Country singer Easton Corbin comes to Hard Rock Tulsa

01/18/2018 12:00 PM
CATOOSA – Nashville recording artist Easton Corbin is coming March 2 to the stage at The Joint inside Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa.

Tickets start at $25 and go on sale Jan. 18.

His overall two No. 1 singles, six Top 10 singles, awards and nominations landed him on some of the biggest stages of the world, including Carrie Underwood’s 2016 “The Storyteller Tour.”

The Florida native’s resume is topped with the signature hits he’s known for from his No. 1 debuting album, “About To Get Real,” that include “A Little More Country Than That,” “Roll With It,” “Lovin’ You is Fun” and “Baby Be My Love Song.” Fans will also remember his Top 5 song, “All Over the Road.”

Corbin’s current single, “A Girl Like You” from his upcoming album, hit Billboard’s Top 10 and continues to climb. “Taste of Country” picked the song as a Critics Pick, saying, “It takes a fraction of a second to know Easton Corbin is on to something different with ‘A Girl Like You.’”
Easton Corbin
Easton Corbin

Newton-John to hit Hard Rock Tulsa

01/12/2018 04:00 PM
CATOOSA – Internationally recognized four-time Grammy Award-winning singer, actress and philanthropist Olivia Newton-John is coming March 22 to the The Joint inside Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa.

Tickets start at $45 and go on sale Jan. 18.

With a career spanning more than five decades with more than 100 million albums sold, her successes include four Grammys; numerous Country Music, American Music, Billboard and People’s Choice Awards; an Emmy Award; 10 No. 1 hits; and more than 15 top 10 singles. She recently scored another No. 1 hit, this time on the Billboard Dance Club Songs chart with her daughter Chloe Lattanzi – becoming the first mother/daughter duo to top this chart. In 1978, her co-starring role with John Travolta in “Grease” catapulted Olivia into superstardom and to date remains the most successful movie musical of all time.

Throughout her career, she has held humanitarian and environmental causes close to her heart. She served as Goodwill Ambassador to the United Nations Environment Programme, was the co-founder of Children’s Health Environmental Coalition (now Healthy Child, Healthy World) and, in 1992, she created National Tree Day in Australia, which is responsible for planting more than 10 million trees since its beginning. Most recently she co-founded One Tree Per Child, an international school initiative with the goal of having every child under the age of 10 plant at least one tree.

In 1992, Olivia was diagnosed with breast cancer. Her personal journey with cancer led her to announce her partnership with the Austin Health and the creation of the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Wellness & Research Centre in her hometown of Melbourne, Australia. The center, which opened its doors in 2012, provides a comprehensive range of services and facilities for cancer treatment, education, training and research as well as a dedicated wellness center.
Olivia Newton-John
Olivia Newton-John

Los Lobos, Los Lonely Boys team up at Hard Rock

01/03/2018 08:15 AM
CATOOSA, Okla. – Grammy Award-winning bands Los Lobos and Los Lonely Boys are bringing a night of collaboration to The Joint inside Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa on March 9.

Tickets start at $39 and go on sale Jan. 4.

After humble beginnings in 1973, Mexican-American band Los Lobos gained fame with its 1984 breakthrough album, “How Will The Wolf Survive?” before recording its iconic version of Mexican folk song “La Bamba” for the film of the same title. The song skyrocketed to No. 1 on the Billboard charts in 1987, making it the first Spanish song ever to do so.

Los Lobos followed up its massive success with three decades of albums, including “By The Light of the Moon,” “The Neighborhood,” “Kiko,” “Papa’s Dream,” “Colossal Head,” “The Ride” and “Tin Can Trust.” The band most recently released “Gates of Gold” in 2015, a mix of the band’s raw intensity of rock, Tex-Mex, country, folk, R&B and blues.

The Los Lonely Boys’ journey to worldwide fame is one of rock’s great Cinderella tales. After a failed move to Nashville, their big break came after being heard by Willie Nelson’s nephew in the early 2000s. They later established their “Texican Rock” sound in 2003 with their self-titled first album that featured the No. 1 smash hit “Heaven.” The album sold more than 2 million copies, spending 76 weeks on the Billboard Top 200 album chart and landing the band a Grammy for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group.
The Grammy Award-winning band Los Lobos will perform March 9 at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Catoosa, Oklahoma. COURTESY The Grammy Award-winning band Los Lonely Boys will perform March 9 at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Catoosa, Oklahoma. COURTESY
The Grammy Award-winning band Los Lobos will perform March 9 at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Catoosa, Oklahoma. COURTESY

Hard Rock Tulsa parties ‘All Night Long’ for 2018

12/28/2017 08:30 AM
CATOOSA, Okla. – The Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa is ringing in 2018 on Dec. 31 by paying tribute to music legend Prince at one of the region’s largest New Year’s Eve parties.

Party All Night Long NYE 2018 includes music, dancing, party favors, Prince music videos, purple rain effects in the Grand Lobby and new Prince memorabilia recently released from his estate. Three Prince impersonators will help count down the new year, and more than 10,000 balloons will drop at midnight.

Festivities start with $2,018 cash drawings every hour from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m., followed by a grand prize drawing of $20,018 at 6 p.m. One Star Rewards members can begin registering at 10 a.m. and earn one entry into the drawings.

Live entertainment begins with Rosy Hips hitting the stage at Riff’s at noon, followed by Boogie Fever and Replay. The Bobby D Band and the George Brothers are playing throughout the evening at Cabin Creek.

Festivities throughout the casino are free, and guests must be 21 or older. Guests can enjoy complimentary hats, horns and tiaras as well as commemorate the evening at free photo selfie kiosks.

Alanis Morissette to hit Hard Rock March 15

12/22/2017 04:00 PM
CATOOSA, Okla. – Alternative rock icon Alanis Morissette is bringing her award-winning music to The Joint inside Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa on March 15.

Tickets start at $69 and go on sale Dec. 28.

Morissette is known as one of the most influential singer-songwriters in contemporary music. She landed on the scene with her 1995 groundbreaking debut album, “Jagged Little Pill,” that included hits such as “You Oughta Know,” “Hand In My Pocket,” “Ironic,” “You Learn,” and “Hand Over Feet.” The album earned two Grammy Awards for “Best Rock Album” and “Album of the Year.” Her first single, “You Oughta Know” also won “Best Rock Song” the same year.

She followed up with the albums “Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie,” “MTV Unplugged,” “Under Rug Swept,” “So-Called Chaos,” “Jagged Little Pill Acoustic,” her greatest hits album, “The Collection,” “Flavors of Entanglement,” “Havoc and Bright Lights” and “Jagged Little Pill: Collector’s Edition.” In 2015, she was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame.

Morissette has contributed to several theatrical releases such as “The Chronicles of Narnia,” “Prince of Persia,” and “City of Angels.” She also has several acting credits to her name.
Alanis Morissette
Alanis Morissette

Peter Cetera to showcase hits at Hard Rock

11/29/2017 04:15 PM
CATOOSA, Okla. – Grammy Award-winning singer and songwriter Peter Cetera on Feb. 14 will bring his collection of songs to The Joint inside Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa.

Tickets start at $49 and go on sale Dec. 14.

Cetera’s long career skyrocketed in 1968 as singer, songwriter and bassist for the rock group Chicago. He contributed to 18 albums with the band, including several of the band’s chart-toppers, like “If You Leave Me Now,” “Hard to Say I’m Sorry,” “Baby What a Big Surprise,” “You’re the Inspiration,” “Stay the Night,” “Love Me Tomorrow,” “Happy Man,” “Feeling Stronger Every Day” and “Along Comes a Woman.”

In 1986, Cetera branched out on his own and went on to create 10 albums and numerous No. 1 hits, including the Academy Award-nominated song “The Glory of Love,” “The Next Time I Fall” with Amy Grant, “Feels Like Heaven” with Chaka Kahn, “After All” with Cher, “No Explanation” from the film “Pretty Woman” and “Restless Heart.”

Cetera now tours with his seven-piece electric band “The Bad Daddy’s.” He also appears in other musical formats including, his much-acclaimed “Symphony Show” for larger venues and “String Quartet” for smaller, more intimate ones.

Clay Walker, Tracy Byrd hit Hard Rock on Feb. 1

11/17/2017 04:00 PM
CATOOSA, Okla. – Clay Walker is collaborating with longtime hit-maker Tracy Byrd for one night on Feb. 1 at The Joint inside Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa.

The two will perform their iconic hits spanning multiple decades. Tickets start at $49 and are on sale now.

Walker is considered one of the busiest artists on the road. He hit the scene in 1993 with hit singles like “What’s It to You” and “Live Until I Die.” Since then, he’s added 29 more to his résumé, like “Dreaming With My Eyes Open,” “If I Could Make A Living,” “This Woman and This Man” and “Rumor Has It,” and has been traveling ever since. He’s earned four platinum-selling albums and two gold albums over the course of his career.

He’s also known for overcoming significant struggles in the midst of his success. Having been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1996, Walker founded Band Against MS (BAMS) to fight the disease and has raised more than $5 million for the cause. He also co-founded Military Warriors Support Foundation, which awards mortgage-free homes and family mentoring to wounded heroes injured in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Tracy Byrd continues to be a household name for fans with classic hits like “Holdin’ Heaven,” “Watermelon Crawl,” “Lifestyles of the Not So Rich and Famous” and “Ten Rounds with Jose Cuervo,” just to name a few. Six of his albums are gold-certified and led him to several TV appearances like his 1996 special, “Tracy Byrd’s Big Love,” which included guests like Johnny Paycheck, Mark Chesnutt and Asleep at the Wheel. He also hosted TNN’s Weekend Outdoor Broadcast for three years.
Clay Walker is collaborating with longtime hit-maker Tracy Byrd for one night on Feb. 1 at The Joint inside Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa. COURTESY
Clay Walker is collaborating with longtime hit-maker Tracy Byrd for one night on Feb. 1 at The Joint inside Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa. COURTESY

Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa hosts ‘Twisted Nightmare’ Oct. 28

10/20/2017 12:00 PM
CATOOSA, Okla. – The spookiest night of the year is happening Oct. 28 at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa with its “Twisted Nightmare” Halloween Party.

A one-of-a-kind meet and greet with Twisted Sister’s Dee Snider kicks off the night followed by a light show and an elaborate costume contest with $10,000 in cash prizes.

Snider is best known as the lead singer in the 1980s band, Twisted Sister. His success propelled him into stardom that led to appearances on reality TV shows, including “The Celebrity Apprentice,” “Gone Country with John Rich,” MTV’s “Rock the Cradle” and “Growing Up Twisted.” He’s also an accomplished radio host, voiceover artist and film producer.

The “Twisted Nightmare” Halloween Party opens at 8 p.m. in the Sequoyah Convention Center. DJ Sally and DJ Miguel, two of Las Vegas’ leading DJs, will be teaming up on the turntables to create a world-class dance party.

Guests are encouraged to wear their most creative, daring and frightening costumes and enter this year’s costume contest where $10,000 is up for grabs. The first place winner receives $5,000. Second place takes home $3,000, and third place is awarded $2,000. Judging for the costume contest is slated between 10:45 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. Winners will be announced at midnight and must be present to win.
A one-of-a-kind meet and greet with Twisted Sister’s Dee Snider is set for Oct. 28 at the Hard Rock & Hotel Tulsa’s “Twisted Nightmare” Halloween Party. COURTESY
A one-of-a-kind meet and greet with Twisted Sister’s Dee Snider is set for Oct. 28 at the Hard Rock & Hotel Tulsa’s “Twisted Nightmare” Halloween Party. COURTESY

‘Million Dollar Quartet’ jams out on Dec. 2

09/29/2017 02:00 PM
CATOOSA, Okla. – “Million Dollar Quartet,” the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical based on one of the greatest rock ‘n’ roll jam sessions in history, is heading to The Joint on Dec. 2 inside the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa.

Tickets start at $29 and go on sale Oct. 12.

“Million Dollar Quartet” tells the story of the twist of fate that brought young icons Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins and Elvis Presley together at Sun Records on Dec. 4, 1956, in in Memphis, Tennessee. The performance brings to life a story of broken promises, secrets, betrayal, humor and celebration.

The musical features classic hits such as “Blue Suede Shoes,” “Fever,” “That’s All Right,” “Sixteen Tons,” “I Walk the Line,” “Great Balls of Fire,” “Folsom Prison Blues,” “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On” and “Hound Dog.”

Oklahoma native and Oklahoma City University alum Tiffan Borelli will perform on stage as a singer and Elvis’ girlfriend Dyanne. Borelli has performed in regional theater, including Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma, and most recently performed in NYC Theatre in productions such as “Kiss Me Kate” and “Emma: The Musical.” “Million Dollar Quartet” also stars Daniel Durston as Elvis Presley, Taylor Gray as Jerry Lee Lewis, Austin Hohnke as Carl Perkins and Peter Oyloe as Johnny Cash.
From left are Taylor Gray as Jerry Lee Lewis, Austin Hohnke as Carl Perkins, Daniel Durston as Elvis Presley, Peter Oyloe as Johnny Cash and Tiffan Borelli as Elvis’ girlfriend Dyanne in the Tony Award-winning musical “Million Dollar Quartert.” The show will run Dec. 2 at The Joint inside the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa. COURTESY
From left are Taylor Gray as Jerry Lee Lewis, Austin Hohnke as Carl Perkins, Daniel Durston as Elvis Presley, Peter Oyloe as Johnny Cash and Tiffan Borelli as Elvis’ girlfriend Dyanne in the Tony Award-winning musical “Million Dollar Quartert.” The show will run Dec. 2 at The Joint inside the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa. COURTESY


Sunchokes harvested at CN plant site
01/22/2018 08:15 AM
TAHLEQUAH – On a cold and windy Jan. 9, Cherokee Nation cultural biologists and Environmental Resources specialists harvested sunchokes, also known as Jerusalem artichokes, at the Heirloom Garden and Native Plant Site on the Tribal Complex.

It is believed the sunchoke was a main food source for Cherokee people prior to European contact.

“The sunchoke is a very important cultural plant. So that was one of the plants that we really wanted to establish in the Seed Bank and the native plant site. We were lucky enough to be gifted some really nice specimens from the Eastern Band (of Cherokee Indians) several years ago. They brought us three really nice plants. The three plants have really expanded,” Environmental Resources Senior Director Pat Gwin said.

Gwin said the sunchoke is able to produce in mass amounts to harvest for the Seed Bank and as a food source.

“Sunchoke, it was an important plant for a reason. It grows an extremely large amount of product for the amount of space, time and effort that you put into it,” he said. “We produce lots and lots of seeds every year.”

Though the harvest ran a little late this season, Gwin said he expected hundreds to thousands of sunchoke tubers to yield. The plant is commonly harvested in the winter and may have been a winter food source for Cherokee because of its ability to grow in cold weather.

Gwin said pre-European contact, the sunchoke was an important food source though it “fell out of favor” after contact. The plant has recently started to rise under the name of Jerusalem artichoke.

The sunchoke resembles a sunflower when in full bloom. When harvested, the tuber underneath the ground resembles a potato, or water chestnut, and has similar qualities and textures due to its root structure.

“When I have cooked these in the past, I’ve noticed that sort of eating them raw kind of tastes like a raw potato or even kind of like water chestnut. If you cook them, and don’t cook them at a high heat, they’ll kind of keep the texture of a water chestnut. They can mostly be cooked just the way that we would cook a potato,” Feather Smith-Trevino, CN cultural biologist, said.

She said sunchokes are not commonly found in a grocery store or produced commercially, possibly because of its inability to “keep” once it is out of the ground.

“With the potato, once we gather those, they can be stored for months and months at a time and they won’t go bad. But with Jerusalem artichokes, once they’re pulled out of the ground their usually only good for maybe about another week to two weeks. They don’t keep much longer than that,” Smith-Trevino said.

For this year’s Seed Bank, around 88 packages were created for Cherokees to grow and harvest their own sunchoke plants.


Cherokee language program created for immersion school grads
01/23/2018 08:00 AM
TAHLEQUAH – The Cherokee Nation and Cherokee Nation Businesses signed a memorandum of understanding on Jan. 10 to begin a Cherokee language pilot project called the 14th Generation Master Apprentice Program.

The program aims to have select Cherokee Language Master Apprentice Program participants teach the language to Cherokee Immersion Charter School graduates as they enter Sequoyah High School.

“We hope to make an opportunity for them to polish up their language skills and at the same time pass on the teaching techniques that we’ve developed in the adult master-apprentice program for the high school so they can be teachers one day or at least teach their family and friends,” Ryan Mackey, CLMAP curriculum supervisor, said.

The MOU states the “Cherokee Nation and CNB share a common interest in promoting and encouraging the continuous use of the Cherokee language. This requires trained and educated individuals who are prepared to further the proper use of the Cherokee language through instruction of others.”

The program is geared toward immersion school graduates attending SHS to continue learning the language in an after-school program and a 10-week summer intensive learning program.
CLMAP graduates will be selected and employed as instructors in the pilot project.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Council approves Sovereign Wealth Fund
Reporter – @cp_sguthrie
12/14/2017 08:15 AM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – Tribal Councilors on Dec. 11 passed an act that establishes the Cherokee Nation Sovereign Wealth Fund, a fund that is expected to “ensure the continuation of tribal operations and the general welfare of tribal citizens for future generations.”

Tribal Councilor Dick Lay spoke about the act’s importance during the Nov. 14 Rules Committee.

“So the idea was to take a small amount of funding from the businesses, set it aside for just extreme financial emergencies, and I think (Treasurer) Lacey (Horn) and her group have been working along the same lines, so we’re going to try and get those together,” Lay said.

Horn said creating a “permanent fund” was something she had wanted to do, and after working on Lay’s model with Controller Jamie Cole and Assistant Attorney General Chad Harsha they created an act to bring before Council.

“This act establishes a wealth fund, which shall be held by the treasurer in accordance with the act, and assets shall be maintained in an interest-bearing account or otherwise invested to promote growth of the fund's assets,” she said.

Within the fund, Horn said, there would be an Emergency Reserve Fund that would “receive a direct and continuing appropriation.”

“The Emergency Reserve Fund that receives the direct and continuing appropriation of 2 percent of the net income of our dividend-paying corporations as well as not less than 50 percent of funds received by the Cherokee Nation through judgment or settlement of legal claims,” she said. “That’s not to say that we couldn’t put 90 percent. That’s not to say that we couldn’t put some percent higher, but it’s just sort of setting that floor as to what’s going to go into this fund.”
The Motor Fuel Education Trust would also be moved to the new fund, which Horn confirmed would be an added “safety” measure.

“It had previously been collateralized in an interest-bearing CD that was used to borrow funds to build the Vinita (Health) Clinic, and that collateralization was removed whenever we entered into the loan with Bank of Oklahoma for the Tahlequah Joint Venture Project, and so these funds are…free and clear,” she said. “So this will take that fund, put that within the construct of the Cherokee Nation Sovereign Wealth Fund and allow us to invest that fund and continue to grow it.”

Horn said the fund could also have endowments, trusts or other funds incorporated within it periodically. “There’s often endowments, trusts that we receive from individuals that need to be invested for income-generating purposes, and this would be the perfect place to put (those) up underneath as well.”

Horn said all assets for the fund would be “reported and accounted” for separately and would support itself by not relying on any General Fund dollars.

“Expenses incurred and maintenance invested in the fund shall be paid for by the fund. So we won’t be utilizing any General Fund dollars to operate this fund it will be self-sustaining,” she said.

When it comes to distributing the fund’s money, there must be approval from two-thirds of the Tribal Council as well as the principal chief. According to the act, “a distribution from the Reserve Fund may only be made in the event that a financial emergency exists, the severity of which threatens the life, property or financial stability of the Nation.”

Also, according to the act, “a distribution from the Education Trust may only be made to satisfy a substantial need in higher education scholarships resulting from an unexpected funding loss or shortfall and distributions from all endowments, trusts or other funds held in the fund shall be made in accordance with any originating document or restriction applicable thereto, and subject to the appropriation laws of the Cherokee Nation.”

The act also notes that the fund “may not be used to finance or influence political activities.”

“I hope that you can see that we feel very strongly, very happy about this legislation that we put forward, and we hope the Tribal Council feels the same,” Horn said.

Councilors also passed an act relating to the adjustment of dividends known as the Corporation Emergency Dividend Reserve Fund Act, which is included within the Sovereign Wealth Fund.

Lay presented the act during the Oct. 26 Rules Committee meeting where he said it’s not an “original” idea but one that should be implemented as an “emergency fund.”

“It would cause the chief and the super majority of council to bring funding out of it to be used only for abject financial emergencies,” he said.

Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker was pleased to sign the Sovereign Wealth Fund into law.

“The idea of permanent fund was something we discussed within the administration several years ago. Having reached a number of major policy and legislative goals during the past six years, the time was right to focus our attention on this important safety net. I was pleased to sign this important act into law before year’s end, and appreciate the collaborative effort of my team and members of the Council in achieving this goal.”
According to the act, for-profit corporations that the tribe is the “sole or majority shareholder” and are under CN law “shall issue a monthly cash dividend in the amount of 30 percent” from a “special quarterly dividend” they “deem” appropriate. An additional 5 percent is set aside for Contract Health services for citizens. According to the act, another 2 percent would “be set aside exclusively for an unanticipated and extraordinary revenue or funding loss that creates a budget shortfall where appropriation from any other source would be unavailable.”

To view the Sovereign Wealth Fund Act, click here.

To view the Corporation Emergency Dividend Reserve Fund Act, click here.


Blue Cross and Blue Shield hosting enrollment support in Vinita
01/19/2018 10:00 AM
VINITA — Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Oklahoma’s Mobile Assistance Center is hosting an education and enrollment event from 1 to 6 p.m. on Jan. 22 at the Craig County Fairgrounds and Community Center located at 915 E. Apperson Road.

Tribal citizens and all individuals who attend this free come-and-go event are invited to visit with BCBSOK representatives to receive assistance with their health insurance questions and needs. Tribal citizens have the ability to enroll in coverage on the Health Insurance Marketplace at any time, outside of the standard Open Enrollment period. Tribal citizens can also visit to see if they qualify for available financial assistance to help lower the cost of monthly payments. In some cases, this financial assistance may cover the full premium cost. Customer service support will also be available for current members who may have questions about their coverage.

“The Affordable Care Act provides American Indians with opportunities to compare and buy health insurance in a new way,” said BCBSOK President Ted Haynes. “Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Oklahoma wants to help people understand their options so they have an opportunity to enroll and choose a plan that’s right for them.”

To learn more about how to protect their health and finances and save on monthly payments, individuals may attend one of the MAC events, contact an independent, authorized BCBSOK agent, or call BCBSOK’s dedicated customer service representatives and product specialists at 855-636-8702.

To see the full schedule of MAC events, click here. For additional information about health plans and pricing, visit


OPINION: Never too late to learn Cherokee Language
Multimedia Editor – @cp_mdreadfulwat
01/01/2018 02:00 PM
I am Cherokee. I know this because I have a Certificate of Indian Blood card that says so. I also have a blue card that says I’m a citizen of the Cherokee Nation. I have identified as Cherokee my entire life but I have not immersed myself enough in the culture, or most regrettably, the language.

I grew up hearing the Cherokee language, as my dad is a first-language speaker. Cherokee was the only language my paternal grandmother chose to speak on a daily basis. She knew English, but hardly ever spoke it. I heard it so often as a child I was able to understand what my grandmother and dad were saying but never learned to speak, read or write. My granny died when I was 11 and that’s when my knowledge of the language died for me. My dad still spoke it to my aunts and uncles, but for a reason I can’t remember, I stopped really listening to understand it. He would try to get me to learn by giving me directives or asking common questions in Cherokee, but I didn’t take the time to sit down and learn.

As an adult, when people ask if I know how to speak, I tell them I was too busy as a kid playing sports and doing other things to learn. I also took Cherokee I and Cherokee II while at Northeastern State University, but none of the teachings resonated with me. Hearing me say that, and now typing it, I’ve come to realize that is a lame excuse.

I’ll be honest and say I really didn’t see the need to learn the language. I didn’t think knowing Cherokee would get me any further in life. Other than speaking to a few people, I would rarely use it, so why learn. I’ve worked for the Cherokee Phoenix for 11 years. We publish Cherokee stories in our monthly paper and when time allows, we have the translators record audio of the stories in order for readers to hear it spoken by scanning a QR code from a smartphone. I’ve not paid as much attention to it as I should. It’s a great way to see and hear the language.

Now that I’m older, I regret not paying attention to the language growing up and taking the time to learn. I think my generation has made a huge contribution to the downfall of the language. But all is not lost. Although it’s more difficult, it’s not too late to learn. I realize how vital the language is to Cherokees as a people. It is more than a way to communicate. It’s embodies our identity and soul of our tradition, history and the Cherokee way of life.

With the New Year fast approaching, my resolution will be to learn Cherokee. The CN has several outlets as well as online options that are available to learn the language. I also know my dad and aunts will be eager to teach me and I believe they will say, “It’s about time.”


AARP Oklahoma opens Indian Elder Honors nominations
01/12/2018 12:00 PM
OKLAHOMA CITY – AARP Oklahoma is accepting nominations for its 10th annual Indian Elder Honors to celebrate 50 Native American elders who have positively impacted their respective communities, families, tribes and nation.

Since its inception in 2009, AARP Oklahoma has recognized 450 elders from all 39 tribal nations in Oklahoma.

“The AARP Indian Elder Honors recognizes the extraordinary contribution of Indian elders – many of whom have never been recognized before,” AARP Oklahoma Volunteer State President Joe Ann Vermillion said.

The 2017 honorees from 33 Oklahoma tribal nations included teachers, veterans, nurses, artists, tribal leaders, language and culture preservationists, champion archer and champion arm wrestler.

Cherokee Nation citizens Mary Rector Aitson, Dianne Barker Harrold, Marcella Morton and Joe T. Thornton, as well as United Keetoowah Band citizen Woody Hansen, were honored in 2017 and presented medallions by national and state AARP officials.

“This event celebrates a lifetime of service from these distinguished elders,” AARP State Director Sean Voskuhl said. “The common thread between the honorees, regardless of the contribution, is the commitment to community and service.”

This year’s Indian Elder Honors will be held Oct. 2 in Oklahoma City. Nomination applications are available at
Nominations may be submitted electronically or mailed to AARP Oklahoma, 126 N. Bryant, Edmond, OK, 73034.

Nominees must be enrolled citizens of federally recognized Oklahoma tribal nations, at least 50 years old and be living. Nominees do not have to be AARP members. For more information, call Mashell Sourjohn at 405-715-4474 or email The deadline for submitting nominations is April 30.
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