Back in the day: 1997

BY CHEROKEE ADVOCATE
08/28/2015 08:30 AM
Reprinted from the July/August 1997 Cherokee Advocate, Volume XXI, No. 7-8.

Concert, Car Show and Bike Ride Added to Cherokee Holiday

A concert, a car show and a bike ride have been added to the line-up of events for the 45th Cherokee National Holiday, Labor Day weekend, Aug. 28-31, in Tahlequah, Okla.

The concert will feature Native American musicians, performing a variety of musical styles including blues, rock, reggae, traditional and contemporary. Performers include Wes Studi (Cherokee) and his new band, Firecat of Discord; Smiling’ Vic (Creek) and the Soul Monkeys; Knifewing (Chiricahua Apache); Farmboy, featuring Tanya Comingdeer (Cherokee) and Tom Skinner; and Elvus Gene Kishketon (absentee Shawnee).

Performers will take the stage at the Cherokee Cultural Grounds at 1 p.m., Sunday, Aug. 31. The music will continue until midnight, with breaks between performances featuring comedians. The concert will conclude with a fireworks extravaganza.
Lillie O'Fields Saunty of Shawnee looks over her gifts with help from Cherokee Nation Deputy Chief Garland Eagle, left, and Prinicipal Chief Joe Byrd. Saunty is among nine original Dawes Commission enrollees who were honored Saturday during the Cherokee National Holiday. LYNN ADAIR/CHEROKEE ADVOCATE John Belt of Tahlequah takes careful aim at a target 45 feet away during the annual blowgun competition. WILL CHAVEZ/CHEROKEE ADVOCATE Fending off a spike, a volleyball player rises in the air but is unable to bat back the ball. Teams from throughout the area competed in the holiday volleyball tournament. WILL CHAVEZ/CHEROKEE ADVOCATE Cherokee boys study a new blowgun on the lawn of the Cherokee Heritage Center. WILL CHAVEZ/CHEROKEE ADVOCATE People of all ages took part in the stickball exhibitions that took place at Sequoyah High School. SAMMY STILL/CHEROKEE ADVOCATE Badwater Fields, Issac Youngbird, Larry Crittenden and Richard Fields of Kansas, Okla., won the Cherokee National Holiday Marble Tournament. WILL CHAVEZ/CHEROKEE ADVOCATE
Lillie O'Fields Saunty of Shawnee looks over her gifts with help from Cherokee Nation Deputy Chief Garland Eagle, left, and Prinicipal Chief Joe Byrd. Saunty is among nine original Dawes Commission enrollees who were honored Saturday during the Cherokee National Holiday. LYNN ADAIR/CHEROKEE ADVOCATE

Back in the day: 1976

BY THE CHEROKEE NATION NEWS
08/14/2015 02:00 PM
24th Annual Holiday To Be Long Remembered

Reprinted from The Cherokee Nation News, Volume 9, Number 37
September 10, 1976



The 24th Annual Cherokee National Holiday scheduled for September 3, 4, and 5, 1976 was one to be long remembered. From the time that Arts and Crafts show opened Friday until the fire died out at the final stomp dance Sunday night there was a continual round of activities.

Six beautiful Cherokee girls competed for the title “Miss Cherokee” and presented their talents. Friday evening then followed by Gospel singing.

Tahlequah riding club. COMMUNICATIONS CENTER & THE CHEROKEE NATION NEWS Miss Cherokee candidates breakfast, from left, Chief Ross Swimmer, Neal Morton and LaVeda Lay. COMMUNICATIONS CENTER & THE CHEROKEE NATION NEWS Candidates for "Miss Cherokee" 1976-1977. Left to right: Johnnie Marie England of Stilwell; Julie Dean Sellick of Spavinaw; Beverly Justice of Tahlequah; Margaret Elaine Waugh of Jay; Cynthia Blackfox of Tahlequah; Caroline Diana Mouse of Salina. COMMUNICATIONS CENTER & THE CHEROKEE NATION NEWS Ella Still, oldest original enrollee, great grand daughter of Chief John Ross, recieved an Indian blanket from Lewis Swindler and Jack Baker. COMMUNICATIONS CENTER & THE CHEROKEE NATION NEWS Favorite sport of the early days - cornstalk shoot. COMMUNICATIONS CENTER & THE CHEROKEE NATION NEWS Stickball game between Cherokee, North Carolina team and Cherokee Nation. The race is on. COMMUNICATIONS CENTER & THE CHEROKEE NATION NEWS The winner of the terrapin race, son of Brandon Ray Squirrel. COMMUNICATIONS CENTER & THE CHEROKEE NATION NEWS
Tahlequah riding club. COMMUNICATIONS CENTER & THE CHEROKEE NATION NEWS

Culture

Visitors get glimpse into CHC archives
BY STACIE GUTHRIE
Reporter – @cp_sguthrie
08/18/2017 12:45 PM
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.

Education

NSU Alumni Association honors 2 Cherokees
BY STAFF REPORTS
08/14/2017 12:00 PM
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.

Council

Dobbins takes aim at improving health care
BY LINDSEY BARK
News Writer
08/17/2017 04:00 PM
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.”

Health

Casting for Recovery to hold retreat for Native women with breast cancer
BY STAFF REPORTS
08/08/2017 04:00 PM
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.

Opinion

OPINION: Environmental efforts ensure fresh water, better future
BY BILL JOHN BAKER
Principal Chief
08/01/2017 12:00 PM
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.

People

Flag football combine has large Native turnout
BY ROGER GRAHAM
Multimedia Producer – @cp_rgraham
08/17/2017 08:30 AM
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.
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