Cherokee Phoenix Elder Fund now available to veterans

BY STAFF REPORTS
06/24/2017 10:00 AM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – The Cherokee Phoenix recently made a change to its Elder Fund to make U.S. military veterans eligible for free yearlong subscriptions to the Cherokee Phoenix.

Thanks in part to a donation from Cherokee Nation Businesses, as well as donations from Cherokee Phoenix individual subscribers, it was possible to expand the fund to include Cherokee veterans of any age.

“The Elder Fund was created to provide free subscriptions to Cherokee elders 65 and older,” Executive Editor Brandon Scott said. “Due to an influx of recent donations, we had the ability to extend the Elder Fund to include Cherokee veterans. We will continue to give free subscriptions to our elders and veterans as long as we have money in our Elder & Veteran Fund.”

Using the newly renamed Elder & Veteran Fund, elders who are 65 and older and Cherokee veterans of any age can apply to receive a free one-year subscription by visiting, calling or writing the Cherokee Phoenix office and requesting a subscription.

The Cherokee Phoenix office is located in the Annex Building on the W.W. Keeler Tribal Complex. The postal address is Cherokee Phoenix, P.O. Box 948, Tahlequah, OK 74465. To call about the Elder & Veteran Fund, call 918-207-4975 or 918-453-5269 or email justin-smith@cherokee.org or joy-rollice@cherokee.org.

CN honors organizations with Community Impact Awards

BY STAFF REPORTS
06/23/2017 08:00 AM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – Nearly 500 representatives of the 24 at-large and 136 in-jurisdiction Cherokee organizations traveled in June to Tulsa for the Cherokee Nation’s 13th annual Conference of Community Leaders.

The two-day event hosted by the tribe’s Community and Cultural Outreach was held June 9-10 at the Wyndham Tulsa Hotel and Resort. Attendees attended workshops led by experts in sustainability and culture, and also met with tribal leaders, including Principal Chief Bill John Baker and Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin Jr.

The tribe concluded the conference with the Community Impact Awards banquet, which honors community organizations that do outstanding volunteer work, promote the culture and make other significant contributions.

“These Cherokee Nation citizens deserve to be recognized for the critical work they are doing to improve the lives of others in their cities and communities,” Hoskin said. “Whether it’s mentoring youth or creating greater cultural awareness or volunteering to help elders in need, these individuals and groups define the values of community and family that are so important to us as Cherokee people.”

P.O.T.L.U.C.K. Society, a Cherokee organization based in Rogers County, provides a place for all ages to come together once a month to socialize, learn about different programs available to them, hear special guest speakers, receive wellness checks and eat. The group also provides items to Blue Star Mothers and the local women’s shelter and helps with groups at the local schools and the veterans center.
http://wherethecasinomoneygoes.com/

CN gives Gore $20K for warning siren

BY STAFF REPORTS
06/06/2017 08:30 AM
GORE, Okla. — Cherokee Nation officials gave the town of Gore $20,000 to pay for a new outdoor warning siren, which can be activated from a cell phone and will alert residents to various emergency situations.

Principal Chief Bill John Baker, Deputy Chief S. Joe Crittenden, Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin Jr., Tribal Councilor David Thornton Sr. and Cherokee Nation Businesses board member Dan Carter visited the town on May 30 for the donation.

“In Oklahoma, we are in the heart of Tornado Alley, so we must do everything we can to keep families safe and secure. These sirens will offer important advance warnings, which can mean the difference between life and death during a dangerous storm,” Baker said. “This investment in Sequoyah County reflects Cherokee Nation’s continued commitment to build working collaborations with county and city governments within our 14 counties. It is one of the ways Cherokee Nation ensures northeast Oklahoma keeps moving forward.”

While the new siren will be used for severe weather alerts, Gore Town Administrator Horace Lindley said a function of the equipment is its voice-over technology.

“A siren won’t necessarily do any good for some events, like a train wreck, a large fire or a chemical spill,” Lindley said. “On this system, we can get on and actually talk to people to give them specific warnings and information. We have three existing sirens, and the donation from Cherokee Nation will give us a fourth.”

Children’s advocacy center gets help from CN

BY STACIE GUTHRIE
Reporter – @cp_sguthrie
05/26/2017 04:15 PM
CLAREMORE, Okla. – With the goal of helping children in their most vulnerable state, the William W. Barnes Children’s Advocacy Center helps make the process more “confortable” for children when they need to disclose abuse, whether it’s physical or sexual.

On May 19, the Cherokee Nation donated $12,000 to the center to help it provide services for Rogers, Mayes and Craig county children.

Holly Webb, the center’s executive director, said the center is “all about the child.”

“What we do here is we work with law enforcement, child welfare and the district attorney’s office, and we provide services to children who have disclosed abuse. So when a disclosure is made through law enforcement or child welfare, the child comes to our center, and our center is very child-friendly,” she said. “It’s all about the child. We want the child to feel as confortable as they possibly can. We have on staff a forensic interviewer who is trained to speak with children in a non-leading court-worthy way. We have a family advocate who is able to work with the family, the non-offending parent, provide crisis intervention educational materials. We also have mental health therapy available to the child, and then we also have two doctors who are able to come to the center as needed for child abuse examinations.”

Webb said the center has rooms for specific tasks. She said the room where children are interviewed is blue, which she said helps to act as a “calming room.”
Video with default Cherokee Phoenix Frame
Children’s handprints line the wall at the William W. Barnes Children’s Advocacy Center in Claremore, Oklahoma. Youth who visit the center are given the chance to get paint on their hands and leave their handprints on the walls. STACIE GUTHRIE/ CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Children’s handprints line the wall at the William W. Barnes Children’s Advocacy Center in Claremore, Oklahoma. Youth who visit the center are given the chance to get paint on their hands and leave their handprints on the walls. STACIE GUTHRIE/ CHEROKEE PHOENIX
http://www.cherokeecasa.org/

Clothing Assistance Program to begin July 5

BY TRAVIS SNELL
Assistant Editor – @cp_tsnell
05/19/2017 08:15 AM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – The Cherokee Nation’s Family Assistance will again give out school clothing vouchers to eligible children through its Clothing Assistance Program this summer beginning July 5.

The vouchers will be distributed from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. at:

• Sequoyah High School’s “The Place Where They Play” on July 5 in Tahlequah,

• Carl Albert College’s Multi-Purpose Student Center on July 6 in Sallisaw,

• Stilwell High School cafeteria on July 12,
In this 2014 photo, Amanda Shell, from Locust Grove, Oklahoma, registers to receive Cherokee Nation clothing vouchers for two of her three children at Sequoyah High School in Tahlequah. ARCHIVE In this 2014 photo, Scarlett Shell looks for a pair of shoes at Stage in Tahlequah, Oklahoma, after receiving a Cherokee Nation $100 clothing voucher. COURTESY
In this 2014 photo, Amanda Shell, from Locust Grove, Oklahoma, registers to receive Cherokee Nation clothing vouchers for two of her three children at Sequoyah High School in Tahlequah. ARCHIVE

Emergency Management now a Type 3 FEMA response team

BY STAFF REPORTS
05/18/2017 08:15 AM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. — According to a Cherokee Nation press release, the tribe’s Emergency Management team is now equipped with the expertise and vehicles to respond to a Type 3-level Federal Emergency Management Agency disaster.

Only about 120 entities nationally have attained the Type 3 all-hazard incident management team status, and the CN is among the first tribe to attain it, Emergency Management Manager Jeremie Fisher said.

As defined by FEMA, a Type 3 team can respond within hours to a natural disaster, a public health emergency, a large-scale crash or another crisis within tribal boundaries.

The status also allows the team to remain active and on scene for several days to help coordinate with other agencies to respond to disasters.

“We are one of the first tribal Type 3 All-Hazard Incident Management Teams in the nation,” Fisher said. “Because we have combined our resources from within the Cherokee Nation, we can coordinate on-scene operations after natural disasters like a tornado or flood, or during other emergencies. Our team includes trained personnel from different departments and agencies who have a variety of expertise.”
Cherokee Nation Emergency Management Manager Jeremie Fisher, center, gets training with his response team regarding the use of the tribe’s new Mobile Command Center earlier this year. COURTESY
Cherokee Nation Emergency Management Manager Jeremie Fisher, center, gets training with his response team regarding the use of the tribe’s new Mobile Command Center earlier this year. COURTESY
http://www.billandtracirabbit.com/

CN, Tulsa Pipeliners Union 798 team for job training

BY STAFF REPORTS
05/06/2017 10:00 AM
TULSA, Okla. – The Cherokee Nation’s Career Services is teaming with the Pipeliners Local Union 798 to train CN citizens to be welders, journeymen or welder helpers.

As part of a Memorandum of Understanding signed April 21 in Tulsa, the CN will refer promising Cherokee workers to the Local Union 798 for training and for jobs across the United States as they arise.

“The Cherokee Nation is working hard to connect our citizens to stable, high-paying jobs that provide great benefits, and we feel our partnership with the Local Union 798 is giving tribal citizens yet another pathway to employment for jobs that are in high demand,” Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin Jr. said while touring the union facility in Tulsa. “While the physical and mental demands associated with this field of work aren’t for everyone, we have citizens in the Cherokee Nation who are going to thrive in this environment and several have already expressed an interest.”

Through the agreement, training is free to CN citizens.

Local Union 798 has about 6,500 members, many who are citizens of federally recognized tribes, and can connect qualified CN helpers and welders to projects in more than 40 states. Travel and overtime are often required for the jobs, which are in various climates and weather conditions.
The Pipeliners Local Union 798 and Cherokee Nation are teaming to train CN citizens to be welders, journeymen and welder helpers. Outside the union’s offices in Tulsa, Oklahoma, are Native American Affairs liaison Bobby Gonzalez, CN Economic Development Director Daryl Legg, Local 798 Business Manager Danny Hendrix, Tribal Councilor Janees Taylor, Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin Jr. and CN Vocational Programs Director George Roach. COURTESY
The Pipeliners Local Union 798 and Cherokee Nation are teaming to train CN citizens to be welders, journeymen and welder helpers. Outside the union’s offices in Tulsa, Oklahoma, are Native American Affairs liaison Bobby Gonzalez, CN Economic Development Director Daryl Legg, Local 798 Business Manager Danny Hendrix, Tribal Councilor Janees Taylor, Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin Jr. and CN Vocational Programs Director George Roach. COURTESY

SHS Summer Food Program begins May 22

BY STAFF REPORTS
05/04/2017 04:00 PM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – Sequoyah High School is again participating in the U.S. Department of Agriculture Summer Food Program. It will run May 22 through July 6, Monday through Thursday, at the SHS cafeteria.

The program provides nutritious meals at no charge to children during summer vacation. Children aged 18 and under, regardless of race, color, national origin, sex, age or disability, are eligible to receive meals through the program.

Breakfast will be served 7 a.m. to 8 a.m. and lunch from 11 a.m. to noon. The cafeteria will be closed Memorial Day, Independence Day, Fridays and weekends.

A person 19 years of age and over who has a mental or physical disability (as determined by a state or local education agency) and who participates during the school year in a public or private, nonprofit school program (established for the mentally and physically disabled) is also eligible to receive meals.

Adults may eat breakfast for $3 and lunch for $4.

SBAC to host small business workshop

BY STAFF REPORTS
05/04/2017 12:00 PM
MUSKOGEE, Okla. — The Cherokee Nation’s Small Business Assistance Center is partnering with speaker and trainer Bennie Gonzales and the U.S. Small Business Administration for a two-day, interactive small-business course for Cherokee entrepreneurs.

The course will be from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on May 22-23 at the Indian Capital Technology Center in Muskogee and is designed to educate small-business owners on understanding and formatting request for proposals and government contracting.

“Government contracting is a great step in which local businesses can grow their business, and we are excited to help them learn the skills needed to be successful with this process,” Stephen Highers, CN SBAC entrepreneur development manager, said.

The course is part of the Small Business Administration’s 7(j) program and is provided in part through grant funding. The 7(j) program emphasizes entrepreneurial education, counseling and training resources to help small-business owners who are socially and economically underprivileged succeed.

“The training provides a roadmap for small businesses new to responding to Request for Proposals and businesses who want to improve their proposal development capabilities,” Gonzales said.

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

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.

He said prior to the appointment his only experience as a judge was serving on the Oklahoma Trial Advocacy Institute.

“I’m a faculty member at the Oklahoma Trial Advocacy Institute, which trains attorneys, and I have, basically judging their performances and things like that,” he said. “I’ve been a panel member for judging the mock trial competitions for, I think it’s out of Pryor, the last two years.”

Barteaux said he has been licensed and acting on his own as an attorney since 2012, with his legal career officially starting in 2009.

“My legal career started back in 2009, and I think around 2011 I started basically practicing under the supervision of another attorney here at my current firm (Fry & Elder),” he said.

Barteaux also addressed concerns about discrepancies on his résumé with dates regarding his time acting as an attorney.

“My current position, I believe it said the dates were June of 2011 to current, and underneath it it said attorney or trial attorney, and there was a question regarding whether or not I was an attorney that entire time,” he said. “The reason it had been worded that way, and kind of stepping back, the jobs underneath were done the same way and it was just the main job. I work at Fry & Elder now and those are the dates that I have worked here, and the position underneath it is the main job I’ve had and the current job. So it was more of me trying to fit a resume on one page and someone brought up, I guess, wanting more of a full job history instead of just what the final job or main job while I was there.”

Legislators also unanimously authorized the establishment of a CN conservation district.

Bruce Davis, management resources executive director, brought the resolution to the May 15 Resource Committee meeting after a trip to the United States Department of Agriculture where he and others learned of 47 programs available to the tribe and its citizens that are not being utilized.

“The first thing we’ve got to do before we can apply for these programs are pass this resolution to start our own conservation district, the Cherokee Nation Conservation District, before we can apply for these monies,” he said.

According to the Oklahoma Conservation Commission’s website, a conservation district serves “as the primary local unit of government responsible for the conservation of the renewable natural resources.”

Bryan Shade, CN chief special project analyst, said the resolution would “authorize” Principal Chief Bill John Baker to establish the conservation district that would allow tribal citizens to visit it rather than the state’s conservation district. He added that establishing the district would help the tribe “streamline” certain operations.

“It’s the exact same thing the state of Oklahoma’s doing, but this district will exist in our 14-county area,” Shade said. “By taking on this function, right now the Cherokee Nation has to go through those state offices, get our lands put in the database, in the system, before we can take advantage of these programs. By establishing this conservation district we’ll be able to do this ourselves and help us streamline things.”

In other business, legislators:

• Increased the tribe’s fiscal year 2017 concurrent enrollment fund by $87,000,

• Increased the FY 2017 capital budget by $857,848 to $279 million,

• Reappointed Amber Lynn George to the Cherokee Nation Foundation board,

• Approved Wilfred C. Gernandt III to the Cherokee Nation Comprehensive Care Agency governing board,

• Reappointed Dan Carter as a Cherokee Nation Businesses board member,

• Approved a resolution for Tribal Council to receive a confidential report monthly of all charitable donations and surplus equipment donations from all CN subsidiaries,

• Granted a right-of-way easement on an existing natural gas line to the Oklahoma Natural Gas Company for Cherokee Heights Addition in Pryor, and

• Authorized a sovereign immunity waiver for software agreement between Sequoyah Schools with Municipal Accounting Systems.

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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