http://www.cherokeephoenix.orgDavid Comingdeer, chief of the Echota Ground in Park Hill, Oklahoma, visits with Jack “Red” Flynn, right, and Jimmy Ross, left, during a benefit stomp dance on Feb. 7 at the Tahlequah Community Building. JAMI MURPHY/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
David Comingdeer, chief of the Echota Ground in Park Hill, Oklahoma, visits with Jack “Red” Flynn, right, and Jimmy Ross, left, during a benefit stomp dance on Feb. 7 at the Tahlequah Community Building. JAMI MURPHY/CHEROKEE PHOENIX

Stomp dance raises money for Cherokee family

The Flynns’ vehicle after a head-on collision in January. The family was left with multiple injuries that have left them incapacitated. COURTESY
The Flynns’ vehicle after a head-on collision in January. The family was left with multiple injuries that have left them incapacitated. COURTESY
BY JAMI MURPHY
Former Reporter
02/17/2015 08:00 AM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – During a Feb. 7 benefit stomp dance, more than 400 people gathered at the Tahlequah Community Building to raise money for a local Cherokee family that suffered a horrific car accident in January.

The stomp dance was originally planned to raise money for the Echota Ground, a Cherokee stomp ground in Park Hill. Echota Ground Chief David Comingdeer said the event raised more than $3,500 with half going to the Flynns to help with their expenses.

Family members suffered multiple injuries and totaled their vehicle in the accident.

“This evening here in Tahlequah we’ve called all our ceremonial grounds together from the Cherokee Nation, Muskogee Creek, Eucha, Shawnee, Seminole, Seneca Cayuga, even Peoria and Ottawa,” Comingdeer said. “We’ve all come together to help a family, a Cherokee family, a ceremonial family who got in a really bad wreck. We’ve decided to do what we can to help them.”

The Flynns, driving a 2004 Chevy Trailblazer, were hit in a head-on collision on State Highway 51 by Randall Welch, of Welling, who was driving a 2002 Nissan Frontier.

Welch was taken by Tulsa Life Flight and admitted for injuries while the driver of the Trailblazer, Jack “Red” Flynn, was taken to Arkansas with external trunk, leg and head injuries.

Jack’s passengers were Kathy Gann, Jimmy Ross and Nellie Flynn, all family members of Jack. Ross suffered injuries to the head trunk and leg, according to the Oklahoma Highway Patrol. Nellie, Jack’s mother, was taken to a Tulsa hospital with similar injuries.

Nellie was unable to make it to the event because of continual problems with the injuries she suffered. Jack, Ross and Gann were present during the dance along with several other family members.

Some family members said the accident had put the family in a financial bind with hospital visits and losing the vehicle.

“Their going back and forth to the hospital. Both him (Jack) and Nellie are going,” Linda Christie, a Flynn family relative, said.

She said the funds would help with gas, food, travel and anything else unforeseen.

Jack said without the benefit assistance the family would be forced to suffer more with the financial hardship in which the accident put them.

The Flynns and Ross will have a long road ahead of them for full recovery, family members said, but they were appreciative of the donations and support from those who attended.

Stomp dance attendee Celia Xavier said witnessing the fundraiser “felt like a throwback to the way our earlier societies were.”

“Moving in the same direction, giving a helping hand when one needed it. What affects one, affects all. We are supposed to help each other,” Xavier said. “The antithesis of today’s ‘me society.’ It was interesting to see kindness through the actions of the chief of the Echota Grounds. He is giving half the donations to the Flynn family, who was in dire need of help. It was a moving and spiritual experience.”

The family is a member of Stokes Ceremonial Grounds, but Comingdeer said it doesn’t matter what ground one is from.

“They may not be from our ground, but they’re from another ground and we have a lot of respect for each other. We always support each other, try to love and understand each other,” he said. “You can take everything away from us, even our land. You can take all of our corporation away, as long as we still have our beliefs and our tradition we can build a fire, have our dances and take our medicine, speak our language, then we’re still a tribe. Tonight is the foundation of our culture. It’s the foundation of our tribe, and this is how we help each other.

For those interested in donating to the Echota Ground or the Flynns can do so by mailing a check to Route 4 Box 1570, Stilwell, OK 74960. Make checks out to Echota Ground and indicate in the memo where donation is to go.
ᏣᎳᎩ

ᏓᎵᏆ, ᎣᎦᎵᎰᎹ. – ᎾᎯᏳ ᎧᎦᎵ ᎦᎵᏉᎩᏁ ᎤᎾᎵᏍᎩᏒᎩ ᎠᏕᎳ ᎠᏂᏟᏏᏍᎬᎢ, ᏅᎩᏧᏈ ᎤᎶᏒᏍᏓ ᎠᏂᏴᏫ ᎤᎾᏓᏟᏌᏅ ᏓᎵᏆ ᏍᎦᏚᎩ ᎠᏓᏁᎸᎢ ᎠᏕᎳ ᎤᏂᏟᏐᏗ ᎤᎬᏩᏟ ᎤᎾᎵᏍᏕᎸᏙᏗ ᎾᎥ ᎠᏁᎯ ᎠᏂᏣᎳᎩ ᏏᏓᏁᎸ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎤᏂᎩᏟᏲᏨ ᏗᎦᏚᎴᏂ ᏚᎾᏓᏛᏂᏍᏔᏅ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎤᏃᎸᏔᏂ ᏥᎧᎸᎢ.

ᎾᎿᏃ ᎤᎾᎵᏍᎩᏍᏗ ᏚᏄᎪᏔᏅ ᎠᏕᎳ ᎤᏂᏟᏐᏗ ᎾᎿ ᎢᏦᏗ ᎦᏘᏲ ᎤᎾᎵᏍᏕᎸᏙᏗ, ᎾᎿ ᎠᏂᏣᎳᎩ ᎦᏘᏲ ᎤᏙᏢᏒ ᎠᏭᏂᏴᏍᏗᎢ ᏚᏙᎥᎢ. ᎢᏦᏗ ᎦᏘᏲ ᏄᎬᏫᏳᏒ David Comingdeer ᎤᏁᏨ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎯᎠ ᎤᏂᏍᏆᎸᎡᎸ ᎤᏙᏢᏅ ᎠᏕᎳ ᏦᎢ ᏯᎦᏴᎵ ᎯᏍᎩᏧᏈ ᏄᏂᏛ ᎾᏍᎩᏃ ᎠᏰᏟ ᎢᏴ ᏙᏛᏂᏁᎵ ᎠᏂFlynns ᎤᎾᎵᏍᏕᎸᏙᏔᏂᏓᏍᏗ.

ᏏᏓᏁᎸ ᎠᏁᎳ ᎤᏂᎩᎵᏲᏨ ᎤᎪᏗ ᎠᎴ ᎤᏂᏲᏣᏁᎸ ᏗᎦᏚᎴᏂ ᎤᏂᎲᎢ.

“ᎪᎯ ᏒᎯᏰᏱ ᎠᎭᏂ ᏓᎵᏆ ᏙᏥᏯᏂ ᏂᎦᏓ ᎦᏘᏲ ᏚᏙᏢᏒ ᏣᎳᎩ ᎠᏰᎵᎢ, ᎹᏍᎪᎩ ᎠᏂᎫᏌ, ᎠᏂᎤᏥ, ᎠᏂᏌᏂ, ᎠᏂᏏᎹᏃᎵ, ᎠᏂᏌᏂᎦ ᎧᏳᎦ, ᏃᎴᏍᏊ Peoria ᎠᎴ ᎣᏔᏩ,” ᎠᏗᏍᎬ Comingdeer.

“ᏂᎦᏓᏃ ᏙᎩᎷᏨ ᏙᎦᏓᏟᏌᏅ ᏙᏥᏍᏕᎸᎲ, ᎯᎠ ᎠᏂᏣᎳᎩ ᏏᏓᏁᎸᎢ, ᎠᏂᎦᏘᏯ ᏏᏓᏁᎸ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎤᎪᏓ ᏚᏂᏐᏅᏅ ᏗᎦᏚᎴᏂ ᏚᎾᏓᏛᏅᏍᏔᏅᎢ. ᏙᎫᎪᏔᏅ ᎢᎦᏲᎦᏛᏗ ᎨᏒ ᏦᏥᏍᏕᎸᏗᎢ.”

ᎠᏂFlynn’s, ᎤᎾᏦᏛ ᏔᎵ ᏯᎦᏴᎵ ᏅᎩ ᎤᏕᏘᏴᏌᏗᏒ ᎤᏃᏢᏅ Chevy Trailblazer, ᎨᎬᏂᎴ ᎢᎬᏯᎢᏗᏝ ᎠᎦᏘ ᎾᎿ ᎤᏔᏅ ᎦᏅᏅ ᎯᎦᏍᎪ ᏌᏊ ᎪᏪᎵ Randall Welch ᎤᏅᏂᎴ ᏪᎵᏂ ᎡᎯ, ᎾᏍᎩ ᎠᏰᎴᎲ ᏔᎵ ᏯᎦᏴᎵ ᏔᎵ ᎪᏢᏅ Nissan Frontier.

Welch, ᏩᏥᎸᏅ ᎾᎿ ᏔᎳᏏ ᏓᏅᏅ ᏗᏂᏂᏙ ᎠᎴ ᎠᏥᏴᏔᏅ ᎤᏐᏅᏅᎢ ᎾᏍᎩᎾ ᎠᏱᎴᎯ Trailblazer, Jack “Red” Flynn, ᎠᏥᎾᏫᏛᎲ ᏙᏧᏯᏓᏛᎢ ᎾᎿ ᎦᏁᏥ, ᏗᎦᏅᏍᎨᎾ ᎠᎴ ᎠᏍᎪᎵ ᎤᏐᏅᏅᎢ.

JackᏃ ᎬᏩᏣᏁᎸ ᎯᎠ Kathy Gann, Jimmy Ross ᎠᎴ Nellie Flynn, ᏂᎦᏓ ᏚᏓᏘᎾᎥ Jack Ross ᎤᎾᎵᏍᏓᏁᎸᏅ ᏗᏂᏁᏥ, ᏗᏂᏍᎪᎵ, ᎠᎴ ᏗᏂᏅᏍᎨᎾ, ᎠᏃᎵᎬ ᎣᎦᎵᎰᎹ ᏕᎦᏅᏅ ᏧᎾᎦᏎᏍᏗ. Nellie, Jack ᎤᏥ, ᏔᎳᏏ ᏧᏂᏢᎩ ᎠᎦᏘᏅᏒ ᎤᏠᏯ ᎤᏐᏅᏅᎢ.

Nellie Ꮭ ᎬᏪᏓᏍᏗ ᏱᎨᏎ ᎠᏕᎳ ᎠᏂᏟᏏᏍᎬᎢ ᏅᏗᎦᎵᏍᏙᏗ Ꮟ Ꮭ ᎣᏍᏓ ᏱᎩ ᎤᏐᏅᏅᎢ. Jack, Ross ᎠᎴ Gann ᏂᎦᏓ ᎠᏁᏙᎲ ᎾᎿ ᎦᏘᏲ ᏃᎴ ᎠᏂᏐᎢ ᏚᎾᏓᏘᎾᎥᎢ.

ᎢᎦᏓ ᏏᏓᏁᎸ ᎠᏂᏃᎮᏍᎬ ᎯᎠ ᏄᎾᎵᏍᏓᏁᎸ ᎤᎾᎵᏍᏕᎸᏙᏗ ᏄᏂᎲᎾ ᏄᎵᏍᏔᏅ ᎦᎾᎦᏘ ᏓᏁᏙᎲ ᎠᎴ ᏗᎦᏚᎴᏂ ᏄᏂᎲᎾ ᏄᎵᏍᏔᏅᎢ.

“ᏂᎪᎯᎸ ᏩᏁᏙᎲ ᏧᏂᏢᎩ. ᎢᏧᎳ (Jack) ᎠᎴ Nellie ᎠᏁᏙᎰ,” ᎠᏗᏍᎬ Linda Christie, ᎠᏂFlynn ᎪᎱᏍᏗ ᎠᎾᏓᏛᏂ.

ᎠᏗᏍᎬ ᎯᎠ ᎨᏥᏁᎸ ᏛᎾᎵᏍᏕᎸᏙᏔᏂ ᎾᎿ gas, ᎠᎵᏍᏓᏴᏗ, ᎠᏁᏙᎲ ᏂᎪᎯᎸ ᎠᎴ ᏄᏓᎴ ᎤᏂᏂᎬᏎᎲ ᏂᏗᎪᏩᏘᏍᎬᎾ.

Jack ᎧᏃᎮᏍᎬ ᏂᎨᏥᏍᏕᎸᏓ ᏱᎨᏎ ᎾᏍᎩᎾ ᏏᏓᏁᎸ ᎢᎦ ᎤᏦᏎᏗ ᏱᎨᏎ ᎠᎵᏍᏕᎸᏙᏔᏂᏓᏍᏗ ᎨᏒᎢ ᏂᏗᎦᎵᏍᏙᏗᏍᎬ ᏃᎦᎵᏍᏓᏁᎸᎢ.

ᎾᏍᎩᏃ ᎠᏂFlynn’s ᎠᎴ ᎠᏂRoss ᎪᎯᏓ ᎤᏓᎷᎳ ᎧᎵ ᎣᏍᏓ ᎢᏳᎾᎵᏍᏓᏁᏗᎢ, ᎠᎾᏗᏍᎬ ᎠᏂᏏᏓᏁᎸ, ᎢᎦᏃ ᎠᎾᎵᎮᎵᎬ ᎯᎠ ᎤᎾᎵᏍᎪᎸᏔᏅ ᎤᎾᎵᏍᏕᎸᏙᏗ ᎾᎿ ᏂᎦᏓ ᏚᏁᏙᎸᎢ.

ᎦᏘᏲ ᎡᏙᎯ Celia Xavier ᎠᏗᏍᎬ ᎠᎪᏩᏘᏍᎬ ᎠᏕᎳ ᎠᏂᏟᏏᏍᎬ “ᎤᏠᏯ ᎨᏒ ᎪᎯᎦ ᏥᎾᎾᏛᏁᎲᎢ.”

“ᎠᏂᎩᏍᏗ ᎤᏠᏯ ᏚᏳᎪᏛ, ᎠᏍᏕᎸᏗ ᎩᎶ ᎤᏂᎬᎬ. ᎾᎿ ᎤᏕᏯᏙᏗᏍᎬ ᏂᎦᏓ ᎤᎾᏕᏯᏙᏗᏍᎪᎢ.

ᏂᎦᏓᏃ ᏗᎦᎵᏍᏕᎸᏓ,” ᎠᏗᏍᎬ Xavier. “ᏝᏃ ᏂᎬ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏱᏄᏍᏗ.’ ᎣᏍᏓ ᎠᎪᏩᏛᏗ ᎨᏒ ᎤᏓᏅᏘᏴ ᎦᏘᏲ ᏄᎬᏫᏳᏒ ᎢᏦᏗᎢ. ᎠᏰᏟᏃ ᎢᎦ ᎤᏂᏟᏌᏅ ᏚᏁᎸ ᎾᎿ ᎠᏂFlynn ᏏᏓᏁᎸᎢ, ᎾᎿ ᎤᏂᏂᎬᎬ ᏗᏍᏕᎸᏗᎢ. ᎤᏍᏆᏂᎪᏓ ᎠᎴ ᎦᎸᏉᏙᏗ ᎨᏒᎢ.

ᎠᏂᏏᏓᏁᎸ ᎨᏒ ᎦᎨᏙ ᎦᏘᏲ ᎠᏁᎳ, ᎠᏎᏃ Comingdeer ᎠᏗᏍᎬ Ꮭ ᏱᏓᏓᎴᎦ ᎠᏍᏕᎸᏗ ᎤᏣᏘᎾ ᏂᏓᏳᏂᎩᏓ.

“ᏝᏃᏙᎢ ᎠᎭᏂ ᎠᏁᎳ ᏱᎩ, ᎤᏣᏘᎾ ᎦᏘᏲ ᎠᏁᎳ ᎠᏎᏃ ᏙᎦᏓᎨᏳᏐᎢ. ᏂᎪᎯᎸᏃ ᏙᏣᎵᏍᏕᎵᏍᎪ, ᏃᎩᏤᎲ ᎢᎦ ᏙᎦᏓᎨᏳᏐ ᎠᎴ ᏙᏣᏓᏙᎵᏤᎰᎢ,” ᎠᏗᏍᎬᎢ. “ᏂᎦᎥᏃ ᎪᎱᏍᏗ ᏱᏍᎩᎩᏌ, ᎦᏙ ᎾᏍᎩᏊ. ᎣᎦᏙᏢᏒ ᏂᎦᏓ ᏱᏍᎩᎩᏌ, ᎠᏎᏃ ᎢᎪᎯᏓ ᎣᎪᎯᏳᏒ ᎠᎴ ᏃᏣᏛᏁᎲ ᏲᎦᏛᏗ ᎨᏒ ᎡᎵᏊ ᎣᎪᏗ, ᎦᏘᏯ ᎣᎩᏍᏆᎸᎡᏗ ᎠᎴ ᏅᏬᏘ ᎣᎦᏙᏗ, ᎣᎬᏌ ᎣᎩᎲ ᎣᎩᏬᏂᎯᏍᏗ, ᏏᏊᏃ ᏂᎬᏩᏍᏗ ᎣᏥᏅᏍᏓᏢ ᏱᎩ. ᎪᎯ ᎤᏒ ᏄᎵᏍᏔᏅ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎤᎵᎫᏍᏛᏛ ᎣᎦᏤᎵ ᏯᏛᏁᎵᏓᏍᏗ ᎣᎩᎲᎢ, ᎠᎴ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏃᏣᏛᏁᎰ ᏙᏣᎵᏍᏕᎵᏍᎬᎢ.

ᎾᏍᎩ ᎤᎵᏍᎨᏓ ᏂᏣᎵᏍᏓᏁᎲ ᎢᏣᎵᏍᎪᎸᏙᏗ ᎾᎿ ᎢᏦᏗ ᎠᎴ ᎠᏂFlynn ᏏᏓᏁᎸ ᏂᏓᏣᏁᏗ ᏣᎵᏍᎪᎸᏔᏅ ᎾᎿ Route 4 Box 1570, Stilwell, OK 74960. ᎢᏳᏃ ᎠᏕᎳ ᏗᏎᎯᏍᏓ ᏱᏗᏣᏅᎾ ᏦᏪᎶᏗ Echota Grounds ᎠᏎᏃ ᏦᏪᎶᏗ ᎾᎿ ᎤᎩᏍᏗ ᎭᎵᏍᎪᎸᏗᏍᎬᎢ.

– TRANSLATED BY ANNA SIXKILLER

Culture

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.
BY KENLEA HENSON
Reporter
11/20/2017 08:00 AM
GROVE, Okla. – Nearly 100 descendants and friends gathered for a memorial ceremony on Oct. 28 at Snell Cemetery to honor three Trail of Tears survivors. The Oklahoma Chapter of the Trail of Tears Association honored Johnaky Snell, Akie (Sharp) Silversmith and Ahnawake “Annie” (Spirit) Snell. The biography of each survivor was read and metal plaques were attached to their headstones. The plaques read: “In honor of one who endured the forced removal of the Cherokees in 1838-39.” It also includes the Cherokee Nation and TOTA seals. “We are marking the graves of people who came on the forced removal from the East. I think it is very appropriate that we remember the people that came so we don’t forget the forced removal and what they did by enduring the Trail of Tears and if they had not done that we would not be here. One of the purposes we mark graves is to let people know this is their ancestor that came on the forced removal and to bring them together as a family,” National TOTA President Jack Baker said. In 1993, TOTA formed to aid the National Parks Service in “protecting and preserving” the Trail of Tears routes, which Congress recognized as a national historical trail in 1987. In 1996, nine state TOTA chapters were organized in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri, North Carolina, Tennessee and Oklahoma. Oklahoma Chapter member David Hampton said each state chapter works on projects, mostly locating and marking trail segments. However, because the removal trails ended at the Arkansas border, the Oklahoma Chapter didn’t have trails to mark. “Since the Trail generally ended at the Arkansas border and people disbanded when people got into the Cherokee Nation, the Oklahoma Chapter picked marking the graves as one of its projects from the very beginning, so we have been doing that over the last 18 years,” Hampton said. The Oklahoma Chapter has marked 153 graves in the CN and is looking for more Trail survivors, as well as accepting applications from people wanting ancestors’ graves marked. “We have specific criteria of what a Trail of Tears survivor is. It started after the roundup in May 1838. If you came (to Indian Territory, now Oklahoma) before that we are currently not marking those people’s graves. They (survivors) also came on a Cherokee detachment that disbanded in early 1839,” Hampton said. “We verify if they’re eligible, and if there are other people in that same cemetery that are eligible…we mark them, too.” Steven Snell, of Grove, attended the ceremony with his family to honor Johnaky Snell. “I didn’t realize my heritage going back to the Trail of Tears actually had people buried here in this cemetery. It’s just really nice they’re being recognized like this and being shown some respect,” he said. Bob Fields, of Diamond, Missouri, attended to honor his great-great grandmother Akie (Sharp) Silversmith. He read her biography during the ceremony. “I appreciate the Trail of Tears Association for doing this. It was a good ceremony, and I am glad they did it to recognize her life and her endearment on the Trail of Tears and the fact that she got through it. She would have never thought of her family would be here over a hundred years after she died, so I think that’s pretty good deal,” Fields said. LeeAnn Dreadfulwater, of Park Hill, read the biography of her great-great-great grandmother Ahnawake “Annie” (Spirit) Snell. “I think it’s a wonderful honor. She was just a little girl when she was on the Trail coming with all her brothers and sisters and her family. I can’t imagine what she must of seen, encountered and endured. It makes me really proud to come from someone like that who went on to live a really incredible life, a very full life where she was able to make a good home in a new land and to live into the new century, which must have been really incredible, too,” Dreadfulwater said. To nominate an ancestor who survived the Trail of Tears, mail a request to Oklahoma TOTA Chapter President Curtis Rohr at 24880 S. 4106 Road, Claremore, OK, 74019 or call 918-341-4689. <strong>Johnaky Snell</strong> Johnaky Snell was born about 1826 in Cherokee Nation East, most likely on Shooting Creek in what is present-day Clay County, North Carolina. His father was Goo-tah-skah, also known as Pickup in English, and his mother was Wah-li-sah. He had four known siblings or half siblings: Ah-to-he, Oo-yi-yah-sah-nah-ske, Lah-chi-le and Kah-se. As a young man, he endured the forced removal to the west in a currently unknown detachment. On July 25, 1865, he married a Cherokee, Katy Schrimsher. They were parents of eight children surviving to adulthood: Jane (Snell) Bushyhead, Ida (Snell) Six Mitchell Scraper, Lulu (Snell) Gourd, Joe Coon Snell, Charles Snell, Alexander Snell, Nona (Snell) O’Fields and Nancy Snell, as well as one daughter who died in infancy, Mary Snell. During the Civil War, Johnaky served in the Union Army in Company H of the Second Indian Home Guard. After the war he returned to his farm near the Honey Creek area in what is present-day Delaware County, Oklahoma. He died on July 4, 1902, and was buried in the Snell Cemetery. <strong>Akie Sharp Silversmith</strong> Akie Sharp was born about 1829 in Cherokee Nation East. She was the oldest of four children to Ah-ne-kah-yah, also know as “Sharp” in English, and Nancy. As a young girl, Akie and her family were forced on the removal west in the Oldfields/Forman detachment, which left the East on Oct. 10, 1838, and arrived on Feb. 2, 1839. The family then settled in what became the Delaware District of Cherokee Nation, present-day Delaware County, Oklahoma. By 1851, Akie mothered a daughter by the name Ah-li, who died in childhood. Ah-li’s father was unknown. In 1852, Akie married Albert McGhee, a white man, and the pair had one daughter, Sarah (McGhee) Fields. After separation from Albert, Akie married Wilson Silversmith, a Cherokee. They had two children, John Silversmith and Bettie (Silversmith) Fields. During the Civil War, Wilson died and Akie and her family supported themselves by farming east of Grove in the Delaware District. She died on July 9, 1895, and was buried in Snell Cemetery. <strong>Ahnawake “Annie” (Spirit) Snell</strong> Ahnawake or Annie Spirit was born about 1826 on the Etowah River, Cherokee Nation East, near present-day Rome, Georgia. Her father was known as “The Spirit,” and her mother was Chah-wah-yoo-kah. Annie had three full siblings and two half sisters from her mother’s previous marriage to George Vann. Together the family traveled on the forced removal to the West in the George Hicks detachment, which left the East in September 1838 and arrived in March 1839. Her father was a teamster in the detachment. After arrival, the family initially settled in the Flint District, present-day southern Adair or northern Sequoyah County, Oklahoma. Spirit appears to have died within a few years after removal. In 1848, Annie married Samuel Mayes, a white man. They were parents of Sarah (Mayes) Ballard, Elmira (Mayes) Finn Gladney and William (Penn) Mayes. After the Mayes family moved to the Saline District, near Grand River, Samuel died in 1858. In 1862, Annie married Simon Snell, a Cherokee, who was serving in the Union Army. The pair settled in the Delaware District and had one son, Charles Snell. After Simon’s death in 1877, Annie maintained the farm near Honey Creek. She died on Feb. 20, 1910, and was buried near Simon in Snell Cemetery.