http://www.cherokeephoenix.orgRoger Cain, Cherokee Nation River Cane Initiative researcher, right, discusses the plan to burn underneath river cane near Sallisaw Creek in southern Adair County with CN Wildlife Fire Coordinator David Comingdeer. Areas under the cane were burned on Jan. 9 to help the cane grow better in the spring. WILL CHAVEZ/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Roger Cain, Cherokee Nation River Cane Initiative researcher, right, discusses the plan to burn underneath river cane near Sallisaw Creek in southern Adair County with CN Wildlife Fire Coordinator David Comingdeer. Areas under the cane were burned on Jan. 9 to help the cane grow better in the spring. WILL CHAVEZ/CHEROKEE PHOENIX

Tribe helps river cane thrive by using fire

Cherokee Nation Wildlife Fire Coordinator David Comingdeer on Jan. 9 uses a torch to light a fire line near a river cane field near Sallisaw Creek in southern Adair County to help river cane grow better. WILL CHAVEZ/CHEROKEE PHOENIX Cherokee Nation Wildlife Fire Coordinator David Comingdeer uses a torch to light a fire line near a river cane field on Jan. 9 in Adair County. Areas under the cane were burned to help the plant grow better in the spring. WILL CHAVEZ/CHEROKEE PHOENIX Roger Cain, Cherokee Nation River Cane Initiative researcher, stands in a field of stunted river cane that has been eaten by cattle. Cain is working with the CN to get the cane, located on tribal land, fenced off from the cattle. WILL CHAVEZ/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Cherokee Nation Wildlife Fire Coordinator David Comingdeer uses a torch to light a fire line near a river cane field on Jan. 9 in Adair County. Areas under the cane were burned to help the plant grow better in the spring. WILL CHAVEZ/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
BY WILL CHAVEZ
Assistant Editor – @cp_wchavez
01/15/2015 08:15 AM
Video with default Cherokee Phoenix Frame
LINE SWITCH, Okla. – A river cane field located on Cherokee Nation land in southern Adair County got some needed help using fire.

On land adjacent to Sallisaw Creek, Roger Cain, researcher for the Cherokee Nation River Cane Initiative, joined Cherokee Nation Wildlife Fire Coordinator David Comingdeer and his son Spencer for a “controlled burn” under the native river cane growing next to the creek.

The river cane project began in 2011 to preserve, map and perpetuate the growth of river cane in the CN.

“So far we’ve identified 60 acres of river cane on tribal land out of about 18,000 acres. We’re here today on this plot that has been partially poisoned, and we’re trying to correct the problem by burning off the old cane, and hopefully we’ll connect two separate cane breaks together,” Cain said. “Burning cane breaks hasn’t been done since before statehood. Before statehood we were able to burn and do all sorts of stuff as a tribe...so this is pretty unique. We’re doing something other tribes wish they could do, and we’re glad we can do it and protect our tribal resources.”

Cain said the burn is done in the winter to remove the river cane’s competition. River cane grows in the winter, and if its competition is eliminated it will get a head start in the spring and grow taller and larger.
When the cane reaches a certain height it will develop a canopy and won’t have to compete as much with other plants around it because it will block out the sun, he said.

Comingdeer said he and his son attempted a “controlled burn” on Jan. 9, while the conditions were good with good humidity and little wind. However, the “fuel” or leaves needed to keep the fire going were compacted due to recent rainfall.

“A lot of our native species and our plants that are in this area that we use for our artwork, our basketry, our materials that we harvest for certain things like our medicine...are fire dependent. If you don’t have fire occasionally in those areas, than those native species simply die off. Other invasive species will come in and choke them out,” Comingdeer said. “The fire didn’t carry well through most of the cane itself, but if it doesn’t burn, it doesn’t need fire right now, so we’ll come back when the conditions for fire are a little bit better.”

Comingdeer said the plants growing in the area near Sallisaw Creek are similar to plants that grew in the Cherokee’s eastern homelands, so that’s why many Cherokee gravitated to the area after the forced removal.

Another problem for the river cane on this piece of tribal land is cattle are continuously eating the cane and preventing it from growing taller. Cain said the cattle are after the protein in the cane, which is a grass and is 30 to 40 percent protein. On the other side of the fence where the cattle are not able to graze, the river cane is much taller.

Cain said tribal leaders have pledged to fence in the river cane to prevent the cattle from eating it.

A third problem for the river cane is poisoning. Some of the cane near the creek was killed by poison possibly used by the rancher leasing the land to kill milk thistle and other weeds in the pasture next to the cane field. Milk thistle can cause nitrate poisoning in cattle and push out beneficial plants.

“The resulting run off from the poison washed down the field and bisected a canebrake as it washed into the creek,” Cain said.

River cane can be used to make blowguns, and milk thistle bulbs are used to help make blowgun darts.

Also, when ranchers mow over larger cane stalks they create spikes that are dangerous to animals and people, Cain added. People cutting cane and leaving spikes is one of Cain’s major complaints and safety concerns in canebrakes.

River cane was the Cherokees’ plastic, Cain said. It was used for shelter, weapons, mats, chairs, food and supplied material for baskets.

Unfortunately not much of the river cane found on the 60 acres of tribal land is fit for “traditional art” such as baskets, Cain said, because it has not been taken care of and is attempting to grow under the canopy of trees. River cane once grew 40 feet tall in the area, but now cane growing only 20 feet tall can be found.

“What we are finding is that river cane is best when a man is working with it and helping maintain it,” he said. “That’s what we’re trying to do here is help its visibility to the sun increase as well as trying something we’ve never done as a tribe in using our traditional fire knowledge to improve the environment.”
ᏣᎳᎩ

ᏢᏓᏥ, ᎣᎦᎵᎰᎹ – ᎢᎯᏯ ᏠᎨᏏ ᎤᏰᎬ ᎾᎿ ᏣᎳᎩ ᎠᏰᎵ ᎦᏓ ᎤᎲᎢ ᎤᎦᎾᏮ ᎢᏗᏢ ᏓᏫᏍᎦᎵ ᏍᎦᏚᎩ ᏚᏂᏍᏕᎸᎲᎢ ᎠᏥᎳ ᎠᏅᏗᏍᎬᎢ.

ᎾᎿ ᎦᏙ ᎠᎲ ᏚᏓᎲᏢ ᏌᎷᏂᎨᏴ ᎤᏪᏴ, Roger Cain, ᎤᎦᏛᏂᏙ ᎤᏂᎧᎲ ᏣᎳᎩ ᎠᏰᎵ ᎢᎯᏯ ᎤᎦᏎᏍᏗ, ᎤᏖᎳᏛ ᏣᎳᎩ ᎠᏰᎵ ᎢᎾᎨ ᏕᎦᎵᎬ ᏧᏂᎸᏫᏍᏓᏁᎯ ᏗᏘᏂᏙ David Comingdeer ᎠᎴ ᎤᏪᏥ ᎠᏫᏄᏣ Spencer ᏧᏙᎩᏓ ᎾᎿ “ᎠᎦᏎᏍᏗ ᎠᏂᎴᏂᏍᎬ” ᎭᏫᎾᏗᏢ ᏅᏍᎩ ᎢᎯᏯ ᎤᏛᎯᏍᏗ ᎠᎹᏳᏟᏗ.

ᎾᎿ ᎢᎯᏯ ᎤᎾᎦᏎᏍᏛ ᎤᎾᎴᏅᎲ ᏔᎵ ᏯᎦᏴᎵ ᏌᏚ ᎤᏕᏘᏴᏌᏗᏒ ᎤᎾᎵᏏᏅᏙᏗ, ᎤᎾᏟᎶᏍᏗ ᎠᎴ ᎤᎾᎦᏎᏍᏙᏗ ᎤᏛᏏᏗᏒ ᎢᎯᏯ ᎾᎿ ᏣᎳᎩ ᎠᏰᎵ.

“ᏃᏊᏃ ᎨᏒ ᎣᎦᏟᎶ ᏑᏓᎵᏍᎪ ᎢᏳᏟᎶᏓ ᎢᎦ ᎢᎯᏯ ᎤᏰᎬ ᎾᎿ ᏣᎳᎩ ᎠᏰᎵ ᎦᏓ ᎤᏂᎲ ᎾᎿ ᏯᏛᎾ ᏁᎳᏚ ᎢᏍᎪᎯᏧᏈ ᎢᏳᏟᎶᏓ. ᎠᎭᏂ ᎣᏤᏙ ᎪᎯ ᎢᎦ ᎾᏍᎩᎾ ᎢᎦᏓ ᎤᏂᏢᎯ ᎢᎯᏯ, ᎠᎴ ᎣᏣᏁᎶᏗ ᎣᏍᏓ ᎢᏲᎬᏗ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎣᏥᎪᎲᏍᏗ ᎤᏪᏘ ᎢᎯᏯ, ᎠᎴ ᎤᏚᎦ ᎯᎠ ᏔᎵ ᏚᏙᏢᏒ ᎾᎿ ᏌᏊ ᎢᏳᎵᏍᏙᏗᎢ,” ᎠᏗᏍᎬ Cain. “ᏦᏣᎪᎲᏍᏗ ᎢᎯᏯ Ꮭ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎢᏯᏛᏁᎸ ᏱᎩ ᎾᏍᎩᏂ Ꮟ ᏗᏍᎦᏚᎩ ᏂᏗᎦᎵᏍᏗᏍᎬ ᏥᎨᏎᎢ. ᎾᎯᏳ ᏥᎨᏎ ᎡᎵᏊ ᎬᎪᎲᏍᏙᏗ ᎨᏒ ᎾᎿᎢ ᎠᏂᎳᏍᏓᏢᎢ ᎨᏒᎢ…. ᎾᏍᎩᏃ ᎢᏳᏍᏗ ᎠᏂᏐᎢ ᏓᏂᎳᏍᏓᏢ ᎬᏩᎾᏚᎵᏗ ᏝᏃ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏱᏂᎬᎾᏛᎦ, ᎠᎴ ᎣᏣᎵᎮᎵᎦ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎢᎦᏲᎦᏛᏗ ᎨᏒ ᎣᏣᎵᏏᏅᏗᏍᎬᎢ ᎾᎿ ᏣᎳᎩ ᎠᏰᎵ ᏧᎬᏩᎶᏗ ᎨᏒᎢ.”

Cain ᎠᏗᏍᎬ ᎪᎳ ᎠᎾᎪᎲᏍᏗᏍᎪ ᎠᏂᏛᏗᏍᎬ ᎢᎯᏯ ᎤᏪᏘ ᎡᎳᏗ. ᎢᎯᏯ ᎠᏛᏍᎬ ᎪᎳ, ᎾᏍᎩᏃ ᎡᎳᏗ ᎤᏪᏘ ᎨᏒ ᏯᎪᎲᏍᏔᏂ ᎾᎿ ᎠᎯᏓ ᎠᏛᏍᎪ ᎪᎨᏯ ᎢᎾ ᎢᎦᏘ ᏂᎦᎵᏍᏗᏍᎪ ᎠᎴ ᎤᏓᏃᎢ.

ᎾᏍᎩᏃ ᎢᎯᏯ ᎤᏛᎯᏍᏗ ᏳᏭᎷᏣ ᎧᎵ ᏂᎦᎵᏍᏗᏍᎪ ᎦᎸᎳᏗ Ꮭ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎢᎦ ᏗᏐᎢ ᎤᏱᎬ ᎾᎥ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎢᎦᏘ ᏱᏂᎦᎵᏍᏗᏍᎪ ᎠᎴ ᎤᏗᏞᎩ ᎨᏒ Ꮭ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎢᎦ ᏱᏂᎦᎵᏍᏗᏍᎪ, ᎠᏗᏍᎬᎢ.

Comingdeer ᎠᏗᏍᎬ ᎤᏩᏌ ᎠᎴ ᎤᏪᏣ ᎠᏫᏒᏣ ᏛᎠᎾᏁᎶᏔᏂ “ᎠᎦᏎᏍᏗ ᎠᏁᎴᏂᏍᎬ” ᎾᎿ ᎤᏃᎸᏔᏂ ᎧᎸ ᏐᏁᎵᏁ, ᎾᎿ ᎣᏍᏓ ᎢᎦ ᎨᏒ ᎠᎴ ᏂᎦᏃᎸᏍᎬᎾ. ᎠᏎᏍᎩᏂ, ᎾᎿ “ᎪᏔᏍᎩ” ᎠᎴ ᏧᎦᎶᎦ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎪᏙᏍᎪ ᎠᎴ ᏂᎦᏯ ᎠᏓᏪᎳᎩᏍᎪ ᎠᏎᏃ ᏗᎦᏓᏁᎯ ᎨᏒ ᎾᎿ ᎤᎦᎾᏅ ᎨᏒᎢ.

“ᏧᏓᎴᏅᏓ ᎡᎯᏯ ᎠᏛᏒᏍᎪ ᎾᎿ ᎢᎯᏯ ᎤᏰᎬ ᎾᎿ ᎬᏔᏂᏓᏍᏗ ᎠᏃᏢᏅᏍᎬ, ᏔᎷᏣ ᏱᎩ, ᎠᏎᎸ ᎨᏐ ᎢᏴ ᏂᎬᎾᏕᏍᏗᎢ ᎠᎴ ᏅᏬᏘ ᏱᎩ….. ᎾᏍᎩᎾ ᏴᎪᎲᏍᏗ ᎤᎪᏙ ᏂᎦᎵᏍᏗᏍᎪ. ᎢᏳᏃ ᎾᎪᎲᏍᎬᎾ ᏴᏓᎭ ᎾᎿ, ᏯᎵᏛᏓ. ᏐᎢᏃ ᎨᏒ ᎤᎵᏗᏢ ᏄᏓᎴ ᎦᏄᎸ ᎠᏛᏍᎬ ᏳᎭᏬᏍᏓ,” ᎠᏗᏍᎬ Comingdeer. “ ᏝᏃ Ꮩ ᏳᎪᏁ ᎢᎯᏲ ᎤᏩᏌ ᏂᎦᏓᏊ ᎢᏳᏍᏗ ᎢᎯᏯ, ᎠᏎᏃ ᏄᎪᏅᎾ ᏱᎩ, ᏝᏃ ᎠᎪᎲᏍᏙᏗ ᏱᎨᏐ, ᏲᏍᏗᎷᎦᏃ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏱᏓᏤᏟ ᎦᎴᏃᏗᎢ.”

Comingdeer ᎠᏗᏍᎬ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎢᎾᎨ ᎠᏛᏍᎬ ᏧᏰᎦ ᏌᎷᏂᎨᏴ ᎤᏪᏴ ᎤᏠᏯᏊ ᎢᏳᏍᏗ ᎠᏛᏒᏍᎪ ᎾᎿ ᎧᎸᎬ ᎢᏗᏢ ᏙᏗᎨᏅᏒ ᏗᎦᏂᎩᏒ, ᎾᏍᎩᏃ ᎢᏳᏍᏗ ᎠᎭᏂ ᏕᎩᎷᏤ ᎡᎩᏱᎶᏞᎢ.

ᏐᎢᏃ ᎤᏡᏗᏍᎩ ᎢᎯᏯ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎠᎭᏂ ᏩᏥᏂ ᎤᏤᎵᎪ ᏩᎦ ᏂᎪᎯᎸ ᎠᏂᎩᏍᎪ ᎢᎯᏯ ᎠᎴ ᎠᏂᏲᏍᏗᏍᎬ Ꮮ ᎣᏍᏓ ᏯᏛᏍᎪᎢ. Cain ᎠᏗᏍᎬ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏩᎦ ᎤᏂᎸᏉᏓ ᎠᏓᎵᏥᏍᏗᏍᎩ ᎤᏪᎲ ᎢᎯᏯ, ᎤᏠᏯ ᎦᏄᎸ ᎤᎪᏓ ᎤᏪᎭ ᎤᎾᎵᏥᏍᏗᏍᎩ. ᏐᎢᏃ ᎨᏒ ᎠᏐᏴ ᎤᏗᏗᏢ ᎢᎯᏯ ᎢᎾ ᎢᎦᏘ ᏂᎦᎵᏍᏗᏍᎪᎢ.

Cain ᎠᏗᏍᎬ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎠᏂᎳᏍᏓᏢ ᏗᎾᏓᏘᏂᏙ ᎤᏂᏁᏨ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎢᎯᏯ ᎠᏛᏍᎬ ᏧᎾᏐᏴᏍᏗᎢ ᏩᎦ ᎤᏂᎩᏍᏗ ᏂᎨᏒᎾ ᎢᎯᏯ.

ᏦᎢᏁ ᏃᏒᎾ ᎨᏒ ᎢᎯᏯ ᎾᎿ ᎠᏂᎯᎰ. ᎢᎦᏓ ᎢᎯᏯ ᎠᎹᏳᏟᏗ ᎤᏰᎬ ᎦᎵᏬᎪ ᎠᏅᏔᏅᏍᎬ ᏩᎦ ᏗᎾᏛᎯᏍᏗᏍᎩ ᎠᏅᏔᏅᏍᎬ ᎠᏂᏢᏍᎬ ᎦᏄᎸ ᏄᏂᎸᏉᏛᎾ ᎾᎿ ᎠᎹᏯ ᎠᏂᎩᏍᎬ ᏫᎦᎷᎪ ᎢᎯᏯ ᏧᏰᎬᎢ. ᎤᏅᏗ ᎦᏁᎲᏍᎩ ᎦᏄᎸ ᎡᎵᏊ ᏂᎦ ᎤᏗᏑᏯ nitrate ᎡᏍᎦ ᎠᎴ ᏧᎾᏓᏂᎳ ᏱᎾᎾᎵᏍᏗ ᏩᎦ ᏃᎴᏍᏊ ᎤᏰᎾᎥ ᏧᏓᎴᏅᏓ ᎦᏄᎸ.

“ᎾᏍᎩᎾ ᏂᎦᎵᏍᏗᏍᎬ ᎠᏓᎯᎯ ᏫᎨᏯᏛᎬ ᏠᎨᏏ ᎠᎴ ᏂᎦᏓ ᎤᏠᏯᏍᏗ ᎢᎯᏯ ᎤᏰᎬ,” ᎠᏗᏍᎬ Cain.

ᎢᎯᏯ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏚᏇᏍᏗ ᏗᎪᏢᏙᏗ, ᎠᎴ ᏥᏥ ᎤᏥᎸᏅ ᏗᏲᏍᏙᏗ ᏗᎪᏢᏙᏗ ᎾᎿ ᏚᏇᏍᏗ ᏗᏍᏓᏲᏍᏙᏗ.

ᏃᎴᏍᏊ, ᏩᎦ ᏗᎾᏛᎯᏍᏗᏍᎩ ᏳᏂᎦᎵᏏ ᎦᏄᎸ ᎢᎯᏯ ᎤᏴᏗᏅᏓ ᎤᏲᏨ ᎪᏍᏓᏯ ᏂᎦᎵᏍᏗᏍᎪ ᎦᎾᏞᎢ ᎠᎴ ᏴᏫ ᎢᎦᎾᏰᎪᎢ ᎠᏗᏍᎬ Cain, ᏴᏫ ᎠᏂᎦᎵᏍᎬ ᎢᎯᏯ ᎾᏍᎩᏃ ᏗᎪᏍᏓᏯ ᏂᎦᎵᏍᏗᏍᎬ ᎾᎿ ᎦᎾᏱᏍᎪ ᎠᏗᏍᎬ ᎦᏬᏂᏍᎩ Cain ᏧᏙᎩᏓ.

ᎢᎯᏯ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎠᏂᏣᎳᎩ ᎠᏅᏗᏍᎬ ᎾᏍᎩᏯ ‘plastic’ ᎠᏗᏍᎬ Cain. ᎠᏅᏗᏍᎬᏃ ᏧᏂᏴᏍᏗ ᏓᏃᏢᏗᏍᎬ, ᎤᏂᏃᎭᎵᏓᏍᏙᏗ, ᏗᏰᏍᏛᏓ, ᏗᎦᏍᎩᎶ, ᎠᎵᏍᏓᏴᏗ ᎠᎴ ᏔᎷᏣ.

ᏝᏊᏃ ᎪᎯᏴ ᏥᎩ ᎤᏟ ᎢᎦ ᎢᎯᏯ ᎬᏴᏫᏛᏗ ᏱᎩ ᎾᎿ ᏑᏓᎵᏍᎪ ᎢᏳᏟᎶᏓ ᎠᎲ ᎦᏓ ᎾᏍᎩ “ᎪᎱᏍᏗ ᎦᎪᏢᏙᏗ” ᏯᏛᎾ ᏔᎷᏣ, ᎠᏗᏍᎬ Cain, ᏅᏗᎦᎵᏍᏙᏗ Ꮭ ᎩᎶ ᎤᎦᏎᏍᏔᏅ ᏱᎩ ᎠᎴ ᏕᏡᎬ ᎭᏫᎾᏗᏝ ᏓᏛᏍᎪ ᎤᏓᏩᏗᏍᎬ. ᎢᎯᏯ ᎪᎯᎩ ᏥᎨᏒ ᏅᎦᏍᎪ ᎢᎳᏏᏓ ᎢᏗᎦᏘ ᏂᎦᎵᏍᏗᏍᎬ, ᏃᏊᏃ ᏥᎩ ᏔᎵᏍᎪ ᎢᎳᏏᏓ ᎤᏛᏏ ᏱᏛᏴᏩᏘ.

“ᎢᏳᏍᏗᏃ ᎣᏥᏩᏗᏍᎬ ᎾᎿ ᎢᎯᏯ ᎣᏍᏓ ᎨᏐ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎠᏴᏫ ᎤᎦᏎᏍᏔᏅ ᏱᎩ,” ᎠᏗᏍᎬ. “ᎾᏍᎩᏃ ᏃᏣᏛᏁ ᎣᏥᏍᏕᎵ ᎬᏂᎨᏒ ᎢᏳᎵᏍᏙᏗ ᎤᏛᎯᏍᏗᎢ ᎣᏣᏁᎶᏗᎢ ᏝᏃ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎩᎶ ᎢᏳᏛᏁᎸᎢ ᏱᎩ ᎠᏥᎳ ᎤᏔᏅ ᏱᎩ ᏓᏤᏢ ᎢᏳᎵᏍᏙᏗᎢ ᎢᎯᏯ.”

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.

Culture

BY STAFF REPORTS
12/12/2017 04:00 PM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – The Cherokee Speakers Bureau will be held Thursday December 14, 2017 from 12:30 - 4pm. We will meet in the Community Ballroom that is located behind the Restaurant of the Cherokee. All Cherokee speakers are invited to attend. If you want to bring a side dish or a dessert, feel free to bring it. Come speak Cherokee and enjoy food and fellowship. For further information about the event, please contact: the Language Program at (918) 453-5151; John Ross at (918) 453-6170; or Roy Boney, Jr. (918) 453-5487. Tsalagi aniwonisgi unadatlugv dodvnatlosi Nvgineiga Vsgiyi 14, 2017, ganvsulvi 12:30pm adalenisgi 4:00pm igohida. Na Anitsalagi tsunalisdayetiyi tsigotlv unaditli wayvsdi onadilvyvi utani kanvsula dodvnatlosi. Naniv Anitsalagi aniwonisgi otsitayohiha uniluhisdii. Alisdayvdi ayohisdi yodulia. Dodayotsadatlisani ale dodayotsalisdayvna hilutsvi. Ugodesdi tsadulihesdi tsadelayohisdi hiina wigehiyadvdi: Tsalagi Gawonihisdi Unadotlvsv (918) 453-5151; John Ross (918) 453-6170; or Roy Boney, Jr. (918) 453-5487.
BY TRAVIS SNELL
Assistant Editor – @cp_tsnell
12/09/2017 10:00 AM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – With its 2017 annual homecoming T-shirt now for sale, the Cherokee Phoenix is calling for Cherokee artists to submit design concepts for the news organization’s 2018 T-shirt. In 2016, the Cherokee Phoenix staff introduced a T-shirt to differ from the tribe’s Cherokee National Holiday T-shirt. Phoenix staff members contracted with artist Buffalo Gouge for the shirt’s initial design. For this year’s homecoming shirt, Phoenix staff members selected Daniel HorseChief’s concept out of approximately 10 designs from artists. The Cherokee Phoenix then contracted with HorseChief to create the 2017 shirt. HorseChief said his concept comes from a four-panel painting that features Selu, the Corn Mother in Cherokee lore. The image shows the bust of Selu, who is looking down into a Southeastern art pattern. Behind her on the left side are seven ears of corn with water under it. Behind her on the opposite side is a phoenix with fire below it. Above the phoenix is the Cherokee seven-pointed star. Above the image, written in Cherokee, are the words “Cherokee Phoenix.” Below the image, in English, is “2017 CHEROKEE HOMECOMING.” The limited-quantity, black shirts are short-sleeved, ranging in sizes small to 3XL and sell for $20 plus tax. The shirts are available at the Cherokee Phoenix office in Room 231 of the Annex Building (Old Motel) on the Tribal Complex. For more information, call 918-453-5269. They are also available at the Cherokee Nation Gift Shop, als0 on the Tribal Complex, or online at <a href="http://cherokeegiftshop.com" target="_blank">http://cherokeegiftshop.com</a>. Phoenix staff members will also have shirts available at the Cherokee Phoenix booths at the W.W. Keeler Tribal Complex and Capital Square during the Cherokee National Holiday in September. The Cherokee Phoenix is accepting concept ideas from artists who are Cherokee Nation, United Keetoowah Band or Eastern Band citizens until midnight on Jan. 1. Artist can email detailed concepts to <a href="mailto: travis-snell@cherokee.org">travis-snell@cherokee.org</a>. For artists contemplating submitting design ideas, please note that if your concept is chosen and you sign a contract, the Cherokee Phoenix will own the artwork because we consider it a commissioned piece. As for what Phoenix staff members look for in a concept, we ask that artists “think Cherokee National Holiday” and include a phoenix.
BY KENLEA HENSON
Reporter
12/08/2017 08:15 AM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – Cherokee National Treasure Tommy Wildcat recently released a CD tilted “Donadagohv’i” or “See You Again,” which consists of 10 original flute compositions that are either studio productions or recorded performances. The Native American Music Award-winning flutist said he’s been playing for 25 years and has traveled across the nation and abroad sharing Cherokee culture via his music. “It’s important to share my music with people to promote the beautiful word of our American Indian heritage, but it also inspires those around me and those who are just finding their Cherokee heritage to get involved,” Wildcat said. Wildcat has performed at historical sites, festivals, powwows and CN at-large community events. He’s made 18 trips to Hawaii, visited 37 universities and taken four European tours. He’s also been a featured performer at the New Orleans Jazz Festival, Stockholm Water Festival and Cherokee Days at the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C. Before gaining recognition as a flutist, Wildcat made Cherokee crafts such as blowguns, darts, clay bead necklaces and river cane flutes. While making flutes and perfecting their sounds, Wildcat taught himself to play and developed a love for it. “I was already making blowguns, but I was really interested in trying to make the river cane flutes, so I just kept trying to make them and after probably a hundred of them, every flute I made would make a sound. Every time I made a flute I would have to tune it up, so it gave me a lot of practice,” he said. “I enjoyed it so much, and it became the strongest tradition that helped me help my family and promote our heritage.” In 2013, Wildcat was named a Cherokee National Treasure for his flute making, which remains one of his proudest accomplishments. The title is bestowed to CN citizens who have dedicated their lives to teaching, mentoring and advocating traditional Cherokee arts. As a way to fund his travels, he began selling cassette tapes of his music, which later transitioned to CDs. Soon individuals and businesses were requesting his CDs, and within the first year Wildcat sold 10,000 CDs. For “Donadagohv’i,” his eighth CD, Wildcat dedicated it to his late father, Cherokee National Treasure Tom Webber Wildcat, and his mother, Annie Wildcat. He said the title is his thank you to his family and friends for their love and support. “Donadagohv’i, which means I’ll see you again, is my personal wado (thank you) to all my family and friends that helped me from my very my first venue and small venues to the big venues.” Wildcat’s family and friends inspired each song on “Donadagohv’i.” He said he titled the songs after Cherokee words and phrases that have significant meaning to him. “I’ve titled my songs after Cherokee words that are used throughout our Cherokee-speaking communities, which is something I wanted to really promote. Inspiration is in our Cherokee words, like my song ‘Osda,’ which means much more than good or fine. When our elders tell our young people osda it inspires them that they did good or something about them is great,” he said. Wildcat said he wants to perform and compose music as long as he can, but it’s also important the younger generations take initiative to keep traditional music alive. “It’s very important to me and our heritage that the next generation continue on with the pride we always have had in our parents, grandparents, ancestors, with flute music and all of our music.” “Donadagohv’i” can be purchased at the Cherokee Nation, Cherokee Heritage Center, Hard Rock Hotel & Casino and Roland Casino gift shops or by ordering directly from Wildcat via Facebook.
BY STACIE GUTHRIE
Reporter – @cp_sguthrie
12/04/2017 08:15 AM
PARK HILL, Okla. – Cherokee Heritage Center genealogists Gene Norris and Ashley Vann agree that knowing one’s genealogy is important for various reasons such as giving people a look into their ancestors’ lives, bringing light to certain traits or even genetic illnesses or diseases. “The importance of genealogy is finding out who your family is, and that’s the baseline of any genealogy regardless what minority that you may find within the research,” Vann said. Common questions that arise when beginning genealogical research are people wanting to know from whom and where they come, Vann said. “The aspect of genealogy most people are into, the knowing of ‘where do I come from? What are the quirks that that ancestors is? What makes me, me?’ I see a lot of people do that, especially on television because they will start revealing their family genealogy and maybe a special eye effect,” she said. “Maybe they have two different colors of eyes and they realize that’s passed down from generation to generation.” Norris, who began conducting genealogy research 35 years ago, said one thing that interested him about researching his ancestors were the “connections” he found. “My mom was adopted at 3, so I didn’t know my birth uncles until later. Turned out one was an artist, and I like to do art. So, you know...there’s also (these) kind of connections you find with these ancestors and those are what fascinated me,” he said. “I think that’s why you should get into genealogy is because of that reason, of wanting to know more about who they were, where they came from, not to have a specific purpose in mind.” As for diseases or illnesses passed down genetically, Norris said he learned a commonality between a client’s great-grandfather and father’s deaths. “I got on Ancestry (.com) and started looking at these records. They were in Texas. They weren’t here at the time of Dawes (Rolls). But I came across a Texas death certificate of her great-grandfather, and when I printed that off for her she saw the cause of death, and that is what her dad had died from and she got very emotional about it because she didn’t realize that it was genetic,” he said. “A lot of people don’t realize that, but for her to actually see it there in print, in front of her, it made her step back and she had that ‘ah ha’ moment and got very emotional about it.” Although Norris and Vann have strong interests in genealogy, that’s not the case for everyone. Norris said his interest stemmed from a fascination with history. “It’s interesting that in regards to genealogy that those that are into genealogy, that are really into it, usually are the only one in their immediate family that is interested in it. The reason behind that, I do not have any idea,” he said. “For me, history is very fascinating. Not just family history, but general history and learning about who our ancestors were in a sense of what they did on a daily basis, where they came from. Try to flesh them out, so to speak, where they’re not just a name and a date on a piece of paper.” For more information, call 918-456-6007 or visit <a href="http://www.cherokeeheritage.org" target="_blank">cherokeeheritage.org</a>.
BY STAFF REPORTS
11/27/2017 04:00 PM
CATOOSA, Okla. – Cherokee National Treasures will be signing copies of a book about themselves from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino on Dec. 1. The signing is scheduled for the Cherokee Gift Shop inside the casino. Treasures will sign the recently released “Cherokee National Treasures: In Their Own Words,” which can be purchased for $49.99. The book gives readers an opportunity to get to know each Cherokee National Treasure through their own stories and what motivates them to teach and carry on Cherokee language and traditions. The Cherokee National Treasure award was established in 1988 by the tribe and Cherokee National Historical Society. To date, the tribe has awarded 94 CN citizens the honor of Cherokee National Treasure to those who have shown exceptional knowledge of Cherokee art and culture. Those selected actively work to preserve and revive traditional cultural practices that are in danger of being lost from generation to generation. The CN published the book with Pamela Jumper Thurman and Cherokee National Treasure Shawna Morton Cain serving as editors. Cherokee National Treasures Kathryn Kelley, Betty Jo Smith, Lorene Drywater, Dorothy Ice, Al Herrin, Bessie Russell, Edith Catcher Knight, Thelma Vann Forrest, Durbin Feeling, Donald Vann and Betty Christie Frogg served on the Cherokee National Treasures Book Review Board. To buy a copy, visit any CN gift shop or <a href="http://www.cherokeegiftshop.com" target="_blank">www.cherokeegiftshop.com</a>. Copies can also be purchased at most major book stores and online at <a href="http://www.amazon.com" target="_blank">www.amazon.com</a>.
BY KENLEA HENSON
Reporter
11/22/2017 08:00 AM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – Fewer and fewer Cherokee people are speaking their native language, and the Cherokee Nation is losing elder speakers each year, so a monthly gathering of speakers is important for keeping the language alive, Cherokee Speakers Bureau officials said. On Nov. 9, the CSB held a gathering for Cherokee speakers in the Tsa-La-Gi Community Meeting Room for lunch, fellowship and to speak Cherokee. The CSB formed in 2007 to give Cherokee speakers an opportunity to speak the language with others. Ten years later, the CSB continues to be important for the language’s preservation. “This event is very important because we don’t get to talk in Cherokee very much anymore because like places where we work not all co-workers can speak it. So this event allows us to all come together to speak the language,” Kathy Sierra, CN Cherokee Language Program assistant, said. “I come to speak Cherokee, to see all my friends and just be together, you know. One of my speaker friends works at (W.W.) Hastings (Hospital) so we don’t get to see each other and speak Cherokee until this event.” Along with speaking Cherokee and having lunch, the event consists of storytelling, singing, community reports and word translation. CN translator specialist Dennis Sixkiller, who serves as the meetings’ facilitator, said attending the CSB and talking with other Cherokee speakers has refreshed his memory of the language. “I was kind of forgetting how to say some things in Cherokee. But from having a job (at Cherokee Nation) and being around people at the Speakers Bureau that speak Cherokee has really helped my language,” he said. “I just visited with a guy I grew up with, and a few years back I probably couldn’t talk to him in as much Cherokee as I did today, so it really has helped me out, and I really enjoy it.” For CN translator specialist Bonnie Kirk keeping the language alive is “crucial.” She said not only is it important for the older speakers to keep speaking the language, but it’s also important to teach others so CSB meetings continue. “I think right now it’s crucial to carry on the language that the Creator gave us. If we don’t, it’s going to be a lost art. We are fighting to keep that culture and teach our kids to speak Cherokee because if we don’t it’s going to be an end to a lot of our culture and to events like this,” she said. “This is our tenth year, and to this day we try to spread the word to different communities, and hopefully it will continue a long time because we really enjoy seeing each other once a month and speaking Cherokee with each other, and I hope that for the next generations, too.” Although the CSB is designated for Cherokee speakers anyone is welcome to attend, but only Cherokee is spoken. “We have a lot of students from different areas that just sit and listen, so everyone is welcome,” Kirk said. The next CSB meeting will be held from 12:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Dec. 14 in the same meeting room. For more information, call Roy Boney Jr. at 918-453-5487.