http://www.cherokeephoenix.orgThe Verdigris Cardinals celebrate their 75-62 victory over Heritage Hall to win the Oklahoma Class 3A boys basketball state championship. The win is the second in the school’s history. MARK DREADFULWATER/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
The Verdigris Cardinals celebrate their 75-62 victory over Heritage Hall to win the Oklahoma Class 3A boys basketball state championship. The win is the second in the school’s history. MARK DREADFULWATER/CHEROKEE PHOENIX

Cherokee Nation jurisdiction schools compete at state

Sequoyah High School sophomore guard Jack Ragsdale goes in for a contested layup during the quarterfinal matchup against Atoka on March 10 in Yukon, Oklahoma. Atoka eliminated the Indians from the Class 3A basketball tournament. MARK DREADFULWATER/CHEROKEE PHOENIX Sequoyah High School sophomore guard Bobby Cade hits an easy layup during the quarterfinal matchup against Atoka on March 10 in Yukon, Oklahoma. Atoka won 71-67. MARK DREADFULWATER/CHEROKEE PHOENIX Cherokee Nation citizen and Adair Lady Warrior Olivia Ratcliff dribbles past a Washington defender during the semifinal game on March 11 at Carl Albert High School in Midwest City, Oklahoma. MARK DREADFULWATER/CHEROKEE PHOENIX Sequoyah Lady Indians senior Taylor Owl is fouled by Raegan Roten of Washington as she goes for a layup during the quarterfinal game on March 10 in Midwest City, Oklahoma. Washington ended Sequoyah’s season in the first round. MARK DREADFULWATER/CHEROKEE PHOENIX Cherokee Nation citizen Jace Shepherd of Fort Gibson drives past an Anadarko defender during the semifinal game March 11 at the State Fair Arena in Oklahoma City. MARK DREADFULWATER/CHEROKEE PHOENIX Cherokee Nation citizen Seth Martin of Fort Gibson shoots during the semifinal game against Anadarko on March 11 at the State Fair Arena in Oklahoma City.  MARK DREADFULWATER/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Sequoyah High School sophomore guard Jack Ragsdale goes in for a contested layup during the quarterfinal matchup against Atoka on March 10 in Yukon, Oklahoma. Atoka eliminated the Indians from the Class 3A basketball tournament. MARK DREADFULWATER/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
BY STAFF REPORTS
&
MARK DREADFULWATER
Multimedia Editor – @cp_mdreadfulwat
03/23/2016 04:30 PM
3A Boys

Verdigris Cardinals win state title

BY MARK DREADFULWATER
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.”

Indians lose in first round

BY MARK DREADFULWATER
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.

3A Girls

Adair girls lose to Washington

BY MARK DREADFULWATER
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.

SHS girls end season in first round

BY MARK DREADFULWATER
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.

Kansas girls end season with first-round loss

BY STAFF REPORTS

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.

4A Boys

Fort Gibson boys fall in state title game

BY MARK DREADFULWATER
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.”

4A Girls

Hilldale ends season in semifinal game

BY STAFF REPORTS

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.

Fort Gibson girls upset by Broken Bow

BY STAFF REPORTS

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.

5A

Claremore falls to Woodward in OT

BY STAFF REPORTS

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.

Pryor boys, girls end season in first round

BY STAFF REPORTS

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.

6A

Muskogee girls lose in 6A semifinal

BY STAFF REPORTS

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.
About the Authors
Mark Dreadfulwater has worked for the Cherokee Phoenix since 2006. He began as a graphic designer, a position that exposed him to all factions of the organization. Upon completing his journalism degree from Northeastern State University in 2009, he was promoted to media specialist, switching his main focus to videography and visual journalism while maintaining his design duties. In 2012, he was promoted to multimedia editor.

He is a member of Native American Journalists Association, Society of Professional Journalists and Society for News Design.
MARK-DREADFULWATER@cherokee.org • 918-453-5087
Mark Dreadfulwater has worked for the Cherokee Phoenix since 2006. He began as a graphic designer, a position that exposed him to all factions of the organization. Upon completing his journalism degree from Northeastern State University in 2009, he was promoted to media specialist, switching his main focus to videography and visual journalism while maintaining his design duties. In 2012, he was promoted to multimedia editor. He is a member of Native American Journalists Association, Society of Professional Journalists and Society for News Design.
STAFF-REPORTS@cherokee.org • 918-453-xxxx

People

BY STAFF REPORTS
02/11/2018 02:00 PM
WEST SILOAM – Tulsa resident Elizabeth “Beth” West manages an hour and a half commute to Cherokee Casino West Siloam Springs each workday but still makes time to give back to her community. The YMCA of Greater Tulsa recently awarded West with an award for her dedication to the organization. “I started off as a contributor but quickly realized that I wanted to do more to help children and families in my community,” West, a food and beverage manager at Cherokee Casino & Hotel West Siloam Springs and Cherokee Nation citizen, said. “The Y helps people in the community in so many different aspects, from early education and after school programs to families affected by cancer.” West is originally from Colcord, where she graduated high school. She received a bachelor’s degree from Oklahoma State University in 2008. She then started her career at Cherokee Casino & Hotel West Siloam Springs, accepting positions at various Cherokee Casinos through the years, including Cherokee Casino Ramona, Cherokee Casino South Coffeyville and Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa. “Beth has been an asset to our department since returning to the property in 2015,” Don McClellan, property director of food and beverage at Cherokee Casino & Hotel West Siloam Springs, said. “She explains to newly hired employees that she started here in 2008, and that if they want additional responsibilities and to be able to be promoted, the opportunities are available. It has been a pleasure working with Beth and watching her navigate her career path. We are very proud of her dedicated work in the community.” West began supporting the YMCA of Greater Tulsa as a donor but quickly grew into the role of campaigner by helping to raise awareness of the organization’s cause and by finding those willing to help support. West was honored as the 2017 Goal Buster Campaigner of the Year for the YMCA Community Services Campaign. The annual campaign unites volunteers, donors and participants to build upon the strengths of each individual in our community. Financial assistance is made available from the annual support campaign to any individual or family who wants to participate in YMCA programs or activities but may not be able to afford the fee. “As we move into our 2018 campaign season, we are thankful to have Beth’s big heart and passion for change. Our community services goal this year is $15,000, and we are confident the funds will be raised to ensure programs continue to be available to those who need them most,” Emma Sikich, senior director for community initiatives at YMCA of Greater Tulsa, said. “Beth is a great example of someone who works hard, plays hard, but gives more. She is a key player in ensuring the YMCA’s Community Services campaign is a success,” Sikich said. The staff at YMCA of Greater Tulsa is passionate about making a difference in their communities and bettering the lives of the people around them, and that has inspired West and the other 16 campaigners to do more. “I feel it’s my responsibility to ensure that others are afforded chances and opportunities to do more, to grow and learn, to be everything they hope,” West said. “Strength of character comes from helping people succeed, not in holding anyone down.” For more information about YMCA of Greater Tulsa, visit <a href="http://www.ymcatulsa.org" target="_blank">www.ymcatulsa.org</a>.
BY KENLEA HENSON
Reporter
01/25/2018 08:00 AM
FAYETTVILLE, Ark. – When 15-year-old Gaby Nagel isn’t listening to music she is playing it, particularly on the Native American flute. Her enjoyment and talent with the instrument has led her to playing numerous events and partaking in flute competitions. Nagel, an Eastern Band of Cherokee Indian citizen, has been playing the flute for five years. She was introduced to it while walking Fayetteville Square and coming across a man playing one. Listening to him play, she said she became mesmerized. Her mother bought her a flute and she began taking lessons from the same man, Jerry Doubting. She said the flute just came “natural” to her. “A lot of the tricks it took him years to learn, all came natural to me. He would be sitting there and telling me about a technique, and he would say ‘it’s OK, don’t get frustrated if you don’t get it on the first try.’ Well, I would get it on the first try,” she said. Nagel has competed in eight flute competitions of all sizes. However, she said the biggest competition she’s won was the Musical Echo’s in Florida. “I was the first female and youngest competitor to ever win. I got a blue ribbon from them and a check. It was really cool.” In addition to competitions, she’s played at festivals and events such as Indigenous Peoples Day in Fayetteville and the annual Trail of Tears Association Conference this past October in Pocola, Oklahoma. She’s also been invited to play for senior citizens and children at schools to interact with them and share Native culture. She said her most memorable performance was getting playing for a young girl who was battling cancer. “I played for a girl who had cancer in Chattanooga (Tennessee). She was a friend of a flute maker of mine, and we raised money for her to receive treatment. It was such an honor, especially because they invited me.” To be able to travel different places, she said she is thankful for having supportive family and friends, especially her mother. “My mom is my number one. She has driven me around so many miles I can’t even count. She is my number one, and she has always got my back.” Nagel said she is proud to be Cherokee and shares her heritage through the flute. She said her plans for 2018 are to travel more playing the flute and visit more elderly and hospice patients. She said she’s also been learning to play the piano and guitar. “Playing the flute, I feel like I am honoring my ancestors and what they had to go through so we don’t get hated on for being Native American as much anymore,” she said.
BY KENLEA HENSON
Reporter
01/24/2018 08:15 AM
COLLINSVILLE – Since age 5, Cherokee Nation citizen Trett Charles has had dreams of singing and playing guitar. Today, the 23-year-old opens for some of the most popular names in Red Dirt music, including Stoney LaRue, whom he opened for on Jan. 20 at Cain’s Ballroom in Tulsa. Coming from a country music-loving family, Charles learned to play guitar from his great-grandpa. With the help of his uncles he started to grow vocally, too. Charles said his family listened to country music artists such as George Strait, Merle Haggard and Keith Whitley, who influenced him to choose the Red Dirt genre. “The way I look at Red Dirt music nowadays is it’s pure country to me. I am not the type of person that is big about national music. I like the (19)90s country feel because that just the genre I grew listening to,” he said. At age 21, he played his first gig at the Hall of Fame in Catoosa. Since then he’s played venues in Tulsa, across Oklahoma and in surrounding states. He’s also opened for Red Dirt artists Thompson Square, Bart Crow Band, Casey James, Read Southall Band and Jason Boland and the Stragglers. Charles said getting the opportunity to play various places and open for artists has been a blessing and great accomplishment. However, along with accomplishments he also had to overcome struggles. In April, he was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and spent seven months in chemotherapy. He said taking that in was hard. And even though he couldn’t play shows as much, he said he pushed himself to continue as much as he could. During his treatments he played the Cain’s Ballroom for the first time. “When you’re 22 years old and you’re told you have cancer, and you don’t know if you are going to live or die, at first you don’t really know how to accept that. But the biggest thing that helped me push through it is that I am a big believer in God, and I believe he heals. So when I felt good enough to play a show I would push myself to basically get out there. It was really cool to play at Cain’s for the first time even during the time I was going through chemo because the opportunity was a blessing that also kept me going,” Charles said. Now cancer free, he played at the Cain’s Ballroom for the second time opening for one of his longtime heroes, Stoney LaRue. “I seen Stoney multiple times at Cain’s, so the fact that I am even getting to open for Stoney, it’s an incredible feeling because a lot of people don’t get that opportunity,” he said. Although Charles has only been on the Red Dirt music scene a couple of years, he continues to make a name for himself. He said his goals are to travel and play his music for the world. But he also hopes his music will “touch” someone. “A song can turn your whole day around. My goal is to share the music that I write with people and hope that the music I share touches them in some way,” he said. For more information, follow the Trett Charles Band on Facebook.
BY STAFF REPORTS
01/12/2018 12:00 PM
OKLAHOMA CITY – AARP Oklahoma is accepting nominations for its 10th annual Indian Elder Honors to celebrate 50 Native American elders who have positively impacted their respective communities, families, tribes and nation. Since its inception in 2009, AARP Oklahoma has recognized 450 elders from all 39 tribal nations in Oklahoma. “The AARP Indian Elder Honors recognizes the extraordinary contribution of Indian elders – many of whom have never been recognized before,” AARP Oklahoma Volunteer State President Joe Ann Vermillion said. The 2017 honorees from 33 Oklahoma tribal nations included teachers, veterans, nurses, artists, tribal leaders, language and culture preservationists, champion archer and champion arm wrestler. Cherokee Nation citizens Mary Rector Aitson, Dianne Barker Harrold, Marcella Morton and Joe T. Thornton, as well as United Keetoowah Band citizen Woody Hansen, were honored in 2017 and presented medallions by national and state AARP officials. “This event celebrates a lifetime of service from these distinguished elders,” AARP State Director Sean Voskuhl said. “The common thread between the honorees, regardless of the contribution, is the commitment to community and service.” This year’s Indian Elder Honors will be held Oct. 2 in Oklahoma City. Nomination applications are available at <a href="https://www.aarp.org/states/ok/stateeventdetails.eventId=671063&stateCode=OK/" target="_blank">https://www.aarp.org/states/ok/stateeventdetails.eventId=671063&stateCode=OK/</a>. Nominations may be submitted electronically or mailed to AARP Oklahoma, 126 N. Bryant, Edmond, OK, 73034. Nominees must be enrolled citizens of federally recognized Oklahoma tribal nations, at least 50 years old and be living. Nominees do not have to be AARP members. For more information, call Mashell Sourjohn at 405-715-4474 or email msourjohn@aarp.org. The deadline for submitting nominations is April 30.
BY BRITTNEY BENNETT
Reporter – @cp_bbennett
01/09/2018 08:15 AM
TAHLEQUAH – When shooters took the line for an Oklahoma Archery Shooters Association qualifier recently at Obsession Archery, Cherokee Nation citizen Michael Lackey was among them despite being in a wheelchair. “I didn’t get to play regular sports like kids that were not in a wheelchair, so my dad got me into archery and I started doing that,” Lackey said. “I’ve been shooting bows since I was about 12 or 13 years old.” Lackey joined 64 archers competing for bragging rights and prize money at the Dec. 17 qualifier. Shooters received four minutes to shoot five arrows at a five-spot target through 12 ends, or rounds, for a total of 60 arrows. Each arrow had the potential to earn up to five points depending on its target placement. Lackey shot with the compound bow he uses when hunting. “The compound is definitely easier from a wheelchair standpoint, in my opinion, because I shoot the recurve also and they’re a lot longer than your compounds. So a string will hit the wheel sometimes or you’re closer to the ground, so the limbs will hit the ground. The compound is definitely easier to shoot from a wheelchair.” Although paralyzed most of his life, Lackey said he doesn’t believe in limits. He’s an avid outdoorsman who often hunts, a skill honed by competitive archery. “It’s really helped my shooting, getting back into the target shooting,” he said. “It’s made me more consistent for hunting. I like the competition, and I like to improve myself.” The competition marked Obsession Archery’s first time hosting a qualifier for the ASA, which aims to grow archery through clubs that provide competition, training and education opportunities. It’s a development Lackey said he appreciates. “It’s harder on people who don’t have the funding to drive clear across the state to shoots. So it’s nice to have somewhere where we can do it here in town, in Tahlequah.” Obsession Archery owner John Obenrader called the development a “big deal” for his business and customers. “ASA is the main organization that I shoot for. It’s one of the biggest ones in the country. It’s where all your top archers are and at the state level. They hold championships and qualifiers all across the state. They just came to me and asked me if I wanted to shoot since I have a shop with an indoor range.” Obenrader said he hopes the competition brings in new shooters and their families to get them familiar with indoor and 3-D range shoots. “It’s pretty much a family-oriented kind of sport because a lot of times you’ll see the kids get started in it, and then mom and dad get started in it because they want to do it.” For Lackey, the qualifier was a family affair as both his children competed in the cub class. “My daughter Makayla, she’s been shooting for two or three years now. Hayden just got his first compound bow this year,” he said. “They’re both shooting really well. It’s good for them. It teaches them discipline, practicing. You got to be good to make a shot on a deer. You want to deer hunt, you got to practice and get good at shooting.” In addition to passing his archery passion onto his children, Lackey hopes to see archery grow among others in wheelchairs. “I don’t see it quite as much as I would like to see,” he said. “It’s a big challenge from sitting in a wheelchair, but I do know a lot of guys that hunt (and compete). It just takes lots of practice because I have to, I don’t have a lot of balance, so I have to kind of position myself where I can maintain my balance while I’m shooting my bow.” For more information, call Obsession Archery at 918-951-9540.
BY LINDSEY BARK
Reporter
12/20/2017 04:00 PM
WASHINGTON – Cherokee Nation citizen Jessica Henry, of Salina, Oklahoma, was one of five women selected to participate in the Global Press Institute’s training-to-employment program – a weeklong training in Washington, D.C., learning the aspects of journalism. GPI offers Native American women who have no prior journalism experience, and who are enrolled citizens of federally recognized tribes, the opportunity to become journalists and use journalism “as a development tool to train and employ women in developing media markets to produce high-quality local news coverage that elevates local and global awareness and ignites social change.” Cristi Hegranes, GPI founder and executive director, said graduates receive long-term employment with GPI covering their communities. Henry, a Northeastern State University graduate with a public relations degree, was a Cherokee Nation Businesses intern when she applied for the program after seeing an article on <a href="http://www.cherokeephoenix.org" target="_blank">www.cherokeephoenix.org</a>. “It wasn’t really that different because I had to do journalism with my degree plan. I had to be with NSU News for a semester. I kind of had a little bit of knowledge about it but not as in depth as we learned in training,” Henry said. She said she received hands-on experience once training began by learning to conduct interviews and about photojournalism, taking newsworthy photos and ethics and accuracy. “All of the experts from each department came in talking about verification and source types and how to get the right news angles and the photojournalism. They all came in and directly taught us from that. So it was a lot to take in, but it helped a lot, too. We had a lot of time to just ask questions,” she said. Henry said she wants to focus on being as accurate as possible in her writing. “That’s a really big deal, being ethical and accurate in our writing. I think that will be interesting, to see how far I can get with fact checking everything that people say, what’s really true and what’s not because a lot of people believe what they first read and they don’t really look into it for themselves. So I guess that will be a big part of what I want to d0,” she said. Now home, Henry continues to train through an online forum with GPI editors. She said one of her first assignments was to “pitch” story ideas to editors to learn what types of stories to look for and that her main focus is to write untold stories in the Cherokee community. “I want to learn things that I don’t know about…and be able to share that information accurately about our community because there is a lot of stories here. It just takes someone to tell them,” Henry said.