http://www.cherokeephoenix.orgTsa-ha-ni Drowningbear, left, portraying “Rabbit,” speaks with Gwe-ti Harkreader, portraying “Cricket,” in “Why the Opossum’s Tail is Bare” April 4 at the Oklahoma Native American Youth Language Fair in Norman, Okla. Drowningbear and Harkreader were part of the Cherokee Nation Immersion School’s fifth grade class that attended the fair. WILL CHAVEZ/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Tsa-ha-ni Drowningbear, left, portraying “Rabbit,” speaks with Gwe-ti Harkreader, portraying “Cricket,” in “Why the Opossum’s Tail is Bare” April 4 at the Oklahoma Native American Youth Language Fair in Norman, Okla. Drowningbear and Harkreader were part of the Cherokee Nation Immersion School’s fifth grade class that attended the fair. WILL CHAVEZ/CHEROKEE PHOENIX

Immersion students see variety of experiences

The animals (Cherokee Nation Immersion School’s fifth graders) pretend to laugh at the “Opossum,” portrayed by Tsit-luk Grayson, because the opossum’s tail is bare underneath the red cover, but possum does not know it. The scene is part of the story “Why the Opossum’s Tail is Bare,” which the class presented April 4 at the Oklahoma Native American Youth Language Fair in Norman, Okla. CHAVEZ/CHEROKEE PHOENIX Wa-li-si Bird, portraying “Bear,” speaks during the production of “Why the Opossum’s Tail is Bare” April 4 at the Oklahoma Native American Youth Language Fair in Norman, Okla. The Cherokee Nation Immersion School’s fifth grade acted out the story and won second place. WILL CHAVEZ/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
The animals (Cherokee Nation Immersion School’s fifth graders) pretend to laugh at the “Opossum,” portrayed by Tsit-luk Grayson, because the opossum’s tail is bare underneath the red cover, but possum does not know it. The scene is part of the story “Why the Opossum’s Tail is Bare,” which the class presented April 4 at the Oklahoma Native American Youth Language Fair in Norman, Okla. CHAVEZ/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
BY WILL CHAVEZ
Assistant Editor – @cp_wchavez
04/19/2011 07:01 AM
NORMAN, Okla. – Providing different avenues for students to shine and gain new experiences is the mission of Cherokee Nation Immersion School.

One of those avenues was participating in the ninth annual Oklahoma Native American Youth Language Fair. The fair, held April 4-5, brought together students from tribes to compete against each other using their respective Native language skills.

CNIS students competed in 10 categories and brought home 12 awards and trophies.

CNIS Supervisor Rebecca Drywater, who has been with the school for four years, said 69 CNIS students and 48 families attended the fair.

“We have wonderful parental support. When the children do something or go somewhere, like on field trips, the parents will go and assist,” she said.

This was the first year the pre-kindergarten class competed. Davis said the pre-kindergarten students gained confidence performing in front of an audience and this year’s competition will get them ready for 2012.

“Going to competition and seeing other kids is good for them. They get to see other kids out there like them. It’s good for them to know there are other languages out there are being revived,” Davis, who is serving her first year as principal, said. “It’s good for them to know they are doing important work right here. Sometimes they think, ‘oh we’re at school,’ but they’re also saving a language.”

Drywater said judges at the fair were looking at how the students utilized their languages.

CNIS students performed plays, sang songs and told stories in Cherokee during the competition while judges from different tribes throughout the state judged them.

Drywater uses her music skills to help prepare students. She said the younger children start out the day with songs, and she has used the music from older pop songs such as “Under the Boardwalk” and “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” adding Cherokee words for the children to sing.

She said the children enjoyed the songs so much they insisted on singing them in the competition.

The CNIS has 25 teachers and 90 students beginning with a program for 3-year-old students. There is also a pre-kindergarten class of 4 year olds, kindergarten and then first through fifth grades. A sixth grade will be added in the fall, and after next year those sixth grade students will transition to seventh grade at nearby Sequoyah Schools. The school is part of Sequoyah.

Davis said she is excited about the future as the students transition to middle school and high school. She said discussions are being held about providing “different opportunities” for those students when they move to the upper grades.

“They need to know when they are finished here they are not finished. This is not the end of their journey. We want them to go out and teach the next generation,” she said.

Davis does not speak Cherokee, but has worked in public education for 25 years. She said she is learning more of the language from students and staff.

The CN citizen served as an elementary teacher before being principal at Grove for 12 years and then superintendent at Moseley Schools in Delaware County for six years.

She said she welcomed the challenge of working for the CNIS, but admitted because of her background, she was concerned about the students learning English and wanted to test their English knowledge.

“I honestly thought when I first came that we probably should introduce English as early as third grade. I have totally revamped that after being here,” she said. “I was more than comfortable this year introducing English after Christmas to the fifth grade. I think that’s early enough.”

Even with limited English instruction in school, Davis said immersion students are doing “great.” She said studies and research show the students are using twice as much as their brain learning two languages, which she has seen while observing her students.

“Until you actually experience it and see it, you’re not a believer,” she said.

The school also attracts observers, visitors and the media interested in how it operates. However, the older students have grown accustomed to the visitors, Davis said, and carry on with their work.

“We are building tomorrow’s leaders because these kids have no fears when it comes down to it. You can throw a camera in front of them and they will just go with it. They speak their mind.

They are accustomed to being in the limelight and that builds their confidence,” Davis said. “It also makes their performances better because they don’t deal with that nervousness and that fear because they are so used to having visitors.”

Drywater said she was shy in grade school, so she works with the students to help them become more outspoken, confident in themselves and to be leaders.

Ultimately, producing well-rounded, confident leaders to lead the tribe in the future is the school’s main goal.

“We are pioneers. We are establishing something that’s going to be great,” Davis said. “I honestly believe with this program we are going to produce some of the best leaders and the best well-rounded students. It is exciting, and I’m proud to be part of it.”

Cherokee Nation Immersion School classes and individuals who placed at the ninth annual Oklahoma Native American Youth Language Fair include:

Large group Song Pre-k – Second Grade
First Place – kindergarten – “Five Little Monkeys”
Second Place – first grade – “To Learn Cherokee”

Large group spoken language Pre-k – Second Grade
Second Place – second grade – “Three Sisters”

Large group song Third Grade – Fifth Grade
First Place – third and fourth Grade – “Quiet-Indian Asleep”

Large group spoken language Third Grade – Fifth Grade
Second Place – fifth grade – “Why the Opossum’s Tail is Bare”

Individual Spoken Third Grade – Fifth Grade
First Place – fifth grader Tsa-ha-ni Drowningbear – “Three Little Pigs”

Small Group Song Third Grade – Fifth Grade
First Place – fifth graders Tsa-ha-ni and Goga Drowningbear – “We Are Family”

Language Master Third Grade – Fifth Grade
(This category is for children who are growing up speaking their Native language in the home.)
First Place – fifth graders Tsa-ha-ni and Goga Drowningbear – “Spearfinger”

Poster Display
First Place – fifth grader – Tsa-ha-ni Drowingbear
Second Place – fifth grader – Goga Drowingbear

Video and Film Screening
First Place – fourth grader Yona Winn and third grader Sahmi Winn – “Scooby Doo”

Special Award Recognition
First Place – pre-kindergarten – “Cherokee Clans”

will-chavez@cherokee.org • (918) 207-3961
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.

Education

BY STAFF REPORTS
01/18/2018 08:15 AM
TAHLEQUAH – Beginning this fall, Northeastern State University will increase the number of President’s Leadership Class scholarships awarded to incoming freshmen each year. According to NSU officials, the President's Leadership Class is a unique leadership and scholarship program designed to cultivate the outstanding potential of proven student leaders. Previously offered to about 15 incoming students each fall, the President’s Leadership Class scholarship will be awarded to 20 incoming freshmen in the fall 2018 semester and will increase to 25 over the next two years. The expansion will allow for a more comprehensive scholarship experience for student leaders, officials said. In the fall 2018 semester, incoming members of the President’s Leadership Class will receive more than $5,000 per semester for four years for housing, tuition and foundation support. “The President's Leadership Class is among the very best student aid programs in the state in terms of length (four years) and total value,” NSU President Steve Turner said. “By increasing the number of leadership scholarships over the next two years, we are demonstrating our commitment to meet our state's need for highly skilled college graduates.”? Applicants for the President’s Leadership Class should display outstanding leadership capabilities and must have an exceptionally strong academic record. High school seniors are required to have an ACT composite score of 20 or higher for consideration. Applications are available online at <a href="http://www.scholarships.nsuok.edu" target="_blank">scholarships.nsuok.edu</a>.
BY LINDSEY BARK
Reporter
12/15/2017 08:15 AM
NORMAN, Okla. – The application process for the Native American Journalists Association’s student-training program is open through Jan. 31. The Native American Journalism Fellowship is a student-training program committed to creating the next generation of storytellers through hands-on training in a weeklong immersion experience with professional journalists. “The Native American Journalism Fellowship is NAJA’s flagship program for Native media students. It has evolved over more than 25 years into a hands-on experience and has launched the careers of many successful NAJA members through mentorship, training and professional connections,” Rebecca Landsberry, NAJA executive director, said. College and graduate students will be able to broaden their reporting and multimedia skills by receiving multimedia training, a professional NAJA mentor, skills for job-readiness, connections to media jobs and internships though NAJA’s national network and upper-level college credit hours. Selected students will attend the 2018 National Native Media Conference set for July 16-22 in Miami, Florida, where they will attend regular meetings with a mentor and participate in all planned webinar trainings. Throughout the remainder of the fellowship, students are required to participate in online check-ins and trainings throughout the year, write and edit reporting assignments for inclusion on the NAJA Native Voice website and seek media-focused internships. “All fellows attend our national conference with all expenses paid, covering the event and local community as working journalists. In addition, they get on-site newsroom experience working with some of the best Indigenous media professionals from across the U.S., including other fellows. It’s an immersive experience, and they really get a chance to dig into the nuances of covering Indian Country, ask questions in a safe space and emerge from the experience as better reporters,” Landsberry said. Mentors can also apply to help oversee the fellows in their training. Mentor requirements include being a current NAJA member in good standing; journalism experience in print, broadcast or digital media; and are encouraged to bring any professional equipment to the newsroom experience such as cameras, video equipment, recording gear, etc. Visit <a href="http://www.naja.com" target="_blank">www.naja.com</a> to apply for the student fellowship or mentorship and to renew or become a new NAJA member. Annual memberships dues are $20 for college students and $55 for individual professional members. For more information, email NAJA Education Committee Chairwoman Victoria LaPoe at <a href="mailto: vlapoe@naja.com">vlapoe@naja.com</a>.
BY STAFF REPORTS
12/13/2017 03:15 PM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – The Northeastern State University American Indian Heritage Committee is accepting proposals for individuals interested in presenting at the 46th annual Symposium on the American Indian. Priority consideration will be given to proposals received by Dec. 15. The symposium will be April 16-21 on NSU’s Tahlequah campus. The theme, “Walking with our Ancestors: Preserving Culture and Honoring Tradition,” will provide a space for the Indigenous community to examine American Indian history and reflect on how the collective past influences who American Indians are as Indigenous peoples today. According to a NSU press release, American Indian people are often left out of conversations about minority groups, and many people believe they are only a part of the past not the present nor the future. “On the contrary, American Indians are still here preserving their culture and honoring their traditions by incorporating this knowledge into their present day professional careers,” the release states. “While Indigenous communities may look different, they still managed to maintain their identity and hold fast to their language, sovereignty, and Indigenous ways of living.” Proposals should focus on one of the following: cultural preservation, Indigenous knowledge (multi-disciplinary), history (from an Indigenous perspective), intergenerational/historical trauma (impact, healing, etc.), tribal sovereignty and/or language revitalization. The committee will conduct a blind review of each proposal. The best proposals will articulate a clear objective and purpose as well as importance of the point of view to be expressed. Proposals need to show evidence of scholarly care, clear and effective argument and/or a basis in research. Proposals can be sent to <a href="https://offices.nsuok.edu/centerfortribalstudies/NSUSymposium.aspx" target="_blank">https://offices.nsuok.edu/centerfortribalstudies/NSUSymposium.aspx</a>. The Symposium on the American Indian is a community event. There is no registration fee and events are open to the public. For more information, visit <a href="http://www.cts.nsuok.edu" target="_blank">cts.nsuok.edu</a> and follow the link to the NSU Symposium or email <a href="mailto: tribalstudies@nsuok.edu">tribalstudies@nsuok.edu</a> or call 918-444-4350.
BY KENLEA HENSON
Reporter
12/08/2017 12:00 PM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – On Dec. 2, the Cherokee Language Master Apprentice Program graduated four students at a graduation ceremony in the Armory Municipal Center. Larry Carney, of Tulsa; Ronnie Duncan, of Bell; Lisa O’Field, of Hulbert; and Toney Owens, of Rocky Mountain received a certificate of completion, copper gorget and Pendleton blanket. Operated through the Cherokee Nation’s Community and Cultural Outreach, participants are taught the Cherokee language by master speakers Doris Shell, Cora Flute and Gary Vann. The program is geared towards teaching CN citizens to be proficient conversational Cherokee language speakers and teachers. Howard Paden, CLMAP manager, said the program stemmed from a “need” for the language. “This program gets people speaking our language again. You know, we seen a need for it because a lot of the (Cherokee) Immersion (Charter) School parents seen a need to not only push their kids to learn the language but to learn themselves and start having Cherokee speaking households,” Paden said. Students spend two years and typically 40 hours a week learning the Cherokee language in a classroom from the master speakers. Students are also encouraged to visit with fluent Cherokee-speaking elders to practice and learn from them. However, to ensure individuals are able to dedicate the needed time to the program, they each receive a $10 an hour stipend. “They learn a lot of Cherokee. From when they first walk into the classroom to probably two months they already learn about 5,000 words,” Paden said. “The first year is primarily learning as much as they can, and by the second year we expect them to start teaching. Of course they have a master speaker there that can assist them, but they begin to teach phrases to the next group that comes in. So every January we get a new group, so the people that are in their last year will begin teaching in January to the new group that we have coming in.” Since its inception nearly three years ago, the program has graduated six students and is expected to graduate six more in 2018 and eight in 2019. Gary Vann, CLMAP master speaker, said he’s seen an increase in applicants since the program’s first year. “When we first started out there was only a handful of applicants, this past application process we saw 100 applications come in,” Vann said. “It makes me feel good because there are people out there that still want to learn our language and that are interested in speaking our language again, especially the younger generations.” Owens, 30, said the program has influenced his life and set him on a path of teaching the Cherokee language. “I’ve always wanted to learn Cherokee, and I heard about the program, and I couldn’t believe it was real. Now it kind of comes in to your everyday life you start to think about things different and naturally you start speaking Cherokee instead of English, so it just becomes your life, it becomes a part of who you are,” Owens said. “Since I will no longer be employed by the program I will have to find a form of income, but I will continue to pursue a teaching degree at Northeastern State University to hopefully teach Cherokee. My goal is to one day teach at the immersion school because it has the most chance of forming Cherokee speakers.” Owens said he believes the program has helped him so much to become a proficient speaker that it’s the most effective way to acquire the language. He suggests the program to those who are interested in learning to speak the Cherokee language. For more information, call 918-453-5445.
BY BRITTNEY BENNETT
Reporter – @cp_bbennett
12/07/2017 08:00 AM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – The Cherokee Nation Foundation and Northeastern State University’s Native American Support Center hosted a scholarship workshop Nov. 28 for students wanting to get ahead of CNF’s Jan. 31 scholarship deadline. “This is our first (workshop) through the Native American Support Center as far as hosting the Cherokee Nation Foundation, and so we are looking forward to working with them more and bringing them on campus and getting them involved in our program,” Jade Hansen, NASC advisement and career specialist, said. The NASC, part of NSU’s Center for Tribal Studies, provides Native students services such as financial aid information to increase retention and graduation rates. “We really focus these workshops for our new freshmen because a lot of things I’m seeing working here at NSU is that these students are running out of money going into their second year and their third year and their fourth year,” she said. “And so with CNF, it’s pretty much like a hidden gem. It’s getting that information out that a lot of students don’t really know about with the CNF programs.” Hansen said she was a CNF scholarship recipient while attending NSU. “Whenever I was in college I got this scholarship, and not a lot of people knew about it, and it helped out,” she said. “It takes a lot to apply for this scholarship as far as recommendation letters, transcripts and different things like that, but hopefully doing it now will get (students) prepared so they’re not waiting around last minute in January.” Marisa Hambleton, CNF executive assistant, said CNF conducts workshops when an organization or school with a high number of Cherokee students reaches out to it. “We’re more than happy to travel and come out and help those students apply for those scholarships,” she said. “We really try to reach any schools that really show an interest. We don’t have a specific (process) where we set it up and anything like that yet. With the more scholarships that we receive, we try to market that as best that we can.” Hambleton said CNF scholarships are not income-based, and students who participate in the workshops should come prepared with updated transcripts and their CN citizenship cards. The CNF scholarship application is a two-step process. Students must first visit <a href="http://www.cherokeenation.academicworks.com" target="_blank">www.cherokeenation.academicworks.com</a> and complete the general applications, which matches them to individual scholarships for which they are eligible to apply. “The general application is just basic information, their name, their address, what school they’re interested, what field of study,” Hambleton said. “That information is then what matches them to specific scholarships, and then they apply for those scholarships individually.” Hambleton said each scholarship includes at least one essay question and asks students to submit information for a reference questionnaire. “A reference questionnaire is where the student chooses someone who is not a family member, someone that knows them like a teacher or a coach or someone in their community,” Hambleton said. “They’ll put in their email address and their name and it will send a link to a short survey that really asks them to rate the student from one to 10 in different areas.” The Academic Works website also allows students to check if their reference questionnaires have been completed, and if not, students can resend the links or change their references. Hambleton also said a student is not required to complete the application in one sitting. “Our application’s pretty simple, and you can save for later if you need to, so it’s not just a one-time sit down,” she said. “Sometimes you don’t have all the information that you need right then and there, and so it’s easy for students to save and keep editing and then submit at a later date.” CNF scholarship recipients will be notified by the end of the 2018 spring semester. Students needing assistance with the scholarship application or organizations and schools interested in hosting a scholarship workshop should call 918-207-0950.
BY STAFF REPORTS
12/06/2017 04:00 PM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – Northeastern State University’s Center for Tribal Studies is accepting applications for Emergency Fund Grants, which are designed to assist students with one-time emergencies. The funds awarded are not intended for tuition, fees or campus housing. They are allocated for emergency needs that can affect a student’s ability to be successful in his or her academic endeavors. Emergency needs include transportation-related expenses, unexpected utility bill increases, loss in family income due to illness or death and expenses related to dependent care and/or food shortages. Grant awards range from $20 to $400 and all applications are considered on a case-by-case basis. The recipient must be a full-time undergraduate or graduate student at NSU, have proof of citizenship in a federally recognized tribe and be willing to complete the required three hours of volunteer service within 30 days of receiving the award. More information about the grant and the application can be found at <a href="https://offices.nsuok.edu/centerfortribalstudies/Forms.aspx" target="_blank">https://offices.nsuok.edu/centerfortribalstudies/Forms.aspx</a>.