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Video:Tribe artificially increases wishi population

BY WILL CHAVEZ
Senior Reporter – @cp_wchavez
10/06/2009 07:08 AM
KANSAS, Okla. – In a wooded area on Cherokee Nation trust land, two men from the tribe’s Natural Resources department give Mother Nature some help with growing wishi (or wissy) mushrooms.

The maitake mushroom, also known as grifola frondosa, is considered a delicacy by many Cherokee people who find them growing near the base of hardwood trees. Also known as the “Hen of the Woods,” the large mushrooms have brown caps and white undersides and usually grow in clusters at the base of red oak trees in northeastern Oklahoma.

Natural Resources Acting Director Pat Gwin and Natural Resources specialist Mark Dunham spent time in September drilling small holes at the base of trees, where roots connect, and placing plugs containing grifola frondosa in the hole before sealing them with wax.

Gwin said wishi is a fungus that grows in the roots of trees. In northeastern Oklahoma, it mainly grows in red oak trees. As an experiment, Gwin and Dunham placed capsules in various trees, including chinquapin oak, green ash, post oak, hickory, white hickory, black walnut, sugar maple, elm and ash.

“Because it’s so difficult to find these things (mushrooms), we basically wanted to see if we could artificially increase the population,” Gwin said.

The tribe bought 300 plugs containing grifola frondosa from a company in the state of Washington. The plugs needed to be placed in the trees during a period of high moisture that’s not followed by hot weather and a month before the first frost, Gwin said, which usually occurs in northeastern Oklahoma in early to mid-November. The conditions in September were ideal because the area received heavy rainfall.

Six different sites in Adair, Cherokee and Delaware counties were chosen for the wishi mushroom experiment because those counties have a large population of mature red oak trees.



















 Grifola<br />frondosa also known to Cherokee people as wishi (Courtesy photo)
Grifola frondosa also known to Cherokee people
as wishi (Courtesy photo)



Gwin said he expects the capsules to produce wishi in two to three years and that he used a global positioning system or GPS to mark each location where the capsules were left. He said he and his staff plan to visit the locations to check on the plugs’ progress.

“The fungus will become mature. It will send out its reproductive part, the great big wishi, and then it can be harvested. The actual wishi that people pick, that’s just the flower of the plan,” he said. “It’s really the third year when we’re looking to find something.”

He said wishi mushrooms clusters can grow large enough to fill a four-gallon washtub. The proper way to pick it is to cut it off its base and not pull it off.

To prepare it for eating, he said, it should be boiled two or three times to remove the bugs and dirt. After that it is cut up, salted and floured and deep-fried.

“Several years ago a number of elders had wishi trees, and with wishi trees the locations are kept secret and passed down to their family. I was lucky to have a few trees passed down to me. A lot of those trees have died,” he said. “Several years of drought have wreaked havoc on the wishi population. What we’re really trying is get those numbers back up.”
 
Reach Staff Writer Will Chavez at (918) 207-3961 or will-chavez@cherokee.org
ᏣᎳᎩ

ᎠᏂᎳᏍᏓᏢ ᎠᏂᎶᎾᏍᏗᏍᎬ ᎧᏁᏉᎠ ᏫᏏ ᎠᏁᎲ

ᎢᎪᏗ ᎦᏅᎯᏓ, ᎣᎦᎳᎰᎹ.- ᎢᎾ ᎢᎾᎨ ᏗᎨᏒ ᏣᎳᎩᎯ ᎠᏰᎵ ᎠᎨᏅᏓ ᎦᏓ ᎠᎲᎢ, ᎠᏂᏔᎵᎭ ᎠᏂᏍᎦᏯ Ꮎ ᎠᏂᏅᏍᏓᏢ ᎡᎶᎯ ᏄᏍᏗᏓᏅ ᎤᎾᏙᏢᏒ ᏗᎦᎸᏫᏍᏓᏁᏗ ᎠᏂᏁ ᎢᎩᏥ ᏁᎯᏴ ᎠᏂᏍᏕᎵᎲ ᏫᏏ ᏓᏛᎯᏍᏗᏍᎬ (ᎠᎴ ᏫᏏᏊ) ᏓᏬᎵ.



ᎾᏅ Maitake ᏓᏬᎵ, ᎠᎴᏍᏊ ᎪᏟᏍᏗ grifola frondosa, ᏧᏄᎪᏔᏅ ᎣᏍᏓ ᎠᎩᏍᏗ. ᎤᏂᎪᏗ ᎠᏂᏣᎳᎩ ᏴᏫ ᏓᏂᎾᏮᏘᎰ ᎾᏅ ᎠᏛᏍᎪᎢ ᎾᎥᎢ ᏗᏍᏓᏯ ᎠᏓ ᏕᏡᎬᎢ ᎾᏅ ᎡᎳᏗ, ᎠᎴᏍᏊ ᎪᏟᏍᏗ “ᎠᏥᏔᎦ ᎠᎩᏌ ᎾᏅ ᎢᎾᎨ ᎡᎯ,” ᎾᏍᎩ ᎤᏪᏩᏨ ᏓᏬᎵ ᎤᏬᏗᎨ ᎠᎴ ᎤᏁᎦ ᎨᏐ ᎭᏫᎾᏗᏜ ᎠᎴ ᎤᎪᏛ ᎨᏒ ᎤᏓᏢᎪᎢ ᎾᏅ ᎡᎳᏗ ᎠᏓᏯ ᏕᏡᎬᎢ ᎾᏅ ᎤᏴᏢ ᎧᎸᎬᎢᏗᏜ ᎣᎦᎳᎶᎹ.



ᎡᎶᎯ ᏄᏍᏗᏓᏅ ᎤᎾᏙᏢᏒ ᎠᏓᏎᎮᎯ, Pat Gwin, ᎠᎴ ᎡᎶᎯ ᏄᏍᏗᏓᏅ ᎤᎾᏙᏢᏒ ᎠᏟᏂᎬᏁᎯ Mark Dunham ᎾᏅ ᎢᎪᎯᏓ ᎡᏙᎮ ᏚᎵᏍᏗ ᎧᎸᎢ ᏧᏍᏗ ᏓᎪᎴᏍᏗᎲ ᎾᏅ ᎡᎳᏗ ᏕᏡᎬ ᎾᏅ ᏧᎾᏍᏕᏜ ᏚᏠᏒᎢ, ᎠᎴ ᎢᎦᏢᏍᎨᎢ ᏓᏍᏚᎲ ᎬᏰᎯ grifola frondosa ᎾᏅ ᎠᏔᎴᏒ Ꮟ ᎤᏓᎷᎸ ᏓᏍᏚᏗᏍᎬ ᎤᎧᎾᏫ ᎬᏗ.



Gwin ᏄᏪᏒᎢ, ᏫᏏᏃ fungus ᎾᏅ ᎠᏛᏍᎪᎢ ᏕᏡᎬᎢ ᏚᎾᏍᏕᏢ ᎾᏅ. ᎾᏅ ᎤᏴᏢ ᎧᎸᎬᎢᏗᏜ ᎣᎦᎳᎰᎹ, ᎾᏍᎩᏃ ᎤᎪᏛ ᎨᏒ ᎠᏛᏍᎪᎢ ᎠᏓᏯ ᏕᏡᎬᎢ. ᎠᎾᏁᏢᏗᏍᎬ, Gwin ᎠᎴ Dunham ᏓᏂᏢᏍᎨᎢ ᎤᏥᏍᎦᏟ ᎾᏅ ᎯᎸᏍᎩ ᏧᏓᎴᎩ ᏕᏡᎬᎢ, ᎤᏁᎦ ᏩᏁᎢ, ᎬᎿᎨ ᏎᏗ, ᎧᎵᏎᏥ, ᏓᏩᏥᎳ, ᎠᎴ ᏧᎧᏃᎾ.



“ᏂᎬᏂᏏᏍᎬ ᏍᏓᏱ ᏗᎦᎾᏩᏛᏗ (ᏓᏬᎵ), ᎣᎩᎾᏚᎵᏍᎬ ᎣᎩᏂᎪᏩᏛᏗ ᎢᎦᏲᎩᎾᏛᏅᏗ ᎣᏍᏗᎶᎾᏍᏙᏗ ᎡᎿᎢ ᎣᏍᏘᎪᏩᏘᏍᎬᎢ,” ᎤᏛᏁ Gwin.



ᎾᏃ ᎠᏂᎳᏍᏓᏢᎢ ᏚᏂᏩᏒᎢ ᏦᎢᏧᏈ ᏓᏍᏚᎲᎢ ᎬᏰᎯ grifola frondosa ᏅᏓᏳᎾᏓᎴᏅ ᎤᎾᏓᏡᎬᎢ ᎾᏅ ᏍᎦᏚᎩ ᏩᏒᏓᏅ. ᏓᏍᏚᎲᎢ ᏫᏗᎦᏟᏗ ᎾᏅ ᏕᏡᎬᎢ ᎾᎯᏳ ᎦᏓᏁᎯᏴ ᏥᎨᏐᎢ ᏝᏃ ᏧᏗᏞᎩ ᏱᎨᏐᎢ ᎠᎴ ᏏᏅᏓ ᎤᏓᎷᎸᎢ ᎾᏯᏛᎲᏍᎬᎾ, ᎠᏗᏍᎨᎢ Gwin, ᏳᏓᎵᎭ ᏂᎦᎵᏍᏓᏁᎬ ᎾᏅ ᎤᏴᏢ ᎧᎸᎬᎢᏗᏜ ᎣᎦᎪᎰᎹ ᎭᎴ ᎠᏓᎴᏂᏍᎬ ᎠᎴ ᏅᏓᏕᏆ ᎠᏰᏟ. ᎾᏍᎩ ᏄᏍᏗᏓᏅ ᎾᏅ ᏚᎵᏍᏗ ᎣᏍᏓ ᎨᏒᎢ ᏂᎬᏂᏏᏍᎬ ᏗᎦᏍᎩ ᎨᏒ ᎾᎯᏳ. ᏑᏓᎵ ᏂᏚᏓᎴ ᏚᏙᏢᏒ ᎾᏅ ᏓᏫᏍᎦᎸ, ᏣᎳᎩᎯ ᎠᎴ ᎠᏆᏅᎩ ᏍᎦᏚᎩ ᏚᏙᏢᏒ ᏧᎾᏑᏰᏓ ᎨᏒ ᏫᏏ ᏓᏬᎵ ᎠᎾᏁᏢᏗᏍᎬ ᎤᏅᏒ ᏧᎾᏛᎯᏍᏙᏗ ᏄᏰᎸᏛ ᎥᏍᎩᎾ ᏍᎦᏚᎩ ᏕᎭ ᏩᏁᎢ, ᎠᏓᏯ ᏕᏡᎬ ᎾᏅ.



Gwin ᎤᏁᏨᎢ ᎤᏚᎩ ᎤᏩᎭ Ꮎ ᏓᏍᏚᏛᎢ ᏧᏛᎯᏍᏙᏗ ᏫᏏ ᏔᎵ ᎠᎴ ᏦᎢ ᎢᏧᏕᏘᏴᏓ ᎠᎴᏃ ᎢᎬᏗᏍᎨᎢ ᎡᎶᎯ ᏂᎬᎾᏛ ᏗᏟᎶᏍᏗᏍᎩ ᎠᎴ ᏩᏢᏕ ᎠᎴ ᏓᎾᏟᎶᏍᏗᏍᎨ ᏳᏍᏗᎭ ᏚᏙᏢᏒᎢ ᎾᏅ ᏚᏂᎯᏴ Ꮎ ᏓᏍᏚᏛᎢ ᎢᎤᏁᏤᎢ ᎠᎴ ᏓᏘᏁᎲ ᏓᏄᎪᏗᏍᎨᏍᏗ ᎤᏁᏓᏍᏗ ᎾᏅ ᏚᏙᏢᏩᏗᏒᎢ ᎤᏂᎦᏛᎲᏍᎬ ᎾᏃ Ꮎ ᏓᏍᏚᏛᎢ ᎾᎾᎵᏍᏗᏍᎬᎢ. “ᎾᏃ ᏓᏬᎵ ᎤᏛᏒᎢ. ᎠᎴ ᎤᏅ ᎨᏎᏍᏗ ᎤᏛᎯᏍᏓᏅ, ᎤᏪᏩᏨᎢ ᏫᏏ, ᎠᎴ ᏱᏅᏛᎬᎾᏕᏏᏓ. Ꮎ ᎤᏙᎯᏳᏒ ᏫᏏ ᎠᏂᏴᏫᏯ ᏥᏓᏂᏰᏍᎪᎢᎸ, ᎾᏍᏊ Ꮎ ᎤᏥᎸᏍᎩᏭ ᎾᏅ ᏓᏟᎶᏍᏛ,” ᎤᏁᏤᎢ. “ᎾᎢ ᎤᏙᎯᏳᎢ ᏦᎢᏁ ᏩᏕᏘᏱᏍᎬ ᎢᏗᎬᏖᏃᎮᏍᏗ ᎢᎩᏩᏛᏗ ᎪᎱᏍᏗ.” ᎤᏁᏤᎢ ᏫᏏ ᏓᏬᎵ ᎤᏓᏡᎬ ᏅᎩ-ᎢᏳᏟᎶᏓ ᏗᎩᎶᏍᏗ ᏒᏙᏂ ᏯᎧᎵᏣ ᏱᎩᏓ ᏗᏛᏍᎪᎢ. Ꮎ ᏚᏳᎪᏛ ᏱᎬᏅᏗ ᏩᏰᎯᏍᏗ ᎭᏰᎵᏍᏗ ᎾᏅ ᎡᎳᏗ ᎠᎴ ᎥᎿ ᏫᎦᎾᏌᏁᏒᎢ ᏩᏰᎯᏍᏗ. ᎾᏍᎩᏃ ᎠᏛᏅᎢᏍᏙᏗ ᎠᎩᏍᏗ, ᎤᏛᏁᎢ, ᎢᏳᏗᎾ ᎠᎵᏢᏙᏗ ᏔᎵ ᎠᎴ ᏦᎢ ᎢᏳᏩᎪᏘ ᏱᏗᎬᏅᏕᏍᏗ Ꮎ ᏍᎪᏱ ᎠᎴ ᎦᏓ. ᏍᎩᏃ ᎤᎶᏐᏅ ᎠᎬᏯᎷᏯᏅ, ᎠᎹ ᏱᎬᏁᎸ ᎠᎴ ᎢᏌ ᎦᏅᎵᏰᎥ ᎠᎴ ᎭᏫᎾ ᏫᎬᏣᏢᏅᎢ.



“ᎯᎸᏍᎩ ᎢᏧᏕᏘᏴᏓ ᏥᎨᏒ ᎠᏂᎦᏴᎵ ᎤᎾᏅᏖᎢ ᏫᏏ ᎤᎾᎵᏍᏛᏗ ᏕᏡᎬᎢ, ᎠᎴ ᏫᏏ ᎤᎾᎵᏍᏛᏗ ᏕᏡᎬᎢ ᎾᏅ ᎨᏒᎢ ᎤᎾᏕᏟ ᎠᎴ ᎠᏂᏏᏓᏁᎸ ᎠᏂᎩᏏᏍᎨᎢ.



ᏕᏡᎬᎢ ᎥᎬᎩᏃᎯᏎᎸ ᎾᏅ ᏕᎲᎢ. ᎤᏂᎪᏗᏓ ᏍᎩᏳᎾᏍᏗ ᏕᏡᎬ ᏚᏂᎵᏬᏨ,” ᎤᏛᏁᎢ.”

ᎯᎸᏍᎬ ᎢᏧᏕᏘᏴᏓ ᎤᏛᏅᎯᏓ ᎤᎧᏲᏛᎯ ᎨᏒ ᎤᏲᎢ ᎤᏂᎦᏛᎴᏎᎢ ᎾᏅ ᏫᏏ ᎠᏁᎲᎢ.

ᎢᏳᏍᏗ ᎣᏣᏁᏢᏗᏍᎬᎢ ᏗᏎᏍᏗ ᏧᏁᏉᏨᎢ ᎢᏳᎵᏍᏙᏗᎢ.”

About the Author
Will lives in Tahlequah, Okla., but calls Marble City, Okla., his hometown. He is Cherokee and San Felipe Pueblo and grew up learning the Cherokee language, traditions and culture from his Cherokee mother and family. He also appreciates his father’s Pueblo culture and when possible attends annual traditional dances held on the San Felipe Reservation near Albuquerque, N.M.

He enjoys studying and writing about Cherokee history and culture and writing stories about Cherokee veterans. For Will, the most enjoyable part of writing for the Cherokee Phoenix is having the opportunity to meet Cherokee people from all walks of life.
He earned a mass communications degree in 1993 from Northeastern State University with minors in marketing and psychology. He is a member of the Native American Journalists Association.

Will has worked in the newspaper and public relations field for 20 years. He has performed public relations work for the Cherokee Nation and has been a reporter and a photographer for the Cherokee Phoenix for more than 18 years. He was named interim executive editor on Dec. 8, 2015, by the Cherokee Phoenix Editorial Board.
WILL-CHAVEZ@cherokee.org • 918-207-3961
Will lives in Tahlequah, Okla., but calls Marble City, Okla., his hometown. He is Cherokee and San Felipe Pueblo and grew up learning the Cherokee language, traditions and culture from his Cherokee mother and family. He also appreciates his father’s Pueblo culture and when possible attends annual traditional dances held on the San Felipe Reservation near Albuquerque, N.M. He enjoys studying and writing about Cherokee history and culture and writing stories about Cherokee veterans. For Will, the most enjoyable part of writing for the Cherokee Phoenix is having the opportunity to meet Cherokee people from all walks of life. He earned a mass communications degree in 1993 from Northeastern State University with minors in marketing and psychology. He is a member of the Native American Journalists Association. Will has worked in the newspaper and public relations field for 20 years. He has performed public relations work for the Cherokee Nation and has been a reporter and a photographer for the Cherokee Phoenix for more than 18 years. He was named interim executive editor on Dec. 8, 2015, by the Cherokee Phoenix Editorial Board.

News

BY STAFF REPORTS
05/26/2016 04:00 PM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – The Cherokee Nation donated $195,000 on May 26 to eight area Boys & Girls Clubs in northeastern Oklahoma. The organizations serve Cherokee and Native American students in their summer and afterschool programs. The CN gave checks to clubs in Adair, Sequoyah, Cherokee, Mayes, Nowata, Rogers, Delaware and Washington counties. Currently, the programs serve more than 10,000 students. “We remain a proud and consistent financial supporter of the mentoring work done by the Boys & Girls Clubs,” Principal Chief Bill John Baker said. “Participating in the activities of a local club means access to community-based mentors and educational opportunities that will help our youth grow into their full potential. Supporting the mission of Boys and Girls Club is another opportunity where Cherokee Nation can have a positive influence in the lives of Cherokee children." The tribe has contributed more than $2 million total since 2008 to help the afterschool programs continue character and leadership development among both Cherokee youth and non-Native students. “The Boys & Girls Clubs provide an invaluable service to thousands of students within the Cherokee Nation,” Tribal Councilor Joe Byrd said. “These clubs provide a safe place for children to learn and grow, while also offering new experiences and a variety of hands-on activities. The Cherokee Nation is proud to partner with these eight clubs in order to enhance their programs for Cherokee and non-Cherokee students alike.” With the second-largest enrollment of any club in the CN, the Boys & Girls Club of Sequoyah County depends heavily on CN funding to maintain operations at the club’s six facilities in Sequoyah County. “Cherokee Nation’s support means a lot to the Boys & Girls Club of Sequoyah County. It enables us to continue to provide funding for our programs and kids that need us the most in the county,” Laura Kuykendall, Boys & Girls Club of Sequoyah County representative, said. The Boys & Girls Clubs of America serves more than 4 million young people throughout the country and on military bases worldwide. <strong>The CN donated to the following clubs.</strong> Organization-Enrollment-Award Amount Adair County- 1,181- $21,797.52 Bartlesville- 1,187- $21,908.66 Chelsea- 327- $6,035.49 Tahlequah- 4,325- $79,827.26 Delaware County- 926- $17,091.34 Green Country-Pryor- 420- $7,7502.01 Nowata- 669- $12,347.85 Sequoyah County- 1,530- $28,239.47
BY STAFF REPORTS
05/26/2016 10:45 AM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – According to a United Keetoowah Band press release, UKB Assistant Chief Joe H. Bunch was sworn in as principal chief during a May 25 ceremony held in the UKB Community Service Court Chambers. UKB District Judge Dewayne Littlejohn administered the oath of office to Bunch a day after the Tribal Council voted to remove former Principal Chief George Wickliffe from office during an impeachment process. “This is an unfortunate event, but we are going to move forward. Many of our members depend on our services and in what we do as elected officials. This is a good time to start the healing process. I expect nothing but the best as we move forward,” Bunch said after taking his oath. Bunch was elected in a 2014 special election to serve the final two years of the late Assistant Chief Charles Locust’s four-year term. With the removal of Wickliffe, Bunch now fills the principal chief’s role for the remainder of that four-year term. Wickliffe was elected to his third four-year term in November 2012. On May 24, UKB citizens listened to articles of impeachment against Wickliffe by Tahlequah District Rep. Anile Locust and Tribal Secretary Ella Mae Worley. Among the allegations against Wickliffe were: • Prohibited Worley and her predecessor, Shelbi Wofford, from having full access to the tribe’s financial records, its now-closed casino and nongaming businesses, • Signed multiple contracts without Tribal Council authorization, • Authorized almost $400,000 in cash advances to himself and Delaware District Rep. Jerry Hansen, Saline District Rep. Charles Smoke and Goingsnake District Rep. Willie Christie (Christie has since repaid the tribe), • Used a tribal credit card to pay his personal accounts with DirectTV, Public Service Company of Oklahoma (PSO) and Oklahoma Natural Gas, as well as at least two of his son’s bills, • Used a tribal credit card to reclaim at least three guns from a local pawn shop, • Used a tribal credit card to buy tires for three Tribal Councilors, plus a range top and air conditioning unit for a family member, • Provided himself with $5,000 in scholarship funds after the tribe curtailed its higher education program, • Allowed the UKB Corporate Authority Board to sell a $30,000 tribal vehicle to the late Assistant Chief Locust for $5,000, • Authorized the disbursement of more than $40,000 from the tribe’s general fund and more than $4,000 from the motor fuel fund to Charles Locust’s widow without Tribal Council approval, and • Allowed his personal secretary to apply for services that she was not eligible for, as well as drive a government-issued vehicle without a current driver’s license. Wickliffe initially balked when given the opportunity to respond to the charges. When he did accept a microphone, he said he could not be wholly blamed for the tribe’s financial straits since its casino closed in 2013 and would have returned the money if he had been asked. “I don’t owe the tribe anything,” he said. “Neither does the council. I didn’t know the United Keetoowah Band could do this.” The Tribal Council adjourned into executive session for 90 minutes before reconvening and voting 7-4 to remove Wickliffe from office for violating the UKB’s Constitution. The Tribal Council also barred him from holding an elected or appointed position within the tribe. Following the removal vote, Bunch ordered Wickliffe to turn in his office keys and tribal cell phone and was escorted out by UKB Lighthorse. Wickliffe has seven days from May 24 to file an appeal in the tribe’s court system. The next UKB election will be Nov. 7. All district representative, treasurer, secretary, assistant chief and principal chief positions will be open for election.
BY LENZY KREHBIEL-BURTON
Special Correspondent
05/25/2016 03:00 PM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – After a 90-minute executive session, the United Keetoowah Band’s Tribal Council on May 24 voted 7-4 to remove Principal Chief George Wickliffe from office. “Turn in your keys, walkie-talkie, radio and anything else you have,” Assistant Chief Joe Bunch said, drawing cheers from the standing room only crowd at the Jim Proctor Elder Community Center. Along with removal from office, Wickliffe was also barred for life from holding any elected or appointed positions within the tribe. [BLOCKQUOTE]Citing financial improprieties, the tribe’s treasurer, Ella Mae Worley, filed three articles of impeachment against Wickliffe earlier in the month. Among the allegations against Wickliffe contained within the three counts were: • Prohibited Worley and her predecessor, Shelbi Wofford, from having full access to the tribe’s financial records, its now-closed casino and nongaming businesses, • Signed multiple contracts without Tribal Council authorization, • Authorized almost $400,000 in cash advances to himself and Delaware District Rep. Jerry Hansen, Saline District Rep. Charles Smoke and Goingsnake District Rep. Willie Christie (Christie has since repaid the tribe), • Used a tribal credit card to pay his personal accounts with DirectTV, Public Service Company of Oklahoma (PSO) and Oklahoma Natural Gas, as well as at least two of his son’s bills, • Used a tribal credit card to reclaim at least three guns from a local pawn shop, • Used a tribal credit card to buy tires for three Tribal Councilors, plus a range top and air conditioning unit for a family member, • Provided himself with $5,000 in scholarship funds after the tribe curtailed its higher education program, • Allowed the UKB Corporate Authority Board to sell a $30,000 tribal vehicle to the late Assistant Chief Charles Locust for $5,000, • Authorized the disbursement of more than $40,000 from the tribe’s general fund and more than $4,000 from the motor fuel fund to Locust’s widow without council approval, and • Allowed his personal secretary to apply for services that she was not eligible for, as well as drive a government-issued vehicle without a current driver’s license. “I didn’t do this because I wanted to,” Worley said. “I did this because it is the right thing to do. This is the people’s money.” On all counts against Wickliffe, the Tribal Council reached a simple majority on each against him. However, as per the UKB Constitution, at least two-thirds of the Tribal Council had to vote for Wickliffe’s removal, as well as barring him from holding any elected or appointed position. Those voting for removal were Worley, Bunch, Secretary Joyce Hawk, Tahlequah District Rep. Anile Locust, Sequoyah District Rep. Barry Dotson, Illinois District Rep. Peggy Girty and Flint District Rep. Tom Duncan. The final officer to cast a vote for removal, Hawk silently deliberated for several minutes, eliciting calls of “Do the right thing” and other comments from the crowd. Hansen, Smoke, Christie and Canadian District Rep. Eddie Sacks voted against Wickliffe’s removal. Cooweescoowee District Rep. Clifford Wofford was absent. Wickliffe has seven days to file an appeal with the tribe’s judiciary. Elected to his third four-year term in November 2012, the now-former chief said little during the hearing and initially balked when given the opportunity to defend himself. When he did accept a microphone, he said he could not be wholly blamed for the tribe’s financial straits since its casino closed in 2013 and would have returned the money if he had been asked. “I don’t owe the tribe anything,” he said, eliciting jeers from the audience. “Neither does the council. I didn’t know the United Keetoowah Band could do this.” Escorted by Lighthorse officers, Wickliffe did not speak to reporters after the hearing.
BY STAFF REPORTS
05/25/2016 02:00 PM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – Cherokee Nation officials donated $15,000 to the Hulbert Police Department earlier this month to help maintain the city’s fleet of police vehicles. Principal Chief Bill John Baker, Deputy Chief S. Joe Crittenden, Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin Jr. and Tribal Councilor Rex Jordan presented a check to Hulbert Police Chief Casey Rowe. “It’s important to help our communities, especially when it involves protecting residents and keeping neighborhoods in Hulbert safe,” Jordan, of Hulbert, said. “Sometimes city budgets can only go so far, so it’s great that the Cherokee Nation could help the city police department meet some of its needs.” The funds are from Tribal Councilors Jordan, David Walkingstick and Joe Byrd from Tribal Council law enforcement funds. “In this small community, donations help out a lot,” Rowe said. “It lets us show how safe our community can be with the Cherokee Nation’s help and we really appreciate this donation.”
BY STAFF REPORTS
05/25/2016 12:00 PM
HULBERT, Okla. – Cherokee Nation leaders celebrated the grand opening of the Hulbert Splash Pad with Hulbert city officials and law enforcement on May 16. The CN donated more than $50,000 over two years for park improvements, which includes building of the new splash pad and road paving to the park entrance. “In a community like Hulbert, the city park is the central location for youth activities, especially during the summer. Now, families will have a wonderful and safe environment for their kids to play, have fun and enjoy the new water features,” Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin Jr. said. “The equipment means Cherokee kids will have a new opportunity, but so will all our friends and neighbors. These kinds of infrastructure improvements make northeast Oklahoma a great place to live and raise a family.” The Hulbert Splash Pad is at the Hulbert City Park on Main Street. “A small community like this has a limited amount of money and limited number of places to go to apply for funds,” said Hulbert Mayor Shirley Teague. “This would not be possible without the help of the Cherokee Nation and we could not be more appreciative.” A penny sales tax was passed by residents to also fund part of the park upgrades. “It’s great that our community can enjoy some of the same amenities that other cities do and I’m glad the Cherokee Nation could step up and lend a hand in accomplishing this goal with our community partners,” Tribal Councilor Rex Jordan said. The Hulbert Splash Pad is now open until Labor Day and is free.
BY STAFF REPORTS
05/25/2016 10:00 AM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – A send-off ceremony for the 2016 “Remember the Removal Memorial Ride” will take place beginning at 9 a.m. on May 31 in the Tribal Council Chambers at the W.W. Keeler Complex. The event will be live streamed on the Internet and can be viewed by visiting <a href="http://www.cherokee.org" target="_blank">www.cherokee.org</a>. The cyclists have been meeting in Tahlequah since January to take Cherokee history classes and train together to prepare for the 1,000-mile journey from Georgia to Oklahoma. They will travel to Cherokee, North Carolina, where they will join seven cyclists from the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. On June 5, they begin their journey from New Echota, Georgia, following the northern route of the Trail of Tears. This overland route was used by Cherokee detachments that left southeastern Tennessee in 1838 and traveled through Kentucky, Illinois, Missouri and Arkansas before reaching Indian Territory in the winter and spring of 1839. They are expected to arrive back in Tahlequah on June 24. During the ceremony the Cherokee National Youth Choir will perform the Star Spangled Banner, and Deputy Chief S. Joe Crittenden and Tribal Councilor Joe Byrd will welcome families and visitors to the ceremony. The keynote speaker will be Principal Chief Bill John Baker. Fourth grade students from the Cherokee Immersion Charter School also will perform, and 2015 RTR cyclist Billy Flint will offer words of encouragement to the 10 cyclists. Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin Jr. will make the closing remarks for the ceremony.