Native youth organization UNITY moves to Arizona

01/16/2014 08:58 AM
MESA, Ariz. – After calling Oklahoma home for more than 37 years, the United National Indian Tribal Youth organization celebrated its the relocation with a grand opening at its new headquarters on Dec. 30 at 1 N. MacDonald Drive, Suite 312 in Mesa.

“We are excited about beginning this new journey for UNITY with the official headquarters now being in Arizona” Mary Kim Titla, executive director, said. “The move makes sense for the organization on many levels, we are the largest Native-youth network organization in the country with more than 132 youth councils in 35 states. The Phoenix-metro area provides an environment that allows us to flourish.”

Titla was selected as UNITY’s new leader in spring of 2013 when former Executive Director J.R. Cook stepped down after more than three decades of service.

Native youth leaders serving on the executive committee for the National UNITY Council and special guest speakers, including tribal leadership and dignitaries from the local area, attended the open house.

UNITY is a national 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to fostering the spiritual, mental, physical and social development of American Indian and Alaska Native youth and to help build a strong, unified, and self-reliant Native America through greater youth involvement. UNITY has impacted more than 150,000 Native Americans through its programs since 1976.

For information, visit


Special Correspondent
04/15/2016 08:30 AM
PAWHUSKA, Okla. – Jeni Hendricks will not be spending her summer at home this year. Instead, the Pawhuska native will be in Washington, D.C., as a Udall intern working for the Department of Justice in its division of environmental and natural resources. A citizen of the Cherokee Nation, Hendricks is one of 12 recipients nationwide for the highly competitive federal internship program for American Indian and Alaska Native undergraduate, graduate and law students interested in tribal policy. “It’s a little nerve-wracking, but this has been on my radar for two years,” she said. “I’ve wanted to do this and knew if it was meant to be, it was meant to be.” A Native American studies and anthropology junior at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire, Hendricks found out about the program two years ago while interning for U.S. Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.). Some of the other interns in the Chickasaw Nation citizen’s office were Udall interns and raved about the program, which also provides housing assistance, a regular stipend, travel assistance to and from Washington and an academic scholarship. To be considered for a spot, Hendricks had to fill out an application, including an essay on the legacy of the program’s namesakes, former Rep. Morris Udall (D-Arizona) and his brother, former Secretary of the Interior Stewart Udall. “The essay is the most important part,” she said. “You talk about your interpretation of their work. That essay is what gets circulated among the offices to determine who you’re matched with.” Hendricks said she does not know yet all of the specifics of what she will be doing this summer. Among the duties she has already been appraised of is that she will be sitting in on congressional hearings on different topics and writing up briefings about those sessions. She will also be expected to track the progress of certain pieces of legislation. With plans to head to law school after Dartmouth and focus on government-to-government relations, Hendricks said she sees this as a golden opportunity to get to build relationships with other Native students with similar aspirations, as well as with more seasoned Beltway veterans. “The program’s emphasis is on Native policy, but it provides excellent outlet for networking,” she said. “I’m looking forward to getting to know other Native youth who want to make an impact, plus networking with different professionals up on the hill.” – REPRINTED WITH PERMISSION FROM BIGHEART TIMES
Multimedia Editor – @cp_mdreadfulwat
03/23/2016 04:30 PM
<strong>3A Boys</strong> <strong>Verdigris Cardinals win state title</strong> <strong>BY MARK DREADFULWATER</strong> Multimedia Editor OKLAHOMA CITY – The Verdigris boys basketball team defeated Heritage hall 75-62 to win the Class 3A boys state championship at the State Fair Arena. The win is the second state championship in school history. “This is my first one,” Verdigris head coach Randy Upshaw said. “I didn’t know what to feel but it feels pretty sweet.” In a repeat matchup from the 2015 final, the Cardinals found themselves wanting to avenge the 11-point loss they sustained from the Chargers. The first quarter saw back and forth action and ended with a 17-all tie. The second quarter was much the same, however the Cardinals gained a 2-point advantage going into halftime 33-31 behind Verdigris junior Brewster Peacock scoring 17 of his 24 points in the first half. Verdigris entered the third with precision shooting from senior guard Trevor Moyer as he knocked down back-to-back 3s. Up seven at the end of the third, the Cardinals did not let the Chargers get any closer. Peacock and his 24 points and eight rebounds led the 29-1 Cardinals. Senior Laef Payne had 17 points and Moyer finished with 13 points. “We knew the way they play defense that we were going to have to be composed, handle the pressure and handle the ball,” Upshaw said. “Their the defending state champion. Their really athletic and we just played like we’re capable of.” The Cardinals’ road to the final saw them battle Lincoln Christian in the quarterfinal game. Verdigris led the entire game beating the Bulldogs 57-45 behind Payne’s 25 points and 11 rebounds. In the semifinal game against Atoka, No. 2 Verdigris started the game with a 9-2 run. However, the No. 3 Wampus Cats battled back taking the lead going into the half. Verdigris came of the locker room swinging. Peacock and Payne’s strong 3-point shooting helped the Cardinals build a seven-point lead after the third quarter. In the fourth, Verdigris’ defense and strong outside shooting propelled them to an 80-60 victory. “Your goal every year is to get to the state tournament,” Upshaw said. “Only one team can win it but as the season went along, I think it was a more realistic goal that we could win it. We didn’t play real well Thursday against Lincoln, but we played really good against Atoka and it carried over today.” <strong>Indians lose in first round</strong> <strong>BY MARK DREADFULWATER</strong> Multimedia Editor YUKON, Okla. – The Sequoyah High School boys team couldn’t overcome two long scoring droughts during its 71-67 loss to No. 3 Atoka in the first round of the Class 3A basketball tournament on March 10 at Yukon High School. Atoka, coming from the same area, had double-digit victories over every opponent during its playoff run and went into the tournament as the No. 3 seed. The Wampus Cats started by shooting well from the outside and built a 10-0 lead. Senior guard Kyle Sanders ended the Indians’ scoring drought at the 3:49 mark in the first quarter with two points. “I wish we wouldn’t have started the game down 10,” SHS head coach Jay Herrin said. Atoka led going into halftime, 36-27. The Indians’ offense came out of halftime with a 20-10 run that gained Sequoyah its first lead at the end of the third quarter, 47-46. “Our kids don’t know how to quit,” Herrin said. “They’re going to fight until the very last second. That’s all they know, and that’s how we bring them up through our program. That’s what we believe in doing. Sometimes we come out on the topside and sometimes we come out a little short, but the effort is always going to be there. So I was proud of the kids the way they come out in third quarter and it was huge.” However, the Wampus Cats used their size with another scoring run of 19-5 to start the fourth. “They’re so big and they jump well and are athletic,” Herrin said. “They just got us outsized so much and it’s tough. You’re going to lose some of those battles and the best you can do is try hard every time to get a body on them, but still the ball is going to find those big guys.” The Indians battled, but Atoka’s lead was too much. In the end, SHS stayed closer to Atoka than any team had all postseason. SHS junior guard Tyeus Daugherty had a game-high 27 points. SHS senior post Hunter Soap finished with 10 points, and sophomore post Adam Saine scored nine. The 71-67 loss ended the Indians’ season with a record of 22-8. <strong>3A Girls</strong> <strong>Adair girls lose to Washington</strong> <strong>BY MARK DREADFULWATER</strong> Multimedia Editor MIDWEST CITY, Okla. – Seeing the Adair High School girls basketball team appear in the Class 3A state basketball tournament is nothing new. The Lady Warriors have qualified for the tourney for the past 11 years. However, for the seventh straight year, the Lady Warriors were eliminated from the tournament without winning the gold ball. No. 3 Adair lost to No. 1 Washington 56-53 in the semifinal game on March 11 at Carl Albert High School. With both teams coming off close first-round wins and low-scoring first halves, this game was no different. Both teams were aggressive defensively in the first half and neither team shot well. The half ended with Adair behind 15-13. Washington’s shooting improved in the third quarter by starting with a 16-4 run. “We talked before the game that we would always deal with adversity throughout a game,” Adair head coach Scott Winfield said. “That was the big-time adversity.” Washington outscored Adair 21-9 in the third for a comfortable 14-point lead. However, Adair battled back with outstanding play from junior forward and Cherokee Nation citizen Olivia Ratcliff, senior guard Abbey Stephens and junior forward Keni Lippe. “I thought we battled back and did a good job,” Winfield said. “I actually thought we played better when we got behind because I thought we played a little tight early. When we got behind, we played a little looser and I thought we ended up playing pretty well later in the game.” Adair cut the Washington lead to one with less than a minute to play. However, Washington made and Adair missed key free throws down the stretch. Adair loses two players to graduation, including Stephens, and Winfield said his team is already looking forward to next season. “Our goal is to back where we left off. Maybe a game farther,” he said. “That’s what we’re looking forward to.” Adair advanced to the semifinals by defeating the Perkins-Tryon Lady Demons, 38-36. Lippe scored 31 in the contest. <strong>SHS girls end season in first round</strong> <strong>BY MARK DREADFULWATER</strong> Multimedia Editor MIDWEST CITY, Okla. – The top-ranked Washington Lady Warriors ended the fifth-ranked Sequoyah High School Lady Indians’ chance at a championship repeat by beating them 42-38 on March 10 at Carl Albert High School. During the low-scoring affair, SHS took an early lead 9-7 at the end of the first quarter. With neither team shooting well, Washington outscored the Lady Indians 7-4 in the second quarter to go into halftime up 14-13. “We have not shot the ball very well for a while,” SHS head coach Larry Callison said. “We just had to battle to get points.” The third quarter was nearly a mirror image of the first half with neither team securing a large lead. Each team scored 13 points in the frame and the Lady Warriors clung to a one-point lead going into the fourth quarter. “We’ve won games on defense and it hasn’t been our offense all year, it’s been defense,” Callison said. “We held them low enough, but we just didn’t put the ball in the hole enough.” Washington outscored the Lady Indians in the fourth 15-12 securing the four-point win. “I’ve said this all year long, we’re not the most talented team,” Callison said. “These girls have just played their rears off and we’ve had to put pieces together in the puzzle and do some things they are not used to doing. Honestly, I didn’t know we’d get this far but I knew we would play hard.” The Lady Indians will return 12 players for the 2016-17 campaign, and Callison said they’ll be a tough team to beat. “I’m proud of them. I think we’ll be really good next year, so I’m looking forward to that. No one wants to lose, but I’m proud of them.” Sequoyah ended the season with 22 wins and 6 losses. <strong>Kansas girls end season with first-round loss</strong> <strong>BY STAFF REPORTS</strong> MIDWEST CITY, Okla. – The Kansas High School girls basketball team was eliminated from the Class 3A basketball tournament on March 10 at Carl Albert High School. The 43-18 loss to Alva ended the Comets’ season at 21-7. No. 8 Kansas led No. 2 Alva early in the first quarter. However, Alva scored the 15 straight points to go ahead 17-3. A late second quarter bucket ended the Lady Comets’ 12-minute scoreless streak in the first half. The Ladybugs’ defense limited Kansas to only five points at halftime. Alva’s defensive strategy continued as they pressed in the third quarter holding Kansas to only five points in the frame. Kansas matched Alva’s scoring in the fourth quarter 8-8 but the game had already been decided as the Ladybugs built a 20-point lead going into the quarter. <strong>4A Boys</strong> <strong>Fort Gibson boys fall in state title game</strong> <strong>BY MARK DREADFULWATER</strong> Multimedia Editor OKLAHOMA CITY – A Cinderella story. That term has been used to describe many sports teams’ improbable postseason runs. However, the Fort Gibson Tigers run to the Class 4A state championship game was just that – a Cinderella story. The Tigers lost four starters from the 2014-15 campaign and were not expected to reach the state quarterfinals. “I’m very proud of our guys,” Fort Gibson head coach Gary Hendrix said. “We lost four starters from a state tournament team last year. We had a lot of inexperience and our kids just kept getting better and kept working. They believed in themselves and their great kids. It’s a great run for us to be here.” The eighth-seeded Tigers drew No. 1 Harrah in the first round, and with the Panthers having key starters with NCAA Division I collegiate commitments, victory seemed improbable. The Tigers led throughout the game, but Harrah battled back after Fort Gibson’s scoring runs. Harrah clung to a 44-43 lead with 15 seconds to go after a made 3-point bucket. Then Tigers junior guard Rico Ybarra hit a 3-pointer in the closing seconds to give Fort Gibson the 46-44 victory. “It was a great game,” Hendrix said. “We were fortunate to win and hit a big shot.” Cherokee Nation citizens Seth Martin and Jace Shepherd finished the game with nine points and eight points, respectively. In the semifinal game, Fort Gibson defeated the Anadarko Warriors 53-48. The Tigers jumped out early with strong shooting from behind the 3-point arc. They hit five 3s in the first quarter to end the frame up 18-14. Unable to keep up the scoring pace, Fort Gibson gave up the lead through the second quarter to go into halftime down 27-23. The Tigers trailed in the third quarter as the Warriors slowed down the game. They stalled by holding the ball at half court for nearly 2 minutes in the frame. A Fort Gibson bucket at the closing seconds of the third ended the stall. The Tigers regained the lead in the fourth. A Warriors’ basket with 3.8 seconds left put the Anadarko within three, 51-48. However, controversy over the time clock marred the game’s closing seconds. Anadarko’s press forced the Tigers to call timeout. After the timeout, Fort Gibson’s Shepherd full-court pass led junior Kyle Dortch too far and as he jumped out of bounds, he threw the ball back in bounds. The ball rolled towards the sidelines and Martin picked it up and was immediately fouled sending him to the line to shoot two free throws. The clock was supposed to start immediately when any inbounds player touches the ball. However, it did not start until Martin picked it up. Only .7 seconds ran off the clock. Martin sank both shots and the Tigers secured the 53-48 victory, sending them to the championship game. “Our kids amaze me,” Hendrix said. “We’re playing really well and I’m just really proud of them.” CN citizen Cole Hamilton led all players with 11 rebounds. With any Cinderella story, it must come to an end. Fort Gibson lost to Douglass in the championship game, 57-45. The Trojans used strong outside shooting for an early lead. The Trojans’ defense held the Tigers to 10 first quarter points ending the frame up 18-10. The Tigers found their shooting touch in the second quarter to cut the lead to 23-22 to close the half. Douglass took control of the game in the third outscoring the Tigers 22-10 to increase its lead to 45-32 after three quarters. The Tigers outscored Douglass 13-12 in the fourth, but the game was already decided. Hamilton had six points and seven rebounds. Shepherd also had six points. “It was fun, real fun,” Hamilton said of his career. “It sucks that it is over, but it all has to end.” The Tigers lose only Hamilton, and Shepherd said they are already looking forward to next season. “No one thought we were going to be here,” Shepherd said. “We weren’t picked to win regionals or area or even a game at the state tournament. We proved a lot of people wrong and I’m proud of my team for that. This just shows all of our hard work is paying off. We just have to go back to Fort Gibson and work even harder and push ourselves to exhaustion each and every night to get back here.” <strong>4A Girls</strong> <strong>Hilldale ends season in semifinal game</strong> <strong>BY STAFF REPORTS</strong> OKLAHOMA CITY – The Hilldale High School girls basketball team ended its season with a 49-34 loss to Harrah High School in the semifinal game of the Class 4A state basketball tournament on March 11 at the State Fair Arena. With Hilldale only down two points, 29-17, going into the fourth quarter, Harrah outscored the Lady Hornets 20-7 in the final stanza. The 15-point victory propelled the Lady Panthers into the championship game and ended Hilldale’s season at 25-5. In the quarterfinal game, Hilldale jumped out to an eight-point advantage over Plainview after the first quarter and never gave up the lead. The Lady Hornets outscored Plainview in three of four quarters to secure their spot in the semifinal game. Hilldale’s Katie Kirkhart had 22 points to lead her team. The Lady Hornets made their second consecutive state tournament appearance under head coach Scott Hensley. <strong>Fort Gibson girls upset by Broken Bow</strong> <strong>BY STAFF REPORTS</strong> BETHANY, Okla. – The Fort Gibson Lady Tigers were handed their first loss of the season during the quarterfinals of the Class 4A state basketball tournament on March 10 at Southern Nazarene University. No. 7 Broken Bow overcame a 10-point deficit in the second half and won, 47-43. It was the Lady Savages first state tournament win since 1936. Fort Gibson cruised through the playoffs with double-digit victories in its first five playoff games. It seemed the No. 1 Lady Tigers were on their way to another victory with their offense firing on all cylinders in the first half. However, a 10-point lead vanished as Broken Bow’s trapping defense turned up the pressure in the second half. During a stretch, the Lady Tigers went 0-for-6 from the field and managed to score two free throws. In 2016, the Lady Tigers made their 12th straight state tournament appearance going in undefeated. Their last defeat was a semifinal game loss to Locust Grove in last year’s state tournament. Fort Gibson is expected to return every current roster player for 2016-17. <strong>5A</strong> <strong>Claremore falls to Woodward in OT</strong> <strong>BY STAFF REPORTS</strong> TULSA, Okla. ¬ – The Claremore High School girls basketball team lost to Woodward High School in the Class 5A state basketball championship game 50-41 on March 12 at the Mabee Center. In a rematch of the 2001 championship game, Woodward built a 12-4 lead in the first quarter behind the 3-point shooting from Brennley Cloyd and Addison Rowley. Claremore battled back in the second quarter to lead 19-18 at halftime. In the third, Claremore increased its lead to four points. The frame ended with the score 34-30. Claremore did not score in the fourth quarter, however, and the Boomers only scored four points to send the game into overtime. Claremore’s scoring drought continued in overtime as it did not score until the 1:57 mark. That allowed the Boomers to build an unsurpassable lead. Claremore’s season closed with 23 wins and 6 losses. To reach the championship game, the Zebras defeated Carl Albert 54-47 on March 10 at Memorial High School. Claremore’s strong shooting from everywhere on the floor kept the Zebras ahead throughout the game. However, Carl Albert kept it close until Claremore’s Lauren Chancellor hit 5 of 6 from the free throw line. The win gave Claremore its 12th straight and 18 of its last 19. In the semifinal game, No. 5 Claremore upset No. 3 Shawnee 54-44 on March 11 at the Mabee Center. Again Claremore’s hot shooting was the catalyst to victory. Shawnee battled back from 11 points down in the fourth quarter. However, after tying the game at 42 midway through the fourth Claremore finished the game with a 12-2 run. The Zebra’s 6-foot-2 post player Lauryn Blevins had 10 points. <strong>Pryor boys, girls end season in first round</strong> <strong>BY STAFF REPORTS</strong> TULSA, Okla. – For the first time in the school’s history, the Pryor Tigers and Tigerettes played games in the state tournament on the same day. However, both team’s quests for the gold ball were short-lived. The Tigers made their second consecutive trip to the Class 5A state tournament. This year’s trip ended as it did a year ago, with a loss to Lawton Eisenhower in the quarterfinals, 73-54. No. 10 Pryor led twice during the game, however, those leads were in the first two minutes of the first quarter. The Eagles led the rest of the way behind Mookie Douglas’ game-high 21 points. Pryor ends its season at 19-9. On the girl’s side, the No. 10 Pryor Tigerettes lost to No. 3 Shawnee 49-38. In a low-scoring affair, the scored was tied at 12 going into the half. Senior guard Kelsie Kerns was the only scoring spark for the Tigerettes in the first half and into the third scoring 13 of 15 team points. The third quarter saw back-to-back ties, but Pryor never gained the lead. Shawnee went was up as many as 14 points in the fourth quarter. Pryor cut the lead to seven, but that would be as close as the Tigerettes got. They ended the season with a 15-13 record. <strong>6A</strong> <strong>Muskogee girls lose in 6A semifinal</strong> <strong>BY STAFF REPORTS</strong> TULSA, Okla. – Midwest City ended the Muskogee girls basketball team’s bid for the Class 6A state championship by beating them 74-67 on March 11 at the Mabee Center. It wasn’t an easy victory as it took a double overtime effort for the Bombers to secure their spot in the championship game. The Bombers led for most of the game but Muskogee fought back from nine-points behind in the fourth quarter. Muskogee’s Aaliyah Wilson tied the game at 60 with a 28-foot 3-pointer at the end of regulation to send the game to its first overtime. The Lady Roughers built a five-point lead in the first extra frame but let it slip away as the Bombers tied the game for a second overtime. Midwest City forged ahead in the second overtime to secure the win. Muskogee advanced to the semifinal game by defeating Edmond Santa Fe 58-46 on March 10.
Multimedia Editor – @cp_mdreadfulwat
03/18/2016 08:30 AM
TAMPA, Fla. – Many children grow up with dreams of playing the game professionally. However less than 11 percent of NCAA college athletes are drafted by a Major League Baseball team and less than 1 percent of high school players are drafted into the professional ranks. Cherokee Nation citizen Zachary Slade Heathcott is part of the less than percent after being drafted by the New York Yankees out of high school. “I had the privilege, out of high school, to be drafted by the Yankees,” he said. “I ended up taking the opportunity and I signed in August of 2009.” Heathcott reported to the Gulf Coast Yankees of the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League and played a few games before injury and surgery shortened his season. He returned to the diamond mid-2010 playing for the Charleston RiverDogs of the Class A South Atlantic League. He hit for a .258 batting average, but at the end that season he underwent surgery on his shoulder. He said he returned to Charleston for the 2011 season and improved his batting average. In June he was promoted to the Tampa Yankees of the Class A-Advanced Florida State League. However, he only played in one game due to a shoulder injury and missed the remainder of the season. Knee injuries plagued Heathcott through the 2012, 2013 and 2014 seasons. However, he said, within the past two years, his injuries have subsided and things are “looking up.” “I think I have had five surgeries now,” he said. “I’m finally getting everything under control in the last two years.” Heathcott said he has been injury free for the past two offseasons and that allowed him to make his Major League debut in early 2015. “I think my first game was May 20 in Washington, D.C.,” he said. “Having gotten the call was awesome. I’ve been fortunate enough to have my son with me at the time. That was something I was thankful for. It was a very exciting time. Obviously, there are guys and players that have played their entire life or grew up watching baseball players and wanting to be in their shoes. For my case, to go through all the injuries and face all the hurdles that have been thrown at me, I’ve been blessed in that way. Because of all the injuries, I actually enjoyed the magnificence of the situation and I was very appreciative. All the injuries made me appreciate the whole process more.” In 2015, Heathcott played in six games for the Yankees before being sent back down to the minors due to an injury. According to, he played most of the year with the AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Railriders where he hit .267 with 27 RBIs in 64 games. He was again called up by the Yankees in September and finished the 2015 season on their active roster. In all, he played 17 games for the Yankees with 30 plate appearances while hitting .400. As of publication, Heathcott was in spring training with the Yankees without a guaranteed spot on their active roster. He said he was healthy, but injuries are always on his mind. He said his Cherokee heritage and a positive mindset keeps him optimistic. “A Cherokee is who I am,” he said. “That’s what I stand for. I always have a deep tie to it. If there is a will there is a way. I have been to a point in my career where I was told my career might be over and to realize the mental side of it. With the right process and with the right mentality, we can do anything we want.”
03/16/2016 12:00 PM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – Northeastern State University officials on March 4 honored four Cherokee Nation citizens with Centurion awards for their outstanding leadership skills and commitments to the community. Those citizens receiving the awards were Cherokee Nation Foundation Executive Director Janice Randall, CN Commerce Department Executive Director Anna Knight, retired educator and student activist Carol Ann Barkley and the late Dr. Isabel Cobb, a physician and NSU faculty member. “I have always had a passion for helping others and feel incredibly blessed that my education and experiences at NSU helped me cultivate a career that allows me to do just that,” Randall said. “I truly believe that our kids are our future, and I work hard every day to ensure we are doing all we can to help them succeed.” Randall graduated from NSU in 1971 with a bachelor’s degree in education and business. She served 32 years supporting Tahlequah Public Schools and Indian Education and another 10 with the Cherokee County Boys and Girls Club before joining the CNF in 2014. Knight is a 1986 and 1993 alumna with a bachelor’s degree in accounting and a master’s degree in business administration. Tribal officials said she has dedicated her career to developing the regional economy in northeastern Oklahoma and helping CN citizens build and manage their financial assets. Knight will celebrate 23 years of service to the tribe this summer. “I am humbled beyond belief to share this award with the other Centurions, past and present,” Knight said. “This award represents a number of things, but most importantly, it recognizes our passion for improving the quality of life for others. The work we do energizes our communities and creates new opportunities for Cherokee Nation citizens and those living in northeast Oklahoma.” Barkley is a 1978 alumna with a bachelor’s degree in education. She spent 32 years as an educator at Inola Public Schools and is active in community projects. Barkley serves on the board of directors for the NSU Alumni Association and as the board secretary for the NSU Athletic Association. “It has always been my goal to make a difference in the lives of others, especially students,” Barkley said. “There is a quote on the back of the fountain located in front of Dobbins Fieldhouse that says, ‘Be the Change,’ and I take that message to heart. Being included in this exceptional group is an honor that I will always cherish, and I hope to continue to be a vessel of change for others, creating opportunities for students to achieve greatness and then pay it forward.” Cobb, who died in 1947, was an 1879 graduate of the Cherokee National Female Seminary and former member of the NSU faculty. She was known as the first woman physician in Indian Territory and primarily cared for women and children. The Centurion Award was established in 2009 to recognize alumni, faculty, staff and students who have positively impacted the university community or the public at large. As part of NSU’s annual Founders Day, 10 names are added to the distinguished list each year.
Reporter – @cp_sguthrie
03/14/2016 10:30 AM
PORTLAND, Ore. – Cherokee author Daniel H. Wilson now has two novels whose screen rights were bought. His latest novel “Avtomat,” which he is writing, was picked up by 20th Century Fox in December to bring to the silver screen. Wilson said to have two novels bought for movie deals before they were finished being written is something for which he’s thankful. “I was very, very lucky to have lightning strike twice,” he said. “With ‘Robopocalypse’ (his 2011 bestselling novel), those film rights were bought before I sold the book, which is just a crazy thing that never happens. And I would never expect it to happen, and oddly enough it happened again with ‘Avtomat.’” Wilson said he got the idea for “Avtomat” by thinking about the past and what technology it held and might have held. “I got really interested in ancient civilizations and the level of technology that they had back then,” he said. “Specifically in these really ancient robots called automatons, and typically they’re called quartz automatons because they were given to kings and queens and emperors, and they were these robots that could play the flute or they could deliver tea. There are legends of these types of machines going all the way back to the Greeks and before then. But these machines were really built in the Renaissance and before the Renaissance. I just started thinking what kind of technology could our distant ancestors have had. …how much technology could have been lost.” He said “Avtomat” is about an “ancient race of machines” hidden in plain sight for thousands of years guiding the technological progress of humans until they start to run out of power. “But now they’re starting to be revealed because they’re having to fight each other and cannibalize each other to extend their lifespans,” he said. Wilson said the novel has influences from films and focuses on things he “loves.” “It’s a little bit ‘Interview with the Vampire’ because I get to go into the period time. I’m writing these characters in the 1700s and the 1800s and as they live through all these different ages and all these different societies. It’s also a little bit like ‘Highlander’ in that they’re these immortal beings that are kind of hunting each other,” he said. “For me, it’s the perfect storm because I’m writing about something I love, robots and technology, and I’m getting to really incorporate all of this historical knowledge, which is also what I love, into the story.” As for the “Robopocalypse” film, Wilson said it’s still in the development stage. “I don’t think that it’s going to be the next film that (Steven) Spielberg directs, although that’s up to him,” he said. “I should find out later this year more like exactly what’s going to happen with it in terms of whether DreamWorks is going to hang on to it and keep working on it or what’s going to go on, but at this moment I really don’t know.” Wilson said when it comes to creating works such as “Robopocalypse” and “Avtomat” he feels it is a way to commemorate his ideas and interests for future generations. “That’s one thing I do love about writing is that I feel like I’m kind of leaving something behind that my family can read and maybe get a feel for who I was,” he said. Wilson also thanks his fans for giving him the confidence it takes to create his works. “Your friends and family and supporters and fans and readers will come out to a book talk every couple of years and they have fun. And it’s just one day for them, but for me seeing their faces and knowing they’re there, it’s with me every minute until I get back there because everyday I get up and I have to have the confidence to convince myself that I can write and that people care and will want to read what I’m creating,” he said. Follow Wilson on Twitter at danielwilsonpdx or like him on Facebook. Also, check out <a href="" target="_blank"></a>. <strong>Daniel H. Wilson: At A Glance</strong> Daniel H. Wilson was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He attended the University of Tulsa and majored in computer science. From there, Wilson received a fellowship to attend Carnegie Mellon University’s Robotics Institute in Pittsburgh. While there, he received a mater’s degree in robotics as well as machine learning, and in 2005 he received his doctorate in robotics. Along with writing novels, he’s also written for DC Comics’ “Earth 2.” <strong>Wilson’s Works</strong> “How to Survive a Robot Uprising” 2005, author, non-fiction “Where’s My Jetpack?” 2007, author, non-fiction “How to Build a Robot Army” 2007, author, non-fiction “The Mad Scientist Hall of Fame” 2008 co-author, non-fiction “The Nostalgist” 2011, author, short story “Bro-Jitsu: The Martial Art of Sibling Smackdown” 2010, author, non-fiction “A Boy and his Bot” 2011, author, novel “Helmet” 2012, author, short story “Amped” 2012, author, novel “Parasite” 2012, author, short story “Freshee’s Frogurt” 2012, author, short story “Foul Weather” 2012, author, short story “Robot Uprisings” 2014, anthology “The Executor” 2013, author, short story “Earth 2: Future’s End #1” 2014, author, comic “Garden of Life” 2014, author, short story “The Nostalgist” 2014, Wonder Room Productions, short film based on short story “Earth 2: World’s End” 2015, author, comic “The Blue Afternoon That Lasted Forever” 2014, author, short story “Robopocalypse” 2011, author, novel “Mayday! Deep Space” 2015, application “Robogenesis” 2014, author, novel “Earth 2: Society” 2015, author, comic “Press Start to Play” 2015, anthology
02/29/2016 04:00 PM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. (AP) – Cherokee pastor Steven R. Osage has been in the ministry for 30 years. The past eight years have been at First Indian Baptist Church, where he said God and the church called him to pastor in January 2008. He had moved back to Oklahoma from Bismarck, North Dakota in 2007. Like many in ministry, his story is one that allows him to help people struggling with addictions, because he’s been there and was saved by God’s grace. “I was 38 and was drinking heavy for 20 years. I’d had many car wrecks,” he said. In 1981, while in the hospital after a wreck, a preacher came by and shared the Gospel with him. He didn’t get saved then, but six months later, after coming home from drinking on Friday night, he went fishing the next morning with a hangover. His intention was to fish until a bar opened up at noon so he could start drinking again. “While fishing, God spoke to my heart and told me that I was going to die,” he said. “As I remembered what the preacher said to me and I began to cry and ask Jesus to save me. He saved me right there. I went passing by the bar and asked my wife if we could go to church next day. She was happy, as she was a Christian since age 12.” They went to church and he went forward. He told the pastor what happened and that he wanted baptized, which he did the following Sunday. “I’ve been in church every Sunday since and never had another drink,” said Osage. His wife, Rita, supports him in every way, he said. She worked for OG&E as an engineer tech and never took days or weeks off just for her – only to attend revivals, conferences or church functions with Steven. “We started new churches in the Dakotas; first starting in homes,” he said. “As I preached to adults, she took the children and taught them. She worked with the women who were beaten and abused by their mates and spent time with them to bring them to salvation. She is very dedicated to God, very strong in the faith. Without her I wouldn’t be where I am today.” Along with serving as pastor to Antioch Baptist Church in Stilwell for four years, he was the pastor of Little Rock Baptist Church in Locust Grove for six years, Crittenden Baptist Church in Watts four years and four churches in the Dakotas while there for nine years. He also served as language mission director for Dakota Baptist Convention, as director of missions for First Nation Association in Dakotas, and currently serves as mission’s coordinator for Native Americans in Oklahoma, Dakotas and New Mexico. He’s been involved in five new church starts: four in the Dakotas and one in Oklahoma. Since 1998, the couple has coordinated with Southern Churches to build 21 church buildings for Native Americans: seven in the Dakotas, 13 in Oklahoma and one in New Mexico. A graduate of Locust Grove High School, Steven had three years college at Long Beach City College and Oklahoma Baptist University. Three years after conversion, he felt God’s call to be a pastor. He was licensed by Snake Creek Baptist Church in 1983, ordained at Little Rock Baptist Church in 1985 and began pastorate at Antioch in 1985. “Church members are a special people, pretty much like your immediate family, with problems and needs that bring each other closer as they work and worship together,” he said. “I enjoy the closeness and fellowship of members of a small church.” A bi-vocational pastor, he is not at church full-time. His responsibilities are to preach and visitation. At First Indian Baptist, the music worship is pretty much piano and song leader, he said. They sing in English and Cherokee. Before beginning the service he asks for each child to stand and be welcomed and introduced by a family member. Then they are invited to attend the nursery or children’s church when a leader is available. The church has an outreach program that provides articles and clothing to the men’s homeless shelter and women’s shelter. In 2015, church members went on mission trips to the Navajo Reservation in New Mexico and Sioux Reservation to South Dakota to do Vacation Bible School, revival and construction. In March they will go to South Dakota for a youth revival. “We try to keep the youth involved and encourage them by doing mission projects and helping others,” he said. His favorite Scripture is Matthew: 6:33: “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you.” Steven is a retired Navy veteran. He’s been married to Rita for 47 years. They have three grown daughters, seven granddaughters, one grandson, four great-grandsons and three great-granddaughters. Rita is a graduate of Northeastern State University and OBU.