http://www.cherokeephoenix.orgCherokee Nation citizens Adam Childress, left, and Amanda Ray, along with actor and Northeastern State University Drama faculty member Chris Miller star in Edward Albee’s “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” on Feb. 15 at the NSU Playhouse in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. ROGER GRAHAM/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Cherokee Nation citizens Adam Childress, left, and Amanda Ray, along with actor and Northeastern State University Drama faculty member Chris Miller star in Edward Albee’s “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” on Feb. 15 at the NSU Playhouse in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. ROGER GRAHAM/CHEROKEE PHOENIX

Ray stars in ‘Virginia Woolf’ production

BY ROGER GRAHAM
Multimedia Producer – @cp_rgraham
03/14/2017 09:15 AM
Video with default Cherokee Phoenix Frame
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – Cherokee Nation citizen and Sequoyah High School drama teacher Amanda Ray starred in Northeastern State University Drama’s production of Edward Albee’s “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?,” which ran Feb. 15-18 at the NSU Playhouse.

Ray, a NSU graduate, said as an acting teacher she’s a firm believer that if she’s going to teach it she needs to do it well.

“I think coaches should play a game every once in a while. I think it’s good for you.” Ray said.

“In my career I have been fortunate to inhabit numerous different roles, whether it was a straight drama or a fun musical, but no experience comes close to playing Martha in Edward Albee’s Tony- and Pulitzer Prize-winning play, ‘Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?’ It has been one of my favorite plays and by far my favorite role, and one I didn’t think I’d ever get the chance to play. NSU Theatre Company, which is my home stage, gave me that chance this past February, and I can’t thank my director, Dr. Robyn Pursley, enough for choosing me for this role.”

Ray said it was “exhilarating” being on the stage again in a role that was “emotionally draining and so rewarding.”

“It meant so much to me that so many of my students, friends, family and a few of my fellow faculty members were in the audience. I don’t think a lot of people are aware of how much work goes into a production like that and also that the heart of theater is to make you think, feel, contemplate, and that supporting the arts is more than just getting off your duff and going to see a play, but as teachers it is setting an example for our students. The heart of the theatrical experience is empathy. A concept so basic and yet so fleeting in this day and age that we have classes devoted to learning what empathy actually is and how to implore that emotion.”

She said the arts can be overlooked in this part of the state yet they are beneficial.

“My former speech/debate/drama students are excelling at the college level at NSU, Harvard, Brown, NYU (New York University), OU (University of Oklahoma), OSU (Oklahoma State University). Some, but not all, are pursuing theater degrees, but what they have in common is a work ethic, a broad and exploratory intellect, writing and public speaking skills that were utilized and enhanced through their involvement in the performing arts. I love what I do, and feel so extremely lucky to have a career in the arts in Tahlequah.”

Ray started working at Sequoyah in 2008. She started its speech and theater program. Her classes range from acting, theater history, musical theater, Native storytelling and performance, speech/debate and honors competitive speech/drama/debate, which are devoted to preparation for the Oklahoma Secondary Schools Activities Association’s speech/debate tournaments.

Along with teaching full time, she directs, creates costumes and choreographs one act plays and main stage productions each year for Sequoyah. She also oversees a traveling troupe that performs Cherokee children’s play and puppet shows at the Cherokee Heritage Center, as well as elementary schools.
About the Author
Roger began working for the Cherokee Nation in 2005 and joined the Cherokee Phoenix staff in 2008. After 25 years in broadcast news and production, Roger enjoys producing videos about Cherokee culture and events. He attended the University of New Mexico for one year before achieving Federal Communications Commission operator and engineering licenses through on-the-job training. In his youth, Roger represented the United States in gymnastics and diving.
roger-graham@cherokee.org • 918-207-3969
Roger began working for the Cherokee Nation in 2005 and joined the Cherokee Phoenix staff in 2008. After 25 years in broadcast news and production, Roger enjoys producing videos about Cherokee culture and events. He attended the University of New Mexico for one year before achieving Federal Communications Commission operator and engineering licenses through on-the-job training. In his youth, Roger represented the United States in gymnastics and diving.

Multimedia

BY ROGER GRAHAM
Multimedia Producer – @cp_rgraham
08/17/2017 08:30 AM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – Approximately 70 youths in first through fourth grades were athletically evaluated on Aug. 12 at the Boys and Girls Club of Tahlequah’s flag football combine held on the infield of Tahlequah High School’s track. Testing included speed evaluations, route running as well as passing and catching a football. Boys and Girls Club of Tahlequah CEO Dennis Kelley said the combine testing is crucial to selecting evenly matched league teams. “It’s for all kids across the county. You don’t have to be a Boys & Girls Club member. We have 13 clubs throughout Cherokee County in almost every school except Hulbert and Shady Grove. Our club stats for Cherokee County show we’re at about 70 percent Native American. So anyone who wants to sign up can. Boys and girls are welcome.” Kelley said the fee for joining is $45. “We try to keep it as low as we can. Plus, if someone can’t afford it, we try to scholarship them in. Cherokee Nation helps us with some money throughout the year, so we try to use that money for scholarships for kids who can’t afford to pay,” he said. Cherokee Nation citizen Julie Deerinwater Anderson said bringing her son to try out was a mutual decision. “I brought my son out today because he was very interested in flag football. It’s an opportunity for him to be a part of a team. Plus it’s his first year, so he can learn some skills without the risk of tackle football,” she said. “It’s healthy and it’s outside. It’s important to me that my son has healthy options.” For more information, call the Boys and Girls Club of Tahlequah at 918-456-6888.
BY STACIE GUTHRIE
Reporter – @cp_sguthrie
08/14/2017 06:15 PM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – On Aug. 14, nine Tribal Councilors who won elections for their respective districts this summer were sworn into office during an inauguration ceremony at Sequoyah High School’s “The Place Where They Play” gymnasium. Incumbents Joe Byrd (Dist. 2), Frankie Hargis (Dist. 7), Harley Buzzard (Dist. 10), Victoria Vazquez (Dist. 11) and Janees Taylor (Dist. 15), as well as newcomers Dr. Mike Dobbins (Dist. 4), E.O. Smith (Dist. 5), Mike Shambaugh (Dist. 9) and Mary Baker Shaw (At-Large) will serve on the Tribal Council from 2017-21. Supreme Court Justice John Garrett swore in the legislators. Councilors’ family members were invited to hold Bibles while the lawmakers took their oaths of office. Dobbins said for his term he hopes to become “more informed” on certain issues and bring forth his knowledge on health and education. “My plans are to become more informed on the multi-issues with the Cherokee people. I am pretty well-versed in health care and education, and I look forward to immediately start making some suggestions in that area,” he said. “Our health care system is a model for other systems to emulate, but that’s an area that I’ll have immediate effect on. But I do have a learning curve in other areas.” Taylor said for her second term she would continue to focus on health care, education and the shift within the White House and how it could affect tribal programs. “So we are going to have to watch the changes in Washington, D.C., from the funds that come down so that we can be sure to continue to serve our citizens with the programs that they depend on,” she said. “Even if there may be a change in funding or a change in the way we can administer the funds or the amount of funds, I don’t want that to get ahead of us where all of a sudden we don’t have the funding that we expected from Washington, D.C., and so we have to cut back on a program.” Principal Chief Bill John Baker said he appreciates the Tribal Council, and while he would miss Tribal Councilors Don Garvin (Dist. 4), David Thornton (Dist. 5), Curtis Snell (Dist. 9) and Jack Baker (At-Large) who termed out of office on Aug. 14, he was looking forward to the ideas and energy the new legislative body would provide. “I look forward to the new council, the new ideas, the new energy to make this Nation even greater than it is today,” he said. “They won’t play as much golf. They will not make it to as many events. They will miss some ball games. They will be late for supper because it’s a mission folks. Being on Tribal Council is a labor of love that sometimes family gets put on the backburner, but it is for the greater good.” The Tribal Council consists of a 17 members who represent the 15 districts inside the Cherokee Nation’s jurisdiction and two at-large seats representing citizens who live outside the boundaries. Members are elected by popular vote to four-year terms.
BY STAFF REPORTS
08/14/2017 04:00 PM
In this week's broadcast: We feature Cherokee Nation citizen and artist Keli Gonzales Also, Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma and the Cherokee Nation have formed a medical legal partnership. ...plus much more.
BY STAFF REPORTS
08/07/2017 04:00 PM
In this week's broadcast: We have a story on the fourth Native Youth in Food and Agriculture Leadership Summit that was held in July. Also, the Locust Grove Cardinals 8-and-under baseball team wins its division in the USSSA World Series. ...plus much more.
BY ROGER GRAHAM
Multimedia Producer – @cp_rgraham
08/04/2017 08:15 AM
PARK HILL, Okla. – The Cherokee Heritage Center hosted its first on-site print action and gallery tour on July 29, using artists who have work in the traveling “Return from Exile” Native American contemporary art exhibit, which opened May 13 at the CHC and ends Aug. 11. “A print action is an event that you can attend where artists are screen-printing live,” CHC Curator Callie Chunestudy. “So you can bring items such as shirts or tote bags and they’ll print on those for you or we’ll be giving out paper prints of the images they’ve designed for us today.” Participating artists were Bobby C. Martin (Muscogee Creek), Tony Tiger (Sac and Fox/Seminole), Margaret Roach Wheeler (Chickasaw/Choctaw), as well as Cherokee artists Toneh Chuleewah, Demos Glass and Roy Boney. “It’s a chance for patrons to come out and meet the artists of the exhibit whose works they’ve seen over the summer. We’re also giving out free prints so it’s an opportunity for free art and to learn more about contemporary Native American art,” Chunestudy added. Boney said he was proud to be a part of the traveling exhibit. “The ‘Return from Exile’ show has traveled across the country and features contemporary art of Southeastern tribal artists.” As for the print action, Boney said it gives those in attendance a new perspective. “I think when people see and think of Native American art, it’s usually very static. It’s something hanging on a wall or behind a case and that kind of thing. So for this show having people come out and actually see artists make art before their eyes is a really good experience.” The CHC is located at 21192 S. Keeler Drive. For information on upcoming events and attractions, call 918-456-6007 or visit <a href="http://www.cherokeeheritage.org" target="_blank">www.cherokeeheritage.org</a>.
BY ROGER GRAHAM
Multimedia Producer – @cp_rgraham
08/03/2017 02:00 PM
TULSA, Okla. – Cherokee Nation citizens, administrators, Tribal Councilors and representatives from several CN programs attended “Cherokee Nation Night” at ONEOK field on July 28 to see the Tulsa Drillers baseball team play the Arkansas Travelers. Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin Jr., who threw out the first pitch, said the event is not only fun but also important because it brings awareness and access to CN programs to Cherokees in Oklahoma’s second-largest city. “This is a sponsorship. Cherokee Nation Businesses sponsored this evening, so it’s an opportunity for employees to come out and get some free tickets to the game, but we also offer Cherokee citizens a chance to come out on this beautiful July evening,” he said. “We also have some staff here from some of our programs to show just what Cherokee Nation does for northeast Oklahoma.” The programs and departments in attendance consisted of the Housing Authority of the Cherokee Nation, Indian Child Welfare, Hunting & Fishing, Talking Leaves Job Corps, Health Services, Tax Commission, Cherokee Phoenix, Education Services, Commerce Services, Cherokee Vote and Career Services. CN citizen Mandy Adair took her family to “Cherokee Nation Night” at the ballpark. “I’m here at ONEOK Field to watch the Drillers play, with my son, my nephew, my brother, my sister-in-law and a couple of friends. My reason for coming was just to catch a great game of baseball with my kiddo and support Cherokee Nation.” Other events for the evening included Deputy Principal Chief S. Joe Crittenden leading the crowd in the singing of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” during the seventh-inning stretch and a post game concert by Christian band “Citizen Way.” The Drillers beat the Arkansas Travelers, 6-2.