Cherokee Phoenix Elder Fund now available to veterans

BY STAFF REPORTS
03/25/2017 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.

Summer Youth Employment Program applications available

BY STAFF REPORTS
03/23/2017 04:00 PM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – The Cherokee Nation is accepting applications for its Summer Youth Employment Program, which provides work experience for about 600 Native youth each year.

Applications are available at any of the 11 CN Career Services offices and are due by April 28. The program kicks off June 5 and ends July 28, with participants working 40 hours per week and earning $7.25 per hour.

“This program has been beneficial for youth who are trying to determine what career path they would like to take,” Career Services Executive Director Diane Kelley said. “It allows students to gain the necessary tools for the type of training they need should they choose a career that requires educational attainment or a certification.”

To qualify for the program, youth ages 16-24 must be a citizen of a federally recognized tribe and reside within the CN’s 14-county jurisdiction. The program raised the age of participants to age 24 this year. Applicants younger than 18 years old must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian during the application process.

SYEP participants will work in a CN department, or with the tribe’s assistance could be placed in a public school, library or private business. CN funds the employment program.
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OILS, OCU law students partner to serve CN citizens

BY LINDSEY BARK
Staff Writer
03/20/2017 08:45 AM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – Oklahoma Indian Legal Services, in partnership with Oklahoma City University law students, held a wills clinic March 14 in the Cherokee Nation’s Tsa La Gi Room to help CN citizens write wills and provide other services for free.

OILS Executive Director Stephanie Hudson said OILS attorneys not only help individuals with wills but also with advance directives, power of attorney and with anything to do with assets.

“At OILS we try to make an effort to reach out to every tribe in the state of Oklahoma. We’re not associated with any tribe. We’re funded by the Legal Services Corporation, and we’re nonprofit. We provide services to individual tribal members all over the state of Oklahoma who are having legal issues related to their status as an Indian,” Hudson said.

OILS also assists individual tribal citizens with Indian Child Welfare issues, probates on restricted lands, tribal housing issues and tribal court issues.

“The services are free. They’re based upon a person’s income, and we do an interview with them to make sure they meet the income guidelines,” Hudson said.
Mary Beth Williams, a Gallogly Family Foundation Public Interest fellow, left, and Yvonne Galey, Oklahoma Indian Legal Services law staff attorney, assist Cherokee Nation citizen William Deerinwater in applying for a “transfer on death” deed on March 14 during a wills clinic hosted by OILS and Oklahoma City University law students in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. LINDSEY BARK/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Mary Beth Williams, a Gallogly Family Foundation Public Interest fellow, left, and Yvonne Galey, Oklahoma Indian Legal Services law staff attorney, assist Cherokee Nation citizen William Deerinwater in applying for a “transfer on death” deed on March 14 during a wills clinic hosted by OILS and Oklahoma City University law students in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. LINDSEY BARK/CHEROKEE PHOENIX

MSRC introduces new fitness programs

BY STAFF REPORTS
03/10/2017 04:00 PM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – The Cherokee Nation’s Male Seminary Recreation Center is introducing fitness programs in 2017 to promote healthier lifestyles for gym members.

Additions to the fitness center’s schedule include Glow Spin, a late afternoon kid’s boot camp with a yoga class joining the list of programs in March. In addition to the new programs, the MSRC offers personal training services, traditional spin class, advanced and beginner boot camps, Zumba, weightlifting and a 65-years-old and older stretching/yoga class.

“We are modeled after a family focused YMCA setup, instead of your typical fitness center. I think that’s one of the things that make us special. We have all different types of people, all different types of fitness levels and all different types of workouts,” MSRC Director Julie Kimble said.

Glow Spin, one of the additions, is becoming a fan favorite. The class is a creative take on a traditional spin class where participants work on endurance spinning and stretching all while basking in the glow of a 1980s style black light.

When asked about her favorite part of Glow Spin, participant and Cherokee Nation employee Tara Rodriguez said, “I would have to say the trainers. They make it really fun, inviting and easy to do. I have been coming for a little over two weeks and have already lost 15 pounds.”
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CN helps formerly incarcerated citizens

BY LINDSEY BARK
Staff Writer
03/08/2017 08:15 AM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – The Cherokee Nation’s Career Services Coming Home Re-entry Program assists formerly incarcerated CN citizens rehabilitate back into society by helping them find jobs and housing.

Daryl Legg, program director, said it began in 2013 and was funded through a donation of $20,000 to help homeless incarcerated Cherokees. Since then the Tribal Council has appropriated a budget to operate the program with $131,000 per year.

“The first two years that we implemented the program, we had…45 (Cherokees) the first year and 55 the second year. Then last year we got 165 (Cherokees),” Legg said.

Those who qualify must be a CN citizen; have served time in prison, not including county jail; provide release documents from the Department of Corrections; and sign up for the program within the first three months of his or her release.

The program helps individuals with reinstating driver’s licenses, provides a $250 stipend to buy professional or work clothing, pays the first month’s rent on housing and provides furniture and other needed items for a home.
Cherokee Nation citizen Christopher Wilson, who was formerly incarcerated, works at a service job on Feb. 21 through his job at Lawson Electric Inc. in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Wilson used the CN’s Career Services Coming Home Re-entry Program when he was released from prison in September to obtain a job and get back on his feet. COURTESY
Cherokee Nation citizen Christopher Wilson, who was formerly incarcerated, works at a service job on Feb. 21 through his job at Lawson Electric Inc. in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Wilson used the CN’s Career Services Coming Home Re-entry Program when he was released from prison in September to obtain a job and get back on his feet. COURTESY

Native helpline launches for domestic, dating violence survivors

BY STAFF REPORTS
03/07/2017 12:30 PM
AUSTIN, Texas – For the first time, a culturally-relevant, safe and confidential resource is available for Native American survivors of domestic violence and dating violence, who now make up more than 84 percent of the entire U.S. Native population.

The National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center and the National Domestic Violence Hotline on March 6 launched the national crisis-line dedicated to serving tribal communities affected by violence across the U.S., called the StrongHearts Native Helpline.

Native survivors in Kansas, Oklahoma and Nebraska – the helpline’s initial service areas — will be able to connect at no cost, one-on-one, with knowledgeable StrongHearts advocates who will provide support, assist with safety planning and connect them with resources based on their specific tribal affiliation, community location and culture.

Callers outside of these states can still call StrongHearts while the helpline continues to develop its services network. All services available through the helpline are confidential and available by dialing 1-844-7NATIVE (1-844-762-8483) from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Central Standard Time Monday through Friday. Callers after hours will have the option to connect with the National Domestic Violence Hotline or to call back the next business day.

“The reality is that so many of our American Indian and Alaska Native people experience domestic violence and dating violence every day,” Lucy Rain Simpson, NIWRC executive director and Navajo Nation citizen, said. “It has never been more evident that our Native people need a Native helpline to support efforts to restore power and safety in our tribal communities. The StrongHearts Native Helpline is ready to answer that call.”

ICW utilizes state program for aged-out Cherokee youth

BY LINDSEY BARK
Staff Writer
02/15/2017 08:00 AM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – Cherokee Nation’s Indian Child Welfare helps Cherokee youth when they age out of child services with the Oklahoma Successful Adulthood program.

Youth in custody are eligible to enroll in OKSA when they turn 16 years old. But ICW starts teaching youth as young as 14 the skills they need to utilize once they turn 18.

Laurel Mahaney, Tribal Court and Permanency Services supervisor, said the OKSA program, available through the Department of Human Services, provides trainings for youth to learn about educational, employment, and housing options as well as benefits such as paying for driver’s education classes, prom dresses, identification cards and senior pictures.

Tami Haley, ICW program manager, said caseworkers build relationships with youth who are in their caseloads and establish connections with them. They attend trainings with youth and teach them basic knowledge such as doing laundry and cooking.

The OKSA program focuses on seven elements: health, housing, education, employment, essential documents, life skills, and permanent connections, and assesses each enrolled youth.
Cherokee Nation Indian Child Welfare, located at 201 South Muskogee Avenue in Tahlequah, offers adoption and permanency services for Cherokee youth who can no longer reside in the home. They also offer services to help youth who age out to be able to maintain a life on their own called the Oklahoma Successful Adulthood program through the Department of Human Services. LINDSEY BARK/CHEROKEE PHOENIX Cherokee Nation citizen Danetta Ross, 25, had the help of CN’s Indian Child Welfare and the Oklahoma Successful Adulthood program to be able to maintain a life on her own once she aged out of child services. She graduated college, has a full-time job at CREOKS Behavioral Health in Tahlequah, and is able to raise two young children. LINDSEY BARK/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Cherokee Nation Indian Child Welfare, located at 201 South Muskogee Avenue in Tahlequah, offers adoption and permanency services for Cherokee youth who can no longer reside in the home. They also offer services to help youth who age out to be able to maintain a life on their own called the Oklahoma Successful Adulthood program through the Department of Human Services. LINDSEY BARK/CHEROKEE PHOENIX

Nov. 27 deadlines set for Cobell Settlement

BY STAFF REPORTS
02/08/2017 12:00 PM
SEATTLE – The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia has ordered Nov. 27 as the final deadline for class members in the Cobell Settlement or their heirs to submit documentation to Garden City Group, the claims administrator, so that payments can be made.

All documentation must be received or postmarked by Nov. 27.

The court, however, made one exception to this deadline. Estates of deceased class members that are still pending at the U.S. Department of Interior’s Office of Hearing and Appeals at that time will have funds held to be distributed once the probate process at OHA is complete.

The determination of a final deadline marks the end of an effective but grueling effort by class counsel and GCG to find and pay tens of thousands of Native American class members and their heirs. Those efforts have been incredibly successful and to date more than $1.2 billion dollars and 92 percent of the funds have been distributed.

While the distribution phase is winding down, another important aspect of the Cobell Settlement is rapidly picking up steam. Along with setting a deadline to submit distribution documentation in order to be eligible to receive payment from the Settlement Fund, the court approved the transfer of $21.7 million to the Indian Education Scholarship Fund, another important cornerstone for the settlement.
In this Dec. 17, 2009, photo, Elouise Cobell, right, looks on as Deputy Secretary of the Interior David Hayes testifies during a Senate Indian Affairs Committee hearing in Washington, D.C. Cobell led a class-action lawsuit for Native Americans against the federal government over lost royalties. The lawsuit was eventually settled for $3.4 billion, in which $1.9 billion was set aside for fractionated land buy backs. EVAN VUCCI/ASSOCIATED PRESS
In this Dec. 17, 2009, photo, Elouise Cobell, right, looks on as Deputy Secretary of the Interior David Hayes testifies during a Senate Indian Affairs Committee hearing in Washington, D.C. Cobell led a class-action lawsuit for Native Americans against the federal government over lost royalties. The lawsuit was eventually settled for $3.4 billion, in which $1.9 billion was set aside for fractionated land buy backs. EVAN VUCCI/ASSOCIATED PRESS

Local schools create Valentines for veterans

BY STACIE GUTHRIE
Reporter – @cp_sguthrie
02/08/2017 08:00 AM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – Students at the Cherokee Immersion Charter and Grand View schools spent time in late January and early February making Valentine’s Day cards for veterans to show support and appreciation for their military service.

Meda Nix, a fifth grade teacher at the immersion school and a Marine Corps veteran, said this is the third year she and her students have made cards for veterans. She said she wants her students to learn what being a veteran means.

“I want these students to understand what a vet is, what this person has done for them and their country. I want them to realize that these individuals gave for them to be here today,” Nix said. “I don’t think often our kids really…fully understand what it means to be a vet or what the word vet means. I’m a vet and they know that, and we’ve talked about it on occasion but I know at this young age, I know they probably don’t fully understand yet. Today I want them to understand that there are vets, men and women that will receive these Valentines. They’re vets that are in hospitals, that are in care facilities and sometimes they just do not have anyone. So these Valentines that they’re making, it will be given to these vets.”

Isaiah Walema, 11, a fifth grader at the charter school, said his card had a flag and smiling heart.
“The heart has eyes and a smile, and it’s got Care Bears on it,” he said. “It’s for how…hard they work for serving our country.”

Cherokee Nation citizen Meda Nix helps students in her fifth grade class at the Cherokee Immersion Charter School get stickers for Valentine cards for veterans. Nix, a Marine Corps veteran, said this is the third year her class has made Valentine’s Day cards for veterans. STACIE GUTHRIE/CHEROKEE PHOENIX Jenna Dunn, 11, works on her Valentine’s Day card in Meda Nix’s 5th grade class at the Cherokee Immersion Charter School in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. Dunn’s card, along with others, will go to local military veterans. STACIE GUTHRIE/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Cherokee Nation citizen Meda Nix helps students in her fifth grade class at the Cherokee Immersion Charter School get stickers for Valentine cards for veterans. Nix, a Marine Corps veteran, said this is the third year her class has made Valentine’s Day cards for veterans. STACIE GUTHRIE/CHEROKEE PHOENIX

ᏓᎵᏆ, ᎣᎦᎳᎰᎹ. – ᏗᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᎩ ᎥᎿᎾᏂ ᏣᎳᎩᎯ ᏧᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᏗᎢ ᎠᎴ Grand View ᏧᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᏗᎢ ᎤᏃᎸᏔᏂ ᎠᎴ ᎧᎦᎵ ᏥᏕᎧᎸᎢ ᏓᏃᏢᏍᎬᎢ Valentine’s ᎢᎪᎯ ᏗᏆᏂᏲᏍᏗ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏧᏂᏅᏁᏗ ᎠᏂᏲᏍᎩ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎬᏂᎨᏒᎢ ᎾᏅᏁᎲᎢ ᎨᏥᏚᏍᏓᎥᎢ ᎠᎴ ᏓᎾᎵᎮᎵᎬᎢ ᎤᏂᏲᏏᏙᎸᎢ.

Meda Nix Z, ᎯᏍᎩᏁ ᏗᏂᏂᏙᎯ ᏗᎨᏲᎲᏍᎩ ᎥᎿ ᏣᎳᎩᎯ ᏧᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᏗᎢ ᎠᎴ Marine Corps ᎤᏲᏏᏙᎸᎢ, ᎾᏍᎩ ᎢᎧᏃᎮᏍᎬᎢ ᎾᏍᎩᏃ ᏦᎢᏃ ᏱᏧᏕᏘᏴᏓ ᎤᏩᏌ ᎠᎴ ᏗᏂᏲᏟ ᏕᎨᏲᎲᏍᎬᎢ ᏚᏃᏢᏅᎢ ᏗᏆᏂᏲᏍᏗ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎠᏂᏲᏍᎩ ᏧᏂᏅᏁᏗ. ᎢᎧᏃᎮᏍᎬᎢᏃ ᎤᏚᎵᏍᎬᎢ ᎾᏍᎩᎾ ᏕᎨᏲᎲᏍᎬᎢ ᎤᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᏗᎢ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏄᏍᏛᎢ ᎠᏲᏍᎩ ᏱᎩ.

“ᎠᏆᏚᎵᏃ ᎯᎠ ᏗᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᎩ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎤᏃᏟᏍᏗᎢ ᎢᏳᏍᏗ ᎨᏒᎢ ᎠᏲᏍᎩ, ᎯᎠ ᎠᏏᏴᏫ ᏄᏍᏛᎢ ᏂᏚᏛᏁᎸᎢ ᎠᎴ ᎤᎾᏤᎵᎢ ᏍᎦᏚᎩ. ᎠᏆᏚᎵᎠ ᎤᎾᏕᎶᎰᎯᏍᏗᎢ ᎯᎢᎾ ᎠᏂᏏᏴᏫᎭ ᎤᎾᏓᏁᎳ ᎾᏍᎩᏃ ᏂᎬᏂᏏᏍᎩ ᎪᎯᏴᎢ ᏥᎩ ᏣᏁᎭ.” ᎠᏗᏍᎬᎢ Nix. ᏳᏓᎵᎭᏃ ᏂᎨᎵᏍᎪᎢ ᏕᎦᏓᏘᎿᎥᎢ ᎥᏝ ᎢᏙᏳᎢ … ᎧᎵᏬᎯ ᏯᏃᎵᎪᎢ ᏄᏍᏛᎢ ᎠᏲᏍᎩ ᏱᎩ ᎠᎴᏱᎩ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎧᏁᎢᏍᏗ ᎠᏲᏍᎩ ᏄᏍᏛᎢ ᎦᏛᎬᎢ. ᎠᎩᏲᏏᏙᎸᎢ ᎠᎴ ᎤᎾᏂᏔ, ᎠᎴ ᏳᏓᎵᎭ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎣᎩᏃᎮᏝ ᎠᏎᏃ ᎠᏆᏂᏔ ᎯᎠ ᎠᏂᏓᎨᎢ ᏥᎩ, ᎠᏆᏂᏙᎢ ᎥᏝ Ꮩ ᎠᏏ ᎧᎵᎢ ᏯᏃᎵᎪᎢ. ᎪᎯ ᎢᎦ ᎠᏆᏚᎵᎠ ᎤᏃᏟᏍᏗᎢ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎠᏁᎲᎢ ᎤᏂᏲᏏᏙᎸᎢ, ᎠᏂᏍᎦᏯ ᎠᎴ ᎠᏂᎨᏯ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏙᏛᏂᏁᏏᏒᎢ ᎯᎠ Valentines. ᎾᏍᎩ ᎤᏂᏲᏏᏙᎸᎢ ᏧᏂᏢᎩᎢ ᎠᏂᏝᎠ, ᎾᏍᎩ ᎢᎦᏓ ᎨᎦᎦᏎᏍᏛᎢ ᎤᏣᏘᎾ ᏚᏙᏢᏩᏗᏒᎢ ᎠᎴ ᏳᏓᎵᎭ ᎠᏁᎭ ᎩᎶᎢ ᏄᏂᎧᎲᎾ ᎤᏂᏍᏕᎵᏍᎩ. ᎾᏍᎩᏃ ᎯᎠ Valentines ᏥᏓᏃᏢᏍᎦ, ᏙᏛᏂᏅᏁᎵ ᎯᎠ ᎤᏂᏲᏏᏙᎸᎢ.”

Isaiah Walema, 11, ᎯᏍᎩᏁ ᏗᎧᏂᏙᎯ ᎥᎿ ᏧᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᏗᎢ ᎡᏙᎯ, ᎢᎧᏃᎮᏍᎬᎢ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎤᏤᎵᎢ ᏆᏂᏲᏍᏗ ᎦᏓᏗᏃ ᏓᏟᎶᏍᏛᎢ ᎠᎴ ᎤᏤᏣᏍᏗ ᎤᎿᏫ.

“ᎾᏍᎩᏃ ᎤᎿᏫ ᏓᎧᎾ ᎠᎴ ᎤᏤᏣᏍᏗ, ᎠᎴ ᏂᏙᎤᏍᏗ ᏲᎾ ᏓᏟᎶᏍᏛᎢ ᎥᎿ,” ᎠᏗᏍᎬᎢ ᎠᏧᏣ. “ᎾᏍᎩᏃ ᎢᏳᏰᏟᏗ …ᎾᏍᏓᏴᎢ ᏚᏂᎸᏫᏍᏓᏁᎸᎢ ᎠᏂᏍᏕᎵᏍᎬᎢ ᎢᎦᏤᎵᎢ ᏍᎦᏚᎩ ᎤᏙᏢᏒᎢ.”

Nix Z ᎢᎧᏃᎮᏍᎬᎢ ᎢᏙᏳᏃ ᎤᎵᏍᎨᏗᏳᎢ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏧᏪᏲᏗᎢ ᏗᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᎩ ᏄᏍᏛᎢ ᎠᏓᏁᏗᎢ.

“ᎣᏍᏓᏃ ᎠᎩᏰᎸᏒᎢ ᎯᎠ. ᎠᏆᏚᎵᏃ ᎯᎠ ᏗᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᎩ ᎤᎾᏂᏔ ᎢᏳᎵᏍᏙᏗ ᎢᎠᏓᏁᏗᎢ,” ᎠᏗᏍᎬᎢ.

Charles Edwin Bray Ꮓ, ᎾᏍᎩ II ᎪᏪᎵ ᏓᎿᏫ ᎤᏲᏏᏙᎸᎢ, ᏚᏩᏛᎯᏙᎸᎢ Grand View ᏧᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᏗᎢ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏚᏁᏏᏢᎢ Valentines ᎾᏍᎩᏃ ᏧᎾᏫᏛᏗ ᎥᎿ Jack C. Montgomery Veteran Affairs Medical Center ᎥᎿ ᎫᏐᎢ ᏧᏙᏢᏒᎢ.

ᎢᎧᏃᎮᏍᎬᎢ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎥᏝ ᎢᎸᎯᏳᎢ ᏱᏚᏁᏐᎢ Valentine’s ᎢᎦ ᎠᏆᏂᏲᏍᏗ ᎾᏍᎩᏃ ᏥᎩ “ᎦᎸᏉᏗᏳᎢ” ᎠᏍᏕᎸᏗᎢ ᏧᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᏗᎢ.
ᎢᎧᏃᎮᏍᎬᎢ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏄᎬᏫᏳᏒᎢ ᎢᏳᏛᏁᏗ ᎾᏍᎩᏃ ᏧᏍᏕᎸᎸᏗᎢ ᏗᏂᏲᏟ ᏧᏂᎪᎵᏰᏗᎢ ᏂᏗᎦᎵᏍᏙᏗᎭ ᎾᏍᎩᏃ ᎤᏩᏌ ᏳᏕᎶᏆᎡᎢ ᎪᏪᎵ ᎤᎪᎵᏰᏗᎢ ᎠᏲᏟ ᏥᎨᏒᎢ, ᎤᏚᎩᏃ ᎤᏩᏐᎢ ᎯᎠ ᏥᏓᏃᏢᏍᎦ ᏗᏆᏂᏲᏍᏗ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏳᏂᏍᏕᎳ.

“ᎾᏍᎩᏃ ᏄᎬᏫᏳᏒᎢ ᎢᎩ ᏗᏂᏲᏟ ᏧᏂᎪᎵᏰᏗᎢ. ᎯᎠᏃ ᏄᏓᎴᎢ ᏥᎩ ᎪᎱᏍᏗ ᎣᏏᏊ ᎢᎩ, ᎠᏎᏃ ᏄᎬᏫᏳᏒᎢ ᎤᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᏗᎢ ᏗᏂᏲᏟ ᎪᏪᎵ ᏧᏂᎪᎵᎨᏗᎢ, ᎢᏳᏃ ᏳᏂᏍᎵᎠ, ᎣᏍᏓ. ᎾᏍᎩᏃ ᏄᏍᏛᎢ ᏓᏆᏓᎴᏤᎲᎢ ᎠᏯ ‘ᎩᎳ ᎠᏆᎴᏅᎯ ᏩᎦᎸᎳᏗᏴᎢ ᏧᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᏗᎢ ᎠᏆᎴᏅᎯ,” ᎠᏗᏍᎬᎢ.

– Translated by David Crawler

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CHC to host 16th annual Cherokee Ancestry Conference
BY STAFF REPORTS
03/15/2017 12:45 PM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – Discover your family history and Cherokee ancestry at the Cherokee Heritage Center’s 16th annual Cherokee Ancestry Conference June 9-10 at the Tribal Complex.

The event provides participants with the tools to research their ancestry with Cherokee historical records and features a variety of discussion topics, including historical events before and after the removal, inter-tribal relationships and advancements in social media and its effect on genealogy research.

Participants will also learn about various CN records available online as well as resources available in their local area for Cherokee ancestry research.

A discount is given to those who register before June 3. Pre-registration is $60 for Cherokee National Historical Society members and $75 for nonmembers. The deadline is June 3. Registrations after June 3 are $70 for CNHS members and $85 for nonmembers.

The Cherokee Ancestry Conference will be held in the Osiyo Room at the Tribal Complex. It is located at 17725 S. Muskogee Ave. in the same building as Restaurant of the Cherokees.

For more information, including accommodations and registration, call 918-456-6007, ext. 6162, or email ashley-vann@cherokee.org.

Education

OU to host symposium on environmental issues on March 24
BY STAFF REPORTS
03/20/2017 04:00 PM
NORMAN, Okla. – The University of Oklahoma College of Law on March 24 will host the American Indian Law Review’s annual “Indigenous Peoples, Law, and Power Symposium.”

This year’s theme is “Oil and Water.” The symposium is co-sponsored in partnership with the OU’s College of Arts and Sciences’ Native American Studies Department. The event will begin at 10 a.m. in the Dick Bell Courtroom in Andrew M. Coats Hall.

Experts of Native American environmental issues will sit on two panels and give two keynote addresses. The speakers and their topics include:

Morning Panel: “The Chickasaw-Choctaw Compact in Context,” Sara Hill, senior assistant attorney general of the Cherokee Nation, and Taiawagi Helton, professor of law, University of Oklahoma College of Law.

Morning Keynote: “Water Sovereignty and Stewardship: The Historic Chickasaw-Choctaw Water Settlement,” Stephen Greetham, chief general counsel and special counsel on water and natural resources, Chickasaw Nation and Michael Burrage, managing partner, Whitten Burrage Law Firm;

Afternoon Panel: “Justice and Juxtaposition: Environmental Justice and Protest in Parallel,” Taiawagi Helton, professor of law, University of Oklahoma College of Law; and
Afternoon Keynote: “The Impact of Fracking on Indian Nations: A Case Study,” Walter Echo-Hawk, of counsel, Crowe & Dunlevy.

“This year’s “Indigenous Peoples, Law, and Power Symposium” builds upon several dedicated events we have held this year, all of which have focused on the intersection of Native American rights and environmental law,” said OU College of Law Dean Joseph Harroz Jr. “We are honored to host these discussions on such important issues and we’re pleased to have the partnership of OU’s College of Arts and Sciences’ Native American Studies Department as we do so.”

In December 2015, the OU Board of Regents unanimously voted to elevate Native American Studies from a program to department status at the request of OU President David L. Boren. Since 1994, OU’s Native American Studies focus has attracted and served students of diverse backgrounds who are committed to using distinctly Native American perspectives to place the sovereignty of Native nations and the cultures of Native peoples at the center of academic study. In addition to a graduate certificate in American Indian Social Work, the Department offers bachelor’s, master’s, and joint master’s and juris doctorate degrees.

“This is our sixth year to co-host this special event,” said Dr. Amanda Cobb-Greetham (Chickasaw), chair of the Native American Studies Department and director of the newly established Native Nations Center. “Our partnership grows out of our joint M.A./J.D. program, which makes all of our students uniquely competitive. This year’s symposium topic is of critical importance to Native nations and communities. The subject matter is dear to our hearts as it impacts our lands as well as our political and cultural identities.”

Council

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

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

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

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

“This is a well-known and mapped Trail of Tears path, but it was not marked because it was privately owned. This land was purchased by Conservation Fund and held for the U.S. Forest Service,” she said. “The District Ranger failed to follow federal laws requiring consultation with Indian tribes. The Forest Service has acknowledged fault and committed to restoring the site.”

According to a Feb 21 resolution, the U.S. Forest Service-Southern Region “recognizes the cultural and historic significance held by the Cherokee Nation regarding the Trail of Tears historic site and extends an apology for the unfortunate and adverse effects that have occurred.”

It also states the “Cherokee Nation agrees to consult on a government to government basis with the U.S. Forest Service-Southern Region regarding the restoration and mitigation of these adverse effects to this Trail of Tears sacred site.”

It adds that as a “Good Faith Effort” and to commit to jointly pursue meaningful mitigation the Tribal Council accepts the apology.

Also during the meeting, Tribal Council voted 17-0 to support the nominations of Michael Doublehead and Steven Wilson as commissioners to the Tax Commission. They also voted Ceciley Thomason-Murphy onto the Cherokee Phoenix Editorial Board.

Tribal Councilors voted to donate three surplus vehicles from the Cherokee Nation Marshal Service to the Nowata Police Department and Muskogee and Delaware counties sheriff’s offices.

Three CN citizens were also honored with the Cherokee Medal of Freedom – John Thomas Cripps III, who served in the U.S. Army, and John Paul Atkinson and Jesse James Collins, who served in the Oklahoma Army National Guard and were activated in 2011 to the RECON 1-279th 45th Infantry to Afghanistan.

Two budget modifications were also passed. The comprehensive capital budget was increased by $1.8 million for a total capital budget authority of $279.6 million. The tribe’s operating budget was also increased by $2.1 million for a total budget authority of $666.6 million. The changes consisted of a decrease in the general fund by $92,000 and increases in the indirect cost pool, motor vehicle tax, Department of Interior Self Governance and IHS Self Governance and budgets.

Health

Effective interventions prevent alcohol use among Native youth
BY STAFF REPORTS
03/16/2017 12:15 PM
ATLANTA, Ga. – Community-based and individual-level prevention strategies are effective ways to reduce alcohol use among American Indian and other youth living in rural communities, according to a new study supported by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, part of the National Institutes of Health.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse also provided support for the study.

“This important study underscores our commitment to finding evidence-based solutions for alcohol problems in American Indian and other underserved populations,” said NIAAA Director George F. Koob “This study is one of the largest alcohol prevention trials ever conducted with an American Indian population, and the first to demonstrate the effectiveness of screening and brief counseling intervention in significantly reducing youth alcohol use at a community level.”

Although American Indian teens drink at rates similar to other United States teens, they have early onset alcohol use compared to other groups and higher rates of alcohol problems. Rural youths, including those who are a racial minority relative to their community, are also at increased risk for alcohol misuse. Early prevention is critical in these populations, but both American Indians and rural communities have been underrepresented in studies aimed at finding effective solutions for underage drinking.

To address this gap, researchers led by Kelli A. Komro of the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University in Atlanta worked with the Cherokee Nation, the second-largest tribe in the U.S., to implement a rigorous research trial of two distinct strategies to reduce underage drinking and its consequences.

Communities Mobilizing for Change on Alcohol is a community-organizing intervention designed to reduce alcohol access, use and consequences among underage youths. The second strategy, called CONNECT, is an individually delivered screening and brief intervention delivered in schools. The study was conducted within the 14 counties of northeastern Oklahoma that comprise the CN jurisdictional area, which is home to about 40 percent of the tribe. While CN citizens constitute a significant proportion of the population, whites and other racial/ethnic minorities also live within this area. Results of the trial are reported in the March 2017 issue of the American Journal of Public Health.

“Community organizing has been used effectively in multiple other health intervention trials and appeared to be an optimal strategy to engage diverse citizens in these multicultural communities,” explained Dr. Komro. CMCA involves training teams of adults to implement policies and take actions to reduce youth access to alcohol through social and commercial sources. In the school-based intervention, a school social worker conducts a brief one-on-one health consultation with each student each semester to encourage healthy behavior change related to alcohol consumption. Students who report high risk drinking attend follow-up sessions and are referred to specialty treatment when appropriate.

Six communities, each served by a single high school, participated in the study. The student population in these communities was nearly 50 percent American Indian. The study population consisted of students who were in ninth or 10th grade when the study began and followed over three years through 11th or 12th grade.

By random assignment, students in two communities received both the community-organizing intervention and the individually delivered intervention. Students in two different communities served as controls, and received neither intervention. One of the remaining two communities used only the community-organizing intervention while the other used only the school-based individually administered intervention.

Over the course of the study, researchers found that self-reports of alcohol use, including any use and heavy drinking episodes (five or more drinks on at least one occasion) in the past 30 days, was significantly reduced among students receiving either or both interventions, compared with students in the control communities.

“The two distinct interventions alone and in combination resulted in similar patterns of effect across time,” said Komro, “but, interestingly, we found no evidence that the two interventions combined had significantly greater effects than either alone.”

Komro and her colleagues conclude that, while alcohol use among high school students remains a serious public health problem, and rural and American Indian youths are particularly vulnerable populations, the specific community and school-based interventions they examined are effective approaches for addressing alcohol problems in these diverse communities.

Additional alcohol research information and publications are available at: http://www.niaaa.nih.gov.

Opinion

OPINION: I’ll just leave this here
BY JAMI MURPHY
Senior Reporter – @cp_jmurphy
03/09/2017 04:00 PM
I'm going to share some “feels” with you. I'm not going to weep all over the page, but I will share with you what this job has meant to me, what it’s done for me and how I come to spend nearly 10 years doing it.

This job has shaped not only my career but also my life. I wasn’t one of those kids who had their tribal heritage shared with them as they grew up. I mean my story isn't that different from a lot of people. I was Cherokee. I knew that, but I missed out on the cultural aspect of being a tribal citizen. This job gave me the opportunity to not only grow and establish a career, but I grew to understand my culture, where I came from and what the Cherokee people have overcome. I learned of a tumultuous history that my ancestors faced as well as a personal history regarding my direct ancestor, Anderson Springston. I even wrote a column about it explaining the roles my people played in the killing of three prominent Cherokees: Major Ridge, John Ridge and Elias Boudinot. I also learned of the connection the son of that ancestor, John Leak Springston, had with the Cherokee Phoenix. He was known to be an Indian activist, an interpreter, newspaper editor, attorney and Keetoowah revivalist.

There have been so many stories that have left a mark on me. I’ve covered countless meetings, several tribal elections, as well as your basic health, education, cultural and people stories, and they all served a purpose of educating, entertaining and informing the Cherokee people.

It’s been nearly 10 years since I started here, and I have loved having the opportunity to work for such a historic newspaper. I’ve met some great people and made lasting relationships, but my most favorite aspect of working in this capacity has ultimately been helping people by both informing them of what their government is doing, as well as giving our Cherokee people a voice - something that has been taken from them time and again.

My concern for the Cherokee people and their involvement in the goings-on within their government is something that during the past several years I’ve noticed is most important. So I’ve tried to do that. It’s important to become educated in your government. You should want to have a say in what happens within your tribe. We’ve seen in our history what happens when we allow others to decide for us, and we’re a stronger people than that. I personally missed out on being involved with my tribe while growing up, but that will not be the case any longer and neither will it be for my children.

I buried the lede with this one friends, but on purpose, because once I’ve written it and once you’ve read it, it’s real. I have tendered my resignation from the Cherokee Phoenix effective April 8. I have accepted a job with the city of Tahlequah. Although I’m sad, scared and nervous for what is coming I know this is the best move for me.
This change will afford me the chance to reach for goals that working for the tribe will not allow. Although those goals may be far down the road, I need to give myself a true shot at accomplishing them. But new is always scary.

I hope the Cherokee Phoenix, a newspaper that has been at the forefront and example for excellent tribal journalism, will continue to be what it was created to be, what it should be – a true voice of the Cherokee people. One that stands up for what is right by its citizens and one that the Cherokee people can count on to be a real representation of the what happens within our tribe, not just what you need to know.

You are the Cherokee Nation. No voice is too big or small and at the end of the day the Cherokee Nation is not a thing, it’s a people and those people should be treated with respect and love like all people.

I wish all my fellow staffers, current and former, the best. You made me better, smarter and definitely more quick-witted.

So with that said, I bid you a fond farewell. Much love to anyone who played a part in the stories I’ve told over the years. This isn’t goodbye. If I can be of any help to someone in the future, you can email me at jamilynnmurphy@gmail.com. Do-na-da-go-hv-i.

People

Pettit thrives as radio show host
BY LINDSEY BARK
Staff Writer
03/16/2017 08:15 AM
SALLISAW, Okla. – Cherokee Nation citizen Justin Pettit grew up with a passion for radio broadcasting after listening to sports on the radio during his early years.

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.

In 2011, he graduated from the American Broadcasting School and started with Cumulus Broadcasting Inc. in Fayetteville. While there, Pettit honed his skills as a radio broadcast host by covering local and college sports.

In 2015, he became a host at Mix 105.1 FM with a show called “JP in the Morning.” He is also the station’s sports director.

“I’m on the air 6 a.m. to 11 a.m. having a good time, getting people ready for the morning, getting them ready for their job or school or whatever it is they got going on,” Pettit said.

He said one of his favorite aspects of the job is interacting with listeners and fans.

“I love the interaction. That’s probably my favorite part. We’re a local radio station. We’re not owned by any big company. We get to do whatever we want. So if there’s a big event happening across town that involves the kids or anything, we’re there. We go out and interact with all the people. They love us,” he said.

He said the radio station provides more than just a show to its listeners.

“We play a mix of music. We play country, rock, Christian, all of it. They know any type of music they like they know they can listen to us and we’ll have it there for them,” he said. “They know if they need any kind of breaking weather, if there is any news happening in and around the area they tune to us. We’re live on the air. A lot of radio stations aren’t live anymore. So if there’s an accident or a road’s blocked off or anything, the people know they can tune to us or call us and we’ll let them know where to be and where not to be.”

He said to work in radio his personality has to come through in his voice.

“In radio you got to have a big personality, and a lot of guys have a radio voice. I don’t really have one. I don’t put it on because when I go out with the public, we have a lot of interaction. People say ‘well you sound just like you do on the radio.’ Well I don’t put the big…radio voice on so that’s kind one of my trademarks,” he said.

Pettit said though the radio station is only 3 or 4 years old, the ratings “are up there with the guys” who have been in the radio broadcasting business for 30 or 40 years.

His fellow employees praised Pettit for his work ethic.

Delanna Nutter, sales director, said Pettit steps up when they need him to do extra voice work and that he is “always right on point.”

“I’m just a normal guy working the job that I love and living the dream,” Pettit said.
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