http://www.cherokeephoenix.orgDawn Wormington, left, shows students attending the fourth annual Native Youth in Food and Agriculture Leadership Summit the grounds of the Downstream Casino Resort Greenhouses in Quapaw, Oklahoma. The stop was one of many the students took during the July 16-25 summit. STACIE GUTHRIE/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Dawn Wormington, left, shows students attending the fourth annual Native Youth in Food and Agriculture Leadership Summit the grounds of the Downstream Casino Resort Greenhouses in Quapaw, Oklahoma. The stop was one of many the students took during the July 16-25 summit. STACIE GUTHRIE/CHEROKEE PHOENIX

Food, agriculture summit educates Native youth

A row of plants line one of the greenhouses at the Downstream Casino Resort Greenhouses in Quapaw, Oklahoma. The Quapaw Tribe grows the vegetables chefs use in the Downstream Casino Resort as well as provide the floral for the casino. STACIE GUTHRIE/CHEROKEE PHOENIX Cherokee Nation citizen Zachary Ilbery walks through the Downstream Casino Resort Greenhouses in Quapaw, Oklahoma. Ilbery has attended the Native Youth in Food and Agriculture Leadership Summit since its 2014 inception and has learned more about agribusiness, which he studies at Seminole State College in Seminole. STACIE GUTHRIE/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
A row of plants line one of the greenhouses at the Downstream Casino Resort Greenhouses in Quapaw, Oklahoma. The Quapaw Tribe grows the vegetables chefs use in the Downstream Casino Resort as well as provide the floral for the casino. STACIE GUTHRIE/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
BY STACIE BOSTON
Reporter – @cp_sguthrie
07/31/2017 08:30 AM
Video with default Cherokee Phoenix Frame
QUAPAW, Okla. – Now in its fourth year, the Native Youth in Food and Agriculture Leadership Summit continues to teach Native students about food and agriculture while introducing them to tribes and programs that work within those industries.

This year the summit was held July 16-25 and had approximately 150 Native American, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian students representing 76 tribes.

While attending, students could tour animal and food sciences labs as well as horticulture and freight farm programs at the University of Arkansas. They also toured the Quapaw Tribe’s food and agriculture facilities.

Summit counselor Odessa Oldham said the summit is important because it highlights the significance of learning about food and agriculture. She also said 2017 marked the “biggest” year for attendance.

“The summit is about getting Native American youth involved in agriculture. Embracing our culture and indigenous heritage, more so advocating for education and the importance of food,” she said. “We’ve been getting bigger and bigger. This year is our biggest year.”

The University of Arkansas School of Law’s Indigenous Food and Agriculture Initiative sponsors and organizes the summit to give students the opportunity for in-class lectures and hands-on opportunities while helping further their interests in the food and agricultural industries.

On July 21, students visited the Quapaw Tribe’s facilities, including its greenhouse operations.

“Our whole idea here is to kind of educate them on the diversity that you have in agriculture,” Oldham said. “The significance about this place in particular is that we have bison that the tribe is utilizing.”

Gilbert Johnston, Downstream Casino Resort Greenhouses horticulture manager, said the summit has brought students to the Quapaw’s facilities in previous years, and each time they can see the greenhouses’ growth.

Johnston said he and his team grow all the vegetables for the chefs to use in the casino and provide the casino’s floral. He said the greenhouses also produce honey from on-site bees.

“We normally grow 21 different varieties of herbs,” he said. “We grow potatoes, squash, tribal tobacco, ceremonial red corn. Just a lot of different things.”

The greenhouses were created approximately four years ago, and other than providing for the casino, Johnston said they also donate produce to schools and elder centers.

“The Quapaw Tribe has really put a huge effort into sharing with the community, donating vegetables to the schools, to the elder centers. Really working the area and giving back what we can,” he said.

Cherokee Nation citizen Zachary Ilbery, a Seminole State College agribusiness student, said this is his fourth year attending the summit and it helped him learn more about his field of study.

“Throughout my four years attending the summit I’ve kind of learned the difference in their business aspects. How to build a business plan from the ground up, what you really need to look for,” he said.

Ilbery said he hopes the CN becomes more involved in the agriculture industry.

“Being a Cherokee citizen and seeing the difference that the Quapaw does and getting to interact with the other tribes, I would really like for our tribe to partake more in sustainable agriculture and get more involved in our agriculture industry because agriculture is what feeds us and what clothes us,” he said.

Ilbery also recommended future college students look at the food and agricultural industries.

“There are thousands of jobs being left unfilled within the agricultural industry, and we really need people in it,” he said. “Anywhere from agricultural food sciences, animal science, veterinarians, even agricultural lawyers, we just need a variety of people in our ag community because we need those jobs.”

Oldham said it’s important to provide students with an opportunity to learn about the food and agriculture industries because there is a “disconnect” in today’s society.

“Most youth today are three to four times moved from the land with every generation, and with that becomes food is less important. People don’t understand where their food comes from,” she said. “What we trying to do is not only teach the importance of the food but teach how the farmer and the rancher are important. So for us to say to keep the farmer in business, we’ve got to educate the young youth and keep it going so they can not only learn it, but hopefully they can go and give back to the communities as well.”

Education

BY STAFF REPORTS
05/23/2018 04:00 PM
TAHLEQUAH – Cherokee Nation Foundation is accepting applications until June 1 for the seventh annual Cherokee College Prep Institute taking place on July 15-20 at Northeastern State University. The weeklong camp will connect students with admissions counselors from across the U.S to analyze, prepare and complete college applications, identify scholarship opportunities and explore schools of interest. Participating universities include the University of Arkansas, Bacone College, University of California-Los Angeles, University of Central Oklahoma, Duke University, NSU, University of Notre Dame, Oklahoma State University, Pomona College, Rogers State University, Stanford University, Swarthmore College, and Yale University. CCPI’s curriculum, developed in conjunction with College Horizons and other participating university faculty, includes interactive sessions focusing on ACT strategies, essay writing, interview skills and time management. CCPI is free to CN citizens who are preparing to enter their junior or senior years of high school. Lodging, meals and testing expenses are also provided by CNF, Cherokee Nation Businesses and NSU. Applications are available at <a href="http://www.cherokeenation.academicworks.com " target="_blank">cherokeenation.academicworks.com</a>. For more information, email Jennifer Sandoval at <a href="mailto: j.sandoval@cherokeenationfoundation.org">j.sandoval@cherokeenationfoundation.org</a> or call 918-207-0950.
BY STAFF REPORTS
05/21/2018 04:00 PM
TAHELQUAH – Sequoyah Schools is again offering summer basketball camps for girls and boys who will be in first through ninth grades in the fall. The camps are designed to help youngsters develop skills, master techniques and learn basic concepts of basketball. Sequoyah coaches and members of the Sequoyah high school basketball teams instruct the camps. The boys’ camp is May 29-31 at The Place Where They Play gym located on the Sequoyah campus. Grades first through fifth camps will be held from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m., while grades sixth through ninth will be held from noon to 3 p.m. For more information on the boys’ camp, call coach Jay Herrin at 918-822-0835. The girls’ camp will be held June 4-6 at The Place Where They Play gym. Grades first through fifth camps will be held from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m., and grades sixth through ninth will be held from noon to 3 p.m. For more information on the girls’ camp, call Larry Callison at 918-557-8335. Registration forms and fees may be turned in to coaches Herrin and Callison ahead of time or on the first day of camp. Early registration is appreciated. Free lunches will be available for both camps and all age groups from 11 a.m. to noon in the school cafeteria. These will be the only youth basketball camps offered at Sequoyah this year. To view the information online visit <a href="http://sequoyah.cherokee.org/Athletics/Summer-Youth-Camps/Basketball-Camps" target="_blank">http://sequoyah.cherokee.org/Athletics/Summer-Youth-Camps/Basketball-Camps</a>. <a href="http://www.cherokeephoenix.org/Docs/2018/5/32277__brief_180515_HoopsCamps(boys).pdf" target="_blank">Click here</a>to download the boys' camp registration form. <a href="http://www.cherokeephoenix.org/Docs/2018/5/32277__brief_180515_HoopsCamps(girls).pdf" target="_blank">Click here</a>to download the girls' camp registration form.
BY ASSOCIATED PRESS
05/18/2018 12:00 PM
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) – Three Oklahoma City schools named after Confederate generals may soon be renamed. The school board on May 14 was expected to consider new names for Lee, Jackson Enterprise and Stand Watie elementary schools, which are named after Confederate generals Robert E. Lee, Thomas Jonathan “Stonewall” Jackson and Isaac Stand Watie, a Cherokee. Committees made up of community members, school staff and parents selected two potential names for each school, which were presented to students at each school who then voted on their preference, district spokeswoman Beth Harrison said. The students’ choices will be presented for the board for approval, although the board could select any name it chooses, Harrison said. The suggested names haven’t been made public. Board member Carrie Coppernoll Jacobs told The Oklahoman that children and employees should feel welcome in the places where they learn and work. “To make amends for the past, we have to own it,” she said. “School names may seem like a small gesture, but all progress has value,” Coppernoll Jacobs said. The board voted in October to rename the schools following violent protests in Charlottesville, Virginia, over the removal of a Confederate statue. The Tulsa school board recently renamed Robert E. Lee Elementary as Lee School, although critics say the change doesn’t go far enough. It also renamed Andrew Jackson Elementary as Unity Learning Academy. The Oklahoma City board conducted an online survey for names and the names of Lee, Jackson and Watie received the most votes, while past state and local leaders were also popular. The other names receiving votes include minster and former school board member Wayne Dempsey, educator and civil rights activist Clara Luper, writer and Oklahoma City native Ralph Ellison and Wilma Mankiller, who was the first woman to be principal chief of the Cherokee Nation. The cost of changing the names is estimated at about $40,000, which a local attorney has agreed to pay.
BY STAFF REPORTS
05/16/2018 10:00 AM
TAHLEQUAH – Sequoyah High School recently named seniors Katelyn Morton and Aspen Ford as the class of 2018’s valedictorian and salutatorian, respectively. At 6:30 p.m. on May 18 in The Place Where They Play gym, 99 seniors will graduate from SHS. The class of 2018 has accumulated more than $2.5 million in scholarships and grants so far. Morton, 18, of Tahlequah, is the daughter of Kathryn Wood and Nason Morton. She graduates with a GPA of 4.56 and is attending the Oklahoma City University Wanda L. Bass School of Music this fall and plans to double major in music and Spanish. After her audition at the Wanda L. Bass School of Music, Morton received a music scholarship worth $25,600. She also earned a Presidential Leadership Scholarship worth $19,200. “Being accepted into one of these programs creates a lot of connections,” Morton said. “First, I’m going to focus on those connections and probably intern at a casting agency or under a director so I can know the behind-the-scenes. Then, I’ll begin to audition for anything I can.” Through concurrent enrollment, Morton completed nearly 30 credit hours at Northeastern State University during high school. She also participated in National Honor Society, Student Council, Stand for the Silent, Fellowship of Christian Athletes and the Fellowship of Christian Students. Morton is vice president of the Cherokee Nation Tribal Youth Council and is a member of the Cherokee National Youth Choir. She has also been a member of Tulsa Youth Opera and was cast in Tulsa Opera’s American premier of “The Snow Queen.” She has been the captain of Sequoyah’s competitive speech and debate/drama team and president of the drama department. She became the first student in Sequoyah’s history to reach All-State for speech and debate/drama. Ford, 18, of Tahlequah, graduates with a 4.51 GPA. She will attend NSU in Tahlequah this fall with a Presidential Leadership Class scholarship worth around $40,000. She also earned the Cherokee Nation undergraduate scholarship and the James R. Upton Memorial Award through the Cherokee Nation Foundation. “My mom and dad have always pushed me ever since I was young to focus on school and my studies first, before anything else,” Ford said. “I think that stuck with me throughout high school, and I know it will in college. It gave me a mindset to know my priorities and what’s important and what will make me successful.” Ford, the daughter of Amber Arnall and Damon Ford, plans to major in media studies while at NSU and expects to study abroad. She said she hopes to find a career in photojournalism, a passion she garnered during educational trips to Greece and Italy in 2017. While attending Sequoyah, Ford completed 39 hours of concurrent enrollment at NSU and three credit hours at the University of Oklahoma. She also participated in Student Council, Sequoyah’s academic team, National Honor Society, History Club, 4-H and the Oklahoma Indian Honor Society and attended North America’s largest powwow during the Gathering of Nations in New Mexico in 2016 as a member of the Honoring Our People’s Existence Club. Ford is also a member of the Cherokee Nation Tribal Youth Council and the Cherokee National Youth Choir.
BY STAFF REPORTS
05/15/2018 04:00 PM
TAHLEQUAH – A recent $5,000 donation by the Cherokee Nation to the RiverHawks Women’s Basketball team will make it possible for Northeastern State University to participate in a two-game basketball classic in Los Angeles over Thanksgiving break. In addition to competing against Division II basketball programs, the trip will provide a memorable student athlete experience for team members. “I am so grateful to Cherokee Nation and (Tribal Council) Speaker Joe Byrd for their generosity and commitment to the RiverHawks women’s basketball program,” NSU women’s coach Fala Bullock, said. “Speaker Byrd made a great statement to me following the photo by reminding me of the positive impact the Cherokee Nation, Tahlequah and University can have on each other through possible future partnerships,” NSU Director of Athletics Tony Duckworth said.
BY KENLEA HENSON
Reporter
05/15/2018 12:00 PM
JAY – Cherokee Nation citizen and Jay High School senior Gabe Simpson, 19, was recently named a 2018 Gates Scholar. The prestigious Gates Scholarship is a highly selective, full-ride scholarship for exceptional, Pell-eligible, minority, high school seniors who have shown academic excellence, as well as strong leadership abilities. Simpson is one of 300 high school students out of nearly 30,000 applicants from across the United States to be awarded the scholarship. “I know a lot of people apply for it (Gates Scholarship), so I was really happy when I found out,” Simpson said. He also said upon graduation in May, he plans to attend Oklahoma State University in Stillwater this fall to play football. “There was a lot of Division IIs that wanted me and a few DI schools,” he said. “OSU offered me a preferred walk-on, and I always wanted to play at a big powerhouse college like that, so I thought I would give it a shot.” He said although he plays other sports such as basketball, baseball and competitive cheerleading, he’s been playing football since he was “big enough to play” and his “love” for the game is what led him to want to play in college. As for a career choice, he said he hopes to pursue a career in pharmacy or physical therapy. “Pharmacy is because I love math and science, and it’s a lot of that like chemistry. And physical therapy is because I love sports, and they work with a lot of athletes through that,” he said. Simpson’s words of advice to other students thinking about applying for the Gates Scholarship is to “start young because there’s a lot of people who slack off during freshman and sophomore year, and when they realize they want to go to college their grades weren’t as good to apply. But also, apply for as many scholarships as you can.”