Principal Chief Bill John Baker speaks during a Sept. 17 dedication ceremony for the new Cherokee Casino Ramona in Ramona, Okla. Behind him is a 45-foot tall and 12-foot wide steel oil derrick with the Cherokee syllabary as part of the design. WILL CHAVEZ/CHEROKEE PHOENIX

Cherokee Casino Ramona expansion adds 100 jobs

Cherokee Nation leaders and Ramona residents officially opened the new Cherokee Casino Ramona with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Sept. 17. The 31,000-square-foot casino, located south of Bartlesville, replaces a much smaller one and offers more amenities. COURTESY PHOTO Principal Chief Bill John Baker speaks during a Sept. 17 dedication ceremony for the new Cherokee Casino Ramona in Ramona, Okla. The 31,000-square-foot casino replaces a smaller one and offers more amenities. WILL CHAVEZ/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Cherokee Nation leaders and Ramona residents officially opened the new Cherokee Casino Ramona with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Sept. 17. The 31,000-square-foot casino, located south of Bartlesville, replaces a much smaller one and offers more amenities. COURTESY PHOTO
BY WILL CHAVEZ
Senior Reporter
09/19/2012 04:08 PM
RAMONA, Okla. – About half of the 200 jobs needed to operate the expanded Cherokee Casino Ramona will be new positions and filled by Cherokee Nation citizens, tribal officials said during the casino’s Sept. 17 dedication.

“We are thrilled to open this new casino because it allows us to add nearly 100 new jobs to the area, as well as economic development opportunities for Ramona, Ochelata and Bartlesville,” Principal Chief Bill John Baker said. “Our casinos exist to provide jobs and opportunities for our citizens, so I’m proud to say that 100 percent of our new hires at this location are Cherokee citizens.”

Because of added space and amenities, nearly 200 employees are needed to work in the new $18 million casino. Ramona Mayor Cyle Miller said having 200 jobs in a small community such as Ramona means a lot and that the town appreciates the tribe’s contributions for local schools, fire departments, police departments and infrastructure.

Baker said the new casino could draw other businesses to its vicinity, which would create more jobs and opportunities for Cherokee people. He added that the casino’s profits would contribute funding for the tribe’s health care needs and allow Cherokee Nation Businesses to “grow its other businesses” for the future.

“When gaming goes away, the Cherokee Nation will be strong and grounded in other businesses, creating more jobs for our Cherokee people,” he said.

After opening two years ago, Cherokee Casino Ramona’s popularity was a welcome surprise for Cherokee Nation Entertainment officials. So much that CNE expanded the facility from 11,000 square feet to 31,000 square feet because it was too small for the large crowds that visited it.

The new casino features the Ramona Grill, a café-style restaurant; the Watering Hole bar; entertainment space; and 500 electronic games.

Cherokee Casino Ramona General Manager Rusty Stamps said 200 games have been added and include new titles such as “Wheel of Fortune,” as well as progressive games that were not available before.

He said progressive games are tied to other casinos throughout the United States and earn higher jackpot winnings. Stamps said games are switched out about every 90 days.

The Ramona Grill is a full-service restaurant that seats 100 guests compared to the previous restaurant that seated only 16.

Live entertainment will be at the Watering Hole stage area each weekend. Seating is available near the stage as well as a bar area where guests can order drinks while enjoying country and rock ’n’ roll bands Friday through Sunday. Stamps said retractable sound panels near the stage will keep the music confined to the bar area.

Near the casino’s main entrance sits a replica of an oil derrick, which commemorates the area’s link to Oklahoma’s petroleum industry. Cherokee National Treasure Bill Glass Jr., his son Demos and Cherokee artist Ken Foster created the 45-foot-tall, 12-foot-wide steel tower that includes the Cherokee syllabary.

The six lines of Cherokee syllabary are meant to describe a second derrick of the same size the men are working on that will be placed in front of the casino later. Reading from left to right and top to bottom, the translation reads “Cherokee. Rising from the ashes, Phoenix. By itself, flying. The fire is flaming up. I am talking. It’s here/Hello/Win.”

During the dedication ceremony, Baker honored the Shawnee family that leased the land on which the casinos sit and presented family members with a Pendleton blanket.

According to the Washington County Assessor’s Office, William Shawnee owns the land that CNE leased for the casino in 2010. According to CNB records, Cherokee Nation Entertainment paid Shawnee an advance of $600,000, as well as annual lease fees of $325,000.

CNB records also state that the annual lease fee will increase to an unspecified amount in 2013.

CNE’s lease runs through 2020 with additional renewal options of 10 years each, and upon expiration of the lease, all improvements revert to the landowners, CNB records state.

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.
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.

News

BY JAMI MURPHY
Reporter
03/31/2015 12:00 PM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – The Cherokee Nation Supreme Court will hear an appeal regarding the disqualification of Tribal Councilor Julia Coates as a deputy chief candidate by the tribe’s Election Commission. The EC stated that Coates did not meet the residency requirements to run for the seat in the upcoming 2015 general election. The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments at 2 p.m. on April 1 at the CN Courthouse in Tahlequah. In the appeal filed March 20, Coates states the EC’s decision is contrary to a previous court ruling. “The Commission’s decision is contrary to this Court’s holding in Mayes v. Cherokee Nation Election Commission,” the appeal states. The SC has until 5 p.m. April 3. to make a decision on Coates’ candidacy. To view the court documents filed in the case, visit <a href="http://www.cherokeecourts.org/SupremeCourt/SC1504CoatesvFishinghawkRichmond.aspx" target="_blank">http://www.cherokeecourts.org/SupremeCourt/SC1504CoatesvFishinghawkRichmond.aspx</a>.
BY ASSOCIATED PRESS
03/31/2015 10:00 AM
CLAREMORE, Okla. (AP) - The Claremore Police Department and the Cherokee Nation Marshal’s Office recently entered into a cross-deputation agreement, allowing officers from both agencies to serve in each other’s jurisdictions in case of an emergency or any situation. “I’ve been waiting for this moment for about 15 years, when I became deputy marshal,” said Cherokee Nation Marshal Shannon Buhl. “Claremore is one of the largest cities in our jurisdiction we were never cross-deputized with. What that meant was they couldn’t help us if we needed something and we couldn’t help them out if they needed assistance in Native American jurisdictions that are within city limits, such as K2 product being sold at tribal smoke shops.” Buhl said this agreement has been a long time coming. Cross-deputation agreements first went into effect in July 1992 when the U.S. Congress provided authority for the U.S. Secretary of Interior to enter into agreements between the U.S. and Native American tribes and nations, states and their political subdivisions in accordance with the Indian Law Enforcement Reform Act of August 1990. “Cross-deputation can be misunderstood a lot of the time. There’s a lot to it,” said Buhl. “It’s not a mutual aid agreement. There are mutual aid agreements, such as that between the sheriff’s office and Claremore PD or Verdigris; however, Native American tribes cannot create a mutual aid agreement with non-Native American affiliations. “What that means is you have to go through the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the city, agency and the State Attorney General’s Office, which can be a long process.” Buhl said one of the reasons the cross-deputation agreement took place is because of efforts from the Claremore Police Department. “Police Chief Stan Brown has been very proactive in the city. He’s a huge supporter of cooperative agreements with us, the sheriff’s office and other agencies, and I think he’s in some ways taken the lead on this to make this happen for us,” said Buhl. “It’s a good day for the people of Claremore and for the people of the Cherokee Nation.” Brown said the agreement acts as a “force multiplier.” “The CPD now has the opportunity to utilize nationally-recognized special operations teams through the marshal’s office for everything from high-priority arrests, to hostage rescue and search and rescue operations,” Brown said. “Anytime you have agencies that can cooperate, it makes the community safer and it raises the level of service that both agencies can bring to the population.” The Cherokee Nation Marshal’s Office covers 9,000 square miles and holds a total of 52 deputations with agencies across the 14 historical counties.
BY STAFF REPORTS
03/29/2015 04:00 PM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. –Red Dirt musician Stoney LaRue will be headlining this years Cherokee Nation Employee Appreciation Day, which honors employees for their hard work throughout the past year. The outdoor free concert is open to the public and is on April 2. It will take place just west of the W.W. Keeler Tribal Complex in Tahlequah. The opening act will be the all-Cherokee group, Pumpkin Hollow Band. They will kick off the show at 5:30 p.m. “These Oklahoma musicians have a strong local following and will put on a great show for our community and the entire Cherokee Nation,” said Principal Chief Bill John Baker. “We wanted to show our appreciation to our employees and the community with a night of good music and family fun.” LaRue, who is Texas-born but a longtime Oklahoman, is known for his hits “Down in Flames,” “Feet Don’t Touch the Ground,” “Oklahoma Breakdown” and “One Cord Song.” The crowd can expect to hear his hits and also songs from his new album, “AVIATOR.” “The theme is, essentially, following direction, trusting in yourself and new beginnings,” said LaRue. “I’d say it’s a little combination of rootsy rock, country, folk and whatever else is in the hodge podge, and separate as much of the pride and ego from it, and put it in a format that’s easy to listen to.” CN citizens Rod Buckhorn, Doo Reese, Kirk Reese and Spider Stopp named the band in honor of their birthplace, Pumpkin Hollow. The country and red dirt genre band has opened for Luke Bryan, Mark Chesnutt, Brantley Gilbert and Tracy Lawrence. According to a CN press release, no alcohol, tobacco or ice chests are permitted on the premises. Food vendors will be on site and shuttles available for parking. Bringing lawn chairs and blankets to sit on is encouraged. The Cherokee Nation W.W. Keeler Tribal Complex is located at 17675 S. Muskogee Ave.
BY STAFF REPORTS
03/29/2015 12:00 PM
OOLOGAH, Okla. –The Indian Women’s Pocahontas Club is having its ninth annual Old Fashioned Picnic at 10:30 a.m. on May 16 at the Will Rogers Birthplace Ranch. The event is free to the public but a $10 food donation is suggested to help raise funds for the Indian Women’s Pocahontas Cub Higher Education Scholarship fund. It is suggested to bring a lawn chair to the event. The event will include a hog fry, live music, an auction, Cherokee marbles, corn stalk shoots and hatchet throwing. Cherokee Nation Registration will also be set up at the event getting information for CN photo ID cards. Principal Chief Bill John Baker will be an honored guest at the event. Cherokee Nation Businesses and the Oklahoma Pork Council are sponsoring the event. For more information, call Debra West at 918-760-0813 or Ollie Starr at 918-760-7499 or visit <a href="http://www.iwpclub.org" target="_blank">www.iwpclub.org</a>.
BY STAFF REPORTS
03/28/2015 04:00 PM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. –There will be an Oklahoma Blood Institute blood drive from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on April 16 at the Cherokee Nation O-si-yo Ballroom behind the Restaurant of the Cherokees. Blood donors will receive donor T-shirts for their contributions. If they chose to reject the T-shirts the funds designed for the T-shirt will go to the Global Blood Fund, which is a nonprofit organization that provides safe blood services in developing countries. Donating blood takes approximately an hour and can be made every 56 days. According to an OBI press release, those with negative blood types are urged to donate. Only 18 percent of the population has negative blood types and patients with negative blood types can only receive blood from those 18 percent of people. A photo ID is required to donate at OBI blood drives. Participants must be 16 years old or older to donate. Participants who are 16 years old must provide a signed parental permission form and weigh in at 125 pounds or more to donate, those who are 17 years old must weigh in at 125 pounds or more and those 18 and older must weigh in at 110 pounds or more to donate. For more information, email <a href="mailto: patricia-hawk@cherokee.org">patricia-hawk@cherokee.org</a>.
BY STAFF REPORTS
03/28/2015 12:00 PM
MINNEAPOLIS – On March 25, the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community announced Seeds of Native Health, a philanthropic campaign to improve the nutrition of Native Americans across the country. “Nutrition is very poor among many of our fellow Native Americans, which leads to major health problems,” said SMSC Chairman Charlie Vig. “Our Community has a tradition of helping other tribes and Native American people. The SMSC is committed to making a major contribution and bringing others together to help develop permanent solutions to this serious problem.” The campaign will include efforts to improve awareness of Native nutrition problems, promote the wider application of proven best practices, and encourage additional work related to food access, education and research. “Many tribes, nonprofits, public health experts, researchers, and advocates have already been working on solutions,” said SMSC Vice Chairman Keith Anderson. “We hope this campaign will bring more attention to their work, build on it, bring more resources to the table, and ultimately put Indian Country on the path to develop a comprehensive strategy, which does not exist today.” According to the Seeds of Native Health website, approximately 16 percent of Native Americans suffer from type 2 diabetes and more than 30 percent of Native Americans are obese. Native Americans are 1.6 times more likely to become obese than others. “Native health problems have many causes, but we know that many of these problems can be traced to poor nutrition,” said SMSC Secretary/Treasurer Lori Watso, who provided the original idea for the SMSC’s nutrition campaign. “Traditional Native foods have a much higher nutritional value than what is most easily accessible today. By promoting best practices, evidence-based methods, and the re-introduction of healthy cultural practices, we believe that tribal governments, nonprofits, and grassroots practitioners can collectively make lasting strides towards a better future.” For more information, visit <a href="http://seedsofnativehealth.org/" target="_blank">http://seedsofnativehealth.org/</a>.