Children in grades first through fourth participate in the Boys and Girls Club of Tahlequah’s flag football combine on Aug. 12 at Tahlequah High School. ROGER GRAHAM/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Flag football combine has large Native turnout
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – Approximately 70 youths in first through fourth grades were athletically evaluated on Aug. 12 at the Boys and Girls Club of Tahlequah’s flag football combine held on the infield of Tahlequah High School’s track.
Testing included speed evaluations, route running as well as passing and catching a football.
Boys and Girls Club of Tahlequah CEO Dennis Kelley said the combine testing is crucial to selecting evenly matched league teams.
“It’s for all kids across the county. You don’t have to be a Boys & Girls Club member. We have 13 clubs throughout Cherokee County in almost every school except Hulbert and Shady Grove. Our club stats for Cherokee County show we’re at about 70 percent Native American. So anyone who wants to sign up can. Boys and girls are welcome.”
Kelley said the fee for joining is $45.
“We try to keep it as low as we can. Plus, if someone can’t afford it, we try to scholarship them in. Cherokee Nation helps us with some money throughout the year, so we try to use that money for scholarships for kids who can’t afford to pay,” he said.
Cherokee Nation citizen Julie Deerinwater Anderson said bringing her son to try out was a mutual decision.
“I brought my son out today because he was very interested in flag football. It’s an opportunity for him to be a part of a team. Plus it’s his first year, so he can learn some skills without the risk of tackle football,” she said. “It’s healthy and it’s outside. It’s important to me that my son has healthy options.”
For more information, call the Boys and Girls Club of Tahlequah at 918-456-6888.
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – During its Sept. 12 meeting, the Cherokee Nation’s Election Commission unanimously voted to mail certified letters to six unsuccessful Tribal Council candidates who campaigned this past election, fining them $100 for not submitting completed financials.
Commissioners confirmed that Edward Leon Crawford Jr., Freddie Ferrell, Linda Sacks, Sarah Cowett, Sharilyn Van House and Uriah Grass would receive letters listing the fine.
The $100 fine comes after commissioners previously mailed certified letters to nine candidates on Aug. 15. Commissioners approved that letter in their August meeting and listed the candidates’ “deficiencies” in their financials, including not submitting a “final” report.
“I might just reiterate from the last meeting, we made numerous attempts to contact these people. Many of them did contact us back and follow through, and we certainly appreciate that, but there were those that did not and so they were sent the letter,” Commissioner Carolynn Allen said. “According to the (election) law, they were given a timeframe and we are past that timeframe.”
Allen said the six candidates who will receive letters following the Sept. 12 meeting took no action with the Aug. 15 letter while three former candidates submitted completed financials.
“They either received their letter and did not follow through or the two (Sacks and Cowett) did not accept the certified letter,” she said. “The others took care of theirs with the findings that we found on those.”
Allen said CN election law states those who fail to pay the fine to the EC won’t be “eligible to run as a candidate for an elective office in subsequent election” until the fine is paid.
The EC then confirmed that the unsuccessful candidates would still be bound to take care of their financial documents even after they’ve been fined.
EC attorney Harvey Chaffin said the Aug. 15 letter mailed to unsuccessful candidates states that failure to submit campaign financials would result in the commission assessing “the fine and write a notice of it.” He added that those candidates can “appeal it” in tribal court.
Chaffin said he would draft the certified letters imposing the $100 fines so that they can be mailed to the six candidates. A date was not released when the letter would be mailed.
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – After a year of preparation, organizers and dancers celebrated and honored traditions on Sept. 1-2 at the Cherokee Cultural Grounds in the annual Cherokee National Holiday Powwow.
“This just keeps to be getting a bigger powwow,” Rob Daugherty, powwow head staff emcee, said. “It just doesn’t happen overnight, you build it. Now this is a recognized powwow. We’ve often heard, I have often heard, we have one of the best dance arenas around.”
The powwow began with a gourd dance and concluded in the late night hours on Sept. 2, inviting toddlers, teens, adults and elders to participate.
Daugherty said the powwow is the culmination of a year’s worth of work, and when one powwow concludes the staff begins preparing for next year’s.
“The planning should be pretty quick. So right after you finish one you should be getting ready for the next year to secure your head staff and start working on every other phase of putting on a powwow. They’re one, two, three years booked in advance,” he said.
Daugherty has emceed powwows for nearly 36 years, including the Cherokee National Holiday Powwow for the past four years. His duties include coordinating with the other head staff members, keeping the powwow’s flow going and informing spectators of powwow etiquette.
He said while powwows are not historically Cherokee culture, it hasn’t prevented Cherokee people from hosting or participating.
“We all know that Cherokees don’t powwow,” he said. “Ours is more the Southeast culture, the stomp dance culture. A lot of the dancers that you see that are Cherokee that have been introduced to the ways of the Plains Southern or Northern Plains style of powwow. They’ve either been taken in by a family or they’re married into that family or sometimes simply taking that way. We adapt and adopt.”
Cherokee Nation citizen Lindsey Ketcher-Williams, who was part of the head staff, said Tribal Councilor Joe Byrd asked her to serve as the head lady dancer, calling it “an honor.”
“It’s a huge honor to bring in the whole powwow, all the other dancers and such and be in that lead. I’m the first lady out into the arena and then all the other women will follow me,” she said.
Ketcher-Williams began dancing at an early age and learned from friends and family. Now that she has her own family, she finds it more important than ever to carry on the tradition.
“I kind of tapered off after I started college, but then I started a new family, and now that my son is old enough to travel I’ve started back pretty regularly dancing,” she said. “A lot of powwow people, we call each other brothers and sisters because we see each other pretty much every weekend if we’re consistently dancing.”
Powwow spectators can count on seeing Ketcher-Williams annually in her signature red beadwork regalia, which signifies her Wolf Clan and holds sentimental value.
“My regalia was beaded by my aunt, and she’s no longer here so I think that’s extra special,” she said. “When somebody has either beaded (regalia) for me or has given it to me, whether it’s just a lapel pin or something like that, I wear that for them. If they’re no longer with me then I feel that I’m dancing for them since they are no longer here to do so.”
Family tradition and sentimental value are also behind the red- and flower-beaded regalia of CN citizen Kitana Foreman.
“I didn’t make my dress,” she said. “My mom made my dress, and I think she took about three weeks to do it and I helped her put on the jingles and we put it on together. It’s like family traditions passed down.”
Foreman, who began dancing at age 8, does traditional and jingle dress dancing at the powwow.
“We take this very sacred,” she said. “The jingles, when they clap, that’s just for the healing when we dance, when we move our feet. Whenever we dance, we dance for, I guess for my family’s healing and for any friends and family, the healing of our people.”
The inter-tribal nature of the annual powwow also draws in dancers from other parts of the country, including Starr Morales, an Ojibwe from southern California.
She participated in the Jingle dance. She said with her husband Steven Morales being a Cherokee Color Guard member her participation at the event was special for her family.
“This is my first time here at the Cherokee (National) Holiday, and I’ve heard a lot about it from other family. But now with my husband being part of it, I have to be here, but I’m really excited,” Starr said. “I’m very happy to be here amongst these beautiful people and these beautiful grounds.”
Dancers competed for more than $35,000 in prize money in various categories. The men’s dance categories consisted of Southern Straight, Northern Traditional, Fancy Grass and the Chicken dances. The women’s dance categories consisted of Cloth, Southern Buckskin, Northern Traditional, Fancy, Jingle and the Cherokee Tear Dress dances.
PARK HILL, Okla. – The Cherokee National Holiday brings families together to experience cultural events, Native artwork and games. It’s also a time to experience different foods as food trucks at various locations wait to serve visitors.
One food truck that made it to the 65th annual Cherokee National Holiday was The Kickin’ Taco truck, which parked at the Cherokee Heritage Center.
Paula Thompson, Cherokee Nation citizen and owner, said when customers visit her food truck they are rewarded with a unique “experience.”
“We have street tacos. We have quesadillas. We have breakfast burritos, just about anything you want,” she said. “All of our sauces are homemade. Everything is cooked fresh that day. We buy our meat that morning, and we cook it the same day. Everything is hand-chopped.”
With favorites such as the Loaded Steak Tacos, Thompson said it’s “important” to be able to showcase her food and business during holiday.
“I think it’s important to showcase that I am a Cherokee, Native American woman and that success can come if you work hard enough,” she said. “I also own three other small businesses. This is my favorite because it’s fun and I am out with my community, giving back with my Native American people.”
The Kickin’ Taco, which is a CN Tribal Employment Rights Office-certified business, can be found at the Super Spray Carwash and W.W. Hastings Hospital during the week in Tahlequah.
“They can usually find us parked on Muskogee Avenue at Super Spray Carwash and then two days a week Mrs. (Denisse) Ramos, who is our cook, she goes to W.W. Hasting’s Hospital and serves there during the week for the employees,” she said.
To learn when and where The Kickin’ Taco truck will be located, visit its Facebook page or call 918-457-0246.
In the sea of Indian tacos, funnel cakes and other popular holiday foods, another food option at the CHC was Mother Tucker’s BBQ out of Warner.
Owner Albert Tucker said he was looking forward to seeing people “mingle” and eat “good food.”
“It’s a big event. A lot of good food trucks are out here, including us,” he said.
While dining from Mother Tucker’s, guests can expect different meats and ways to eat them at “good” prices.
“We have four different meats. We have pulled pork, brisket, bologna and hot links. You can have it on whatever type of platform you want. So you can have a sandwich, nacho or potato,” he said. “We do anywhere from four meats. It’s called a Super Mother Tucker, and it’s filling. You’ll probably need a blanket and a bed for after you eat it all. It’s a lot of food. It’s good prices and good quality. We try to put love in it, and just feed the people.”
Tucker said he purchased his food truck two months earlier but has competed in food competitions for at least the past four years.
“People say they love the food, so we put a price tag on it and put it out there. They love it so we keep doing it,” he said.
If visitors plan to make the trek to Warner, Tucker suggests they try the Mother Tucker.
“If you’re feeling really hungry a Mother Tucker is probably one of our best sellers,” he said. “It has smoked bologna, and it has brisket and pulled pork on it. It’s filling. It comes with a bag of chips and a drink, if you would like.”
To learn when and where Mother Tucker’s will be located, call 918-734-0638 or email <a href="mailto: firstname.lastname@example.org">email@example.com</a>.
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – Another Cherokee National Holiday is in the books. Now watch the Cherokee Phoenix’s wrap-up video of the 65th annual celebration showcasing events, culture and visitors.
TULSA, Okla. – With the new “After Removal: Rebuilding the Cherokee Nation” exhibit, Gilcrease Museum visitors can see how the Cherokee Nation has come to prosper after its removal to Indian Territory.
The time before, during and after Cherokee removal from the Southeastern United States is highlighted through 64 items in the Gilcrease collection and 14 loaned items. The exhibit’s items include paintings, a hunting coat, a bandolier bag, a knife used to kill former Cherokee Phoenix Editor Elias Boudinot and fine china used at Rose Cottage in Park Hill when former Principal Chief John Ross entertained guests.
Digital exhibits are also used detailing the land that once belonged to the Cherokee people and what daily life was like in Indian Territory for students at the Cherokee Male and Female Seminaries.
The collaborative project between the museum’s Helmerich Center and CN, with several CN citizens acting as consultants to interpret and approve the material, is the culmination of two years of work.
“Our former director for the Helmerich Center for American Research at Gilcrease Museum, Duane King, this was his idea,” Natalie Panther, program center officer, said. “It’s really a story of resilience in the face of tremendous adversity, and he wanted to tell the story of how the Cherokee Nation was able to overcome incredible odds to rebuild their nation and create a successful society in Indian Territory.”
The first part of the exhibition examines removal politics.
President Andrew Jackson ordered Southeastern tribes to remove to Indian Territory by signing the Indian Removal Act on May 28, 1830. The Cherokee and other tribes were subsequently forced to move west into modern day Oklahoma. Of the estimated 16,000 Cherokees who were forced on the journey, now known as the Trail of Tears, approximately 4,000 died of exposure, starvation and disease.
“It was a highly contentious topic at the time, and it barely passed the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate,” Panther said. “There were central figures, American heroes and writers and Founding Fathers who both argued for and against Indian removal, so that’s what’s going to be highlighted in that section.”
The exhibition also walks visitors through the removal-induced factionalism that occurred between the Cherokees supporting Ross and those supporting Major John Ridge. Ross resisted removal while Ridge believed it was inevitable. Ridge was part of a group that signed Cherokee lands over to the U.S. government in the 1835 Treaty of New Echota.
“When you go through factionalism, you’re talking about how Major Ridge and John Ross were fighting, and there was violence after the signing of the Treaty of New Echota because a lot of the tribe blamed the Treaty of New Echota for the entire tribe having to move west,” she said. “There was a lot of fighting and murder, and finally all the factions signed a peace treaty in 1846 to stop the violence and agreed to forgive all previous crimes committed against each other and just to move forward.”
Panther said while the period after removal was “one of the most tumultuous periods in Cherokee history,” the Cherokees’ eventual reunification ushered in a period of prosperity dubbed the Golden Age.
“The Cherokees had built up a very independent republic, and that’s what was kind of dismantled because of forced removal,” she said. “Once they got to Indian Territory, there was factionalism and infighting, but they were able to overcome that and rebuild their government, rebuild their economy. They created an extensive public school system with 144 public schools and two institutions of higher learning, so they were really able to overcome obstacles and rebuild their nation, and that’s kind of the highlight of the Golden Age. It’s a success story, and I think it’s a story that, when you go through it, you’re going to feel confident about your tribe and being a Cherokee.”
The exhibit runs through Jan. 21 and can be viewed from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. Admission is free for CN citizens on Sept. 24 during the museum’s annual “Cherokee Day.”
For more information, visit <a href="http://www.gilcrease.org/exhibitions/cherokee/" target="_blank">www.gilcrease.org/exhibitions/cherokee/</a>.
VINITA, Okla. – The 81st annual Will Rogers Memorial Rodeo and related events, including a parade and old settlers reunion, were held Aug. 23-26 and Cherokees turned out for the fun.
The Cherokee Nation was well represented in all facets of the town’s tribute to one of their own.
“As everyone knows, Will Rogers was Cherokee,” Chief of Staff Chuck Hoskin said. “He attended school here in Vinita at Willie Halsell College, and he challenged the people here that if they would have a rodeo here next year, that he’d not only be back but would participate.”
Hoskin said Rogers perished in an airplane crash in Alaska in 1935 and never got to attend the rodeo in Vinita.
“But the people of Vinita felt so strongly that they wanted to keep the memory of Will Rogers alive, that they’ve continued to host a memorial rodeo to this day,” he said.
The Will Rogers Memorial Rodeo parade was held on Aug. 23. Both the CN and its Health Services entered floats in the event while many CN staff members walked the route, passing out candy to children.
“We came out here to bring our granddaughter to the parade,” said CN citizen Jon Page. “She loves horses, and my wife is originally from this area. She grew up coming to this parade as a child. It’s become sort of a family tradition.”
As for CN being heavily involved in the event, Page said, “it’s great to see Cherokee Nation so well represented here.”
On Aug. 24, the Will Rogers Memorial Rodeo hosted “Cherokee Night.”
“Well Cherokee Nation has a sponsorship with the rodeo,” Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin Jr. said. “This is an important event for the community, and Vinita is an important Cherokee community, so it makes sense that we be heavily involved as supporters and as participants. There’s Cherokees entered in almost every event tonight.”