CN citizen arrested on murder complaint
STILWELL, Okla. (AP) – Police arrested Cherokee Nation citizen Tonya Watie on a murder complaint of an 88-year-old woman in Stilwell.
Police said Vergie Murphy was found dead Saturday in her home in Adair County.
Authorities arrested 20-year-old Watie of Stilwell on complaints of first-degree murder and first-degree burglary.
The Oklahoman reports a 911 call was placed at 1:30 a.m. Saturday from Murphy’s home. The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation said sheriff’s deputies found Murphy dead and Watie still in the home.
OSBI said the state Medical Examiner’s Office would conduct an autopsy to determine Murphy’s cause and manner of death. Other details regarding what kind of trauma the victim experienced and who made the 911 call have not yet been released.
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Campaign finance reports show the Cherokee Nation gave $6 million to the group behind a casino legalization proposal that was disqualified from the November ballot, while a dog track and horse track gave more than $1.4 million to the campaign opposing it.
Arkansas Wins in 2016 reported Monday the Oklahoma-based tribe made up the bulk of $6.1 million in total contributions raised for its proposal to legalize casinos in Boone, Miller and Washington counties. The Arkansas Supreme Court last week disqualified the measure. The campaign said earlier this year Cherokee Nation would run the Washington county casino if the measure passed.
Delaware North, which Southland Park Gaming and Racing, donated more than $721,000 on the campaign against the measure. Oaklawn Racing and Gaming in Hot Springs donated more than $748,000.
STILLWATER, Okla. (AP) — The attorney for a woman charged with driving her car into spectators at Oklahoma State University's homecoming parade and killing four people says he's given a judge and prosecutors a psychologist's report on a mental evaluation of the woman.
Cherokee Nation citizen Adacia Chambers has pleaded not guilty to four counts of second-degree murder and 42 counts of assault and battery in the crash that occurred Oct. 24, 2015, in Stillwater.
Attorney Tony Coleman has previously indicated plans to raise the question of mental illness or insanity at Chambers' trial set for January.
Prosecutors say they'll have their own psychologist examine Chambers.
A motion to move the trial out of Payne County because of pretrial publicity and several other defense motions were scheduled to be considered on Dec. 6.
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – After the Cherokee Adult Choir sang the last notes of Amazing Grace, the descendants of Margaret “Peggy” Dick, a Trail of Tears survivor, gathered around her grave for photos and to say their goodbyes.
Her descendants gathered Oct. 15 at the Tahlequah City Cemetery to honor their common ancestor who had traveled the Trail of Tears as an infant with her parents Ti-kah-eh-ski, known in English as Dick Easky, and her mother Patsy Tidwell. They had lived in the old Cherokee Nation at Suwanee Old Town on the Chattahoochee River in what is now Gwinnett County, Georgia. Peggy’s older siblings Nancy, Alsie, Susie, Pressha and Andrew also made the journey west to Indian Territory with the Moses Daniel detachment.
David Stand of Tahlequah said he was happy to meet many new relatives among the people who came to honor their common ancestor. He added his “heart is heavy” for what his great-grandmother went through to make it to Indian Territory.
Stand said he knew very little about his grandmother other than what his dad and aunts shared with him as a young man. He said what he now knows about his grandmother was learned recently through his daughter Robin’s research.
“It’s honor and a blessing. I was humbled because I didn’t know I was going to meet all of these people who are family,” Stand said. “I feel a rebirth because I now know who my grandmother was and what she endured on the Trail of Tears.”
Birth records from the old Cherokee Nation can be sparse or non-existent, but it’s believed Margaret “Peggy” Dick was born about 1838 at what is now Ball Ground, Georgia. The family had moved from Suwanee Old Town to the Ball Ground area near the confluence of the Etowah River and Long Swamp Creek because of problems with white encroachment. Her Cherokee name was Wakee, but she was frequently called “Peggy.” In the spring of 1838, U. S. soldiers began rounding up Cherokees to begin the forced removal west.
After a delay during the summer, the Easky family left with the Daniel detachment on Sept. 30, 1838, from Bradley County near present-day Cleveland, Tennessee. They arrived in Indian Territory on March 2, 1839, and disbanded at Webber’s Depot in what is now Stilwell after traveling 164 days and suffering approximately 48 deaths.
Robin Stand of Tahlequah is the great-great granddaughter of Dick. She said about a year ago she began researching her ancestors on Ancestry.com, so that she could have information to share with her son and family members. Through her research she met relatives Sue and Harry Hood and Kori Carriger, another great-granddaughter.
“We started digging and we started sharing back and forth. Sue and Harry did the extra steps to talk to the Trail of Tears (Association) to get the plaque put on her grave,” she said. “It’s humbling and it’s a honor, and I’m just glad I was able to participate and pull this all together for my family on the Stand side.”
Stand said at least six generations of Dick’s family attended the Oct. 15 marking ceremony. She added on the Stand side of the family she was able to go back six generations and on the Dick side she went back seven to eight generations.
“I’m pretty astonished by how much I’ve been able to find,” she said.
In 1839, the Easkys settled in the Going Snake District of the Cherokee Nation. Dick Easky died in 1840. About 1855, Peggy married an Old Settler Cherokee, Alexander Campbell. They had one son, Alexander. Peggy’s husband died about 1857 and about 1859 she married Jack Daugherty Stand. They had one son, Robin Bruce Stand. Jack died early in the Civil War.
About 1863 Peggy married Charles Dick who was of Creek and Cherokee descent. They had six children, Andrew Dick, John Henry Dick, Sarah Dick, Taylor Dick, George Washington Dick and Charles A. Dick. The Dick family farmed in what is now Adair County. Peggy Dick died on December 7, 1887 in Tahlequah and Charles Dick died on July 27, 1888. They are both buried in the Tahlequah City Cemetery.
Sue Franklin Hood of Fort Worth, Texas, said her mother was of the Dick family and was born in Checotah, Oklahoma. She married her father who was in the Air Force and moved the family extensively, so she did not grow up in Oklahoma and did not get to learn about her Cherokee heritage. When she began researching her mother’s family she discovered Margaret Dick was her great-grandmother.
“It was a very inspiring learning situation, and it brought me to these cousins I’ve never met before,” she said. “It’s such an amazing feeling for everyone to come together and honor this woman that went through so much.”
She added she wanted the family attending the ceremony to understand that the forced removal of her ancestors is not just confined to history books, it happened to Cherokee families like theirs.
Oklahoma Chapter of the Trail of Tears Association President was present at the Oct. 15 ceremony and unveiled a bronze plaque that the association had attached to Dick’s headstone. The plaque reads: “In honor of one who endured the forced removal of the Cherokees in 1838-39. The Trail of Tears Association Oklahoma Chapter.” The plaque also includes the TOTA and Cherokee Nation seals.
“It’s a privilege for us as the Oklahoma Chapter of the Trail of Tears Association to mark your ancestor’s grave who came on the Trail of Tears,” Rohr told the family. “This is one of our main projects in the Oklahoma chapter, so we are very privileged and honored to be able to do this.”
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – The Cherokee Nation Election Commission met on Oct. 11 and approved the candidate packets and disclosure reports to be used for the upcoming elections in 2017.
Candidate packets will be available on Dec. 1 and candidates can begin accepting donations on Dec. 2, according to EC officials.
Also approved during the meeting, was the election calendar for 2017. Included in the calendar were the filing dates for candidates, which unlike in years past, filing for candidacy is the first Monday in February.
The calendar is available online at <a href="http://www.cherokee.org/OurGovernment/Commissions/ElectionCommission/Forms,Maps,VotingLocations.aspx" target="_blank">http://www.cherokee.org/OurGovernment/Commissions/ElectionCommission/Forms,Maps,VotingLocations.aspx</a>.
STILWELL, Okla. – While many people look forward to the weekend, some school children in Adair County may dread its coming because it means they may go hungry.
Adair County is routinely ranked among the state’s poorest counties, and this, in part, translates to hungry children who may have little or nothing to eat when they don’t have access to school meals.
For a second year now, members of the New Life Church, which is located about a mile east of Stilwell, have been meeting every Thursday evening to fill snack packs for children at four Adair County schools – Bell, Rocky Mountain, Peavine and Greasy. The members hope to expand the program to other schools as more funding is garnered.
Snack pack coordinator Shelley Marshall, who also serves on the Adair County Resource Center Food Pantries board, said she sees firsthand the need to serve hungry children and children who likely go hungry on weekends. When school ended in the spring church members were packing 157 snack packs. So far this semester they are packing 184 packs, she said.
“We’re hoping that it will last them all weekend. We put in three days of entrees, and try to get them at least three days of snacking,” Marshall said. “We choose foods they don’t have to heat up or that don’t need water because some of them don’t have electricity or running water.”
Plastic tote bags serve as containers for the packs, which are filled with cups of peaches, peanut butter crackers, pudding cups, water, granola bars and small cans of Chef Boyardee. The packs are placed in large plastic totes with each school’s name. On Fridays, representatives from each school come to the church to pick up the totes.
Marshall said two years ago when the church started a backpack program to provide backpacks and schools supplies to students, church members saw the need to feed hungry students and began working to provide snack packs.
She said the age groups and students who receive the snack packs are up to the schools. “They base it on need, and the schools are the ones who know that.”
She said church members get feedback from people about the program and are told it’s appreciated in the communities and keeps children from going hungry.
Marshall said the church accepts donations for the snack pack program. It has received donations from the Cherokee Nation and Ozark Electric in the past. Another partner is Dist. 7 Tribal Councilor Frankie Hargis.
“New Life Church provides an invaluable service to the schools and communities of Adair County, and have also proven to be a great partner for the Cherokee Nation," Hargis said. “Providing tribal funding to the church’s snack pack program ensures approximately 185 students every week during the school year have essential, nutritious food for the weekend.”
Church member Amy Helm volunteers with her children, Caleb and Molly, to pack the snacks.
“I see the need in our community, the children who are hungry on the weekends. They get food while they’re at school during the week, but on the weekends they are hungry. The Bible tells us to feed hungry people,” Helm said. “The children who receive the snack packs, we won’t ever know who they are. It’s very confidential. We do this out of love for our community, for our church and for our people.”
She said about 95 percent of the children who receive the snack packs are Cherokee.
GRAPEVINE, Texas – Recently, the Cherokee Community of North Texas begun enhancing its genealogy program by obtaining oral histories from two Cherokee Nation citizens when Beulah French Furlow and Mary Louise Whitewater Burk were interviewed during a Sept. 24 membership meeting.
Genealogy research has historically revolved around digging through public records such as newspaper articles, census records, marriage licenses, death records, obituaries, tribal rolls and of a more personal nature, family Bible records, diaries and memoirs. Most people are rarely captured in the news and few write their memoirs, so many are all too often left with little personal information about our ancestors.
Oral histories give people the opportunity to document their lives and family traditions, which enables them to pass along what has been important to them. Sitting down with parents or grandparents and recording interviews is a way to document their lives and their contributions to both family and community.
This process begins by outlining known facts, then crafting open-ended questions that not only lead the person through their life, but also triggers memories that enhance the exchange of information. When recorded, the interview can be preserved as a family treasure or given to the local library or historical society for future historians and genealogists.
<strong>Following is a brief summary of Furlow and Burk’s oral histories.:</strong>
Beulah French was born Jan 6, 1917, in Drumright, Oklahoma, to Thomas Brewer French and Delilah “Lila” Nave French. Both were half Cherokee and half Scotch-Irish. She had five siblings – Thomas Fox, Walter Paul, Nina, Ruel, and Mamie. Three other children, Sleeper, Floyd and Mini (Mamie’s twin sister), all died in infancy.
Furlow’s mother died on July 3, 1923, when Beulah was 5 years old. In order to work, her father sent her and her sisters to live with an aunt, who was unkind to them. After a year and a half, her father retrieved his daughters.
Furlow’s interview details family triumphs and tragedies, what each family member did in life and even unveiled a few family secrets.
She married the love of her life, Rex Robert Furlow, on Nov. 27, 1940, and lost him on Sept. 8, 2010, a few months shy of their 70th wedding anniversary.
She has one daughter, Deanna Furlow Fava, who was coincidentally born on her 28th birthday in Seminole, Oklahoma.
Burk was born in 1920 in the Brushy Mountain area south of Muskogee, Oklahoma. Her father, Archie Whitewater, a full-blood Cherokee, farmed 18 acres of land that he had received from the government. Her mother, Ida Whitewater (nee Miller), worked in the home. An agent from the Bureau of Indian Affairs periodically looked in on the family to ensure they had adequate food and clothing.
Burk attended kindergarten in a little one-room school house about a mile from home. Later, she attended an elementary boarding school operated by the Presbyterian Church at the Dwight Mission near Marble City, Oklahoma. From there, she was sent to a Seneca middle school in Wyandotte, Oklahoma. High school was completed at the Haskell Indian School in Lawrence, Kansas, where a nurse at the school encouraged her to pursue a career in nursing.
After graduation, she attended a junior college in Lawrence, then transferred to the Morningside Hospital School of Nursing in Tulsa, Oklahoma. She was the only Native American there at the time. Nursing students lived at the school and the government paid for their tuition and books. Louise even received $5 per month to live on.
After finishing her nurse training, she joined the Army Air Corps as a surgical nurse and was initially stationed in San Francisco. After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, she was transferred to Hawaii for several months to help care for the wounded. She later returned to San Francisco where she remained until leaving the Army/Air Force in 1945.
Afterward, she returned to Tulsa where she met and married her husband, Bill Burk, in 1950. They remained married until he died in 1993.
Both Furlow and Burk were recognized by Principal Chief Bill John Baker in Dallas at the CCNT annual chief’s meeting in April. In recognition of their contributions and willingness to share their oral histories, both were presented with blankets on Sept. 24.
As these oral histories are completed, they will be archived in the Cherokee Heritage Center in Park Hill, Oklahoma, where they will be available for future genealogical and historical researchers.