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.
– REPRINTED WITH PERMISSION
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – The 135 new veterans bricks that were placed at the Cherokee Warrior Memorial on Aug. 28 have special meaning to the veterans’ families, especially to the Taylor family, which had 55 bricks placed that day.
Each brick list a veteran’s name and usually the armed forces branch he or she served with and the years served. Bricks are placed in the ground in front of the memorial. Veterans from one family are sometimes placed in groups at the memorial, which is what Barbara Taylor Maddox hoped to do for her family members.
Maddox of the McKey Community, which is west of Sallisaw in Sequoyah County, came to watch the red bricks be unloaded and organized before they were placed among other veterans’ bricks.
“We’ve been out there watching and looking, and it’s been an enjoyable sight to see them placed in the ground,” she said. “We have bought 55 bricks, one for each veteran. Some of the veterans we have are World War II veterans. We have a Civil War veteran, which is my grandfather. He participated as a scout for the Confederacy. We have a Vietnam veteran and then all between.”
The Cherokee scout’s name was John Taylor, who was born in 1852 and died in 1928. The names engraved on the bricks are from John Taylor’s family. He had 18 children, Maddox said. He had six children with his first wife Narcissa, and then had 12 children with his second wife Alice.
Maddox said four generations of John Taylor descendants who served in the armed forces had bricks placed at the memorial on Aug. 28. Over the years, Taylor descendant gatherings held in McKey were used to honor the family’s veterans, and she said the planning for honoring Taylor-family veterans with bricks was done as a family.
“It (bricks) was an idea we talked about at some of our family gatherings. We would say ‘let’s do this,’ so finally it came to a head, and we finally got it done,” she said.
Maddox, her sister Barbara Newton, one of her granddaughters and her two daughters also worked together to write and produce a booklet that consists of stories and photos of Taylor family veterans who served from the Civil War to present day.
Dr. Ricky Robinson, manager of the tribe’s Veteran’s Affairs Office in the Veterans Service Center, manages the bricks at the memorial and said the new red bricks are different in color and texture than the ones previously used, which are white.
The change had to be made because the Muskogee-based brick company used by the CN switched to a laser system to engrave the bricks and had to begin using a special “softer” brick that is red.
Robinson said within the two years he hopes to replace all of the bricks at the memorial with red bricks.
Family members who wish to purchase a brick for a veteran may get an application form at the Veterans Service Center or the CN Communications Department. The bricks are $25.
“A large majority of it ($25) goes to the purchase of the brick and the engraving, and the few dollars of profit goes to the Cherokee Nation Education Foundation, which mostly is used for the maintenance of the bricks and the maintenance of the Warrior Memorial wall,” he said.
Cherokee veterans who are honored by the Tribal Council each month receive a certificate for a free brick.
Maddox said it was an “emotional thing” to see her family members’ bricks being placed beside other Cherokee veterans at the memorial, including three family members who already had bricks placed there.
“It was really wonderful too to just see their names laying there on the ground in front of this beautiful warrior memorial here at the Cherokee complex,” she said.
MUSKOGEE, Okla. – In the history of sports there have been famous players of various sports from Oklahoma and even the Cherokee Nation. One CN citizen hopes to one day achieve the ranks of those before him.
Coltyn Majors, 7, is a second grade student at Pershing Elementary School. While in school he works to maintain the highest standard of grades while still excelling in sports. Coltyn said he enjoys sports, with baseball being his favorite.
He said he enjoys it because, “it’s fun and you get to run and play.”
Coltyn plays baseball on a team for children ages 8 and under. He said he trains hard so he can get better each time he plays.
Dallas Majors, Coltyn’s father, said he trains with Coltyn.
“He practices everyday,” Dallas said. “If we’re not practicing here (Muskogee High School baseball fields), it’s all at the house. We practice hard at the house.”
Aside from baseball, Coltyn wrestles. Dallas said this is the sport Coltyn wins trophies in and receives praise from coaches.
Coltyn will compete in the open category this year instead of his previous novice category, which is for a wrestler who is within their first two years of competing. While in his second season as a novice, Coltyn wrestled in 87 matches winning 76. He competed in approximately 20 tournaments, winning first place in eight, second place in six and third place in two.
Coltyn said this year of wrestling would be, “a little bit hard.”
“I’m going to be playing in open and not in novice,” he said. “I’ve been training hard and working out hard.”
Aside from winning trophies, Coltyn has won awards for Outstanding Wrestler and Outstanding Sportsmanship.
Coltyn said one of his heroes is fellow CN citizen Wes Nofire, a boxer. Dallas said his son looks up to him.
Dallas said he has been teaching his son about the world of sports since he was a baby.
“He’s been in it knee deep since about 2 years old, learning the game at the age of close to 1,” he said. “He’s been a student of the game for about six years strong.”
Dallas said he helps his son strive for excellence with the hope of one day Coltyn receiving an athletic scholarship to a university.
“Coltyn’s a very humble kid, and our main goal is to get his scholarship,” he said. “He has three rules before he goes to school: make straight A’s, eat all his food and do not get in trouble. That’s the key to success. He’s got a very bright future as long as he keeps doing what he’s doing. He will make it.”
Coltyn still has a long road to haul, but his father said he believes he will do great things in his future.
“I couldn’t be any happier. I’m ecstatic and just very grateful. He’s a very warm-hearted kid that brings your spirits up when you’re feeling down,” he said. “I can’t thank all the people that’s helped him along his way.”
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – Cherokee Nation employee Ralph Winburn, a licensed practical nurse with the tribe’s Jack Brown Center, remembers thinking he was watching a movie trailer on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, as terrorist attacks unfolded in New York City.
In 2001, he was employed by New York City Fire as an emergency medical technician and stationed in South Bronx while living in Queens.
“It was a ‘RDO’ or regular day off, and I was at home surfing the web and looking at the TV with the volume down. And I kind of looked at the TV and thought it was a made-for-TV movie because the bombing in (19)93 had just happened. ‘Wow that’s kind of soon to make a made-for-TV movie,’ he said. “But the screen didn’t change, I turned up the volume, and there was a news announcer stating he didn’t know what happened, if it was an accident or terrorism.”
Anytime there is a possibility of 100 or more patients, Winburn said, even on a day off working for Emergency Medical Services, personnel must put on the uniform and respond to the closest battalion.
“It was two units that went out from there (Queens), and we were trying to figure out the best route because there was no plan for that. They quickly told us that the only route is the only route we didn’t want to take, which was under water, the mid-town tunnel. All the overpasses were shut down for security purposes,” he said. “We took that underwater route and go into Manhattan, and it was kind of eerie because we were the only two vehicles in the mid-town tunnel. That never happens. You’ve got a sea of yellow cabs at all times, trucks, this, that and the other, everyone moving back and forth. It’ll take you probably 30 to 40 minutes to get through that tunnel. We got through that tunnel in four minutes.”
He said once they came out of the tunnel and saw the smoke everything got quiet and somber. For the first two hours he and others helped with the “mass exodus” of lower Manhattan.
“And that happened through waterways or on foot. There was no bus or train services. There was only ferry services. So we were directing people how to get out of the city. After the city was cleared, we were then back to our makeshift hospitals,” Winburn said.
He said in the makeshift hospitals their plans were for every doctor to have two nurses, every nurse to have two paramedics, every paramedic to have five EMTs and every EMT was to triage and treat 15 patients.
“That didn’t happen because within those first two hours either you walked out with the evacuation or you were considered dead,” he said. “The only patients we got were emergency workers. A policeman, fireman, cut here, scratch there, a fall or whatever.”
After working for 16 hours, he said he was required to go home, be off for eight hours and return if needed.
“But before I left, a lot of us had to do a makeshift building of people. Whereas if you knew your anatomy you were needed. If there was a body part and you could identify it, you would label it,” he said. “If it was connected to an MOS uniform, a member of service uniform, then it went to a certain area. If it was not it was considered civilian. It went to a different area that way you could get an accurate body count by building bodies exactly what was there and not there.”
Winburn said one of the more horrific things he experienced during the attacks was the inability to reach his family via phone. But in the aftermath, he said finding out who didn’t make it home that night was just as horrible.
Trying to find a bright side in any bad situation is a challenge, but Winburn said coming out of 9/11 was an appreciation for life.
“I myself, I grew up in an orphanage, so not having mom and dad where most people did was one of those things where you appreciate everything that is around you, whereas most people don’t,” he said.
He said experiencing 9/11 intensified that feeling of appreciating life.
“To make me want to go forward and continue to do good and share this gift of life that I was given with everybody else,” Winburn said. “The only thing we ask, I say we, I mean people who have gone through that experience, is that everyone not forget. How you choose to not forget is basically what counts to you.”
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – Cherokee Nation citizens and sisters Faye Morrison and Kaye Callaway have been members of the Tahlequah Veteran’s of Foreign War Auxiliary since age 16. They said it’s one of the ways they give back to their country and community.
Morrison recently received her 50-year membership pin from the organization to which she said she was proud to have. She got involved with the VFWA because her parents were and it was just what you did back then, she said.
“We just were always a patriotic family,” Morrison said.
And patriotism is what has kept her a member for 50 years, he said.
“We just always had that in the back of our minds,” she said. “It was what our parents did, and we just felt like it was the thing to do. What little we could do to give back to serve our country in what way we could.”
Callaway, a retired teacher who recently received her 45-year pin, said during the years she hasn’t been as active as her sister because of different things that keep her busy, but she’s always tried to help.
“You know through the year I had the school, OEA – Oklahoma Education Association. Then during the summer, I worked with the Tahlequah Girls Softball League, so you know my year was full. But when it came to convention time, we’d usually all go to the state convention,” Callaway said. “And it was just kind of like that’s how we were raised to give back to the community. It’s not ‘give me something.’ It’s ‘what can I do for you.’”
Morrison said she and her sister remember their mother being involved in the VFWA. Before they were old enough to go into the Veterans Affairs hospital in Muskogee, she said, her mother organized bingo games there for veterans.
“I guess when it was not school time, of course, she couldn’t get a baby sitter and back then it was OK just to let your kids run around out in the parking lot. Of course, Honor Heights Park was right there. She did that for I don’t know how many years,” Morrison said, “probably at least 50 years. Once I got old enough I started going with her and helping her. For the last 30 years, I’ve been what they call the representative and it’s my job to go over and put the party on. Used to be hers, now it’s mine.”
Callaway said she enjoyed helping at the hospital as a young woman.
“It was really neat back then because we were young and we got to help all of these old men, you know. And at that time they had those cards where you slide the little red over when you get a number, and we would help them do that and ‘oh you missed one’ and, you know, their prizes were socks and bar soap, a tooth brush, a comb…and they thought they were getting a pot of gold,” Callaway said.
Morrison said sometimes she dreads driving to Muskogee, but that feeling leaves her when she gets there.
“Sometimes I think ‘Ugh, the second Tuesday of the month and I’ve got to go to Muskogee, drive over there, hot cold, rain, shine,’” Morrison said. “But you make somebody happy, even if it’s just one person.”
The VFWA has received more than 300 combined years of volunteer service from all the female members in sisters’ family, all of which are or were Cherokee, dating back to the 1950s.
Not only have the women been involved, but they have also had men serve as well, including their father Luther Hammons and brother Jerry E. Hammons.
To be a VFWA member, a woman 16 years or older must have a family member that has served in a foreign war. Dues are $10 per year.
For more information on the VFW or VFWA, Morrison asks people attend a potluck luncheon at 11;30 a.m. at the VFW on the second Monday of each month, and bring a dish.
The VFW also provides donuts and coffee to veterans from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. on the first and third Wednesday of each month from. It will host its annual bean dinner from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Veteran’s Day. The dinner is free to all veterans. For those who haven’t served it’s $3. Bingo is every Monday night at 6:30 p.m. The VFW is located on Choctaw Street near the Choctaw and Bluff Street intersection.
BY STAFF REPORTS?
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – The White House has named Cherokee Nation citizen Daryl Legg a “Champion of Change” for going from a three-time convicted felon to someone who’s helped positively change the lives of dozens.
Legg was sentenced to prison three times for drug possession, but turned his life around and now runs a work re-entry program helping other Natives overcome similar obstacles.
Legg, 43, of Sallisaw, is the Nation’s director of vocational programs, which includes a new program called “Coming Home.” The program helps former prisoners get back on their feet upon release, including help with jobs and housing.
Since the program started in September, 53 of the 55 formerly incarcerated participants have stayed out of prison, with the majority maintaining steady jobs.
“I’m thankful I belong to a tribe that gives me the freedom to do what I love and give back,” Legg said. “The feeling of being able to be trusted again is an awesome feeling, and I’m thankful to the Cherokee Nation and the White House for this award. More than anything, I’m glad to see the reentry issue getting the attention it deserves.”
On June 30, Legg was honored at the White House with 14 other recipients. The “Champions of Change” award is given to ordinary Americans doing extraordinary things in their communities. The White House says it received more than 900 nominations for the category Legg was honored in, which is re-entry and employment for the formerly incarcerated.
Legg has been a director of CN vocational programs since 2009. It’s the same program that years earlier offered him the opportunity to learn employment skills after being sent to prison twice in Arkansas and once in Oklahoma.
Legg eventually graduated from Northeastern State University with a major in psychology in 2006 and worked his way up to a director before starting “Coming Home.”
“Daryl has helped the Cherokee Nation develop one of the most progressive reintegration programs in Oklahoma and across Indian Country. His humanity and commitment make him a deserving White House Champion of Change honoree,” Principal Chief Bill John Baker said. “Like Daryl, I believe we can’t just give up on people after incarceration. We must open doors of opportunity for our people, not keep them closed.”
The “Coming Home” program is for citizens of federally recognized Native American tribes. Applicants must contact the program within six months of release to be considered for participation.
For more information on the program, call Legg at 918-453-5000, ext. 3832 or email <a href="mailto: firstname.lastname@example.org">email@example.com</a>.
For more information on the “Champions of Change” award, visit <a href="http://www.whitehouse.gov/champions" target="_blank">www.whitehouse.gov/champions</a>.
BY STAFF REPORTS
TULSA, Okla. – Oklahoma’s Native American community presented a special tribute at the BOK Center to honor Tulsa Shock guard and Cherokee Nation citizen Angel Goodrich and the Atlanta Dream’s rookie Native sensation and All-Star MVP Shoni Schimmel.
Schimmel is a citizen of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Reservation in Washington.
Principal Chief Bill John Baker joined Muscogee (Creek) Principal Chief George Tiger and Osage Nation Principal Chief Geoffrey Standing Bear for pregame activities.
“Angel and Shoni both had outstanding college careers and now have taken that next step as a pro. They are immensely talented and successful and true role models for young Native people,” Baker said. “Without really asking for it, they have become ambassadors for tribal citizens nationwide and that carries some extra pressure. I respect them for their class and maturity as much as I do for their creative brand of basketball. All of Indian Country want to see them thrive because there is so much Native pride in seeing them win and receive the highest accolades.”
The MCN Office of Public Relations, in coordination with the Tulsa Shock, presented a pregame event that featured more than 50 dancers representing most of the state’s 38 federally recognized tribes.
Native Americans dressed in their respective traditional attire covered the arena floor in an intertribal dance accompanied by the drumbeats and songs of a local singing group the “Redland Singers.”
“Through the athletic talents and accomplishments of Native American athletes such as Angel and Shoni, they’ve united and inspired youth and tribal members, not only in Oklahoma, but across the United States,” Tiger said. “Native Americans are showing their pride and appreciation wherever they appear, pride in their accomplishments and pride in their traditions and cultures. It is a unifying phenomenon that we want to perpetuate.”
This was the first meeting between the Shock’s second year guard and the Dream’s rookie sensation. Both were highly recruited following successful collegiate careers at Kansas University and the University of Louisville, respectively.
The Shock lost to the Dream 85-75. The two teams were to play each other again on Aug. 15 in Atlanta.