Tulsa Indian commission honors 3 Cherokees

11/09/2012 08:58 AM
TULSA, Okla. – The Greater Tulsa Area Indian Affairs Commission honored three Cherokees at its 15th annual Dream Keepers Awards dinner on Nov. 6 in cooperation with the Tulsa Human Rights Department.

Tribal Councilor Cara Cowan Watts received the Charles Chibitty Family Community Award, which is given to someone with “overall community participation involvement, and caring are important attributes for citizens for any community.”

Cowan Watts serves as one of three Cherokee Nation District 5 Tribal Councilors.

“I had the honor of meeting Charles Chibitty several times. I was always touched by his sincerity and service to Indian Country and the United States,” Cowan Watts said. “I am humbled to be chosen by the Tulsa Indian Affairs Commission for an award in memory of such an incredible individual acknowledging my passion for community service.”

CN citizen Raymond Rogers received the Rennard Strickland Education Leadership Award. It’s given to one who “believes education is truly the key to the future and the cornerstone of every dream,” according to the TAIAC.

“Ray Rodgers is passionate and tireless in his ongoing work and concern for native students. He doesn't just do his job in Indian Education but works continuously with students, families, teachers and school administrators and staff to make the lives of the students the best possible,” TAIAC commissioner Ann Dapice said.

CN citizen James Ryals received the Lewis B. Ketchum Excellence in Business Award, which is awarded to one who shows that “leadership in business is vital for the community and for the survival of future generations.”

Ryals was hired as operations manager for Arnold Electric in 1995. In 2000, he became president of Arnold Electric Inc., and he now owns the company. AEI has experience in the federal, county and local government levels and the company holds certifications with the SBA, City of Tulsa and CN, according to Ryals’ biography.

The event was held at the University of Oklahoma-Tulsa Campus at the Schusterman Center.

The TAIAC presents awards to 12 local and former residents of Tulsa who have contributed to the local community. The commission holds the event to coincide with the National Native American Heritage Month, which celebrates and recognizes the accomplishments of the peoples who were the original inhabitants, explorers and settlers of the United States, the release states.

Other recipients were:

· Jimmy and Eunice Wildcat - Kenneth Anquoe Lifetime Achievement Award

· Curtis Zunigha - Will Anquoe Humanitarian Award

· Justin Giles - Moscelyne Larkin Cultural Achievement Award

· Patty Beaston - Dr.Ralph Dru Career and Professional Award

· Teresa Runnels - Perry Aunko Indigenous Language Preservation Award

· Nancie Warrior Longacre - Jim Thorpe Sports Excellence Award

· Charles Diebold - Red Eagle Sacred Circle of Spirituality Award

· Richard Tilden - Roberta Gardipe American Indian Veterans Award



About the Author

Jami Murphy graduated from Locust Grove High School in 2000. She received her bachelor’s degree in mass communications in 2006 from Northeastern State University and began working at the Cherokee Phoenix in 2007.

She said the Cherokee Phoenix has allowed her the opportunity to share valuable information with the Cherokee people on a daily basis. 

Jami married Michael Murphy in 2014. They have two sons, Caden and Austin. Together they have four children, including Johnny and Chase. They also have two grandchildren, Bentley and Baylea. 

She is a Cherokee Nation citizen and said working for the Cherokee Phoenix has meant a great deal to her. 

“My great-great-great-great grandfather, John Leaf Springston, worked for the paper long ago. It’s like coming full circle. I’ve learned so much about myself, the Cherokee people and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it.”

Jami is a member of the Native American Journalists Association, and Investigative Reporters and Editors. You can follow her on Twitter @jamilynnmurphy or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/jamimurphy2014.
Reporter Jami Murphy graduated from Locust Grove High School in 2000. She received her bachelor’s degree in mass communications in 2006 from Northeastern State University and began working at the Cherokee Phoenix in 2007. She said the Cherokee Phoenix has allowed her the opportunity to share valuable information with the Cherokee people on a daily basis. Jami married Michael Murphy in 2014. They have two sons, Caden and Austin. Together they have four children, including Johnny and Chase. They also have two grandchildren, Bentley and Baylea. She is a Cherokee Nation citizen and said working for the Cherokee Phoenix has meant a great deal to her. “My great-great-great-great grandfather, John Leaf Springston, worked for the paper long ago. It’s like coming full circle. I’ve learned so much about myself, the Cherokee people and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it.” Jami is a member of the Native American Journalists Association, and Investigative Reporters and Editors. You can follow her on Twitter @jamilynnmurphy or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/jamimurphy2014.


10/15/2014 08:06 AM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – Cherokee Nation Gaming Commission Director Jamie Hummingbird was recently re-elected as chairman of the National Tribal Gaming Commissioners & Regulators, a non-profit organization that promotes cooperative relationships among the commissioners and regulators of tribal gaming enterprises. “When I saw the NTGCR and what it was about and its purpose, I thought ‘this is a good way for me to get back to, to make good on the investment my early mentors made in me,’” Hummingbird said. “I can now reach out to other commissioners and say ‘you’re not alone out there. We’re here to help.’” NTGCR was founded by tribal gaming regulators to provide information and education and promote an exchange of ideas from tribal regulators from across the country. “We get together two times a year and offer up trainings in the areas of audit surveillance, investigations, IT and provide new commissioners and some seasoned commissioners with information and training that everybody would regardless of what jurisdiction they’re in,” Hummingbird said. “We train on federal laws, on compacts. We train on hearing procedures. We train on auditing. We train on anything that a commissioner might need to know to do his or her job.” Hummingbird first elected as NTGCR chairman in 2006. He said the organization is a source of support and information. “Early on when I started this job in 1998, I had very little knowledge gaming let alone how to regulate gaming,” Hummingbird said. “So when I first took this job I reached out to my counterparts at other tribes and they were very willing and happy to share (public) information with me that got me really up to speed in a very short amount of time as compared to learning it on my own.” Hummingbird said during his involvement with NTGCR he has learned a lot about federal law and gaming. “Early on when I started, it was just at the very beginning of electronic Class II bingo, and I was very fortunate enough at the time to see all the different court cases that were happening, which our tribe was involved in, go from the federal courts in the state to the appellate courts and all the way up to the Supreme Court and then being able to see all the other court cases that tribes have been involved in or initiated for different types of games,” he said. “I think by having that early foundation and being able to see this industry grow from the bottom up has really been an experience that very few have had, and I’ve been fortunate enough to be one of those people.”
09/22/2014 12:51 PM
TULSA, Okla. – Principal Chief Bill John Baker will be honored as a “Community Champion” by the Eastern Oklahoma division of the March of Dimes at their 25th annual “Signature Chefs Auction” Nov. 14 at the Cox Business Center Assembly Hall in Tulsa. Baker will be recognized for his dedication to health care and continued improvements for pregnant mothers and babies. “Chief Baker’s incredible efforts to increase health care availability to tribal members, including mothers and babies, thanks to the allocation of more than $100 million for health care improvements make him a worthy ‘Community Champion,’” said Roxanne Minnick, March of Dimes division director. “Just a few of the initiatives accomplished during his time in office include pre and post natal Cherokee Health Services programs, improvements to health centers across the Cherokee Nation, and the addition of private labor and delivery suites for expectant mothers at Cherokee Nation W.W. Hastings Hospital, which averages 1,000 newborn admissions annually.” This high-profile event attracts hundreds of guests, philanthropists and corporations coming together to raise funds and awareness for March of Dimes. The March of Dimes is the leading nonprofit organization for pregnancy and baby health. For more than 75 years, moms and babies have benefited from March of Dimes research, education, vaccines and breakthroughs. Devin Levine, executive chef of the BOK Center Arena and the Tulsa Convention Center in Tulsa, is lead chef of this year’s ‘Signature Chefs Auction’ and will coordinate culinary creations from 20 top chefs in Tulsa. In addition to gourmet food samplings, guests will enjoy wine, distinctive culinary auction packages in the live auction and have the opportunity to donate to Fund the Mission, where 100 percent of monies raised directly serve the March of Dimes. Premature birth, which is birth before 37 completed weeks of pregnancy, is the leading cause of newborn death, and babies who survive an early birth often face the risk of lifetime health challenges, such as breathing problems, cerebral palsy, intellectual disabilities among other challenges. Each year, preterm birth affects nearly 500,000 babies–that’s 1 of every 8 infants born in the United States. American Indian women have the second highest rate for preterm births among all ethnic groups. Through medical research and educational programs like “The Coming of the Blessing,” a specially designed, culturally sensitive prenatal education program for American Indian families, the March of Dimes strives to annually reduce the number of preterm births. Having access to regular and early prenatal care, reducing stress levels and avoiding alcohol, smoking and illicit drugs all help reduce the risk of preterm birth. Sponsorship levels range from $50,000 to $5,000. Table sponsorships are available for $2,500. Individual tickets are also available. For more information, call Roxanne Minnick at 918-877-1096 or email <a href="mailto: rminnick@marchofdimes.com">rminnick@marchofdimes.com</a>.
09/19/2014 12:08 PM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – The National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development has announced its 2014 “Native American 40 Under 40” winners. According to NCAIED, this award will recognize 40 emerging American Indian leaders from all over Indian Country. Those awarded have “demonstrated leadership, initiative and dedication and made significant contributions in business and/or their community.” “The 2014 Native American 40 Under 40 Awards will be presented at NCAIED’s 39th Annual Indian Progress In Business Awards Gala being held at RES Wisconsin October 8th at the Potawatomi Hotel & Casino. Among those being awarded are four Cherokees: Chuck Hoskin Jr., Lindsay Earls, Amber Fite- Morgan and Star Yellowfish. Three are Cherokee Nation citizens and Yellowfish is a United Keetoowah Band citizen. "I'm honored to be on the list. What this honor really reflects is that I've had the good fortune to work with a lot of great people who have given me some wonderful opportunities. Serving the Cherokee people has been the greatest of these opportunities,” Hoskin said. Hoskin serves as Cherokee Nation Secretary of State. Earls works as legislative counsel in CN’s Government Relations department. She said being nominated and recognized meant that her hard work was being noticed. “I was thrilled and surprised to learn that I was included on the list – especially when I found out who the other honorees were. To be listed among such incredible, passionate and motivated people is a greater honor than I could have imagined,” she said. “There are so many talented leaders in Indian Country and I’m humbled to be among them.” Morgan, who works for Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, said she was “really shocked” that she had been recognized, but grateful. “Being selected as a recipient of "Native American 40 under 40" award is an honor and a thrill,” Morgan added. “It reminds me of how important it is to make contributions to my tribe and Native communities throughout North America. I am very humbled to receive such a prestigious award.” Yellowfish, who works as for Oklahoma City Public Schools, said she too is honored to be chosen for the award. “The winners are made up of so many great Native individuals doing great things in their respective disciplines that it should make our ancestors and Indian country proud and confident that our people will continue on,” she said. “This award is especially special because I get to share this experience with my cousin, Sedelta Oosahwee. I am very thankful for the award and I accept it on behalf of my family, friends and the students I work with.” Oosahwee is Mandan, Hidatsa, & Arikara Nation as well as Cherokee. Here is a complete list of those who’ll be honored in October. Justin Tarbell – St. Regis Mohawk Tribe Steve Bodmer – Edisto Natchez-Kusso Indian Tribe of South Carolina Courtney Monteiro – Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah) Amber Fite-Morgan – Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma Clementine Bordeaux – Rosebud Sioux Tribe Star Yellowfish – United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians of Oklahoma Shoni Schimmel – Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation Lindsay Earls – Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma Christina Finsel – Osage Nation Leotis McCormack – Nez Perce Tribe Kelly Myers – Iowa Tribe of Oklahoma Richard Peterson – Tlingit and Haida Kimberly Jorgensen – Inupiaq Jill Fox – Chickasaw Nation Carri Jones – Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe Frank Waln – Rosebud Sioux Tribe Jeffrey Grubbe – Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians Andy Langston – Muscogee (Creek) Nation Peter Hahn – Seminole Tribe of Florida Justin Bennett – Cayuga Nation Paulette Jordan – Couer D’Alene Tribe Pete Coser, Jr. – Muscogee (Creek) Nation Wizpian Little Elk – Rosebud Sioux Tribe Derrick Lente – Isleta Pueblo/Sandia Pueblo Winslow Mexico – Forest County Potawatomi Sarah Eagle Heart – Oglala Sioux Tribe Haven Harris – Nome Eskimo Community Reid Milanovich – Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians Charles “Chuck” Hoskin, Jr. – Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma Alyssa Macy – Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs Florence Clairmont – Yankton Sioux Tribe Miriam Aarons – Inupiaq April Tinhorn – Navajo Nation /Hualapai Tribe Dennis Welsh – Colorado River Indian Tribes Irene Dundas – Tlingit Cody Desautel – Confederated Tribes of the Colville Indian Reservation Joshua Butler – Navajo Nation Timothy Ballew – Lummi Nation William Cornelius – Oneida Nation of Wisconsin Sedelta Oosahwee – Mandan, Hidatsa, & Arikara Nation
09/19/2014 10:20 AM
CATOOSA, Okla. – Joe Washum, Cherokee Nation Businesses director of safety and environmental, was recently recognized by Junior Achievement of Oklahoma with a Red Apple Award for his efforts to increase financial literacy among local students. “I believe that every child needs this type of education to help them be successful in life,” Washum said. “The entire CNB safety department volunteered for a program at Greasy Elementary this past year, and it was incredibly inspiring. We all enjoyed working with the kids to help them understand the importance of an economic education and gave them a better look at how it affects them.” Washum, a Cherokee Nation citizen, has a history of volunteering with Junior Achievement dating back to 1994. Since moving back to Oklahoma in 2008, he has become an advocate for the organization, encouraging friends, family and coworkers to get involved. Washum has administered 19 Junior Achievement programs to kindergarten through seventh grade classrooms and has directly impacted 349 youth. He has also served on the Bartlesville Junior Achievement advisory board with the 50/20 committee, which encourages 50 companies within the community to have at least 20 active volunteers. “We commend Joe for his efforts and thank him for setting such a wonderful example for us all to follow. It is culturally important to us as Cherokee people that we invest in the education of our youth and prepare them to the best of our ability,” Principal Chief Bill John Baker said. CNB partnered with the Cherokee Nation Foundation in 2011 to increase the number of Cherokee students reached by JA programming. As part of the effort, the CN became the first tribe to set up shop in JA BizTown in Tulsa. The kid-sized city teaches financial literacy and life lessons through hands-on application. The commercial space is home to the town’s newspaper, a replicated Cherokee Phoenix. CNB also sponsors rural schools from within the tribe’s 14-county jurisdiction to attend JA BizTown each year. For more information about these programs and more, visit www.cherokeenationfoundation.org or call 918-207-0950. To learn more about the JAO, visit <a href="http://www.jaok.org" target="_blank">www.jaok.org</a>.
Senior Reporter
09/18/2014 07:53 AM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – The 135 new veterans bricks that were placed at the Cherokee Warrior Memorial on Aug. 28 have special meaning to the veterans’ families, especially to the Taylor family, which had 55 bricks placed that day. Each brick list a veteran’s name and usually the armed forces branch he or she served with and the years served. Bricks are placed in the ground in front of the memorial. Veterans from one family are sometimes placed in groups at the memorial, which is what Barbara Taylor Maddox hoped to do for her family members. Maddox of the McKey Community, which is west of Sallisaw in Sequoyah County, came to watch the red bricks be unloaded and organized before they were placed among other veterans’ bricks. “We’ve been out there watching and looking, and it’s been an enjoyable sight to see them placed in the ground,” she said. “We have bought 55 bricks, one for each veteran. Some of the veterans we have are World War II veterans. We have a Civil War veteran, which is my grandfather. He participated as a scout for the Confederacy. We have a Vietnam veteran and then all between.” The Cherokee scout’s name was John Taylor, who was born in 1852 and died in 1928. The names engraved on the bricks are from John Taylor’s family. He had 18 children, Maddox said. He had six children with his first wife Narcissa, and then had 12 children with his second wife Alice. Maddox said four generations of John Taylor descendants who served in the armed forces had bricks placed at the memorial on Aug. 28. Over the years, Taylor descendant gatherings held in McKey were used to honor the family’s veterans, and she said the planning for honoring Taylor-family veterans with bricks was done as a family. “It (bricks) was an idea we talked about at some of our family gatherings. We would say ‘let’s do this,’ so finally it came to a head, and we finally got it done,” she said. Maddox, her sister Barbara Newton, one of her granddaughters and her two daughters also worked together to write and produce a booklet that consists of stories and photos of Taylor family veterans who served from the Civil War to present day. Dr. Ricky Robinson, manager of the tribe’s Veteran’s Affairs Office in the Veterans Service Center, manages the bricks at the memorial and said the new red bricks are different in color and texture than the ones previously used, which are white. The change had to be made because the Muskogee-based brick company used by the CN switched to a laser system to engrave the bricks and had to begin using a special “softer” brick that is red. Robinson said within the two years he hopes to replace all of the bricks at the memorial with red bricks. Family members who wish to purchase a brick for a veteran may get an application form at the Veterans Service Center or the CN Communications Department. The bricks are $25. “A large majority of it ($25) goes to the purchase of the brick and the engraving, and the few dollars of profit goes to the Cherokee Nation Education Foundation, which mostly is used for the maintenance of the bricks and the maintenance of the Warrior Memorial wall,” he said. Cherokee veterans who are honored by the Tribal Council each month receive a certificate for a free brick. Maddox said it was an “emotional thing” to see her family members’ bricks being placed beside other Cherokee veterans at the memorial, including three family members who already had bricks placed there. “It was really wonderful too to just see their names laying there on the ground in front of this beautiful warrior memorial here at the Cherokee complex,” she said.
09/17/2014 08:07 AM
MUSKOGEE, Okla. – In the history of sports there have been famous players of various sports from Oklahoma and even the Cherokee Nation. One CN citizen hopes to one day achieve the ranks of those before him. Coltyn Majors, 7, is a second grade student at Pershing Elementary School. While in school he works to maintain the highest standard of grades while still excelling in sports. Coltyn said he enjoys sports, with baseball being his favorite. He said he enjoys it because, “it’s fun and you get to run and play.” Coltyn plays baseball on a team for children ages 8 and under. He said he trains hard so he can get better each time he plays. Dallas Majors, Coltyn’s father, said he trains with Coltyn. “He practices everyday,” Dallas said. “If we’re not practicing here (Muskogee High School baseball fields), it’s all at the house. We practice hard at the house.” Aside from baseball, Coltyn wrestles. Dallas said this is the sport Coltyn wins trophies in and receives praise from coaches. Coltyn will compete in the open category this year instead of his previous novice category, which is for a wrestler who is within their first two years of competing. While in his second season as a novice, Coltyn wrestled in 87 matches winning 76. He competed in approximately 20 tournaments, winning first place in eight, second place in six and third place in two. Coltyn said this year of wrestling would be, “a little bit hard.” “I’m going to be playing in open and not in novice,” he said. “I’ve been training hard and working out hard.” Aside from winning trophies, Coltyn has won awards for Outstanding Wrestler and Outstanding Sportsmanship. Coltyn said one of his heroes is fellow CN citizen Wes Nofire, a boxer. Dallas said his son looks up to him. Dallas said he has been teaching his son about the world of sports since he was a baby. “He’s been in it knee deep since about 2 years old, learning the game at the age of close to 1,” he said. “He’s been a student of the game for about six years strong.” Dallas said he helps his son strive for excellence with the hope of one day Coltyn receiving an athletic scholarship to a university. “Coltyn’s a very humble kid, and our main goal is to get his scholarship,” he said. “He has three rules before he goes to school: make straight A’s, eat all his food and do not get in trouble. That’s the key to success. He’s got a very bright future as long as he keeps doing what he’s doing. He will make it.” Coltyn still has a long road to haul, but his father said he believes he will do great things in his future. “I couldn’t be any happier. I’m ecstatic and just very grateful. He’s a very warm-hearted kid that brings your spirits up when you’re feeling down,” he said. “I can’t thank all the people that’s helped him along his way.”