200 trees planted on Arbor Day
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. - On Arbor Day, Cherokee Nation employees planted more than 200 trees and plants in a recreation area on the north side of the complex.
Principal Chief Chad Smith launched festivities by planting an apple tree at the tribe’s Memorial Garden. The tree, a Junaluska Apple, was a gift to the CN. It was grafted from a tree that was native to North Carolina and believed to be named after a former chief of the Eastern Band of Cherokees.
"This is one tree that really needs to be given special care when it is planted," said Wendell Cochran, special projects coordinator with the CN.
The tribe took nearly two years to decide on just the right spot and occasion to plant the tree, which was kept in cool storage. In addition to planting trees, the CN also gave trees to employees and community members. The CN has given away free trees on Arbor Day since 1981 and has given away around 50,000 saplings.
Arbor Day, first celebrated in Nebraska in 1872, began when homesteaders planted more than 1 million trees to provide shade, shelter, fruit, fuel and beauty for their land. Wayne Isaacs, environmental specialist with the tribe, said that concept is still used.
"These plants will help provide habitat for wildlife and help filter the impurities out of the groundwater," Isaacs said.
The CN’s long-term goal is to restore habitat on tribal lands using native plants and to incorporate Cherokee language into interpretive signs for various plants traditionally used by Cherokees. The signs will be placed along trails or other areas to further environmental education, encourage healthy exercise, promote use of the Cherokee language and provide tourists with a glimpse of Cherokee culture.
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – At its Sept. 18 meeting, the Cherokee Nation Gaming Commission approved two upgrades for Cherokee Nation Entertainment’s system software.
Tracy Christie, CNGC gaming systems analyst, said he reviewed all of the information provided and saw a need for an upgrade.
“The issue was that there were a couple of key boxes, it was retaining the data in the actual box and whenever you logged into the web server you weren’t able to see that data, but with these two upgrades and it being tested, it resolved that issue,” he said.
TULSA, Okla. – The Tulsa Cherokee Community Organization will host its monthly meeting at 6 p.m. on Oct. 6 at the Tulsa United Indian Methodist Church located at 1901 North College.
The meeting will feature Cherokee Nation citizen Regina Gayle (Martin) Thompson, of Locust Grove, who will bring her traditional basket weaving skills.
According to TCCO officials, meeting attendees will be able to weave their own Cherokee basket.
“As a certified Cherokee Nation TERO artist, Thompson is uniquely qualified to teach Cherokee basket weaving. Thompson’s award-winning Cherokee baskets are on display in public collections across the Cherokee Nation throughout northeastern Oklahoma and as far away as Washington, D.C., in the Daughters of the American Revolution Museum. Private collectors have taken her Cherokee baskets abroad to Australia, Switzerland, India, France, England,” a TCCO release states.
“My mentor is the incredible Cherokee National Treasure, Bessie Russell. I am blessed and humbled by the art and skill of Cherokee double wall basket weaving. My grandmother, a full-blood Cherokee, weaved baskets to put food on the table while my grandfather served in France during World War II,” she said. “My grandmother would create mid-size baskets for the market to trade for eggs, flour, chickens, and sometimes sewing material.”
All materials will be provided by TCCO through Tribal Council General Assistance grant funds provided by Dist. 13 Tribal Councilman Buel Anglen. There is no cost for the class, the release states.
To contact TCCO, email <a href="mailto: email@example.com">firstname.lastname@example.org</a> or call TCCO President Brandon Caruso at(805) 551-6445. You can also visit TCCO’s Facebook page at Tulsa Cherokee Community Organization.
MURPHY, N.C. – After nearly two years of construction and $100 million Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River Casino & Hotel opened its doors on Sept. 28, according to worldcasinodirectory.com.
The facility is owned by the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and will be managed by Caesars Entertainment LLC. It’s expected to create approximately 900 to 1,000 jobs, features a 50,000-square-foot gaming floor with 70 table games and 1,050 slot machines and a full-service 300-room hotel. While the casino does not have any formal dining or restaurants, visitors will be able to choose from the Panda Express, Starbucks, Papa John’s, Earl of Sandwich and Nathan’s Famous located in the casino’s Food Market.
Regional General Manager and Harrah’s Senior Vice President Brooks Robinson said the casino would positively affect the tribe and area.
“For the area, we know we’re going to have around 1,000 jobs. It will put around $40 million into the local economy through payroll that will be here. For the tribe, it will just be another way to build the revenue stream and through tribal distribution. All of the projections look like it should be very successful for the tribe,” Robinson said.
Estimated by officials to draw in excess of 1 million visitors annually, the Valley River Casino is the tribe’s second Harrah’s casino. The first and larger Harrah’s Cherokee Casino also located in Jackson County, sits at the entrance to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It recently underwent a $650 million expansion and now boasts 150,000-square-feet of gaming space.
CATOOSA, Okla. – On Oct. 22, the Beatles tribute band, The Fab Four, will perform at The Joint inside Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa.
The Fab Four’s stage performances include three costume changes representing every era of the Beatles ever-changing career, from the moptop early days in London to the shaggy-haired final public performance on the Apple headquarters’ rooftop.
Formed in 1997, this loving tribute to the Beatles has amazed audiences in countries around the world, including Japan, Australia, France, Hong Kong, the United Kingdom, Germany, Mexico and Brazil.
In 2013, The Fab Four received an Emmy for their PBS special “The Fab Four: The Ultimate Tribute.”
For more information about the tribute band, visit <a href="http://www.thefabfour.com" target="_blank">www.thefabfour.com</a>.
Tickets go on sale Oct. 1 and start at $40. For more information, call The Joint box office at 918-384-ROCK or visit <a href="http://www.hardrockcasinotulsa.com" target="_blank">www.hardrockcasinotulsa.com</a>.
PHOENIX – Native American activist and Cherokee Nation citizen Jess Sixkiller was slain in a home invasion on Sept. 25. He was 78.
Reports state his wife locked herself in a room and called 911 around 3:15 a.m. after she heard noises inside the home she shared with her husband. When the police arrived they removed her from the home and re-entered the home to perform a sweep and discovered the body of Sixkiller, who had been shot to death.
“The Cherokee Nation and tribal citizens throughout the country lost a true champion with the tragic passing of Jess Sixkiller. He was the first Native detective on the Chicago Police Force and in Phoenix he continued to champion the rights of Indian people. He was a warrior and advocate for Native rights, especially urban-based Indian people,” said Principal Chief Bill John Baker in a statement. “Throughout Indian Country, Jess will be forever known as a man committed to his Native brothers and sisters who suffered as a result of federal relocation and assimilation policies.”
Baker said as the leader of the National Urban Indian Organization, Sixkiller fought tirelessly for the rights of those he said faced a different kind of crisis than Indians living close to their community or on the reservation.
“Jess was a man who led by example, and I was proud to have met and known this iconic activist. He was proud to be Cherokee, and we are proud of him. He will be missed immensely, and we are holding his family in our thoughts and prayers,” Baker said.
By the time he was 30 years old, Sixkiller was the first Native American to become a detective for the Chicago Police Department.
Soon he gained national recognition within the National Congress of American Indians. He was an urban representative to NCAI’s annual conference in 1968 from the Chicago American Indian Center. At that conference in Seattle, Sixkiller was elected to chair a 12-person committee called the National Urban Indian Consultation that was charged with studying the issues impacting urban American Indians living away from reservations.
The committee progressed rapidly and received an $88,500 grant from the Ford Foundation and formed the National Urban Indian Organization. Sixkiller became the organization’s first director.
The Phoenix Police Department described the home invasion as “random” and has no suspects.
Phoenix Police Homicide detectives are asking anyone who may have seen or heard anything at the time of the shooting or anyone who has information about this homicide to call Silent Witness at (480) WIT-NESS. As always, any caller may remain anonymous.
A memorial fund has been set up in Sixkiller’s name at Wells Fargo Bank. Donations can be made to Wells Fargo Bank, Jess Sixkiller Memorial, account No. 2457886071.
VONORE, Tenn. – The Sequoyah Birthplace Museum is offering a Cherokee language class from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m., Oct. 19 and 26 and Nov. 2 and 9.
Cost of the class is $40 for all four nights. Shirley Oswalt and Mary Brown, who are Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indian citizens, will teach the class.
People interested in taking this class should call the museum at 423-884-6246. In case of inclement weather, please call before coming.
Sequoyah was born near the museum site in 1776. The mission of the Sequoyah Birthplace Museum, a property of the EBCI, is to promote the understanding and appreciation of the history and culture of the Cherokee Indians in Eastern Tennessee, particularly the life and contributions of Sequoyah. The museum collects, preserves, interprets and exhibits objects and data that support this mission.