Teams compete head-to-head during the recent Cherokee Language Bowl held at Tribal Complex in Tahlequah, Okla. The bowl encourages students to study and use the Cherokee language. COURTESY OF CN COMMUNICATIONS
Students compete in Language Bowl competition
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – Recently, the Cherokee Nation held its annual Cherokee Language Bowl, a competition between CN-area students that encourages the study and use of the Cherokee language.
“The language bowl is a place where many of the students shine,” said Sue Thompson, CN Cherokee language specialist. “The competitive setting raises self-esteem while giving students an opportunity to show off not only the Cherokee words and phrases they have learned, but also the sounds of the Cherokee syllabary.”
The CN has held a language bowl for the past 11 years. According to the tribe’s website, this year more than 290 Cherokee students competed in 58 teams and collectively took home $6,000 in awards.
Each team consists of five players. They compete in several rooms ending with winners in each division for first, second and third place. Each student winning first place receives $50, second place receives $40 and third place receives $30.
“The Cherokee Nation is committed to preserving our language and keeping our youth connected to our culture in every way possible,” Principal Chief Bill John Baker said. “The language bowl contest is a way for our students to demonstrate those skills in a fun environment.”
Several schools represented more than one teach in each division.
Grove and Collinsville were the Division 1 first place winners, which included kindergarten through second grade. Collinsville also took home second place along with Kenwood. Belfonte – Bell and Kenwood rounded out that division in third place.
Third through fifth grade made up Division 2. Two teams from Grove and one from Salina took home first place. Claremore, Kenwood and Salina took second place and Collinsville, Kenwood and Claremore took home third place.
Division 3 consisted of middle school students in grades sixth through eighth. Two teams from Grove and one team from Pryor took home $50 each and the first place title. Second place winners were Pryor and two teams from Grove. Rounding out the division with third place finishes were Collinsville, Catoosa and Maryetta.
High School students in grades ninth through twelfth made up Division 4. Teams from Sequoyah High School and Grove won first and second place. Grove also won third place in the division along with Tahlequah.
All participating students and two guests of their choice will attend the Cherokee Language Bowl Awards Ceremony and luncheon on May 10 to receive awards and plaques.
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – Northeastern State University has named Muscogee (Creek) Nation citizen Sara Jo Barnett as the new director of the Center For Tribal Studies.
She replaces Dr. Phyllis Fife, who retired in 2014, and Interim Director Alisa Douglas.
“When Dr. Fife retired, I knew that I had to pursue this opportunity to return to the Center for Tribal Studies,” said Barnett. “So, I applied and luckily the committee valued my experience and passion for the mission of the center.”
Barnett first began working at the center as an undergraduate student in 2001, obtaining a bachelor’s degree in developmental psychology before returning to obtain her master’s degree in school counseling.
“As a first generation college student, the staff at the Center for Tribal Studies were instrumental in helping me through my degree programs and knowing what step to take next in my journey,” she said.
Barnett has previously worked at Oklahoma State University as the director of an educational talent search program, an institutional grant writer for NSU and as a teacher at Sequoyah High School.
Throughout her professional career, Barnett knew she wanted to someday return to NSU.
“It’s like my career has come full circle. I am ready to continue the legacy and hope to expand partnerships with tribes, corporations and others to expand opportunities for our students,” she said.
Barnett said that during her time as director she would also like to increase enrollment, develop programs to improve retention and graduation rates of Native students, help students take advantage of opportunities to engage in research and encourage participation in graduate degrees, study abroad programs and internships.
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – The RiverHawk Food Pantry, a 132-square-foot building that holds an average of 10,000 pounds of non-perishable food items and personal hygiene products, is now in its second year of operation.
RiverHawk Food Pantry overseer Helen Lahrman said the pantry has been a huge asset to those in need in the Northeastern State University community.
An NSU press release states the goods are available to current NSU students at two pantry locations. One is in the basement of the University Center at the Tahlequah campus, while the other is in Suite 211 of the Administrative Services Building at the Broken Arrow campus.
Locations are open from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Tuesdays and from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Fridays. There are also donation drop-off locations on the Tahlequah and Broken Arrow campuses.
During the pantry’s first year of operation it served 170 families, 345 individuals and averaged aiding 40 people weekly.
Lahrman said although stocks were sufficient in 2014, having extra products and a fund to purchase items would help the pantry.
According to the release, items most needed include peanut butter, noodles, rice, canned fruit, canned meats, pre-packaged items, mixed vegetables, personal hygiene items, laundry soap, household cleaning items and paper products such as toilet paper, paper towels and tissues.
To view the RiverHawk Food Pantry donation site, visit <a href="http://bit.ly/1OaGatH" target="_blank">http://bit.ly/1OaGatH</a>.
For more information, call Lahrman at 918-444-2644 or email <a href="mailto: firstname.lastname@example.org">email@example.com</a>.
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – The Cherokee Nation’s Head Start programs are accepting applications for children from infants through pre-school age for the upcoming academic school year.
The tribe’s Early Childhood Unit is comprised of Head Start and Early Head Start, child development programs that focus on social development, kindergarten readiness, motor skills and incorporates Cherokee culture and language.
CN Early Childhood Unit reserves at least 10 percent of its available slots for children with special needs.
Applications are available at any of the programs’ 17 locations or mailed by request from the ECU office in Tahlequah.
Applications remain in the system for one year. They are accepted year round. Other documents requested include a Certificate of Degree of Indian Blood card, immunization records, a birth certificate and current verification of income. Income guidelines apply.
Completed applications are to be mailed back to the Tahlequah office, PO Box 948, Tahlequah, OK 74465.
For more information or to find the nearest classroom, call 918-453-5757 or 1-888-458-4393.
FLORENCE, Ala. – Education students from the University of North Alabama will travel to Tahlequah, Oklahoma, in September on a domestic study abroad trip to spend four days immersed in the Cherokee culture.
The 20 students’ vans will purposefully follow the Trail of Tears route that many Native Americans were forced to walk after the passage of the Indian Removal Act of 1830.
United Keetoowah Band citizens and UNA education assistant professor Gary Padgett will supervise the trip, which coincides with the Cherokee National Holiday.
“The diversity experience is something all education majors have to have,” Padgett said. “This is a little more authentic and a little more local being just a nine-hour trip.”
The students will visit sites such as the Cherokee Heritage Center, as well as learn about Cherokee games and traditions.
The class is fundraising for the trip and hopes to raise $5,000 to cover costs. Donations can be made directly to UNA and sent to the program or at GoFundMe by clicking: <a href="http://www.gofundme.com/wa2jv4c4" target="_blank">www.gofundme.com/wa2jv4c4</a>.
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. (AP) – The Cherokee Humanities Course, sponsored by the Cherokee Heritage Center, is taking applications for the fall academic semester at Northeastern State University.
The three credit hour course is based on the belief that by studying the humanities, individuals can develop significant skills that empower them to work effectively toward improving their own lives and those of their families and communities.
The course also removes obstacles that impeded access to higher education by providing tuition, books, child care and transportation at no cost to qualified students. The deadline for applications is Aug. 10.
For more than 14 years, the CHC has provided hundreds of non-traditional students the opportunity of a higher-level education by creating a curriculum in Cherokee history, language and culture.
A grant from the Inasmuch Foundation has made it possible for the CHC to support the tuition cost for students to take the course for college credit. Students may take the course in the fall and spring semesters for a total of six college credit hours in Indian studies.
The course intends to create a bridge to higher education by developing the skills, confidence and motivation necessary to succeed.
Priority is given to students not currently enrolled in a university or those considering returning to college. Those qualifying can also receive incentives such as mileage and child care reimbursements.
The class is designed to bring to light ideas and experiences that have remained quieted in general history books. The course creates a collaborative learning environment in which personal experiences and oral traditions are respected. These classes are interdisciplinary, college-level humanities courses offering credit hours through NSU.
The Cherokee Humanities Course was established by the late Dr. Howard Meredith, former professor and head of the American Indian Studies degree program at the University of Science and Arts. The course replicates the original Clemente course offered in New York City by academic scholar Dr. Earl Shorris in 1995.
For more information about the Cherokee Humanities Course, call Tonia Weavel at 918-456-6007 or email <a href="mailto: firstname.lastname@example.org">email@example.com</a>.
The CHC is the premier cultural center for Cherokee history, culture and the arts. For information on 2015 season events, operating hours and programs, call 1-888-999-6007 or visit <a href="http://www.CherokeeHeritage.org" target="_blank">www.CherokeeHeritage.org</a>. It can also be found on Facebook by searching “Cherokee Heritage Center.”
FORT GIBSON, Okla. (AP) – Among the events most interwoven into the history of Tahlequah is the Cherokee Trail of Tears.
Despite the towering relevance of the Trail to Tahlequah, Park Hill and numerous other communities in Northeastern Oklahoma, misperceptions have arisen during the past couple of centuries, and they persist. Furthermore, the Cherokees were not the only people forcibly moved to Indian Territory, and some American Indians relocated voluntarily.
On July 15, the Oklahoma Historical Society kicked off its Indian Removal Teachers’ Institute at the Fort Gibson Historical Site. It concluded on July 17 with visits to the Murrell Home and Cherokee Heritage Center in Park Hill.
“In previous years, we’ve been covering the Civil War since it was the sesquicentennial,” David Fowler, OHS historical site director, said. “We polled the teachers to ask what they wanted, and they said they would like to understand the Indian Removal a little better.”
Enrollment included 20 Oklahoma teachers. Among the participants was Jerry Johnston, a teacher at Longfellow Middle School in Enid and member of the OHS, who descended from multiple tribal lineages.
“I had ancestors on the Trail of Tears on both sides – guards and displaced people,” Johnston said. “I thought traveling in the winter was part of the punishment, but it was easier to travel in the winter. Otherwise, they would have dealt with muddy roads, storms, and even more disease.”
Jennifer Crumby, a second grade teacher at Shiloh Christian School, was also in attendance.
“I love history, so I thought I would come here,” Crumby said. “I actually just got back from vacation, and we took a round-trip that included Kentucky, Tennessee and Florida, and I actually saw some of the place marked on the (Indian removal) trail maps. It was interesting to pull all of that together.”
Fort Gibson was often the first stop for American Indians when they arrived in the territory.
“One mission of Fort Gibson was supposedly to keep the arriving tribes from fighting with each other,” Omar Reed, historical interpreter for the Fort Gibson Historical Site, said. “They were also supposed to remove white settlers in the territory, and survey and establish the boundaries for each nation.”
There was less friction between the southeastern Indians than with nomadic tribes that traversed to the west, and the Osage. The 1817 Battle of Claremore Mound was not forgotten, and Reed noted that “the Cherokees and Osage didn’t get along very well.” Political turmoil sometimes preceded intra-tribal violence.
From 1837 until the Civil War, boundaries were surveyed, usually by the U.S. Army Corps of Topographical Engineers or under Army escort.
Amanda Pritchett and Jennifer Frazee, OHS historical interpreters at the Murrell Home, organized the Indian Removal Teachers’ Institute with Fowler.
“This workshop explains how to teach the Indian Removal in classrooms,” Pritchett said. “We visit places associated with all five (civilized) tribes’ Trails of Tears and there are classroom sessions.”
Pritchett said each day has a different emphasis. On July 15 the focus was the removal, but on July 17 the session stressed “rebuilding and recovery.”
The OHS also wants to remind educators about the historical sites.
“We want them to know what our different sites can offer their students in the classroom,” Pritchett said. “They can also come out for field trips, and we can arrange hands-on educational activities.”
Pritchett said there were some common misconceptions about the removals.
“Each of the five tribes has a different history on the Trail of Tears with different experiences,” she said. “They each had a different experience. A lot of people think that everyone picked up and came here, but it was really a process over a 10-year period. Really, it was longer if you include some of the voluntary removal policies that started around 1800. So it was a process of several decades and several migrations. There were 13 different Cherokee detachments, and each had their own experience.”
Before visiting the Park Hill area on July 17, the teachers took a bus to the Fort Smith (Ark.) Historical Site, the Sequoyah Cabin in Sallisaw and the Drennen-Scott house in Van Buren, Ark.