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. – Gov. Mary Fallin recently appointed Tribal Councilor David Walkingstick to serve on the Oklahoma Advisory Council on Indian Education.
Walkingstick will serve on the 18-member council to make recommendations to the state board of education and the state superintendent of schools on issues affecting Native American students.
“It truly is an honor to receive this appointment from Gov. Fallin. I thank my parents, elders, coaches, custodians and others who were all hands on deck in my life every day at Woodall and Tahlequah Sequoyah. They instilled the value of education at an early age,” Walkingstick said. “The Cherokee Nation has an extensive history of promoting education and culture, and there is proven research that cultural inclusion, which is Native language and culture-enriched curriculum, boosts test scores. It’s very important that our Native American students walk in both worlds.”
Walkingstick serves as the federal programs director for Muskogee Public Schools, overseeing federal funding and compliance for the school district. Walkingstick is also a former teacher and athletic director for Bell Elementary School in Adair County.
“David Walkingstick is a dedicated educator and mentor to students,” Fallin said. “He has been heavily involved in Cherokee Nation issues through his work on the Cherokee Nation Tribal Council.”
Walkingstick graduated from Sequoyah High School in 1999 and has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Central Oklahoma in Edmond and a master’s degree in school administration from East Central University in Ada. He has served on Tribal Council since 2011. He was also named a 2013 “Native American 40 Under 40” recipient by the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development.
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – The Cherokee Nation and Northeastern State University’s College of Liberal Arts are collaborating to celebrate the 175th anniversary of the Cherokee Constitution.
There will be a celebratory symposium at 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Aug. 28 at NSU-Tahlequah’s University Center Ballroom. The Cherokee Nation Color Guard will kick off the event. Following, there will be panels discussing the history of the tribe’s 1839 Constitution.
Keynote speaker, Dr. Miriam Jorgensen, will speak during lunch.
Jorgensen is a lecturer for both University of Arizona and Harvard University’s Executive Education programs in Native American Leadership. She also works at George Warren Brown School of Social Work at Washington University as an adjunct professor in Community Development with American Indian Communities.
For more information, email Dr. Diane Hammons at <a href="mailto: firstname.lastname@example.org">email@example.com</a>.
BY STAFF REPORTS
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – The Indian Youth Wrestling organization based in Tahlequah is selling T-shirts to raise money for club expenses such as new singlets and equipment.
Cost per shirt is $15 plus $5 for shipping, with an additional option to donate more. The organization’s goal is to sell 50 shirts by Aug. 15. Customers should receive their shirts in the mail around Aug. 29.
To place an order, go to the booster.com website and search for IYW or type in <a href="http://www.booster.com/iyw" target="_blank">www.booster.com/iyw</a>
to be taken directly to the ordering page. Booster.com will ship anywhere around the world.
The organization has set out to provide its children with a strong work ethic, resilience and a sense of responsibility for their own destiny as well as lasting inner-strength and confidence.
For more information, visit <a href="http://www.facebook.com/IndianYouthWrestling/info" target="_blank">www.facebook.com/IndianYouthWrestling/info</a> or email Jillian Girty at <a href="mailto: firstname.lastname@example.org">email@example.com</a>.
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – Applications are being taken by Cherokee Nation Career Services to fill open slots for the 2014 fall semester Registered Nurse Scholarship Program. Applications will continue to be taken until all openings are filled.
Applicants must already be accepted to an associate of applied science in nursing degree program and currently enrolled full time in their respective program.
Students attending private and/or proprietary schools such as Tulsa Tech, ITT, University of Phoenix and Brown Mackie are also not eligible to apply. Students needing to meet general education requirements as well as students pursuing a bachelor’s of science in nursing and/or master’s of science in nursing should contact the College Resource Center for funding assistance at 918-453-5465.
For questions or to request an application, email RN Scholarship Manager Jan Grogan at <a href="mailto: firstname.lastname@example.org">email@example.com</a> or call 918-207-3873.
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – On May 13, six students graduated from the Cherokee Nation Immersion Charter School.
The graduating sixth graders are the third class to graduate from the school, where students speak only Cherokee while they learn grade level state standard curriculum. The students also learn to read and write the 86-character Cherokee syllabary.
“We’re making history every day with these children, since there are very few programs out there we can compare to in terms of bilingual education and preservation of a native language,” Principal Holly Davis said. “These students are doing something very unique so that our next generation will carry on our tradition and language.”
The graduating students are Liam McAlpin, Alexis Kelley, Hondo Kirk, Sinihele Rhoades and Daylon Dunn, all of Tahlequah, and Solomon Winn of Briggs.
“Now I can talk to most of the elders, and they’re really happy when I talk to them in Cherokee,” Rhoades said. “It’s good for them to know that people are still trying to learn the language and keep it alive.”
Kelley said she shares what she learns with her family.
“My mom is always asking me to teach her, and I think it’ll be fun to teach others, too,” she said.
The school also graduated 10 kindergarten students in an earlier ceremony on May 13. Those students will start the first grade at the immersion school this fall while the graduating sixth-grade class will takes courses on the Sequoyah School campus.
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – On May 6, Cherokee students attending schools within the Cherokee Nation’s jurisdiction competed in the tribe’s Small Business Assistance Center’s Entrepreneurship Day, which promoted young CN citizens in making plans and ideas for their own independent businesses.
The event took place at Sequoyah High School’s gym, The Place Where They Play, and consisted of students from fifth to 12th grades. Fifth through eighth grades competed in one category as ninth through 12th competed against each in another.
SBAC entrepreneur development Manager Stephen Highers said the event is geared to helping students get creative when trying to create businesses.
“Basically, what they done is they have created an idea for a potential business that they would like to see,” Highers said. “They have set up a display board to show off their businesses. They’ve created a business plan, and they are presenting those business plans and those display boards to the judges, who are then going around and choosing the winner, choosing who they think is the best one.”
SHS junior Sharon Stanley and sophomore Serena Schaffler won first place in the ninth through 12th grade category with their business idea, Eclectech.
“Our business is Eclectech. Our motto is simplicity with efficient design. We’re a software company,” Stanley said. “Basically, technological people know that Windows is better than some of the others (operating systems) in their experience and from a lot of my experience Windows 98 is one of the best ones.”
When Stanley and her partner Schaffler began their projects, nearly three weeks before the event, they decided they wanted to make something that anyone of any age could understand and use.
“What we did was we modeled a software off of Windows 98 and Windows XP and we morphed it into our own design,” said Stanley. “It has the simplicity to where you can work with different types of documents that you need to. You have all of the advanced things that Apple and Android and Windows can bring to technology but they’re in a simplified format that way people of any age can understand them.”
Cash Wright, a sixth grade student from Vian Middle School, took home the first place prize in the fifth through eighth grade category in Tahlequah with his business Cash’s Awards & More. His business makes awards for any occasion and can do so in wood or other materials.
The second Entrepreneurship Day event took place on May 13 at Rogers State University in Claremore. This is the first year the event has expanded to include competition at a university.
Hannah Hart, a seventh grade student from VMS, took home the first place prize in the fifth through eighth grade category with her business Double H Basketball. Her business allows her to work as a coach who helps students improve their basketball skills.
Meredith Brown and Trevor Petors, 10th grade students from Bartlesville Middle School, took home the first place prize in the ninth through 12th grade category in Claremore with their business Sweet 16 for a Cure. It offers DJ services for “Sweet 16” parties with a fraction of their earnings going to cancer research.
All of this year’s winners received cash prices to help start their business.
First place winners from both categories at each event received $400. Second place winners received $300. Third place winners received $200. Fourth place winners received $100, and fifth place winners received $50.
Also, at each event, a grand prize winner was selected from both categories and received $700.
The grand prize winner at Tahlequah was Kaycee and Kylee Haning, seventh grade students from VMS, with their business Kaycee and Kylee’s Canine Service, which takes in stray animals and puts them up for adoption. They also work with a local veterinarian to get the animals vaccinated.
The grand prize winner at Claremore was Alex Bailey, a seventh grade student from Locust Grove Middle School, with his business Kids Classifieds. His business works online to link youths to elders or others within the community who need help with home projects and are willing to pay the youth for services.
In years past, winners received either televisions or laptop computers.
Highers said the events’ main sponsor was the Nation’s Tribal Employment Rights Office, which gave $6,000.
“They sponsored the prize money that went out to the students both in Tahlequah and in Claremore. Without the support of TERO, we would not have been able to offer the prize money to the students to help start and further develop their business ideas,” he said.
Highers said he enjoys the Entrepreneurship Day events and believes it’s important to get Cherokee students involved in the process of creating their own businesses.
“I think this is a hugely important program to the Cherokee Nation because it instills entrepreneurship at a early age,” he said. “I think that is important to the tribe especially as we move forward because it’s important to have entrepreneurs out here in northeast Oklahoma that are making a difference and starting their businesses and they are being the economic engine that is moving the Cherokee Nation forward.”