Arkansas School of Law launches ‘Indigenous Food and Agriculture Initiative’
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The University of Arkansas School of Law scheduled to launch the “Indigenous Food and Agriculture Initiative” on Jan. 15, making it the nation’s first law school initiative focusing on tribal food systems, agriculture and community sustainability.
The initiative will draw on the nationally recognized expertise of Janie Simms Hipp, who leaves her post as the senior adviser for tribal relations to Thomas Vilsack, secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and on that of Cherokee Nation citizen Stacy Leeds, currently the only Native American law school dean in the country. Hipp will serve as director of the initiative and as visiting professor of law.
“I am honored and thrilled to return to my alma mater and to northwest Arkansas to assist the dean, the School of Law and the University of Arkansas in this important endeavor,” Hipp, a Chickasaw Nation citizen, said. “The initiative we are embarking upon will support tribal governments and rural communities throughout our region and the nation in making investments in our nation’s food and energy security. When indigenous communities use their natural resources to create jobs and strengthen local communities, we all benefit.”
Among its strategic plans, the initiative will provide educational and technical assistance to tribal governments, private entities and businesses engaging or entering the food sector.
Other areas of research, service and education will include agriculture, health and nutrition law and policy development, professional training of government and corporate leaders, and the formation of pipeline programs to engage students at the community level and foster them through four-year higher education institutions, law and graduate opportunities.
Hipp is an attorney and graduate of the U of A School of Law’s internationally renowned master of laws program in Agricultural and Food Law, the nation’s only advanced law degree program in agricultural and food law. She is the founder of the USDA’s Office of Tribal Relations in the Office of the Secretary and served two terms on the USDA Secretary’s Advisory Committee for Beginning Farmers and Ranchers. She also served on two delegations to the United Nations in the areas of women’s issues and indigenous issues.
Leeds is one of five commissioners of the Secretarial Commission on Indian Trust Administration and Reform, established by Secretary Ken Salazar of the U.S. Department of Interior.
The commission was created to conduct a comprehensive two-year evaluation of the department’s management and administration of nearly $4 billion in American Indian trust assets and to offer recommendations on improvements in the future. She will be honored in February with the American Bar Association’s Spirit of Excellence Award for her contributions to enhancing diversity in the legal profession. “This interdisciplinary initiative plays to the strengths of the university and the law school,” Leeds said. “It will further enrich our highly acclaimed L.L.M. program in Agricultural and Food Law, which has produced many of our nation’s most well-respected agriculture law and policy leaders, including Janie Hipp.”
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – The Sequoyah Alumni Association invites all Sequoyah Schools’ graduates to its annual alumni celebration May 6-8 at Sequoyah High School.
The first weekend in May has become known to Sequoyah Schools’ alumni and staff as the annual “alumni weekend,” a homecoming for graduates and a time for anyone who has ever been a part of Sequoyah Schools to come home and see their friends, classmates and former teachers.
The Sequoyah Alumni Association has put together a host of events to give alums ample opportunities to come home, celebrate and share their memories of Sequoyah.
The weekend will kick off with an Indian taco sale and auction in the Tsa La Gi Community Meeting Room at 5 p.m. on May 6. All proceeds will benefit the Sequoyah Alumni Scholarship program. Donations of cash or good, useable items for the auction will be accepted at the meeting room from noon to 4 p.m. on May 6. The public is invited to attend the fundraising events and support Sequoyah graduating seniors.
May 7 will be filled with an alumni golf tournament at the Cherokee Trails Golf Course at 8 a.m., the annual luncheon business meeting at 11 a.m. in the lower level of Sequoyah Schools’ The Place Where They Play, and a banquet at 5 p.m. in the school’s cafeteria followed by a dance at the lower level of The Place Where They Play. Banquet tickets are $10 each and may be purchased at the door. Doors open at 4:30 p.m. for the banquet.
Events will wrap up on May 8 with a breakfast at 8:30 a.m. in the cafeteria. Breakfast is $3 per person.
For more information on the golf tournament, call Jefferson Adair at 918-458-0878. For more information on all alumni events, visit <a href="http://www.sequoyahalumni.net" target="_blank">www.sequoyahalumni.net</a>. Information may also be obtained by calling Dewayne Marshall at 918-718-5850 or Wauneta Duvall at 918-822-3276.
MUSKOGEE, Okla. – Residents in the Muskogee area will have the chance to learn about the Cherokee culture by partaking in a 21-hour Cherokee Nation History and Humanities Course.
The course, which is free and open to the public, will take place at the Three Rivers Health Center and is scheduled for Tuesdays at 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. from May 3 to June 14.
The course will cover pre-European contact through modern day history of the Cherokee people. It will explore law and government, social structure, language and will give a multi-perspective introduction to Cherokee origins and traditions.
Registration is not required, but encouraged. Educational materials and handouts will be provided but participants are encouraged to bring materials for note taking.
For more information or to register, call Catherine Foreman-Gray at 918-453-5289 or email <a href="mailto: firstname.lastname@example.org">email@example.com</a>.
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – Sequoyah High School Performing Arts instructor Amanda Ray and her cast and crew brought Broadway to the Cherokee Nation with performances of the acclaimed musical “West Side Story” on April 21-23 at The Place Where They Play gym.
She said the musical, which happens to be her favorite, was impossible to produce until this year.
“We held auditions back in February and we’ve worked two, three, sometimes four days a week in rehearsals.” Ray said. “I was never able to do ‘West Side Story’ before because it’s such a huge cast and almost all guys. There are two female roles and the rest is all about the Jets and the Sharks, the two street gangs. That’s a lot of guys on stage, and I hadn’t had that many boys in my department to pull it off. And then this year I had a lot of new talent come on to the stage, come into my classes, and once I saw I had that many people I thought I can try it this year.”
Ray added, “It’s definitely the biggest show we’ve ever done, and I don’t just mean cast size. I mean the personalities on stage, the characters on stage, the students had to come out of their shell.”
Ray said the total number of cast and crew was 50. “That’s the largest organization at this school,” she said.
Junior Noah Scearce and sophomore Katelyn Morton respectively played the lead roles of Tony and Maria. “Mrs. Ray thought I’d be good for the part, and I like to sing. Tony sings a lot,” Scearce said.
Morton, who has trained under Cherokee Nation citizen and opera star Barbara McAllister, described the role of Maria as multifaceted. “It’s been fun because I’ve always liked Maria’s character but also difficult because she’s a bit more silly than I am… hard to believe, but yeah.”
Ray described the two leads as being wonderful students and actors, great singers and hard workers.
Another standout was junior Maddie Lamb, who played Anita, a role made famous by Oscar-, Tony- and Grammy-winner Rita Moreno. “Anita is fun, energetic and quirky. I was glad I got the part because I’m kind of the same way.” Lamb said. “Mrs. Ray has worked tirelessly on this production. We helped but Mrs. Ray made this happen. We are all glad we have her to put these things together.”
NORMAN, Okla. – Cherokee Immersion Charter School students recently took home 18 trophies during the 14th annual Oklahoma Native Youth Language Fair for their use of the Cherokee language in verbal outlets.
The students competed in spoken language, modern and traditional song, spoken prayer, spoken poetry, short film and a poster contest.
The Native American Language department at the University of Oklahoma’s Sam Noble Museum hosted the competition that celebrates the use of Native languages in traditional and modern ways.
According to a CN press release, the school won nine first-place trophies, six second-place trophies and three third-place trophies.
“Every day our students are in the classroom learning to speak, read and write the same language as their ancestors so that we ensure it carries on,” Immersion School Principal Holly Davis said. “This competition allows our students to show the public their language proficiency and the pride in their culture, so we are excited to participate each year.”
Dan Swan, interim curator for Native American Languages at the Sam Noble Museum, said this year they had 1,100 students compete. He added that it was the largest number of students to compete in the Native language competition so far.
Swan said the two-day event also set a record high with nearly 3,400 people in attendance.
“There were dozens of languages represented, and the fair has become a key part of our identity in the Native community,” said Swan. “The fair has a huge support base, from financial sponsors to all the judges who come from tribal communities, and who are speakers, that work with us for months to make it happen.”
COLCORD, Okla. – On April 30, authors Jack and Pat Fletcher will be at the Talbot Library and Museum to discuss their three-volume series “Cherokee Trail Diaries.”
The event will be from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. in the Springtown Schoolhouse on the museum’s property.
According to a press release, the Fletcher’s will be presenting information on the status of the Cherokee Trail, along with new trail evidence and the work of groups from Kansas, Colorado and Wyoming.
For more information, call 918-326-4532 or email <a href="mailto: firstname.lastname@example.org">email@example.com</a>.
NORMAN, Okla. – The University of Oklahoma College of Law recently announced a new endowed scholarship for its students. The Frank and Lucille Pope Endowed Scholarship, established by the estate of Mr. and Mrs. Frank and Lucille Pope Jr., is more than $620,000 and will generate approximately $31,050 annually to be awarded to eligible students, with a preference given to Native Americans, specifically of Cherokee descent.
“Frank and Lucille’s powerful gift helps OU Law remain affordable for the most-talented and deserving students,” said OU Law Dean Joseph Harroz Jr. “Their preference for the scholarship monies to be awarded to Native American students further emphasizes our College’s commitment to making a legal education accessible to all. We are grateful for their thoughtful support of OU Law and are honored to be a part of their legacy.”
Frank Pope Jr. was born in Tulsa in 1926 to Frank Pope Sr. and Johanna Chambers Pope. His mother was of Cherokee descent and Frank took great pride in his Native American heritage. He graduated from the University of Oklahoma’s College of Business in 1950. He later earned his law degree from the OU College of Law in 1956. He served in the Army during World War II and as an attorney with the U.S. government in Washington, D.C.
Lucille Pope was born in Lebanon, Pennsylvania, in 1926 to Charles Stout and Blanche Dissinger Stout. After her rural upbringing, Lucille chose to become a secretary and eventually relocated to Washington, D.C. where she served as secretary to the chief of Chaplains for the Army and later at the Pentagon in the office of Gen. Omar Bradley.
Frank Jr. and Lucille married in 1974 and lived in northern Virginia until they retired in 1981. They spent their retirement traveling worldwide, playing tennis and enjoying fine dining. He passed away in 2012 and She passed away in 2015.
Founded in 1909, the OU College of Law has small sections and class sizes that encourage a strong sense of community, accomplished faculty with international expertise and a state-of-the-art facility featuring multimedia study rooms, court rooms and classrooms equipped with the latest technology. As Oklahoma’s only public law school, the OU College of Law is the academic home of more than 500 students enrolled in the juris doctor program, the John B. Turner Master of Laws Program, the master of legal studies program and various dual degree programs. For more information, visit <a href="http://www.law.ou.edu" target="_blank">law.ou.edu</a>.