http://www.cherokeephoenix.orgFront row from left to right are Spring Valley Fire Department representatives Lillian Gamble, Janette Smith and April Cole. In the back row are Spring Valley representatives Gordon Gamble, Tribal Councilor Joe Byrd and Deputy Chief S. Joe Crittenden, Spring Valley Fire Chief Ronnie Smith, Principal Chief Bill John Baker, Spring Valley representatives David Cole and Eli Cole, Tribal Councilor Rex Jordan and Spring Valley representatives Rick Lamons and Delbert Wilson. The Cherokee Nation donated $458,500 to 131 rural volunteer fire departments on May 8 in Catoosa, Oklahoma. COURTESY
Front row from left to right are Spring Valley Fire Department representatives Lillian Gamble, Janette Smith and April Cole. In the back row are Spring Valley representatives Gordon Gamble, Tribal Councilor Joe Byrd and Deputy Chief S. Joe Crittenden, Spring Valley Fire Chief Ronnie Smith, Principal Chief Bill John Baker, Spring Valley representatives David Cole and Eli Cole, Tribal Councilor Rex Jordan and Spring Valley representatives Rick Lamons and Delbert Wilson. The Cherokee Nation donated $458,500 to 131 rural volunteer fire departments on May 8 in Catoosa, Oklahoma. COURTESY

CN donates nearly $500K to volunteer fire departments

BY STAFF REPORTS
05/10/2017 12:00 PM
CATOOSA, Okla. – The Cherokee Nation donated nearly half a million dollars on May 8 night to 131 rural volunteer fire departments during the tribe’s annual Volunteer Firefighter Ceremony at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa.

Each year rural volunteer fire departments located within the tribe’s jurisdiction rely on fundraisers and membership dues to maintain operations.

According to a CN press release, to honor those departments the tribe donated each station a check for $3,500 to help with equipment, fuel or other items needed to protect lives and properties in northeastern Oklahoma.

Officials said the $458,500 overall donation was a record amount and was included in the tribe’s annual budget.

“I believe the men and women who answer the call to be a firefighter deserve Cherokee Nation’s thanks and support. They are on call 24/7, 365 days a year, to ensure we remain safe,” Principal Chief Bill John Baker said. “What they do is vital to our overall success in northeast Oklahoma. That’s why year after year, Cherokee Nation makes financial investments in rural volunteer fire departments so they can be better equipped to protect our families, our homes and our property.”

Spring Valley Fire Department in Cherokee County and Disney Fire Department in Mayes County were recognized as 2017 Volunteer Fire Departments of the Year.

The Spring Valley Fire Department protects more than 7,800 residents in a 77-square-mile area and in the past year responded to about 150 calls in the community as well as neighboring Hulbert, Taylor Ferry, Gideon and Peggs. It also responded to calls outside of Cherokee County.

Spring Valley’s volunteers also provide emergency responses for water rescue, search-and-rescue and fire investigations.

“Cherokee Nation’s donation allows us to buy equipment that we need, like hoses, nozzles and tires,” Spring Valley Fire Chief Ronnie Smith said. “It takes a lot of money to operate a volunteer fire department, and we don’t have a lot of money. When you start buying fuel and insurance, it all adds up, and I appreciate everything the Cherokee Nation does for all volunteer fire departments.”

The Disney Fire Department’s firefighters often find themselves maneuvering through trails and over rocks in the Grand Lake area to reach victims of rollover crashes that occur during popular rock-crawling events. Efforts of the department’s volunteers have helped save the lives of many, including victims who were in serious or critical condition and required medical helicopters once they had been rescued by Disney firefighters.

The department has 14 active volunteers.

“We really appreciate Cherokee Nation’s help. It helps us out a lot,” Disney Fire Chief Larry Sanders said. “We’re probably going to use the funding to build a training facility.”

The CN also selected five recipients for the 2017 Volunteer Firefighter of the Year awards:

• Allison Paige Long, of Langley, for saving the life of a boy involved in a head-on car crash in August. Long and her family drove upon the crash on Spavinaw Hill. She climbed into a crushed car and found a 12-year-old who was in the backseat and not breathing. Long, a Langley volunteer firefighter since 2010, cleared the boy’s airway, controlled his bleeding and stayed in the car until he was freed. The teen is paralyzed from the waist down but survived because of Long’s training and response. ?

• Sean Goodwin, of Wagoner, for responding to a call with the Whitehorn Fire Department and reviving a child thought to have drowned in a lake. Goodwin relied on his training as a first responder and was able to save the child’s life.

• David Riggs, of Muldrow, for serving more than 17 years as fire chief for the Maple Fire Department. Riggs helped establish the department in 1995 and often used his own property to ensure firefighters had the equipment necessary to respond to calls. Even after stepping down as chief, Riggs responds to nearly every call during the day, often alone. ?

• Chrix Hoxit, of Muldrow, for his commitment to the Brushy Fire Department. Hoxit established the “Ready, Set, Go” program to help the elderly be fire-safe. He also obtained grants for equipment and set up a program to help raise money for the Brushy Fire Department. Hoxit also works to keep firefighters hydrated and fed while they are fighting fires and networks with CN Risk Management.?

• Jim Huyck, of Cookson, who donates 40 to 60 hours per week between the Cookson and Chicken Creek fire departments. Huyck helps firefighters stay trained on emerging medical services, allowing the departments to respond to medical calls. Recently, Huyck taught two classes on medical response. His training allows firefighters to save the lives of others.

News

BY ASSOCIATED PRESS
06/16/2018 02:00 PM
LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — A husband and wife who don't want the proposed Keystone XL pipeline to run through their farm have deeded a plot of their land over to a Native American tribe, creating a potential roadblock for the project. Art and Helen Tanderup signed over a 1.6-acre plot of land to the Ponca Indian Tribe on Sunday. The Ponca enjoy special legal status as a federally recognized tribe. The land has been used as a planting space for sacred Ponca corn for the last five years, and it was chosen in part because it sits on the $8 billion pipeline's proposed route. It's also part of the historic route that Ponca tribe members were forced to take when the U.S. government relocated them to present-day Oklahoma in 1877.
BY ASSOCIATED PRESS
06/16/2018 10:00 AM
PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — South Dakota's Supreme Court this week dismissed an appeal from opponents of the Keystone XL oil pipeline, saying a lower court lacked jurisdiction to hear their cases. But an attorney battling the project says the "fight is not over." Groups fighting TransCanada Corp.'s pipeline appealed a judge's decision last year upholding regulators' approval for the pipeline to cross the state. But the high court said in a Wednesday ruling that justices didn't "reach the merits of the case" because the lower court didn't have jurisdiction to weigh the appeal of the Public Utilities Commission's decision. Robin Martinez, an attorney for conservation and family agriculture group Dakota Rural Action, on Thursday called the high court's decision "disappointing," but said "this fight is not over." Martinez said the organization, one of the appellants, is regrouping and evaluating its options. "That's really disappointing that the court didn't reach the merits, because the risk to South Dakota's land and water resources is clearly there," Martinez said. "It's a shame that that did not get a closer look by the court." TransCanada spokesman Terry Cunha said in an email that the pipeline developer is pleased with the court's decision. Keystone XL would cost an estimated $8 billion. The 1,179-mile pipeline would transport up to 830,000 barrels a day of Canadian crude through Montana and South Dakota to Nebraska, where it would connect with lines to carry oil to Gulf Coast refineries. TransCanada announced in April it was meeting with landowners and starting aerial surveillance of the proposed route. The company hopes to begin construction in early 2019. The Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, Yankton Sioux Tribe and conservation and family agriculture group Dakota Rural Action appealed to the South Dakota high court after a judge had affirmed state regulators' approval for the pipeline. The Public Utilities Commission initially authorized TransCanada's project in 2010, but the permit had to be revisited because construction didn't start within the required four years. The panel voted in 2016 to accept TransCanada's guarantee that it would meet all conditions laid out by the commission when it first approved that state's portion of the project. Cunha said the company is working to get needed land easements for the pipeline in Nebraska. But Nebraska landowners have filed a lawsuit challenging the Nebraska Public Service Commission's decision to approve a route through the state. Separately in Nebraska, a husband and wife who don't want the proposed Keystone XL pipeline to run through their farm this week deeded a plot of their land to a Native American tribe, creating a potential roadblock for the project. Art and Helen Tanderup signed over a 1.6-acre plot of land to the Ponca Indian Tribe on Sunday. The Ponca enjoy special legal status as a federally recognized tribe. The land has been used as a planting space for sacred Ponca corn for the last five years, and it was chosen in part because it sits on the $8 billion pipeline's proposed route. It's also part of the historic Ponca route that tribe members were forced to take when the U.S. government relocated them to present-day Oklahoma in 1877. "What the impact will be, I don't know," Tanderup said. "But now, they'll have a voice in this issue. They will be a player at the table." It's not clear whether deeding the land to the tribe would hinder the company or create a new legal argument for the Ponca, given their status as a federally recognized Indian tribe. Brad Jolly, an attorney for the Ponca Tribe of Nebraska, said he was focusing more on overturning state regulators' approval of the pipeline in a case pending before the Nebraska Supreme Court. "I haven't gotten to all the what-ifs yet," Jolly said. The Keystone pipeline also faces a potential obstacle in a federal lawsuit brought by Montana landowners and environmental groups seeks to overturn President Donald Trump's decision to grant a presidential permit for the project.
BY STAFF REPORTS
06/15/2018 04:00 PM
CALHOUN, Ga. – The next meeting of the Georgia Chapter of the Trail of Tears Association is set for 10:30 a.m. on July 14 at the Gordon County Historical Society at 345 S. Wall St. This is part three of the chapter’s remembrance of the 180th anniversary of the Cherokee removal. “The Journey To Indian Country” will be presented by past chapter president W. Jeff Bishop. The meeting is free and open to the public. The Trail of Tears Association was created to support the Trail of Tears National Historic Trail established by an act of Congress in 1987. The TOTA is dedicated to identifying and preserving sites associated with the removal of Native Americans from the southeastern United States. The Georgia TOTA chapter is one of nine state chapters representing the nine states that the Cherokee and other tribes traveled through on their way to Indian Territory (now Oklahoma). People need not have Native American ancestry to attend GATOTA meetings, just an interest and desire to learn more about this tragic period in this country’s history. For more information about the May GCTOTA meeting, email Walter Knapp at <a href="mailto: walt@wjkwrites.com">walt@wjkwrites.com</a>.
BY STAFF REPORTS
06/15/2018 08:15 AM
OOLOGAH – The Will Rogers & Wiley Post Fly-In starts at 7:30 a.m. on Aug. 11 at the Will Rogers Birthplace Ranch. Planes will begin landing at 7:30 a.m. on a 2,000-foot grass airstrip next to the ranch located at 9501 E. 380 Road. Admission is free, and there is ample parking. The annual event celebrates aviation and marks the anniversary of Will and Wiley’s Aug. 15, 1935, deaths in Alaska due to a plane crash. A moment of remembrance will be observed at 10 a.m. honoring those who have died in small plane crashes and lapel pins will be presented especially designed in tribute to crash victims Vintage aircraft, World War I fighters, experimental planes, bi-planes, helicopters and fly-overs are all part of the event as well as food and concessions, antique and classic cars, a Cherokee storyteller and kids’ activities. Special tribute will be paid to Dr. Bill Kinsinger, who departed Wiley Post Airport in Oklahoma City in January on an animal rescue mission for Pilots N Paws to Georgetown, Texas, but never reached his destination. After being spotted on radar headed into the Gulf of Mexico, it was reported by searchers, “the pilot was slouched over and appeared unconscious.” Members of Dr. Kinsinger’s family will be on hand to receive a lapel pin. Attendees are encouraged to bring lawn chairs. For more information, visit <a href="http://www.willrogers.com" target="_blank">www.willrogers.com</a> or call 918-341-0719.
BY STAFF REPORTS
06/14/2018 04:00 PM
TAHLEQUAH – The Cherokee Nation will commemorate the 175th anniversary of the 1843 intertribal peace gathering with the June 20 opening of a new pavilion, located east of the Cherokee National Capitol. The pavilion’s design pays tribute to the gathering by interpreting the look of the large log structure that hosted what former Principal Chief William P. Ross called “the most important Indian council ever held on the American continent.” “Chief John Ross saw the need for tribal governments to come together and stand united on issues that would ensure the survival of Native people,” Principal Chief Bill John Baker said. “We hope this pavilion will serve as a reminder of that sacred event and of the power we yield when we unify our Native voice in an effort to preserve, promote and protect our cultural identities.” A ribbon-cutting ceremony will take place at 12:30 p.m. with special guests from the annual Cherokee Tri-Council meeting. The celebration will include performances by the Cherokee National Youth Choir and a hog fry lunch that is open to the public. In addition to opening the pavilion, Cherokee Nation Cultural Tourism is hosting an exhibit about the historical event at the Cherokee National Supreme Court Museum through November 2019. The exhibit provides a deeper look at the momentous gathering, including who attended and what was discussed. The Cherokee National Supreme Court Museum is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday to Saturday and is at 122 E. Keetoowah St.
BY STAFF REPORTS
06/12/2018 03:00 PM
SEATTLE – <a href="http://www.Amazon.com" target="_blank">Amazon.com</a> officials, as well as government and tribal officials, on June 8 announced plans to open its second Oklahoma fulfillment center in Tulsa, which is expected to create 1,500 full-time jobs. “We are excited to bring a second fulfillment center to Oklahoma and work alongside the state’s incredible workforce,” Mark Stewart, Amazon’s vice president of North America Customer Fulfillment, said. “Support from local leaders has been instrumental in our ability to come to Oklahoma, and we are grateful for their collaboration to bring thousands of new jobs with benefits starting on day one.” Amazon operates a sortation center in Oklahoma City, where it employs hundreds of people, and it recently announced an upcoming fulfillment center in south Oklahoma City. Amazon employees at the Tulsa fulfillment center, which is expected to be more than 600,000 square foot, will work alongside innovative technology created by Amazon Robotics. Employees at the Tulsa center will pick, pack and ship small items to customers such as books, household items and toys. “The Cherokee Nation is proud to be a part of a coalition that continues to locate quality jobs to northeast Oklahoma,” Principal Chief Bill John Baker said. “The announcement of a new Amazon fulfillment center in Tulsa and more than a thousand new jobs will help build a strong economy for the next seven generations of Cherokees, as well as our friends and neighbors. We couldn’t be more pleased with the continued joint effort on economic development between so many state and local partners.” According to Amazon.com, full-time employees receive competitive hourly wages and a comprehensive benefits package, including healthcare, 401(k) and company stock awards starting on their first day. Amazon also offers maternity and parental leave benefits and access to programs such as Career Choice, where it will pre-pay up to 95 percent of tuition for courses related to in-demand fields, regardless of whether the skills are relevant to a career at Amazon. According to Amazon.com, since the program’s launch, more than 16,000 employees have pursued degrees in game design and visual communications, nursing, IT programming and radiology. “Given its location near the Muscogee (Creek) Nation, this Amazon fulfillment center will undoubtedly have an historic impact on our tribal citizens and northeast Oklahoma at large,” Muscogee (Creek) Nation Principal Chief James R. Floyd said. “A project like this is a rare opportunity, and we are honored to play a role in this partnership of state, local and tribal entities. This significantly enhances the opportunity for economic prosperity of our tribal citizens. We look forward to a long-term relationship with Amazon and see it as a wonderful opportunity. In addition to the Tulsa center, we have more than 10,000 citizens in the Oklahoma City metro area that we hope to utilize for employment.” To learn more about working at an Amazon fulfillment center, interested candidates can visit <a href="http://www.amazondelivers.jobs" target="_blank">www.amazondelivers.jobs</a>.