http://www.cherokeephoenix.orgParticipants in the TahlEquality Pride Block Party Pride March carry a large rainbow flag down Morgan Street in Tahlequah, Oklahoma, in support of LGBT Pride Month. The Pride March kicked off the fourth annual TahlEquality Pride Block Party on June 30 at Norris Park. STACIE GUTHRIE/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Participants in the TahlEquality Pride Block Party Pride March carry a large rainbow flag down Morgan Street in Tahlequah, Oklahoma, in support of LGBT Pride Month. The Pride March kicked off the fourth annual TahlEquality Pride Block Party on June 30 at Norris Park. STACIE GUTHRIE/CHEROKEE PHOENIX

Hundreds gather for TahlEquality Pride Block Party

A man carries a rainbow flag with the word “Peace” while walking in the TahlEquality Pride Block Party Pride March on June 30 in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. The march went down Morgan Street to kick off the fourth annual TahlEquality Pride Block Party. Hundreds gathered at the pavilion across from Norris Park for the event. STACIE GUTHRIE/CHEROKEE PHOENIX Members from the LGBT community and their allies gather June 30 under the pavilion across from Norris Park in Tahlequah, Oklahoma, for the fourth annual TahlEquality Pride Block Party. At the pavilion there were vendors, nonprofit organizations, people of all ages as well as LeGrubs Catering and a bouncy castle for the children. STACIE GUTHRIE/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
A man carries a rainbow flag with the word “Peace” while walking in the TahlEquality Pride Block Party Pride March on June 30 in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. The march went down Morgan Street to kick off the fourth annual TahlEquality Pride Block Party. Hundreds gathered at the pavilion across from Norris Park for the event. STACIE GUTHRIE/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
BY STACIE GUTHRIE
Reporter – @cp_sguthrie
07/07/2017 12:30 PM
Video with default Cherokee Phoenix Frame
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – Rainbow and “Peace” flags were a constant sight on June 30 as hundreds gathered at the pavilion across from Norris for the fourth annual TahlEquality Pride Block Party.

The event celebrates LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) Pride Month.

To kick off the event, attendees walked under or helped carry a large rainbow flag in the “Pride March,” which began on Choctaw Street and Muskogee Avenue and concluded at the pavilion.

Carden Crow, TahlEquality president and Cherokee Nation citizen, said as the years pass the event grows.

“So the first year it was just at a small (Norris) park. We didn’t really know what we were doing. It happened by accident, and we had two weeks to put in together that first year,” he said. “Now we’ve got all year to do it. So which means that we’ve got the big TV screen, we’ve got the bouncy castles, we’ve got lots of vendors, lots of people participating, so it’s just grown bigger.”

Toby Jenkins, Oklahomans for Equality executive director, said his Tulsa-based center is 38 years old and one of the “oldest and largest” LGBT right’s organizations in the country, seeing about 57,000 people around Oklahoma yearly.

“The equality center is the seventh-largest gay community center in the entire world, so we work real closely with TahlEquality, the LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning-their sexual identity) people here in Tahlequah and several other groups across the region,” Jenkins said. “We’re thrilled and we’re tickled to death to be a part of it. We’re trying to support them and encourage them to come out and be visible in their community so that the folks in this region know that they have LGBTQ family members, neighbors and people they work with.”

Ahyoka Youngdeer, who has attended each TahlEquality event, said it’s a “good place to be.”

“A lot of people know Carden Crow organized this, and I was part of the original little picnic that we were supposed to have at his house and then it just blew up from there,” Youngdeer said. “I myself am an advocate for LGBT rights here in Oklahoma as well as with Cherokee Nation. I’m a (CN) citizen and I’m also a two-spirit transgender person, so that’s one of the reasons why I come out here.”

Youngdeer said hearing the speeches and seeing the entertainment sometimes helps with debunking “misconceptions” about the LGBT community.

“I like hearing the different speeches and the people that come in and give talks as well as the entertainment that happens with the drag community. There’s a lot of people who come to this that aren’t familiar with what the drag community is, and there’s a lot of misconceptions so the people that run the drag shows here break a lot of those stereotypes and things of that nature and help people understand a little bit better,” Youngdeer said.

Crow, who grew up around Tahlequah, said since coming out in 1997 he’s noticed a lot of area “growth” when it comes to accepting the LGBT community.

“Some of the people that use to pick on me or be not so friendly to me in high school are some of the people here organizing this event right now. They’re some of our greatest allies actually,” Crow said. “There’s been so much growth in this town, and it’s important to be patient for that growth. It’s important to be diplomatic, have a conversation. Not be the person who tosses up the white flag and says, ‘I’m moving to Canada.’ It’s not like that. You’ve got to stick around and talk to people and let people get to know you. And that’s the key. Let people get to know you and know your family, and I think that’s why I’ve been so successful because I’m so kind of free with my family and my information and with my casual life online. I think people get to know me a little bit and that softens their heart, especially towards the LGBT community because I represent that now.”
About the Author
Stacie Guthrie started working at the Cherokee Phoenix in 2013 as an intern. After graduating from Northeastern State University with a bachelor’s degree in mass communications she was hired as a reporter.

Stacie not only writes for the Phoenix, but also produces videos and regularly hosts the Cherokee Phoenix radio broadcast.

She found her passion for video production while taking part in broadcast media classes at NSU. It was there she co-created a monthly video segment titled “Northeastern Gaming,” which included video game reviews, video game console reviews and discussions regarding influential video games.

While working at the Phoenix she has learned more about her Cherokee culture, saying she is grateful for the opportunity to work for and with the Cherokee people.

In 2014, Stacie won a NativeAmerican Journalists Association award for a video she created while working as an intern for the Phoenix. She was awarded first place in the “Best News Story-TV” category.

Stacie is a member of NAJA.
stacie-guthrie@cherokee.org • 918-453-5000 ext. 5903
Stacie Guthrie started working at the Cherokee Phoenix in 2013 as an intern. After graduating from Northeastern State University with a bachelor’s degree in mass communications she was hired as a reporter. Stacie not only writes for the Phoenix, but also produces videos and regularly hosts the Cherokee Phoenix radio broadcast. She found her passion for video production while taking part in broadcast media classes at NSU. It was there she co-created a monthly video segment titled “Northeastern Gaming,” which included video game reviews, video game console reviews and discussions regarding influential video games. While working at the Phoenix she has learned more about her Cherokee culture, saying she is grateful for the opportunity to work for and with the Cherokee people. In 2014, Stacie won a NativeAmerican Journalists Association award for a video she created while working as an intern for the Phoenix. She was awarded first place in the “Best News Story-TV” category. Stacie is a member of NAJA.

News

BY STACIE GUTHRIE
Reporter – @cp_sguthrie
07/24/2017 04:00 PM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – At a July 24 meeting, the Election Commission certified E.O. Smith as the Dist. 5 Tribal Council winner and Mike Shambaugh as the Dist. 9 Tribal Council winner from the July 22 runoff elections. <strong>Dist. 5</strong> Smith won his first term as Tribal Councilor by getting 52.26 percent of the vote with 347 votes. His opponent Uriah Grass received 317 votes for 47.74 percent. Smith said thanked his supporters and that it has been a “long campaign.” “I would just like to thank everybody. It’s been a very long campaign. Uriah is a good guy. I will ask his advice on some things, and I want him to know he can come to me anytime with a suggestion, and I will listen to him,” Smith said. “First thing I want to do is see our community pull together and be one. I’m going to work for everybody. I am going to be everybody’s councilman, and I am going to make the people glad they voted for me. I can’t wait to get started.” Smith will serve western Sequoyah County and part of eastern Muskogee County. <strong>Dist. 9</strong> Shambaugh earned his first term as the Dist. 9 representative after receiving 54.96 percent of the vote with 421 votes. His opponent Clifton Hughes received 345 votes for 45.04 percent. Shambaugh said he would like to thank his supporters and that he’s “fortunate” to serve Dist. 9. “I had great help on this election. I had people who stepped up and made it easy for me to mingle with the crowd. I think I’m very fortunate to serve District 9,” he said. Shambaugh will serve the southern portion of Delaware County south of Highway 20 and part of eastern Mayes County. According to results, 1,432 of the 4,517 registered voters in the two contested districts cast ballots. The more than 1,400 voters accounted for a 31.7 percent turnout. According to the EC’s calendar, candidates had until 5 p.m. on July 26 to request a recount and until 5 p.m. on July 31 to contest the election. The Tribal Council inauguration ceremony is set for 10 a.m. on Aug. 14 at the “Place Where They Play” gymnasium at Sequoyah High School in Tahlequah.
BY ASSOCIATED PRESS
07/23/2017 02:00 PM
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The Oklahoma Department of Human Services is reducing services to children, senior citizens and residents with disabilities as it deals with what its director says is $30 million in budget cuts to the agency. DHS officials announced the cuts on July 11. Although the Legislature increased appropriations to the agency by $18 million over last year's spending level, Director Ed Lake says the cumulative effects of previous cuts and increasing fixed costs led to the $30 million shortfall. Lake says a freeze on child care subsidies will eliminate assistance to about 1,000 children and their families. Also, senior citizens and adults and children with disabilities will see a reduction in the number of hours of services that they receive each week. The agency also is reducing reimbursement rates to foster families.
BY KENLEA HENSON
News Writer
07/23/2017 01:45 AM
VIAN, Okla. – Candidates E.O. Smith and Uriah Grass vied for the Cherokee Nation Tribal Council’s Dist. 5 seat in a runoff election on July 22. Smith won the seat by receiving 52.26 percent of the vote or 347 votes out of 664 total votes, according to the unofficial results from the CN Election Commission. “I would just like to thank everybody. It’s been a very long campaign. Uriah is a good guy, I will ask his advice on some things, and I want him to know he can come to me anytime with a suggestion, and I will listen to him,” said Smith. “First thing I want to do is see our community pull together and be one. I going to work for everybody, I am going to be everybody’s councilman, and I am going to make the people glad they voted for me. I can’t wait to get started.” Smith said he has always been a “people person” so working for the people is his main goal as the district’s councilman. “I’m going to open an office in Vian from 9 a.m. to noon, five days a week so if you have a problem come see me and I will try to get you an answer and go to work on your problems right then,” he said. “If you can’t come during those times you can call me and we will make an appointment and I’ll meet with you. I am going to be with the people so they know that I am genuinely interested in their problems.” Grass came in close behind Smith by winning 47.74 percent of the vote or 317 votes. Grass could not be reached for a comment about the election results. As Dist. 5 councilman, Smith will be serving western Sequoyah County and part of eastern Muskogee County. The Tribal Council inauguration ceremony for elected officials will be held at 10 a.m., Aug. 14 at the “Place Where They Play” gymnasium at Sequoyah High School in Tahlequah, Oklahoma.
BY CHANDLER KIDD
Intern
07/23/2017 01:30 AM
JAY, Okla. – A July 22 runoff election to fill the Dist. 9 Cherokee Nation council seat may be remembered for the winner as well as the low voter turn out. Candidate Mike Shambaugh defeated candidate Clifton Hughes with 54.96 percent of the vote or 421 votes. Hughes received 45.04 percent or 345 votes. In official results, only 766 voters participated in the runoff election. Voting took place at precincts in the towns of Jay, Kansas, Kenwood and Salina. Dist. 9 include the southern portion of Delaware County south of Hwy. 20 and part of eastern Mayes County. Shambaugh reacted to the win in an enthusiastic tone. He thanked his supporters and said he wanted to rest for a couple of days before working on his council agenda. “I had great help on this election. I had people who stepped up and made it easy for me to mingle with the crowd. I think I’m very fortunate to serve District 9,” Shambaugh said. “Personally I want to relax for a couple of days. Whenever you campaign every day until 11:30 at night or later it wears on you.” Although Hughes was not the winning candidate, he was still willing to comment about the runoff election. Hughes said he is proud of his hard work and campaign. “I just want to thank my supporters and (say) that I ran an honest campaign,” Hughes said. Shambaugh and the other council candidates who their races in June and in the runoff election will be sworn in to office at 10 a.m., Aug. 14 in the “Place Where They Play gymnasium at Sequoyah High School in Tahlequah, Oklahoma.
BY ASSOCIATED PRESS
07/22/2017 02:00 PM
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Officials say ancient artifacts discovered at an Oklahoma Department of Transportation construction site will be sent to the Sam Noble Museum in Norman. Oklahoma City television station KOKH reports that crews preparing for a bridge replacement project in east central Oklahoma found the artifacts several years ago. According to the Oklahoma Department of Transportation, workers found large fire pits and obsidian rock that isn't local to Oklahoma. Scott Sundermeyer is program director for ODOT's cultural resources program. He says the artifacts may be from Wichitan-affiliated tribes and are about 3,000 to 4,000 years old. He says the last of the artifacts was removed from the site late last year, and that the construction project won't be delayed.
BY STAFF REPORTS
07/21/2017 01:30 PM
PARIS – Airman First Class and Cherokee Nation citizen Mason Turman was one of many United States service members who helped lead the parade down Champs Elysees on July 14 in honor of France’s Bastille Day. Turman, who is in the U.S. Air Force, marched with fellow members of the U.S. Air Forces Europe Force down the Champs-Elysees in the annual event. However, this year marked the first time the American military led the parade. This year’s theme was “Operational Together,” and it highlighted the close relationship among all the French security services and with the Americans. While France is America’s oldest ally, the United States would not have won the Revolution without French sailors winning the Battle of the Chesapeake against the English in 1783. The modern version of the alliance dates to World War I. The 2017 Bastille Day Parade was almost exactly 100 years from when 14,000 American soldiers arrived in France as part of the American Expeditionary Force. The American contingent leading the parade included troops from the Army’s 1st Infantry Division, U.S. Naval Forces Europe and Marines from U.S. Marine Forces Europe.