Principal Chief Bill John Baker presents a Pendleton blanket to California Rep. Mike Honda as Cherokee Nation Treasurer Lacey Horn looks on during the Democratic National Convention, which was held Sept. 4-6 in Charlotte, N.C. COURTESY PHOTO

Baker serves as Democratic National Convention delegate

Principal Chief Bill John Baker presents a Pendleton blanket to former Oklahoma Sen. Fred Harris during the Democratic National Convention, which was held Sept. 4-6 in Charlotte, N.C. COURTESY PHOTO Principal Chief Bill John Baker presents a Pendleton blanket to former Oklahoma Sen. Fred Harris during the Democratic National Convention, which was held Sept. 4-6 in Charlotte, N.C. COURTESY PHOTO
Principal Chief Bill John Baker presents a Pendleton blanket to former Oklahoma Sen. Fred Harris during the Democratic National Convention, which was held Sept. 4-6 in Charlotte, N.C. COURTESY PHOTO
BY KEVIN SCRAPPER
09/26/2012 08:31 AM
BY KEVIN SCRAPPER
Reporter

TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – Not all Democrats get to attend the Democratic Nation Convention to nominate the party’s presidential candidate. Even fewer get to announce his or her state’s delegates vote during the convention’s roll call. However, Principal Chief Bill John Baker got to do both during this year’s DNC held Sept. 4-6 in Charlotte, N.C.

Baker said he represented the Cherokee Nation in his official capacity and that during the vote to re-nominate President Barack Obama for president, he announced Oklahoma’s vote.

“I was honored to attend the convention as principal chief of the Cherokee Nation and on behalf of the Cherokee Nation’s federal interests,” Baker said. “To stand on a national stage as principal chief of the Cherokee Nation and cast my delegate vote for President Obama on behalf of the state of Oklahoma helped shine the national spotlight on the Cherokee Nation.”

However, Baker did not represent the tribe alone. CN Treasurer Lacy Horn, Secretary of State Charles Head, Attorney General Todd Hembree and Communications Director Amanda Clinton joined Baker on the trip, all in their official capacities.

“In Charlotte, my top leadership and I attended meetings with several business leaders, U.S. senators, members of the Oklahoma House of Representatives, as well as promising candidates for national office who support tribal nations,” Baker said. “We were fortunate to meet with Google, Vice President Joe Biden, Congressman Mike Honda and many others.”

As reported by the Cherokee Phoenix, Google awarded the Cherokee Nation Foundation a $50,000 grant that will allow the foundation to launch campaigns on Google.

Baker said the grant and other opportunities obtained were made possible by the meetings he and his team attended.

“Our meetings with Congressman Honda and other members of Congress were equally productive,” he said. “Tribal nations face potential budget cuts from the federal government every year, and as a member of the powerful House Appropriations and Budget Committee, Congressman Honda is a key ally for the Cherokee Nation.”

Baker said Obama is the first president to have a true open door policy with tribes and that openness to listen is proof of his respect for the government-to-government relationship between tribes and the United States.

“As I said during the convention, President Obama has been the best president Indian Country has ever had,” Baker said. “There have been several presidents try to develop a relationship with sovereign nations, but not to the extent of the current administration.”

Baker said he proudly supports Obama as he has populated his staff with talented Natives in key administrative positions that affect tribal communities.

“He supports expanded education opportunities, improved health care access and supported infrastructure improvements to create economic opportunities in Indian County,” he said. “With the Obama administration, several key accomplishments have been met, including the Cobell settlement, the Indian Health care Improvement Act, the Violence Against Woman Act and the Keepseagle settlement. His collaboration with tribes is unprecedented and shows that he truly values the Indian perspective and respects our sovereignty.”

Baker added that attending the DNC meant a lot to him and the CN.

“Overall, my service as a delegate was extremely productive for the Cherokee Nation, and it was an experience I will cherish forever,” he said.

CN funds covered Baker, Horn, Head and Hembree’s travel costs, while Cherokee Nation Businesses covered Clinton’s expenses. According to CN Communications, the Nation paid $8,310.46, while CNB paid $1214.64. Expenses consisted of flight, hotel, meals and ground transportation.

kevin-scrapper@cherokee.org


918-453-5000 ext. 5903

News

BY JOSH NEWTON
08/29/2014 08:31 AM
Tahlequah Daily Press TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – Authorities with the Cherokee Nation Marshal Service and Ontario Provincial Police in Canada say that until last month, a man living in Tahlequah had been presumed dead as a result of a 1977 barn fire. “The Cherokee Nation Marshal Service, acting on a tip, did locate Ronald Stan alive and living in Tahlequah on Aug. 5,” said Amanda Clinton, the Cherokee Nation communications director. She said the tribe would make no other comment about the discovery. Authorities in Canada say Stan, who has been living in Tahlequah under the alias of Jeff Walton, disappeared from his home in Ontario nearly 37 years ago. According to media reports out of Canada, Stan lived in the former Township of East Williams in Middlesex County, but was reported missing when a barn caught fire on Sept. 29, 1977. Witnesses reportedly saw Stan near the barn before it broke out into a blaze. Remnants of a body were never found, but in 1986, Stan was declared legally dead in Canada. He had reportedly left behind a wife and children there. But authorities in Canada say a recent audit of Stan’s disappearance somehow connected the supposedly missing person to a man living near Tahlequah, 69-year-old Jeff Walton. According to some media reports, police used Facebook connections to pinpoint Walton in Cherokee County. Authorities have not said what Stan’s motives might have been for disappearing 37 years ago, nor whether the barn fire thought to have taken his life was or is now considered to have been suspicious. But Canadian officials have suggested Stan faces no criminal charges there. Stan’s 35-year-old son, Jeff Walton Jr., told the Toronto Star that his family is “still trying to put all the puzzle pieces together.” He said family members from Stan’s U.S. life learned of the former life last month. Stan reportedly has grandchildren in the U.S. as well. On April 23, 2000, Stan, under the name of Walton, married Cherokee County resident Debra E. Proctor in Eureka Springs, Arkansas. Court records show Proctor and Stan divorced earlier this month – according to Walton Jr., because of the revelation of his father’s secret Canadian past. In Proctor’s petition for divorce, she cites “incompatibility” between herself and Stan. Walton Jr. told the Toronto Star that his father now suffers from vascular dementia and heart disease, and was in a nursing home when authorities began to uncover Stan’s past. According to court documents, Stan has also gone by the name of Jeff Winton, and reportedly spent some time in Louisiana after leaving Canada. “It’s been tough on me, but he’s still my father,” Walton Jr. told the Toronto Star. “It doesn’t change the man I knew for 35 years. Hopefully one day, he can sit down and write a book and remember all the stuff he’s been through in his life. It’d be a damn good book, I’ll tell you that, just from what I’ve heard.” Canadian media also reported that the Ontario Provincial Police have closed their case. – REPRINTED WITH PERMISSION
BY STAFF REPORTS
08/28/2014 01:21 PM
CLAREMORE, Okla. – The stables are filling up as quarter horse racing returns to Cherokee Casino Will Rogers Downs on Sept. 6 for a fifth consecutive year. The schedule features 28 days of American Quarter Horse Association, Appaloosa and Paint races through Nov. 8. Races begin at noon every Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Each day features 12 races. Popularity of the track’s quarter horse racing meet continues to draw some of the most talented people in the sport to WRD. “We are very excited that Eddie Willis and Toby Keeton, the top two trainers in earnings in the United States, will be returning with full stables to compete at this year’s meet,” Jesse Ullery, WRD racing secretary and simulcast manager, said. The 2014 WRD racing schedule features 34 stakes races. Top 10 qualifiers from the non-pari-mutuel Kansas Jackpot Trials and Black Gold Division 350 Futurity Trials previously held on Aug. 23 will be part of the opening race cards for the finals on Sept. 9. Both finals include added money, with the Black Gold Division 350 Futurity Finals guaranteeing $150,000, while $25,000 is promised for the Kansas Jackpot Futurity Finals. Race fans visiting on Sept. 28 will witness the $15,000 added AQHA Zoetis Starter Allowance Challenge, the $27,500 guaranteed AQHA John Deer Juvenile Challenge Finals, the $30,000 added AQHA Red Cell Distance Challenge Finals and the AQHA Adequan Derby Challenge Finals, worth an estimated $32,500. The 400-yard Black Gold Division 400 Futurity Finals for 2-year-olds on Oct. 5 also promises to be an exciting event, adding $150,000 to the pot with $7,500 going to stallion awards. “We have a very competitive stakes program this year for all ages of horses. There is a lot to see,” Ullery said. The $294,625 Black Gold Futurity Championship highlights the meet on Nov. 8. The finale on Nov. 8 also includes the $25,000 Oklahoma Horsemen’s Association Mystery Derby Finals and the Oklahoma Horsemen’s Association Mystery Futurity Finals Grade II, worth $75,000. Cherokee Casino Will Rogers Downs is located 3 miles east of Claremore on Highway 20. For more information, visit <a href="http://www.cherokeecasino.com" target="_blank">www.cherokeecasino.com</a> and click on the Will Rogers Downs tab or call (918) 283-8800.
BY ROGER GRAHAM
08/26/2014 02:28 PM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – Cherokee Nation department employees are completing work in preparation for the Cherokee National Holiday. The annual event begins on Aug. 29 and ends Aug. 31. A listing of holiday event times and locations can be found <a href="http://www.cherokeephoenix.org/Docs/2014/8/8400_HolidayGuide2014.pdf" target="_blank">here</a>. The task of preparing for nearly 100,000 visitors requires multiple departments to work together to complete the variety of improvements to event locations. Cherokee National Holiday Director Lou Slagle acknowledged CN Facilities Dept. for taking on the majority of the physical labor.
BY ROGER GRAHAM
08/26/2014 01:39 PM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – During its Aug. 12 meeting, the Cherokee Nation Election Commission approved granting new staff members security clearances and gave the commission more flexibility to enhance productivity. The commission tabled the design of new voter registration cards due to budget constraints and pending tribal council clarification. CNEC Chairman Bill Horton announced no official decisions were made during executive session, which extended over one hour.
BY WILL CHAVEZ
08/26/2014 09:06 AM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – The 175th anniversary of the Cherokee Nation’s 1839 Constitution will be commemorated during this year’s Cherokee National Holiday. It was signed Sept. 6, 1839, after contentious meetings between two Cherokee factions – Eastern Cherokees or the Ross Party led by Principal Chief John Ross, and the Old Settlers who settled Arkansas and what is now eastern Oklahoma in the early 1800s. A third faction, the so-called Treaty Party, that in 1835 signed away what remained of Cherokee land in the Southeast for $5 million, sided with the Old Settlers. Those led by Ross had just arrived in Indian Territory in the spring of 1839 after being removed from their homes in the Southeast. Sequoyah, who had moved to Indian Territory in 1829 from Arkansas, attempted to unite the Old Settlers, who had their own government, with the Ross Party. On July 12, 1839, a convention was held, and after deliberation a formal Act of Union was adopted, whereby the two branches declared to be “one body politic, under the style and title of the Cherokee Nation, succeeding both of the tribal organizations. Ross; George Lowrey, president of the National Committee; Goingsnake, speaker of the council; and 13 others signed the act on behalf of the Ross Party. Acting Principal Chief John Looney, Council President George Guess and 15 other Old Settlers leaders, including Sequoyah, signed for that faction. Another convention met at Tahlequah in September 1839, composed mostly of Eastern Cherokees, to frame a new constitution. The document established rules for election of legislators and chiefs and common holding of the lands of the Nation. Another feature was suffrage for boys over 18 years of age. For purposes of civil administration and the apportionment of legislators, the CN was divided into nine districts similar in size and organization to counties. They were called Canadian, Illinois, Sequoyah, Flint, Delaware, Goingsnake, Tahlequah, Saline and Cooweescoowee, the last one being named in honor John Ross’ Cherokee name. The 1839 Constitution was preceded by the 1827 Constitution, which was drafted on July 26, 1827, at New Echota, Ga. The document outlined a structure of government, which included an elected principal chief, a senate and a house of representatives. In 1898, the CN’s 1839 Constitution ceased to govern the tribe as the Curtis Act instituted by the federal government dissolved tribal governments in Indian Territory to assimilate tribes and prepare for Oklahoma statehood, which came in 1907. Until 1971, the federal government played a paternalistic role for the Cherokee people, choosing their chiefs and dictating tribal matters. In 1971, after his selection as the tribe’s first elected chief since 1903, William Wayne Keeler presided over the drafting of a new Cherokee constitution. The 1975 Cherokee Constitution, signed by Principal Chief Ross Swimmer in October 1975, superseded the 1839 Constitution. The new constitution contained a Bill of Rights, specifications for tribal citizenship or citizenship, three branches of government (executive, legislative and judicial), tribal elections, qualifications for elected office and rules for council meetings. A constitutional convention was held in Tahlequah in 1999 to revise and update the tribe’s constitution. Delegates from throughout the CN discussed, debated and modified the 1975 document. The new constitution included a clause that removed the need to ask the Bureau of Indian Affairs’ permission to amend the constitution. Cherokee voters approved the amendment in May 2003 that removed federal requirements for amendments to the 1975 Constitution. Two months later, voters adopted the 1999 Constitution as the tribe’s supreme law. The tribe and BIA negotiated changes to the new constitution and it was ratified in 2003. However, the secretary of the Interior would not approve it. Proponents of the new constitution filed a lawsuit with the tribe’s Judicial Appeals Tribunal (now Supreme Court) in 2005, asking it to rule whether the 1999 law was valid. On June 7, 2006, the JAT ruled the law became the tribe’s “organic document” when the Cherokee people approved it. The CN officially began using the 1999 Constitution in July 2006. However, as late as November 2011, the BIA stated it has not approved the tribe’s 1999 Constitution or an amendment that led to its implementation. CN Attorney General Todd Hembree, who in November 2011 was the Tribal Council’s attorney, wrote a letter that stated CN has a strong argument that the U.S. government has recognized the 1999 Constitution because the government has approved numerous government-to-government actions between itself and the CN in the past five years. In July, Hembree took part in a ceremony at the Capitol Square in Tahlequah that celebrated the 1839 Act of Union, which had allowed for the creation of the 1839 Constitution. “This Act of Union was not born out of a desire for good government. It was born out of necessity,” Hembree said. “Because if we didn’t come together at that point in time, under those circumstances, all that we fought to preserve could have been lost. It was not just advantageous to unite; it was essential. And that is what happened here, 175 years ago.” <strong>Sources:</strong> “Sequoyah (ca. 1778-1843),” Oklahoma Historical Society; “A History of the Cherokee Indians,” Vol. 8, No. 4, December 1930, Chronicles of Oklahoma, Hugh T. Cunningham; “Curtis Act,” Oklahoma Historical Society, M. Kaye Tatro; “Cherokee,” Oklahoma Historical Society, Rennard Strickland; “Echo Hawk opinion may have ‘drastic consequences,’” Cherokee Phoenix, Nov. 22, 2011.
BY WILL CHAVEZ
08/26/2014 09:00 AM
OOLOGAH, Okla. – On Aug. 17, nearly 120 planes landed on a grass airstrip adjacent to the birthplace home of Cherokee Nation citizen Will Rogers for the annual Will Rogers & Wiley Post Fly-In. The free event is held to honor the memory of aviation advocates Will Rogers and Wiley Post who both died on Aug. 15, 1935, in a plane crash in Alaska. Visitors got access to the planes and pilots and could watch the planes land and take off. Other activities included inflatables for kids, stories told by a Cherokee storyteller, music, classic and antique car show and tours of the home where Rogers was born on Nov. 4, 1879. Tom Brian has attended the fly-in since 1988. He flies in from Jones-Riverside Airport in Tulsa. He said one reason he enjoys the fly-in is to honor the history that includes Rogers and Post. “It’s also a neat bunch of people that get together to look at airplanes,” he said. He is part of the “Commemorative Air Force,” a nonprofit grout that restores World War II aircrafts. “It’s supposed to be a part of living history where we actually keep the airplanes flying and people can take rides and work on them and learn about history,” he said. The airplane Brian flew to the event, a Fairchild PT-19 trainer, was just a frame before it was restored. It took volunteers 15 years to restore it after it sat in a hanger in Muskogee for many years, he said. “In World War II, this was the first trainer pilots trained in before they moved on up,” he said. “A trainer, they usually made it the hardest to fly, it’s very forgiving but it’s also hard to fly, so that trains you well when you go on to more advanced airplanes.” The two-seat plane has open cockpits and a six-cylinder engine. The two seats allowed the instructor to fly with his student. Reed Johnson, of Glenpool has attended the fly-in for 10 years with his 1943 Stinson L-5 named “Lady Satan.” He said his interest in the fly-in has to do with meeting pilots and seeing the planes. “The variety is just amazing. It’s just wonderful,” he said. “The landing strip is about 2,000 feet, which is useable, but a little bit short for most people who have bigger airplanes. The real problem is the morning dew. The morning water on the grass makes it almost like an ice rink. You can’t use your brakes because it doesn’t do any good, so you have to be very precise in your approach and slow down as much as you can and keep your fingers crossed.” Johnson’s airplane was used in World War II as an observation or ambulance aircraft and was sometimes known as the “Flying Jeep.” The paint on the plane represents the VMO-4, a Marine Corps observation squadron that served on Iwo Jima during the battle to take the Japanese island in 1945. “They flew off small carriers and landed on the beach during the invasion, and then they flew off of the beach spotting (Japanese) artillery for the battleships and cruisers,” he said. He’s had the plane about 30 years. He restored it about 23 years ago and has been flying it since. He said he gets to fly it twice a week or more from his private airstrip near Glenpool. Claremore pilot and Will Rogers Memorial Museums docent, Tom Egbert, has flown his Aeronca L-3 plane to every fly-in since 1989. This year he helped promote the event to other pilots. He said the fly-in is always held on the Sunday closest to Aug. 15. “By doing this, it brings a lot of attention to Will and Wiley,” he said. “I think it’s a great event for people to come out and get together in a very unusual atmosphere. The people can actually walk out and talk to the pilots, see the airplanes, get up close, and look in the airplanes.”