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.
OWASSO, Okla. – Cherokee Nation citizen Katherine Horne recently helped the Owasso High School’s girls golf team bring home the Class 6A state title.
Sixteen-year-old Horne, who will be a junior at Owasso in the fall, shot a personal-best 76 in the tournament’s second round. The score was 15 strokes better than the 91 she shot in the first round.
“We won 6-A state title in golf. I personally shot myself all-time career low of 76, helping clinch our teams victory,” Horne said.
Horne said she wants to attend college after graduating, but is also keeping her options open.
“I plan on attending college and majoring in pre-med or engineering. I am currently interning at St. John’s hospital two times weekly and gaining exposure to a variety of areas of interests. I’m proud to represent the Cherokee Nation.”
FORT GIBSON, Okla. – Cherokee Nation citizen Emilee Rigsby has been playing golf at Fort Gibson Public Schools since eighth grade. After years of hard work, she will attend Northeastern State University this fall on a golf scholarship.
“I’ve grown up playing sports, so I always wanted to play in college, and I was really wanting to go to NSU because it’s close enough to home, but it’s not in the same town,” she said. “(Head NSU golf) Coach (Scott) Varner didn’t contact me. I actually contacted him and he’s never recruited from Fort Gibson at all. So I contacted him a couple of times, and he actually contacted me back and we never met. He never came and watched me play, which is what most college coaches do. He just told me to keep him updated on my scores and everything, and after I told him we went for a visit and then like the next day, or a couple days later, he actually offered the scholarship. There wasn’t any question. I accepted as soon as he said it.”
Rigsby said she is excited to join the golf team at NSU.
“Their women’s team did really good this year, and they have a really solid team so I really hope to fight and get one of those top five spots and play because a lot of times you go to the colligate level and you don’t play as a freshman,” she said. “So it’d be awesome to actually get to play a few tournaments as a freshman, but I mean the way I see it is you’re not expected to play every single tournament, so just work as hard as I can and just do the best I can and hopefully it’ll pay off.”
During the years at the Class 4A Oklahoma girls golf championship, she placed eighth in 2013, second in 2014, third in 2015 and second in 2016. She said she was also named the 2015 South Central Junior PGA “Player of the Year.”
Rigsby said while in high school she also competed in basketball and softball, but her main focus was golf.
“It means a lot to me because it’s an individual sport. You work and you do your best and you pay off for it. So it’s unlike other sports where you count on the team…It’s all on you,” she said. “It’s really helped me grow as a player and as a person just knowing that you know you have to do the best you can and you will either learn from it or benefit from it.”
Rigsby said while at NSU she plans to major in criminal justice.
“If golf does happen to happen I’d love to do that. But I actually want to major in criminal justice because I want to be a forensic nurse, so I’ll have to major in criminal justice and go somewhere else to get my nursing, but I hope to get that while I’m there,” she said.
WASHINGTON – Cherokee Nation citizen Cierra Fields has for several years advocated on the dangers of skin cancer, but during the past two years she’s crusaded against sexual assault and violence against women following her rape at 2014 conference.
Her educating the public about sexual assault got the attention of several people who nominated the 16-year-old for the initial United State of Women Summit that was held in June in Washington, D.C.
Around 10,000 women were nominated and about 5,000 were selected to attend the conference. Of those 5,000, White House officials recognized eight women, and Fields was among them.
In receiving this recognition, she gave interviews to media networks covering the event.
“I’m humbled to be nominated,” Fields said. “My work to educate others about sexual assault and violence against women was the main part of my nomination.”
On the conference’s first day, Fields said Vice President Joe Biden gave an excellent speech about ending rape culture.
“And (actress) Mishka Hartigay is working on getting all rape kits tested. I’m determined to bring those topics back to Cherokee Nation and Indian Country,” she said. “With the Stanford rape (Brock Turner, a Stanford swimmer was convicted of raping an unconscious woman and given a 6-month sentence) case outcome, the violence against women has been a major topic during this summit. As a survivor myself, I shared my thoughts in our groups encouraging the increase in the statute of limitations, more transparency in the legal system regarding sexual assaults, improved training for DA (district attorney) when dealing with victims and proper sentences for those convicted of rape. Rapists need to be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law.”
Fields added that by attending the summit she has been inspired and energized by the speakers.
“I learned much on topics that I hadn’t even considered. I was able to share my thoughts in breakout sessions about the realities of being a Native and a woman in this country,” she said. “I am making partnerships with various organizations that I hope to bring back to Cherokee Nation to improve the lives of all Cherokee women. This summit has been life changing. I am dedicated to lending my voice to helping improve the lives of women, especially Native women. We have come so far but there is much work to still be done.”
For more information on the summit, visit <a href="http://www.theunitedstateofwomen.org" target="_blank">http://www.theunitedstateofwomen.org</a> or by using the Twitter hashtag #StateOfWomen.
BARTONVILLE, Texas. – Cherokee Nation citizen Kelsey Landrum was recently selected to represent North and South America in the ASICS “Beat the Sun” relay. Landrum and five teammates, all amateur runners, were expected to run against the sun to complete a 15-hour, 41-minute relay on June 21 around Mont Blanc in the Alps.
The mountain lies between the regions of Aosta Valley, Italy, and Savoie and Haute-Savoie, France.
“The six of us will divide up about 93 miles of the race into various legs to run around the mountain and hopefully do it before the sun sets,” the 20-year-old said. “It’s just a really unique event too because you’re racing against kind of yourself and your mind. It’s incredibly challenging. But you’re also racing against other teams, and then you have kind of the third element of racing against, not necessarily just time but the sun, against nature. It’s very challenging but I’m looking forward to it.”
“The Americas” team was slated to compete against the “Europe,” “Africa” and “Asia-Pacific” teams.
Landrum said before the race she and her teammates would train and adjust to Mont Blanc’s altitude. The mountain is 15, 777 feet tall and the highest in the Alps.
“I’ll arrive there on the (June) 16, and so we have from the (June) 16 until the (June) 21 to adjust to the altitude and train with our team for the first time and do different press events and just enjoy our time there,” she said.
Landrum said the representation of diversity is something that stands out to her about the race.
“I think this race is really unique in that every single person, even everyone within each team is from a very different background. Different countries, different cultures, different heritages and so something that’s really, I think, been highlighted is our diversity,” she said. “I am really excited to share with everyone that I am a Cherokee (Nation) citizen, and share some of our culture with them, too. I think this is just a very exciting opportunity to do that, and I think everyone is just so excited to be apart of something that combines so many different cultures.”
Landrum said she’s been running since middle school but struggled with “un-diagnosable leg paralysis” and an “unknown mass” in her right hamstring, which kept her from running for years.
She said after years of “therapy, training and unwavering determination” she was able to run again.
Landrum said recently running some half marathons is what gave her the confidence to apply for the race.
“The last two half marathons I did I was third overall…in one of them and then seventh in a different one and that was out of about 600 to 700 women,” she said. “That was just so fun and definitely some of the most challenging races. I think definitely where I really started to remind myself that, ‘OK, I can do this. I definitely should apply for this race.’”
She said being accepted to represent “The Americas” was a “surreal” experience and means “everything” to her.
“I think just the fact that such a large running corporation and the runners that I look up to, or have looked up to for so long that, you know, they saw something in my running and in me that they wanted to help me and help me learn and everything,” she said. “I think that that’s just so incredible and humbling, and I’m so grateful for that and just to be able to represent our Cherokee Nation and the U.S. and the Americas is such an incredible opportunity.”
RICHMOND, Va. – This summer Cherokee Nation citizen Kelli Ford will work on her collection of short stories while participating in the Lannan Foundation’s School for Advanced Research’s 2016 Indigenous Writer-in-Residence Fellowship.
“This year it’s June 20 through Aug. 5…They provided a Native writer housing for the seven weeks and also a designated office space and then basically that’s it,” she said. “I just get to take my family out to Santa Fe (New Mexico) and get to have a place to live and work for the summer and get a nice stipend to take care of us. Pretty neat deal.”
She said by the end of her fellowship she hopes to have her short stories collection titled “Crooked Hallelujah” ready to submit to publishers.
“It’s a collection of short stories, so there’s all kinds of stuff going on,” she said. “It’s not necessarily a novel with just one overarching plot, but it’s mainly about a family of mixed-blood Cherokee people. A mom and a daughter, in particular, who leave eastern Oklahoma and move to north Texas in the 1980s. So kind of about their life there and their lives going back and forth and stuff like that.”
She said the stories have fictional characters, events and sometimes places but are inspired by her life.
“My mom and I left Sequoyah County when I was a little girl and moved to Texas, so it is definitely inspired by that. It’s fiction, so it’s all made-up characters and all that, but it is definitely inspired by my life and people and women in particular I’ve known,” she said. “I come from a family of pretty amazing strong Native women and others. So it’s kind of inspired by that stuff.”
Ford said by participating in the fellowship she would be able to focus on writing.
“Just the time to write is going to be so valuable,” she said. “My husband’s a teacher, and so since I got the fellowship he’s not going to be teaching. So he’s going to be Mr. Mom, and I’m just going to have the office space away from home and the time to really, really just work. As a writer that’s really huge to get big hours of time rather than sort of write for an hour here or an hour here. I’m really close to finishing my book. It’s really about the time.”
Ford said although this is her first book, she’s had short stories published.
“I just had a piece that got published in the Virginia Quarterly Review this past spring and then I’ve got some other short stories out there, just individual pieces,” she said. “I don’t have a book out. This is my first one I’m working on.”
She said in some of her stories she uses the Cherokee language. “When I was a little girl I grew up hearing it, but I haven’t been around it in so long. I never spoke it, so I don’t know how well I’m doing it. And so I think at SAR with those resources and time I can study the language a little bit just to try to make sure that if I’m going to try to use it a little bit, that I do a good job.”
Ford said it’s an “honor” and to write stories for people to read and get a look into her ideas.
“It’s an honor and it’s definitely a privilege to get to spend my time working on things that I make up,” she said. “It’s a pretty solitary endeavor, especially at the beginning, but it’s definitely an honor to be able to take people on a ride. Of course, when you first put something out there it’s also pretty scary. You reveal a lot of yourself, and you doubt yourself and all that, but that makes it all the more rewarding to get to share it with people.”
WASHINGTON – The Center for Native American Youth, a policy program at the Aspen Institute, is accepting nominations and applications for its Champions for Change leadership development program.
Champions for Change, inspired by a White House initiative, is an annual youth recognition program spotlighting positive stories in Indian Country; promoting hope among Native American youth; and developing young tribal, state and national leaders.
“Being recognized as a Champion for Change connected me with other Native youth leaders across tribal nations,” said Vanessa Goodthunder, 2016 Champion for Change. “My connection to the Center for Native American Youth and their network continues to help me develop my leadership efforts.”
The CNAY is soliciting both nominations and applications directly from Native youth and community members. Tribal leaders, teachers, coaches, school administrators, parents, Native youth and others can nominate young Native leaders ages 14-22 who are making positive impacts in their tribal or urban Indian communities. CNAY will contact nominees and invite them to submit full applications. Youths can also submit the Champions for Change applications on their own without nominations. Candidates must complete their applications by Nov. 15.
CNAY officials will announce the 2017 class in December and bring them to Washington, D.C., in February for events with tribal leaders, policymakers and other key stakeholders to be recognized for their leadership efforts.
Two Cherokee Nation citizens have been named Champions of Change. In the inaugural 2013 class, Cierra Fields, of Fort Gibson, Oklahoma, was name one. In 2014, Elizabeth Burns, of Claremore, earned the honor.
Past champions have met with Cabinet secretaries, Supreme Court justices, members of Congress and White House staff, among others. Following their recognition, champions will take part in a yearlong leadership development curriculum, where they’ll be exposed to new opportunities to advocate for Native youth.
“The Champions for Change program not only recognizes Native youth doing critical work in their communities, but these young people help other Native youth across the country drive a new narrative – one that focuses on the strength and resilience of our youth,” CNAY Executive Director Erik Stegman said. “We invite tribal leaders, teachers, peers and others to identify positive youth-led work and nominate those youth for our program, so that we can lift up those youth and their incredible stories.”
The CNAY is dedicated to improving the health, safety and overall well-being of Native American youth through communication, policy development and advocacy. Founded by former U.S. Sen. Byron Dorgan in 2011, it is a policy program within the Aspen Institute, headquartered in Washington, D.C. For more information, visit <a href="http://www.cnay.org" target="_blank">www.cnay.org</a>.
The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization with a mission to foster leadership based on enduring values and to provide a nonpartisan venue for dealing with critical issues. For more information, visit <a href="http://www.aspeninstitute.org" target="_blank">www.aspeninstitute.org</a>.