Cherokee Nation citizen Payton Sarabia rides her bike with a purple tutu over her riding gear. She has earned the name ‘Payton the Purple Pickle Flying Tutu’ for her look. COURTESY
Sarabia finds success in BMX sport
BULLHEAD CITY, Ariz. – A young Cherokee Nation citizen is making a name for herself in the BMX world, also known as bicycle motocross. Payton Sarabia, 5, has two big titles under her belt and is just beginning her biking journey.
Payton’s mother, Priscilla, said Payton became interested in BMX after attending one session.
“It was very hard to find a sport that would take kids at that young of an age, and BMX was one of them. We took her one day and she tried (it) and from there she was hooked,” she said. “She started on one of those little bikes that don’t have pedals, it kind of teaches the kid to balance. From there she moved onto pedal bikes, which is what she’s on now and competing on.”
Payton said she likes the sport because she likes making friends and “jumping” her bike.
Priscilla said Payton’s usual class she races with, the 5 and under class, is extremely competitive.
“For 5 years old you would just expect girls going out there and having fun, but they are very, very competitive,” she said. “Something you would expect for boys, but it actually comes out in the girls.”
Priscilla said this year Payton took won the Arizona championship and third place for the DK Bikes Gold Cup Regional Championship, both in the 5 and under girls class.
“This year is the first year we’ve actually competed for state and the gold cup,” she said. “The state races, there were several throughout the state. She participated in, I want to say, six of them. Out of the state races they take the highest four scores and then they compete in the final, and whoever has the most points and the most wins at the end is the one who goes home with the state championship.”
Priscilla said Payton gets to carry the first-place plate on her bike for winning state. She also received a 2015 state championship backpack.
She said Payton competed against girls in the western region of the United States to win the third place title for the DK Bikes Gold Cup.
“That’s just kids her age and her proficiency to what area,” she said. “They kind of race it out to see who goes home with the win.”
Priscilla said she is proud of her daughter and her accomplishments with the sport.
“I was very excited. I was proud. In the end she made part of history,” she said. “It’s very rare to even know somebody who wins one of those because there’s so many kids competing.”
The Tuff Gurlz Trophy Team, an all-girl BMX team, sponsors Payton.
Priscilla said Payton is known for wearing her purple tutu over her racing gear.
“When she first started BMX she couldn’t decide between BMX or dance so that was kind of how she got her name, ‘Payton the Purple Pickle Flying Tutu’ is because she wore a tutu over her riding gear,” she said. “She still holds that name and still wears her purple tutu.”
Payton said she likes wearing her purple tutu because it makes her “fast” so that she can win.
Priscilla said when parents see Payton wear her tutu they try to get their daughters involved with the sport.
“A lot of the races that we go to, some parents have their boys that race and they try to get their daughters into the sport, but you know a girl’s normal reaction is, ‘that’s for boys. No, I don’t want to do that.’ So they always come up to Payton and ask to take a picture of her in a tutu so they can go home and show their daughters that girls do the sport and you can do it,” she said. “She actually motivates quite a bit of people in the sport.”
Bullhead City, Ariz. – ᎠᏓᎨ ᎠᎨᏳᏣ ᏣᎳᎩ ᎠᏰᎵ ᎨᎳ ᎠᎦᏅᏐ ᏂᎦᎵᏍᏗᎭ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎨᎳ BMX ᎡᎶᎯ ᎬᎾᏕᎾ, ᎾᏍᎩᏍᏊ ᏔᎵᏗᎦᏆᏘ ᎠᏂᎩᏍᏗᏍᎩ ᏚᎾᏗᏫᏍᏗᎭ. Payton Sarabia, ᎯᏍᎩ ᏳᏕᏘᏴᏓ, ᎦᏳᎳ ᏚᎾᎠ ᏗᎪᏪᎵ ᏄᏛᏁᎸ ᎭᏫᎾᏗᏢ ᎤᏓᏠᎲᎢ ᎠᎴ ᏃᏊ ᎠᎴᏂᎭ ᎾᎿ ᏔᎵ ᏗᎦᏆᏘ ᎠᎩᎸᏗᏍᎬᎢ ᎠᏂᎩᏍᎪᎢ.
Payton’s ᎤᏥᎢ, Priscilla, ᎠᏗᏍᎬ Payton ᎤᎴᏅᎲ ᏓᏍᏆ.ᎪᏍᎬ BMX ᎣᏂ ᎾᎿ ᏧᏭᏪᏙᎸ ᏌᏊ ᏓᎾᏠᏍᎬᎢ ᎠᎾᎵᏏᎾᎲᏍᏗᏍᎬᎢ.
“ᏍᏓᏱ ᎨᏒ ᎠᏩᏛᏗ ᏗᎬᏩᎾᏁᎶᏗ ᎬᏩᎾᏕᎳᏗᏍᏗ ᎠᎴ ᏗᎬᏩᏂᏯᏍᏗ ᎨᏒ ᏗᏂᏲᏟᏊ, ᎠᎴ BMX ᎾᏍᎩ ᏓᏂᏯᏂᏍᎬ ᎾᏍᎩᏊ ᎢᏳᎾᏕᏘᏴᏓ. ᏌᏊ ᎢᎦ ᎣᏍᏓᏘᏅᏒ ᎠᎴ ᎤᏁᎶᏔᏅ ᎠᎴ ᎾᎯᏳ ᎤᎴᏅᏓ ᎤᎸᏉᏔᏅ,” ᎠᏗᏍᎬᎢ. “ᎤᎴᏅᎲ ᎤᎩᎸᏔᏅ ᎤᏍᏗ ᏔᎵ ᏗᎦᏆᏘ Ꮭ ᏗᎳᏍᎬᏍᏗ ᏱᏗᎪᏢᏎ, ᎤᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᏙᏗ ᎨᏒ ᎤᎾᎩᎸᏙᏗᎢ. ᎾᎯᏳ ᎤᎴᏅᎲᎢ ᏌᏊ ᎠᎳᏍᎬᏍᏗ ᎪᏢᏒ, ᏅᏍᎩᏃ ᎤᎩᎸᏙ ᎠᎴ ᏓᏙᎩᏯᏍᏗᏍᎪᎢ.”
Payton ᎠᏗᏍᎬ ᎤᎸᏉᏛ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏧᏁᎶᏗ ᏅᏗᎦᎵᏍᏙᏗ ᎤᎸᏉᏙ ᏧᎵ ᏓᏩᏗᏍᎬ ᎠᎴ “ᏓᎵᏔᏗᏅᏗᏍᎬ” ᎾᎿ ᎤᏤᎵ ᏔᎵ ᏗᎦᏆᏘ.
Priscilla ᎠᏗᏍᎬ Payton’s ᎾᏍᎩ ᏓᎩᏍᎬ ᏓᏕᎶᏆᎠᎬ ᎾᎿ ᏓᏙᎩᏯᏍᏗᏍᎬ, ᎾᏍᎩ ᎯᏍᎩ ᎠᎴ ᎭᏫᎾᏗᏝ ᎠᏂᏯᎢ, ᎾᏍᎩ ᎢᎦ ᎤᏂᎸᏉᏓ ᎤᎾᏙᎩᏯᏍᏗ.
“ᎾᏍᎩ ᎯᏍᎩ ᎢᏧᎾᏕᏘᏴᏓ ᏱᏃᎵ ᎠᏂᎨᏳᏣ ᎠᏁᎪ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎤᏬᎸᏗ ᎤᏁᏓᏍᏗᎢ, ᎠᏎᏃ ᎢᎦ ᎤᎾᏓᎪᎾᏙᏗ ᎤᏂᎸᎴᏓ,” ᎠᏗᏍᎬᎢ. “ᎾᏍᎩ ᎠᏂᏧᏣ ᏱᎩ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎾᎾᏛᏁᎰ, ᎠᏎᏃ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎠᏂᎨᏳᏣ ᎾᏍᎩᏍᏊ ᎤᏠᏯ.”
Priscilla ᎠᏗᏍᎬ ᎯᎠ ᏧᏕᏘᏴᏌᏓ Payton ᎤᎩᏒ ᎤᏓᏠᏒ ᎾᎿ Arizona ᎢᎬᏱ ᎠᏂᏙᎾ ᎤᎾᏓᏠᏒ ᎠᎴ ᏦᎢᏁ ᎤᎾᏓᏠᏒ ᎾᏍᎩ DK ᏔᎵ ᏗᎦᏆᏘ ᏓᎶᏂᎨ ᎠᎫᎩᏍᏓ Regional ᎤᏂᏍᎦᏎᏗ, ᎢᏧᎳ ᎾᎿ ᎯᏍ ᎢᏳᎾᏕᏘᏴᏓ ᎠᎴ ᎭᏫᎾᏗᏢ ᎠᏂᎨᏳᏣ ᎠᏂᏯᎥᎢ.
“ ᎯᎠ ᏧᏕᏘᏴᏌᏗ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎢᎬᏱ ᎤᏕᏘᏴᏌᏗᏒ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏙᎦᏁᎶᏂ ᎤᏔᏂ ᏓᎾᏁᎶᎲᏍᎬ ᎾᎿ ᏍᎦᏚᎩ ᎠᎴ ᎾᎿ ᎠᏕᎳ ᏓᎶᏂᎨ ᎤᎵᏍᏈᏓ,” ᎠᏗᏍᎬᎢ. “ᎾᏍᎩ ᏍᎦᏚᎩ ᎠᎾᏙᎩᏯᏍᎬᎢ, ᎾᏍᎩ ᎢᎸᏍᎩ ᎨᏒ ᏂᎬᎾᏛ ᏍᎦᏚᎩ. ᎤᏕᎳᏛ ᎾᎿ, ᎠᏆᏚᎵ ᎠᏆᏗ, ᏑᏓᎵ ᏯᏂᎢ. ᎤᏗᏗᏝ ᎾᎿ ᏍᎦᏚᎩ ᎠᎾᏙᎩᏯᏍᎬ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎤᏂᎩᏒ ᏩᎦᎸᎳᏗᏴ ᎾᎿ ᏅᎩ ᎤᏂᏅᏅ ᎠᎴ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎤᏂᏍᏆᏛ ᏂᎦᏓ, ᎠᎴ ᏂᎦᎵᏍᏗᏊ ᎩᎶ ᏭᎪᏛ ᎤᏂᎾᎢ ᎠᎴ ᏭᎪᏛ ᎤᎾᏓᏠᏒ ᎠᎵᏍᏆᏗᏍᎬ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎠᏂᎩᏍᎪ ᎤᏓᏠᏒᎢ ᎾᎿ ᏍᎦᏚᎩ ᏩᎦᎸᎳᏗᏴ ᎤᏓᏠᏒᎢ.”
Priscilla ᎠᏗᏍᎬ ᎾᏍᎩ Peyton ᏓᏱᎦᎵᏍᎪᎸᏓᏁᎵ ᎤᎾᏫᏗᎢ ᎢᎬᏱ ᎪᏪᎵ ᏖᎵᏙ ᎤᏫᏗ ᏔᎵ ᏗᎦᏆᏘ ᎤᎩᎸᏛ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎤᏓᏠᏒ ᏍᎦᏚᎩ. ᎾᏍᎩᏍᏊ ᏔᎵ ᏯᎦᏴᎵ ᏍᎩᎦᏚ ᏍᎦᏚᎩ ᎢᎬᏱ ᎠᏂᏙᎾᎢ ᎦᎵᏔᏅᏙᏗ ᏕᎦᎶᏗ ᎠᎵᏏᏓᏍᏗ.
ᎠᏗᏍᎬ Peyton ᎤᏍᏆᏛ ᎠᏂᏐᎢ ᏗᎾᏁᎶᎲᏍᎩ ᎠᏂᎨᏳᏣ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎤᏕᎵᎬ ᎠᏁᎯ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎠᎹᏱᏟ ᏗᏍᎦᏚᎩ ᎾᎿ ᎤᎾᏓᏠᏒ ᏦᎢᏁ ᎤᏙᏢᏒ ᎾᎿ DK ᏔᎵ ᏗᎦᏆᏘ ᎠᏕᎳ ᏓᎶᏂᎨ ᎤᎵᏍᏈᏓ.
“ᎾᏍᎩ ᎯᎠ ᏗᏂᏲᏟ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎤᏠᏯ ᎢᏧᎾᏕᏘᏴᏓ ᎠᎴ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎢᎦ ᎠᏂᎦᏔᎲᎢ ᎾᎿ ᎨᏒᎢ,” ᎠᏗᏍᎬᎢ. “ᎠᎾᏙᎩᏯᏍᎬ ᎤᎾᏕᎶᎰᎯᏍᏗ ᎾᏳ ᏛᎬᏂᎩᏏᏒ ᎤᏓᏠᏒᎢ.”
Priscilla ᎠᏗᏍᎬ ᎣᏍᏓ ᎤᏱᎸ ᎾᎿ ᎤᏪᎧᎲ ᎠᎨᏳᏣ ᎠᎴ ᎢᎦ ᎤᏓᏠᏒᎢ ᎾᎿ ᏓᏁᎶᎲᏍᎬᎢ.
“ᎠᏯ ᎢᎦ ᎦᎵᎡᎵᎬ. ᏥᏢᏩᏍᎬ ᎠᏇᏥ. ᎠᏍᏆᏗᏍᎬ ᎤᏬᏢᏅ ᎤᏂᏃᎮᏗ,” ᎠᏗᏍᎬᎢ. “ᎢᎦᏃ ᎤᏍᏆᏂᎪᏛ ᎾᎿ ᎯᎠ ᎢᏳᎵᏍᏙᏗ ᎤᏓᏠᎯᏍᏗᎢ ᏅᏗᎦᎵᏍᏙᏗ ᎢᏳᎾᏥᏍᏈᏍᏗ ᏗᏂᏲᏟ ᎠᎾᏓᎪᎾᏗᏍᎪᎢ.”
ᎾᏍᎩ Tuff Gurlz Trophy ᎤᎾᏓᏡᎬ, ᏂᎦᏓ ᎠᏂᎨᏳᏣ BMX ᎤᎾᏓᏡᎬ, ᎤᏍᏕᎸᎯᏙ Payton.
Priscilla ᎠᏗᏍᎬ Payton ᎠᎦᏅᏙ ᎤᎾᏬᏍᏗ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎠᏕᎭᎷᎨ ᏚᏚ ᎦᏚᏗᏝ ᎠᎾᏙᎩᏯᏍᎩ ᏧᎾᏄᏬᏍᏗ ᏚᏄᏭᎢ.
“ᎾᏍᎩ ᎢᎬᏱ ᏧᎴᏅᎲ BMX Ꮭ ᏳᏅᏖ ᎢᏳᏍᏗ ᎤᏑᏰᏍᏗ ᎾᎿ BMX ᎠᎴ ᎤᎵᏍᎩᏍᏗᎢ ᎾᏍᎩᏃ ᏄᎵᏍᏔᏅ ᎤᏓᎴᏅᎭ ᎾᏍᎩᎴ ᎤᎩᏍᏔᏅ ᏚᏙᎥᎢ, ‘Payton ᎾᏍᎩ ᎠᏕᎭᎷᎨ ᎦᎦᎹ ᎦᏃᎯᎴᎦ ᏚᏚ’ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏅᏗᎦᎵᏍᏙᏗ ᎤᏅᏬ ᏚᏚ ᎦᏚᎵᏢ ᎾᏃ ᏗᏐᎢ ᏚᏄᏮᎢ,” ᎠᏗᏍᎬᎢ. “ᎾᏍᎩᏃ Ꮟ ᎾᏥᏪᏎᎰᎢ ᎠᎴ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎠᏕᎭᎷᎨ ᏚᏚ ᎤᏄᏬᎢ.”
Payton ᎠᏗᏍᎬ ᎤᎸᏉᏛ ᎤᏄᏬᏍᏗ ᎠᏕᎭᎷᎨ ᏚᏚ ᏅᏗᎦᎵᏍᏙᏗ “ᎤᏟᏍᏗ” ᎨᏐ ᎠᎴ ᎬᏩᏓᏠᎯᏍᏗ.
Priscilla ᎠᏗᏍᎬ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏧᎦᏴᎵᎨ ᏳᏂᎪᎯ Payton ᎤᏄᏮ ᎤᏤᎵ ᏚᏚ ᎠᎾᏁᎶᏗᏍᎪ ᎤᏁᏥ ᎠᎨᏳᏣ ᎤᏪᎳᏗᏓᏍᏗ ᎾᎿ ᏓᎾᏁᎶᎲᏍᎬᎢ.
“ᎤᎪᏓ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏓᎾᏙᎩᏯᏍᏗᎬ ᎣᏤᏙᎲ, ᎢᎦᏓ ᏧᎾᏓᎦᏴᎵᎨ ᎠᏂᏧᏣ ᏚᏂᎧᎲ ᎠᏂᏧᏣ ᎠᎾᏙᎩᏯᏍᎪ ᎠᎾᏁᎶᏗᏍᎪ ᏧᏁᏣ ᎠᏂᎨᏳᏣ ᏧᎾᏁᎶᏗᎢ, ᎠᏎᏃ ᎠᏂᎨᏳᏣ ᎯᎠ ᎾᏂᏪᏍᎪ, ᎠᏂᏧᏣᏛᎢ ᏧᎾᏁᎶᏗ ᎾᏍᎩ. Ꮭ, ᏯᏆᏚᎵ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏯᏆᏛᏗᎢ.’ ᎾᏍᎩᏃ ᎠᏂᎷᏤᎭ Payton ᎠᎴ ᎠᎾᏛᏛᎲᏍᎪ ᏗᎨᎦᏟᎶᏍᏙᏗ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎤᏅᏮ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎤᎾᏂᎩᏍᏗ ᎠᎴ ᏧᏎᎮᏗ ᎾᎿ ᏧᏁᏣ ᎠᏂᎨᏳᏣ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏧᎾᏁᎶᏗ ᏧᎾᏁᎶᏗ ᎠᎴ ᏂᎯ ᎡᎵ ᎢᎨᏣᏛᏗ,” ᎠᏗᏍᎬᎢ. “ ᏙᎯᏳᏃ ᏓᏂᎦᎵᏍᏓᏗᏍᏗᏍᎪ ᎤᏂᎪᏓ ᎠᏂᏴᏫ ᏓᎾᏁᎶᎲᏍᎪᎢ.
CLAREMORE, Okla. – Rogers State University’s Native American Studies Program on March 5 hosted a cultural enrichment day where students and community members had the opportunity to make stickball sticks, stickball balls and traditional baskets.
Dr. Hugh Foley – a professor of fine arts at RSU, coordinator of the Native American Studies Program and Cherokee Promise scholar advisor – said it was the university’s 18th annual stickball and basket-making workshop. Foley said he works with Victor Wildcat, and adjunct Cherokee language instructor at RSU, who helps the participants make their crafts.
“I’ve known Victor for a long time, graduated Muskogee High together…He contacted me in the (19)90s. My class was on TV here at RSU… He said ‘hey we do stickball workshops. Want to do one at RSU?’ So we started doing it,” Foley said.
He added that his department reaches out to area schools and universities to offer them the opportunity to attend the cultural event.
“The most important thing is to continue these cultural traditions and life ways and hopefully instilling them in some young people who will be excited about them and want to continue on with them. There aren’t many opportunities like this around. It is free to the people that come here,” he said.
The second benefit of the event, he said, includes team, community and leadership building.
“Getting students to understand you need to volunteer in your community to make it better, and so that’s a big part of what we do as well,” Foley said.
Ty Martinez, a Cherokee Nation citizen and Cherokee Promise scholar, went to RSU for the cultural enrichment day from Northeastern State University in Tahlequah. He said during the event he made Cherokee-style stickball sticks.
“We’re on a group meeting with our Cherokee Promise scholars. We made Cherokee stickball sticks. Took us about hour or two hours to sand down and get right,” Martinez said. “This is actually the second set of sticks I’ve made, but first pair that I’ve used just the rasp and whittled it all the way down. I used a different tool on the other one, but I’m pretty happy with these.”
He added that his first pair might be used for playing stickball, but his second he’s considering modeling them as an art piece. “I’m debating on if I want to put some kind of like burn design, stain them and hang them up. Not really sure yet.”
Martinez said using more modern tools made the experience easier, but a lot of work was put into each person’s piece.
“So it kind of helps us bring it back to how they used to do it,” he said.
RSU President Larry Rice said he was glad to see students from all over attend the event.
“It’s a privilege to host this. It’s a privilege to watch how these stickball (sticks) are made, including the ball. It’s a privilege also to watch how the baskets are made. The craftsmanship and creativity of the tribal ancestors is just remarkable,” he said.
In November, RSU will host another cultural event in conjunction with Native American Heritage Month. For more information, email <a href="mailto: firstname.lastname@example.org">email@example.com</a>.
JAY, Okla. – Principal Chief Bill John Baker had a hard time holding back his emotions on April 1 during the grand opening of a new health center located at 859 E. Melton Dr.
“This is our most glorious clinic,” Baker said referring to the new 42,000-square-foot Sam Hider Health Center.
The $14 million state-of-the-art clinic, located north of Jay, features a basket weave design in the bricks on the building and in the sunshades surrounding the building. The new health center almost doubles the size of the former 27-year-old medical building located at 1015 Washbourne, which is 26,000 square feet.
“I believe we have the best health care in Indian Country,” Baker said. “We will soon have the best health care in the state of Oklahoma.”
The new Sam Hider Health Center is the fourth and final project completed under a $100 million health care capital improvement plan using casino profits.
Under a federal health care plan, the CN will receive $89 million yearly earmarked for health care, Baker said.
Baker also spoke of plans of a 459,000-square-foot expansion project for the W.W. Hastings Hospital in Tahlequah and for the tribe to have its own medical school.
“To grow our own Cherokee doctors to take care of our own Cherokee people,” Baker said as his voice cracked with emotion.
Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin Jr. and Baker praised the Cherokee artwork, tools and historical Delaware County photographs that are displayed throughout the medical center.
Hoskin also honored Ella Cummings, Sam Hider’s daughter, who was in attendance.
The new Sam Hider Health Center also boasts a physical therapy department, something the previous Jay clinic did not have.
“We are in the process of recruiting a physical therapist,” Health Services Executive Director Connie Davis said.
Previously, patients requiring physical therapy were required to travel to Tahlequah.
“This will allow more mobility, and offer some wound care and pain management,” Davis said.
In addition, the new facility offers primary care, dental, optometry, radiology, behavioral health, public health nursing, pharmacy with mail order, laboratory, nutrition, WIC, contract health and diabetes care.
Tribal Councilor Harley Buzzard also spoke, giving some history about the previous Jay health clinic and appreciation to the artists whose designs adorn the building.
“In the late (19)60s the clinic was located across the corner of the courthouse. Then in 1972 it was moved to what is now city hall, and in 1989 was relocated to the hospital and now to this beautiful building. With this facility and the addition of more providers and more medical staff this will greatly improve the service and help to improve the quality of health for our people,” Buzzard said. “As you will notice the design of the basket weave on the outside and art work through out the clinic were designed to show the culture of our Cherokee people. Just a reminder when you go through the clinic there will be many pictures of families from this area on display so you may just see your family or relatives. I do want to recognize a couple of local artists Sage Butler, Vickie Blackwood, Josie Jones and all of the other artist for their great work.”
In 2015, the previous Jay health center had more than 77,000 patient visits and issued nearly 154,000 prescriptions.
Also, CN opened a new health center in Ochelata and expanded health centers in Sallisaw and Stilwell in 2015.
GROVE, Okla. – A $23 million Grove casino is expected to bring in nearly 200 jobs to the Grove and Grand Lake area, Principal Chief Bill John Baker said during a groundbreaking ceremony for the tribe’s newest casino, Cherokee Casino Grove.
Many Cherokee Nation dignitaries, as well as Grove and Grand Lake officials, participated in the March 28 ceremony at the proposed site, which is on U.S. 59 Highway near a cutoff road to Monkey Island, approximately 10 miles north of Shangri La Golf Club, Resort and Marina.
“One hundred and seventy-five jobs is more important than 1,000 jobs,” Baker said referring to the Tulsa-based Williams Cos. proposed merger that will reduce its workforce.
The 39,000-square-foot casino is expected to bring 175 jobs to the area, and be completed this winter, Baker said during the ceremony.
“Our entertainment division consistently brings to the market the best jobs and the best entertainment options,” Baker said. “The jobs created by this venue drive our economy, and the financial success of our businesses is reinvested throughout northeast Oklahoma to provide a better quality of life for the Cherokee people.”
This is the 10th Cherokee Nation Entertainment casino and its second in Delaware County. CNE also operates the Cherokee Casino West Siloam Springs in the southern part of the county. The Grove casino will also be the county’s third casino as the Seneca-Cayuga Tribe operates the Grand Lake Casino in Grove.
The Cherokee Casino Grove’s features will include 400 electronic games, table games, a private high limit poker room, restaurant, full-service bar, live music venue, dance floor and complimentary nonalcoholic drinks. The rustic, lodge-style venue will offer event space for hosting private and community events and an outdoor patio.
“We’ve had an interest in the Grove area for years,” Shawn Slaton, CEO of Cherokee Nation Businesses, the parent company of CNE, said. “The lakeside community is attractive because of its leisure lifestyle, so the casino’s offerings and amenities will cater to that lifestyle as well as bring the best entertainment experience to the area.”
Baker said future plans include a hotel.
The CN went into the entertainment industry in 1990 and now employs more than 3,700 people in the entertainment and hospitality division. It operates Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa in Catoosa, eight other Cherokee casinos, a horse track, three hotels, three golf courses and other retail operations.
PARK HILL, Okla. – After more than a decade, the Cherokee Heritage Center has a new curator. One who is familiar with the center after having worked at it before.
Callie Chunestudy, 34, took over the position on Nov. 9 after former CHC Curator Mickel Yantz accepted a job with the Sherwin Miller Museum of Jewish Art in Tulsa.
Chunestudy is a graduate of Northeastern State University with a bachelor’s degree in fine arts.
“The Heritage Center has always held a big place in my heart. It’s where I worked at 16 on (Cherokee Nation) Summer Youth (Employment Program) and at 18 for the pottery division back when that was going on,” she said.
Through the Summer Youth Employment Program, Chunestudy said she gave tours in Adam’s Corner, the CHC’s rural village that depicts Cherokee life in the 1890s before Oklahoma statehood. Chunestudy added that she also worked in the museum archives department and as a secretary under the same employment program, giving her a total of two years experience at CHC before her current position.
As for her curator job, she said in many ways she wants to follow her predecessor’s path.
“Mickel was here 11 years, so I have big shoes to fill. He left a legacy of great shows and exhibits that he put together for the Heritage Center,” she said. “My hope is to continue that legacy while bringing new eyes and new things to the table. We have some really great shows coming up, including our current exhibit, ‘Talking Leaves to Pixels: The History of the Cherokee Syllabary,’ which runs from Jan. 15 until April 2.” Chunestudy said she is also looking forward to the 2016 Trail of Tears Art Show, which follows the syllabary exhibit.
“It will be the first time I’m completely in charge of an art show and competition, so I’m very excited about that,” she said. “And for the first time, we’re going to partner with Cherokee Art Market and also hold their youth art show and competition. So it will run concurrent, here at the Heritage Center, and the winners’ art will be up for the duration of the Trail of Tears Art Show.”
As for why she wanted the curator job, Chunestudy said she’s always been interested in helping preserve and showcase Cherokee culture.
“Art is a great way to do that because everyone can find common ground in beauty. Working at the Cherokee Heritage Center and being a good steward of our collections while helping promote the Cherokee artists that are living today is a very important goal for me,” she said.
CHC Executive Director Candessa Tehee said the CHC is fortunate to have Chunestudy join the staff again.
“She has a background in fine arts yet brings a deep understanding of Cherokee culture and communities with her to the position,” Tehee said. “Her enthusiasm for Cherokee art traditions is evident in her approach to her work and she has a bright future with the CHC.”
The CHC is located at 21192 S. Keeler Drive. It is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday from Sept. 16 until June 14 and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday from June 15 to Sept. 15.
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – On Nov. 24, the Cherokee Nation kicked off the season of giving with its 2015 Angel Project event to help provide Christmas gifts to Cherokee children in need.
To begin the giving, CPR, a Tribal Employment Rights Office-certified and Cherokee-owned roofing business, donated 250 bicycles to the help fill the wants of children who were a part of the Angel Project.
“Giving back is something my mother raised me to do and my employees love helping give back also,” CPR President Robert Brown said. “I remember one year when my mother was unable to buy me a Christmas gift and she received help from a local store owner, who helped her in providing me that one toy under the Christmas tree.”
Rachel Fore, CN Indian Child Welfare administrative operations manager, said the donation of bikes would cover a “large amount” of what children are requesting for their respective Christmas gifts.
“That’s a fabulous donation that we haven’t ever had before, so it kind of changed the way we had to do things on the application side,” she said. “We pretty swiftly decided that we would just pull all the angels that have requested bikes and then we would utilize the funds that we receive to fill in the needs for those children.”
Fore said she became emotional when she saw all 250 bike on various trailers parked outside the W.W. Keeler Tribal Complex.
“I teared up because as you take application after application there are so many needs out there and very little wants really from our Cherokee children that are on the Angel Project, and so to see that someone would identify a very, very big want that a lot of kids wouldn’t even dream to ask for, that’s really impactful, and it’s a great way that Cherokees are helping Cherokees,” she said.
Fore said there were nearly 2,000 children who are a part of the project. She added that she expects to see around 100 emergency applicants in the coming weeks.
“As we get closer people will say, ‘I didn’t know that I was going to have this expense’ or ‘my husband lost his job last week.’ So we will take in those children and provide for them as well,” she said. “Last year, we provided for 2,016 children so we are going to maintain open and available to operate up to that this year.”
Fore said in some cases not all children on the tree are picked, but she said with the help of donated funds they will not go without.
“Typically, it is the case that we have to shop for anywhere from 200 to 400 that aren’t selected off of a tree,” she said. “We utilize our donated funds to do that. We focus on their needs first then at least get them one want for the year.”
Fore said this is her first year to fully be immersed in the CN Angel Project, and that is has been a “humbling” experience.
“You think, ‘what is it going to be like to take these applications?’ and then you look into the eyes of these mothers and fathers that just want to be able to provide for their kids at Christmas,” she said. “I didn’t probably realize that it would impact me so much.”
She said is also impacts her family and how they partake in Christmas.
“It also impacts me in my own personal life because I look at my kids and think I probably over buy for Christmas most years for my own children,” she said. “So, given a little perspective through the Angel Project we’re looking at that differently in our own family this year. What we can maybe pare back on and provide to those that wouldn’t receive half of what I might buy for my own kids.”
The Angel Project is available to CN citizens living within the tribe’s 14-county jurisdiction, meet income guidelines and have children who are between 0 to 16 years old.
Fore said all donations need to be returned unwrapped to Cherokee First inside the Tribal Complex by Dec. 9. “You can come adopt an angel right up until then,” she said.
According to a CN press release, tax-free monetary donations to help buy gifts can be made to the CN at <a href="http://bit.ly/1OxObLR" target="_blank">http://bit.ly/1OxObLR</a>. For more information, call Fore at 918-458-6919.