Burial Assistance offers help in tough time

01/10/2012 08:09 AM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – When a family member dies, the last thing the family wants to think about is a funeral cost. Fortunately for low-income Cherokee Nation citizens, they can get help covering funeral costs with the tribe’s Burial Assistance Program.

CN Family Assistance Director Jerry Snell said the Nation’s service includes a one-time maximum payment of $2,500 for traditional burial and cremation services in partnership with more than 100 churches and funeral homes across Oklahoma and even some out of state.

He said several areas in which the tribe has partnerships are Tulsa, Muskogee, Nowata, Vinita, Grove, Tahlequah, Stillwell, Locust Grove and Siloam Springs, Ark.

However, there are income guidelines for the program. Snell said simply showing a citizenship card to a federally recognized tribe won’t get you assistance.
“The deceased must be a member of a federally recognized tribe, and must not exceed $22,000 in income annually,” Snell said. “The services are strictly for low-income, federally recognized tribe members.”

He said the family is also asked questions about the deceased’s resources, income and address before burial assistance is granted. “We also focus on dependents and resources before we provide service.”

The CN also considers financial dependencies. Such as bank accounts, trust funds, life insurance policies and veteran benefits before providing assistance.
Snell said the tribe provides assistance to more than 200 burials annually, making no limitations on how many burials are assisted as long as the deceased has met all of the requirements and lived within the CN jurisdiction. To acquire assistance, one must provide the following for the deceased: proof of physical address such as a utility bill; Social Security card; CN citizenship card; Certificate Degree of Indian Blood card; proof of income for the previous year and for his/her immediate family; and proof of all available financial resources, including but not limited to bank statements.

For more information, call 918-453-5000 or email human-services@cherokee.org.

dillon-turman@cherokee.org • 918-207-4975


News Writer
07/23/2017 01:45 AM
VIAN, Okla. – Candidates E.O. Smith and Uriah Grass vied for the Cherokee Nation Tribal Council’s Dist. 5 seat in a runoff election on July 22. Smith won the seat by receiving 52.26 percent of the vote or 347 votes out of 664 total votes, according to the unofficial results from the CN Election Commission. “I would just like to thank everybody. It’s been a very long campaign. Uriah is a good guy, I will ask his advice on some things, and I want him to know he can come to me anytime with a suggestion, and I will listen to him,” said Smith. “First thing I want to do is see our community pull together and be one. I going to work for everybody, I am going to be everybody’s councilman, and I am going to make the people glad they voted for me. I can’t wait to get started.” Smith said he has always been a “people person” so working for the people is his main goal as the district’s councilman. “I’m going to open an office in Vian from 9 a.m. to noon, five days a week so if you have a problem come see me and I will try to get you an answer and go to work on your problems right then,” he said. “If you can’t come during those times you can call me and we will make an appointment and I’ll meet with you. I am going to be with the people so they know that I am genuinely interested in their problems.” Grass came in close behind Smith by winning 47.74 percent of the vote or 317 votes. Grass could not be reached for a comment about the election results. As Dist. 5 councilman, Smith will be serving western Sequoyah County and part of eastern Muskogee County. The Tribal Council inauguration ceremony for elected officials will be held at 10 a.m., Aug. 14 at the “Place Where They Play” gymnasium at Sequoyah High School in Tahlequah, Oklahoma.
07/23/2017 01:30 AM
JAY, Okla. – A July 22 runoff election to fill the Dist. 9 Cherokee Nation council seat may be remembered for the winner as well as the low voter turn out. Candidate Mike Shambaugh defeated candidate Clifton Hughes with 54.96 percent of the vote or 421 votes. Hughes received 45.04 percent or 345 votes. In official results, only 766 voters participated in the runoff election. Voting took place at precincts in the towns of Jay, Kansas, Kenwood and Salina. Dist. 9 include the southern portion of Delaware County south of Hwy. 20 and part of eastern Mayes County. Shambaugh reacted to the win in an enthusiastic tone. He thanked his supporters and said he wanted to rest for a couple of days before working on his council agenda. “I had great help on this election. I had people who stepped up and made it easy for me to mingle with the crowd. I think I’m very fortunate to serve District 9,” Shambaugh said. “Personally I want to relax for a couple of days. Whenever you campaign every day until 11:30 at night or later it wears on you.” Although Hughes was not the winning candidate, he was still willing to comment about the runoff election. Hughes said he is proud of his hard work and campaign. “I just want to thank my supporters and (say) that I ran an honest campaign,” Hughes said. Shambaugh and the other council candidates who their races in June and in the runoff election will be sworn in to office at 10 a.m., Aug. 14 in the “Place Where They Play gymnasium at Sequoyah High School in Tahlequah, Oklahoma.
07/22/2017 02:00 PM
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Officials say ancient artifacts discovered at an Oklahoma Department of Transportation construction site will be sent to the Sam Noble Museum in Norman. Oklahoma City television station KOKH reports that crews preparing for a bridge replacement project in east central Oklahoma found the artifacts several years ago. According to the Oklahoma Department of Transportation, workers found large fire pits and obsidian rock that isn't local to Oklahoma. Scott Sundermeyer is program director for ODOT's cultural resources program. He says the artifacts may be from Wichitan-affiliated tribes and are about 3,000 to 4,000 years old. He says the last of the artifacts was removed from the site late last year, and that the construction project won't be delayed.
07/21/2017 01:30 PM
PARIS – Airman First Class and Cherokee Nation citizen Mason Turman was one of many United States service members who helped lead the parade down Champs Elysees on July 14 in honor of France’s Bastille Day. Turman, who is in the U.S. Air Force, marched with fellow members of the U.S. Air Forces Europe Force down the Champs-Elysees in the annual event. However, this year marked the first time the American military led the parade. This year’s theme was “Operational Together,” and it highlighted the close relationship among all the French security services and with the Americans. While France is America’s oldest ally, the United States would not have won the Revolution without French sailors winning the Battle of the Chesapeake against the English in 1783. The modern version of the alliance dates to World War I. The 2017 Bastille Day Parade was almost exactly 100 years from when 14,000 American soldiers arrived in France as part of the American Expeditionary Force. The American contingent leading the parade included troops from the Army’s 1st Infantry Division, U.S. Naval Forces Europe and Marines from U.S. Marine Forces Europe.
07/20/2017 04:00 PM
VENORE, Tenn. – Officials at the Sequoyah Birthplace Museum in Vonore, Tennessee, have announced phase one of a renovation project for the museum will soon get underway. The main museum building will be closed beginning July 26 for extended internal and external renovations with a planned finish date for phase one in early 2018. During this time, many of the museum activities and features will still be available for visitors to experience. However, the current exhibit area will be replaced with “an exciting new exhibit and delivery system,” museum officials said. “This will highlight the story of the famous Overhill Cherokee, Sequoyah, our namesake, and will feature his greatest accomplishment (Cherokee syllabary). Sequoyah was born very near our museum site circa 1776,” museum officials said in a statement. The mission of the Sequoyah Birthplace Museum, a property of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, 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. Following the completion of phase one in early 2018, workers will begin installing the new exhibit, which will not affect general services and sales, however, museum offices and the gift shop will relocate to a temporary trailer. Updates on the progress of the renovation will be shared with the public. Visitors will still find the museum open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Saturday and 12-5 p.m. on Sunday, and the museum will continue to hold outdoor classes and events on site. Other on-site or nearby attractions, including the picnic pavilion, Maxwell D. Ramsey Shoreline Hiking Trail, the Chota Town House and the Tanasi Memorial will continue to be open to the public. “Thank you all for your patience during this time of growth for the museum. We are extremely excited to officially begin renovations and re-open the main museum building as soon as we are able to,” said museum officials. “We are pleased you will be able to enjoy our site during this down time, and ask that you speak directly with our staff if you have any concerns or questions regarding the property. We are planning to have the grand opening of our new exhibit and services in mid-2018.” For more information, visit the museum’s website at <a href="http://www.sequoyahmuseum.org" target="_blank">www.sequoyahmuseum.org</a> or contact the museum at 423-884-6246. The museum is located off U.S. Hwy. 411 in Vonore on Hwy 360.
07/19/2017 04:00 PM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – A $20,000 smoothie grant from the First Nations Development Institute has improved fruit and vegetable consumption and mobility for Cherokee Nation citizens. The eight-month smoothie demonstration grant provided more than 150 Food Distribution participants in Adair, Cherokee and Sequoyah counties with tools and recipes to encourage better use of fruits and vegetables they receive through the program. Participants experienced improvements in cholesterol, blood sugar and metabolism. They also had an overall mobility increase of 80 percent and increased fruit and vegetable consumption by 25 percent, according to self-evaluations. Adair County resident and participant Janet Navarro said the program was a blessing and has improved healthy eating in her family. “My grandchildren are drinking smoothies now for more vegetables,” Navarro said. “Without even realizing it, my blood sugar levels dropped and I lost inches off my waist.” Each participant received a blender and accessories such as shaker cups and measuring spoons needed to make smoothies, along with monthly classes on exercise and smoothie-making, taught by Food Distribution employees in Sallisaw, Stilwell and Tahlequah. “At each meeting participants spoke out more. They were all very positive and open. They shared recipes, exercises, experiences and improvements in their health and well-being with each other,” Food Distribution Manager Leah Duncan said. The tribe is working to secure more grant funding to expand the smoothie program to more counties within its jurisdiction.