New England Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker walks on the sideline in the fourth quarter an NFL football game against the San Francisco 49ers on Dec. 16 in Foxborough, Mass. AP PHOTO/ELISE AMENDOLA

Welker sets another NFL record

New England Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker returns a punt during the first quarter of an NFL football game on Dec. 10 against the Houston Texans in Foxborough, Mass. AP PHOTO/STEVEN SENNE
New England Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker returns a punt during the first quarter of an NFL football game on Dec. 10 against the Houston Texans in Foxborough, Mass. AP PHOTO/STEVEN SENNE
BY Phoenix Archives
12/21/2012 09:07 AM
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Cherokee Nation citizen Wes Welker again has his name in the NFL record books.

Despite a home loss to the San Francisco 49ers on Dec. 16, Welker, a New England Patriots wide receiver, finished the game with five catches for 56 yards, putting him at 100 catches on the season. It’s the fifth time in Welker’s career that he has hit the 100-catch mark, a new league record.

Before the 49ers game, Welker was tied with Jerry Rice, Marvin Harrison and Brandon Marshall with four 100-catch seasons. Welker broke the record on a 12-yard pass from Tom Brady in the fourth quarter.

The 49ers game gave Welker 100 catches on the season for 1,172 yards and four touchdowns. For his career, Welker was sitting at 750 catches for 8,398 yards and 36 touchdowns with two regular season games to go.

Welker has averaged 7.2 receptions per game in his six seasons with the New England Patriots since being traded from Miami in 2007.

Welker also owns the Patriots franchise record for receptions, consecutive games with a reception and ranks third in career receiving yards, trailing Troy Brown and Stanley Morgan.

Welker started slow this season, playing only 70 percent on offense in the first two games of the season. However, since then he’s heated up. Two weeks prior against the Miami Dolphins, Welker set a league record for the most 10-catch, 100-yard games with 16, passing Jerry Rice and the Texans’ Andre Johnson. He also tied Rice’s NFL mark with his 17th career game of 10 or more receptions.

In the last six seasons, Welker has more receptions than anyone else in the NFL with 654. Marshall is second on the list with 575.

Welker’s five 1,000-yard seasons as a member of the Patriots are a team record. He also now has a reception in 108 straight games.

“It won’t mean anything if we don’t win the game,” Welker said after practice before the 49ers game. “My focus is on the 49ers, trying to go out there and execute to the best of my ability and try to help us win this game.”

Welker played high school football at Oklahoma City Heritage Hall before having a stellar career at Texas Tech University. He was signed as a free agent by the San Diego Chargers before being traded to the Miami Dolphins and later the Patriots.


12/11/2014 10:39 AM
LOCUST GROVE, Okla. – Seventeen-year-old Cherokee Nation citizen Mason Fine received the 2014-15 Gatorade Football Player of the Year for Oklahoma on Dec. 4 at Locust Grove High School, the school’s first winner of the award. The junior helped lead the Pirates to a 13-0 record, as of Dec. 9, and a playoff berth in Class 3A. He said being recognized with the award meant a great deal not just to him but also to his team, coaching staff, family and community. “It’s a huge honor to be awarded with that, and not so much as an individual goal, but as a team goal. It just shows how much we work here, (and how much) we work everyday,” he said. Mason said he was contacted about the award around mid-season and had complete paperwork for it. He didn’t learn he had won until the morning of the presentation. He added that his teammates and coaching staff have been supportive. “You know they’re all happy for me. We’re all glad to be a part of this award and accomplishment. It shows where our team is at,” Mason said. Dale and Terrah, his parents, said they were so thankful for everyone that’s had a hand in Mason’s life. “They have been a huge part of Mason’s life and have helped him in so many ways. This is a huge honor for our son and our family. We are very proud of him and his team’s accomplishment,” Terrah said. According to a Gatorade Player of the Year release, it’s the 30th year of honoring the “nation’s best high school athletes.” It also states the award recognizes not only outstanding athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the field and distinguishes Fine as Oklahoma’s best high school football player. Fine joins an elite list of past award-winners, including Mark Sanchez (2004-05, Mission Viejo HS, California), Wes Welker (1999-00, Heritage Hall HS), Terrell Suggs (1999-00, Hamilton HS, Arizona), Anquan Boldin (1998-99, Pahokee HS, Florida) and Jerome Bettis (1989-90, Mackenzie HS, Michigan). Fine carries a 4.0 grade point average, is No. 1 in his class and serves as junior class president. He also has served as a youth football instructor and is a member of the National Honor Society and Fellowship of Christian Athletes. Mason said his future goals are winning the “gold ball” or state championship in football, having another great season his senior year and going to college on a football or academic scholarship. “Playing football is a very good possibility in college. Football is my love, and I would love to play football as long as I could,” he said. He added that he couldn’t have won the award without the positive influences in his life. “I do want to thank my teammates from the offensive line to my receivers to even the defense for stopping the opponent and getting us the ball back. Even to the scout team defense when our offense is playing at practice,” Mason said. “I got to thank all my coaches, you know, my parents especially for being there always, my family, friends and God. Give God all the glory.” The Gatorade Player of the Year program recognizes one winner in Washington, D.C., and each of the 50 states annually in high school football, girls volleyball, boys and girls cross country, boys and girls basketball, boys and girls soccer, baseball, softball, boys and girls track and field. It also awards one National Player of the Year in each sport. To view Mason’s award video <a href="" target="_blank">Click here</a>. <strong>Mason Fine’s statistics for the 2014-15 season</strong> Passing yards and touchdowns: 4,469 yards, 65 TDs Passing completion percentage: 69 percent – 292 completions of 424 attempts Rushing totals: 134 attempts, 522 yards, 10 TDs According to a Gatorade release, Fine beat the previous single-season Oklahoma records of 3,916 passing yards and 54 TD passes.
12/05/2014 04:00 PM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – Cherokee author Daniel H. Wilson is teaming up with Oklahoma-born actor Brad Pitt to produce the science fiction movie “Alpha” under Pitt’s “Plan B” banner. According to the Hollywood Reporter and a newsletter sent by Wilson, the movie company Lionsgate picked up “Alpha,” and Wilson, who came up with the idea, will write the screenplay. Project details are being kept secret, but it is known to be sci-fi survival story that has shades of Jack London, the author behind such tales as “White Fang” and “The Call of the Wild.” Wilson – the author of “How to Survive a Robot Uprising,” “Robopocalypse,” and “Where’s My Jetpack?: A Guide to the Amazing Science Fiction Future that Never Was” – released a follow up to “Robopocalypse” in June titled “Robogenesis,” which received rave reviews from The New York Times and recently made the LA Times Bestseller List. Famed Director Steven Spielberg considered adapting “Robopocalypse” into a movie. Wilson has also written several screenplays, including a remake of Cherry 2000 for MGM and adapted his book “Bro-Jitsu: The Martial Art of Sibing Rivalry” for the Nickelodeon channel. “Plan B” last produced the zombie movie “World War Z” and the Oscar-winning slave drama “12 Years a Slave.” In other news, Wilson is featured in the new science fiction book “Carbide Tipped Pens,” which consists of “17 tales of hard science fiction” written by more than “a dozen of today’s most creative imaginations.” “Hard science fiction is the literature of change, rigorously examining the impact – both beneficial and dangerous – of science and technology on humanity, the future and the cosmos. As science advances, expanding our knowledge of the universe, astounding new frontiers in storytelling open up as well,” states the book’s description. Wilson, is also involved in “EARTH 2: WORLD’S END,” a new weekly comic book series that explores the origins of a world that saw its greatest heroes die – and new ones take their places. It’s also a world where Superman became its greatest villain, and a man named Zod seeks to save it, along with Batman, Green Lantern, The Flash and other heroes. “Death and destruction will follow each week, and you’ll never know who will live and who will die,” states the comic’s description. The comic debuted on Oct. 8 with the 48-page color issue. It is written by Wilson and two other writers and is priced at $2.99. Wilson, 36, was born in Tulsa and is a Cherokee citizen. He attended the University of Tulsa where he majored in computer science. At TU he earned a fellowship to attend Carnegie Mellon University’s Robotics Institute in Pittsburgh. There he received master’s degree in robotics, another master’s degree in machine learning, and in 2005 he completed requirements for a doctorate in robotics. He said he plans to write a third book to make the Robo-story a trilogy. In “Robogenesis,” which is set in the Osage Nation in Oklahoma and has Cherokee and Osage characters, the machine code used by the machines, Archos, has survived. The machine code has fragmented into millions of pieces and is hiding and regrouping. “In this book I think more about intelligent machines and how they would try to manipulate people. The way they manipulate people is through emotion and religion, love and hope, and so as a thriller it just becomes a more complex book,” Wilson said. “Robogenesis” has also received acclaim from horror novelist Stephen King and the Wall Street Journal.
12/05/2014 08:30 AM
WASHINGTON – Bartlesville High School senior Ashlee Fox spent Dec. 3 missing her calculus class to meet with Vice President Joe Biden in Washington, D.C., and sit in with tribal chiefs from across the country. After being nominated by Principal Chief Bill John Baker, the 17-year-old tribal citizen represented the Cherokee Nation during the first week of December as a youth ambassador for the sixth annual White House Tribal Nations Conference. She was chosen to serve as one of 36 youth ambassadors at the conference, which aims to strengthen the relationship between the U.S. government and the 566 federally recognized tribes. “This conference is a great opportunity since all Native American youth should have a voice in the decision-making that goes on within the federal government,” Fox said. “I’m greatly honored to have been nominated by Chief Baker for this experience.” President Barack Obama’s administration and the National Congress of American Indians hosted the conference. While there Fox toured the White House and met with first lady Michelle Obama’s chief of staff. She watched a memorandum of understanding agreement between Indian Health Service and N7, Nike’s Native American brand. Fox also met other Cabinet-level officials and attended breakout sessions on the Violence Against Women Act, tribal health care, education and the Affordable Care Act. “Ashlee is a wonderful example of a Cherokee citizen who is committed to improving her local community and the larger world. I find that impressive at any age, but especially when I meet and work with a high school student who is so dedicated,” Baker said. “She is concerned with the future of Indian Country, and I know she will continue to be an agent of positive change for Native people.” Fox is a Cherokee Nation Tribal Youth Councilor, a student representative for the Johnson-O’Malley Program, a member of American Indian Student Association and attends the Squirrel Ridge ceremonial grounds. She also completed an internship under CN Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin Jr. this past summer. The conference was Fox’s first trip to Washington, D.C.
Senior Reporter
12/04/2014 11:45 AM
OAKS, Okla. – The Oaks Indian Mission is now being directed by a familiar face. Town native and Cherokee Nation citizen Vance Blackfox returned in October to serve as the mission’s executive director. He previously served as the mission’s chaplain and as annual fund director before leaving about six years ago to return to graduate school at the Lutheran School of Theology in Chicago. There he earned master’s degrees in theological studies and American Indian ministry. Blackfox, 38, said he wanted to return to the Oaks Indian Mission for various reasons. “A few of the reasons would be to continue to serve in this ministry and in this organization where so many of my ancestors and so many of my relatives have served. Secondly, I think it’s a vitally important organization and ministry both to the church and Indian Country. We provide services to children that are just not being met in other places,” he said. He said the mission is residential facility for children who come from different tribes and tribal backgrounds from across Oklahoma. They arrive at the mission because “they have a particular need,” whether it be structure, to escape poverty, educational assistance, leadership and service abilities or with spiritual formation, whether Christian or tribal traditions. Presently, there are 30 children from 15 tribes living at the mission, which nearly straddles the Cherokee-Delaware county line but is located in Delaware County. Blackfox said the mission is licensed to care for 48 children, but at the moment is not able to accommodate that many children. “We’re working on opening up another dorm in the future to expand that number. We’ve had more in the past, but right now that’s the number (30) that we’re caring for,” he said. Ninety percent of the mission’s funding comes from individual donations, families, congregations and organizations. “Almost all of that 90 percent are Lutheran,” he said. “Part of the hope is that others will see the value of our mission here to care for Indian children who are still very much in need. So, we need some others to join in, in order to continue serving children as we have.” He said recently CN Tribal Councilor Curtis Snell recently gave the OIM funding to re-roof two buildings, and in the past other tribes have donated funds when their children are placed at the OIM. But for the most part the mission has had “very little support” from tribes, he said. The children attend Oaks Public School, located across the street from the mission, and if needed can stay at the mission until they graduate from high school. Blackfox said the mission keeps in touch with children who leave to go on to vocational training or college to see how they are doing. “We run into alumni everywhere. I’ll be at a fundraiser that’s related to Indian people or maybe not even related to the mission, and I’ll run into someone who says, ‘Oh, I lived at the mission.’ That happens a lot throughout Indian Country, throughout the United States,” he said. Blackfox said the alumni are usually thankful for their time at OIM and excited to hear the mission still operates to help Indian children. “We have all sorts of young people who are functioning well and are functioning in a healthy way despite the conditions they come from at times. Not all of the conditions are horrible for our children. This just happens to be a better place for them for a variety of reasons that is determined by their family, by them or by their tribal governments or agencies or Indian Child Welfare,” he said. Blackfox said sometimes children who come from ICW or the Department of Human Services “almost feel defeated” and may see the mission as part of the system they have been dealing with for years. “Because of the way we are set up in regard to our homes and to our connection and focus on faith formation and spiritual renewal, and because of all the services we provide to help them to a healthier place, they often times turn into some of our best young people,” he said. “That may be because of their gratitude and thankfulness that they are in a place that’s caring and loving or it could just be that they realize this is a place that they get to stay for a little while. I know that one of our young people rejoices that he’s been here for six months. That’s the longest he’s been anywhere, not by any fault of his own.” The mission, which is staffed by 20 people, is affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America and is a Lutheran social service-related organization. It also connected to the Ebenezer Lutheran Church in Oaks. Blackfox said the mission is arguably the longest continuing ministry and service organization serving Indian people in the United States. It began in Georgia when the CN invited the Moravian Church to establish a school to teach Cherokee children. A mission and a school was established at Springplace, Georgia, in 1801 and was later moved to Indian Territory as the Cherokee were forced to what is now Oklahoma. The Moravian Church opened New Springplace near present-day Oaks in 1842. In 1902, the Moravian Mission passed its heritage onto the Danish Evangelical Lutheran Church, and the Eben Ezer Lutheran Church was established in 1903. The mission for children was opened in 1926. Blackfox said he grew up poor and lived some of the cycles the mission’s children are living. “That’s why I think it’s important personally because I know some of the journeys that they’re on,” he said. “This isn’t the most glamorous job to have and not always the most thank-filled job to have, but when the creator calls for you to care for children; you have to listen.” For more information, call 918-868-2196 or visit <a href="" target="_blank"></a>.
Senior Reporter
11/26/2014 02:13 PM
TULSA, Okla. – Cherokee veteran Peggy Zuber of Tulsa is proud of 21 years of service in the U.S. Navy and the Army Reserve. Zuber served four years in the Navy beginning in 1976 and was involved in communications, held a top-secret clearance and worked with cryptographic equipment. She then served 17 years in the Army Reserve as a communications operator for military intelligence and performed civil affairs, training and inspections. While in the Army Reserve, Zuber supported overseas operations in Belgium and Germany and received medals and ribbons for her service. She retired from the 95th Division in Des Moines, Iowa, as a sergeant first class in 2001. After retiring, she worked as a Department of Defense contractor. Now a contract analyst for Cherokee Nation Businesses, Zuber was named “Oklahoma Veteran of the Year” by the Oklahoma Women Veterans Organization in October, the month after receiving the tribe’s Cherokee Warrior Award and the Cherokee Medal of Patriotism. Zuber, 59, said her military service allowed to experience much more than she would have as a civilian. “I’ve met many people. To me that’s fascinating, meeting people from all walks of life and working with a variety of people all the way from an admiral in the Navy all the way down to a seaman recruit,” she said. “I’ve had a taste of both branches. The Army Reserve provided more of an opportunity for me to go overseas, especially for training. I don’t know what it is, but it seems like once you’ve been in you’re always in. Anytime I can help someone, especially a veteran, it makes me feel really good.” Being a part of the OWVO allows her to help other veterans. It was formed 30 years ago and is based in Norman. Zuber said its Tulsa branch, where she serves as secretary, was formed three years ago. “We’ve all came together, regardless of branches. It’s like we have this bond,” she said. The organization raises funds to help women veterans with financial assistance, care packages and scholarship funds. Zuber has led fundraisers for the organization and raised more than $1,000 at a garage sale in September. The OWVO also assists with homecomings and events such as “Stand Down” and “G.I. Wishes.” She also volunteers as a Veterans Treatment Court mentor to help women veterans working to recover from addictions, have mental health problems or are charged with non-violent felonies. She is also working toward paralegal certification from the University of Tulsa to further assist the Veterans Treatment Court. “I’ve been witness to one (women) that has really made a difference. She was homeless. She’s been going to this treatment court and she’s been going back to school. It’s amazing to see her getting her life back after being homeless for two years,” Zuber said. “It’s just amazing to see the community support. The Veterans Mayor’s Committee has been developed, and there’s so many things starting to come up to support veterans.” She added that some women veterans having difficulties served in war zones in Iraq and Afghanistan. Zuber spent a year total in Iraq in 2003 and 2004 and a year in Amman, Jordan, as a contractor with the Department of Defense in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. She worked in bases in Balad, Baghdad, Kirkuk and Tikrit in Iraq. “That was interesting. You’re working with the locals and you’re also working with the local countries to get goods and equipment in as well as getting someone who would really come into the base (to pick up supplies) because their lives were threatened,” she said. While she was there a couple of local Iraqi contractors were killed for associating with Americans. Zuber survived constant mortar attacks while in Iraq, which she said she adjusted to after a while. She said she was “shocked” to receive the Cherokee Warrior Award and the Cherokee Medal of Patriotism because there are so many Cherokee veterans who also deserve the award. “I was really honored to have it as a Cherokee citizen. I was very honored,” she said. “I’m just happy to have been able to be in the military and support the different projects. I would do it again.”
11/19/2014 03:21 PM
KENWOOD, Okla. – Kenwood School’s eight-man football team, the Kenwood Indians, on Nov. 1 won the Organization of Rural Elementary Schools Division 3 state championship against Mosely Schools. During a recognition ceremony at a Locust Grove High School Football game on Nov. 7, Kenwood head coach and United Keetoowah Band citizen Miguel Ortiz said the state title is something he and the 11 Cherokees on the team have been working towards for four years. “I’m just super proud of them, you know, I’m just glad. It was my first state championship, and it was their first one too, you know,” he said. “I’ve been here since they were like fourth graders so, you know, ever since we was younger I’ve always told them, I said ‘if you put the work in when you’re young and do things good like right now it will all pay off when you get older.’ They really stuck to that and that’s what we’ve been doing.” Ortiz said working extra hours and on the weekends is what helped them reach the state championship. “Actually, we did a lot. We practiced a lot and ran a lot harder than we normally do. You know, in the past few years we got beat in the semis and the finals and we just worked extra hard this year,” he said. “They come on the weekends, you know, over fall break. We practiced two or three different times on Sundays just to get some extra work and running in. And this is a good group of athletes too, you know, not only are they athletic, but they’re a hard working group. That’s why they did really well.” The team is made up of six eighth graders, four seventh graders and one sixth grader. Of the 11, five are UKB citizens and six are Cherokee Nation citizens. The players are Lucas Vann, Rylee Smith, Kyle Panther, Justin Budds, Nathan Blackbear, Braedon Turner, Jacob Six, Keelan Davis, Leo Chumwalooky, Aaron Budder and Christian Glass. CN citizen and quarterback Keelan Davis said after playing together so long, they’ve just improved over the years. “We’ve been playing together since we were real little and just kept getting better over the years. We played as a team. It was what our goal was since were was real little, to win a state championship, to achieve that goal (means a lot). Kept working hard everyday,” Davis said. Ortiz said during playoffs the team beat Leach, Wickliffe and Rocky Mountain and Mosely in the championship. This is the first football championship for the school, he added. “This is just a really good group of kids. This is my first championship, too. I wouldn’t have it any other way. The team ended the season with a 9-1 record. Ortiz said to look out for the Kenwood Indians during basketball season, too, because he expects them to do well.