Leeds co-writes ‘Mastering American Indian Law’
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – Cherokee Nation citizen Stacy Leeds, dean and professor in the University of Arkansas School of Law, has co-written the book titled “Mastering American Indian Law.”
The book will be available in September and was co-written with Angelique Townsend EagleWoman of the College of Law at the University of Idaho where she is an associate professor of law.
“Mastering American Indian Law” is designed to provide readers with an overview of Indian law beginning with the important eras of United States Indian policy in the introductory chapter up to contemporary developments in American Indian law. The authors said they hope the book serves as a useful supplement to classroom instruction covering tribal law, federal Indian law and tribal-state relations.
Throughout the text, explanations of the relevant interaction between tribal governments, the federal government and state governments are included in the various subject areas.
In Chapter 10, titled International Indigenous Issues and Tribal Nations, the significant evolution of collective rights in international documents is focused on, as these documents may be relevant for tribal governments in relations with the United States.
For Indian law courses, law school seminars on topics in American Indian Law, undergraduate and graduate level American Indian studies classes, and those interested in the field, this book will provide an easy-to-read text meant to guide the reader through the historical to the contemporary on the major aspects of American Indian law and policy, states the book’s description.
Leeds joined the University of Arkansas in 2011 and became the first American Indian woman in the country to serve as dean of a law school. In 2013, she received the American Bar Association Spirit of Excellence Award for promoting a more racially and ethnically diverse legal profession. Over the years, she has focused her teaching and extensive research on property, natural resources and American Indian law.
Leeds is the first Native American woman to be a law school dean. She is the first woman to serve as a justice on the CN Supreme Court, and is also one of five appointees to the Secretarial Commission on Indian Trust Administration and Reform. The commission is conducting a comprehensive evaluation of the U.S. Department of the Interior’s management and administration of nearly $4 billion in American Indian trust funds.
Leeds earned her master’s degree after completing a fellowship at the University of Wisconsin Law School, before joining the faculty of the University of North Dakota’s School of Law, where she was director of the Northern Plains Indian Law Center. She worked as a law professor at the University of Kansas before she accepted her position at Arkansas in 2011.
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – Building teams that are mentally tough and accountable for their play, Northeastern State University Women’s tennis coach Amanda Stone is experiencing success on the court and earning individual awards.
For the second consecutive year, the Cherokee Nation citizen was named Coach of the Year for the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association after her team finished 20-4 and won the MIAA regular season championship for a third straight year. The RiverHawks also advanced to the NCAA Championship round of 16 for the fourth straight year. The team finished 10th nationally, which is the first time in school history that NSU earned a top-10 placement. Also, six team members earned All-MIAA honors.
“I got it (Coach of the Year) last year too, and I was very happy to receive that award. I think it says a lot to get recognition from other coaches in the league,” she said.
Stone said the team played with five of seven players this season because of injuries, making the team “stronger.”
“It showed a lot of growth with our players. I think that’s what I’m most proud of. I mean, I think it’s awesome to be 10th in the nation, but I think our players played above what they were expected to play, which is awesome,” she said.
Before coaching at NSU, the 32-year-old played high school tennis in Claremore and basketball at Oral Roberts University in Tulsa before switching back to tennis. She attended NSU from 2004-07, where she served as half of the top doubles tandem and was ranked from No. 3 to No. 5 in singles play. She made two national tournament appearances, attained a No. 11 national doubles ranking in 2007 and was undefeated in singles play her senior year.
After graduating from NSU with a mass communications degree, she worked as a technical writer in Kansas City for four years before trying coaching.
“I wasn’t really happy there working inside all of the time in front of a computer, so I decided to go back to school and do a GA (graduate assistant) position. I did that at the University of Rochester. That’s how I got into coaching,” she said.
She returned to Tahlequah in 2013 and began turning around NSU women’s tennis. After finishing 10-9 in 2012, the team finished 23-4 in 2013 and advanced to the NCAA round of 16 for the first time since 2007.
The 23 wins were the most since 2006, and the RiverHawks finished runner-up in their first year in the MIAA at 9-1. Also, the team had seven All-MIAA performers, including four MIAA first teamers.
The 2014 squad went 23-6 and captured the first conference championship for any NSU sport since the university joined the MIAA. The team finished 20th nationally, and seven players won All-MIAA honors, including three first teamers.
The 2015 team finished 20-6, which included a 10-0 MIAA record. NSU claimed its second-straight MIAA title and won the regional to advance to the NCAA Championship round of 16 for the third-straight year. NSU ended the season 18th nationally, and all eight team members earned MIAA honors.
“I think the NSU tennis program has always been a good program. They were always nationally ranked, but it kind of dropped off a little bit the last few years before I started, so I’ve brought them back to where they were before,” Stone said. “This is the fourth spring we’ve had a 20-win season.”
She said it takes time to build a program but believes she has the pieces for continued success.
“We’ve re-established ourselves as a nationally contending team, and now we’re getting some better players coming in. We have players with better attitudes, and everyone is on the same page,” she said. “So I think all of those pieces are just starting to click now.”
She said being a player at NSU helps her understand what her players go through.
“I was on a good team, and they are on a good team. I understand the situations they’re in, and it helps me emphasize what needs to be done so they can be successful,” she said.
Four players are returning next season. The team plays an individuals season in September and October and starts team play in February.
She said she travels in the summer recruiting players and will recruit more in December.
“I’m sending emails all of the time and watching videos (of potential recruits) pretty much every day, staying on track with players that are good,” she said.
Stone currently has players from Oklahoma, Russia, England, Croatia, and has new players coming from Ireland, Slovakia and Arkansas.
She works on strategy with players because they usually come with a good “fundamental game.”
“We work a lot on mental toughness, and we do a ton of pattern hitting (where to hit the ball on the court). We just want to give them the tools they can use in a match and not have to think too much about ‘what am I going to do?’” she said. “The big thing for us is improvement. We just try to improve every year. I can’t do my job unless the players are buying in. They deserve a ton of credit.”
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – Cherokee Nation citizen Chance Fletcher, 20, spent June retracing approximately 900 miles of the Northern Route of the Trail of Tears. He started at Red Clay State Park in Tennessee on June 2 and finished on July 1 at the Cherokee Courthouse.
The Trail of Tears marks the path Cherokees were forced to take when removed from their southeastern homelands during the winter of 1838-39.
Fletcher, of Oologah, said he was able to hike the trail because of the Dale Summer Award he received from Princeton University.
“You just sort of cook up whatever you want to do and I was like, ‘You know, I never heard of anybody hiking the Trail of Tears,’” he said. “I just kind of applied on a whim. I didn’t really think I was going to get it…I ended up getting it. I bought my gear and here I am.”
He said the route he traced was similar to the one the “Remember the Removal” riders took. He said some differences for his hike included starting at Red Clay whereas the cyclists began in New Echota, Georgia. Also, he wasn’t able to travel by boat on some portions so he took alternate paths.
Fletcher said he hiked approximately 30 miles a day depending on the type of day he faced.
“It really depended on the day, how hot it was. Some days I do a lot more. Some days I do a lot less,” he said.
He said when it was time to settle down for the night he tried to stay at churches.
“I tried to stay mostly in churches’ yards because I kind of figured out that one, they would be nice to you and two, they might feed you dinner so I wouldn’t have to eat Clif Bars, which was nice, and three, people don’t really mess…with churches so it’s kind of…a safer option,” he said.
Fletcher said while on the route he stopped at some historic sites but not all.
“Every historic site that was in a reasonable distance of the trail or the route that the “Remember the Removal” riders did…I stopped at,” he said. “I kept a journal and wrote down all those places and I think this year, or maybe next year, when I drive up to school I’m going to take a southern route and visit those.”
Fletcher said hiking the trail was important because he had an ancestor that was removed along the trail.
“I had an ancestor who was forcibly removed, and I think that there’s really just something to be said about the juxtaposition between how I was treated and how my ancestor was treated at the time,” he said. “Just the general hospitality that I was shown was almost just the exact opposite of what my ancestor was shown. These commonalities and differences, they’re a lot deeper than that. A lot of people on the Trail of Tears didn’t have shoes, you know. I can buy a new pair of shoes whenever I want on the trail. I think there really is a juxtaposition there…with they’re walking away from their home and I’m walking home.”
TULSA, Okla. – During World War II James Carl Warrington, 91, of Cromwell, served with the 319th Regiment, 80th Infantry Division, 3rd Army, also known as “Patton’s 3rd Army” for Gen. George Patton.
While in Patton’s Army, he crossed northern Europe into Germany to help end the war.
“I started out in anti-aircraft (as a gunner). I got pneumonia and they sent me to the 80th Infantry Division when I got out of the hospital. They demoted me,” Warrington said.
After joining the 80th Infantry in 1943, he said the division trained for three weeks in Death Valley, California. From there, it went to Yuma, Arizona, before traveling to Camp Kilmer in New York City. The camp was a port of embarkation for soldiers to Europe.
He said his unit stayed there several days before leaving for Ireland on the Queen Mary, which had been refitted for the war.
“There were 20,000 of us on the Queen Mary from the 80th Division and about 200 Air Force men on there, so we had a pretty good load,” he said.
The 80th Division made it to Winslow, England, for “regular army training” to prepare for combat in May 1944.
“From there we went to the English Channel and we got on a Liberty Ship and went to Normandy (France),” he said.
Warrington said his unit landed at Utah Beach on the French coast a few days after June 6, D-Day, and fought through northern France and central Europe, including the famous Battle of the Bulge where German forces mounted major offensive in December 1944 in the Ardennes region of Belgium, France and Luxembourg. It was meant to prevent Allied forces from reaching Germany.
He said his unit went into Luxembourg where the burgermeister or mayor talked to him. Warrington emphasized that he was just a private, but the burgermeister spoke to him first.
“He told me, ‘soldier, we sure are glad to see you guys.’ And he said, ‘the Germans are just a few kilometers out there, and we haven’t even got a big stick to fight them with.’ He said, ‘anything in our city is yours, our meat markets, anything you want,’ and I said, ‘we won’t bother anything like that,” Warrington said. “He said, ‘we will not be without an army from now on. We’ll always have an army.’ I don’t know if they have one today or not, but I imagine they do.”
His regiment pushed the Germans back “several kilometers” and continued driving east to Germany.
Warrington performed two specialties for his unit. The 19-year-old was a switchboard operator and a field lineman. As a lineman he laid communication wires underground.
“Sometimes you had to go out when artillery was falling all around you, laying those lines,” he said. “One day I was out there fixing one, and I’m sure it was a German walking through there, and if he had even looked at me I would have shot him. He just started walking straight ahead. I just let him go.”
Once when his regiment was moving, Warrington felt a tap on his shoulder and turned around to see a German soldier with his hands up.
“He had a rifle hung on his shoulder and hand grenades hung on each side, and I hollered at a guy to come and get him and take him back as a prisoner,” he said.
His unit helped liberate two large concentration camps where the Germans had imprisoned Jewish men. He said at one camp he gave up his candy bar ration to a Jewish man who needed it “a lot worse than he did.”
“I don’t remember the names of the camps. I sure don’t. You know you’re so busy at that time, you’re in and you’re out just like that,” he said.
Warrington was also in the Battle of the Rhineland in the winter of 1945 as Germans fought protecting their homeland. During bitter fighting, Allied casualties totaled nearly 23,000. The Germans lost approximately 90,000 men with 52,000 of those taken prisoner. By March 23, 1945, the Allies were on the Rhine River from Strasbourg, France, to Nijmegen, Netherlands.
“We pushed the Germans clear up into the Austrian Alps. That was May the 8th, 1945. We gathered our bunch. It would be against the law to do what we did there that day. I guess it would be. We sang ‘Onward Christian Soldiers.’” That was when they surrendered. We found out that was the end there,” he said. “We lost 3,006 men out of our division.”
For his service he earned the Good Conduct Medal, Bronze Star Medal, Army Commendation Medal, American Campaign Medal, European Campaign Medal with four Bronze Stars representing four major battles, Army of Occupation Medal, Combat Infantryman Badge, Honorable Service Lapel Button WWII and a Certificate of Merit for “outstanding performance of duty.”
When he got home he worked with his older brother, who was a mechanic, as they opened a shop in Cromwell. “We bought a place there and started at it and worked at it for 44 years.”
He said during the years the war has come back to him and said his wife Cleo could tell stories about him suddenly sitting up in bed after having a nightmare about it.
One memory that stays with him is seeing young, dead German boys wearing men’s uniforms. In desperation, Germany resorted to using young boys and old men to fight toward the end of the war.
“Not a day goes by that I can’t help but think of some of it,” he said. “I never disobeyed an order in the Army. I saw my service records, and it had on there ‘excellent soldier.’ That made me feel pretty good.”
ANAHEIM, Calif. – Cherokee Nation citizen and Cherokee Nation Businesses staff attorney Tralynna Scott recently spoke at the inaugural Native American Women’s Leadership Training conference in Anaheim.
The conference, presented by Native Nation Events’ Leadership Solutions Group, is designed to provide participants with tangible solutions in developing and fostering leadership abilities within tribal communities.
“Historically, Cherokee Nation was a matriarchal society where women held great responsibility and power within the tribe,” Scott said. “I feel we should honor our culture and give great reverence to women, especially our elders. I participate in events like this to encourage not only female leadership, but leadership in general, and to honor those who came before us and paved the way for us to continue their accomplishments.”
Scott said she’s dedicated her career to her tribe while volunteering to encourage education and promote leadership, as well as supporting Native American youth.
She serves her alma mater as the assistant director of Native American Student Recruitment for the Native American Alumni of Notre Dame board of directors and volunteers as an attorney and advocate for Native American children involved in deprivation cases with Tulsa Lawyers for Children.
“My only wish for the next generation is they build upon the work we are doing now, and do it even better through education and innovation,” Scott said. “The best way to continue improving as a tribe is through supporting our youth and ensuring they have the opportunities to obtain the best education possible.”
Scott said she encourages the youth she legally represents to do well academically and use it as a means of broadening their educational opportunities and experiences. She said she also regularly participates in college fairs and other higher education recruiting activities as part of her ongoing effort to promote education, especially within Native American populations.
Scott joined CNB as a financial analyst executive intern in 2005. She earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of Notre Dame in 2006, a master’s degree from the University of Tulsa, a juris doctorate from the University of Tulsa College of Law in 2013 and a Master Certificate in human resources from Cornell University in 2015.
WASHINGTON – U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Thomas Vilsack has appointed Dr. Charles Gourd to the Forest Resource Coordinating Committee as an Indian tribe representative.
Gourd, a Cherokee Nation citizen from Keys, Oklahoma, said he “considers it an honor and privilege to serve” on the national board.
“My work through the years has been to find resources that promote, preserve and protect forest areas in Indian Country. The USDA is a tremendous resource that enables multiple interests in agricultural pursuits, including forest management, to coordinate and share the benefits of our magnificent forest resources,” he said.
The committee provides coordination within the USDA, state agencies and private-sector interests to effectively address national priorities for private, non-industrial forest conservation. There are 20 members of the committee who work with the U.S. Forest Service, which includes the National Parks, state agencies and the 20 percent of all U.S. forests that are in private ownership.
“This opportunity became available when a classmate from the Kennedy School of Government, Steve Kohen, left as head of the State of Maryland Forest Service to become the director of Cooperative Forestry at USDA,” Gourd said. “He contacted me and indicated that a position to represent Indian Country was open on the committee and that I had been nominated. That set in motion a series of letters of recommendation from a number of elected leaders of Indian Nations and individuals who had an interest in USDA and the Forest Service.”
Gourd thanked Chickasaw Nation Gov. Bill Anoatubby, Choctaw Nation Chief Gary Batton, Muscogee (Creek) Nation Chief Bill Fife and Pam Kingfisher, who serves as the regional director of the USDA Farm to School program, for “their timely and complementary letters” that helped provide him the opportunity to serve on the committee.
“Most of all, I look forward to providing information both to the Forest Service, Indian tribes and nations, public and private forest owners, as well as the general public who shares our interests and desires for preservation of our great national forest resources. This will be a great learning experience and my hope is to provide meaningful representation to the entities involved,” Gourd said.
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.”