“My grandma did indeed have a huge part in me choosing to be a chef later on in life. It was something that we always did together,” the 26-year-old Cherokee Nation citizen said. “I think it started out as something to kind of keep me busy at first and then the more skills that I would learn, especially when I was away from her, I would come back and show her and then we’d cook together. Basically, she used food to extend care to us as children. It was such an important nurturing aspect of my upbringing that I couldn’t let it go. I had to kind of carry on in her stead, being a cook in the family.”
Barton said she began taking a creative role in cooking at age 13. “Even though I didn’t know much I still wanted to play with food and see what I could make.”
This love for cooking inspired Barton to study culinary arts while in high school. She later attended the Oklahoma State University-Institute of Technology’s culinary program in Okmulgee.
She said even today taking on that creative role when she was 13 affects how she approaches food.
Cherokee Nation citizen Taelor Barton, who is the executive chef at The Vault in Tulsa, Oklahoma, says she began taking a creative role in cooking at age 13. She credits her grandmother, Cherokee National Treasure Edith Knight, as having a “huge” part in her becoming a chef. STACIE GUTHRIE/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
He said the first class began approximately three months ago and he hopes to get “a lot” of attention drawn to fencing.
“Currently I have six (students). It’s my first group, and they range from 6 years old, which is pretty young, to probably in their mid-40s. Two dads come with their children,” he said.
Stretch said he’s tried to start a fencing program for “years.” He said he started one in Tahlequah because the sport is “under promoted” in the area.
“When I moved to Tahlequah, there’s not a lot of opportunity. The opportunities are in Fayetteville (Arkansas) or Little Rock, Arkansas, or Tulsa, so it’s an hour and a half drive to get to fencing in this area. Plus, I think that it’s…under promoted in this area, and I’d kind of like to see us grow into a nice club where we can go fence with our people,” he said.
Cherokee Nation citizen Kevin Stretch, left, speaks to his fencing students while they practice at the Academy of Preforming Arts in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. The fencing class practices there weekly. STACIE GUTHRIE/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Kirby said she heard stories and testimonies from women of other countries about their struggles to be heard by their governments on issues such as abuse, human trafficking, work and equal pay.
“Just the fact that you were so close to so many women and so many world leaders who are saying ‘we care about women’s rights, we care about women’s work, justice for women, women’s empowerment’ was really inspiring. I feel like that was a life-changing experience to be around so many people that are fighting for a lot of the same things across the world,” Kirby said.
She said she learned women from other countries struggle with speaking on certain issues and have to be “strategic” or “silent” in their fights because of dangers they face. In the United States, she said, it’s easier for women to speak and find allies and support on issues, but in a sense, solutions are still government-controlled.
Within her Lutheran delegation, Kirby heard stories from Indigenous women about what they face that affects them as well as their children and what hinders their empowerment to create change in their communities.
Cherokee Nation citizen Jennifer Kirby, right, and other delegates of the Lutheran World Federation wait for the opening ceremony on March 13 at the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women in New York City. Kirby plans to create a presentation in her hometown of Oaks, Oklahoma, to teach others about her experience at the UNCSW. COURTESY
“Spooklight” is a film Lind is developing with filmmaker Gabrielle Demeestere. It is a “psychological and environmental horror film” that examines the deteriorating relationship between two Cherokee siblings and their non-Native half brother. It will be filmed in northeastern Oklahoma and feature performances by local Native actors and non-actors.
“Allotment” is a documentary by Lind and filmmaker Mark Lazarz. It is an “impressionistic portrait” of northeastern Oklahoma and its people that examines the legacy of enforced land ownership inside the CN. It is being filmed across over the course of four seasons and will feature interviews with local residents, tribal leaders, elders, politicians, church leaders, cowboys, artisans and local historians.
“Growing up it wasn’t cool to be Indian,” Lind said. “Most of my classmates weren’t into it, and those that were didn’t see me as part of their group because I’m tall and blond.”
While at Yale University, Lind said he longed to connect with other Native Americans.
Pettit said he grew up listening to broadcasts of the University of Oklahoma Sooners and University of Arkansas Razorbacks basketball teams.
“Now, I do my own stuff. I do basketball or game of the week here on 105.1 (KXMX in Sallisaw). I do the play-by-play, the color (commentary), all my own stats, everything,” he said.
He initially thought about going into the radio broadcasting business in 2010 while working as realtor in Fayetteville, Arkansas.
“I always had a passion for radio, and I got a note from one of my friends about doing broadcasting school, and it was all online so I was able to do it,” Pettit said.
Justin Pettit, a Cherokee Nation citizen and radio broadcast host, works behind the microphone on March 6 at the Mix 105.1 KXMX radio station in Sallisaw, Oklahoma, during the “JP in the Morning” show. LINDSEY BARK/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Priscilla, Payton’s mother, said Payton won the Arizona State championship and three other races.
“This year she won the championship for Arizona State, taking home the first, and then we also competed for Gold cup, which is regional (District Championship). She competed in two gold cups, South Central (Regional Championship) and South West (Regional Championship). She won both of those receiving the number one,” she said. “The South Central was in Texas, which was a new track for her, new girls, and she went out there and she had a clean sweep, but she got first place on all three days of the championship so she came home the overall winner. Then the Southwestern was in Arizona, she also brought home first place that weekend.”
In 2015, Payton won the Arizona championship and third place for the DK Bikes Gold Cup Regional Championship, both in the 5-and-under girls’ class.
Priscilla said Payton is doing “awesome” and that her district championship win was not separated by age, gender or skill level.
The Goingsnake District Heritage Association is a nonprofit organization in Westville dedicated to the preservation of Cherokee history and genealogy, especially of the Goingsnake District.
GDHA President Jack Baker, of Oklahoma City, said the association was formed nearly 40 years ago to remember the history of the district, which encompassed what is now northern Adair County, a portion of eastern Cherokee County and a portion of southern Delaware County.
“It was formed in 1978 by a group of citizens in Westville whose families were all Cherokee citizens. They wanted to remember their families and what had happened in the (Cherokee) Nation,” said Baker, who was born on his grandfather’s land allotment in the Chewey Community of northern Adair County. “I may be the only one that’s left from that early time period. All of the ones who went to the early meetings, sometimes there would be only a half a dozen of us there, almost everyone of them are dead. But it was to remember what had happened and to perpetuate the history of the Goingsnake District.”
In 1983, the group started publishing the “Goingsnake Messenger,” a newsletter and historical journal that highlighted the group’s activities, genealogy and Cherokee history. The 30-page journal is now published twice a year.
The Goingsnake District was one of nine districts in the Cherokee Nation preceding Oklahoma statehood. It encompassed northern Adair County, part of eastern Cherokee County and part of southern Delaware County. Today, the Goingsnake District Heritage Association works to preserve the district’s Cherokee history and genealogy. COURTESY
Ray, a NSU graduate, said as an acting teacher she’s a firm believer that if she’s going to teach it she needs to do it well.
“I think coaches should play a game every once in a while. I think it’s good for you.” Ray said.
“In my career I have been fortunate to inhabit numerous different roles, whether it was a straight drama or a fun musical, but no experience comes close to playing Martha in Edward Albee’s Tony- and Pulitzer Prize-winning play, ‘Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?’ It has been one of my favorite plays and by far my favorite role, and one I didn’t think I’d ever get the chance to play. NSU Theatre Company, which is my home stage, gave me that chance this past February, and I can’t thank my director, Dr. Robyn Pursley, enough for choosing me for this role.”
Ray said it was “exhilarating” being on the stage again in a role that was “emotionally draining and so rewarding.”
Brian Jackson, range coordinator, said the tournament was held to help students prepare for the state tournament.
“They wanted to host a tournament right before the state tournament, so we have 40 targets out there, over 400 archers and they’re going nuts out here,” he said.
Jackson said students could have scored a maximum of 300 points during the shoot.
“They will shoot at 10 meters, and they’ll shoot at 15 meters. They have three scoring rounds at 10 meters, three scoring rounds at 15 meters for a maximum of 300 possible points. Some of them will be in the top 280s, 290s,” he said.
Cherokee Nation citizen Coy Brooks, 14, wearing cap, shoots during the Oklahoma Rural Elementary Schools Tournament on the Feb. 24 at the Cherokee Nation’s Joe Thornton Archery Range in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. Brooks won first place in the boys division. STACIE GUTHRIE/CHEROKEE PHOENIX