Bryan Scott Dugan
CN citizen joins The New York Times staff
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – Cherokee Nation citizen Bryan Scott Dugan joined The New York Times staff on July 31 as a copy editor.
He is working at the newspaper’s editing center in Gainesville, Fla., which serves as an area for copy editors to prepare stories for the paper’s national and international editions and other newspapers that subscribe to receive The New York Times articles.
Dugan is a copy editor for the wire service and a designer for international versions of the newspaper.
A 2008, graduate of Sallisaw High School in Sequoyah County, Dugan graduated from the University of Oklahoma in 2013 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism.
He also edits for “Mental Floss” magazine and previously served as a “Dow Jones News Fund” copyediting intern last summer. This position is a highly sought after position for collegiate journalists interested in a career in editing and design.
At OU, Dugan was editor-in-chief of the 2012 Sooner yearbook, a national Pacemaker finalist book that has won 19 Gold Circles from the Columbia Scholastic Press Association. The association will announce in October if the yearbook will be awarded a Pacemaker, often called the Pulitzer Prize of collegiate journalism.
Dugan is also a member of the Native American Journalists Association.
He is the son of Scott and Tonya Dugan of Sallisaw and is the grandson of George and Linda Turnipseed Collins of Midland, Ark.
His future plans include completing and publishing a “fun” novel and to hike the entire Pacific Crest Trail, which would take three months or longer.
MUSKOGEE, Okla. – Matt Qualls played through injuries to have a stellar basketball season while playing for the Warriors of Bacone College.
The senior forward from Tahlequah earned numerous honors during the season, including the NAIA Third Team All-America, Red River Athletic Conference “Men’s Basketball Player of the Week” three times; the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics “National Division I Men’s Basketball Player” of the Week for Feb. 16-22; and being named to the 2015 NAIA Division I Men’s Basketball All-Star Team.
The Cherokee Nation citizen also was named to the first team 2014-15 Red River Athletic Conference Men’s Basketball All-Conference Team.
During the first week in February, the 6-foot-7-inch Qualls set career highs in points on consecutive nights. He scored 35 points and 11 rebounds on Feb. 6 against the University of the Southwest (New Mexico). The following night, Qualls scored 37 points and 15 rebounds against the University of St. Thomas (Texas). The game also marked the 12th double-double of the season for Qualls. He connected on 27-of-51 shots from the field and 18-of-22 from the free throw line for that week.
“I had some things to prove. I haven’t got to play a full year of college basketball in a couple of years, and I definitely knew my game was the best it’s been in a couple of years. I was really wanted to make a statement,” he said.
After receiving all-conference and all-state honors in high school, Qualls suffered a setback before he could play his first college game. He had to have a tonsillectomy a month before his first game at the University of Central Oklahoma.
“I couldn’t breathe, and I got strep throat three times in the same semester. I had to miss the whole season. I ended getting a medical redshirt for that,” he said.
He transferred to Southwestern Oklahoma State University in Weatherford where be finally got to play. At SOSU, because he did not enroll in classes he needed to transfer to a NCAA school, he had to choose a NAIA school and chose Bacone.
The Muskogee school is closest to his 6-year-old daughter in Tahlequah about 25 miles away, which he said was huge factor in choosing Bacone. He said he felt like he had something to prove at Bacone because people who knew him and knew how well he played in high school would often ask what happened to him.
He said he wishes the Bacone team, which had many freshmen starters, could have won more games his senior season after finishing with a record of 7-22. About 10 of those games were lost by slim margins, Qualls said.
“Trying to get a double-double every game was basically my goal, and I knew not to take bad shots and it ended up where I led the country in scoring. I played my butt off really because I knew I only had a handful of games left in my college career,” he said.
Qualls led the country and the Red River Conference in scoring at 26.0 points per game and pulled down a conference leading 11 boards per game. He scored 351 points in the 2013-14 season and 676 points in 2014-15 for a total of 1,027 points.
On Feb. 20, Qualls scored a career-high 47 points against LSU Shreveport in an 88-82-overtime loss. Qualls also pulled in 19 rebounds on his way to winning player of the week. He also became just the third player in school history to record 1,000 career points since Bacone joined the NAIA.
“I’d say having that career night down in Shreveport was probably a really memorable night for the season,” he said.
Qualls played through a high ankle sprain in early January that slowed him down until late in the month, missed games early in season with calf muscle tear, had to receive four stitches above his eye right after the Feb. 20 LSU Shreveport game. So, Qualls was still able to have a stellar season without being 100 percent for much of the season.
He is studying health and physical education and hopes to get a chance in the D-League, the National Basketball Association’s development league or join a professional team in Europe, he said. Eventually, he wants to be a coach like his father Leroy Qualls.
“I definitely want to coach for sure in the long run. Basketball is just in my blood. I picked up a lot throughout the years from a lot of good coaches and my dad,” he said.
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – Cherokee Nation citizen and Tahlequah High School junior LaNice Belcher will spend her summer a little different than most teenagers her age, touring throughout the United States with the Genesis Drum and Bugle Corps performing music from “Phantom of the Opera.”
Belcher, 17, said at first she wasn’t interested in the corps but changed her mind when realizing that being a part of the group would be the best choice for her future.
“I didn’t really want anything to do with the program. I wasn’t interested,” she said. “As I started to read up on it I was like, ‘this is actually really cool.’ I was like, ‘you know what? I really need to experience this. I need to know what it’s like so I can use this as a experience for what I’m going to do later on whenever I’m a band director.’”
Belcher said she received the music for the audition but decided not to try out because she believed she couldn’t make the group. After skipping the first audition, she decided to give it a go.
“I was freaking out because drum corps is like a really big thing, especially like around here,” she said. “I went to the next audition camp and I have never worked for so long and so hard on music.”
Belcher earned the synthesizer 1 spot in the group and has had to perform copious amounts of training, both physically and musically at camp and home, to maintain her spot.
“We just rehearse like 12 hours a day. So that’s going to be in the blazing hot sun. That’s going to be a lot of stress because we’re trying to learn all this music, trying to learn the show, trying to get everything down perfectly,” she said. “It’s like a professional group. The atmosphere is very intense.”
Belcher said although training is challenging, she looks forward to the experiences she will gain.
“I’ve never been part of such a group that’s so devoted to what they do. We give up everything. I’m pretty sure I’m about to give up prom so I can go to camp,” she said. “I’ve given up so much, but it’s all worth it because I know this summer’s going to amazing. I’m going to get to experience so many different things. I’m going to get to go to so many different places, meet so many awesome people and musicians.”
Belcher said there are about 120 members consisting of the color guard and brass and drum lines.
“That’s what we’re dealing with right now,” she said. “We have quite a few people, but everyone’s hard working and determined.”
The Genesis Drum and Bugle Corps will also compete against other groups from the United States.
“We’re going up against some of the toughest drum corps in the whole nation,” she said.
Belcher said the competition would ultimately make her better as a musician and strengthen her work ethics. She said it is important for people to strive for the best they can be.
“If I really want something I will work as hard as I can to get it. I will always be trying to get better. My parents, they have instilled that into me. That’s something that’s very fundamental in my life,” she said. “I want to be able to encourage other people that they can do it, too.”
Genesis was founded in 2009 and is based out of Austin, Texas. Each year the group participates in a numerous performances. According to its website, the corps is open to performers between the ages of 15 and 21 and is a full-time summer commitment. Performers and staff travel for 65 days during the summer, participating in more than 25 performances as well as competing for a world championship finalist spot.
All camps and rehearsals are held in Austin, and that is where Belcher travels to once a month to rehearse.
For more information, visit <a href="http://www.genesisdbc.org" target="_blank">www.genesisdbc.org</a>.
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – The Cherokee Nation honored two brothers who served in the U.S. Armed Forces during the Korean War with Cherokee Medals of Patriotism during the March 16 Tribal Council meeting.
James Darrel Kennicutt, 83, and Herman Diviuns Kennicutt, 80, both of Tahlequah, received a medal and plaque from Deputy Chief S. Joe Crittenden acknowledging their service to the country.
Pfc. James Kennicutt was born on Feb. 2, 1932, in Tahlequah to C.H. and Onie Kennicutt. He enlisted in the U.S. Army National Guard in 1950 and attended basic training at Fort Polk, Louisiana. After being assigned to the machine gun platoon, he was deployed to Hokkaido, Japan, for eight months of advanced training. In December 1951, his division was deployed to Korea in an area known as the “Iron Triangle.” James served as a .30-caliber machine gunner. He was honorably discharged from the Army National Guard in 1952. He later enlisted into the U.S. Air Force in 1954. He trained as an electronic turrets mechanic and was stationed at Loring Air Force Base in Maine until he was honorably discharged in 1957.
Sgt. 1st Class Herman Kennicutt was born on Oct. 15, 1934, in Tahlequah to C.H. and Onie Kennicutt. He enlisted with the U.S. Navy in 1953 and attended basic training in San Diego. He served aboard the USS Hollister as a torpedo man in Japan and Korea before being assigned to the USS Ozbourn. He was honorably discharged from the Navy in 1957. Herman enlisted in the Army in 1958 and was deployed to Korea for a year. He was stationed in multiple bases in the U.S. and Germany before spending 1966-67 in Vietnam during that conflict. He retired from the Army in 1974 with more than 20 years of military service.
“I do want to thank the Cherokee Nation for the things they do for veterans, especially this new veterans center that sits down here,” said Herman Kennicutt. “It’s been a real boom for a lot of people, a lot of veterans who didn’t have anywhere else to go or anyplace to go for help. The late Rogan Noble, many of you knew him, gave me a lot of help in getting me disability through the veterans administration. So, to Rogan and all of the Cherokee Nation, thank you very much.”
Each month the CN recognizes Cherokee service men and women for their sacrifices and as a way to demonstrate the high regard in which the tribe holds all veterans. Native Americans, including Cherokees, are thought to have more citizens serving per capita than any other ethnic group, according to the U.S. Department of Defense. To nominate a veteran who is a CN citizen, call 918-772-4166.
BRUSHY, Okla. – On March 5, Olympic gold medalist Billy Mills announced that Cherokee Nation citizen Breanna Potter was a recipient of a $10,000 “Dreamstarter” grant.
This is the first class of American Indian youths to receive the grants for projects that help them bring their dreams to life. Each of the 10 “Dreamstarter” recipients, who are all American Indian youth under age 30, will work together with a community nonprofit to increase wellness supported by Running Strong for American Indian Youth.
Potters’ dream is to work with local youths to educate their rural community about diabetes prevention and healthy eating. Her project will locally address the epidemic of diabetes and poor nutrition that many Native communities face. It would also teach the Native youth team members leadership skills, training in public speaking and promotion and organizing to help them follow their dreams.
“We’ve been working on this for so many months, and we poured a lot of our hearts into this, so it means a lot to us that we got selected,” Potter said.
She said that in her application she had to explain what her project was for her community group, which is the Brushy Cherokee Action Association in Sequoyah County. Her application also had to explain how she wanted to use the funding, a detailed timeline and a detailed budget for how the money would be spent.
Her project has two parts. The first is to establish a youth leadership team using Cherokee youths living in Brushy who demonstrate leadership qualities and do well in school who will likely be future leaders.
“We’re going to take them and try to give them some life skills, teach them to make some good choices now, teach them things like building a resume,” Potter said. “And then those students are actually going to create a diabetes prevention program, which is the second part of our program. They’re going to educate the Native community about what diabetes is and how they can prevent.”
Potter said one reason she chose to tackle diabetes prevention is because her mother lives with type I diabetes, although about 90 percent of Native people who have diabetes have type II diabetes.
“We want people to know in some cases it’s preventable (type II diabetes), and we want people to know that in making healthy lifestyle choices such as healthy eating and being active, things of that nature, they’re able to help prevent it,” she said.
Potter said she is paying forward the help she received from adults in her community who mentored her in high school and encouraged her to attend college. She said they told her “she could accomplish things” and “she could be a role model to other people.”
“That made such a difference in my life. I remember seeing so many youth my own age that had all the potential in the world but didn’t have anybody there the help them,” she said. “I’m very thankful to Vickie Owens. She’s been the mentor in this project. She’s poured in a lot of time and energy and a lot of herself. And a big thank you goes to the Brushy community and the Brushy Cherokee Action Association for all that they have done and offered up to the program.”
Potter is a senior at Northeastern State University in Tahlequah majoring in special education. She said she eventually wants to work in a high-Native population and teach in a junior high or high school.
Potter said she hopes to get her project going in July and that she and others are doing prep work for it.
“I’m so inspired by our first class of ‘Dreamstarters,’” said Mills. “The ‘Dreamstarter’ program is one more step towards overcoming the poverty of dreams among so many Native young people. The ‘Dreamstarters’ come from communities and tribes all over the country. They are bound together by the idea that, despite the challenges, their dreams can guide them to build a strong future for themselves and for their communities. I look forward to working with each ‘Dreamstarter’ over the next year, to helping them grow into leaders, and to watching their dreams come to life.”
Running Strong will give away fifty $10,000 “Dreamstarter” grants over the next five years to support Native youths’ dreams. At the end of the grant period, Running Strong will choose five projects to be eligible for an additional $50,000 grant. Each year, grants are awarded to projects around a unifying theme. The 2015-16 theme is wellness.
For more information, visit <a href="http://indianyouth.org/2015Dreamstarters" target="_blank">http://indianyouth.org/2015Dreamstarters</a>.
NORMAN, Okla. – Cherokee Nation citizen Robert “Don” Gifford was recently promoted to colonel in the U.S. Army Reserves Judge Advocate General’s Corps, and has been also selected to be the commander of the 3rd Legal Operations Detachment in Boston.
As the commander of nearly 80 other military lawyers and paralegals, Gifford will oversee operations to provide legal support to deploying soldiers, their families, and veterans. In addition, he will be responsible for deploying judge advocates worldwide to assist in the development of the Rule of Law in foreign countries.
“Being promoted is more than being recognized, it's being asked to take on the honor and privilege to lead, to serve, and to be willing to work harder than those who work for you,” Gifford said.
In his civilian capacity, Gifford, 44, is an assistant U.S. attorney in Oklahoma City serving as the Human Trafficking Coordinator and a tribal liaison, is an adjunct law professor at the law schools at OU and Oklahoma City University, and serves as a part-time tribal court judge for the Kaw Nation. Gifford also serves on the Board of Governors for the Oklahoma Bar Association.
Gifford said he’s proud to be of a long tradition of Native Americans serving in this country’s military.
“The warrior tradition of the Native American soldier has continued into Grenada, Panama, Somalia, the Persian Gulf, the Balkans and currently in Iraq and Afghanistan,” he said. “It is well established that Native Americans have the highest record of service per capita when compared to other ethnic groups. Nearly 16 percent of the Native American population 16 years and older – over 190,000 people – are veterans.”
After graduating from Mannford High School, Gifford received a football, track and academic scholarship to Southwestern College in Winfield, Kansas, graduating with honors in 1993. After graduating in 1996 from OU Law school where he served as an editor on the American Indian Law Review and as a legal intern under former Principal Chief Wilma Mankiller’s administration, Gifford received his commission as an officer in the U.S. Army where he served on active duty as a JAG at Fort Knox, Kentucky; Fort Sill in Lawton, Oklahoma; and in Bosnia-Herzegovina in eastern Europe.
Upon leaving active duty, Gifford remained in the Army Reserves and served as an assistant district attorney in Tulsa County; an assistant U.S. Attorney in Reno, Nevada; and currently as a federal prosecutor in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Oklahoma City where he was named the 2013 prosecutor of the year in Oklahoma.
Gifford was mobilized back onto active duty in 2007 and 2008 to work on the war court trials at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where he was the legal spokesman to the worldwide media and deputy director of legal operations. Gifford will also graduate this summer from the U.S. Army War College at Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania, with a master’s degree in strategic studies.
Gifford resides in Norman with his wife Gloria and his three daughters Gabriela, Olivia and Juliana.
PHILADELPHIA – Nick Foles wasn’t Chip Kelly’s franchise quarterback after all.
The Philadelphia Eagles have agreed to send Foles to the St. Louis Rams for Sam Bradford in a stunning quarterback swap. The Eagles will also get a fifth-round pick this season, while sending the Rams their fourth-rounder this year and a second in 2016.
And Kelly’s probably not done dealing yet.
His admiration for Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota is no secret, and Kelly may want to move up from the 20th pick in the draft to pick his former Oregon quarterback.
Bradford hasn’t played since his 2013 season ended after he tore his left ACL. The former No. 1 overall pick and 2008 Heisman winner tore it again in preseason last year.
Foles lacked the speed and mobility for Kelly’s offense, but he was 14-5 as a starter, including a playoff loss. After a breakout season in 2013, Foles missed the last eight games in 2014 with a broken collarbone.
The Eagles already agreed to a two-year contract with Mark Sanchez, who went 4-4 after Foles was injured last season.
Foles is the latest star player to depart Philadelphia in the past week. He joins two-time All-Pro running back LeSean McCoy and Pro Bowl wide receiver Jeremy Maclin.
The Eagles officially announced Tuesday that McCoy was traded to the Buffalo Bills for linebacker Kiko Alonso.
In St. Louis, Foles gets a chance to be the undisputed starter. A third-round pick in 2012, Foles set an NFL record for best TD/INT ratio of 27/2 his second season while helping the Eagles win the division a year after going 4-12. His passer rating of 119.2 was the third-highest in league history.
Foles threw 13 TD passes and 10 interceptions in 2014. He will earn $660,000 in 2015 in the final year of his rookie contract.
Bradford missed the last nine games of the 2013 season after injuring his knee and hurt it again in his second preseason game last August. The 27-year-old 18-30-1 as a starter. He has 59 TD passes, 38 interceptions and a 79.3 passer rating in a five-year career. Bradford is slated to earn $12.9 million this year.
“Sam was a leader on our team in the locker room and on the field,” Rams coach Jeff Fisher said. “He was a great teammate who was dealt some adversity but handled it all with grace and dignity. He represented himself, as well as the organization, in a first-class manner. I wish him nothing but the best throughout his career.”
The Eagles went 10-6 for the second straight season under Kelly, but missed the playoffs after going 1-3 in December. Kelly took full control of personnel decisions after the season and has overhauled the roster.
While he’s losing his best players on offense, Kelly is focused on improving a defense that has been Philadelphia’s biggest problem. Adding Alonso and re-signing linebacker Brandon Graham helps.
The Eagles also signed cornerback Byron Maxwell to a six-year contract. Maxwell started 17 games for the Seattle Seahawks over the last two seasons and played opposite All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman in a star-studded secondary: the Legion of Boom.
The team had agreed to a contract with five-time Pro Bowl running back Frank Gore before he changed his mind and agreed to a deal with the Colts.
Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins tweeted: “Is it too late to tell these guys “Philly ain’t bad at all” ... Chip is a great guy! And who doesn’t like sports science and Cheesesteaks?”