Flag football combine has large Native turnout

BY ROGER GRAHAM
Multimedia Producer – @cp_rgraham
08/17/2017 08:30 AM
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.
Video with default Cherokee Phoenix Frame
Children in grades first through fourth participate in the Boys and Girls Club of Tahlequah’s flag football combine on Aug. 12 at Tahlequah High School. ROGER GRAHAM/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Children in grades first through fourth participate in the Boys and Girls Club of Tahlequah’s flag football combine on Aug. 12 at Tahlequah High School. ROGER GRAHAM/CHEROKEE PHOENIX

Dirteater comes to Cherokee Casino

BY STAFF REPORTS
08/15/2017 12:00 PM
CLAREMORE, Okla. – Cherokee Nation citizen and professional bull rider Ryan Dirteater will meet fans on Aug. 25 at the Cherokee Casino Grove and Cherokee Casino Will Rogers Downs.

From 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. he will be at the Cherokee Casino Grove, and from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. he will be at WRD.

A Hulbert native, Dirteater has been living and breathing the rodeo scene since he was born, quickly fell in love with the sport, a CN Communications release states.

It states he made the decision to go pro while he was in high school, which led to his career in the Professional Bull Riding circuit.

Accroding to the release, Dirteater has a strong physical resilience and must maintain a healthy build. He has sustained injuries while riding such as a dislocated knee, a broken finger, torn ACLs, a broken femur and a broken jaw, the release states.

5 Cherokees selected for 2017-18 Tulsa Opera season

BY KENLEA HENSON
News Writer
08/14/2017 08:15 AM
MUSKOGEE, Okla. – Five Cherokee Nation citizens who are students of CN citizen and internationally acclaimed mezzo-soprano opera singer Barbara McAlister were recently selected for the Tulsa Opera’s 2017-18 season.

Megan Jacobs, 17; Phillip Bruch, 16; Katelyn Morton, 17; and Haley Hitt, 14, were accepted into the Tulsa Youth Opera, while Steven Osborne, 47, was selected for the Tulsa Opera Chorus.

Aaron Beck, TO music and education administrator, said the TO is “proud” to have a revitalized relationship with the CN, and McAlister is the reason.

“Her long and storied career as a professional opera singer, combined with her love for her homeland and the Cherokee Nation is inspiring an entire new generation of Cherokees to love and respect music,” he said. “They all bring a remarkable work ethic, high level of respect and supreme talent to our organization, which speaks highly of the Cherokee Nation’s investment in the artistic training of its citizens.”

Each year the TYO selects singers ranging from grades third through 12th for a tuition-free training program estimated to cost $6,000 per student. Those selected learn the basics of singing and performing with the TO staff, and at the end of the training year they perform a full-length children’s opera at the Tulsa Performing Arts Center.
Tulsa Youth Opera participant and Cherokee Nation citizen Phillip Bruch sings “Caro Mio Ben” for Aaron Beck, Tulsa Opera’s music and education administrator, during vocal lessons in Muskogee, Oklahoma. Bruch is one of five CN citizens who have been selected to be a part of the Tulsa Youth Opera for its 2017-18 season. Also shown are CN citizens Megan Jacobs, Barbara McAlister and Katelyn Morton. Jacobs and Morton were also selected to be a part of the Tulsa Youth Opera. Bruch, Jacobs and Morton all study under McAlister, who is an internationally acclaimed mezzo-soprano opera singer. KENLEA HENSON/CHEROKEE PHEONIX
Tulsa Youth Opera participant and Cherokee Nation citizen Phillip Bruch sings “Caro Mio Ben” for Aaron Beck, Tulsa Opera’s music and education administrator, during vocal lessons in Muskogee, Oklahoma. Bruch is one of five CN citizens who have been selected to be a part of the Tulsa Youth Opera for its 2017-18 season. Also shown are CN citizens Megan Jacobs, Barbara McAlister and Katelyn Morton. Jacobs and Morton were also selected to be a part of the Tulsa Youth Opera. Bruch, Jacobs and Morton all study under McAlister, who is an internationally acclaimed mezzo-soprano opera singer. KENLEA HENSON/CHEROKEE PHEONIX

7 Cherokees named NCAIED’s ‘40 under 40’

BY STAFF REPORTS
08/12/2017 02:00 PM
MESA, Ariz. – On Aug. 9, the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development honored seven Cherokees as members of its 2017 class of “Native American 40 Under 40.”

This award is bestowed upon individuals under the age of 40, nominated by members of their communities, who have demonstrated leadership, initiative and dedication and made significant contributions in business and their communities.

The seven Cherokees receiving the honor are:

• Roy Boney: Cherokee Nation, program manager at the CN Language Program, from Tahlequah, Oklahoma,

• Hope Huskey: Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, associate director of The Sequoyah Fund Inc., from Cherokee, North Carolina,
On Aug. 9, the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development honored seven Cherokees as members of its 2017 class of “Native American 40 Under 40.” COURTESY
On Aug. 9, the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development honored seven Cherokees as members of its 2017 class of “Native American 40 Under 40.” COURTESY
http://cherokee.org/About-The-Nation/National-Holiday

Atcity vying for Miss Oklahoma USA title

BY KENLEA HENSON
News Writer
08/08/2017 08:00 AM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – Tasha Atcity is preparing to compete for Miss Oklahoma USA 2018 in December, using the platform of inspiring disadvantaged youth. The Cherokee Nation citizen wants to be a voice by sharing her story and encouraging youths to defy stereotypes, as she did.

Competing in one, let alone three pageants, isn’t what Atcity dreamed possible five years ago while living at the Oklahoma United Methodist Children’s Home in Tahlequah after losing her home and income. She said she persevered and strived to “motivate and inspire individuals to pursue their dreams and goals”

“Five years ago if someone told me I would be competing in my third pageant, I would be like ‘oh goodness, you’re crazy’ because I didn’t know that was a possibility. But once I saw that it is a possibility that’s when I really opened my eyes. I realized that if I thought that stuff, then there are so many people that can think that way, too,” she said.

While living at the children’s home, Atcity received housing and support she didn’t have previously. She graduated from Northeastern State University in 2015 becoming the first person in her family to graduate from college.

“They (children’s home) helped me overcome the generational boundary of education along with helping me understand that my ‘mess’ was my message. They gave me the start I needed to become a confident young women,” she said. “I have a wonderful family, but because my parents were so focused on how we were going to make ends meet, there was a lot of questions I had that I didn’t know how to ask. And if I did ask, I’m not sure they would have been able to answer. So to give them the opportunity to be proud of who I have become, and for them to know they did every thing they could for me to be successful, and God did the rest, means so much to me.”
Cherokee Nation citizen Tasha Atcity receives her crown as Miss Northeastern State University on Nov. 5, 2013. Atcity now has her eyes set on becoming Miss Oklahoma USA 2018 in December in Shawnee, Oklahoma. COURTESY Tasha Atcity
Cherokee Nation citizen Tasha Atcity receives her crown as Miss Northeastern State University on Nov. 5, 2013. Atcity now has her eyes set on becoming Miss Oklahoma USA 2018 in December in Shawnee, Oklahoma. COURTESY

Hampton has 56 years of Cherokee genealogy experience

BY KENLEA HENSON
News Writer
08/04/2017 12:00 PM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – Cherokee Nation citizen David Hampton has researched Cherokee genealogy for 56 years and has formed a database with more than 120,000 names and pieces of information.

“My database is about 120,000 names, not all are Cherokee however, many of those are spouses of Cherokees and their parents,” Hampton said. “On Cherokee lines we can trace back, in some cases, to the early 1700s. Most full-blood lines trace back only to the early 1800s or later 1700s.”

For the past nine years, Hampton has also provided the Cherokee Nation’s “Remember the Removal” cyclists and staff with their genealogies. He’s able to trace their ancestors to pre-removal and give dates and years to when and where those ancestors were born and died, as well as the names of their spouses and children. With his help, cyclists can determine their ancestors’ home sites along the journey.

Hampton also links cyclists by telling them how they are related, if they have common ancestors.

Not only does he research the riders’ genealogies, he also researches genealogies for the public.
Cherokee genealogist David Hampton, center, talks to the 2017 “Remember the Removal” bike riders in May about their genealogies he researched for them. Hampton has been providing RTR participants with their genealogies for the past nine years. WILL CHAVEZ/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Cherokee genealogist David Hampton, center, talks to the 2017 “Remember the Removal” bike riders in May about their genealogies he researched for them. Hampton has been providing RTR participants with their genealogies for the past nine years. WILL CHAVEZ/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
https://www.facebook.com/ScissorCutArtByTana/

Locust Grove Cardinals win inaugural USSSA World Series

BY LINDSEY BARK
News Writer
08/03/2017 09:00 AM
BIXBY, Okla. – The Locust Grove Cardinals, an 8-and-under, coach-pitch baseball team from Locust Grove, competed in its first United States Specialty Sports Association Global World Series July 17-18, winning its division.

The Cardinals have 12 members, nine of who started as a team two years ago. About two-thirds of the team are Cherokee Nation or United Keetoowah Band citizens.

Since forming, the team has won weekend tournaments, two state championships and its first world series. Though not affiliated with a league, the team is considered a “tournament team,” meaning it only competes in weekend tournaments around the state.

“(In the) World Series play, we didn’t have intentions up there. Really, I just wanted them to go up there for the experience and have fun, so I just told them ‘all I want you to do is try hard. I mean just play hard and if we win, that’s great. If we don’t, just know that as long as you tried hard that’s all that matters,’” head coach Mike Witt said.

The team started slowly in the 2017 spring season because of inclement weather limiting its playing time and finding a place to practice.
The Locust Grove Cardinals, with coaches in back, won the United States Specialty Sports Association Global World Series baseball championship in their first appearance on July 17-18 in Bixby, Oklahoma, in the 8-and-under, coach-pitch division. LINDSEY BARK/CHEROKEE PHOENIX Cherokee Nation citizen Ayden Littledave competes against the Vinita Dirty Dawgs on July 17 during the United States Specialty Sports Association Global World Series in Bixby, Oklahoma. COURTESY United Keetoowah Band citizen Kamden Feeling gets a hit against the Arkansas Express on July 18 during the United States Specialty Sports Association Global World Series in Bixby, Oklahoma. COURTESY
The Locust Grove Cardinals, with coaches in back, won the United States Specialty Sports Association Global World Series baseball championship in their first appearance on July 17-18 in Bixby, Oklahoma, in the 8-and-under, coach-pitch division. LINDSEY BARK/CHEROKEE PHOENIX

Cherokee family lives rodeo lifestyle

BY ROGER GRAHAM
Multimedia Producer – @cp_rgraham
07/28/2017 08:45 AM
WAGONER, Okla. – Cherokee Nation citizens Wendall and Randi Stanley, along with their 7-year-old son Tripp, were slated to compete in the July 29 Cherokee Nation All-Indian Rodeo in Tahlequah.

The Stanley’s 5-year-old daughter, Taya, is waiting for her chance to compete in a rodeo when she is old enough. In other words, rodeo is a way of life for this Cherokee family.

“Yeah, my wife competes in breakaway roping, and I’m in the team roping this weekend. Tripp is entered in the mutton busting (sheep riding),” Wendall said.

Both Wendall and Randi were on the Bacone College Rodeo team and have won their share of rodeos and prizes during the years. Some of Wendall’s accomplishments include a 2017 All-Star Team Rodeo 16 Invitational win, being a five-time Indian National Finals Rodeo qualifier, a 2016 INFR Go Round win, being a 10-time International Finals Rodeo qualifier, being a 16-time American Finals Rodeo qualifier, being a 14-time Central Region Rodeo Association qualifier, a 2004 National Intercollegiate Heeler championship, being a 2014-16 American Cowboys Rodeo Association champion heeler and 2015 CRRA champion heeler.

Randi’s accomplishments include being a 2008 and 2014-16 American Finals qualifier, a 2008 ACRA Breakaway Roper champion, being a three-times CRRA qualifier and winning the 2016 CRRA Breakaway Horse of the Year and 1999 All-Indian Rookie of the Year.
Video with default Cherokee Phoenix Frame
Cherokee Nation citizen Wendall Stanley competes in a team roping competition at the 2017 Miami (Oklahoma) Rodeo. COURTESY Seven-year-old Tripp Stanley and his 5-year-old sister Taya wait for their turns to enter the family’s roping arena on July 20 in Wagoner, Oklahoma. ROGER GRAHAM/CHEROKEE PHOENIX Cherokee Nation citizen and breakaway roper Randi Stanley wears her “ROPE LIKE A GIRL” cap during roping practice at the Stanley home arena on July 20 in Wagoner, Oklahoma. ROGER GRAHAM/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Cherokee Nation citizen Wendall Stanley competes in a team roping competition at the 2017 Miami (Oklahoma) Rodeo. COURTESY

ᏙᏆᎴᎷ , ᎣᎦᎵᎰᎹ. – ᏣᎳᎩ ᎠᏰᎵ ᎠᏁᎳ Wendall ᎠᎴ Randi Stanley, ᎠᎴ ᎦᎵᏉᎩ ᎢᏳᏕᏘᏴᏓ ᎠᏧᏣ ᎤᏂᎧᎯᎢ Tripp ᏧᏙᎩᏓ, ᎨᎪᏪᎳᏅ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎤᏂᏍᏆᏗᏍᏗ ᎾᎿ ᎦᏰᏉᏂᏔᎵᏍᎪ ᏐᏁᎵᏁ ᏣᎳᎩ ᎠᏰᎵ ᏂᎦᏓ ᎠᏂᏴᏫᏯ ᏩᎦ ᏗᏂᏍᏜᏗᏍᎩ ᎤᎾᏙᏢᎯ ᎾᎿ ᏓᎵᏆ.

ᎾᏍᎩ ᎠᏂStanley ᎯᏍᎩ ᎢᏳᏕᏘᏴᏓ ᎠᎨᏳᏣ, Taya, ᎠᎨᏘᏯ ᎤᏟᎶᎯᏍᏗ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎤᏠᏯ ᎢᏳᏛᏗ ᏩᎦ ᏓᎾᎩᎸᏗᏍᎬᎢ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎡᎵ ᎢᏳᏕᏘᏴᏓ ᏂᎦᎵᏍᏔᏅᎢ. ᏐᎢ ᏱᎧᏁᏣ, ᏩᎦ ᏓᎾᎩᎸᏗᏍᎬ ᎾᏍᎩᎾ ᎢᏳᏍᏗ ᎠᏂᎦᏔᎯ ᎠᎴ ᎠᏁᎭ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎯᎠ ᎠᏂᏣᎳᎩ ᏏᏓᏁᎸᎢ.

“ᎾᏍᎩ, ᎠᏆᏓᎵᎠ ᎠᏓᎪᎾᏗᏍᎪ ᎠᎾᏓᎾᏫᏍᏗᏍᎬ ᏓᏯᏍᏜᏗᏍᎪᎢ, ᎠᎴ ᎠᏯ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏗᎵᎪᎯ ᏙᏥᏍᏜᏗᏍᎪᎢ ᎯᎠ ᎠᏍᏆᏗᏍᎬ ᏒᎾᏙᏓᏆᏍᏗ. Tripp ᎾᏍᎩ ᎤᏖᎳᏛ ᎾᎿ ᎤᏂᏃᏕᎾ ᏓᎾᎩᎸᏗᏍᎬᎢ,” ᎠᏗᏍᎬᎢ Wendall.

ᎢᏧᎳ Wendall ᎠᎴ Randi ᎾᎿ Bacone ᎦᎸᎳᏗ ᏧᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᏗ ᏩᎦ ᏗᏂᏯᏍᏜᏗᏍᎩ ᎨᏒ ᎤᎾᎵᎪᎯ Ꭰ. ᏧᎾᏓᏠᏒ ᎤᎪᏓ ᎾᎿ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏓᏍᏆᎵᏍᎬ ᎠᎴ ᎤᎾᏓᏠᏏ ᏧᎶᏒ ᏓᏕᏘᏴᎯᏒᎢ. ᎢᎦᏓ ᎾᏍᎩ Wendall’s ᎤᏍᏆᏛ ᎠᎴ ᏚᏓᏒᏅ ᎠᏠᏯᏍᏗ ᏔᎵ ᏯᎦᏴᎵ ᎦᎵᏆᏚ ᏂᎦᏓ ᏧᎾᎵᎪᎯ ᏗᏂᏯᏍᏝᏗᏍᎩ ᏓᎳᏚ ᎠᏥᏯᏅᏓ ᎤᏓᏠᏒᎢ, ᎯᏍᎩ ᎢᏳᏩᎪᏗ ᎠᏂᏴᏫᏯ ᎬᎾᏕᎾ ᏩᎦ ᏗᏂᏍᏢᏗᏍᎩ ᎡᎵᏋ ᏯᏛᏁᎯ, ᏔᎵ ᏯᎦᏴᎵ ᏓᎳᏚ ᎤᏕᏘᏴᏌᏗᏒ INFR ᎠᏂᎩᏍᎩ ᎠᏕᏲᎯ ᎤᏓᏠᏒ, ᎠᎴ ᏂᎦᏚ ᎢᏳᏩᎪᏗ ᎠᏰᏟ ᎤᏙᏢᏒ ᏩᎦ ᏗᏂᏯᏍᏝᏗᏍᎩ ᏧᎾᎵᎪᎯ ᎡᎵ ᏯᏛᏁᎯ, ᎾᏍᎩ ᏔᎵ ᏯᎦᏴᎵ ᏅᎩ ᎤᏕᏘᏴᏌᏗᏒ ᎬᎾᏕᎾ Intercollegiate Heeler ᎤᏍᎦᏎᏍᏗ, ᏃᎴᏍᏊ ᏔᎵ ᏯᎦᏴᎵ ᏂᎦᏓ ᏓᎳᏚ ᏚᏕᏘᏴᏌᏗᏒ ᎢᎪᎯᏓ ᎠᎹᏰᏟ ᏗᏂᏍᏜᏗᏍᎩ ᎤᎾᏓᏈᎬ ᎤᏂᏍᎦᏎᏗ heeler ᎠᎴ ᏔᎵ ᏯᎦᏴᎵ ᏍᎩᎦᏚ CRRA ᎤᏍᎦᏎᏗ heeler.

Randi’s ᏚᏍᏆᏛᎢ ᎠᏠᏯᏍᏗ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏔᎵ ᏯᎦᏴᎵ ᏧᏁᎳ ᎠᎴ ᏔᎵ ᏯᎦᏴᎵ ᏂᎦᏚ ᏓᎳᏚ ᎢᏍᏗ ᏚᏕᏘᏴᏌᏗᏒ ᎠᏂᏍᏆᏗᏍᎬ ᎤᎵᏍᎪᎸᏓᏁᎯ, ᏔᎵ ᏯᎦᏴᎵ ᏓᎳᏚ CRRA Breakaway ᏐᏈᎵ ᎾᎿ ᎤᏕᏘᏴᏌᏗᏒᎢ ᎠᎴ 1999 ᏂᎦᏓ--ᎠᏂᏴᏫᏯ Rookie ᎾᎿ ᎤᏕᏘᏴᏌᏗᏒᎢ.

“ᎾᏍᎩ ᏂᎦᏛᏁᎲ ᎨᏙᎲ ᏩᎦ ᏗᏅᎩᎸᏗᏍᎩ ᎾᎿ ᎦᎵᏉᎩ ᏯᏆᏕᏘᏴᏓ ᏂᎨᏒ ᎠᏆᎴᏅᎲᎢ,” ᎠᏗᏍᎬ Wendall, “ᎢᎬᏱ ᎠᏆᎴᏅᏓ ᎡᏙᏓ ᏥᏍᏓᏩᏕᎲ ᎠᎴ ᎡᏚᏓ. ᎾᎯᏳ ᏂᏓᎬᏩᏓᎴᏅᏓ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎦᎴᏂᏙᎲᎢ. ᏃᏊ ᏥᎩ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏂᎦᏛᏁᎰ ᏂᎪᎯᎸᎢ. ᏃᏊ ᎠᏇᏥ ᎠᏧᏣ ᏂᎦᏓ ᎾᏍᎩ (ᏗᏂᏍᏜᏗᏍᎩ). ᎠᎴ Ꮭ ᏱᏓᎪᎯᏣ ᎾᏍᎩᏊ ᎠᏇᏣ ᎠᎨᏳᏣ Taya ᏛᎴᏅᎯ ᎨᎳᏗᏙᎲ ᎾᎿ ᏓᎾᏙᎩᏯᏍᎬ ᎡᏙᏂ ᎠᎾᏕᏲᎲᎢ.”

ᏃᎴᏍᏊ Randi, ᎤᏬᎯᏳᏐ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎯᎠ ᎢᏳᏍᏗ ᎠᎴᏂᏓᏍᏗ ᎾᏍᎩ “ᎢᎦ ᎣᏍᏓ.”

“ᎾᏍᎩ ᎢᎦᎵᏍᏙᏗ ᎨᏒ ᏩᎦ ᏗᏂᎨᎯᏙ ᏏᏓᏁᎸ ᎾᎿ ᎣᏍᏓ ᎨᏒ ᏅᏗᎦᎵᏍᏙᏗ ᎠᏆᏛᏏᏗᏒ ᎾᎿ ᏗᎩᎦᏴᎵᎨ ᎠᎴ ᏗᎬᎩᎵᏏ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏄᏍᏛ ᎣᏤᏙᎲ ᎠᏆᏛᏒᎢ. ᎬᏆᏘᏁᎬ ᏂᎦᏓ ᎦᎸᎳᏗ ᏗᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᎩ ᏧᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᏗ ᏩᎦ ᏓᏂᏍᏝᏗᏍᎬᎢ ᎠᎴ ᏂᎦᏓ ᏌᏚᏏᏁ ᏗᏂᏂᏙᎲ ᎾᏍᏊ. ᎾᏍᎩᎾ ᏓᏳᏓᎴᏅᎲᎢ ᎠᎩᎸᏉᏛᎢ. ᏃᏊ ᏥᎩ ᏏᏓᏁᎸ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏃᏣᏛᏁᎰᎢ ᏓᏆᏓᏘᎾᎥᎢ, ᎠᏆᏓᏅᏛ ᎦᎷᎪ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎣᏍᏓ ᎠᏰᎸᏗ. ᏂᎦᏓ ᎣᏥᏏᏓᏁᎸ ᎣᎩᎸᏉᏓ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎢᏲᎦᏛᏗᎢ,” ᎠᏗᏍᎬᎢ.

Cherokee citizen enjoying opera production career

BY BRITTNEY BENNETT
News Writer – @cp_bbennett
07/26/2017 08:15 AM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – When Thaddeus Strassberger began attending theater shows with his parents as a child, they couldn’t have guessed their casual interest would lead him to a career of directing and designing operas that have graced world stages.

“I was 4 or 5 years old, and my first theater experiences were with Theatre Tulsa and American Theater Company where my parents took me to see shows,” he said. “I don’t think they were interested in it in a professional sort of way. I think it was just part of the whole cultural life.”

Raised in Tulsa, Strassberger attended The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art in New York City after high school. And being a 2001 Fulbright Fellowship recipient allowed him to study the Corso di Specializzazione per Scenografi Realizzatori program at Teatro alla Scala in Milan, Italy.

“In the beginning, it’s intimidating because you’re surrounded by people who are really knowledgeable about something that you want to do, but then you sort of get into a rhythm of it and realize nobody was born knowing these things,” he said.

Strassberger’s professional career began in 2005, the year he won the European Opera Prize in 2005 for “La Cenerentola” for the Opera Ireland and Wiesbaden State Theatre. His most recent achievements include the 2014 Bravo Award for Best Production and two 2016 Golden Mask Awards for “Satyagraha,” which is loosely based on Mahatma Gandhi’s life.
Cherokee Nation citizen Thaddeus Strassberger became interested in theater and opera early in life after his parents took him to shows at Theatre Tulsa and the American Theater Company. EVGENY POTOROCHIN/COURTESY Cherokee Nation citizen Thaddeus Strassberger first directed the Italian-language opera “Nabucco” in 2012 at the Washington National Opera in Washington, D.C., and will do so again in October at the LA Opera in Los Angeles. “Nabucco” originally premiered in 1842 at Teatro alla Scala in Milan, Italy, and follows the plight of Jews who are conquered and exiled from their homelands by Babylonian King Nabucco. COURTESY In 2014, Cherokee Nation citizen Thaddeus Strassberger directed the opera “Satyagraha,” which is loosely based on the life of Mahatma Gandhi. The production garnered him the 2014 Bravo Award for Best Production and two 2016 Golden Mask Awards. COURTESY
Cherokee Nation citizen Thaddeus Strassberger became interested in theater and opera early in life after his parents took him to shows at Theatre Tulsa and the American Theater Company. EVGENY POTOROCHIN/COURTESY

Culture

Visitors get glimpse into CHC archives
BY STACIE GUTHRIE
Reporter – @cp_sguthrie
08/18/2017 12:45 PM
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.

Education

NSU Alumni Association honors 2 Cherokees
BY STAFF REPORTS
08/14/2017 12:00 PM
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.

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.”

Crittenden has given back to NSU by supporting the tribe’s efforts to restore Seminary Hall and install modern classroom technologies. He also offers support and advice to youth in their pursuit of higher-education opportunities.

“I am proud to say I am an alum of a school that is so committed to Native students and developing leaders for Indian Country,” Crittenden said. “Cherokee Nation and NSU have established one of the most unique and successful collaborations between a tribal government and public higher education institution.”

NSU President Dr. Steve Turner said Crittenden was extraordinarily qualified to be recognized as a distinguished alumnus.

“His career path is highlighted by many years of service to the Cherokee Nation and to our country. I am so excited for Joe and his family and am honored to call him friend,” Turner said.

Erb-Alvarez is a distinguished epidemiologist and chief of patient recruitment for the National Institutes of Health’s National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute who graduated from NSU in 1993 with a bachelor’s degree in health and human performance.

She continued her education at the University of Oklahoma, earning a master’s degree in epidemiology. She has served as an epidemiologist for the Oklahoma Tribal Epidemiology Center, the Indian Health Service and the Bureau of Public Health, Ministry of Health in the Republic of Palau.

Erb-Alvarez was commissioned into the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps in 2010 and was deployed to Monrovia, Liberia in response to the Ebola crisis in West Africa in 2014-15. She is a life member of the NSU Alumni Association.

“I was truly honored when I received the call from NSU President Steve Turner. I was completely surprised and really excited when he told me I had been selected as one of the 2017 Distinguished Alumni. And then when explained who the other honorees were, it instilled another sense of pride and emotion. I am deeply grateful for this honor, and am completely humbled with the company I now keep, with those who are also being honored this year and those who have been honored in the past,” she said. “I look forward to NSU Homecoming Weekend in September when I can come back to my beloved alma mater and experience NSU all these many years later. I can’t wait to talk with students, educators, other professionals and friends – those who helped build my education – and share my post-graduation career and life experiences. I want them all to know and understand how much NSU has given me. I had a very solid foundation thanks to my years at NSU. It was easy for me to find my way and excel after an educational experience like that. Both of my parents are NSU graduates, and I was born while my parents were students and living at NSU married student housing. I have a long, long and wonderful history with NSU. The fact that NSU began as a Cherokee Seminary gives it all the more meaning to me as a Cherokee citizen.”

Turner said Erb-Alvarez has amassed an outstanding list of accomplishments since her time at NSU.”

“Her commitment to preserving the health of the nation and serving others through the National Institute of Health and the United States Public Health Service is admirable and makes her more than deserving of this honor,” he said.

Council

Dobbins takes aim at improving health care
BY LINDSEY BARK
News Writer
08/17/2017 04:00 PM
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.”

Health

Casting for Recovery to hold retreat for Native women with breast cancer
BY STAFF REPORTS
08/08/2017 04:00 PM
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.

Opinion

OPINION: Environmental efforts ensure fresh water, better future
BY BILL JOHN BAKER
Principal Chief
08/01/2017 12:00 PM
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.

People

Nearly 130 Cherokees enter CN Rodeo
BY ROGER GRAHAM
Multimedia Producer – @cp_rgraham
07/25/2017 04:00 PM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – Cherokee people make up the majority of contestants in this year’s Cherokee Nation All-Indian Rodeo set for July 29 at the Cherokee County Arena.

Of the 190 contestants, 129 of them are Cherokee, and competitors must be citizens of federally recognized tribes. Prize money, jackets and custom saddles will be given to winners in the rodeo’s three divisions.

One division consists of team roping and senior team roping. Another division consists of bareback, saddle bronc, breakaway, senior breakaway, calf roping, steer wrestling, bull riding, junior team roping and barrel racing. The third division consists of junior bull riding, junior breakaway and junior barrel racing. Also, peewee barrel racing for children 8 years old and under and mutton busting for children 6 years old are slated.

The slack – which is for the “overflow” contestants of calf roping, team roping, barrel racing and steer wrestling who wouldn’t fit in the nightly rodeo performance, will begin at 8 a.m.

The evening rodeo will begin at 7 p.m. and is free to the public. The arena is located 3 miles west of Tahlequah on Highway 62.

For more information, call Bruce Davis at 918-453-5340 or 918-458-7438.
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