Rockin’ R Farms: Tahlequah
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Rockin’ R Farms officials hope visitors “get lost” with them as they offer a family friendly environment that is fun for children and adults.
“This place is just not for the kids, it is adult-friendly. Anything that I’ve built, if I can’t get in it, it isn’t fun for adults, so I build it for everybody,” Richard Roberts, owner and Cherokee Nation citizen, said. “We just can’t have the kids having fun. We have to have everybody.”
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – The Cherokee Phoenix visited local fall and Halloween attractions to help readers find ways to celebrate the season. Included is also a list for those looking for related attractions for either family friendly fun or something spookier.
The horses are set to contend for the lead position in high-paying races to be held on the grounds.
The 2017 WRD racing schedule features 28 AQHA, Appaloosa and Paint stakes races through Nov. 12.
Races post at noon every Friday, Saturday and Sunday, with each day featuring 12 races.
“Will Rogers Downs put on an excellent meet for Quarter Horses, Paints and Appaloosas last year, and we only hope to grow that in 2017,” John Lies, WRD racing secretary, announcer and oddsmaker, said.
CLAREMORE, Okla. – The stables are filling up once again with the stocky build of some of the top American Quarter Horse competitors as fall racing returns Sept. 9 to Cherokee Casino Will Rogers Downs.
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.
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – Thanks in part from an Oklahoma Arts Council grant, the Northeastern State University Center for Tribal Studies will host the Indigenous Arts Education Series in November for American Indian Heritage Month.
The series will include the following:Nov. 2
Marcus Harjo (Pawnee/Seminole) will present “Creative Writing and Music Production Workshop” from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the University Center Redbud Room. Harjo uses writing, music production and live performances to promote his passions of youth outreach, cultural awareness and promoting healthy, drug-free lifestyles, specifically among American Indian populations. His workshop will focus on teaching participants how to use writing and music composition skills to enhance the delivery of their message. His workshop will conclude with a live performance.Nov. 8
Sandy Fife Wilson (Muscogee Creek) will present “Shell Carving Demonstration” from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. in the University Center Redbud Room. Wilson is an experienced artist having learned her art techniques through both formal education and traditional means as she comes from a long line of family artists. Wilson specializes in Southeastern design shell carvings, finger-woven items and Creek basketry. She will host a demonstration that will educate the audience on this traditional form of art and lead participants through the process using a direct, hands-on approach to instruction.Nov. 14
Yatika Starr Fields (Muscogee Creek/Osage/Cherokee) will present “Becoming a Mural Artist” from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. in the University Center Redbud Room. Fields’ presentation will highlight his experience and work as a mural artist and provide attendees with some insight into the highly specialized field of mural art. This event will include a live art demonstration.
The Oklahoma Arts Council is the official state agency for the support and development of the arts. The agency’s mission is to lead in the advancement of Oklahoma’s thriving arts industry. Additional information is available at arts.ok.gov
WASHINGTON – The Global Press Institute is offering Native American women an experience with its Tribal Nations training-to-employment program, which allows women who are enrolled citizens in a tribe the opportunity to become journalists even if they have no prior experience in the field.
Cristi Hegranes, GPI founder and executive director, said in 2016 GPI conducted a pilot of the Tribal Nation’s program and are “excited” to expand the program and accurately tell the Native American story with hopes to get women from Oklahoma involved.
“So much of the coverage that makes it to the national scale is so stereotypically driven, and it really demonstrates a lack of understanding of so much of what happened within communities, tribal governments,” she said. “So we are expanding Global Press Tribal Nations to work with women from a variety of different tribes and communities across the United States to join the Global Press program.”
Hegranes said the program includes “rigorous” training and “long-term” employment.
“Anyone who graduates from our training program will receive long-term employment to cover their community over the long-term working for Global Press Journal,” she said.
Those who are accepted into the program would take part in a weeklong training in Washington, D.C., before reporting in their communities.
“We’ll be bringing women from all different tribes together to spend a week together learning what we call the principals and the practice of Global Press Journalism,” she said. “Then everyone will go back to their communities and they spend a couple of months doing three to six stories working with Global Press editors and fact checkers and copy editors to produce really unique coverage from the community.”
Hegranes said it’s important to highlight that no prior journalism experience or basic education limit is required and that applicants must be 18 or older.
“Really the only thing that is required is a natural curiosity and passion for storytelling and really the time to commit to the training and the long-term story production from the communities,” she said. “On average we work with our reporters for more than five years after the training. So we’re really looking for people who want to make an investment in their future as journalists.”
Hegranes said this “extraordinary” opportunity offers these future journalists the chance to play a “pivotal” role in changing the narrative for their community.
“Global Press news stories reach about 20 million people around the world every month. So this is a huge opportunity to really increase accurate information, to really dive in beyond the stereotypes and tell really authentic, true, important stories that might otherwise never be told,” she said.
Hegranes said GPI has been developing independent news bureaus in under-covered parts of the world for the past 11 years.
“The way that our program works is we identify local women from these communities and we put them through a rigorous training process. Teaching them to be ethical, accurate, investigative, feature journalists,” she said.
The deadline to apply is Oct. 15. To apply, visit http://bit.ly/2yF7fqP
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – With 18 years of experience serving the Cherokee people, Tribal Councilor Joe Byrd looks forward to serving another four years as the representative for Dist. 2, which consists of most of northern Cherokee County.
“I love serving the Cherokee people. They’ve got somebody that’s going to work for them again for the next four years, and I’m really looking forward to that,” said Byrd.
Originally from Belfonte/Nicut, Byrd was the youngest Cherokee Nation legislator to be elected. He served on the Tribal Council from 1987-95, followed by term as principal chief from 1995-99. In January 2012, he won a special election to replace Bill John Baker on the Tribal Council. Baker had taken office as the principal chief on Oct. 19, 2011, after a contentious and lengthy principal chief’s race against incumbent Chad Smith.
In 2013, Byrd was re-elected to serve his first full term under the tribe’s 1999 Constitution, which limits elected officials to two consecutive four-year terms before having to sit out a term. He was also named speaker of the Tribal Council in 2015 after then-Speaker Tina Glory Jordan termed out.
When he first ran for office in 1987, Byrd said he felt the need to help the Cherokee people with the issues they were facing.
“Our government didn’t begin serving our people until the 1970s. When I first moved to Northeastern (State University) in 1972 to get an education, it really opened my eyes to a lot of the issues our people were facing,” he said. “In the rural areas there were a lot of people who weren’t self-efficient, and I saw right then we still had many people out in the rural areas that needed help and needed an awareness that there is a tribe out there that should have a responsibility to take care of our people.”
As for his current term, deciding to run again for the Dist. 2 seat was an easy decision, he said, because of his love for serving the Cherokee people and because of his constituents who asked him to continue.
He spoke of elderly women who continues to set an example of how his constituents have not forgotten their Cherokee culture or who they are as a people.
“When people like that come up to me and ask me to run, it’s a real honor to have people with that kind of stature to say, ‘you need to run another time,’” he said. “The people will let you know when it’s time to run. You don’t have to consult them, they’ll let you know.”
During his time as Dist. 2 representative, Byrd has helped with projects to improve services for CN citizens, including the passing of a $900 million budget, a $100 million investment in Cherokee health care as well as a $200 million dollar expansion of the W.W. Hastings Hospital.
For this term, Byrd said he would continue working with the tribe to ensure rural area schools have shelter for inclement weather and that elders and veterans are taken care of.
“Our veterans seem to not be taken care of like they should,” he said. “When we give speeches and talks we all say, ‘we respect our elder’s and we respect our veterans,’ but we have many that are still homeless and not being served. I want to do anything I can to assist in making sure our elders and veterans are taken care of.”
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – The Cherokee Nation’s Health Services is introducing a program to educate patients on alternative ways other than antibiotics to heal common illnesses.
According to recent information released by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, antibiotics are often misused for illnesses such as influenza and the common cold, and like other medications, they could have side effects.
According to the CDC, antibiotic resistance is a growing problem in the United States and across the world. The CDC states the main driving factors behind antibiotic resistance are the overuse and misuse of antibiotics.
Using the CDC guidelines, the tribe will more closely monitor antibiotic prescriptions and the use of antibiotics by patients throughout all CN health facilities.
Leadership at Health Services’ nine health centers and W.W. Hastings Hospital is also working to further educate staff on the proper use of antibiotics.
“We strive to educate our citizens and our doctors about the possible dangers of over prescribing medications and of building antibiotic resistance,” Health Services Executive Director Connie Davis said. “Throughout Cherokee Nation Health Services, we treat more than a million patients per year, and it is so important that we stay vigilant and educated when prescribing.”
In 2012, Hastings Hospital began the antibiotic stewardship program within its inpatient care, and this year the program will expand to the tribe’s nine health centers, positively impacting the health and treatment of even more CN citizens.
“Antibiotics can be a life-saving or life-threatening intervention depending on how they are used,” Health Services nurse practitioner Whitney Essex said. “We are committed to improving patient outcomes by using antibiotics responsibly.”
The CN operates the largest tribal health system in the country. In fiscal year 2016, the tribe had more than 1.1 million patient visits. For more information, visit https://www.cdc.gov/getsmart/community/index.html
As you may have noticed, this month’s cover is a bit more colorful than usual. October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and we here at the Cherokee Phoenix wanted to help raise awareness about the importance of screening and early detection.
The probability of a woman being diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime is 1 in 8, and breast cancer is the second-leading cause of mortality among women in the United States. Within the Cherokee Nation, Breast cancer is the second-most frequently diagnosed cancer and the leading cancer among women. These statistics, coupled with the fact that Native American women have some of the lowest breast cancer screening rates of any ethnic group, is a sobering reality.
Breast cancer cannot be prevented, but early detection is key to successful treatment. Women whose breast cancer is caught at an early stage have a 93 percent survival rate. A Breast Self Exam or BSE, Clinical Breast Exam or CBE and mammogram are all effective early detection methods. CBE and BSE instruction occurs at all CN health centers, and mammograms are performed at the Wilma P. Mankiller Health Center, Vinita Health Center, Three Rivers Health Center, A-Mo Health Center, Sam Hider Health Center and the Claremore Indian Hospital.
Additionally, the Cherokee Nation Comprehensive Cancer Control was established to ensure CN citizens were receiving quality treatment, access to clinical trials, patient advocates and instructions on screening and detection. In 2015, more than 2,000 women participated in the screening and early detection program provided by the CNCCC. It is my hope that the number of participants in this program continues to grow year over year.
Today, a pink ribbon is synonymous with breast cancer awareness. But I urge you to take more than just a passing glance at all of the pink you will see this month. I encourage you to take time to learn about the early warning signs, receive instruction on self-exams and make a plan to utilize the resources available through CN Health Services for clinical exams. And men, we should take an active role in the fight against breast cancer as well. Encourage the women you love to take the time for breast cancer screening. It just might save their life.
TULSA, Okla. – For some it’s traditional games such as stickball or marbles. For other Cherokees it may be weaving baskets with traditional materials that bring them closer to their culture. But for 15-year-old Regina Scott, it’s the love for the fiddle and fiddle music that brings her in tune to Cherokee culture.
“I think it’s really cool that I am Cherokee and that I play the fiddle because the fiddle was part of the Cherokee culture,” Cherokee Nation citizen said. “I know there are a lot of people that are Cherokee that probably don’t have a direct connection to their culture, so I am really proud that I have the fiddle because I feel like it brings me closer to my Cherokee culture.”
The Tulsa native found an interest in the bowed-string musical instrument at age 5 when she began taking classical violin lessons from longtime violinist Jody Naifeh. However, it was hearing her cousin play the fiddle that sparked her curiosity for the instrument.
“My cousin was the only one that fiddled, and she doesn’t anymore. It was kind of a brief thing. But it’s really amazing that I even got into it because really no one in my family is musical. My mom told me that both of her grandmothers were musical...but really I’m the only one,” she said.
Scott continued taking violin lessons and began studying fiddling.
“I started off with classical violin from Mrs. Naifeh, which I am still with her today. The cool thing about her is a lot of classical teachers don’t really do fiddling and aren’t super into that side of music. But she took me to my first fiddle contest, and so because of her I kind of got started in fiddling,” she said.
Although fiddle and violin appear the same, Scott said the styles are different.
“The violin and fiddle are very different styles, but both benefit each other. The violin is classical music and is technically difficult and you sight-read the music to learn it. But fiddling you learn by ear, so it’s more like reading a book versus storytelling,” Scott said. “Violin helps the intonation and technical aspect of fiddling, whereas the fiddling helps me to put feeling into the classical music and make it more than just the notes on the page”
As early as 7 years old, Scott traveled statewide to fiddling contests and performances, learning and watching some of the best fiddle players. Now she plays among them, continuing to make her mark. She has also competed in fiddling contests in surrounding states and as far as Idaho.
“I have competed all over. I do the Oklahoma state fiddle contest, the Colorado state fiddle contest, and there is a fiddle contest in Grove called the Grand Lake National Fiddle Contest, and I actual won that a couple of years ago. I am the youngest person to ever win it,” she said. “I have probably been to, I would say, over 50 competitions.
For her accomplishments, CN officials proclaimed Feb. 10 as “Regina Scott Day.” Tribal Councilor Keith Austin presented Scott with the proclamation after her performance at the National Fiddler Hall of Fame Ceremony and Concert in Tulsa in front of an audience of celebrated fiddlers and country musician Vince Gill.
“The National Fiddler Hall of Fame inducts people every year, so I got to play for Randy Howard who was being inducted. So I was on stage and I had just finished and it was a really great moment, and one of the Cherokees came on stage and he said ‘wait, don’t go yet,’ and I was very confused, but then he read a proclamation from the chief that basically said that the day Feb. 10, 2017, was a day dedicated to me and my accomplishments,” she said. “I was thinking ‘is this real?’ like, ‘is this a prank?’ but it was amazing and I have it framed at home.”
As for her violin, Scott still plays. She is part of the Tulsa Youth Symphony, the Holland Hall Orchestra and Honors Orchestra, in which she is first chair violin. She also teaches a beginner’s orchestra class to help her violin teacher.
She advises young musicians who are pursuing their dreams to keep practicing.
“Practice, practice because sometimes you don’t feel like practicing or it’s just not in your schedule, but if you really like it you can make time for it. You know, if you really want to be good at it and it’s something you are really passionate about that’s the only way to get good,” she said.
Scott will be the featured entertainment during the annual Will Rogers birthday celebration reception. The reception begins at 4:30 p.m. on Nov. 4 at Cherokee Casino Will Rogers Downs in Claremore.