Stilwell school board votes to keep controversial mascot

01/26/2010 02:29 PM
STILWELL, Okla. – Stilwell High School will keep its mascot, Tommy Tomahawk, after the Stilwell Public Schools Board of Education voted 3-2 to reinstate the mascot at a special meeting on Jan. 25 in the school’s gym.

The school’s administration received overwhelming response from people complaining about the new mascot after a front-page photo of the Jan. 13 issue of the Stilwell newspaper showed the new Indians mascot at a pep assembly, said Superintendent Mary Alice Fletcher.

More than a hundred people turned out for the special meeting where the board allowed six speakers from each side of the issue two minutes each to voice their opinions.

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10/08/2015 02:30 PM
AUSTIN, Texas – Operation Enduring Respect is a nonprofit group that takes wounded veterans to college and NFL football games. It’s operated by Cherokee Nation citizen Kevin Phelps. He said since starting the organization he’s taken more then 1,000 veterans to sporting events. “We’re all about healing. Wounds are not only physical, but there are also mental wounds and trauma, and I’m trying to help make a difference in the lives of those who risk their lives,” said Phelps, 58, who serves as the nonprofit’s director of operations. “We’re helping these service members come out of their shell and get back into society.” Phelps was raised in the military life and after seeing the effects of war on people he helped co-start the organization. He’s taking three CN citizens to the Red River Rivalry football game between the universities of Oklahoma sand Texas in Dallas on Oct. 10. Plans are also in the works, according to CN Communications, to take 25 veterans to a Dallas Cowboys game on Thanksgiving and perhaps some to the Super Bowl. His family during the years has always kept their Cherokee culture close. Phelps said he loves the fact that he’s Cherokee. “I was raised to have a deep affection for the tribe and culture,” Phelps said. “With this nonprofit I knew I also had the chance to help wounded Cherokee and Native veterans, and so bringing those two together is very rewarding.” U.S. Army veteran Staff Sgt. Marvin Cochran went to Iraq twice and served in Afghanistan. The Tahlequah, Oklahoma, native is one of three Cherokees going to the Red River game with Phelps. According to CN Communications his father, Jim Cochran, a Vietnam veteran, and RC Brashears, a Korean War veteran, are also planning to go. For more information about Operation Enduring Respect, visit <a href="" target="_blank"></a>.
10/08/2015 12:00 PM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – The Cherokee Nation Communication department released its October events calendar on Oct. 1. Oct. 10 6 p.m. – Cherokee Nation Community & Cultural Outreach will host a free movie night at the Dream Theatre in Tahlequah. Attendees will be treated to Holt Hamilton films “Legends from the Sky” and “More than Frybread.” For more information, contact Kevin Stretch at 918-207-4919 or Oct. 11 5 p.m. – The Cherokee Nation All-Indian Rodeo will be held at the Cherokee County Rodeo Grounds in Tahlequah and will feature bareback, saddle bronc, bull riding, junior bull riding, team roping and much more. Admission is $2, and kids 12 and under get in for free. Oct. 12 6 p.m. – Cherokee Nation Tribal Council meeting at the W.W. Keeler Complex, 17675 S. Muskogee Ave., Tahlequah. For the agenda, visit Oct. 12-15 The Redbird Smith Health Center in Sallisaw will be hosting free activities in connection with Breast Cancer Awareness Week. For more information, contact Neoma Flynn at or Mary Owl at Oct. 13 6 to 8 p.m. – A Cherokee County community meeting hosted by Tribal Councilors Rex Jordan, Joe Byrd and David Walkingstick will be held at the Cherokee County Fairgrounds in Tahlequah. 6 p.m. - Cherokee Nation Community & Cultural Outreach will host a traditional Cherokee foods presentation by Cherokee National Treasure Edith Night at the Osiyo Training Room behind the Restaurant of the Cherokee in Tahlequah. This cultural event will be a guide to hunting, gathering and preparing traditional Cherokee foods such as kanuchi, wishi mushrooms and wild onions. For more information, contact Dawnena Mackey at 918-525-2041 or Oct. 20 6 to 7:30 p.m. – The Cherokee Nation Vinita Health Center will host Bingo Night at the health facility in Vinita as part of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. In addition to bingo, a pumpkin contest will also be held. Oct. 23 8:30 a.m. – Cherokee Nation Sam Hider Health Center will host the second annual Chili Cook-Off at the Jay Community Center. Registration is $10 and proceeds go to the Women’s Health Committee fund for Breast Cancer Awareness. Oct. 27 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. - Cherokee Nation Community & Cultural Outreach will host a Leading Great Meetings class as part of the Community Leadership Series at the Osiyo Training Room behind the Restaurant of the Cherokee in Tahlequah. This capacity and community leadership training will give you the understanding of facilitation styles, participation and creating the perfect agenda. For more information, contact Chris Welch at 918-207-4953 or 5 p.m. – A community meeting hosted by Tribal Councilor Don Garvin for Cherokee Nation citizens of District 4 at Three Rivers Health Center in Muskogee. Principal Chief Bill John Baker will also be in attendance as well as the Cherokee National Youth Choir. Oct. 30 7 p.m. – “Thriller” takes the field as the Sequoyah High School Drama Department will be performing Michael Jackson’s hit song at half time of the football game against Lincoln Christian. For more information, contact Amanda Ray at Oct. 31 7:45 a.m. – Cherokee Nation Wings Program will be hosting the “Nowata Halloween BOO-YAH 5K & Fun Run.” Registration will be at the First Baptist Church in Nowata. For more information, contact Amy DeVore at 918-915-0464 or Cherokee community language classes for fall 2015 also begin in October: • Lost City Community Center on Tuesdays, Oct. 6 – Dec. 8, from 6 to 8 p.m. • Webbers Falls Museum on Mondays, Oct. 5 – Dec. 7, from 6 to 8 p.m. • Tri-County Vo-Tech in Bartlesville on Mondays and Thursday, Oct. 5 – Nov. 5, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. • Elm Tree Baptist Church in Tahlequah on Mondays and Tuesdays, Oct. 6 – Nov. 3, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. • Fairfield Community Building in Stilwell on Tuesday and Thursdays, Oct. 6 – Nov. 5, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. • Lyon Switch Community Building in Bunch on Mondays, Oct. 5 – Dec. 7, from 6 to 8 p.m. • Elm Tree Baptist Church in Tahlequah on Thursdays, Oct. 8 – Dec. 10, from 6 to 8 p.m. • Salina Early Learning Academy on Thursdays, Oct. 8 – Dec. 17, from 5:45 to 7:45 p.m. • Country Baptist Church in Locust Grove on Mondays, Oct. 5 – Dec. 7, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. • Indian Capital Technology Center in Stilwell on Tuesdays and Thursdays, Oct. 20 – Nov. 19, from 6 to 8 p.m. • Housing Authority in Sallisaw on Thursdays, Oct. 8 – Dec. 17, from 6 to 8 p.m. • Brushy Community Center in Sallisaw on Tuesdays and Wednesday, Oct. 6 – Nov. 10, from 1 to 3 p.m. on Tuesdays and 2 to 4 p.m. on Wednesdays. • Rocky Mountain School in Stilwell on Wednesdays and Thursdays, Oct. 7 – Nov. 5, from 4 to 6 p.m. • Briggs Community Building in Tahlequah on Sundays, Oct. 4 – Dec. 6, from 2 to 4 p.m.
10/07/2015 04:00 PM
VONORE, Tenn. – The Sequoyah Birthplace Museum is inviting the public to visit the museum on Oct. 17-18 for a half price admission weekend with children 12 and under admitted for free. Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians citizen Dawn Arneach will be on hand all weekend to help with Cherokee genealogy. Stop by and listen to Lloyd Arneach tell Cherokee stories. The museum will also have a vendor on hand selling Cherokee crafts and books. The museum is named for Sequoyah, a Cherokee who could not read or write in any language but perfected a syllabary system for reading and writing the Cherokee language for his people. Sequoyah was born near the museum site in 1776. The mission of the Sequoyah Birthplace Museum, a property of the EBCI, is to promote the understanding and appreciation of the history and culture of the Cherokee Indians in Eastern Tennessee, particularly the life and contributions of Sequoyah. The museum collects, preserves, interprets and exhibits objects and data that support this mission. For more information, call 423-884-6246.
10/07/2015 12:00 PM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – Cherokee Nation Tax Commission Administrator Sharon Swepston said of the approximately 172,000 letters regarding the tribe’s hunting and fishing compact that were recently mailed to CN citizens, about 32,000 were returned because of bad addresses. “About 19 percent were bad addresses, about 32,000 letters,” Swepston said during a Sept. 24 CN Rules Committee meeting. She added that officials also received responses from tribal citizens at good addresses. “We’ve received back about 27,000 (letters), about 16 percent of the actually updated forms that are coming back in.” The letters described the “historic compact expanding hunting and fishing treaty rights” and a response card for a deer and turkey license that was to be mailed back to the CNTC upon completion. The response card lists needed information for the citizen to receive the license. Swepston said her department hopes to do more outreach to get the word out about the licenses and how to apply for it. “We are going to do some more communications-type stuff to get it out there, to tell people if you haven’t received this you know that you can go to the website to do this, to get the information,” she said. Swepston said her staff is working “diligently” to input all of the license information into their system. “We’re averaging about 974 a day putting them in, actually the updated information into the system so we’re making a dent in it and we’re trying very hard to get there,” she said. CN citizens can visit to fill out a hunting and fishing license application. The tribe is expected to issue the licenses on Jan 1. The Cherokee Phoenix attempted to get the cost of the letters that were mailed, but did not receive a response from CN Communications. In other news, the CNTC unanimously approved a new organizational chart for the department. “We eliminated two salaried positions and that enabled us to put four agent positions in, which we needed in our imaging department and our audit department,” she said. “The organizational chart, all that does is show the deletion of those two positions and the addition of the agents. That’s all that is.” Swepston also said tobacco sales showed a decline in the year-to-date revenue of approximately 19.9 percent and in the month-to-month revenue comparison of July 2014 to July 2015 of approximately 12.2 percent. “I’ve talked to some of the owners and stuff, and they all just say business is down, but with all of the marketing and the pushing for quitting smoking and all of that, it’s going to be down,” she said. Swepston said the sale of motor vehicle tags has increased in both year-to-date and in the month-to-month comparison. “For motor vehicle year-to-date through July we have an overall increase of 24.17 percent over what we were this time July last year,” she said. “For the month of July, compared to July of 2014 we had an increase of 18.08 percent.” She said in July, within the CN’s expanded jurisdictional boundary, there were 2,016 tags sold. The expanded jurisdictional boundary is Mayes, Muskogee, Rogers, Tulsa and Wagoner counties that are partially outside of the tribe’s 14-county jurisdiction. Swepston said her department has had “no major issues” since the implementation of the online tag renewal system for the renewal of car, truck, motorcycle and personalized tags. “I mean we had a couple little hiccups, but those were easily worked out,” she said. “It seems to be going really well.”
Senior Reporter
10/07/2015 08:30 AM
GREENVILLE, Mo. – In the bitter cold of December 1838 more than 1,100 Cherokees passed through Old Greenville on their way to Indian Territory. Led by John Benge, they were one of 13 groups of Cherokees forced from their homelands in the southeast by the Indian Removal Act of 1830. Numerous families from Wills Valley in northeastern Alabama, some of them black slave owners, traveled with the Benge Detachment, as well as a few Muscogee (Creek) people who had been living with the Cherokees at the time of removal. The detachment reached Old Greenville with 60 wagons and 600 horses after traveling nine weeks. They waded across the St. Francis River at Bettis Ford and continued west for another six weeks before reaching what is now Stilwell, Oklahoma, on Jan. 11, 1839. Three births and 33 deaths were recorded during the 103-day, 770-mile journey. [BLOCKQUOTE]Trail of Tears Association members, National Park Service representatives and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers representatives came together Oct. 5 at the Bettis Ford site to dedicate a historic marker that tells the story of the Benge Detachment. TOTA Executive Director Troy Wayne Poteete said TOTA members take the time to commemorate a “sad chapter” in Cherokee history so they know exactly where Cherokees traveled to Indian Territory. “It’s our partners in the state chapters that really get down to the nitty gritty and find out where this road (trail) goes so that we can mark it, so that we can talk about, so that we can have a sense of place,” he said. Poteete said the stories told by the interpretive markers and by the TOTA speak of the forced removals but also the perseverance of the Cherokee people. “So when we talk about this, we’re not doing this because we want to perpetuate the memory of our ancestors who had to cross this river in December as victims, and certainly they were victimized by greed, primarily. We certainly don’t do it because we somehow want to appropriate that victimization to ourselves. We didn’t come on the trail, and nobody alive today was responsible for what happened,” he said. “We do this because it’s an opportunity for us to talk about the tenacity, the resilience and the perseverance of that generation of Cherokees who would not give up. They wouldn’t give up the Cherokee Nation and become citizens of some state,” he said. The 2-foot-by-3-foot interpretive marker includes the story of the Benge Detachment, where it began, where it traveled, birth and death numbers and when it reached its destination. Two maps on the marker also show the route taken by the Benge Detachment from Alabama to Indian Territory and the route taken by the detachment through Missouri. NPS Superintendent Aaron Mahr thanked the Corps of Engineers for developing the Bettis Ford site, the U.S. Forestry Service for helping mark the original Benge Detachment route, the Missouri Department of Transportation, Cherokee Nation, TOTA and Greenville citizens who recognize the Trail of Tears site’s significance. He said interpretive markers along the route help Americans understand what it was like for Cherokee people to move across the landscape in 1838 and the feeling of “dispossession.” “Hopefully everybody in the audience that tries to find the trail will find something in their own history when they come to a site like this when they stand where the Cherokee actually came to the banks of the St. Francis River and confronted that challenge, during their journey, of crossing a river and understanding the pain and hopefulness of reaching a new land where they might be able to re-establish themselves,” Mahr said. The TOTA is dedicated to identifying and preserving sites associated with Native American removals from the southeast. The organization is also committed to educating the public about this period in history. The association consists of nine state chapters representing the nine states the Cherokee and other tribes traveled through on their ways to present-day Arkansas and Oklahoma.
10/05/2015 04:00 PM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – At its Sept. 18 meeting, the Cherokee Nation Gaming Commission approved two upgrades for Cherokee Nation Entertainment’s system software. Tracy Christie, CNGC gaming systems analyst, said he reviewed all of the information provided and saw a need for an upgrade. “The issue was that there were a couple of key boxes, it was retaining the data in the actual box and whenever you logged into the web server you weren’t able to see that data, but with these two upgrades and it being tested, it resolved that issue,” he said.