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 STAFF REPORTS
06/27/2017 04:00 PM
TULSA, Okla. – Cherokee Nation Management & Consulting’s centennial planning team was recently honored with the Marine Corps Heritage Foundation’s 2017 Col. John Magruder Award. The team is being recognized for its Marine Corps Reserve Centennial Exhibit inside the Pentagon. The three honorees – Gunnery Sgt. Elizabeth Ingles, Gunnery Sgt. Brian Knowles and Cori Parker, project leader for Cherokee Nation Management and Consulting – were recognized for their collaborative efforts in researching, curating and designing the exhibit. “It is an honor to receive an award from the Marine Corps Heritage Foundation for this display,” said Parker. “Our team is proud to showcase the Marine Corps Reserve with this enduring historical artwork in the Pentagon.” Design and construction of the exhibit was a key project in an awareness-building campaign, marking the 100th anniversary of the Marine Corps Reserve. The exhibit spans 34 feet and is located within the “A” Ring of the Pentagon. During a recent ceremony at the National Museum of the Marine Corps, each member of the centennial planning team received a medal and an engraved brick to be placed in the nearby Semper Fidelis Park. The two gunnery sergeants also received a cash prize. The Marine Corps Reserve Centennial Exhibit, now a permanent fixture within a high visibility area of the Pentagon, serves as a continuous reminder of the enormous sacrifices and contributions Reserve Marines have made to help shape the reputation of the Marine Corps. CNMC, formed in 2015, provides technical support services and project support personnel to its defense and civilian agency partners. The company provides a tailored management approach for complex government programs and disciplines, including information technology, science, engineering, construction, research and development, facilities management, program management, and mission support. It is headquartered in Tulsa and is part of the Cherokee Nation Businesses family of companies. For more information, visit <a href="http://www.cherokeenationbusinesses.com" target="_blank">www.cherokeenationbusinesses.com</a>.
BY STAFF REPORTS
06/27/2017 12:00 PM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – At a June 26 special meeting, the Election Commission amended the contract of Commissioner Carolyn Allen by adding $15,600. The commission also voted to give EC clerk Kendall Bishop its Employee Appreciation Award for Employee of the Year. She will receive it during the Cherokee Nation’s employee appreciation picnic on June 30. The EC also approved minutes from the June 13 regular and June 5 special meetings.
BY STAFF REPORTS
06/26/2017 12:00 PM
ASHEVILLE, N.C. – According to a U.S. Attorney’s Office release, 12 people, including some Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians citizens, were charged with marriage fraud conspiracy and related charges, for entering into sham marriages for the purpose of evading U.S. immigration laws. Jill Westmoreland Rose, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina, said the indictments were unsealed on June 21 naming Ruth Marie Sequoyah McCoy, 54, of Cherokee; Timothy Ray Taylor, 41, of Cherokee; Golan Perez, 38, of Cherokee; Ofir Marsiano, 41, of Pigeon Forge, Tennessee; Kaila Nikelle Cucumber, 27, of Cherokee; Jessica Marie Gonzalez, 26, of Cherokee; Jordan Elizabeth Littlejohn, 28, of Cherokee; Kevin Dean Swayney, 36, of Cherokee; Ilya Dostanov, 28, of Panama City, Florida; Ievgenii Reint, 26, of St. Simons Island, Georgia; Shaul Levy, 26, of Norfolk, Virginia; and Yana Peltz, 30, of Israel. The release states all defendants are charged with one count of conspiracy to commit marriage fraud. Marsiano is also charged with four counts of marriage fraud, and McCoy and Perez are each charged with three counts of marriage fraud. Taylor, Cucumber, Gonzalez, Littlejohn, Swayney, Dostanov, Levi and Peltz each face one additional count of marriage fraud. According to allegations in the indictment, beginning in or about June 2015, and continuing through December 2016, in Swain and Jackson counties, the defendants engaged in a fraudulent marriage scheme, in which foreign nationals paid to enter into fraudulent marriages with U.S. citizens to secure lawful permanent residence in the U.S. The indictment alleges McCoy, Perez and Marsiano arranged the marriages by connecting U.S. citizens, including Cucumber, Gonzalez, Littlejohn, and Swayney, with non-citizens, including Dostanov, Reint and Peltz. The non-U.S. citizens typically would pay $1,500 to $3,000 in exchange for the services. The indictment alleges once paired, the U.S. citizens and non-citizens would travel to Sevier County, Tennessee, and enter into fraudulent marriages with each other. The indictment states that, in most cases, after obtaining their marriage certificates, the non-citizens applied for adjustments to their immigration statuses based on their marriages to their U.S. spouses. The indictment further alleges that, at times, McCoy and Taylor also acted as “sponsors” for the non-citizens’ applications for adjustments to their immigration statuses, and in exchange, they received additional monetary compensation. Of the 12 defendants charged, seven were arrested on June 21 and appeared in federal court on the charges. Littlejohn, Dostanov, Reint, Levy and Peltz had not been arrested as of publication. The marriage fraud conspiracy and marriage fraud charges each carry a maximum prison term of five years, per count.
BY ASSOCIATED PRESS
06/25/2017 02:00 PM
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BY ASSOCIATED PRESS
06/24/2017 02:00 PM
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — State environmental officials say elevated mercury levels in fish have been found in 14 more lakes in Oklahoma than last year. The Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality plans a public meeting for Tuesday to discuss the mercury levels. The agency says a total of 54 lakes have mercury advisories — which is up 14 since the last advisory in 2016. The advisories deal with mercury levels in fish and do not affect drinking water safety or lake recreational activities like swimming or boating. The 14 new lakes added to the advisory are: Arcadia Lake, Birch Reservoir, Boomer Lake, Copan Reservoir, El Reno Lake, Greenleaf Reservoir, Lone Chimney Lake, Lake McMurtry, Lake Murray, Pawnee Lake, Lake Ponca, Lake Raymond Gary, Shell Lake and Waurika Reservoir.
BY STACIE GUTHRIE
Reporter – @cp_sguthrie
06/24/2017 11:00 AM
HOPKINSVILLE, Ky. – While traveling the Trail of Tears’ northern route “Remember the Removal” cyclists visited sites where Cherokees stayed during their forced removal in the winter of 1838-39, with several sites housing graves of Cherokees who died along the trek. The Trail of Tears Commemorative Park in Hopkinsville acted as a camping spot and gravesite during the removal. Alice Murphree, Kentucky Chapter of the Trail of Tears Association president, said the site contains Chief Whitepath and Chief Fly Smith’s graves as well as a grave with unknown remains. She said Whitepath, an assistant conductor with the Elijah Hicks detachment, died about 10 days after arriving at the site. “He come sick coming out of Nashville, and as the trail proceeded he felt sicker and sicker. By the time they got to the spot at Hopkinsville he was so ill that the Elijah Hicks detachment had to leave him here and go on,” she said. Murphree said Smith was “sickly” for most of the journey before dying at the site. “Stephen Foreman (minister serving as assistant conductor of the Old Field detachment) and his wife stayed behind with him and that (Old Field) detachment moved on,” she said. “I guess it was just within a day or two. I don’t know exact dates, but they (chiefs) died within hours of one another. They (Foremans) went to the city and asked if they could bury him in the city. The city would not allow them to be buried there. The Latham family owned all of this property and agreed to let him be buried here.” It is said that Cherokees are buried in Union County, Illinois, at the Camp Ground Church and Cemetery. Sandra Boaz, Illinois Chapter of the TOTA president, said it was determined by ground penetrating radar that there are around 10 ground anomalies the sizes of graves at the site. “After 1834 a man by the name of Mr. Hileman took out a land patent and brought his family here. Sometime in the winter of 1837-38 he had two small preschool-aged children who passed away and he buried them, as family oral history says,” she said. “Then when the Cherokee came through…they had made arrangements for them to camp on this site. As they were stopped here due to the ice flows on the Mississippi River, naturally some of them passed away. So story says that Mr. Hileman had them buried out in the field by his little boys. So that was the basis for getting this site certified as a National Trail of Tears site with the National Park Service.” For more information, visit www.nationaltota.com.