In this 2012 photo, Cherokee Nation citizen Angel Goodrich drives past Tennessee Lady Volunteer Glory Johnson during the Kansas Lady Jayhawks’ first Sweet 16 appearance since 1998. On April 15, the Tulsa Shock selected Goodrich as the 29th overall pick in the WNBA draft. COURTESY PHOTO
Tulsa Shock selects Goodrich in WNBA draft
Cherokee Nation citizen Angel Goodrich shoots on Tennessee Lady Volunteer Glory Johnson in this 2012 photo during the Kansas Lady Jayhawks’ Sweet 16 appearance. On April 15, the Tulsa Shock selected the Tahlequah, Okla., native as the 29th overall pick in the WNBA draft. COURTESY PHOTO
BY LENZY KREHBIEL-BURTON
TULSA, Okla. – Selected 29th overall by the Tulsa Shock on April 15, Cherokee Nation citizen Angel Goodrich became the highest-drafted Native American woman in WNBA history.
A graduate of Sequoyah High School in Tahlequah, Goodrich played collegiately at the University of Kansas and averaged 14 points and almost 7 assists per game this past season, leading the Jayhawks to a second consecutive Sweet Sixteen appearance.
“The team that came up big in the third round is the Tulsa Shock,” ESPN analyst Rebecca Lobo said on draft night. “They came into tonight without a point guard. They got their starting guard in the first round and then picked up Angel Goodrich from Kansas. That kid has a real shot to make their roster.”
With its first round pick, the Shock selected University of Notre Dame point guard Skylar Diggins, a four-time All-American and two-time Big East Player of the Year. Diggins’ team eliminated Goodrich’s Lady Jayhawks from the 2013 NCAA tournament.
Prior to draft, Tahnee Robinson was the only enrolled tribal citizen to be drafted by a WNBA team, with the Phoenix Mercury selecting her with the 31st pick of the 2011 draft. One other Native woman, Navajo Nation citizen Ryneldi Becenti, played as a free agent with the Mercury in 1997.
“Angel was the best available player at the time,” Shock coach Gary Kloppenburg said. “Yes, we took a point guard with our first round pick, but she can’t play all 40 minutes. We will need a back up.
“We were surprised that a player of Angel's caliber was still left in the draft at pick 29,” Kloppenburg added. “She is a quality player and will have an opportunity to prove herself in training camp.”
Shock President Steve Swetoha said the team had Goodrich rated high on its draft board and was surprised to see her available at 29.
“She is a very smart point guard who has played against some good competition in the Big 12,” he said.
Goodrich earned First-Team All-Big 12 Conference honors on March 7, as voted on by the league’s head coaches. She was a 2012 Second-Team All-Big 12 selection.
The 5-foot-4 guard led the conference with 3.0 steals per game, while ranking second in the league with 6.9 assists per contest. Goodrich is second on the Jayhawks with 14.1 points per game and leads the team in 3-point field goals with 50.
This past season, Goodrich became a member of Kansas University’s 1,000-point scoring club and also became the all-time career assist leader in Kansas history. She has 201 assists this season, along with 87 steals.
The Shock’s home opener is May 27 against the Washington Mystics.
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FORT GIBSON, Okla. – Cherokee Nation citizen Cierra Fields was recently named to the United National Indian Tribal Youth Inc.’s second class of “25 Under 25 Native Youth Leaders” that honors Native American and Alaska Native youth.
One aspect for being named to the 2016 class is her volunteerism. Fields, a 16-year-old from Fort Gibson, has given her time to different causes for several years.
“First, I worked with Greg Bilby and the Cherokee Nation Comprehensive Cancer Control Program. I traveled with Greg telling people about my cancer (melanoma) and how to prevent cancers. I’ve visited hospitals, public schools, summer school programs, health fairs, job fairs, conferences and even a couple universities,” Fields said. “I’ve created several donation drives such as collecting coloring books/crayons to pediatric patients at Hastings and St. Francis hospitals. I also have collected coloring books/crayons for One Fire Victim Services to give to each child while they do in-take with their clients. I’ve collected prom dresses for my high school and the Talking Leaves Job Corps.”
Also, Fields serves as a National Congress of American Indian Youth Cabinet member and a board member for the Urban Indian Youth Alliance in Washington, D.C.
Other honors Fields has received include being named a Champion for Change, and she’s participated in Indian Child Welfare Act work groups to fight for Native children in the adoption industry. Fields also created the Charles Head Memorial Native Youth Summit, which hosts Native youths from different tribes.
“Two years ago I was raped while I was a keynote speaker at a Native youth summit out of state. I’m sure my rapist had hoped that I would just silently go away. But he didn’t know how Cherokee women are. I didn’t go away. I went to the hospital, reported my rape, filed charges, testified to a grand jury, and the day before my case was to go to trial, my rapist pleaded guilty,” she said. “I learned a lot during that time and One Fire Victim Services, Cherokee marshals, Attorney General Todd Hembree and (Principal) Chief Bill John Baker stood with me. I wanted to be as vocal of an activist as I possibly could. One Fire gave me the opportunity to speak at public events to share the services they offer so other rape survivors could access the help they offered. The most powerful three words that can be said to a rape survivor – ‘I believe you.’”
Fields said she was humbled to be selected as “25 Under 25” Native leader. “I am honored to represent Cherokee Nation and our people. I just want to make a difference in Indian Country.”
<strong>2016 Class of “25 Under 25 Native Youth Leaders”</strong>
Birk Albert, 17, Athabascan – Lake Placid, New York
Caitlin Bordeaux, 24, Rosebud Sioux – St. Francis, South Dakota
Seth Cooper, 19, Walker River Paiute/Assiniboine/Muscogee Creek – Glendale, Arizona
Michele Danner, 18, Inupiaq – Anchorage, Alaska
Sarah DeHerrera, 21, Choctaw Nation – Santa Clarita, California
Cierra Fields, 16, Cherokee Nation – Fort Gibson, Oklahoma
Anissa Garcia, 21, Akimel O’odham – Sacaton, Arizona
Mariah Gladstone, 22, Blackfeet – Kalispell, Montana
Shandiin Gorman, 17, Navajo – Mesa, Arizona
Vance Home Gun, 22, Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes – Arlee, Montana
Sarah Jones, 22, Chickasaw Nation – Ada, Oklahoma
Rebecca Kirk, 24, Klamath – Seattle, Washington
JoRee LaFrance, 20, Crow Nation – Crow Agency, Montana
William Lucero, 19, Lummi – Ferndale, Washington
Jessica McCool, 18, Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians – Solvang, California
Lakota Pochedley, 24, Citizen Potawatomi – Shawnee, Oklahoma
Hamilton Seymour, 16, Nooksack – Bellingham, Washington
Dyami Thomas, 22, Klamath/Leech Lake Ojibway – Seattle, Washington
Tatiana Ticknor, 17, Dena’ina/Tlingit – Anchorage, Alaska
Claullen Tillman, 20, Eastern Shoshone – Lander, Wyoming
DeLesslin George-Warren, 24, Catawba – Washington, DC
Rory Wheeler, 18, Seneca Nation – Irving, New York
Brayden White, 21, St. Regis Mohawk – Hogansburg, New York
Christie Wildcat, 17, Northern Arapaho – Riverton, Wyoming
Eric Woody, 17, Navajo – Kirtland, New Mexico
BARTONVILLE, Texas – Cherokee Nation citizen Kelsey Landrum has been selected as a finalist from 56,000 runners from all over the world for a June 21 relay race around Mont Blanc in the Alps.
“I was chosen as one of 50 finalists in the running for the race of a lifetime: a 15-hour, 41-minute relay race around Mont Blanc. If chosen, I will be blessed with the opportunity to represent both North and South America in one of the world’s most elite races,” Landrum said.
According to <a href="http://races.asics.com/us/en-us/beatthesun" target="_blank">http://races.asics.com/us/en-us/beatthesun</a>, on June 21, eight teams will attempt to Beat the Sun in a relay race around Mont Blanc. ASICS has selected 50 amateur semi-finalists to have the chance to participate in this challenge.
The competition is up to a public vote and the top three candidates from the Americas will be chosen.
“Not only is this race an incredible and humbling opportunity to represent North and South America in the race of a lifetime, but a way that I hope to help people who are facing challenges similar to my own. I struggled with un-diagnosable leg paralysis and an unknown mass in my right hamstring for many years. More doctors than I can recollect told me to forget any chance of running again, and to just move on with my life without it,” she said. “Years of therapy, training and unwavering determination are finally paying off. Every step that I take is a blessing and by participating in this challenge I am proving that no person can set your limitations for you. This challenge has reminded me more than ever to never ignore the fire and passion in your heart. It is something that no person or challenge can take away, and it will drive you to accomplish things you once only dreamed of.”
Each person can vote one time per day, per email account. Those interested in voting can visit <a href="http://races.asics.com/us/en-us/beatthesun/" target="_blank">http://races.asics.com/us/en-us/beatthesun/</a>vote and click on “The Americas” and finding Landrum’s name and picture. Votes can be made through May 20.
“If I am lucky enough to be one of the competitors, I hope people see how truly proud I am of our heritage. It is such a unique, special and important part of our world and something I find is too often forgot about. Being a Cherokee citizen is something I will always be proud of, and representing the Cherokee Nation in this competition would truly be one of the biggest honors I have ever had,” she said.
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – Students in Barbara McAlister’s Vocal Class on April 28 took to Sequoyah High School’s Chapel to give their spring recital performances. McAlister said her students came from places such as Muskogee, Checotah, Stigler and Tahlequah to sing for those who filled the chapel’s pews.
McAlister, opera star and Cherokee Nation fine arts instructor, said her students have worked extensively to prepare for the recital.
“For the recital, some of them have worked for one month. Some have worked longer than that on these particular songs,” she said. “To the study time, some have studied four years, five. One or two are brand new so we’ll see how they do. I admire them for getting up in front of people and performing.”
CN citizen and SHS sophomore Katelyn Morton, 16, sang the operatic aria “Quando M’en Vo” from “La Boheme” and the duet “All I Ask of You” from “The Phantom of the Opera.”
“I’ve always liked “La Boheme,” and I’ve always liked that song. It really shows off the vocal range and everything, and “All I Ask of You,” “(The) Phantom of the Opera” is my favorite play,” she said.
Morton said she’s worked with McAlister for about two years and that McAlister has helped her evolve as a singer and performer.
“I want to be a performer when I grow up, and Barbara has really gotten me out of my shell, gotten me to sing louder, given me a personality,” she said.
Morton said McAlister also helped her with her role as Maria in Sequoyah’s performance of “West Side Story” in April.
“With ‘West Side Story’ I had Barbara help me to reach the vocal range, and she helped me with the volume and how to sing into a mic properly,” she said. “She’s just helped me with everything singing wise and telling a story.”
CN citizen Michael Stopp, who’s been in McAlister’s class since 2012, said it’s an “honor” to work with her.
He said when he was younger he sang at his church and school but didn’t sing much as an adult.
“(I) came back to work on another bachelor’s degree and thought, ‘well, I have some extra time.’ Barbara was available and Cherokee Nation’s providing it so I started taking voice lessons and it’s turned out really well,” he said.
At the recital, Stopp sang two Italian pieces that McAlister helped him learn.
“We started out with musicals where I was singing in English and now I’m singing in Italian,” he said.
Stopp said singing for people helps him conquer one of his fears as well as embraces his family’s musical background.
“I don’t like to have fear, and I’m actually a little scared of singing in front of crowds, so it kind of forces me to deal with that and get up and do it,” he said. “The other thing is I grew up with a musical family. My mother’s side of the family always played some kind of instrument and was doing some kind of musical thing, so it’s just always been part of the life. Kind of took a break during my adult time, but I’ve come back to it again.”
McAlister said she’s “proud” of her students and their accomplishments.
“Some are having leads in musicals. They’re winning ones in state competitions. It aids them in debate. Speech is so important, and I teach a speech-based singing,” she said. “It’s (singing) simple. It can take a long, long time also. From one year to 20 years. It depends on how the voice is developing and how slowly or quickly that particular voice develops.”
She said her students are trained for solos and have the opportunity to learn to sing in other languages, including Cherokee.
“They can go anywhere in the world, and sing many beautiful songs and that’s what they’re being trained to do,” she said. “That’s one-on-one training, and they learn in all languages. Cherokee, Italian, German, French, whatever they have to learn and they pick up the language very quickly because of the vowel sounds. They’re doing great.”
McAlister said she typically trains with a student for one hour a week and that students must be CN citizens and at least 13 years old. For more information, call 1-646-241-3299.
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Cherokee Nation citizen Lisa Snell recently finished writing and designing a guidebook for the American Indian Alaska Native Tourism Association and National Park Service about Native American tribes along the historic Route 66.
The guidebook “American Indians & Route 66,” as well as its website, details the histories of more than two dozen tribal communities along the 2,400-mile byway and their relationships to the road that helped change the West.
Stretching from Chicago to California, more than half the route cuts through Indian Country.
Those behind the project said the work was aimed at filling the gap between reality and the stereotypes once used to lure travelers along the route, from the billboards that featured Indian figures wearing war bonnets to staged photo ops and metal teepees.
Tribes now have a venue to tell their own stories, said Snell, who was tapped by the AIANTA to spend a year traveling the route, doing research and conducting interviews.
It was an eye-opener even for Snell, who publishes the Native American Times and Native Oklahoma.
“It was so much different from what I had been exposed to during childhood, growing up watching the Lone Ranger and what you saw in the advertisements. What I experienced was completely different from the images and the things I read,” she said.
The guidebook was unveiled the first week of May by the tourism association. It includes stories of how communities were affected by the commerce that came along with traffic on Route 66.
The book and website also cover the role played by the federal government’s Indian relocation program of the 1950s and how the romance of the roadway was partly spurred by the marketing of the Hollywood version of the Indian.
Snell's research and interviews indicated what happened along America's Mother Road was more about money than the sharing of a culture.
“Because of the socio-economic conditions, what do you do? You take the job, you put on your buckskins, you put on your war bonnet and you have your picture taken. You do the job,” she said. “That’s been perpetrated through today. It’s still that image we have. It’s lingering.”
Sammye Meadows, who works with AIANTA, said interest in tourism has grown among tribes now that some have fostered successful programs for tapping their own cultural resources.
Foreign visitors alone account for an estimated $7 billion in annual spending in Indian Country and visitation by overseas travelers has grown by nearly 1 million during the past several years, according to data from the U.S. Department of Commerce.
“It’s an evolving thing and I think a lot more stories will come forward,” Meadows said. “People will have stories they would like to contribute to the overall sort of correcting of the tribal image.”
Aside from history that stretches back to the Pueblo Revolt in the centuries before New Mexico was a state and the creation of reservations, the guidebook includes details about key sites along Route 66 – both old and new – as well as etiquette for attending powwows and tips for buying arts and crafts.
For more information, visit <a href="http://www.americanindiansandroute66.com" target="_blank">http://www.americanindiansandroute66.com</a>.
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – Cherokee Nation citizen Steve Hamilton, 87, credits his good health to staying active, as well as his Cherokee blood. Hamilton began running when he was approximately 60 years old and said he’s been running ever since.
“I’ve kind of thought maybe that’s the reason I’m able to get around and do things because of being 87,” he said. “I guess also I can give my mom’s side of the family (credit). She has the Cherokee blood and she lived to be 97. So I guess that’s what it is.”
Hamilton, who was born in Buffalo Valley, Oklahoma, said he’s competed in races throughout his running career and plans to run until he can no longer.
“I’ve run one marathon, two half-marathons, and every year for the last twenty-so years I’ve run at least 10 five-kilometer races per year,” he said. “I’ll just keep running until I can’t go anymore.”
He said out of the races he has competed in his favorites were when he ran across the Golden Gate Bridge and a mud run.
“I was in the military for 10 years and it was like running a military course with water and mud. I did it in 42 minutes. That was two and a half miles through some of the most mud-filled obstacles that you can think of,” he said. “So, I just thoroughly enjoyed it, and I’m waiting for it to happen again this year.”
Hamilton said when he began running he had a heart attack, but he didn’t let that stop him from continuing.
“I did have a heart attack though, in (19)95 I think it was. It’s been so long ago. I had a stint put in. But I was back running within probably three weeks after that,” he said.
He said he makes sure to get regular check-ups to make sure he stays healthy.
“I go to the doctor, of course, once a year for a check-up, everything is fine. And just mainly, I stay out of the doctor’s office,” he said.
Hamilton encourages others who are older to stay active, and possibly take up running.
“I think that that would help them. The thing they need to do is not over indulge. Just do what you can and then a little bit more. If you don’t push yourself then you won’t be able to keep it up,” he said. “I exercise at a facility for six days every week. I look forward to it.”
Hamilton said he is also “proud” to be Cherokee.
“It gives you a lot to be proud of that we come from a very tough line of people,” he said. “I’m proud of the Cherokee tribe.”
PAWHUSKA, Okla. – Jeni Hendricks will not be spending her summer at home this year.
Instead, the Pawhuska native will be in Washington, D.C., as a Udall intern working for the Department of Justice in its division of environmental and natural resources.
A citizen of the Cherokee Nation, Hendricks is one of 12 recipients nationwide for the highly competitive federal internship program for American Indian and Alaska Native undergraduate, graduate and law students interested in tribal policy.
“It’s a little nerve-wracking, but this has been on my radar for two years,” she said. “I’ve wanted to do this and knew if it was meant to be, it was meant to be.”
A Native American studies and anthropology junior at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire, Hendricks found out about the program two years ago while interning for U.S. Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.). Some of the other interns in the Chickasaw Nation citizen’s office were Udall interns and raved about the program, which also provides housing assistance, a regular stipend, travel assistance to and from Washington and an academic scholarship.
To be considered for a spot, Hendricks had to fill out an application, including an essay on the legacy of the program’s namesakes, former Rep. Morris Udall (D-Arizona) and his brother, former Secretary of the Interior Stewart Udall.
“The essay is the most important part,” she said. “You talk about your interpretation of their work. That essay is what gets circulated among the offices to determine who you’re matched with.”
Hendricks said she does not know yet all of the specifics of what she will be doing this summer. Among the duties she has already been appraised of is that she will be sitting in on congressional hearings on different topics and writing up briefings about those sessions. She will also be expected to track the progress of certain pieces of legislation.
With plans to head to law school after Dartmouth and focus on government-to-government relations, Hendricks said she sees this as a golden opportunity to get to build relationships with other Native students with similar aspirations, as well as with more seasoned Beltway veterans.
“The program’s emphasis is on Native policy, but it provides excellent outlet for networking,” she said. “I’m looking forward to getting to know other Native youth who want to make an impact, plus networking with different professionals up on the hill.”
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