchavez
06/01/2017 04:00 PM
Some Cherokee Phoenix readers may have seen the “Remember the Removal” bicycle riders out on local roads the past two months training for the upcoming ride from New Echota, Georgia, to Tahlequah, Oklahoma, through seven states. I am one of 14 riders from the Cherokee Nation who will take part in this year’s ride.

For those of you not familiar with the ride, it is done annually to commemorate the forced removal of our Cherokee ancestors from their homelands in 1838-39. Most of our people left in the fall of 1838 in 13 organized detachments and endured a harsh winter in 1839 before reaching Indian Territory.

I was part of the group that did the first 1,000-mile ride in 1984, which was meant to educate people along the route about the forced removal and give students like me hands-on experiences that would foster leadership qualities, instill confidence and improve our self-esteem. A man named Michael Morris thought a bike ride from the old Cherokee homelands would be a good way to give us those experiences. He was right.

Because the ride was grueling and had never been attempted before, the 19 riders formed bonds that are still strong today. We survived two-lane mountain roads in North Carolina and Tennessee where some large trucks did not like sharing the road with us. I rode my bike into some weeds and bushes before a dump truck could nudge me into them on a mountain in Tennessee. We survived racism in Illinois and the patchy and hilly roads of Missouri before riding into northern Arkansas and taking on the Ozark Mountains. By then we were stronger. Our thighs were noticeably larger and much darker than that had been three weeks earlier, and we were confident we were going to finish strong.

I remember during the trip being excited about what view was over the next hill while riding with my small group of four riders nicknamed the “Coaster-Barelies” because we weren’t the fastest group, and we may have coasted a little too much going down hills when we had the opportunity. Jeff, Clayton and Marvin were like brothers to me when we finished, and it was hard to finish and go our separate ways.

For me the trip gave me confidence, and it showed me I am capable of a lot mentally and physically. It also gave me a hunger to seek out adventures, which has lasted to this day.

So, when I was asked last January if I would be the first official CN “Mentor Rider,” my sense of adventure wrestled with my common sense. I am now 50 and being around the bike ride the past few years I know the training is tough even for a 20-year-old. I thought about it for a couple of days and believed I could do it. My mind was going to drag my body along on another adventure. It has been great and tough as I imagined it would be. My legs seemed to remember what it is like to ride a bike for most of a day, but my left shoulder has been less cooperative. So, I keep a container of Icy Hot handy and hope the aroma of the liniment isn’t too strong for the other cyclists.

I’ve also had the pleasure of training with a good group of young people. These people from throughout the CN volunteered to take part in this ride, to put themselves through the pain riding a bicycle an average of 60 miles a day. They have already grown and changed during training, but they will grow and change even more before the ride is over. It happens every year. They might have varied reasons for doing the ride, but they all understand the most important reason is to honor our ancestors. Our tenacious ancestors. They would not give up on the trail and when they arrived here 178 years ago to rebuild.

Every year the riders are told they will not make this trip on their own. No matter how strong they are they will need the support of their fellow riders. It’s true, and we also need the support of the Cherokee people, so keep us in your thoughts and prayers.

I feel fortunate that I get to travel the trail again with some good people, and even though I’ve been down it before, I get to see what’s over the next hill with older and different eyes.

People

Turtle wins Miss Junior Indian Oklahoma crown
BY STAFF REPORTS
06/09/2017 08:00 AM
DURANT, Okla. – Former Junior Miss Cherokee Chelbie Turtle was recently crowned Junior Miss Indian Oklahoma by the Oklahoma Federation of Indian Women and will spend the next year as a goodwill ambassador for Oklahoma tribes.

The Junior Miss Indian Oklahoma competition was held in conjunction with the annual Miss Indian Oklahoma Scholarship Pageant in Durant.

As Junior Miss Indian Oklahoma, Turtle will promote the OFIW mission fostering friendship among Oklahoma’s Native American women, preserving culture and heritage, promoting education and uplifting younger Native women. Her platform is “The Value of Higher Education.”

“I believe education is important. Math, English, science, reading and writing – those core subjects – are important to younger children and really establish their future and how they view the world. I want to promote to kids that education is important,” Turtle, who served as the 2014-15 Junior Miss Cherokee, said.

Turtle said she learned the values of being a tribal ambassador from her mother, who is a former Miss Cherokee, Miss Indian Oklahoma and Miss Indian USA.

“It’s a great feeling to be honored with the title of Junior Miss Indian Oklahoma, and I’m especially honored to represent Cherokee Nation and every other tribe in Oklahoma,” Turtle said. “I look forward to promoting and sharing about the Cherokee Nation and our culture. During the Junior Miss Indian Oklahoma competition, each contestant learned a lot from each other. I look forward to doing more of that this year as I travel around to represent OFIW, and I appreciate the Cherokee Nation for the support and opportunities it has provided.”

This year’s OFIW pageant theme was “Honoring Our Indigenous Women Warriors: Protecting All That is Sacred.” Turtle competed against three other contestants who were judged on a written essay and personal interview with judges along with onstage presence, including a tribal introduction, tribal dress, talent, platform, contemporary dress and impromptu questions.

Turtle received her crown from Junior Miss Indian Oklahoma 2016 Chyna Chupco, who also attends Sequoyah High School in Tahlequah.

Turtle, 16, is the daughter of Jeff and Lisa Trice Turtle of Tahlequah. She will begin her 10th grade year at SHS in the fall.

The Cherokee Nation and Choctaw Nation were platinum sponsors for OFIW’s 2017 events.

To schedule an appearance by Junior Miss Indian Oklahoma, contact Faith Harjo at harjo.faith@yahoo.com.

Learn more about the OFIW, visit https://ofiwpageant.wixsite.com/ofiw.
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Call Justin Smith 918-207-4975

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