Cherokee Nation to offer assistance with tribal citizenship
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – The Cherokee Nation will offer upcoming assistance with applications for Certificate of Degree of Indian Blood cards and CN citizenship at several field sites throughout the tribe’s 14 county jurisdiction.
CN Registration Department representative will offer assistance from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on April 4, May 2 and June 6 at the Sam Hider Community Health Center, 1015 W. Washbourne St., in Jay in Delaware County.
In Sequoyah County, assistance will be available from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on April 8, May 13 and June 10, at the CN sub-office in Sallisaw located at 110 N. Elm St. Also, a Registration representative will be available from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on June 8 at Muldrow’s Cherokee Community Center, 607 N. Main St.
In Rogers County, assistance will be available from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on April 26, May 25 and June 22 at the Claremore Indian Hospital, 101 S. Moore Ave.
A Registration representative will be in Craig County from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on June 15 at the tribe’s Vinita sub-office at 900 W. McNelis Ave.
Assistance with registration will be available from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on June 20 at the CN Collinsville tag office at 105 E. Main St.
In order to obtain a CDIB, applicants must apply and provide acceptable legal documents that connect them to an ancestor listed with a roll number and a blood degree from the Dawes Final Rolls. These rolls were compiled between the years 1899-1906. Quantum of Indian blood is computed from the nearest paternal and/or maternal direct ancestor(s) of Indian blood listed on the rolls.
Many descendants of Cherokee Indians can neither be certified nor qualify for tribal citizenship in the CN because their ancestors were not enrolled during the final enrollment. Unfortunately, these ancestors did not meet the requirements for the final enrollment.
Only enrolled CN citizens named on the Final Rolls and/or their descendants are eligible for CDIB cards and tribal citizenship.
The CN Registration Department office is located in the W.W. Keeler Complex, 17675 S. Muskogee Ave., in Tahlequah. It is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. There is no charge to apply for tribal citizenship. For more information about becoming a CN citizen, call (918) 458-6980.
CATOOSA, Okla. – National Museum of American Indian officials, Cherokee Nation leaders and Native veterans gathered July 21 at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino to discuss and share ideas about the creation of a National Native American Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C.
The memorial would be built on NMAI grounds, and a committee is traveling Indian Country to gather ideas and support for the $15 million project.
“Many fine, young Native men and women have served. To all of them, through the generations, we owe a debt of gratitude. They are true American heroes and deserved to be included. With all of the monuments that are in Washington, D.C., none of them (specifically) recognize Native veterans. This monument will do that, so it’s especially important that we get this done,” Deputy Chief S. Joe Crittenden said at the meeting.
He added that the memorial should “be representative of all tribes” in the country.
In 2013, Congress authorized the establishment of a National Native American Veterans Memorial on the NMAI’s grounds to give “all Americans the opportunity to learn of the proud and courageous tradition of Native Americans in the United States armed forces.”
However, the legislation states no federal funds may be used for the memorial’s creation. Therefore, all funds must be raised. The memorial will be located prominently outside the NMAI in an area not yet chosen. The NMAI is located between the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum on the National Mall and the U.S. Capital.
Northern Cheyenne veteran and former U.S. Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell and Chickasaw Nation Lt. Gov. Jefferson Keel, a Vietnam veteran, chair the advisory committee for the memorial. Also, 24 committee members represent the geographic diversity of Indian Country and several branches of the U.S. armed forces.
“I’ve listened to other people talk about things that they see, their vision for this memorial. We’re talking about a design that educates America about what the warrior spirit really is,” Keel said. “How do we capture that in a single memorial? How do you put in (the ideas) of every tribe in this country? You’re talking about 567 federally recognized tribes.”
Keel said such consultation meetings are important for gathering ideas from as many tribes as possible. The meetings began in January. Keel, NMAI Director Kevin Gover and other committee members will visit all 12 regions of the country through June 2017 seeking input and support for the memorial.
During the fall of 2017, the committee will call for design proposals, and in the summer of 2018, a jury will select a final design. Construction will begin in the fall of 2018 with a completion date set for fall 2020. The memorial will be unveiled and dedicated on Veterans Day 2020.
Some veterans who spoke at the July 21 meeting suggested that technology be used to tell more of the Native American military service story that the memorial won’t be able to fully tell. For instance, an app could be created for smart phones that would allow visitors to learn more about Native veterans and their long history of serving this country.
Cherokee Nation citizen Carol Savage, of Grove, spoke about family members who served in the military and said she hopes the memorial will make a “visual impact.” She used the Korean War Memorial in Washington, D.C., that utilizes bronze statues of soldiers walking through a rice paddy as an example that makes a visual impact.
Muscogee (Creek) Marine veteran Joe Taylor, of Tulsa, said he wants the memorial to reflect the spirituality of Native people and wants the committee to ensure the memorial gets an original design.
“I’d like to see something that’s going to be there to remind people that there is a spirit that moves us,” Taylor said.
Gover said there would not be room for all ideas and stories of Native veterans, so that’s why he is glad the Library of Congress has asked the NMAI for help in reaching Indian Country to gather veterans’ stories.
He said the NMAI is hoping to assemble “the best roster possible” of every Native person who has served in the U.S. armed forces and plans to place those names in a new area inside the museum.
“We want it to be where somebody can walk up and read some general information, but then they could look up a specific veteran and see their relatives or their friends or whomever they would like to see,” Gover said. “In order to do that we’re going to need a lot of help from the tribes because tribes have better lists of their veterans.”
Principal Chief Bill John Baker said he at some point would discuss with the Cherokee Nation Businesses board of directors about donating to the memorial fund.
“I think you’ll be surprised how this will be received in Indian Country for fundraising,” Baker said.
To learn more about the memorial, visit <a href="http://www.AmericanIndian.si.edu" target="_blank">Click here to view</a>
or email <a href="mailto: NMAI-NativeVeteransMemorial@si.edu">NMAI-NativeVeteransMemorial@si.edu</a>.
PARK HILL, Okla. – Join Cherokee Nation Cultural Tourism in honoring the legacy of former Cherokee Nation Principal Chief John Ross on Aug. 2 at the John Ross Museum.
The one-hour discussion begins at noon with Amanda Pritchett, historical interpreter of the George M. Murrell Home historic site, leading the session.
John Ross, principal chief from 1828–66, served longer in the position than any other person. As principal chief, Ross witnessed devastation by both the Indian removals and the U.S. Civil War.
The discussion is open to the public and free to attend. Guests are encouraged to bring a brown bag lunch. The museum will also offer free admission throughout the day.
The John Ross Museum highlights the life Ross and houses exhibits and interactive displays on the Trail of Tears, Civil War, Cherokee Golden Age and the Nation’s passion for education. The museum is housed in an old, rural school building known as School No. 51 and sits at the foot of Ross Cemetery where John Ross and other notable Cherokee citizens are buried. The John Ross Museum is located at 22366 S. 530 Road.
CN museums are open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.
For information on CNCT, call 1-877-779-6977 or visit <a href="http://www.VisitCherokeeNation.com" target="_blank">www.VisitCherokeeNation.com</a>.
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – Cherokee Nation officials, citizens and guests on July 18 celebrated the life and achievements of former CN Secretary of State Charles L. Head at the Cherokee Courthouse as part of the third annual Charles L. Head Day.
Head co-founded the tribe’s ONE FIRE Against Violence Victim Services Office before dying in a car accident on Jan. 30, 2013 near Chouteau. The CN citizen and Pryor native was 63.
That same year Principal Chief Bill John Baker designated July 18, Head’s Birthday, as a “national day of celebration of the life of Charles L. Head throughout the Cherokee Nation.”
According to the tribe’s website, ONE FIRE provides services to increase the safety for victims of crime. ONE FIRE stands for Our Nation Ending Fear, Intimidation, Rape and Endangerment.
“We’re real excited because today is our annual butterfly release in remembrance of Charles L. Head” ONE FIRE Victim Services Director Nikki Baker said. “Before he passed away, he was really working hard on ONE FIRE, which helps victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. Today, we release butterflies in his memory and also to the legacy he leaves behind, which are the survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault.”
Domestic violence survivor and former ONE FIRE client Lena Nells also spoke at the event about how the program helped her be successful after being abused.
Nells, who is Cheyenne-Arapaho, Kickapoo and Navajo, said as commissioned intelligence officer for the U.S. Army she never expected her life to be affected by domestic violence but was thankful ONE FIRE was available when it did.
“They educated me, helped me understand what I was going through.” Nells said.
Other speakers described how the program has helped and what Head meant to them. ONE FIRE Victim Services Manager Amanda Drizzle told the audience that the department saw 216 clients in 2015 and has seen 107 in 2016.
“We were also able to help 120 kids get to safe homes,” Drizzle said. She also credited CN marshals for their help in domestic violence issues. “They’ve been referring a lot of people to us, and we’ve been able to help a lot of women get to households…Out of these people, we were able to get several women to safe homes, where they could spend Christmas, where they can spend birthdays, where they can come home safe after work.”
Former Little Miss Cherokee and sexual assault survivor Cierra Fields read a poem honoring both the domestic violence victims and their caregivers as butterflies were released.
“With this symbolic gesture, we honor those who have left us and encourage those left behind to continue on the fight, on the wings of hope,” she said.
MUSKOGEEE, Okla. (AP) — A federal appeals court has upheld the conviction and 12-year prison sentence of a former Choctaw Nation construction director.
A three-judge panel of the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals denied a motion for a mistrial Tuesday sought by Jason Merida, who was convicted in November 2014 on two counts each of theft and tax fraud and one count each of conspiracy to commit money laundering and conspiracy to commit bribery.
Prosecutors alleged contractors used false billing practices between 2008 and 2011 during construction of the tribe's Durant and Pocola casinos. Money generated from the false billings was used to make campaign donations and purchase gifts.
Merida testified he received gifts from vendors but claimed it didn't affect his decisions because he did not have the authority to select contractors.
BRUSHY, Okla. – Cherokee Nation citizen Breanna Potter and the Brushy Cherokee Action Association on July 14 hosted the second annual back-to-school giveaway at the Brushy Community Center, providing children and their families needed items such as backpacks, shoes, coats and hygiene kits.
“We…have some families in our area that are homeless. They don’t have anywhere to live,” Potter said. “We have families in our area that live in tents, and those families oftentimes can’t get those types of items. So we’re just here to kind of fill in the gaps.”
In 2015, Potter and the BCCA began applying for an in-kind donation grant through the Running Strong for American Indian Youth Foundation to get the needed items for the giveaway.
“The reason we started writing this grant last year was because there’s a big need in our community for basic essential items, and a lot of time a lot of these families fall through the cracks,” Potter said. “They either make just enough that they don’t qualify for things, or some of the families aren’t actually Cherokee so they don’t qualify for services at the Cherokee Nation. So we have a lot of families that end up falling through the cracks and the system and aren’t able to get the items they need, and the kids are the ones who end up suffering.”
Earlier this year Potter received another grant through the Running Strong for American Indian Youth Foundation called the Dreamstarter Grant. With it she created a youth group in the community to help youths gain leadership skills and learn about diabetes prevention. Now youth group members, known collectively as the Brushy Youth Dream Team, are in turn using those acquired skills to give back to their community with Potter leading them as program director.
Parents of BYDT members said they noticed the development in their children thank to the new skills.
“I think it’s great because my kids are shy. This will teach them, maybe, to communicate better with their peers and with adults and learn to make their way in the community and kind of what their role is, that they can do something even though they’re just kids,” Crystal Thomas, mother of a BYDT member, said.
Potter said the impacts the BYDT and BCCA are making in the community are noticeable with events such as the giveaway.
“The coolest things is when I’m driving around and everything, I see kids out and I see them wearing these shoes, or I see the kids at school and I happen to stop by for a few minutes and some of the kids have the backpacks or the coats,” Potter said.
Potter said the biggest impact she’s seen in the community is that kids are able to receive items that their families struggle to provide. Potter said she and her teams are trying to get additional funding so they can host more events and help more families.
For more information about the BCCA and the BYDT, visit <a href="http://www.brushycherokeeactionassociation.org" target="_blank">brushycherokeeactionassociation.org</a>.
MONTGOMERY, Ala. – Members of the Tri-Community (W.E.B.) Association horseshoe league in Briggs, Oklahoma, are set to compete in the 2016 National Horseshoe Pitchers Association World Horseshoe Tournament on July 25 through Aug. 6 in Montgomery.
The members include Cherokee Nation citizens Al Ross, David Mallory and Michael Cummings along with United Keetoowah Band citizens Gary Bearpaw and Billy Vann.
As Oklahoma Horseshoe Pitchers Association members, all five men compete in sanctioned tournaments throughout the state to qualify for the annual world tournament. They will compete against pitchers from all over the United States, Canada and Switzerland.
This year, the world tournament consists of 935 entries across eight divisions: open men, open women, senior men, senior women, elder men, junior boys, junior girls and junior cadet. The tournament will be held in the Multiplex at the Crampton Bowl.
Mallory, Cummings, Bearpaw and Vann are pitching in the open men’s division while Ross pitches in the senior men’s division.
There are varying classes within each division where a pitcher is seeded based on his/her ringer averages. Bearpaw is seeded in Class A1, the highest class in the men’s division, with Vann seeded in Class A2, Mallory is seeded in Class B1, and Cummings is in Class D1. Ross is seeded in senior Class A.
There are 16 pitchers in each class who pitch over a three-day span known as the preliminary round.
The preliminary round is played July 25 through Aug. 3 for all divisions and classes. Once the preliminary round is complete, monetary prizes worth up to $500 are given to the winners of each class. Winners also have a chance to compete in the championship round Aug.4-6.
Winners of the championship round compete for a monetary prize worth up to $4,200 and to call themselves a world horseshoe champion.
For updates, go to the NHPA Facebook page. For pitching schedules and live coverage, go to <a href="http://www.horseshoepitching.com" target="_blank">www.horseshoepitching.com</a>.