Cherokee Nation citizen Sharon Kyles of Locust Grove, Okla., completes a change-of-address form on June 22 after casting a challenged ballot in the Dist. 15 Tribal Council race. Precinct workers in the Locust Grove Town Hall said she was supposed to vote in the Dist. 9 race despite Kyles receiving a letter from the tribe’s Election Commission stating she was in Dist. 15. JAMI CUSTER/CHEROKEE PHOENIX

6 incumbents to remain on Tribal Council

Cherokee Nation citizen Jimmy Leeds of Tahlequah, Okla., signs in on June 22 to vote in the Tribal Council election at the Dist. 2 precinct in the W.W. Hastings Hospital in Tahlequah. TESINA JACKSON/CHEROKEE PHOENIX A Cherokee Nation citizen on June 22 places her ballot into a ballot machine at the District 2 precinct located in the W.W. Hastings Hospital in Tahlequah, Okla. Candidates Tamsye Dreadfulwater and Joe Byrd were vying for the seat. TESINA JACKSON/CHEROKEE PHOENIX Lorraine A. Gifford of Rocky Ford, Okla., places her ballot for the Dist. 2 Tribal Council race in a ballot machine located at the precinct inside Lowery Public School. The Cherokee Nation’s election was held on June 22 and Dist. 2 pitted Tamsye Dreadfulwater against incumbent Joe Byrd. STACIE GUTHRIE/CHEROKEE PHOENIX Cherokee Nation citizen Jeanette Riley of Locust Grove, Okla., votes in a Tribal Council election on June 22 at the precinct located in the Locust Grove Town Hall. JAMI CUSTER/CHEROKEE PHOENIX Cherokee Nation citizen Linda Keener of Rose, Okla., votes in the Tribal Council elections on June 22 at the precinct located in the tribe’s AMO Clinic in Salina. JAMI CUSTER/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Cherokee Nation citizen Jimmy Leeds of Tahlequah, Okla., signs in on June 22 to vote in the Tribal Council election at the Dist. 2 precinct in the W.W. Hastings Hospital in Tahlequah. TESINA JACKSON/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
BY STAFF REPORTS
06/23/2013 04:42 AM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – According to unofficial results from the Cherokee Nation’s June 22 election, six current Tribal Councilors will remain on the legislative body when the new 15-district representative map replaces the five-district map on Aug. 14. In two other district races, one incumbent faces a runoff while another incumbent lost.

Incumbent Joe Byrd of Tahlequah will serve as councilor for the new Dist. 2. Unofficial results showed Byrd receiving 67.97 percent of the votes, or 416 ballots, while Tamsye Dreadfulwater of Tahlequah received 32.03 percent or 196 votes.

“Now it’s time to go to work,” Byrd said. “And all the people that helped, the volunteers, the people that let me put signs in their yard, it was really a team effort and there were a lot of people involved with my reelection and I just want to thank all of the people that supported me.”

Byrd previously served on the Tribal Council from 1987-95 and since 2012. He also served as principal chief from 1995-99.

“One of my main initiatives in this go-around is going to be making sure that any of the elderly that want a storm shelter, I want to make sure they have one available to them because of the uncertainty of what our weather patterns have been,” he said. “Everybody talks about health care and scholarships, and that’s OK and I still support that, but I’m really going to concentrate on our elders this go-around.”

In the Dist. 4 race, incumbent Don Garvin of Muskogee will face challenger Mike Dobbins of Fort Gibson in a runoff election on July 27 because Garvin did not receive more than 50 percent of the vote.

Garvin received 304 votes, or 43.8 percent, while Dobbins received 240 votes or 34.58 percent. Candidate Justin Carlton of Muskogee received 150 votes or 21.61 percent.

Attempts to reach Garvin for a comment were unsuccessful.

Dobbins said he was “happy” to be in the runoff and he has a lot of work in front of him. He added that the biggest concern for Dist. 4 constituents is health care.

“With sequester cuts, I’m trying to reassure the Cherokee people that we will everything we can to keep health services intact,” he said.

Incumbent David Thornton of Vian will serve as Tribal Councilor for the new Dist. 5 when he’s inaugurated. Results showed that Thornton received 56.75 percent of the votes, or 311 votes, while his opponents Dink Scott of Vian received 35.22 percent or 193 votes. Candidate Sherri Doolin of Braggs received 44 votes for 8.03 percent.

Thornton was first elected to the council in 2003. The Phoenix attempted to reach him but was unsuccessful.

In the Dist. 7 race, incumbent Frankie Hargis of Stilwell received 547 votes, or 55.09 percent, to defeat Joe Adair of Stilwell who received 446 votes or 44.91 percent.

Hargis first won a seat on the council in December 2011 during a special election to fill a seat vacated by now Deputy Chief S. Joe Crittenden. She also defeated Adair in that race.

Hargis credited her friends and family for working “tirelessly” with her to win the race. She said she appreciated those who voted for her and gave her their support.

Hargis said she’s heard from Cherokee people that they need help with application processes to receive tribal services such as housing, health care and education.

“We’ve made progress with all of that, and I’m so happy that I get to continue to help moving us forward to even better opportunities for our people,” she said.

In Dist. 9, unofficial results show that incumbent Curtis G. Snell of Rose won by 57.49 percent, or 407 votes, to defeat Lonus Mitchell of Rose who got 301 votes for 42.51 percent. Attempts to reach Snell were unsuccessful.

In Dist. 10, Harley Buzzard of Eucha received 66.82 percent of the vote for getting 290 ballots, while his opponent Nettie Detherage of Fairland received 33.18 percent or 144 votes.

Buzzard was not available for comment when election results were posted.

Tribal Councilor Chuck Hoskin Jr., drew no opponent for the new Dist. 11, so he will be inaugurated on Aug. 14 as that district’s council representative.

Three candidates campaigned for the Dist. 15 seat and unofficial results show that Janees Taylor of Pryor won with 50.7 percent or 289 votes. Incumbent Meredith Frailey of Locust Grove had 45.96 percent of the vote or 262 votes, and candidate Marilyn Cooper of Locust Grove got 19 votes for 3.33 percent.
Attempts to reach Taylor were unsuccessful.

The council’s At-Large Seat No. 2 had six candidates vying for it. Unofficial results show incumbent Jack Baker of Nichols Hills winning with 739 votes for 51.64 percent.

Candidates Curtis Bruehl of Norman received 30.4 percent from 435 votes. Ken Luttrell of Ponca City got 5.87 percent from 84 votes, while Robin Mayes of Denton, Texas, received 5.24 percent from 75 votes. Curtis West of Klamath Falls, Ore., received 3.63 percent of the vote, 52 votes overall, while Carol Richmond of Tulsa received 46 votes for 3.21 percent.

Although the results were unofficial, Baker said he feels he “fought a clean fight and did not run down any other candidate.”

“Even with all the money that was spent trying to take me out, I think the Cherokee people were able to see through that and still re-elect me,” he said.

The Election Commission is expected to certify the results within three days. – Senior Reporter Will Chavez and Reporters Jami Custer, Tesina Jackson and Stacie Guthrie contributed to this report.


News

BY ASSOCIATED PRESS
07/22/2016 12:00 PM
MUSKOGEEE, Okla. (AP) — A federal appeals court has upheld the conviction and 12-year prison sentence of a former Choctaw Nation construction director. A three-judge panel of the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals denied a motion for a mistrial Tuesday sought by Jason Merida, who was convicted in November 2014 on two counts each of theft and tax fraud and one count each of conspiracy to commit money laundering and conspiracy to commit bribery. Prosecutors alleged contractors used false billing practices between 2008 and 2011 during construction of the tribe's Durant and Pocola casinos. Money generated from the false billings was used to make campaign donations and purchase gifts. Merida testified he received gifts from vendors but claimed it didn't affect his decisions because he did not have the authority to select contractors.
BY LINDSEY BARK
Staff Writer
07/22/2016 09:15 AM
BRUSHY, Okla. – Cherokee Nation citizen Breanna Potter and the Brushy Cherokee Action Association on July 14 hosted the second annual back-to-school giveaway at the Brushy Community Center, providing children and their families needed items such as backpacks, shoes, coats and hygiene kits. “We…have some families in our area that are homeless. They don’t have anywhere to live,” Potter said. “We have families in our area that live in tents, and those families oftentimes can’t get those types of items. So we’re just here to kind of fill in the gaps.” In 2015, Potter and the BCCA began applying for an in-kind donation grant through the Running Strong for American Indian Youth Foundation to get the needed items for the giveaway. “The reason we started writing this grant last year was because there’s a big need in our community for basic essential items, and a lot of time a lot of these families fall through the cracks,” Potter said. “They either make just enough that they don’t qualify for things, or some of the families aren’t actually Cherokee so they don’t qualify for services at the Cherokee Nation. So we have a lot of families that end up falling through the cracks and the system and aren’t able to get the items they need, and the kids are the ones who end up suffering.” Earlier this year Potter received another grant through the Running Strong for American Indian Youth Foundation called the Dreamstarter Grant. With it she created a youth group in the community to help youths gain leadership skills and learn about diabetes prevention. Now youth group members, known collectively as the Brushy Youth Dream Team, are in turn using those acquired skills to give back to their community with Potter leading them as program director. Parents of BYDT members said they noticed the development in their children thank to the new skills. “I think it’s great because my kids are shy. This will teach them, maybe, to communicate better with their peers and with adults and learn to make their way in the community and kind of what their role is, that they can do something even though they’re just kids,” Crystal Thomas, mother of a BYDT member, said. Potter said the impacts the BYDT and BCCA are making in the community are noticeable with events such as the giveaway. “The coolest things is when I’m driving around and everything, I see kids out and I see them wearing these shoes, or I see the kids at school and I happen to stop by for a few minutes and some of the kids have the backpacks or the coats,” Potter said. Potter said the biggest impact she’s seen in the community is that kids are able to receive items that their families struggle to provide. Potter said she and her teams are trying to get additional funding so they can host more events and help more families. For more information about the BCCA and the BYDT, visit <a href="http://www.brushycherokeeactionassociation.org" target="_blank">brushycherokeeactionassociation.org</a>.
BY STAFF REPORTS
07/21/2016 04:00 PM
MONTGOMERY, Ala. – Members of the Tri-Community (W.E.B.) Association horseshoe league in Briggs, Oklahoma, are set to compete in the 2016 National Horseshoe Pitchers Association World Horseshoe Tournament on July 25 through Aug. 6 in Montgomery. The members include Cherokee Nation citizens Al Ross, David Mallory and Michael Cummings along with United Keetoowah Band citizens Gary Bearpaw and Billy Vann. As Oklahoma Horseshoe Pitchers Association members, all five men compete in sanctioned tournaments throughout the state to qualify for the annual world tournament. They will compete against pitchers from all over the United States, Canada and Switzerland. This year, the world tournament consists of 935 entries across eight divisions: open men, open women, senior men, senior women, elder men, junior boys, junior girls and junior cadet. The tournament will be held in the Multiplex at the Crampton Bowl. Mallory, Cummings, Bearpaw and Vann are pitching in the open men’s division while Ross pitches in the senior men’s division. There are varying classes within each division where a pitcher is seeded based on his/her ringer averages. Bearpaw is seeded in Class A1, the highest class in the men’s division, with Vann seeded in Class A2, Mallory is seeded in Class B1, and Cummings is in Class D1. Ross is seeded in senior Class A. There are 16 pitchers in each class who pitch over a three-day span known as the preliminary round. The preliminary round is played July 25 through Aug. 3 for all divisions and classes. Once the preliminary round is complete, monetary prizes worth up to $500 are given to the winners of each class. Winners also have a chance to compete in the championship round Aug.4-6. Winners of the championship round compete for a monetary prize worth up to $4,200 and to call themselves a world horseshoe champion. For updates, go to the NHPA Facebook page. For pitching schedules and live coverage, go to <a href="http://www.horseshoepitching.com" target="_blank">www.horseshoepitching.com</a>.
BY ASSOCIATED PRESS
07/21/2016 12:00 PM
STILLWATER, Okla. (AP) — A prosecutor said the state wants its own psychologist to examine a woman charged with crashing her car into a crowd at the Oklahoma State University homecoming parade. The Tulsa World reports that a pretrial status conference in 26-year-old Adacia Chambers' case was held Tuesday. Payne County District Attorney Laura Austin Thomas said the state would like to have its own witness examine Chambers, a Cherokee Nation citizen, if defense attorney Tony Coleman intends to call a psychologist who met with Chambers soon after her arrest. Coleman said at the hearing that he intends to call on the psychologist to testify. Coleman has said Chambers is mentally ill, but she was found competent to stand trial in December. According to Coleman, the psychologist has not yet performed his evaluation of Chambers because he hasn't received a copy of the final order from the judge approving the use of state funds to pay for his services. Prosecutors said Chambers intentionally drove around a police barricade and into spectators on Oct. 24 in Stillwater. Chambers has pleaded not guilty to four counts of second-degree murder and 42 counts of assault and battery. Chambers' trial is scheduled to begin Jan. 10
BY JAMI MURPHY
Senior Reporter – @cp_jmurphy
07/20/2016 04:30 PM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – The Cherokee Nation’s Election Commission approved a press release it intends to use to share voting registration and 2017 election information with CN citizens during its July 12 meeting. In the release, the commission states the first date to remember for the next CN election is Jan. 2, which is the first day to request an absentee ballot. <strong>Other important dates are:</strong> • April 21 – Last day to submit an absentee ballot request form for the general election, • May 27 and May 30 through June 1 – Early walk-in voting, • June 3 – General election, • June 26 – Last day to submit an absentee ballot request form for runoff election, and • July 29 – Runoff election. According to the release, March 31 is the last day for CN citizens to register to vote for the 2017 election. The release states that the Tribal Council seats up for election in 2017 are districts 2, 4, 5, 7, 9, 10, 11, 15 and one At-Large. According to the release, anyone wanting to vote must be a registered CN citizen and registered to vote with the EC. A tribal citizenship card (blue card) alone does not mean a citizen can vote. Also, a person must be 18 years old on or prior to the June 3 general election. Voter applications are available at the EC’s office or online at <a href="http://www.cherokee.org/elections" target="_blank">www.cherokee.org/elections</a>. “Voters residing within the jurisdictional boundaries may vote at their selected precinct, early walk-in voting, or by absentee ballot. At-Large voters may only vote by absentee ballot or early walk-in voting,” the release states. A precinct is an official voting place within a district, as designated by the Election Commission. Voters who reside in the jurisdictional boundaries may select a precinct in the district where their residence is located. Voters residing outside the jurisdictional boundaries, registering for the first time and under the age of 25 may select the districts and precincts of their choice. For more information, write the EC at P.O Box 1188, Tahlequah, OK 74465 or call 918-458-5899 or toll free at 1-800-353-2895. To view the July meeting in its entirety click here. <strong>Frequently Asked Questions</strong> <strong>How do I get an absentee ballot request form?</strong> You can get an absentee ballot request form from the Cherokee Nation Election Commission Office, our website, or contact the Election Commission Office and our staff can mail, email, or fax a form to you. <strong>Will I receive a Precinct Voter ID Card?</strong> Voters registered in the jurisdictional boundaries will receive a Precinct Voter ID Card to inform the voter where they will go to vote. At-Large voters will not receive a Precinct Voter ID Card because they do not have a precinct in which to vote. <strong>I do not live within the Cherokee Nation jurisdiction, can I still vote?</strong> Yes. If you have a Cherokee Nation citizenship card (blue card) you are eligible to vote as long as you have registered to vote with the Cherokee Nation Election Commission. Voters who live outside the jurisdictional boundaries are known as At-Large voters. <strong>I have a felony on my record, can I still vote?</strong> Yes, there is no law prohibiting you from voting in the Cherokee Nation elections. <strong>What do I do if I only have a rural route or P.O. Box address?</strong> If your physical address is a rural route or you only have a P.O. Box, you will need to provide driving directions to your home in order to place you in the correct district.
BY ASSOCIATED PRESS
07/20/2016 02:00 PM
MIAMI, Okla. (AP) — The Shawnee Tribe is planning to build a $1 million cultural center in northeast Oklahoma. The Journal Record reports that the 6,000-square-foot center will be near Miami and will be built in two phases. Construction on the first phase is to begin this fall. Shawnee Tribe Second Chief Ben Barnes says the center will feature artifacts and that it will be able to tell the story of the tribe. Barnes says if other tribes want to put up exhibits, the Shawnee Tribe would be willing to work with them. The center is being built northwest of the Oklahoma Welcome Center on land held in trust for the nine tribes in northeastern Oklahoma, including the Miami, Quapaw, Peoria, Ottawa, Eastern Shawnee, Shawnee, Wyandotte, Seneca-Cayuga and Modoc tribes. The Shawnee Tribe is funding the project.