http://www.cherokeephoenix.orgTribal Councilor Jack Baker, center, is chosen as Oklahoma Historical Society president on April 27 during a special OHS board meeting at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Catoosa. The gavel was passed to Baker by OHS President Dr. Bill Corbett, left, as OHS Executive Director Bob Blackburn, right, celebrated Baker’s election. WILL CHAVEZ/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Tribal Councilor Jack Baker, center, is chosen as Oklahoma Historical Society president on April 27 during a special OHS board meeting at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Catoosa. The gavel was passed to Baker by OHS President Dr. Bill Corbett, left, as OHS Executive Director Bob Blackburn, right, celebrated Baker’s election. WILL CHAVEZ/CHEROKEE PHOENIX

Baker chosen to lead Oklahoma Historical Society

Tribal Councilor Jack Baker, left, was one of four people sworn in on April 27 to serve on the Oklahoma Historical Society board by Oklahoma Supreme Court Justice Yvonne Kauger. Baker was later nominated and selected as the new OHS president. WILL CHAVEZ/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Tribal Councilor Jack Baker, left, was one of four people sworn in on April 27 to serve on the Oklahoma Historical Society board by Oklahoma Supreme Court Justice Yvonne Kauger. Baker was later nominated and selected as the new OHS president. WILL CHAVEZ/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
BY WILL CHAVEZ
Assistant Editor – @cp_wchavez
05/11/2017 11:00 AM
CATOOSA, Okla. –At-Large Tribal Councilor Jack Baker was chosen to serve as Oklahoma Historical Society president on April 27 during a special OHS board meeting at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino.

A few minutes prior to the move, Baker, of Oklahoma City, was sworn in to serve District 5 of the OHS. Following the swearing in of board members, nominations and elections for OHS president, vice president and treasure were held and Baker was nominated to serve as president.

While being nominated it was mentioned Baker would soon be terming out as a Cherokee Nation legislator, has been committed to the OHS for a long time and is dependable. He was the only board member nominated for president.

“You can count on Jack. If he says it’s right, it’s right,” Dr. Bill Corbett, outgoing OHS president, said.

Baker said it is great to serve on a board “with such a great group of people.”

“Thank you for your vote of confidence, very much,” he said. “I am honored to be chosen because it’s a great board and very distinguished people serve on this board.”

He added that the OHS oversees sites within the CN such as the Will Rogers Memorial Museum in Claremore, the Will Rogers Birthplace Museum in Oologah, Murrell Home in Park Hill, Fort Gibson historic site in Fort Gibson and the Cabin Creek Battle site in Craig County.

The OHS operates about 40 historic sites across the state.

“So, we’ll still be serving the Cherokee people in that capacity by looking out for those sites,” Baker said.

Baker has served on the OHS board since 2002 and has been an OHS member since the early 1970s. In 2014, he was chosen to serve as OHS vice president. He is the national president of the Trail of Tears Association and president of the Goingsnake District Heritage Association, which is a historical society based in Westville organized to preserve the old CN Goingsnake District’s heritage.

One project Baker will help complete as OHS president is the OKPop Museum in Tulsa. OHS owns the land for the museum and officials recently signed a contract with the architect who will design the building.

The museum will be “dedicated to the creative spirit of Oklahoma’s people and the influence of Oklahoma artists on popular culture around the world” and will collect artifacts, archival materials, film and video and audio recordings “that reflect Oklahoma’s influence nationally and internationally.” The $25 million facility will be located across the street from the historic Cain’s Ballroom and is expected to be finished in late 2019.

OHS recently took over Will Rogers Memorial Museum and Will Rogers Birthplace Museum and work continues to integrate those sites into the OHS, Baker said.

He said he faces “lots of challenges” but is looking forward to working on them during his three-year term.

Before handing the gavel to Baker, Corbett, who has served as a history professor at Northeastern State University, also spoke of the challenges and “struggle” the OHS is facing with a 40 percent budget cut over nine years by the state’s Legislature.

“I think that will not be the real story. The story will be despite those cuts we were able to develop new partnerships with our tribal friends and improve and invest in other ways. Collections (historic collections) are still coming in. We’re still making progress,” Corbett said. “I see that we have a very bright future, we will get through these budget cuts, we will keep our progress and we will stay unified.”

Founded in 1893, the OHS has been collecting, preserving and sharing the history of Oklahoma and its people for nearly 125 years.
About the Author
Will lives in Tahlequah, Okla., but calls Marble City, Okla., his hometown. He is Cherokee and San Felipe Pueblo and grew up learning the Cherokee language, traditions and culture from his Cherokee mother and family. He also appreciates his father’s Pueblo culture and when possible attends annual traditional dances held on the San Felipe Reservation near Albuquerque, N.M.

He enjoys studying and writing about Cherokee history and culture and writing stories about Cherokee veterans. For Will, the most enjoyable part of writing for the Cherokee Phoenix is having the opportunity to meet Cherokee people from all walks of life.
He earned a mass communications degree in 1993 from Northeastern State University with minors in marketing and psychology. He is a member of the Native American Journalists Association.

Will has worked in the newspaper and public relations field for 20 years. He has performed public relations work for the Cherokee Nation and has been a reporter and a photographer for the Cherokee Phoenix for more than 18 years. He was named interim executive editor on Dec. 8, 2015, by the Cherokee Phoenix Editorial Board.
WILL-CHAVEZ@cherokee.org • 918-207-3961
Will lives in Tahlequah, Okla., but calls Marble City, Okla., his hometown. He is Cherokee and San Felipe Pueblo and grew up learning the Cherokee language, traditions and culture from his Cherokee mother and family. He also appreciates his father’s Pueblo culture and when possible attends annual traditional dances held on the San Felipe Reservation near Albuquerque, N.M. He enjoys studying and writing about Cherokee history and culture and writing stories about Cherokee veterans. For Will, the most enjoyable part of writing for the Cherokee Phoenix is having the opportunity to meet Cherokee people from all walks of life. He earned a mass communications degree in 1993 from Northeastern State University with minors in marketing and psychology. He is a member of the Native American Journalists Association. Will has worked in the newspaper and public relations field for 20 years. He has performed public relations work for the Cherokee Nation and has been a reporter and a photographer for the Cherokee Phoenix for more than 18 years. He was named interim executive editor on Dec. 8, 2015, by the Cherokee Phoenix Editorial Board.

News

BY ROGER GRAHAM
Multimedia Producer – @cp_rgraham
10/16/2017 12:00 PM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – On Oct. 9, Native Americans, including many Cherokees, celebrated Indigenous Peoples Day instead of Columbus Day in Tahlequah and on Northeastern State University’s campus. The following Cherokee Phoenix video highlights people and events of the day.
BY ASSOCIATED PRESS
10/15/2017 04:00 PM
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — A small Oklahoma town is irate that the state has decided to restore its Capitol with marble from a Chinese vendor over marble produced from the town's own quarry. Locals in Marble City, located near the Arkansas border, say the marble used for the project should come from Oklahoma, not another country. Over the next four years, workers will replace parts of the Capitol's lowest floor, eventually laying down about 25,000 square feet of marble. One of the bids was linked to Polycor, a manufacturing company that produces marble from a quarry in Marble City. The Oklahoman reports that construction officials said the bid using those materials came in over budget, and called the Chinese marble "superior" to the quality of the Polycor product in every measurement category.
BY ASSOCIATED PRESS
10/15/2017 12:00 PM
TULSA, Okla. (AP) — Three hung juries in the case of a white former Oklahoma police officer charged with fatally shooting his daughter's black boyfriend had one thing in common besides unwillingness to convict: Each had only one African-American juror. Race has been an undercurrent in ex-Tulsa officer Shannon Kepler's first-degree murder case, which is headed for a fourth trial. Criminal law experts and U.S. Supreme Court cases point to the importance of racial identity and policing when it comes to jury selection, which is set to start Monday. Kepler, a 24-year veteran of the force, was off duty in August 2014 when he fatally shot 19-year-old Jeremey Lake, who had just started dating Kepler's daughter. Kepler doesn't deny pulling the trigger but says he did so only because he thought Lake was armed. No weapon was found on or near Lake's body. Officers across the U.S. involved in fatal shootings of black residents have recently faced similar trials. In the past year alone — including in Tulsa — juries were unwilling to vote for a conviction or prosecutors were unwilling to charge officers in cases from Baltimore to St. Louis. In May, a jury acquitted now-former Tulsa officer Betty Jo Shelby in the killing of an unarmed black man, which roiled the city's black community. "I don't see how race cannot play a role," said Kris McDaniel-Miccio, a professor at Sturm College of Law at the University of Denver and a former Bronx-based prosecutor. "I don't think there's any way to get around it because of what has happened in this community." The racial makeup of the juries in Kepler's previous trials prompted criticism from at least one civil rights group. Tulsa activist Marq Lewis with We the People Oklahoma said Kepler's defense attorneys have been booting potential jurors based on skin color. "The last three juries somehow felt that Jeremey was a bad person because he was black," Lewis said. "They couldn't bring themselves to believe this off-duty officer would literally shoot someone in cold blood without thinking somehow the black guy is sinister and he's done something bad." Richard O'Carroll, Kepler's defense attorney, has denied race played a role in Lake's killing. O'Carroll did not return messages this past week seeking comment on the case. Tulsa County District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler declined to comment specifically on the racial makeup of the past juries, but acknowledged "frustration" with the results of the trials. "I know I had citizens who put in a lot of effort and worked very hard and I know from their perspective they are frustrated as well," Kunzweiler said. Another racial element was recently added to the case when Kepler argued that he couldn't be tried by state prosecutors because he's a member of an American Indian tribe. A judge determined the fourth trial could move forward in state court. Kepler says he's 1/128th Muscogee (Creek). Last year, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 7-1 that prosecutors violated the Constitution by excluding African-Americans from an all-white jury that convicted a black Georgia death row inmate of killing a white woman. The decision emphasized rules set by the court in 1986 to prevent racial discrimination in jury selection. Seating more jurors of color — especially in cases involving police who have fatally shot people — could be a factor in how a jury ultimately votes, said Bridgette Baldwin, professor of law at Western New England University in Springfield, Massachusetts. "The life experience is different," said Baldwin, who is black. "I may not be scared of a young male with a hoodie on because I've been socialized to be around these types of individuals. You see things differently, you hear things differently, you process things differently." McDaniel-Miccio, the Denver law professor, said the Kepler case illustrates what the U.S. is trying to address when it comes to race, police and the justice system. "How many generations do we have to have pass before we come to the honest realization that there is a distinct racial and ethnic asymmetry in this country?" she said. "We live in a world where we should believe that when something like this happens, they will be facing justice and they will be held accountable if they broke the law — no more, no less.”
BY STAFF REPORTS
10/14/2017 04:00 PM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. — The Cherokee Nation will install storm shelters in its Head Start campuses after recently receiving an $800,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The above-ground storm shelters will protect nearly 300 toddlers, preschoolers and staff at seven Head Start sites from severe weather and will be used as multipurpose facilities at the centers. An internal notification system for staff is also being implemented. “Ensuring our most valuable resource, our children, are able to stay safe and keep sheltered during a life-threatening storm gives us all a better peace of mind,” Deputy Chief S. Joe Crittenden said. “Providing these additional levels of protection is a responsibility we take very seriously at Cherokee Nation. In northeast Oklahoma, dangerous weather is an inevitability we must prepare for, and these storm shelters will enable the tribe to offer Cherokee families a better sense of security when it comes to their kids.” The CN is one of 77 tribes to receive a portion of $55.2 million worth of Indian Community Development Block Grants awarded by HUD on Sept. 14. The grants are meant to improve housing conditions and community amenities and to stimulate economic development across Indian Country. Shelters built at the seven Head Start campuses will be for the use of students, teachers, parents or visitors who are on-site during an emergency and will not be open for general community use. “This grant is providing a great opportunity to keep our students out of harm’s way during severe weather,” Ron Etheridge, deputy executive director of CN Education Services, said. “I can think of no better investment than in the safety of our children and the staff charged with teaching those students on a daily basis.” The tribe’s Head Start program worked with the Cherokee Nation Marshal Service and Emergency Management to apply for the grant. Planning for the project is underway, and installation must be complete within 24 months. Head Start campuses that will receive storm shelters are the Children’s Village in Tahlequah, Cherry Tree campus in Stilwell, Redbird campus in Stilwell, Jay campus, Kenwood campus, Wauhillau campus in Nowata and Pryor campus.
BY ASSOCIATED PRESS
10/14/2017 12:00 PM
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — A hearing examiner has determined that Oklahoma City is entitled to a permit for water from a reservoir in the southeastern part of the state. The city seeks to take up to 115,000 acre feet (nearly 1.42 million cubic meters) of water annually from the Sardis Lake reservoir in the Kiamichi River basin, The Oklahoman reported . The reservoir impounds water from Jack Fork Creek, which is a tributary of the river. The city plans to invest $1 billion in infrastructure upgrades to divert the water to Lake Stanley Draper. Jim Couch, the city's manager, said the water will help the city's future growth. The report by hearing examiner Lyn Martin-Diehl was released Tuesday. It said the water the city is seeking is available for appropriation and that the city's plans will put the water to beneficial use, which is a requirement under the law for obtaining a permit. The Oklahoma Water Resources Board will consider Martin-Diehl's recommendations. Opponents of the permit say it negatively would affect the Kiamichi's flow as well as wildlife and tourism in the area. Martin-Diehl said the city's use of Sardis water won't interfere with the area's water needs with the proper management. Acquiring the permit is one of the steps necessary to finalize last year's water settlement between the city, the state, and Choctaw and Chickasaw nations. The settlement aims to end litigation over water management in southeastern Oklahoma. The settlement includes plans to manage the reservoir's levels and the river's flow as well as ensure tribes have a role in resource management in the region.
BY STACIE GUTHRIE
Reporter – @cp_sguthrie
10/13/2017 04:00 PM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – On Oct. 10, Election Commissioner Teresa Hart was presented a letter commending her for her years of service to the Cherokee Nation and citing that her service with the commission “has come to a close.” In the letter, Principal Chief Bill John Baker thanked Hart for her service with the commission. “On behalf of the Cherokee Nation I want to thank you for your service as a Commissioner of the Cherokee Nation Election Commission,” the letter states. “During your years of service on the Election Commission, there has been much progress pertaining to the Cherokee Nation Election process. This progress could not have happened without the guidance of the Commissioners, and for that you should be commended.” Hart said she appreciated the opportunity to serve on the EC. “My life has truly been blessed. I have met so many wonderful people and made several lasting friendships,” she said. “The past year has not been as enjoyable to me, and I’m grateful to be moving on. Thank you Chief Baker for giving me this opportunity.” Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin Jr. shared his admiration for the work Hart has done at the EC. “We appreciate Teresa’s service to the Cherokee people. Those who serve on Cherokee Nation boards and commissions sacrifice so much of their time and share their talents in the name of good government. Teresa certainly did so and she is rightfully proud of her tenure on the CNEC.” According to a 2013 Cherokee Phoenix story, Hart was appointed by Baker to take the seat of former Commissioner Lindsay Earls. Hart served in her first EC meeting in September 2013. Hart’s letter of dismissal was accompanied with a letter of appointment for Randy Campbell. According to the letter, Baker informed Tribal Councilors that he would be appointing Campbell to fill the vacancy with a four-year term beginning on Oct. 1 and concluding on Oct. 1, 2021. “I’m pleased to appoint Randy Campbell to the Cherokee Nation Election Commission,” Principal Chief Bill John Baker said. “Randy has tremendous experience in organizational management which will be beneficial to the election commission.” Newly appointed commissioner Campbell spent 35 years with the Teamsters Local Union 523 where he served as president and business manager before retiring in 2007. He also served on the executive board of the AFL-CIO (American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations). “Its an honor that my chief and the rest of the board would ask me to be involved and take this position on. I hope I can fulfill their expectations and plan to do a great job.” Campbell said.