Cherokee Nation citizen Keith Harper will be the first Native American to serve as an ambassador for the United States after being confirmed by the Senate as the country’s representative to the United Nations Human Rights Council. COURTESY

Harper confirmed as U.N. Human Rights Council ambassador

BY STAFF REPORTS
06/03/2014 01:30 PM
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Senate today confirmed Cherokee Nation citizen Keith Harper as the country’s ambassador to the United Nations Human Rights Council.

Nominated by President Barack Obama in 2013, Harper will be the first Native American to serve as an ambassador for the United States.

“Native peoples have conducted nation to nation diplomacy throughout the Americas for thousands of years. Upon confirmation, Keith Harper will join a small number of Native peoples who have been called upon to serve the United States as Ambassador,” said the National Congress of American Indians in a statement. “Mr. Harper’s extensive legal experience, both in Indian law and beyond, will be an invaluable resource to the UN Human Rights Council. As a tribal citizen, Mr. Harper will serve the United States with a sense of both the terrible history of human rights abuses against Native peoples and the strength of Indigenous cultures that always seek justice for all peoples.”

Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.), chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, said Harper has had an “exemplary” career as a lawyer and a judge after confirming him.

“I’m pleased that my colleagues have voted to appoint another historic first in Indian Country,” he said. “As a longtime advocate for the civil rights of Native Americans, Keith will be a great Ambassador for our country.”

According to Civil Rights org., which endorsed Harper’s nomination, the U.N. General Assembly is slated to hold a World Conference on Indigenous Peoples in September, and “Mr. Harper’s presence there on behalf of the United States will send a strong message about the United States’ commitment to the rights of indigenous peoples.”

Harper served as a member on the president’s Commission on White House Fellowships. Prior to that, Harper was senior staff attorney for the Native American Rights Fund from 1995 to 2006. From 2007-08, he served as a Supreme Court justice on the Supreme Court of the Poarch Band of Creek Indians and from 2001-07 he served as an appellate justice on the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Court.

From 1998 to 2001, he was an adjunct professor at the Catholic University of America Columbus School of Law and from 1999 to 2001 he was a professorial lecturer at the American University Washington College of Law.

Harper was a law clerk to the Honorable Lawrence W. Pierce on the Second Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals. He began his career as a Litigation Associate with Davis, Polk & Wardwell in New York. He received a bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Berkeley and a juris doctorate from New York University School of Law.

The Senate approved Harper with a 52-42 vote, with 6 senators not voting. Both of Oklahoma’s Republican senators, Jim Inhofe and Tom Coburn, voted against Harper. The CN is located within Oklahoma.

Republicans stated that Harper is a fundraiser for Obama who has exhibited poor judgment on the issue of human rights. All those opposing Harper’s nomination were Republicans.

Both of Maryland’s Democratic senators, Benjamin Cardin and Barbara Mikulski, voted for him. Harper resides in Maryland. All those voting to confirm were Democrats, along with independent Sens. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Angus King of Maine.

News

BY STAFF REPORTS
09/29/2014 02:29 PM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – The Cherokee Nation recently donated $3,000 to each county fair boards in Cherokee, Mayes, McIntosh and Sequoyah and Tulsa counties to help purchase ribbons and trophies for the winners at each county’s fair. “Any help we receive from the Cherokee Nation is always very much appreciated,” Sequoyah County Fair Board member Bill Weedon said. “We have a large number of Cherokees in our county, and the tribe’s donation helps our fair board and kids in a number of ways.” Aside from going toward ribbons and trophies a portion of the money will be used for the local 4-H Club and kid-friendly organizations and activities. “We are committed to ensuring our partnership with Sequoyah County remains strong,” Principal Chief Bill John Baker said.” Supporting the county fair board means it can continue to maintain the Sequoyah County fairgrounds so that all citizens will be able to utilize and enjoy them.” Donating money to fair boards in the tribe’s 14-county jurisdiction is something that the CN does annually.
BY WILL CHAVEZ
09/29/2014 08:05 AM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – Cherokee Nation leaders joined thousands of indigenous leaders from around the world on Sept. 22 at the United Nations in New York City as the United Nations General Assembly convened a high-level plenary meeting known as the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples. During the opening session of the WCIP, the General Assembly adopted an Outcome Document that provides for concrete and action-oriented measures to implement and achieve the objectives of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The UNDRIP was approved by the General Assembly in 2007. A strong delegation of U.S. tribal leaders attended the WCIP and voiced support for their priorities addressed in the adopted outcome document. The National Congress of American Indians has joined with a large group of American Indian and Alaska Native tribes and inter-tribal associations to support four priorities that promote implementation of the declaration, establish status for indigenous governments at the UN, prevent violence against indigenous women and children and protect sacred places and objects. CN Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin Jr. spoke during the conference, expressing appreciation to the UN and leaders of indigenous peoples for working together. CN Tribal Councilor Victoria Vazquez, who also attended the conference, said she was pleased to see the outcome document adopted and that it includes language “to empower Indigenous women and strengthen their leadership.” “I agree that indigenous women need to have full participation in policy-making, which is why I ran for office and am attending this conference this week. I also appreciate paragraphs 18 and 19 (in the document) take steps to address the epidemic of violence against indigenous women and children around the world,” Vazquez said. “Yet, these words only comprise the first step. I hope that all member states will take the actions necessary to empower and protect indigenous women and children.” Vazquez added that states must strive to meet and exceed human rights standards and commit to ending violence against indigenous women and children. “The rights of indigenous women and children are a cross-cutting issue that requires regular attention in a range of settings and contexts. This should be directly addressed whenever human rights are discussed, not just in specialized meetings and expert sessions,” she said. “Together we have come so far to address these issues, but our journey to protect Indigenous women and children is long. Wado to the UN and member states for the work performed so far, and I look forward to all of the positive changes to come.” Current NCAI President Brian Cladoosby commended the strong delegation of American Indian and Alaska Native women who traveled to the UN to advocate for strong and decisive action to combat violence against Native women and girls. “We stand with our sisters in the effort to ensure that all Indigenous women are able to live lives free from violence,” he said. Cladoosby also applauded the adoption of the outcome document. “The General Assembly has established pathways for implementation of the UNDRIP, a vital agreement to protect the rights of our peoples. Our tribal governments, together with our brothers and sisters around the world, will need to continue a sustained effort to work with the various UN bodies, including the Human Rights Council and the Secretary General, to ensure that the commitments made today by the UN member countries are fulfilled,” he said. More than 1,000 delegates representing indigenous peoples from around the world attended the WCIP.
BY STACIE GUTHRIE
09/26/2014 08:25 AM
CLAREMORE, Okla. – A Cherokee-owned and -operated business has made its mark in the business world in a big way. Cherokee Data Solutions has received awards for excellence in what it does and continues to grow annually. CDS was founded in 2001 by CN citizen Pamela Huddleston Bickford, who before starting the business was a stay-at-home mother for 25 years. “That was an intentional decision by my husband and I that I would support his career and then when it was my turn he would support my career,” she said. Her late husband, Paul Bickford, was an engineer, so their family was always moving throughout the United States for his job. “I wanted to create a business that we wouldn’t have to ever move again,” she said. “We wanted to be home near our family, our culture, our tribe, Oklahoma. Cherokee Data was created to accomplish those goals.” CDS started as a technology company. As the business grew customers began requesting different types of products. The company now provides office supplies, medical supplies, promotional office supplies and structural steel. They also work with firearms, but that is a government-only division. Huddleston Bickford said her son Ross Bickford, who is CDS’ vice president, has created more than 700,000 items for businesses within the promotional office supplies division. She said the business also customizes products according to customers needs. “We’ll bring in things that need to be customized, and we’ll do that work here,” she said. “We’re integrators, so we look at what people already have and what their need is and then we’ll suggest what a solution is. Then we’ll take that solution all the way through installation and support.” CDS also offers the disposal of old technology products, such as computers, when bringing in new products that a company has ordered. CDS takes the old products and wipes all data off of them and then takes the products off to be recycled. “What we do is take their end-of-life technology, wipe it clean, send it to the right places (to be recycled and reused),” Roger Huddleston, CDS director of marketing and operational excellence, said. “It’s really turned into a really good program, and I think they like it.” Huddleston Bickford said CDS mainly focuses on government accounts, such as the CN, but also serve commercial accounts such as aircraft manufacturing company Boeing. She added that CDS also works with nearly 30 tribes in the United States and with nearly almost every CN department. “We’ve got product in the White House, product in the space station, product in Afghanistan,” she said. “Cherokee Data’s all over the world.” Huddleston Bickford said she thanks the CN and believes it helped the company grow. “Most of our work is outside of Oklahoma, but the opportunity that we had to ever get big enough to do work outside Oklahoma really goes back to the TERO (Tribal Rights Employment Office) program,” she said. “What it did for us was it allowed us to grow the business to where we can compete for those large contracts.” CDS works by a golden hour rule, which means within the first hour of contact by customers CDS contacts them. “Our golden hour rule, it’s a very serious rule,” she said. “You call here, you talk to a person. You don’t have to worry about it. Cherokee Data’s going to get your answer in 60 minutes. You’re going to know if we can do this or we can’t do this. And here’s the ETA of when you’re going to have your quote or your bid or your solution. Then they’re going to get a little notice, ‘Hey, we’re done. It’s shipping. Here’s your tracking number.’ The customer never has to guess. They never have to worry.” CDS has won numerous awards, including the 2008 Top 30 Women-Owned Business in Oklahoma by the Journal Record, the 2012 US Department of Treasury Preferred Vendor and the Inc. 500|5000 List of Fastest Growing Private Companies in America for its third time in a row. Huddleston Bickford said the award she was most honored to receive was CDS’s first award, the 2005 Cherokee Nation Supplier of the Year award. “You always want to win with your own folks,” she said. “It means an awful lot when you get recognized by your tribe. The most exciting thing was that was also the first award the Cherokee Nation ever gave a vendor and that happened to be us. It was a huge honor for us.” For more information, visit <a href="http://www.okcds.com" target="_blank">www.okcds.com</a>.
BY WILL CHAVEZ
09/25/2014 04:15 PM
CATOOSA, Okla. – Cherokee Nation Businesses Executive Vice President Charles Garrett told CNB board members on Sept. 24 that the company is buying 90.25 acres northwest of the Cherokee Hills Golf Course. The golf course is owned by CNB and sits adjacent to the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa. CNB is paying $3.7 million for the land. Garrett said CNB expected to close on the property in early October. CNB officials said the land is being purchased from John and Velma Mullen of Afton. The acreage may be used for the golf course, officials said. The company is waiting on a master plan for “Cherokee Outlets,” a premium outlet shop that was announced on Sept. 10, and a plan from a golf course architect. The shopping area and entertainment and dining zone would be built behind the Hard Rock and would possibly use land on which the golf course and its clubhouse currently sit. “We are in the process of negotiating with the golf course architect. I anticipate getting that agreement in place in the next couple of weeks and starting to do some preliminary work there,” Garrett said. He said he wants to schedule work on the area according to the development of the golf course in anticipation for planning the construction of “Cherokee Outlets.” The entertainment and dining zone called “The District” would be located between the Hard Rock and “Cherokee Outlets.” When “Cherokee Outlets” was announced, Principal Chief Bill John Baker said five to six holes of the golf course and its clubhouse may be lost to the new project, but the holes would be replaced elsewhere on the course. According to hardrockcasinotulsa.com, renowned architect Perry Maxwell designed the course in 1924 and redesigned by Tripp Davis. Commercial real estate developer Woodmont Outlets is planning to invest $80 million in the project, which is expected to create 1,000 permanent jobs and hundreds of jobs during the construction phase. Once complete, it is expected to generate $120 million in sales annually and attract 2 million additional visitors to the area per year. CNB Chief Financial Officer Doug Evans reported that the company had $72.5 million in consolidated revenue for August. The revenue amount was $2.2 million over CNB’s target for August and $7 million more than was generated in August 2013, Evans said. “As a whole, the company, on a consolidated basis, is having a very strong year,” Evans said. For 11 months, CNB has generated $757 million in revenue, which is below the company’s target of $762 million. He said in August 2013 the company was sitting at $722 million in revenue. “So, we’re $35 million ahead of where we were a year ago,” he said. CNB has nine business components, including Cherokee Nation Entertainment, which oversees the company’s gaming operations. Also during the Sept. 24 meeting, the CNB board approved the fiscal year 2015 CNB consolidated budget. The revenue target for FY15 is $868 million. That amount is $53 million more than the projected revenue target for FY14, which ends on Sept. 30, of $815 million. “We’re quickly approaching the billion dollar mark. Don’t be surprised within the next 24 months we’re announcing a billion dollar budget to this board,” Evans said. He said the net income target for FY15 is nearly $112 million. Gary Weddell, Hard Rock Hotel & Casino general manager, reported construction of the Cherokee Casino South Coffeyville is on schedule for an opening of date of Feb. 15. He added that the new 170,000-square-foot Cherokee Casino & Hotel Roland is still projected to open May 25, with the attached six-story hotel scheduled to open on July 25. At the Hard Rock, the seven-story, 148-room Cherokee Tower, which is being renovated, should be done in October, Weddell said. He said the sixth floor should be finished on Sept. 30 and the seventh floor should be finished by Oct. 5. Cherokee Nation Cultural Tourism Director Molly Jarvis reported that the masonry restoration for the Cherokee capital building in Tahlequah is still in the bid process. She said the restoration includes removal of the paint on the building and resealing the bricks and mortar. She added that CNCT was preparing for the annual Cherokee Art Market, which was slated for Oct. 11-12 at the Hard Rock.
BY JAMI MURPHY
09/25/2014 10:38 AM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – The “Money Saving Queen” visited Northeastern State University in Tahlequah for a couponing workshop to discuss the many ways she’s discovered how to save money on a grocery bill. Sarah Roe, owner of moneysavingqueen.com, lives in Broken Arrow and has been couponing for several years. She said this couponing boot camp can teach a person how to save up to 80 percent in their grocery bill each month. “My top thing I always tell people is the ‘plan your menu’ tip. And that basically means to plan your menu every single week around what’s on sale and what coupons you have available and what you’ve stocked up on.” Roe said. “So if you’ve stocked up on barbeque sauce or pasta sauce or something like that, plan your weekly menu around those things.” Roe added that on one hand a family can use what they’ve stockpiled which will save money, but they’re also saving time too. She said if someone is a beginner to couponing this can seem like a load of work, but it’s not and it gets easier. “For beginners, I always tell everyone to get a friend. Have their sister do it with them. Do it with somebody so you can encourage one another. Cut coupons for one another and then just talk about what deals you’re going to get.” Coupon workshop goer Kalea Vinson is a Cherokee citizen. She came to see how she could save money for her and her daughter when doing their shopping. A few suggestions by Roe stood out to her. “There’s a lot of websites out there that I didn’t know about. It really informed me on things to look for,” she said. Vinson said her daughter is really involved in sports so the money she may save on her grocery bill will go towards that probably. Her suggestion to others regarding couponing is to “learn what you hear and try to use it in everyday life.” Couponing doesn’t need to feel like work, she added, people should have a good time while doing it. “Make it fun. It doesn’t need to be stressful. It doesn’t need to be a job. It can be an adrenaline rush. It’s a fun game, you know, you’re trying to see how cheap you can get your groceries that week,” she said. “Let it be fun, let it be exciting. It doesn’t need to be overbearing.” Roe said that learning to save money is easy. Those interested in learning can visit her website for coupon websites, coupon match-ups and even printable coupons at moneysavingqueen.com. The site is updated 12 times a day to get the best deals for shoppers. Here are a few money saving tips when couponing: • call the manufacturer for coupons and samples • printable coupons can be found at <a href="http://www.coupons.com" target="_blank">coupons.com</a>, <a href="http://www.smartsource.com" target="_blank">smartsource.com</a>, <a href="http://www.redplum.com" target="_blank">redplum.com</a> and <a href="http://www.savings.com" target="_blank">savings.com</a> • mobile/text coupons available at Target, Walgreens, CVS and • Wal-Mart savings catcher app • Check for store loyalty cards • Keep your coupons organized by section in a binder • Price match Target and Wal-Mart plus coupons • Stockpile not hoard pile • Know store coupon policies • Using a coupon for anything it wasn’t intended for is fraud
BY STAFF REPORTS
09/23/2014 03:35 PM
WASHINGTON – Viewers watching the Sept. 21 Washington Redskins game on Fox Sunday were shown the “South Park” season 18 preview as it aired during the fourth quarter. In the commercial, “South Park” character Eric Cartman takes advantage of the team losing the team’s trademark name, naming his company after the team. During the preview, Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder demands that Cartman change the name stating that it’s offensive and derogatory. “When I named my company Washington Redskins, it was out of deep appreciation for your team and your people,” Cartman said. The “South Park” series premiere begins Sept. 24 on Comedy Central.