With its main office in Stilwell, locals mostly refer to the company as Cherokee Nation Industries. However, a few years ago Cherokee Nation Businesses placed the company within the Engineering & Manufacturing division of Cherokee Nation Businesses along with Cherokee Nation CND, Cherokee Nation Red Wing, and Cherokee Nation Aerospace & Defense.
“We decided to come up with a name that more represented who we are and what we do,” Chris Moody, CNB’s Engineering & Manufacturing Companies president, said. “We provide engineering and manufacturing services, so engineering and manufacturing as part of Cherokee Nation Businesses became our name.”
While CNI is largely known for assembling “military aircraft products”, that is only a portion of what CNB’s Engineering & Manufacturing division does.
“Military aircraft is our primary niche, and wire harnesses and electrical assemblies is the primary product that we supply,” Moody said. “We also added additional capabilities, which are machine and metal working, and integration, which would be taking our electrical capability and our metal capability and combining them into a single product.”
STILWELL, Okla. – For more than 48 years, Cherokee Nation Businesses Engineering & Manufacturing Companies have provided award-winning products and services to clients across the United States, as well as jobs for the Cherokee people.
Les Wallace, Cherokee Nation citizen and Game Barn owner, is helping put those consoles, games and characters back into the hands of those who grew up with them and the younger generations.
“People like games, so I’m making people happy by providing this service for them to find games at reasonable prices,” he said. “If it was a game that they remember playing as a child or as a teen, and I can have that in the store for them to purchase at a good price, then that makes me happy too, to see them happy.”
Wallace began the business after his former job took a “toll” on him.
“I just wanted something different where I could control my own outcomes, make my own decisions and just try to make more money to try to provide for my family,” he said.
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – From Atari 2600 to PlayStation 4, from Donkey Kong to Link, there has been several memorable consoles, games and characters that have played a role in people’s childhoods that continue to stick around.
Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation, a subsidiary of Lockheed Martin, recently awarded CND with its Gold Supplier status.
CND received the esteemed Gold Supplier status for its best-in-class performance in quality, delivery, lean techniques and customer satisfaction. The recent honor marks the company’s fourth year to receive the award since earning the Sikorsky Gold Supplier Certification in 2012.
The Supply Management Council for Lockheed Martin is recognizing CND for its superior operational performance in its manufacturing of main wiring harnesses for the MH-60S SEAHAWK and S-92 aircraft. CND is one of 13 companies selected from Sikorsky’s more than 300 vendor supply base.
“A commitment to excellence is imbedded in our company’s culture,” said Steven Bilby, president of CNB’s diversified businesses. “Our longstanding relationships with industry leaders such as Sikorsky and the growth and success of our diversified businesses are great testaments to our companywide dedication to first-class service.”
STILWELL, Okla. – Cherokee Nation Distributors, a company within the engineering and manufacturing segment of Cherokee Nation Businesses, has again been named one of the most prestigious suppliers in the aerospace industry.
On May 9, she held a grand opening for her brick and mortar shop on Muskogee Avenue.
Henson said she opened the shop because the demand on Facebook for custom orders was “too high.”
“The demand was too high on Facebook to just keep it running from my house, so it called for me to have a location that people can come to so that it would make it a lot easier,” she said.
Henson said when customers enter her shop they will see Native-inspired clothing made by her or purchased from vendors.
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – From her house to Tahlequah’s main street, Cherokee Nation citizen Alyssa Henson began her creative journey of fashioning clothes with Indigenous flair approximately three years ago.
Cheryl said her mother and stepfather purchased the business in 1999 and sold it in 2002.
“When they first bought it they added the booths. Then they added the, we call that the ‘add-on’ room. As the other buildings became available they added toward the north,” she said.
She said the business was later sold to Bob and Luella Lankford and her uncle and aunt Johnny and Carol Horn before eventually going to Cheryl’s cousin Robbie.
In March 2016, Campbell bought the business when Cheryl's cousin decided to pursue other interests. Cheryl said over the years the shop has expanded and now has five “rooms,” which includes the “add-on” room.
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – Opened in 1979, The Speckled Hen has changed ownerships throughout its nearly 40-year journey. But under Cherokee Nation citizens Bill Campbell and Cheryl Horn – along with help from family members, previous owners and those who rent space at the establishment – the antique flea market still is providing timeless treasures to the Tahlequah area.
Cherokee Nation citizen Brian Hartley, an Oklahoma State Bank employee, offers a two-sheet guide that provides a look into credit scores and what they entail. He said it’s important to first know what exactly a credit score is.
“A credit score is a scoring system to let creditors know what type of past history you had,” he said. “Meaning that if you paid on time and have not been in any trouble you’ll have a high score, and it tells creditors like a bank or an institution that the likelihood of this person paying is very high compared to someone who may have a low score. It’s the possibility that the low score is a person that could be very non-paying or late-paying or have some other issues that may have came into their past.”
Hartley said a credit score is determined from various factors.
“It’s anywhere from paying your bills to getting credit lines or getting a car installment payment or any type of other credit out there as well as medical. I mean, your whole life is tied to your credit score almost,” he said.
MONKEY ISLAND, Okla. – Credit scores act as buffers between consumers and banks or institutions from which they wish to borrow money. Whether it’s for daily items, a car or a house, credit scores play roles in many expenditures, so it’s important to know about them and how they affect consumers.
It caters to children ages 0-12 years old with gross motor development and guided learning in a school-like atmosphere. “We try to run a routine similar to school. The kids (have) some group-setting experiences,” Sierra said.
He said he funded the business with his savings and help from family.
“A lot of the equipment we’ve been blessed to get donated…what could be thousands of dollars in equipment was donated,” Sierra said.
After working with the Oklahoma Department of Human Services in 2015 to ensure compliance, including having proper equipment and passing necessary inspections, the center opened in February 2016 with four babies. Enrollment eventually grew to 30 children.
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – Cherokee Nation citizen Ryan Sierra always dreamed of running his own business and educating children. That dream became reality when he opened an early childhood facility called A Bright Start Development Center.
“A lot of parents and mothers have come in and say that they’re really glad this is here because there wasn’t too many options left besides going all the way to Tulsa,” he said.
There were several locations they could have chosen, but Pryor, he said, was optimal.
“Because Hastings had just shut down and there’s only one Gamestop out here. There’s nothing really in the area besides driving to Tulsa…especially for retro games. We’re the only place in the area besides Claremore,” Luke said.
He and his family, including his mother, designed the store’s look from the ground up, including the logo. His daily activities include running the store and tracking inventory while Lori handles the marketing and finances.
PRYOR, Okla. – For the past four months FTW! Game Co. – a video game, comic and novelty store – has operated in Pryor. And Cherokee Nation citizen Luke Nagel, who co-owns it with his wife Lori, said the business has been well received by the community and that people have expressed appreciation for the youth-oriented business.
On Feb. 25, 1987, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Cabazon Band of Mission Indians in its lawsuit with the state of California. The decision ultimately allowed tribes to have gaming operations, even where states were given criminal jurisdiction over Indian tribes, The Journal Record reported.
California was a Public Law 280 state, which gave the state criminal jurisdiction over Indian lands. In the mid-1980s, the Cabazon and Morango Bands of Mission Indians operated bingo parlors on their lands. In 1986, the state tried to shut down the games, claiming they violated state regulations.
The Cabazon Band’s argument and the Supreme Court’s decision rested on the state not prohibiting gambling as a criminal act. The state did not have jurisdiction over the operations.
Robertson was working in Washington, D.C., at the time the decision was announced. He was one of the few attorneys familiar with Indian law. When the calls started coming in from tribes that wanted to open gambling operations, they were directed to him.
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) – Lindsay Robertson started his law career working on business development. He was familiar with laws regarding tribal sovereignty, but he was asked to combine the two areas starting in 1987.
PARK HILL, Okla. – Cherokee Heritage Center visitors had the chance to get a glimpse into the CHC’s permanent archive collections with the “Preserving Cherokee Culture: Holding the Past for the Future” exhibit that was set to run Aug. 14-19.
“We want to just feature things that people don’t get to see very often. On average only about 1 percent of a museums holdings are on display at any given time, so this will give people a little inside look into more of the items that we have,” Callie Chunestudy, CHC curator, said.
Nearly 60 historical artifacts were selected for the exhibit, including Gen. Stand Waite’s bowie knife, a hand-written first draft of the Articles of Agreement between the Cherokee Nation and U.S. governments in 1866, photographs and more.
Chunestudy said the goal is to find a way to create a new archives and collections building.
“We are in need of a new archives and collections building, so we want to feature some of the rare and special items that we do hold so the people can understand that we really need updated housing for these,” she said. “We’ve outgrown our space immensely, and it’s time for an up-to-date archives and collections building that we’re hoping to raise money for.”
All the archives and collections are stored in the CHC basement, which Chunestudy said doesn’t allow for proper preservation techniques.
“It’s a little difficult to climate control and things like that just because of the structure of the building, and so we’re looking at building a new facility that will be up-to-date and in line for best practices for housing these items,” she said. “Without a new archives and collections building the items that are currently housed in the basement of the (Cherokee) Heritage Center are in danger of becoming damaged. It’s a secure space, but it’s not up to best practices for archives and collections so our goal is to bring that up to par.”
CHC Director Charles Gourd said those at the CHC have a “responsibility” to preserve and protect the tribe’s history.
“One of the primary functions and purposes of the Cherokee National Historical Society, and then now the (Cherokee) Heritage Center, is the preservation of our material culture. Those objects of cultural patrimony and things that are important to our history,” he said. “In the (19)95 Constitution, we were mandated and specifically designated as the repository. Now, we’re the designated repository as an act of the (Tribal) Council in 1985 to back that up. So we have a responsibility to preserve and protect all of these objects that are important to Cherokee history, government and the Cherokee people.”
According to a CHC press release, the Cherokee National Archives has more than 40,000 items in collections and 200,000 items in archives dating back to pre-European contact.
The CHC is located at 21192 S. Keeler Drive. For more information, call 918-456-6007 or visit www.cherokeeheritage.org
TAHELQUAH, Okla. – The Northeastern State University Alumni Association board of directors has chosen two Cherokee Nation citizens as 2017 honorees of the university’s Distinguished Alumnus awards.
CN Deputy Chief S. Joe Crittenden and Julie Erb-Alvarez were selected as distinguished alumni and will receive their honors on Sept. 29 at the Alumni Association Honors Dinner and again Sept. 30 at the homecoming Emerald Ball. Both events are open to the public.
Awards are presented annually to NSU alumni who, through personal achievement and service, have brought honor and distinction to both themselves and the university, a NSU release states.
Crittenden graduated from NSU in 1974 with a bachelor’s degree in accounting and business administration. Crittenden has previously served on the Tribal Council, as the Eastern Oklahoma vice president for the National Congress of American Indians and as a U.S. Postal Service postmaster. He is also a Navy veteran.
“It is an honor to receive this award from Northeastern State University,” Crittenden said. “It has been 43 years since I graduated from the university, and I still wear my gold NSU class ring every single day. I was an atypical college student, returning to school after serving in the U.S. Navy during Vietnam. However, I was blessed to receive an excellent education at NSU, and what I learned there helped guide me on a long career of public service.”
Crittenden has given back to NSU by supporting the tribe’s efforts to restore Seminary Hall and install modern classroom technologies. He also offers support and advice to youth in their pursuit of higher-education opportunities.
“I am proud to say I am an alum of a school that is so committed to Native students and developing leaders for Indian Country,” Crittenden said. “Cherokee Nation and NSU have established one of the most unique and successful collaborations between a tribal government and public higher education institution.”
NSU President Dr. Steve Turner said Crittenden was extraordinarily qualified to be recognized as a distinguished alumnus.
“His career path is highlighted by many years of service to the Cherokee Nation and to our country. I am so excited for Joe and his family and am honored to call him friend,” Turner said.
Erb-Alvarez is a distinguished epidemiologist and chief of patient recruitment for the National Institutes of Health’s National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute who graduated from NSU in 1993 with a bachelor’s degree in health and human performance.
She continued her education at the University of Oklahoma, earning a master’s degree in epidemiology. She has served as an epidemiologist for the Oklahoma Tribal Epidemiology Center, the Indian Health Service and the Bureau of Public Health, Ministry of Health in the Republic of Palau.
Erb-Alvarez was commissioned into the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps in 2010 and was deployed to Monrovia, Liberia in response to the Ebola crisis in West Africa in 2014-15. She is a life member of the NSU Alumni Association.
“I was truly honored when I received the call from NSU President Steve Turner. I was completely surprised and really excited when he told me I had been selected as one of the 2017 Distinguished Alumni. And then when explained who the other honorees were, it instilled another sense of pride and emotion. I am deeply grateful for this honor, and am completely humbled with the company I now keep, with those who are also being honored this year and those who have been honored in the past,” she said. “I look forward to NSU Homecoming Weekend in September when I can come back to my beloved alma mater and experience NSU all these many years later. I can’t wait to talk with students, educators, other professionals and friends – those who helped build my education – and share my post-graduation career and life experiences. I want them all to know and understand how much NSU has given me. I had a very solid foundation thanks to my years at NSU. It was easy for me to find my way and excel after an educational experience like that. Both of my parents are NSU graduates, and I was born while my parents were students and living at NSU married student housing. I have a long, long and wonderful history with NSU. The fact that NSU began as a Cherokee Seminary gives it all the more meaning to me as a Cherokee citizen.”
Turner said Erb-Alvarez has amassed an outstanding list of accomplishments since her time at NSU.”
“Her commitment to preserving the health of the nation and serving others through the National Institute of Health and the United States Public Health Service is admirable and makes her more than deserving of this honor,” he said.
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – Dr. Mike Dobbins, of Fort Gibson, said he’s ready to serve his first term as the Dist. 4 Tribal Councilor and looks to improve the Cherokee Nation’s health care system.
Dobbins will take his councilor seat with 37 years of experience in health care, practicing dentistry for 20 of those years.
“I chose to run because from a distance I’ve become quite familiar with the Cherokee health system, and there are some great things about it. The framework’s in place…and a lot of good has transpired. With my experience I feel like I can lend some expertise to help improve the system. That was my primary motive in running for council...to see what I could do to improve the health care system,” Dobbins said.
He said he has more to learn about the CN Health Services and how it functions on a daily basis.
Dobbins is also involved in higher education, teaching at dental schools for the past 17 years and assisting Cherokee students interested in health care.
“I’ve assisted multiple Cherokee students with scholarship opportunities, not only with Cherokee scholarships, but with other Native American scholarships and try to help them go through college with little-to-no debt as possible,” he said.
He said in Dist. 4, he’s also heard concerns from CN citizens about housing issues.
“I’m also knowledgeable of the fact that there’s a lot of other Cherokee needs (including) infrastructure, housing, elder care. I’m also sensitive to those areas as well. I plan to be a multi-purpose councilman,” Dobbins said. “I’m on the outside right now, but I intend to see (and) get familiarized with the housing program and make sure that citizens of District 4 are considered for any housing possibilities.”
The 2017 Tribal Council election was Dobbins’ second attempt at becoming a CN legislator. He said he learned from his “mistakes” four years ago and that it was a “less stressful” campaign this time around.
“I ran four years ago and lost by two (votes) to an 18-year incumbent,” he said. “You learn by experience, and I enlisted more help, actually, this time. I tried to do a lot of myself four years ago. I’d say…most importantly I learned what not to do rather than what to do.”
Dobbins said he has an obligation to serve not only the CN citizens who helped or voted for him, but also those who did not.
“I’m their councilman now, and I feel a deep debt of obligation to fulfill that duty,” he said. “I just look forward to serving the Cherokee people on the council. I do have a busy schedule but I feel like I will be accessible. I have a busy schedule outside my councilman responsibilities, but my councilman responsibility will be my priority.”
AUSTIN, Texas – Casting for Recovery, a national nonprofit organization providing free fly fishing retreats for women with breast cancer, will hold a retreat exclusively for Native American women in October in Tahlequah, Oklahoma.
Set for Oct. 13-15, Native American women who reside in Oklahoma and have received a breast cancer diagnosis are eligible to apply. Up to 14 women will be randomly selected to attend the retreat at no cost. Meals, lodging, equipment and supplies will be provided for each participant. The deadline to apply is Aug. 11.
CfR officials said Native American women face numerous cultural and economic barriers to cancer care. By providing support, education and resources, CfR officials said they hope to improve the quality of life for Native American women, creating a ripple effect for health in their communities.
CfR officials said the program empowers women with educational resources, a new support group and fly fishing, which promotes emotional, physical, and spiritual healing. For more information or to apply for this retreat, visit https://castingforrecovery.org/breast-cancer-retreats/arkansas-oklahoma/
or call Susan Gaetz at 512-940-0246.
CfR is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit founded in 1996 featuring a program that combines breast cancer education and peer support with the therapeutic sport of fly fishing. Officials said its retreats offer opportunities for women to find inspiration, discover renewed energy for life and experience healing connections with other women and nature. CfR’s retreats are open to women of all ages, all stages of breast cancer treatment and recovery, and are free to participants.
?For more information, visit https://castingforrecovery.org
Protecting the environment and practicing conservation principles have always been important to the Cherokee people. It’s fitting that the 65th annual Cherokee National Holiday theme is “Water is Sacred.” It is something that resonates with all of us as Cherokees. Water is sacred to our people and has been forever. Water has been part of our ceremonies. Water has sustained us with food and an ability to grow our crops. Water is something we share and celebrate with our families. Our close relationship to water, the land and the traditional knowledge about our natural surroundings has always been part of who we are. Cherokee values and these historic ideas, established over multiple generations, about ecological preservation benefit all of northeast Oklahoma.
Over the past year, Cherokee Nation has put a focused effort to preserve water rights and natural resources. We have been active within our 14 counties and across Indian Country when it comes to conservation of our water. CN established the office of the secretary of Natural Resources to address a various environmental issues. Secretary Sara Hill oversees the programs and services related to preservation and conservation of our air, land, water and animal and plant life.
As a tribal government, and as Cherokees, we have a responsibility to protect the water we drink, the air we breathe, and the land we live on. We will unequivocally fight for the rights of our people to live safely in their communities. We have a right and a responsibility to protect our water. It is our duty for the next seven generations.
An excellent example of our renewed conservation efforts was a recent federal court decision naming CN the court-appointed steward of restoration efforts of Saline Creek in Mayes County. David Benham, a CN citizen originally from the Kenwood area and a property owner along the creek bank, personally sued Ozark Materials River Rock for the extreme damage done to the water. The company, which will pay for the restoration effort, mined at the foot of the creek, removing the gravel at the lower reaches. Erosion upstream redirected the creek and eroded vegetation, which in turn increased stream temperature and algae growth.
It is appropriate that the court appointed CN as the steward of Saline Creek and will manage the recovery of the damaged areas and easement. Saline Creek has spiritual as well as historical significance to CN citizens in that area. Additionally, it is one of the most beautiful creeks in northeast Oklahoma.
Earlier this year, Secretary Hill’s team defended the Arkansas and Illinois rivers, as CN played a critical role in preventing Sequoyah Fuels Corporation from disposing radioactive waste near important waterways. We are working with the company to find appropriate off-site disposal.
Recently, the tribe also earned a $75,000 grant from the Environmental Protection Agency that will help support the critical environmental work that we do at the local level. The partnership between CN and the EPA benefits our people, our environmental endeavors, and the health and beauty of northeast Oklahoma.
Together with the EPA’s federal dollars, we can sustain the environmental protection efforts that preserve our clean air, healthy land and fresh water. The CN created a five-person board, the Environmental Protection Commission, which works with Secretary Hill to help the tribe administer its environmental programs and develop community and education programs.
The CN is also a founding member of the Inter-Tribal Environmental Council, an organization that helps protect the health of Native Americans, tribal natural resources and the environment. This tribal organization was created to provide support, technical assistance, program development and training to member tribes nationwide. Today, almost 50 tribal governments are members and share best practices.
Our tribal government strives to build a better future for our people and fights for the rights of our people to live safely in their communities. Protecting the environment through CN’s active and progressive conservation programs is one of the most important things we can do to ensure we achieve that goal.
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – Approximately 70 youths in first through fourth grades were athletically evaluated on Aug. 12 at the Boys and Girls Club of Tahlequah’s flag football combine held on the infield of Tahlequah High School’s track.
Testing included speed evaluations, route running as well as passing and catching a football.
Boys and Girls Club of Tahlequah CEO Dennis Kelley said the combine testing is crucial to selecting evenly matched league teams.
“It’s for all kids across the county. You don’t have to be a Boys & Girls Club member. We have 13 clubs throughout Cherokee County in almost every school except Hulbert and Shady Grove. Our club stats for Cherokee County show we’re at about 70 percent Native American. So anyone who wants to sign up can. Boys and girls are welcome.”
Kelley said the fee for joining is $45.
“We try to keep it as low as we can. Plus, if someone can’t afford it, we try to scholarship them in. Cherokee Nation helps us with some money throughout the year, so we try to use that money for scholarships for kids who can’t afford to pay,” he said.
Cherokee Nation citizen Julie Deerinwater Anderson said bringing her son to try out was a mutual decision.
“I brought my son out today because he was very interested in flag football. It’s an opportunity for him to be a part of a team. Plus it’s his first year, so he can learn some skills without the risk of tackle football,” she said. “It’s healthy and it’s outside. It’s important to me that my son has healthy options.”
For more information, call the Boys and Girls Club of Tahlequah at 918-456-6888.