Members of law enforcement agencies take merchandise from a United Parcel Service worker on Nov. 27 in Tahlequah, Okla. The package was to be delivered to Outer Zone, a head shop, but shop workers declined to take it. JAMI CUSTER/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Tahlequah business served warrant for illegal substances
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – On Nov. 27, the drug task force of the District Attorney’s Office for District 27, the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office, the Tahlequah Police Department and the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs Control served a warrant and confiscated several items from at local head shop.
Outer Zone, located at 1014 S. Muskogee Ave., was served with the warrant from the Cherokee County District Attorney’s Office for possible merchandise being sold that can be used as an inhalant.
“The investigation concerned the sale of certain synthetic cannabinoids also known as spice also known as K2. It’s got a number of names,” District Attorney Brian Kuester said.
Kuester said a sting-type investigation occurred earlier, which led to the warrant’s issuance and execution. A similar investigation also occurred at an Outer Zone near Moffett in Sequoyah County at 10 a.m. on same day, he added.
“In Roland, we did one simultaneously this morning,” Kuester said.
He said officers were ordered to continue searching the business to determine what could be seized.
“I think it will take a little bit of time. We could be here for awhile,” Kuester said. “If there’s evidence to support criminal charges against the owner, if the evidence shows that there should be criminal charges filed against the employee who was here at the time that’s a possibility. There are a number of possibilities…it will be awhile before the DA’s office and the prosecutorial function receives the entire report and a prosecutor makes a decision as to what charges to file and who to charge.”
According to business license with the City of Tahlequah and the Sequoyah County Sherriff’s Department, Brenda Jason and Cecil Tuck Jr. are the owners of the Outer Zone businesses.
At the time of publication, the investigation of the inventory had not been completed.
Synthetic cannabis is a psychoactive designer drug derived of natural herbs sprayed with synthetic chemicals that, when consumed, allegedly mimic the effects of cannabis.
TULSA, Okla. – Seven Cherokee World War II veterans left Tulsa International Airport on Sept. 23 on a flight to Washington, D.C., to tour memorial sites at the nation’s capital, including the World War II Memorial.
The Cherokee Nation is sponsoring “Cherokee Warrior Flights,” which are similar to the national Honor Flight organization’s goal of helping all veterans, willing and able, to see the memorials dedicated to honor their service. With more than 4,000 military veterans who are CN citizens, the tribe is hoping to replicate that experience for its people.
Native Americans serve at a higher rate in the military than any other ethnic group.
“I have a friend or two that’s made the trip, but I never thought I’d be able to,” 89-year-old Steve Downing Jr. of Locust Grove, said. “I’m very grateful to the Cherokee Nation for this opportunity. It’s something that just touches me in a way that is kind of hard for me to describe.”
Downing spent nearly three years in the Navy aboard the USS Santa Fe as a radar technician helping with supply runs, escorting damaged ships to shore and aiding in Pacific Island invasions.
The “Cherokee Warrior Flight,” which is funded solely by the CN, allowed Downing to see war memorials in the capital for the first time.
“This is a way to tell our Cherokee veterans thank you and that we will never forget their service and sacrifices,” Deputy Chief S. Joe Crittenden, a Navy veteran who traveled on the flight, said. “For most of these men who served in World War II, this will be a trip of a lifetime as they get to see the memorials and monuments honoring their role in defending our great country. They are truly the greatest generation, and we can’t say thank you enough.”
The six other World War II veterans participating on the flight were:
• Navy veteran Dewey Alberty, 88, of Tahlequah,
• Navy veteran Charles Carey, 88, of Hulbert,
• Army veteran Guy Wilson, 97, of Hulbert,
• Army Air Corp veteran William Wood, 94, of Vinita,
• Army veteran Eugene Fox, 91, of Bartlesville, and
• Navy veteran Joseph Leathers, 92, of Big Cabin.
A dinner and reception was held Sept. 22 in the Deer Room at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. Principal Chief Bill John Baker and U.S. Rep. Markwayne Mullin, a CN citizen, thanked the seven veterans for their service and wished them safe travels.
After an overnight stay at the Hard Rock, the veterans departed from the hotel for their flight. On Sept. 24, the group was expected to visit the National World War II Memorial and tour other monuments. On Sept. 25, the veterans were expected to tour the U.S. Capitol and arrive back in Tulsa that evening.
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – Oklahoma gubernatorial candidate Joe Dorman recently visited the Cherokee Nation during the tribe’s Cherokee National Holiday over Labor Day weekend. Since 2003, Dorman has served as a state representative and is currently a member of the Oklahoma House of Representatives representing the 65th District. In 2013, he announced his candidacy for governor. During his trip to the CN, the Cherokee Phoenix had the opportunity to ask him some questions.
<strong>Cherokee Phoenix:</strong> Why did you decide to run for governor?
<strong>Dorman:</strong> I have been a state representative for 12 years and worked on policies and have had an amazing experience in public service. The end of last year, I began working on the storm shelter issue, trying to improve safety and security and the opposition we met along the way through our petition process, because we were forced to do a petition, and visiting with Oklahomans and seeing the growing dissatisfaction with the way the business as usual was handled at the capital, it became apparent that people were not happy and they wanted a different direction. A lot of people talked to me. A lot of people did a lot of convincing. It took a while to convince me it was the right decision, but we announced the exploratory committee on Dec. 17 and haven’t looked back. It’s been wonderful.
<strong>CP:</strong> What do you plan on doing to work with or help the Native population in Oklahoma?
<strong>Dorman:</strong> There’s so much more that we need to do, and we must do a better job at the state developing those partnerships. There are 39 sovereign nations in the State of Oklahoma, and Oklahoma would be the 40th partner in that. We all have to work together. As the governor, I fully intend to appoint a Cabinet-level secretary to work with Native American issues and help foster those relationships. We all have to work together. A rising tide lifts all boats, so we have to work to develop the positives and overcome the obstacles we face, and we must have that health dialogue to make sure we are meeting the needs of all our citizens.
<strong>CP:</strong> What do you think of the Oklahoma Indian Affairs Commission being disbanded and would you bring it back or create something new?
<strong>Dorman:</strong> I think it was a travesty to downsize the degree of importance, what Mary Fallin did with the action she took. I think we need to reinstate that, and I intend to have a full council that will work and then have a liaison who will be the chair and the director, the secretary for our Cabinet level position, to make sure that we work together and find all of the areas that we must address. I want to have somebody integrated in the system that will have direct access to me, and I intend to be fully involved as well. I view the 39 leaders as colleagues, and I will treat them at the same level of respect that I want them to treat me.
<strong>CP:</strong> What do you think of tribal sovereignty?
<strong>Dorman:</strong> I am very much in favor of sovereignty. It’s the law. There’s no other way around it. The tribes deserve to have their sovereignty. They deserve to be treated with that respect. We have to work together. We must honor the compacts. We must honor all of the agreements that have been done by the United States and the State of Oklahoma, and it will be my job as governor to make sure that the compacts in the future are done fairly.
<strong>CP:</strong> What do you think of the tax increase on smoke shops?
<strong>Dorman:</strong> As far as specifics, I don’t really want to go into the specifics of the compacts until I have the chance to study them more and look at them myself, but I want to make sure that the people are treated fairly, and I’m certainly not in favor of seeing any increase in any burden on citizens through their prices.
<strong>CP:</strong> How do you think the Baby Veronica situation was handled?
<strong>Dorman:</strong> I feel it was handled poorly. I think Mary Fallin should have worked harder to take care of Oklahoma citizens, and I feel that it was not done properly. Certainly you have to let the courts and the judicial system play out, but when it comes to a situation where it deals with a person from a sovereign nation, that should take the highest importance.
<strong>CP:</strong> What other issues are you focusing on during your campaign?
<strong>Dorman:</strong> One that will be very important to all our citizens, I’m firmly in support of Medicaid expansion. I will bring those dollars back immediately upon election because that is money that will go to not only benefit hospital across the states and the citizens, but when you look at specifically our clinics, there are so many people that go to the clinics that use emergency rooms as their primary care physician and it’s increased the burden on health care so all our citizens. It’s important they have that access. It’s roughly a $10 billion impact to the state over the period of the program, and we cannot afford to let those dollars that Oklahomans have sent to Washington, D.C., remain there. We must bring them back to benefit our citizens.
And I would say, by far, education is my most important issue that I’m championing. There are critical areas of education we must address. First and foremost – adequate funding for the classrooms and increased pay for the teachers and personnel. We must also reduce the amount of high stakes tests we’re doing and instead put that money into remediation and tutoring to get the kids the help they need rather than face that stress from a test, and I want to develop age-appropriate standards that will benefit our schools through all curriculum.
<strong>CP:</strong> Do you feel that all of the testing is a good thing for students?
<strong>Dorman:</strong> Absolutely not. Most of this testing is a sham that’s being pushed at the national level. We are spending roughly 30 of the last 45 days of the school year testing our kids. They’re not learning while they’re taking a test. It’s unacceptable. I intend to eliminate the third grade high-stakes test. I want to change using the EOI’s (End of Instruction) to convert over to using the ACT exam. It’s a test with a benefit if the students do well. Then they may go to college. They have the opportunity to apply for scholarships. We must do a better job preparing these students. The money we’re spending on these private testing companies, I instead want to turn it back into the programs for remediation and tutoring to help these kids achieve their highest potential, and also, I want to find the resources to help the kids with special needs. We have too many kids with autism, dyslexia and other disorders that are struggling and they’re not getting the help they need.
<strong>To be fair and balanced, the Cherokee Phoenix offered to interview Gov. Mary Fallin, Joe Dorman’s opponent in the Nov. 4 election. However, the Phoenix had not received a response from her campaign as of publication.</strong>
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – The Cherokee Nation recently donated $3,000 to each county fair boards in Cherokee, Mayes, McIntosh and Sequoyah and Tulsa counties to help purchase ribbons and trophies for the winners at each county’s fair.
“Any help we receive from the Cherokee Nation is always very much appreciated,” Sequoyah County Fair Board member Bill Weedon said. “We have a large number of Cherokees in our county, and the tribe’s donation helps our fair board and kids in a number of ways.”
Aside from going toward ribbons and trophies a portion of the money will be used for the local 4-H Club and kid-friendly organizations and activities.
“We are committed to ensuring our partnership with Sequoyah County remains strong,” Principal Chief Bill John Baker said.” Supporting the county fair board means it can continue to maintain the Sequoyah County fairgrounds so that all citizens will be able to utilize and enjoy them.”
Donating money to fair boards in the tribe’s 14-county jurisdiction is something that the CN does annually.
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – Cherokee Nation leaders joined thousands of indigenous leaders from around the world on Sept. 22 at the United Nations in New York City as the United Nations General Assembly convened a high-level plenary meeting known as the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples.
During the opening session of the WCIP, the General Assembly adopted an Outcome Document that provides for concrete and action-oriented measures to implement and achieve the objectives of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The UNDRIP was approved by the General Assembly in 2007.
A strong delegation of U.S. tribal leaders attended the WCIP and voiced support for their priorities addressed in the adopted outcome document. The National Congress of American Indians has joined with a large group of American Indian and Alaska Native tribes and inter-tribal associations to support four priorities that promote implementation of the declaration, establish status for indigenous governments at the UN, prevent violence against indigenous women and children and protect sacred places and objects.
CN Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin Jr. spoke during the conference, expressing appreciation to the UN and leaders of indigenous peoples for working together.
CN Tribal Councilor Victoria Vazquez, who also attended the conference, said she was pleased to see the outcome document adopted and that it includes language “to empower Indigenous women and strengthen their leadership.”
“I agree that indigenous women need to have full participation in policy-making, which is why I ran for office and am attending this conference this week. I also appreciate paragraphs 18 and 19 (in the document) take steps to address the epidemic of violence against indigenous women and children around the world,” Vazquez said. “Yet, these words only comprise the first step. I hope that all member states will take the actions necessary to empower and protect indigenous women and children.”
Vazquez added that states must strive to meet and exceed human rights standards and commit to ending violence against indigenous women and children.
“The rights of indigenous women and children are a cross-cutting issue that requires regular attention in a range of settings and contexts. This should be directly addressed whenever human rights are discussed, not just in specialized meetings and expert sessions,” she said. “Together we have come so far to address these issues, but our journey to protect Indigenous women and children is long. Wado to the UN and member states for the work performed so far, and I look forward to all of the positive changes to come.”
Current NCAI President Brian Cladoosby commended the strong delegation of American Indian and Alaska Native women who traveled to the UN to advocate for strong and decisive action to combat violence against Native women and girls.
“We stand with our sisters in the effort to ensure that all Indigenous women are able to live lives free from violence,” he said.
Cladoosby also applauded the adoption of the outcome document.
“The General Assembly has established pathways for implementation of the UNDRIP, a vital agreement to protect the rights of our peoples. Our tribal governments, together with our brothers and sisters around the world, will need to continue a sustained effort to work with the various UN bodies, including the Human Rights Council and the Secretary General, to ensure that the commitments made today by the UN member countries are fulfilled,” he said.
More than 1,000 delegates representing indigenous peoples from around the world attended the WCIP.
CLAREMORE, Okla. – A Cherokee-owned and -operated business has made its mark in the business world in a big way. Cherokee Data Solutions has received awards for excellence in what it does and continues to grow annually.
CDS was founded in 2001 by CN citizen Pamela Huddleston Bickford, who before starting the business was a stay-at-home mother for 25 years.
“That was an intentional decision by my husband and I that I would support his career and then when it was my turn he would support my career,” she said.
Her late husband, Paul Bickford, was an engineer, so their family was always moving throughout the United States for his job.
“I wanted to create a business that we wouldn’t have to ever move again,” she said. “We wanted to be home near our family, our culture, our tribe, Oklahoma. Cherokee Data was created to accomplish those goals.”
CDS started as a technology company. As the business grew customers began requesting different types of products. The company now provides office supplies, medical supplies, promotional office supplies and structural steel. They also work with firearms, but that is a government-only division.
Huddleston Bickford said her son Ross Bickford, who is CDS’ vice president, has created more than 700,000 items for businesses within the promotional office supplies division. She said the business also customizes products according to customers needs.
“We’ll bring in things that need to be customized, and we’ll do that work here,” she said. “We’re integrators, so we look at what people already have and what their need is and then we’ll suggest what a solution is. Then we’ll take that solution all the way through installation and support.”
CDS also offers the disposal of old technology products, such as computers, when bringing in new products that a company has ordered. CDS takes the old products and wipes all data off of them and then takes the products off to be recycled.
“What we do is take their end-of-life technology, wipe it clean, send it to the right places (to be recycled and reused),” Roger Huddleston, CDS director of marketing and operational excellence, said. “It’s really turned into a really good program, and I think they like it.”
Huddleston Bickford said CDS mainly focuses on government accounts, such as the CN, but also serve commercial accounts such as aircraft manufacturing company Boeing. She added that CDS also works with nearly 30 tribes in the United States and with nearly almost every CN department.
“We’ve got product in the White House, product in the space station, product in Afghanistan,” she said. “Cherokee Data’s all over the world.”
Huddleston Bickford said she thanks the CN and believes it helped the company grow.
“Most of our work is outside of Oklahoma, but the opportunity that we had to ever get big enough to do work outside Oklahoma really goes back to the TERO (Tribal Rights Employment Office) program,” she said. “What it did for us was it allowed us to grow the business to where we can compete for those large contracts.”
CDS works by a golden hour rule, which means within the first hour of contact by customers CDS contacts them.
“Our golden hour rule, it’s a very serious rule,” she said. “You call here, you talk to a person. You don’t have to worry about it. Cherokee Data’s going to get your answer in 60 minutes. You’re going to know if we can do this or we can’t do this. And here’s the ETA of when you’re going to have your quote or your bid or your solution. Then they’re going to get a little notice, ‘Hey, we’re done. It’s shipping. Here’s your tracking number.’ The customer never has to guess. They never have to worry.”
CDS has won numerous awards, including the 2008 Top 30 Women-Owned Business in Oklahoma by the Journal Record, the 2012 US Department of Treasury Preferred Vendor and the Inc. 500|5000 List of Fastest Growing Private Companies in America for its third time in a row.
Huddleston Bickford said the award she was most honored to receive was CDS’s first award, the 2005 Cherokee Nation Supplier of the Year award.
“You always want to win with your own folks,” she said. “It means an awful lot when you get recognized by your tribe. The most exciting thing was that was also the first award the Cherokee Nation ever gave a vendor and that happened to be us. It was a huge honor for us.”
For more information, visit <a href="http://www.okcds.com" target="_blank">www.okcds.com</a>.
CATOOSA, Okla. – Cherokee Nation Businesses Executive Vice President Charles Garrett told CNB board members on Sept. 24 that the company is buying 90.25 acres northwest of the Cherokee Hills Golf Course.
The golf course is owned by CNB and sits adjacent to the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa. CNB is paying $3.7 million for the land. Garrett said CNB expected to close on the property in early October. CNB officials said the land is being purchased from John and Velma Mullen of Afton.
The acreage may be used for the golf course, officials said. The company is waiting on a master plan for “Cherokee Outlets,” a premium outlet shop that was announced on Sept. 10, and a plan from a golf course architect. The shopping area and entertainment and dining zone would be built behind the Hard Rock and would possibly use land on which the golf course and its clubhouse currently sit.
“We are in the process of negotiating with the golf course architect. I anticipate getting that agreement in place in the next couple of weeks and starting to do some preliminary work there,” Garrett said.
He said he wants to schedule work on the area according to the development of the golf course in anticipation for planning the construction of “Cherokee Outlets.” The entertainment and dining zone called “The District” would be located between the Hard Rock and “Cherokee Outlets.”
When “Cherokee Outlets” was announced, Principal Chief Bill John Baker said five to six holes of the golf course and its clubhouse may be lost to the new project, but the holes would be replaced elsewhere on the course.
According to hardrockcasinotulsa.com, renowned architect Perry Maxwell designed the course in 1924 and redesigned by Tripp Davis.
Commercial real estate developer Woodmont Outlets is planning to invest $80 million in the project, which is expected to create 1,000 permanent jobs and hundreds of jobs during the construction phase. Once complete, it is expected to generate $120 million in sales annually and attract 2 million additional visitors to the area per year.
CNB Chief Financial Officer Doug Evans reported that the company had $72.5 million in consolidated revenue for August. The revenue amount was $2.2 million over CNB’s target for August and $7 million more than was generated in August 2013, Evans said.
“As a whole, the company, on a consolidated basis, is having a very strong year,” Evans said.
For 11 months, CNB has generated $757 million in revenue, which is below the company’s target of $762 million. He said in August 2013 the company was sitting at $722 million in revenue.
“So, we’re $35 million ahead of where we were a year ago,” he said.
CNB has nine business components, including Cherokee Nation Entertainment, which oversees the company’s gaming operations.
Also during the Sept. 24 meeting, the CNB board approved the fiscal year 2015 CNB consolidated budget. The revenue target for FY15 is $868 million. That amount is $53 million more than the projected revenue target for FY14, which ends on Sept. 30, of $815 million.
“We’re quickly approaching the billion dollar mark. Don’t be surprised within the next 24 months we’re announcing a billion dollar budget to this board,” Evans said.
He said the net income target for FY15 is nearly $112 million.
Gary Weddell, Hard Rock Hotel & Casino general manager, reported construction of the Cherokee Casino South Coffeyville is on schedule for an opening of date of Feb. 15. He added that the new 170,000-square-foot Cherokee Casino & Hotel Roland is still projected to open May 25, with the attached six-story hotel scheduled to open on July 25.
At the Hard Rock, the seven-story, 148-room Cherokee Tower, which is being renovated, should be done in October, Weddell said. He said the sixth floor should be finished on Sept. 30 and the seventh floor should be finished by Oct. 5.
Cherokee Nation Cultural Tourism Director Molly Jarvis reported that the masonry restoration for the Cherokee capital building in Tahlequah is still in the bid process. She said the restoration includes removal of the paint on the building and resealing the bricks and mortar.
She added that CNCT was preparing for the annual Cherokee Art Market, which was slated for Oct. 11-12 at the Hard Rock.