http://www.cherokeephoenix.orgFormer Sequoyah High School football coach Brent Scott, shown here during a 2007 game, has filed a wrongful termination suit, along with former Assistant Athletic Director Dale Miller, against the Cherokee Nation. In October, the Oklahoma Secondary Schools Activities Association ruled Scott and eight SHS football players ineligible to participate with the team for rules violations regarding summer camps. MARK DREADFULWATER/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Former Sequoyah High School football coach Brent Scott, shown here during a 2007 game, has filed a wrongful termination suit, along with former Assistant Athletic Director Dale Miller, against the Cherokee Nation. In October, the Oklahoma Secondary Schools Activities Association ruled Scott and eight SHS football players ineligible to participate with the team for rules violations regarding summer camps. MARK DREADFULWATER/CHEROKEE PHOENIX

2 terminated Sequoyah employees file suit

Larry Grigg, former Sequoyah High School boys basketball coach and athletic director, instructs his players during a 2007 game. Grigg was recently terminated from Sequoyah Schools along with former Assistant Athletic Director Dale Miller and former Sequoyah football coach Brent Scott. Scott and Miller have filed wrongful termination suits. TRAVIS SNELL/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Larry Grigg, former Sequoyah High School boys basketball coach and athletic director, instructs his players during a 2007 game. Grigg was recently terminated from Sequoyah Schools along with former Assistant Athletic Director Dale Miller and former Sequoyah football coach Brent Scott. Scott and Miller have filed wrongful termination suits. TRAVIS SNELL/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
BY TESINA JACKSON
Reporter
01/15/2013 08:37 AM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – Former Sequoyah High School employees Brent Scott and Dale Miller have filed a wrongful termination lawsuit in Cherokee Nation District Court against SHS Superintendent Leroy Qualls and the CN after receiving notifications of their firings on Dec. 7.

“They were given a 30-day notice and their employee ended on Jan. 7,” former Principal Chief Chad Smith, the plaintiffs’ attorney, said.

According to court documents filed on Dec. 21, the plaintiffs allege Qualls, who signed the termination letters, violated their rights to due process by “terminating their employment without cause.”

Qualls declined to comment due to the pending litigation.

Court documents state that Qualls did not consult or get the consent or approval of the SHS board of education to terminate the plaintiffs as required by CN law and that he breached employment agreements with the plaintiffs by failing to perform in good faith.

“They have a constitutional right to due process and pre-termination hearings,” Smith said.

Scott, who was the head football coach; Miller, the former assistant athletic director; and former Athletic Director Larry Griggs, who is not part of the suit, were placed on administrative leave after the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association declared in October that 12 football players played during the season while ineligible. The OSSAA decision forced Sequoyah to forfeit all nine regular season victories, its district title and its spot in the Class 3A football playoffs.

Scott was scheduled to appear before the OSSAA board on Jan. 9 for a reinstatement hearing, but it was continued to February.

The OSSAA declared the players and Scott ineligible in October because in the summers of 2009 to 2012 Sequoyah paid for players to attend sports camps, a violation of OSSAA rules. Eleven of the 12 players were later reinstated to play the next season’s sports. However, quarterback Brayden Scott, Brent’s son, was not reinstated.

Scott was hired as head football coach on Aug. 9, 2004. Miller was hired on March 16, 1992, and Grigg was hired on Aug. 4, 1997.

Smith said Scott and Miller aren’t currently working. The Cherokee Phoenix attempted to contact Grigg but was unsuccessful.

Smith also filed a temporary injunction motion, which if granted, would prohibit the school “from terminating the plaintiffs employment until their case may be heard on the merits.”

The temporary injunction hearing was scheduled for Jan. 2 but was continued until Feb. 6.

“We should have a full hearing on whether Qualls had the authority to fire them,” Smith said. “My request is to keep them (Miller and Scott) on the payroll.”

Nothing has been scheduled in another wrongful termination case filed by three other SHS former employees against the CN administration.

Plaintiffs Geary Don Crofford, Teresia Knott and Louie Jackson filed a suit on Nov. 2 in the District Court against Principal Chief Bill John Baker, Chief of Staff Chuck Hoskin Sr. and Education Services Director Dr. Neil Morton after being laid off during a June reorganization of the school.

“We intend on winning all of these cases,” CN Attorney General Todd Hembree said. “The Sequoyah High School employees that were laid off and/or terminated, we did so within the Cherokee Nation policy, procedures and law and we look forward to winning these cases.”

Crofford, former dean of academics; Knott, former dean of leadership; and Jackson, former dean of students, were laid off along with five other Sequoyah employees. Two of the eight employees have been rehired in different positions at Sequoyah.

“They have the right to file their suit,” Hembree said. “I’ve never begrudged anyone from having their day of court when they think they have been wronged, but in this instance they haven’t been. It was a decision that was made, like I said, in accordance with the policies and procedures of the Cherokee Nation, but I don’t think any more or less of them for bringing their day in court.”

tesina-jackson@cherokee.org


918-453-5000, ext. 6139

Education

BY STAFF REPORTS
04/28/2017 08:00 AM
TULSA, Okla. – Cherokee Nation Foundation recently hosted Tahlequah High School students at the Junior Achievement of Oklahoma’s JA Finance Park at the Tulsa Tech Peoria Campus. The interactive day provided students the opportunity to put their financial literacy skills to the test in a simulated city where each decision they make impacts their take-home pay and livelihood. “This is a wonderful extension of our partnership with Junior Achievement of Oklahoma, and we are excited that our Tahlequah students were able to participate in their pilot program,” CNF Executive Director Janice Randall said. “A financial education is one of the most important things we can give our students, and we are thankful the teachers and school administrators at Tahlequah High School share that vision.” JA Finance Park is a state-of-the-art mobile facility where students live a fictional life situation, with a marital status, children, a job and a salary. They are then challenged to create and successfully use a budget and make decisions around saving, spending, investing and philanthropic giving. To achieve these tasks, students work in groups and visit 19 kiosks with interactive terminals that simulate stores, restaurants and utility companies among other real-world businesses. “Supporting financial education is a core focus of Bank of Oklahoma,” said Pat Piper, executive vice president of Consumer Banking Services for Bank of Oklahoma and state board member for Junior Achievement of Oklahoma. “Financial literacy and money management skills are crucial building blocks for economic success. That’s why our employees volunteer in dozens of Junior Achievement classrooms each year through our Learn for Life program, and we invest in financial literacy programs to ensure individuals of all ages have the opportunity to be fiscally responsible and economically self-reliant.”?? Shannan Beeler, president of Junior Achievement of Oklahoma, said for 50 years the event has helped students understand the short- and long-term impact of educational, financial and life-style decisions. “It also prepares students to succeed as adults by teaching them some basic, practical money-management skills, which they will need to help them prosper in life,” she said. For more information, call Randall at 918-207-0950.
BY STAFF REPORTS
04/25/2017 12:00 PM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – Sequoyah High School administrators will host a public meeting at 5:30 p.m. on May 8 in the school’s library regarding the proposed 2017-18 Title VI budget and its provided services. The proposed budget supplements students’ college and career readiness and allows for public feedback. The meeting is open to all interested stakeholders. Written comments can be submitted for up to 10 calendar days following the meeting and may be submitted either in person or by mail to Sequoyah High School, c/o Principal Jolyn Choate, PO Box 520, Tahlequah, OK 74465. Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects people from discrimination based on race, color or national origin in programs or activities that receive federal financial assistance. According to the Office of Civil Rights, programs and activities that receive federal financial assistance from the U.S. Department of Education are covered by Title VI. The school is located at 17091 S. Muskogee Ave.
BY STAFF REPORTS
04/18/2017 01:00 PM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – Cherokee Nation officials donated $14,000 to Kansas Public Schools in Delaware County to help construct an indoor hitting facility for the school’s baseball and softball teams. Principal Chief Bill John Baker, Deputy Chief S. Joe Crittenden, Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin Jr. and Tribal Councilor Curtis Snell presented KHS head baseball and softball coach Austin Graham the check at the W.W. Keeler Tribal Complex. “Schools today don’t have the extra revenue to dedicate toward the needs of extracurricular activities,” Tribal Councilor Curtis Snell said. “It’s great that the tribe can step up and help schools like Kansas partially fill the funding gap so that students can have amenities like the baseball and softball teams’ indoor hitting facility.” Graham said that without the donation, the hitting facility would not be possible. “The tribe’s help is huge,” Graham said. “We wouldn’t even be able to think about getting new batting cages or a building built without their support.” The tribe donated the money from its special projects fund.
BY STAFF REPORTS
04/17/2017 12:00 PM
WASHINGTON – U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke announced on April 11 that the Interior has made its final transfer to the Cobell Education Scholarship Fund, bringing the total amount to $60 million to be made available to advanced technical training and higher education for Native youth. The fund provides financial assistance to American Indian and Alaska Native students wishing to pursue post-secondary and graduate education and training. It is funded in part by the Land Buy-Back Program for Tribal Nations and authorized by the Cobell Trust Management Settlement. “This scholarship program advances the Trump Administration’s commitment to tribal sovereignty and self-determination, as well as the President’s belief that ‘education is the civil rights issue of our time,’” Zinke said. “Investment in the next generation of American leaders will allow many of these young people to gain the valuable skills required for today’s competitive workforce and the knowledge and expertise needed to help their communities meet tomorrow’s challenges. Educational development and skills training are vital for sustaining the economic and political advancement of tribal nations and our nation as a whole.” To date, more than 2,000 scholarships totaling more than $5.25 million have been awarded to almost 1,000 Native American students for vocational, undergraduate and graduate study. The scholarship awards are up to $5,000 per semester for vocational and undergraduate students and up to $10,000 per semester for graduate and doctoral students. The application deadline for the 2017-18 academic year was March 31 and information regarding summer 2017 scholarship opportunities can be found via <a href="http://www.cobellscholar.org" target="_blank">www.cobellscholar.org</a>. Under the terms of the Cobell Settlement, the Interior made quarterly transfers to the scholarship fund up to $60 million. The latest transfer of $12.5 million allowed the DOI to reach this milestone in its fourth year of implementation. The fund is overseen by the Cobell board of trustees and administered by Indigenous Education Inc., a nonprofit corporation expressly created to administer the scholarship program. Alex Pearl, Cobell board chairman, said: “We look forward to continuing our commitment to the legacy of Elouise Cobell and the vision she had for an independent, sustainable and dynamic Indian Country. Our board understands that the barriers to education for Indigenous students are significant and multi-faceted. The funds made possible by Ms. Cobell’s determined pursuit of justice for individual Indians provide an essential vehicle for improving the lives of young Native people and their communities. Our goal of creating a uniquely tuned and permanent scholarship program attentive to the needs and issues of Native students will remain our steadfast focus.” The Buy-Back Program was created to implement the land consolidation component of the $3.4 billion Cobell Settlement, which provided $1.9 billion to purchase fractionated interests in trust or restricted land from willing landowners. Consolidated interests are transferred to tribal government ownership for uses benefiting the reservation community and tribal citizens. Since the Buy-Back Program began making offers in December 2013, more than $1.1 billion has been paid to landowners, nearly 680,000 fractional interests have been consolidated, and the equivalent of nearly 2.1 million acres of land has been transferred to tribal governments. Tribal ownership is now greater than 50 percent in more than 13,500 tracts of land. The amount Interior contributed to the scholarship fund each quarter was based on a Cobell settlement formula that set aside a certain amount of funding depending on the value of the fractionated interests sold. These contributions did not reduce the amount that an owner received. The Buy-Back Program recently released its annual Status Report, which highlights the steps taken to date to consolidate fractional interests. Individual participation in the Buy-Back Program is voluntary. Landowners can call the Trust Beneficiary Call Center at 1-888-678-6836 or visit a local Office of the Special Trustee for American Indians to ask questions about land or purchase offers and learn about financial planning resources. More information and detailed frequently asked questions are available at <a href="https://www.doi.gov/buybackprogram/FAQ" target="_blank">https://www.doi.gov/buybackprogram/FAQ</a>.
BY LINDSEY BARK
Staff Writer
04/17/2017 08:30 AM
NORMAN, Okla. – Students from the Cherokee Immersion Charter School and Grand View School, both based in Tahlequah, participated in the 15th annual Oklahoma Native American Youth Language Fair on April 3-4 at the Sam Noble Museum. Students representing languages from different Oklahoma-based tribes also competed, but the CICS and Grand View students placed in numerous categories, taking home first-, second- and third-place trophies. The CICS sent around 90 students from grades pre-kindergarten through sixth, while Grand View sent 18 students, third through sixth grade, to Norman. Students from both schools used the Cherokee language to perform songs, skits and readings. CICS Principal Holly Davis said ONAYLF is the biggest event for the school to attend, and it spends most of the year preparing by having teachers tie in songs, skits and readings into lessons. “It’s a great even for our language portion because…we’re so unique that we don’t always have an opportunity to do something like this. So it’s our big event for our language,” Davis said. This year was the CICS’s 12th year attending and the first year for Grand View. Darlene Littledeer, Grand View School third grade math teacher and Cherokee language instructor, said her students spent the school year learning and practicing Cherokee in an after-school program taught by her and another teacher. “It makes me very happy to see that they’re picking it up,” Littledeer said. The CICS placed in 22 categories ranging from small group, large group and individual competition, while Grand View placed in three categories, large group and one individual grand-prize winner. Moze Factor of Grand View also won the grand prize for poster art with his “Creating a New Generation of Speaker” piece. “I was really proud because they had worked really hard on practicing those songs all this time. I didn’t expect anything like that to happen. They just totally surprised me,” Littledeer said. Davis said teaching the Cherokee language is important because second language learners have better comprehensive skills than single-language learners. “We are so convinced that making bilingual children and saving our language is making smarter kids. Research shows that if you’re bilingual or you speak more than one language, you use more of your brain.” <strong>Cherokee Immersion Charter Schools winners</strong> <strong>Pre-kindergarten through Second Grade</strong> Dayci Starr: “The Story of the Milky Way,” Individual Spoken Language, second place First Grade: “5 Little Monkeys,” Large Group Spoken Language, first place Dayci Starr: “Lord’s Prayer,” Individual Spoken Prayer, second place Second Grade: “Lord’s Prayer,” Group Spoken Prayer, second place Dayci Starr: “At the Cross,” Individual Traditional Song, second place First Starters: “Jesus Loves Me,” Group Traditional Song, first place <strong>Third through Fifth Grade</strong> The Story Tellers (fourth grade): “Cherokee Flag,” Large Group Spoken Language, second place Abigail Paden: “How Great Thou Art,” Individual Modern Song, first place Logan Oosahwe: “The Bible is a Treasure Book,” Individual Modern Song, second place Isaiah Walema: Untitled, Individual Modern Song, third place Dallie Dougherty and Alayna Paden: “My Friend,” Small Group Modern Song, second place Cherokee Songbirds: “Salute to the Armed Forces,” Large Group Modern Song, first place Jenna Dunn: “I Would Not Be Denied,” Individual Traditional Song (Group A), first place Maleah Bird: “North Wind,” Individual Traditional Song (Group A), second place Timothy Dunn: “Beautiful Star of Bethlehem,” Individual Traditional Song (Group A), third place Chet Patterson: “Where the Roses Never Fade,” Individual Traditional Song (Group A), Honorable Mention Isabella Sierra: “Sweet Hour of Prayer,” Individual Traditional Song (Group B), first place Ahnawake McCoy: “Heavenly Home,” Individual Traditional Song (Group B), second place Third Grade: “God’s Children,” Small Group Traditional Song, first place Third Grade: “Eternal Sabbath,” Medium Group Traditional Song, second place <strong>Sixth through Eighth Grade</strong> Sixth Grade: “Celebration,” Group Modern Song, first place Kaitlyn Pinkerton: “At the Cross,” Individual Traditional Song (Group A), second place <strong>Grand View School Winners</strong> <strong>Third through fifth grade</strong> Grand View Cherokee Choir: “This Land is Your Land,” Large Group Modern Song, second place Grand View Cherokee Choir: “Sunday School Song,” Large Group Traditional Song, first place <strong>Sixth through eighth grade</strong> Moze Factor: “Creating a New Generation of Speaker,” Poster Art, grand prize
BY STAFF REPORTS
04/16/2017 10:00 AM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – Woodall School will host its Scholastic Chess Open for students in grades kindergarten through 12 on April 22 at the school located at 14090 W. 835 Road. According to a press release, the event is a Swiss-system tournament, which is a non-eliminating tournament that features a set number of rounds. It is also school team sensitive with machine tie breaks (no blitz). Half-point byes are available for one non-played round except the last round. Players may only “play up” 100 points to a higher-rated section. Registration is from 9 a.m. to 9:45 a.m. All players must check in 15 minutes prior to play in Round 1. Round 1 begins at 10 a.m. for Sections 4 and 5. Sections 1, 2 and 3 begin at 10:30 a.m. Section 1 is kindergarten through fourth grade at U500 with five rounds. Section 2 is kindergarten through sixth grade at U700 with five rounds. Section 3 is grades six through 12 at U700 with five rounds. Section 4 is kindergarten through 12th grade at U1100 with five rounds. Section 5 is kindergarten through 12th grade at Premier 1100+ with four rounds. All sections will be rated using the Chess Express Rating Service. All chess ratings will be looked up by the tournament director. For more information, call Geary Crofford at 918-456-1581 or Jannifer Smith at 918-457-9771 or email <a href="mailto: gcrofford@woodall.k12.ok.us">gcrofford@woodall.k12.ok.us</a> or <a href="mailto: jannifergwen@hotmail.com">jannifergwen@hotmail.com</a>. <a href="http://www.cherokeephoenix.org/Docs/2017/4/11158__brief_170410_WoodallChessForm.pdf" target="_blank">Click here</a>to download the entry form.