The Dahlonegah Indians softball team celebrates its second-place trophy in the Oklahoma Rural Elementary Schools Division II softball championship. In the front row, from left, are Callie Spears, Kynsi Grimmett, Adrianna Littledeer, Rumor Livers, Adrianna Jones and Kayden Duck. Back row, from left, are coach Kenny Limore, Krista Nofire, Jessie Sanchez, Sammie Duncan, Jaivyn Gann, coach Nate Bunch, Robyn Grimmett, Shelby Ross, Hayden Woods and coach Mike Girdner. COURTESY PHOTO
Dahlonegah takes 2nd in ORES softball tournament
STILWELL, Okla. – The Dahlonegah Indians played a marathon day of softball on Oct. 8 to reach the Oklahoma Rural Elementary Schools Division II championship game and wound up taking second place.
In a tournament held in McAlester, the girls played five games to reach the championship game because of previous rainouts. Coach Mike Girdner said games had been rained out three times before being played.
“We had been rained out three weeks in a row. We had to stay motivated to play for three weeks,” he said. “We practiced the whole time, every day.”
Girdner coaches all of the girls’ athletics for the Adair County school and is assisted by coaches Nate Bunch and Kenny Limore.
On Oct. 8, the 12-member Dahlonegah team first lost 4-2 to Oak Grove in a made-up rainout game. In the second game the team defeated Jennings 5-0 before beating another Adair County school, Rocky Mountain, 3-2. For its fourth game the team defeated Grandview School from Comanche County, 5-2.
“And then we had to play Oak Grove again because we had to come through the loser’s bracket. We beat them 9-1 and that put us in the finals, and then we got destroyed by Zaneis. We ran out of pitching,” Girdner said.
When the day was over, the Indians played from 11 a.m. to 7:45 p.m. Zaneis Elementary, located in Carter County, defeated Dahlonegah 12-0.
“We took it on the chin. I told the girls if you get that far there’s no losers,” Girdner said. “Our little pitcher, she had thrown all of the games, and she wanted to pitch in the finals, so I let her throw. They were good...we didn’t have an answer for them.”
He said his team was disappointed but it also appreciated making it to the championship game.
“Their morale was good. They were somewhat disappointed they didn’t win the whole thing. They did their best, and I thought they took it pretty classy. They showed some real good sportsmanship to the other team,” Girdner said.
It was the first time the school had reached the ORES softball tournament. The team compiled a record of 14-5 during its two-month season.
“I am proud of the girls,” he said. “We had really good parent support. They made the trip (to the state tournament) as many times as I did, so that helped.”
STILLWATER, Okla. - Cherokee Nation citizen Al Ross received the “Charlie Brewer Award” on Dec. 3 at the Oklahoma Horseshoe Pitchers Association Hall of Fame banquet at the Stillwater Senior Citizen’s Center.
As a member of the OHPA for 12 years, Ross received the award for promoting, fostering and building the sport of horseshoes in the northeast area of the state.
Ross said he was “surprised” and did not expect to receive any type of recognition for his love of horseshoes.
“The ‘Charlie Brewer Award’ is given to people who promote horseshoes and foster…try to keep horseshoes going, try to recruit members,” Ross said.
Charlotte Bowen, OHPA Secretary, said the award is given in memory of horseshoe pitcher Charlie Brewer of Yukon, Oklahoma, “who was a tremendous promoter of horseshoes in that area and the state of Oklahoma.” The award was established in 2013.
The way Ross has been able to “keep horseshoes going” was helping to establish a horseshoe court in the Tri-Community (Welling, Eldon, Briggs) area in Briggs in 2014.
The horseshoe court was constructed with the help of the Cherokee Nation. Ross took over maintaining the courts and hosting sanctioned horseshoe tournaments by becoming the official tournament director.
Ross also is the OHPA youth director and tries to get youth involved in horseshoe pitching as much as he can, which is also part of receiving the “Charlie Brewer Award.” He got his grandchildren involved, and one of his grandchildren became a world champion at the 2016 World Tournament in Montgomery, Alabama, in July.
As part of the coming 2017 season, Ross hopes to reach a few goals to continue to build up the sport of horseshoes.
He said he wants to get more pitchers involved by enhancing the existing sanctioned league at the Tri-Community (W.E.B.) court and working with the Northwest Arkansas Horseshoe Pitchers Association league in Fayetteville, Arkansas, to have the first Oklahoma-Arkansas Challenge horseshoe tournament.
Ross also wants to encourage more youth to pitch by adding a junior tournament to the existing 2017 tournament schedule. He also hopes that more Cherokees will get involved in sanctioned pitching because “there are some good pitchers.”
Ross said none of the things he does for horseshoes would be possible without the help of his family.
“If it wasn’t for my family, it would be impossible for me to do all the things that is necessary to do. It takes people. That’s why it’s important to get a working league going,” Ross said.
Bowen said the award Ross received is important in helping horseshoes grow, and that this is a step for him to become a hall of fame member in the future.
Ross also received a certificate of appreciation as a tournament director and a patch for pitching “10 in a Row” World Tournaments at the Hall of Fame banquet.
“I do it because I love horseshoes. I want a lot of people to show up. I like to pitch. But it was nice of them to consider, or at least think about, someone over in this part of the state trying to get something going,” Ross said.
For more information about the OHPA, visit <a href="http://www.oklahomahorseshoes.org" target="_blank">www.oklahomahorseshoes.org</a>.
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – Former Tribal Councilor Tina Glory-Jordan received the National American Indian Housing Council Lawyer of the Year Award on Dec. 7 at the organization’s symposium in Las Vegas.
Glory-Jordan, of Hulbert, has devoted more than 22 years to Indian housing programs, most recently as the Housing Authority of the Cherokee Nation’s counsel.
“To receive such a prestigious honor is truly humbling,” Glory-Jordan said. “A person doesn’t enter public service in search of accolades, but rather to better their community. My goal, whether as legal counsel for Indian housing programs, speaker of Tribal Council or district judge, has always been to work to improve the lives of our Native people. To have that service acknowledged and honored is just amazing and unexpected. It has been an honor serving my Cherokee people and other tribes throughout my life.”
Glory-Jordan has served in the position since August 2015 but worked in the same position from 1983 to 2004. She also previously served as contract legal counsel for the Osage Nation Tribal Housing Department, the United Keetoowah Band Housing Authority and the Delaware Housing Authority.
“Tina Glory-Jordan has been and continues to be a truly great asset to the Cherokee Nation and Indian Country,” HACN Executive Director Gary Cooper said. “Her vision, expertise and willingness to serve have only enhanced our housing authority since she rejoined us in 2015. I’m thankful for her service and congratulate her on a well-deserved honor.”
Glory-Jordan served on the Tribal Council from 2007 to 2015.
(AP) – North Texas University has accepted an invitation to play in the Heart of Dallas Bowl against Army.
The Mean Green improved from one win last season to 5-7 this season under first-year head coach Seth Littrell.
Quarterback and Cherokee Nation citizen Mason Fine has completed 59.4 percent of his passes this season for 1,572 yards and six touchdowns.
Since there weren’t enough bowl-eligible teams to fill all the spots, North Texas was one of the teams allowed to advance to a bowl based on Academic Progress Rate scores.
Army is 6-5 with its annual regular-season finale against Navy left to play next Saturday.
North Texas and Army have already played once this season. The mean Green won 35-18 on Oct. 22 at West Point.
The Heart of Dallas Bowl, played in the historic Cotton Bowl Stadium, is on Dec. 27.
Conference USA announced on Dec. 6 that Fine and linebacker LaDarius Hamilton were selected for the 2016 All-Freshman football team by the league’s 13 head football coaches.
EL RENO, Okla. – Cherokee Nation citizen Gary Smith was recently given a Peer Recognition Award from the Indian Health Service’s Oklahoma City Area director for his work at the El Reno Indian Health Center.
Smith serves as the sole housekeeper at the El Reno Indian Health Center.
He has worked for the El Reno facility for more than a year and with IHS for 12 years. Prior to Smith’s hire as a full-time housekeeper for the El Reno facility in March 2015, he served seven years with Lawton IHS and five years with W. W. Hastings in Tahlequah. Aside from his daily duties, Smith takes on additional tasks such as repainting the facility, grounds maintenance and ensuring patient and staff safety as the facility safety officer.
SANTA FE, N.M. – The National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development on Nov. 16 recognized seven Cherokee Nation citizens as part of its 2016 class of “Native American 40 Under 40” award recipients.
The seven CN citizens are Thomas Jones (also of the Naknek Village Council), Lenzy Krehbiel-Burton, Rebecca Nagle, Mary Jo Pratt (also of the Osage Nation and Delaware Tribe of Indians), Linda Sacks, Casey Sixkiller and Bryan Warner.
The award is given to individuals under age 40 who have demonstrated leadership, initiative and dedication and made significant contributions in business and their communities.
The winners were honored during the Reservation Economic Summit in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
“The ‘40 Under 40’ award recipients are a diverse group of young men and women from across Indian Country who have all made invaluable contributions to their communities,” NCAIED Chairman Derrick Watchman said. “We are proud to honor this extraordinary group of leaders. I have no doubt our ‘40 Under 40’ winners will help define the future of Native American business.”
Jones is an analyst and project manager for Allegheny Science & Technology, working specifically with the Department of Energy/Office of Indian Energy Policy and Programs. He has also worked for the Office of Indian Energy in Washington, D.C., and the Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque. He has also held internships and fellowships across federal agencies, including the U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Science Foundation, Social Security Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency and Congress. He has bachelor’s degrees in biology and Spanish from Oklahoma City University, a master’s degree in tropical conservation biology from the University of Hawaii at Hilo and a doctorate in natural resource studies from the University of Arizona.
Krehbiel-Burton is a freelance reporter based in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Her work appears in the Native American Times, the Tulsa World, the Bigheart Times, Cherokee Phoenix, Native Health News Alliance, Silicon66 and Reuters. She has also held public relations positions. An Oklahoma State University alumna, including a master’s degree in international studies, Krehbiel-Burton also volunteers on the national boards for Alpha Pi Omega Sorority Inc. and the Native American Journalists Association, from which she has won numerous news writing awards.
Pratt is a corporate financial analyst for Cherokee Nation Businesses. She reports and analyzes aspects of the business, including labor utilization, manufacturing/engineering and distribution/logistics. Previously, she served as an executive coordinator at Horizon Engineering/Margo Gray & Associates. She is a 2012 graduate of Rogers State University with a bachelor’s degree in forensic accounting and is pursuing her MBA in information technology management from Western Governors University.
Nagle is a national leader in the movement to end rape and abuse and is the co-founder of Force: Upsetting Rape Culture and the Monument Quilt. Nagle has also been active in and a leader on the Violence Against Women Act to ensure protections for indigenous women and tribal sovereignty. She is also the founding director of The No Boundaries Coalition, a resident-led advocacy organization in central west Baltimore. Her advocacy has been covered by MSNBC, CNN and The New York Times.
Sacks is the vice president of the American Indian Chamber of Commerce of Oklahoma and its 2016 Volunteer of the Year. She developed the state’s first tribal cooperative, an educational/leadership program called Leadership Native Oklahoma. She also serves on the board of directors for Goodwill Industries of Tulsa, is a member of the Oklahoma Centers for Community and Justice and a contributing writer for Native News Online. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Oklahoma Christian University.
Sixkiller is the president and founder of Sixkiller Consulting in Washington, D.C., a strategic advisory, government affairs and business development consulting firm. Sixkiller was the executive vice president at McBee Strategic Consulting (Now Signal Group) and has worked for U.S. Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) and U.S. Rep. Jim McDermott (D-WA). He was also a legislative officer in the Washington Office for the CN. He grew up in Seattle and earned a bachelor’s degree from Dartmouth College.
Warner is the CN’s Dist. 6 Tribal Councilor. He also works at Carl Albert State College as the campus director and a full-time science instructor. He has previously been a member of the Sallisaw City Council and is vice president of the Sallisaw Lions Club. He is a graduate of Northeastern State University and has a master’s degree in education from East Central University.
For more information about RES and the NCAIED, visit <a href="http://res.ncaied.org" target="_blank">http://res.ncaied.org</a>.
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – Inspired by his older brother, Cherokee Nation citizen Lloyd Kingfisher Jr. grew up hoping to succeed in professional baseball. He played football and basketball but excelled at baseball and began pitching in the ninth grade while at Oaks Mission High School.
“I was inspired by my brother. He was four years older than I was, and he signed a professional contract when he was 18, right out of high school. He didn’t go to college, and I thought at the time…that’s what I want to do, too. I really got into pitching about the time he signed. He’s been an inspiration of mine all my life, ever since we were little kids,” Kingfisher said.
He said his brother, Jim Marrujo, pitched for the New York Yankees and was teammates with Mickey Mantle, Roger Maris and Yogi Berra.
Kingfisher made the all-state baseball team as a high school senior before graduating in 1965. From there, he attended Bacone College in Muskogee on an athletic scholarship.
“I actually went down there on a basketball scholarship, but that didn’t work out well so they just transferred it over to a baseball scholarship and I just played baseball. I played both sports the first year I was down there, but I turned all my attention to baseball,” he said.
Kingfisher said he pitched for two years for Bacone, garnering a 27-1 record. He was named first-team National Junior College Athletic Association All-American in 1967, the same year Bacone won a national championship.
“Being chosen as All-American, that was really a great honor. In junior college, to win a World Series and there was only two pitchers in the United States that year that made first team All-American, and I was one of them. Another was from New York. I was really proud of that,” Kingfisher said.
After two years at Bacone, Kingfisher said a scout for the Chicago Cubs talked to him about signing a professional baseball contract.
“I didn’t want to further my education. I had several opportunities to go to various schools to finish my education, but I wanted to play ball so bad I thought ‘well I’ll get my education later,’” he said.
Kingfisher said he played for four years with the Cubs’ farm teams. He started mid-season with the Caldwell, Idaho, team in 1967 and attended the Cubs’ spring training. The following years he played for teams in California, Illinois and Washington.
He said during spring trainings he met players such as Ernie Banks, Billy Williams and Ron Santo and that it was an “overwhelming experience” to meet the people he read about and watched on television.
Kingfisher said he watched the Cubs win their first World Series this year since 1908.
“You know, 108 years they’ve been trying to do this. How many players have come up through the years trying to do what they did last night over a 108-year period? It’s amazing,” he said. “Every time I watch a baseball game I think about what could have been and I still think about it a lot, especially during baseball season. You know if things had been different…what I like about it is that I did have the opportunity and I did play some.”
Kingfisher retired from his four-year baseball career in 1971 after an arm injury. He and his wife, Linda, moved to the Fort Smith, Arkansas, area where they both worked until his retirement as a construction coordinator eight years ago. They have since moved back to Tahlequah.
In 2015 Kingfisher was inducted into Bacone College’s Ken Hayes-Enos Semore Athletic Hall of Fame for his accomplishments in baseball.