Cherokee Nation Natural Resources buffalo herd manager Chris Barnhart stands near a new pipe fence funded by the Inter-Tribal Buffalo Council at the CN Buffalo Herd ranch in Bull Hollow, Oklahoma, on Sept. 29. The CN received a $41,000 ITCB grant to build the new fence. LINDSEY BARK/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
CN buffalo ranch sees additional fencing to corral
Buffalo graze near the new pipe fence at the Cherokee Nation Buffalo Herd ranch in Bull Hollow, Oklahoma, on Sept. 29. LINDSEY BARK/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
BULL HOLLOW, Okla. – The Cherokee Nation Buffalo Herd ranch recently received a $41,000 grant from the Inter-Tribal Buffalo Council to add pipe corral fencing to existing corrals on the west and south sides of the 236 acres of land in Delaware County where the herd resides.
The extension of the pipe corral fence allows Chris Barnhart, Natural Resources buffalo herd manager, and his team to easily access the buffalo and work with them.
“It’s a grassy area where we can use it to more easily get the buffalo in to be able to work them and take care of them, and it’s a bigger area we can use to wean the calves when they’re ready to be pulled off the cows,” Barnhart said.
The pipe for the fence is made of steel and has to be a certain width due to the sheer size and power of the animals.
“We use three-and-a-half-inch pipe for all of our posts and top rail. The center bars on all the fencing is one-inch sucker rod. Sucker rod is a solid steel piece of rod. We use that because just the sheer massiveness of a buffalo, if they hit a normal…two-inch pipe they’ll bend two inch. It’s seven-and-a half-foot tall because they can jump. They are big front-ended but they can jump as well,” Barnhart said.
He said all the inner-workings of the corral pipe system are plated to make it easier to handle buffalo.
“If a buffalo can see through something, they will try to go through it. That’s why we use such heavy pipe on everything,” he explained.
The buffalo operation started three years ago through a $70,000 grant from the ITCB that funded fencing, sheds and a pond for the herd.
In October 2014, the CN began acquiring a herd, about 30 females from the Badlands National Park in South Dakota and a mix of bulls and cows from the Teddy Roosevelt National Park in South Dakota.
The herd has since increased to a total population of 93 buffalo.
Barnhart said there is a possibility of acquiring more within the next year, but the idea is not set in stone.
“Right now we’re going to use the natural increase in the herd and see where we go from there,” he said.
He said buffalo “typically” do not breed until they are between three and five years of age, and only breed every one to three years. A possible “internal clock” tells the buffalo when to and when not to breed. For example, an oncoming drought would produce fewer calves.
“They’re not going to produce as much as they would in optimum range conditions,” Barnhart said.
The daily care of the herd includes feeding, checking fences and checking for “overall heard health.”
“We found that the best way to keep them from breaking anything is to keep them fat and happy. We feed a ration, kind of alternate between the regular range cube and an alfalfa cube. We supplement with hay, too. After that, we check our fences…to make sure there’s no holes, no breaking. Then while they’re eating, we check them just for overall heard health,” Barnhart said.
The CN Buffalo Herd ranch also attracts tourists and the ranch conducts approximately three to four school tours a month during the school year as well as regular CN visitor and guest tours.
On the tour, Barnhart tells tourists about the herd, the buffalo program and history on why buffalo were important to Cherokee people.
The new pipe fence is expected to be completed by mid-October.
TULSA, Okla. – For some it’s traditional games such as stickball or marbles. For other Cherokees it may be weaving baskets with traditional materials that bring them closer to their culture. But for 15-year-old Regina Scott, it’s the love for the fiddle and fiddle music that brings her in tune to Cherokee culture.
“I think it’s really cool that I am Cherokee and that I play the fiddle because the fiddle was part of the Cherokee culture,” Cherokee Nation citizen said. “I know there are a lot of people that are Cherokee that probably don’t have a direct connection to their culture, so I am really proud that I have the fiddle because I feel like it brings me closer to my Cherokee culture.”
The Tulsa native found an interest in the bowed-string musical instrument at age 5 when she began taking classical violin lessons from longtime violinist Jody Naifeh. However, it was hearing her cousin play the fiddle that sparked her curiosity for the instrument.
“My cousin was the only one that fiddled, and she doesn’t anymore. It was kind of a brief thing. But it’s really amazing that I even got into it because really no one in my family is musical. My mom told me that both of her grandmothers were musical...but really I’m the only one,” she said.
Scott continued taking violin lessons and began studying fiddling.
“I started off with classical violin from Mrs. Naifeh, which I am still with her today. The cool thing about her is a lot of classical teachers don’t really do fiddling and aren’t super into that side of music. But she took me to my first fiddle contest, and so because of her I kind of got started in fiddling,” she said.
Although fiddle and violin appear the same, Scott said the styles are different.
“The violin and fiddle are very different styles, but both benefit each other. The violin is classical music and is technically difficult and you sight-read the music to learn it. But fiddling you learn by ear, so it’s more like reading a book versus storytelling,” Scott said. “Violin helps the intonation and technical aspect of fiddling, whereas the fiddling helps me to put feeling into the classical music and make it more than just the notes on the page”
As early as 7 years old, Scott traveled statewide to fiddling contests and performances, learning and watching some of the best fiddle players. Now she plays among them, continuing to make her mark. She has also competed in fiddling contests in surrounding states and as far as Idaho.
“I have competed all over. I do the Oklahoma state fiddle contest, the Colorado state fiddle contest, and there is a fiddle contest in Grove called the Grand Lake National Fiddle Contest, and I actual won that a couple of years ago. I am the youngest person to ever win it,” she said. “I have probably been to, I would say, over 50 competitions.
For her accomplishments, CN officials proclaimed Feb. 10 as “Regina Scott Day.” Tribal Councilor Keith Austin presented Scott with the proclamation after her performance at the National Fiddler Hall of Fame Ceremony and Concert in Tulsa in front of an audience of celebrated fiddlers and country musician Vince Gill.
“The National Fiddler Hall of Fame inducts people every year, so I got to play for Randy Howard who was being inducted. So I was on stage and I had just finished and it was a really great moment, and one of the Cherokees came on stage and he said ‘wait, don’t go yet,’ and I was very confused, but then he read a proclamation from the chief that basically said that the day Feb. 10, 2017, was a day dedicated to me and my accomplishments,” she said. “I was thinking ‘is this real?’ like, ‘is this a prank?’ but it was amazing and I have it framed at home.”
As for her violin, Scott still plays. She is part of the Tulsa Youth Symphony, the Holland Hall Orchestra and Honors Orchestra, in which she is first chair violin. She also teaches a beginner’s orchestra class to help her violin teacher.
She advises young musicians who are pursuing their dreams to keep practicing.
“Practice, practice because sometimes you don’t feel like practicing or it’s just not in your schedule, but if you really like it you can make time for it. You know, if you really want to be good at it and it’s something you are really passionate about that’s the only way to get good,” she said.
Scott will be the featured entertainment during the annual Will Rogers birthday celebration reception. The reception begins at 4:30 p.m. on Nov. 4 at Cherokee Casino Will Rogers Downs in Claremore.
MUSKOGEE, Okla. – The Cherokee Nation’s Three Rivers Health Center and Dillard’s partnered on Oct. 12 to provide a free bra-fitting clinic at the health center as part of a “Fit For the Cure” event by the clothing brand Wacoal.
“You’d be surprised at the number of women who have never done this. We have some customers come in who have never had a bra fitting, ever,” Cynthia Acuff, lingerie business manager for Dillard’s in Muskogee, said. “They’ll come in to the store, try on something, then if it looks like it fits then that’s what they go with. And eight out of 10 women are definitely wearing the wrong size.”
Acuff has been with the company for more than 30 years and completes trainings twice a year to help women find correct bra fits, which only take 10 to 15 minutes.
“We go in and we do a measurement on you and once we do a measurement, then we use a specific bra that’s called our Wacoal fit bra to help determine your actual cup size that you will be needing for that bra,” Acuff said.
The event also assisted in highlighting Breast Cancer Awareness Month, which is in October. For every complimentary Wacoal bra fitting Acuff completed $2 was donated to the Susan G. Komen for the Cure organization. An additional $2 donation was possible for every Wacoal or b.tempt’d piece purchased at the fitting.
Since 2000, Wacoal has donated more than $4.7 million to help fund breast cancer research and community programs while raising awareness for screenings.
Acuff said she helps raise breast cancer awareness because her family has been affected by it.
“My grandmother had breast cancer,” she said. “She was a survivor of it. There’s a lot of people who have not survived from it, so if just coming in, that $2 may just be what needs to be done to find the cure for breast cancer.”
Acuff sad she can complete about 45 fittings in a five-hour event like the one at the health center.
“When they come in, they leave their bra on,” she said. ‘They just have to take their shirt off for us. We do the measurement, then we go out and collect bras that we believe is going to be their size. We will take in three different cup sizes, that way we can see which one is going to fit her better to make sure that the wire is in the right place for her.”
She recommended women look for several factors when bra shopping.
“You always want to make sure your bra is tacked in the middle, in the center, that way it separates you and then your wire needs to be back past your breastbone,” she said. “We want to make sure that your band does not move up and down because if it does chances are your straps are not going to stay on correctly. If you get the right support, the wire is doing the work. The straps are doing the work. If you are a bigger-size bust, the right bra is going to help you from not having back issues too because you’re going to be letting that bra do the work for you, rather than your back carrying you around.”
For those interested in a fitting, Acuff was expected to hold another fitting from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Oct. 18 at Dillard’s located within the Arrowhead Mall in Muskogee. Each of the complimentary fittings and bra purchases will also be eligible for the $2 donation.
According to the Komen organization, American Indian and Alaska Native women have lower breast cancer rates than other groups, though it is the second-leading cause of cancer death among them.
From 2010-14, American Indian and Alaska Native women saw 82.2 new breast cancer cases per 100,000, compared to 127.7 for Caucasian women and 125.1 for African American women. In the same time period, American Indian and Alaska Native women averaged a morality rate of 10.8 per 100,000 cases, while Caucasian women averaged 21.2 and African American women averaged 29.2 cases.
According to the Komen organization, mammography screening rates are also “lower than rates among non-Hispanic white, non-Hispanic black and non-Hispanic Asian women.”
For more information, visit <a href="http://www.komen.org" target="_blank">www.komen.org</a>.
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.
VINITA, Okla. - The second annual “Cherokee Days” event was held Sept. 30 at the Eastern Trails Museum with Cherokee National Treasures on hand to demonstrate their artistic skills in basketry, pottery making and flint-knapping.
“Eastern Trails museum does a wonderful job of telling the Cherokee’s story. Last year, at the inaugural event, we brought Cherokee National Treasures out to demonstrate their artistry, which was so successful we’re doing it again this year,” Secretary of State and Vinita resident Chuck Hoskin Jr. said.
Cherokee National Treasures attending included basketry artists Betty Frogg and Mike Dart, pottery expert Jane Osti, bow maker Al Herrin, and Tommy Wildcat, who provided flute music.
“I felt happy to be there representing the Cherokee National Treasures,” Frogg said. “Demonstrating and talking to people about the history of Cherokee basketry and twining are two of my favorite things.”
Eastern Trails Museum Director Kathleen Duchamp said she was thrilled the CN made “Cherokee Days” an annual event.
“Just one year ago today, we opened our Cherokee exhibit inside our museum and held the event in the courtyard and had seven National Treasures here to help us open the event. It was very well received. We’re so happy they decided to hold ‘Cherokee Days’ every year and extremely grateful for the Cherokee Nation ($1,000) donation.”
“Cherokee Days” visitor and CN citizen Linda Hossler said the event was beneficial to her.
“I came to Eastern Trails Museum today to learn more about my Indian/Cherokee heritage. I recently moved here from California, so I loved the basket making, the pottery making and especially the flint knapping. Who knew I’d enjoy flint knapping so much,” she said.
For more information about the Eastern Trails Museum, visit <a href="http://www.EasternTrailsMuseum.com" target="_blank">www.EasternTrailsMuseum.com</a>.
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – During an Oct. 5 meeting, the Cherokee Nation’s Election Commission tabled an item regarding its Information Request Form so commissioners can consider creating separate documents for voter list and candidate financial requests.
EC attorney Harvey Chaffin requested that commissioners table the item and suggested creating two forms by clarifying that subsections 25 and 46D of the Election Law fall under different categories.
Subsection 25 deals with obtaining voter lists. It states the most “recent voter list shall be made available to all citizens of Cherokee Nation, subject to the provisions of the Cherokee Nation Freedom of Information Act” and that the “list shall be made available on paper, computer diskette, gummed labels, electronically, or any other method available.” It also states the EC “may charge a nominal fee to cover the costs of duplication of the voter list, provided that the voter list shall be subject to inspection free of charge during the business hours of the Election Commission.”
Subsection 46D deals with corrections, revisions and retention of candidates’ financial disclosure reports. It states the EC “shall give the candidate an opportunity to correct any deficiency or error in his or her reports” and that any “contributions received during the six-month period following said election date shall be recorded on a revised final report to be filed no later than the first of the month following the expiration date of said six-month period.” It also states the “reports shall be maintained by the Election Services Office, which shall preserve the reports in a secure location for at least five years, during which time they shall be a public record available for inspection and copying.”
Chaffin said there should be separate request forms because the law states that only CN citizens can obtain voter lists whereas anyone can request candidate financials.
“There’s several different issues I see after I researched the statute. One is that the voter list is available only to Cherokee citizens and pursuant to that (CN Election Law) Section 25. So I don’t think financial reports and voter lists should be on the same form,” Chaffin said. “I actually think probably the form…we’re using now, would apply more to the public, to the candidate financial reports, and the one we revise would apply more to the (voter) list. My recommendation is let me do a little more work on that, and let’s put it on our next agenda.”
Chaffin also said it would be beneficial for the voter list form to state the subsection under which it falls in the Election Law.
“I think it would be a good idea also to have, maybe on the back of this form or maybe down here somewhere, have a copy of the statute,” he said.
In other business, commissioners approved the 2018 Maxim Consulting contract at $40,000, which covers system upgrades, and the 2018 Hart Intercivic contract at $25,000 that covers all licensing for software that runs the programs used for tribal elections.