Principal Chief Bill John Baker receives a gift from Society of American Indian Government Employees Chairwoman Fredericka Joseph on behalf of the organization for the tribe’s support on June 7 at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa in Catoosa, Oklahoma. JAMI MURPHY/CHEROKEE PHOENIX

SAIGE promotes recruitment, advancement of Natives

Cherokee Nation citizen Brian Barlow asks a question during the Society of American Indian Government Employees annual conference on June 7 at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Catoosa, Oklahoma. JAMI MURPHY/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Cherokee Nation citizen Brian Barlow asks a question during the Society of American Indian Government Employees annual conference on June 7 at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Catoosa, Oklahoma. JAMI MURPHY/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
BY JAMI MURPHY
Senior Reporter – @cp_jmurphy
06/14/2016 08:15 AM
CATOOSA, Okla. – The Society of American Indian Government Employees held its annual conference June 6-9 at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa where the organization promoted the recruitment, retention, development and advancement of American Indian and Alaska Native government employees.

According to its website, SAIGE is a national nonprofit organization representing American Indian and Alaska Native employees of federal, tribal, state and local governments. It also provides a forum on the issues, challenges and opportunities of those employees and fosters a professional network among them.

SAIGE Chairwoman Fredericka Joseph, a Kaw Nation citizen with Cherokee decent, said the organization also supports American Indians and Alaska Natives being hired in the federal workforce.

“We look at them being hired into the workforce as well as promoted up into programs and into grades that they can make a difference in what happens to our tribes in terms of impacts with policies and that type of thing,” she said.

SAIGE also has veterans and youth programs, with the youth program providing leadership training.

“So we really value our youth. They are the heartbeat of the organization. And then we honor out veterans as well,” she said.

Joseph said during the conference there were several tracks or sessions that attendees could learn from to take information back to their respective communities.

“We have federal Indian law. We have EEOHR (equal employment opportunity). We have professional track. We have natural resources, and we have cultural diversity pieces. We found that being able to give tracks to different people that work in different fields, that they’re able to get more information and learn different things from the trainers that come in here,” she said. “We also look at how we can honor that federal trust responsibility for our agencies and that they should be respecting that government-to-government relationships, so that’s part of our training as well.”

CN citizen Brian Barlow, who’s originally from Tahlequah and a graduate of George Washington University in Washington, D.C., said he was invited to attend SAIGE after his freshmen year of college.

“I had just finished my freshman year at the University of Arkansas, and I received the Gates (Millennium) scholarship my senior year (of high school), and (had) a lot of people in my life pushing me to go further. And so my dad convinced me to apply to school in D.C., and I didn’t think I’d get in and I got in and I had to go. So SAIGE really gave me a lot of the confidence I needed to say ‘well there are Native people there in D.C. and there are people trying to do good things there, and I think I can really find a place where I’ll be comfortable and be happy there,’ so that really helped me,” Barlow said.

He said he continued attending SAIGE conferences to meet different types of people.

“Being here from Tahlequah, sure, you can meet people from Creek Nation, Comanche, Choctaw, Chickasaw and western tribes like Apache and Cheyenne Arapaho, but meeting tribes over there in New Mexico, just meeting all kinds of new people is the best part about SAIGE,” he said. “It really is a blessing to get to learn about other Native peoples because we all do things differently. We have overlap, but it’s unique and a blessing to meet all these people striving to make differences in their communities and Indian Country.”

The conference also brought tribal dignitaries, who thanked and voiced support of the work SAIGE does for Indian Country, including Principal Chief Bill John Baker, Creek Nation Chief James Floyd and Osage Nation Chief Geoffrey Standing Bear.

For more information, visit www.saige.org.
ᏣᎳᎩ

ᎦᏚᏌ, ᎣᎦᎳᎰᎹ – Ꮎ Society of American Indian Government Employees ᏥᎾᏅᏛᏁᎰᎢ ᏑᏕᏘᏴᏓ ᏗᏓᏂᎳᏫᎪᎢ ᏗᎭᎷᏱ 6-9 ᎥᎿ Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa, ᎠᎾᏃ Ꮎ ᎤᎾᏓᏡᎬ ᏚᏂᎧᏁᏉᏍᏓᏅ ᏗᎦᏟᏐᏗ, ᏗᏂᏯᏂᎲ, ᎪᏢᏅᏍᏗ ᎠᎴ ᎦᎸᎳᏗ ᎠᏂᎩᏍᏙᏗ Ꮎ American Indian ᎠᎴ Alaska Native ᎠᏰᎵ ᎤᎾᏙᏢᏒᎢ ᏧᏂᎶᏫᏍᏓᏁᎯ.

ᎠᏏᎳᏕᏫᏒ ᎤᏙᏢᏒ ᎧᏃᎮᏍᎬ, SAIGE ᎥᎿ ᎬᎾᏕᎾ Ꮭ ᎠᏕᎳ ᎪᏢᏍᎦ ᎤᎾᏓᏡᎦ ᎤᏅᏌ ᎤᎾᏓᏓᏅᏒ American Indian ᎠᎴ Alaska Natives ᏧᏂᎶᏫᏍᏓᏁ Ꮎ ᏂᎬᎾᏛ ᎠᏰᎵ, ᏗᏂᎳᏍᏓᎸ, ᏍᎦᏚᎦ ᎠᎴ ᎡᏍᎦᎾ ᎠᏰᎵ ᏚᏙᏢᏒᎢ. ᏃᎴ ᎠᎵᏍᏕᎵᏍᎪ ᎧᏃᎮᏢᏍᎬ Ꮎ ᏗᏯᏙᎯᎢ, ᏯᏓᏁᎵᏙᏓ ᎠᎴ ᏗᏓᎵᏍᎪᎸᏓᏁᏗᎢ ᎥᎿ ᏧᏂᎶᏫᏍᏓᏁᎯ ᎠᎴ ᎠᎵᏍᏕᎵᏗᎰ ᎢᏳᏍᏗ ᎢᏯᏛᏁᎯ ᏧᎾᏚᏓᎳ ᎤᎾᎵᏧᏴᎢ.

SAIGE ᎠᎨᏯ ᏗᏓᏘᎿᎢ, Fredricka Joseph, Ꭷ ᎠᏰᎵ ᎤᏙᏢᏒ ᎨᎳ ᏃᎴ ᏣᎳᎩ ᎤᎵᎶᎯᏗᏙᎳᎩ ᎠᏗᏍᎬ ᎾᎤᎾᏓᏡᎬ ᏃᎴ ᎤᏂᎫᏍᏓᎣᎢ American Indians ᎠᎴ Alaska Natives ᏗᎨᏥᎾᏢᏍᎬᎢ ᎥᎿ ᏂᎬᎾᏛ ᎠᏰᎵ ᏗᎦᎶᏫᏍᏓᏁᏗ. “ ᏕᎨᏥᎾᏢᏍᎬ ᏙᏥᎪᏫᏘᎰ ᏃᎴ ᎨᎦᎵᏒᎵᏛᏅᎢ ᎥᎿ ᏚᎾᏙᏢᏒ ᎠᎴ ᏧᏂᏅᏍᏗ ᏧᏂᏅᏗ ᎾᎮᏃ ᏄᏓᎴ ᏱᎾᏅᎦ Ꮎ ᏂᎦᎵᏍᏓᏂᏙᎲ ᎥᎿ ᏗᎦᏤᎵ ᏕᎩᎳᏍᏓᎸᎢ Ꮎ ᏓᏓᎴᏂᏍᎬ Ꮎ ᏓᏓᏛᎾᏍᏗᏍᎬ ᏚᎵᎪᏒ ᏗᎳᏏᏙᏗ ᎠᎴ Ꮎ ᎥᏍᎩ ᎢᏳᏍᏗ” ᎤᏛᏅ.

SAIGE ᏃᎴ ᏚᏃᏢ ᎠᏂᏲᏍᎩ ᎤᏁᏙᎸ ᎠᎴ ᎩᎠ ᏗᎾᏛᏍᎩ ᏚᎾᏓᏡᎬᎢ, Ꮎ ᏗᏂᏲᏟ ᎤᎾᏓᏡᎬ ᎠᏓᏍᏕᎵᏍᎬ ᎠᎬᏱ ᎠᏓᏘᏂᏙᎯ ᎠᎾᎵᏏᎾᏍᏗᎲᎢ. “ᎤᏙᎯᏳᏃ ᏧᏂᎬᏩᎶᏗ ᎥᎿ ᎩᎳ ᏗᎾᏛᏍᎩ. ᎥᏍᎩᎾ ᎤᎾᏙᎯᏳ ᎥᎿ ᎤᎾᏓᏡᎬᎢ. ᎠᎴ ᏙᏣᎮᎵᏍᏗᏍᎪᎢ ᎠᏂᏲᏍᎩ ᎤᏁᏙᎸᎢ ᎥᏍᏊ.” ᎤᏛᏅᎢ.

Joseph ᏃᎴ ᎤᏛᏅ, ᎾᎯᏳ ᏥᏓᏂᎳᏫᎬ, ᎢᎦᏓ ᏗᏍᏓᏫᏛᏍᏗ ᎠᎴᏱᎩ Ꮎ ᏗᏂᎳᏫᏗᏍᎩ ᎡᎷᏊ ᏯᎾᏕᏠᎩ ᎨᏥᏃᎮᏎᎸᏅ ᎤᏂᏫᏓ ᎥᎿ ᎤᏂᏙᎯᏳᏌᏛᎢ ᏍᎦᏚᎩᎢ.

“ᏗᎧᏅᏩᏛᏍᏓᏅ ᏂᎬᎾᏛ ᎠᏰᎵ ᏙᎩᎭ. ᎣᎩᎭ EEOHR (equal emplyment opportunity). ᎣᎩᎭ ᎢᏳᏍᏗ ᎢᏯᏛᏁᎯ ᎠᏍᏓᏫᏗᏅᏍᏗ. ᏙᎩᎭ ᏂᎬᏩᏍᏛ ᏧᎬᏩᎶᏗ ᎦᎷᎩ, ᎠᎴ ᏙᎩᎭ ᏧᏓᎴᏅᏓ ᎢᏳᎾᏛᏁᎵᏓᏍᏗ ᎦᏟᏏᏍᏗ. ᎣᎦᏕᎸᎰᏒ Ꮎ ᏧᏓᎴᏅᏓ ᏴᏫ ᏱᏙᏥᏁ ᏗᏍᏓᏫᏛᏍᏗ Ꮎ ᏧᏓᎴᏅᏓ ᏧᏂᎶᏫᏍᏓᏁᎯ ᏓᏁᏙᎲᎢ, ᎡᎷᏊ ᎤᎪᏓ ᏯᏂᎩᏏᏓ ᎧᏃᎮᏓ ᎠᎴ ᏯᎾᏕᏠᎩ ᏧᏓᎴᏅᏓ ᏗᎾᏕᏲᎲᏍᎩ ᏚᏂᏪᏲᎲᏍᎬᎢ ᏳᏁᏙᎳ”, ᎤᏛᏅ. ᏃᎴ ᎣᎩᎦᏛᎲᏍᎪ ᎦᏙ ᎣᎦᏛᏂᏗ ᏙᏥᎸᏉᏙᏗ Ꮎ ᏂᎬᎾᏛ ᎠᏰᎵ ᎰᏩ ᎠᏰᎸᏗ ᎤᎾᏚᏓᎸᎢ ᏙᎦᏤᎵ ᏙᏥᏅᏍᏓᏅ ᎠᎴ ᏓᎾᎴᎮᎵᏍᏗᏍᎨᏍᏗ Ꮎ ᏂᎬᎾᏛ ᎠᏰᎵ -ᎥᎿ-ᏂᎬᎾᏛ ᎠᏰᎵ ᏗᎾᏓᏙᎵᎩ, ᎾᎮᏃ ᎥᏍᎩᎾᏍᏊ ᏗᏙᏣᏕᎶᏆᏍᎪᎢ”. CN ᎨᎳ, Brian Barlow, ᏓᎷᏈ ᎤᏙᎯᏳᎨᏒ ᏓᏳᎶᏒ ᎠᎴ ᏧᏍᏆᏓ ᎥᎿ George Washington University Ꮎ ᏩᏒᏓᏂ D.C., ᎤᏛᏅ, ᎠᏥᏯᏅ ᎤᏪᏓᏍᏗ SAIGE ᎤᏍᏆᏙᎾ ᎠᎬᏱ ᎠᎴᏂᏍᎩ Ꮎ ᎦᎸᎳᏗ ᏗᏕᎶᏆᏍᏗᎢ.

ᎩᎳ ᎠᎬᏱ ᏗᏕᎶᏆᏍᏙᏗ ᏗᎦᏍᏆᏛ ᎨᏒ ᎥᎿ University of Arkansas, ᎠᏩᏓᏌᏅ ᎨᏒ Gates (Millenium) ᏗᏕᎶᏆᏍᏙᏗ Ꮎ ᏗᏥᏆᏗᏍᎬ (high school), ᎠᎴ ᏴᏫ ᎬᎩᏍᏗᏰᏗᏍᎬ Ꮟ ᎭᎢᏎᏍᏗ ᎬᏬᏎᎲᎢ. ᎡᏙᏓᏃ ᎠᎦᏍᏗᏰᏓᏅ ᎪᏪᎳ ᏗᎧᎵᏐᏓ ᎥᎿ D.C., Ꮭ ᏯᏩᏓᏴᏎᎴᎢ ᎨᎵᏍᎬ, ᎠᏎᏃ ᎠᏩᏓᏴᏎᎴᎢ, ᎠᏎᏃ ᎠᏪᏅᏍᏓ ᏄᎵᏍᏓᏅᎢ. Ꮎ SAIGE ᎤᏙᎯᏳ ᎰᏩ ᏂᎬᏭᏂᏎᎸᎢ ᎡᎷᏊ ᏂᎩᏪᏍᏓ, “ᎭᏩ ᎡᎷᏊ ᎠᏂᏴᏫᏯ ᎠᏁᎭ ᎥᎿ D.C., ᎠᎴ ᏴᏫ ᎠᏁᎭ ᎠᎾᏁᎵᏗ ᎣᏍᏓ ᏳᎾᏛᏁᏗᎢ, ᎠᎴ ᎡᎷᏊ ᎪᎱᏍᏗ ᏱᏏᏩᏔ Ꮎ ᎣᏍᏓ ᎠᎩᏰᎸᏅᎢ ᎠᎴ ᎥᎿ ᏱᎦᎴᎮᎵᏍᏓ,” ᎥᏍᎩᎾ ᎤᏙᎯᏳ ᎠᎦᏍᏕᎸᎲᎢ,” Barlow ᎤᏛᏅᎢ.

ᎤᏛᏅ ᏃᎴ, Ꮟ ᏕᎨᏙᎲ SAIGE ᏱᏚᏂᎳᏫᏥ ᎾᏊᏃ ᎠᏂᏐᎢ ᎢᏳᏍᏗ ᎠᏂᏴᏫ ᏧᎾᏠᎯᏍᏗ.

“ᏓᎷᏈ ᏗᎩᎶᏒ ᏥᎩ, ᎡᎷᏊ ᏱᏗᎯᏩᏔ ᎠᏂᏴᏫᏯ ᎥᎿ ᎠᎫᏐ ᎠᏰᎵ ᎤᏙᏢᏒ, ᎧᎺᏂᏥ, ᏣᎦᏔ, ᏥᎦᏌ, ᏃᎴ ᎠᏂᏐ ᏭᏕᎵᎬ ᎠᏂᎳᏍᏓᎸ, Ꮎ ᎢᏳᏍᏗ ᎠᏇᏥ ᎠᎴ ᏌᏰᎾ ᎠᎴᏈᎰ, ᎠᏎᏃ ᏙᏣᏠᏍᎬ ᎠᏂᏐᎢ ᏗᎾᎳᏍᏓᎸ ᎥᎿ ᏍᏆᏂ ᏤᏍᏛᎢ, ᏙᏨᏠᏍᎬᏫᏊ ᎠᏂᏐ ᏴᏫ ᎥᏍᎩᎾ ᏫᏓᏤᏢᎢ Ꮎ SAIGE.” ᎤᏛᏅᎢ. “ᏙᏳᏃ ᎠᎵᎮᎵᏍᏙᏗ ᎠᏕᎶᏆᏍᏗ ᎠᏂᏐ ᏄᎾᏍᏛ ᎠᏂᎦᏰᎯᏯ, ᎾᎮᏃ ᏄᏓᎴᏏᏅᏊ ᏃᏣᏛᏁᎵᏙᎰᎢ. ᎤᏠᏱ ᎢᏳᏍᏗ ᏃᎦᏛᏃᎢ, ᎠᏎᏃ ᎤᎵᏍᏆᏂᎦᏗ ᎠᎴ ᎠᎵᎮᎵᏍᏙᏗ ᏗᎪᎵᏍᏓ ᎥᎿ ᏴᏫ Ꮎ ᏣᏂᎦᏙ ᏓᏤᏢ ᏄᏅᏂᏗ ᏧᎾᏤᎵ ᏍᎦᏚᎩ ᎠᎴ ᎠᏴᏫᏯ ᎠᏰᎵ ᎤᏙᏢᏒᎢ”

Ꮎ ᏗᏓᏂᎳᏫᎪ ᏃᎴ ᎠᏂᏐ ᏗᎦᎨᏑᏰᏓ ᏚᏂᎷᏨᎢ, ᏚᎾᎵᎮᎵᏍᏓᏅ ᎠᎴ ᎤᏂᏬᏂᏒ Ꮎ ᎠᏂᎫᏍᏛᏍᎬ ᏚᏂᎶᏫᏍᏓᏁᎲᎢ Ꮎ SAIGE ᏥᎾᏅᏛᏁᎰᎢ ᏗᏍᏕᎵᏗ ᎠᏂᏴᏫᏯ ᏍᎦᏚᎩᎢ, Ꮎ ᎨᏥᏠᏯᏍᏗᎲ ᎤᎬᏫᏳᎯ Bill John Baker, ᎫᏐ ᎠᏰᏟ ᎤᏙᏢᏒ ᎤᎬᏫᏳᎯ James Floyd ᎠᎴ ᎠᎦᏌᏌ ᎠᏰᏟ ᎤᏙᏢᏒ ᎤᎬᏫᏳᎯ Geoffrey Standing Bear.

ᎤᎪᏓ ᏣᏕᎶᎰᏍᏗ ᏱᎩ ᏪᏓ: www. saige.org

About the Author
Reporter

Jami Murphy graduated from Locust Grove High School in 2000. She received her bachelor’s degree in mass communications in 2006 from Northeastern State University and began working at the Cherokee Phoenix in 2007.

She said the Cherokee Phoenix has allowed her the opportunity to share valuable information with the Cherokee people on a daily basis. 

Jami married Michael Murphy in 2014. They have two sons, Caden and Austin. Together they have four children, including Johnny and Chase. They also have two grandchildren, Bentley and Baylea. 

She is a Cherokee Nation citizen and said working for the Cherokee Phoenix has meant a great deal to her. 

“My great-great-great-great grandfather, John Leaf Springston, worked for the paper long ago. It’s like coming full circle. I’ve learned so much about myself, the Cherokee people and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it.”

Jami is a member of the Native American Journalists Association, and Investigative Reporters and Editors. You can follow her on Twitter @jamilynnmurphy or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/jamimurphy2014.
jami-murphy@cherokee.org • 918-453-5560
Reporter Jami Murphy graduated from Locust Grove High School in 2000. She received her bachelor’s degree in mass communications in 2006 from Northeastern State University and began working at the Cherokee Phoenix in 2007. She said the Cherokee Phoenix has allowed her the opportunity to share valuable information with the Cherokee people on a daily basis. Jami married Michael Murphy in 2014. They have two sons, Caden and Austin. Together they have four children, including Johnny and Chase. They also have two grandchildren, Bentley and Baylea. She is a Cherokee Nation citizen and said working for the Cherokee Phoenix has meant a great deal to her. “My great-great-great-great grandfather, John Leaf Springston, worked for the paper long ago. It’s like coming full circle. I’ve learned so much about myself, the Cherokee people and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it.” Jami is a member of the Native American Journalists Association, and Investigative Reporters and Editors. You can follow her on Twitter @jamilynnmurphy or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/jamimurphy2014.

News

BY STAFF REPORTS
02/22/2017 04:00 PM
CLAREMORE, Okla. – Trainers are legging-up their horses for a 30-day thoroughbred meet returning March 13 to Cherokee Casino Will Rogers Downs. The spring meet holds to the return of a more traditional calendar from this past year, running through Preakness on May 20. Races begin at 1:05 p.m. every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday beginning March 13, and every Monday, Tuesday and Saturday for April and May. The 2017 thoroughbred meet kicks off with a new series of starter allowance races. The races are designed specifically for horses that have started on turf in their most recent starts. “While Will Rogers Downs doesn’t offer turf racing, we do have horses in our population that have been racing on turf at other tracks,” said John Lies, racing secretary and track announcer for Cherokee Casino Will Rogers Downs. “Thanks to this new offering, they now have a division of their own to face each other on our main track, which had a perfect safety record last spring.” The series will run a six-week period within the meet, offering nine races, including a sprint division and three races for fillies and mares. “Our stakes schedule has been given a nice makeover but still offers eight races with the same 10 percent increase in winnings we offered in 2016,” said Lies. “Four of the races have been rebranded to bear the names of memorable thoroughbreds either here in Claremore or in the state of Oklahoma. It’s an exciting change.” The Miranda Diane, formerly the Wilma Mankiller Memorial, guarantees $50,000 on April 3, along with The Highland Ice the following day, named after an accomplished sprinter inducted into the Oklahoma Racing Hall of Fame. “The recently renamed Cinema Handicap and Will Rogers Downs Handicap have been moved to create a stakes double header situation on both April 24 and 25,” said Lies. “This gives those same horses the opportunity to come back three weeks later to face each other in a finale of sorts, the final two stakes races in May.” Those races – the More Than Even on May 15, named after a multiple Will Rogers Downs winner of the preceding race and 2015 horse of the meet, and the Cherokee Nation Classic Cup on May 16 – both offer purses of $55,000. For the spring 2016 Will Rogers Downs meet, more than $19 million was wagered on live racing, with four days surpassing $1 million. Cherokee Casino Will Rogers Downs is located 3 miles east of Claremore on Highway 20. For more information, visit <a href="http://www.cherokeestarrewards.com" target="_blank">www.cherokeestarrewards.com</a> or call 918-283-8800.
BY JAMI MURPHY
Senior Reporter – @cp_jmurphy
02/21/2017 05:15 PM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – According to Election Commission documents, five people received challenges to their respective Tribal Council candidacies during the EC’s period to contest a candidate’s eligibility, which ran Feb. 10-16. Of the five challenges, two were based on residency, two on possible conflict of interest with other tribes and one on whether a candidate has to be Cherokee by blood to run. Cherokee Nation citizen Angela Collins, of Gore, contested Dist. 4 candidate Bo Highers claiming he did not fulfill the residency requirement. In her challenge, Collins claims Highers has an at-large residence at 116 N. L St. in Muskogee County. According to CN Registration records, Highers’ address is 3805 Chandler Road in Muskogee. The Cherokee Phoenix attempted to contact Highers for comment, but as of publication he had not responded. Collins also requested the EC investigate “the interest” Dist. 4 candidate Sarah Cowett “has with the Creek Nation.” According to Cowett’s Facebook profile, she works at the Muscogee (Creek) Nation Division of Health. According to the tribe’s Constitution, any person “who holds any office of honor, profit or trust in any other tribe or Nation of American Indians, either elective or appointive shall be ineligible to hold simultaneously any office of honor, profit or trust of the Cherokee Nation” unless approved by the Tribal Council. The tribe’s election law states the “candidate shall not hold any office of honor, profit or trust in any other tribe of Indians, either elective or appointive, if elected to the Cherokee Nation office which he or she is seeking.” Cowett said she does work for the MCN, but doesn’t hold office. “Yes, I do work for Creek Nation Department of Health as a patient benefits coordinator. This position allows me to help our tribal members as well as members from other tribes to obtain benefits for health care that they may not know about. I take it a step further and find about their lives so that I may be of further assistance to them,” she said. “I do not hold an office nor would I be eligible to vote in any election that they may have because I am Cherokee not Creek. I am honored to be able to run for the D4 position.” CN citizen Dalene Kirk, of Jay, challenged the candidacy of Dist. 9 candidate Anthony Cochran claiming Cochran did not live in the district the required number of days before filing for office. According to CN law, the “candidate shall have established a bona fide permanent residence in the district for which he or she is a candidate for no less than two hundred seventy (270) days immediately preceding the day of the general election in which he or she is seeking election.” Cochran said he did not have a response regarding the residency challenge, but said that there will always be challenges in life. “There will be people opposed to what you do, what you say, how you do it and why you do it,” he said. “How you take on and deal with these challenges and oppositions is what will determine what kind of person, role model and leader you will be. I believe everything has a way of working itself out.” CN citizen Chance Hayes, of Vinita, challenged the candidacy of Randy White in Dist. 11 claiming he wasn’t “Cherokee by blood.” White said he did not have a comment as of publication, but would comment after the EC hearings. According to election law, a candidate “shall be a citizen of Cherokee Nation, in accordance with Article IV of the Constitution of Cherokee Nation and shall be a citizen by blood of Cherokee Nation.” According to the Constitution, all CN citizens must be original enrollees or descendants of original enrollees listed on the Dawes Commission Rolls, including the Delaware Cherokees…and Shawnee Cherokees and/or their descendants. CN citizen Kathy White, of Midland, Texas, challenged At-Large candidate Shane Jett claiming his work with the Citizen of Potawatomi Nation poses a conflict of interest. The Phoenix attempted to contact Jett for comment, but as of publication he had not responded. According to letters given to each candidate and petitioner, the EC had scheduled hearings for all five challenges for 1 p.m. on Feb. 23 at the EC Office located at 17763 S. Muskogee Ave. <a href="http://www.cherokeephoenix.org/Docs/2017/2/11031__2017CandidateContests.pdf" target="_blank">Click here to read</a>the candidate challenge documents.
BY STAFF REPORTS
02/21/2017 03:00 PM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – The Cherokee Phoenix was the first Native American newspaper and the first bilingual publication in North America. And on Feb. 21, it celebrates its 189th birthday. The newspaper’s first issue was printed on Feb. 21, 1828, in New Echota, Cherokee Nation (now Georgia), and edited by Elias Boudinot. It was printed in English and Cherokee, using the Cherokee syllabary created by Sequoyah. Rev. Samuel Worcester and the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions helped build the printing office, cast type in the Cherokee syllabary and procure the printer and other equipment. Also, Boudinot, his brother Stand Watie, John Ridge and Elijah Hicks, all leaders in the tribe at that time, raised money to start the newspaper. In 1829, the newspaper name was amended to include the Indian Advocate at the request of Boudinot. The Cherokee National Council approved of the name change and both the masthead and content were changed to reflect the paper’s broader mission. In the 1830s Boudinot and Principal Chief John Ross used the Cherokee Phoenix to editorialize against the Indian Removal Act of 1830 and the growing encroachment and harassment of settlers in Georgia. The newspaper also contained news items, features, accounts about Cherokees living in Arkansas and other area tribes, and social and religious activities. The two U.S. Supreme Court decisions (Cherokee Nation v. Georgia and Worcester v. Georgia), which affected Cherokee rights, were also written about extensively. As pressure for the Cherokee to leave Georgia increased, Boudinot changed his stance and began to advocate for the removal of Cherokee to the west. At first Chief Ross supported Boudinot’s opposing view but by 1832 the two leaders’ differences caused them to split and Boudinot resigned. Elijah Hicks, a brother-in-law of Ross, was appointed editor in August 1832, but the Phoenix was silenced in May 1834 when the Cherokee government ran out of money for the paper. Attempts were made to revive the paper. When word leaked that Chief Ross intended to move the printing press from New Echota to nearby Red Clay, Tenn., the Georgia Guard, who were already brutally oppressing the Cherokee people, moved in and destroyed the press and burned the Cherokee Phoenix office with the help of Stand Watie who was a member of the Treaty Party. The party advocated selling what remained of Cherokee land and moving west. Four years later most of the Cherokees who remained on their lands in Georgia, Tennessee and North Carolina were rounded up and forcibly marched or sent by boat to Indian Territory. A Cherokee Nation newspaper was again published in September 1844 in the form of the Cherokee Advocate. The paper was published in Tahlequah and edited by Cherokee citizen William Potter Ross, a graduate of Princeton University. The Cherokee Advocate returned after the Cherokee government was officially reformed in 1975. The newspaper continued under that name until October 2000 when the paper began using the name Cherokee Phoenix and Indian Advocate again. Also, that same year, the Tribal Council passed the Cherokee Independent Press Act of 2000, which ensures the coverage of tribal government and news of the Cherokee Nation is free from political control and undue influence. In January 2007, the newspaper began using the original Cherokee Phoenix name, launched a website and began publishing in a broadsheet format. Today, the newspaper reports on the tribe’s government, current events and Cherokee culture, people and history. The news organization has also broadened its outreach to include locally aired radio shows that are also available online and social media.
BY ASSOCIATED PRESS
02/21/2017 10:00 AM
BOSTON (AP) — Native Americans hope President Donald Trump doesn't forget America's first inhabitants as he promises to put "America first." Tribes have been reaching out to the Republican administration since it took office last month, saying they're ready to help it meet its campaign promises of improving the economy and creating more jobs for Americans. Five large tribes in Oklahoma — the Cherokee, Chickasaw , Choctaw, Muscogee Creek and Seminoles — have requested a meeting with the New York billionaire during his first 100 days in office so they can talk about ways to advance their common interests. In Massachusetts, leaders of the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe, descendants of the Native Americans who first encountered the Pilgrims nearly four centuries ago, have been echoing similar sentiments to Trump officials as they seek approval of reservation lands to build a $1 billion resort casino south of Boston. "Tribes are pouring billions and billions of dollars into the U.S. to help make America great again," said Cedric Cromwell, chairman of the 2,600-member, federally recognized tribe, playing off Trump's campaign slogan. "All of these economies we're creating, from resort casinos to malls to businesses. We're job creators. That's a story that's never really told." But tribes elsewhere have already steeled for battle just weeks into the new administration. The Standing Rock Sioux tribe in North Dakota has asked the courts to overturn recent federal approvals for the Dakota Access pipeline. The tribe and its supporters are also planning a large demonstration in Washington on March 10. "The Trump Administration is circumventing the law: wholly disregarding the treaty rights of the Standing Rock Sioux," Jan Hasselman, an attorney representing the tribe, said in a statement. "It isn't the 1800s anymore — the U.S. government must keep its promises." The tribes along the nation's border with Mexico have also voiced concerns about the impact Trump's proposed wall will have on their sovereign lands. And other tribal advocates are closely watching what comes of Republicans' promises to repeal and replace former President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act. The law included federal funds for tribal health care programs, and stripping them could have "disastrous consequences," dozens of tribal groups wrote in a December letter to congressional leaders. Despite the uncertainties, many tribal leaders say they're still hopeful they can build on the strong relationships enjoyed under prior administrations. They've found reason to cheer in Trump's pick to lead the Department of Interior, Ryan Zinke, a Republican congressman from Montana who's pledged to "restore trust" between the agency, the states and Indian tribes. "Yes, we are looking for ways to partner. Now, do we have assumptions because he's been in battles with other tribes? Sure, and we're looking to clarify those assumptions," says Gary Batton, chief of the roughly 200,000-member Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma. "Is he open to considering that each tribal government is its own separate entity and unique? That's the way we're approaching this." On the campaign trail, Trump gave little indication how he might approach tribes, but many see promise in the administration's broader goals. "Infrastructure, energy development, education and job creation," said Jacqueline Pata, a member of the Tlingit-Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska's Central Council and executive director for the National Congress of American Indians. "Those are things that have been critical in Indian Country for a long, long time." Russell Begaye, president of the Navajo Nation, says his members will be looking for greater control over water, land, criminal justice and taxation on their sovereign lands, which straddle parts of New Mexico, Arizona and Utah. "If Trump is about self-sufficiency and self-determination, let's see if he really means that," he said. "Give us full authority over our lands. If this land is ours, why are we asking the federal government for permission?" Tribes with casino dreams, meanwhile, are optimistic that Trump's experience in the industry, as well as his promises to ease businesses regulations, will work in their favor, said Jason Giles, a member of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation in Oklahoma and executive director of the National Indian Gaming Association. Trump once owned three Atlantic City, New Jersey, casinos, though two have since shuttered and one operates under different owners. Tribes are even willing, for now, to overlook the president's past off-color statements about Native Americans. Testifying before Congress in 1993, the then-casino mogul questioned the legitimacy of some of his tribal rivals. "Go up to Connecticut," Trump said, referring to the Mashantucket Pequot tribe, owners of Foxwoods Resort Casino. "They don't look like Indians to me." Giles called Trump's past remarks "troublesome" but says he and other tribal representatives have been assured by Trump's advisers that those statements aren't reflective of the current administration, which didn't respond to requests for comment for this story. "We're taking them at their word," he said. "We're going into this with open arms."
BY JAMI MURPHY
Senior Reporter – @cp_jmurphy
02/21/2017 08:15 AM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – During a special meeting on Feb. 16, Election Commission Administrator Brooke Tillison submitted her resignation letter to the EC, citing job stress. At the meeting, commissioners went into executive session to discuss personnel. Upon returning Commissioner Pam Sellers motioned to accept the resignation. The motion stated that Feb. 24 was to be Tillison’s last day of employment. It also put Tillison on administrative leave until her resignation took effect. Commissioner Carolyn Allen seconded the motion and it passed unopposed. In a statement, Tillison wrote that she “enjoyed making a difference” at the EC, beginning her tenure at the commission as a clerk before being promoted to administrator. However, she cited job stress as the reason for resigning. “Unfortunately the tremendous amount of stress has made it impossible for me to continue being the Administrator,” she stated. “I am very appreciative of the Commissioners and staff who continue to give their best efforts while maintaining strong morals. I wish you all the best of luck in the election and the future.” Previously, Wanda Beaver, who stated having grievances with Commissioners Bill Horton, Hart, Martha Calico, Shawna Calico and Allen, resigned in 2014. Former Administrators Keeli Duncan and Madison Thomas resigned in 2016 and 2015, respectively. The Phoenix requested comment from Duncan and Thomas but didn’t receive a response from Duncan, and Thomas declined to comment. The Phoenix was unable to contact Beaver. The Phoenix requested a statement from the EC regarding Tillison’s resignation, but had not received one as of publication. The EC also held a meeting on Feb. 14, in which it amended each commissioner’s contract and its attorney’s contract in the amounts of $15,600 and $24,000, respectively. Also approved were three press releases to be sent to the Phoenix regarding the upcoming Tribal Council elections and a process for someone who becomes incapacitated during an election, but still would like to vote. Commissioners also went into executive session for personnel reasons. Upon their return, they said no action was taken.
BY TRAVIS SNELL
Assistant Editor – @cp_tsnell
02/17/2017 11:15 AM
OKLAHOMA CITY – Despite denying he did anything wrong, Cherokee Nation citizen and Dist. 86 Rep. Will Fourkiller said he would accept the recommendations from a House of Representatives committee that investigated him and another state representative for sexual harassment claims. “I take this matter very seriously and want to take steps to avoid even an appearance of impropriety,” Fourkiller, D-Stilwell, stated in a letter delivered Feb. 13 to House Speaker Charles McCall. The special House committee recommended on Feb. 2 that Fourkiller undergo sensitivity training and have no interaction with the legislative body’s page program for a year. He was accused of making inappropriate comments to a high school-age House page in 2015. According to the program, high schools students from the state serve as pages for a week during regular legislative sessions and do interact with legislators. The committee’s report states when the accusation was made in 2015 Fourkiller did not acknowledge or deny making the comments. Fourkiller has since denied any wrongdoing. “I have made the decision to voluntarily agree to follow both recommendations of the Committee,” Fourkiller wrote in the letter to McCall. On Jan. 17, Fourkiller declined to appear before the committee saying he would only speak the to the Special Investigation Committee if the proceeding was open to the public. According to reports, the committee had heard from witnesses in only closed sessions. “A confidential, closed-door proceeding does not provide the equitable forum to repair my character and reputation,” he told Rep. Josh Cockroft, who chaired the committee, in a letter. Fourkiller on Jan. 11 said he was made aware in 2015 that a page had indicated he had said something that made her uncomfortable and he had apologized. “I do not know what I did or said, but whatever it was I certainly didn’t mean to do it, and I apologized,” he said. He added that the 2015 incident is the only one that he was made aware of by House staff. The House has declined to release the complaint, citing personnel reasons. With his decision, Fourkiller avoids a vote in the Republican-controlled House on the committee’s recommendations. The committee also recommended expelling Tulsa Republican Rep. Dan Kirby from the House. The committee’s report says Kirby took one of his legislative assistants to a strip club and received topless photos of her. Kirby submitted his resignation on Feb. 4, which was to take effect March 1. He initially resigned in late December after reports of a publicly funded settlement with another woman surfaced, but later rescinded his resignation. The committee also determined the House had the authority to spend money to settle the wrongful termination agreement paid to one of the accusers. Officials said there was no financial settlement in the complaint against Fourkiller. Fourkiller was first elected to the Dist. 86 seat in 2011. He was re-elected in 2013 and 2015. He also ran for principal chief of the CN in 2015, finishing third at 10.58 percent with 2,040 votes.