Cherokee language program created for immersion school grads

BY LINDSEY BARK
Reporter
01/23/2018 08:00 AM
TAHLEQUAH – The Cherokee Nation and Cherokee Nation Businesses signed a memorandum of understanding on Jan. 10 to begin a Cherokee language pilot project called the 14th Generation Master Apprentice Program.

The program aims to have select Cherokee Language Master Apprentice Program participants teach the language to Cherokee Immersion Charter School graduates as they enter Sequoyah High School.

“We hope to make an opportunity for them to polish up their language skills and at the same time pass on the teaching techniques that we’ve developed in the adult master-apprentice program for the high school so they can be teachers one day or at least teach their family and friends,” Ryan Mackey, CLMAP curriculum supervisor, said.

The MOU states the “Cherokee Nation and CNB share a common interest in promoting and encouraging the continuous use of the Cherokee language. This requires trained and educated individuals who are prepared to further the proper use of the Cherokee language through instruction of others.”

The program is geared toward immersion school graduates attending SHS to continue learning the language in an after-school program and a 10-week summer intensive learning program.
Video Frame selected by Cherokee Phoenix
Cherokee Language Master Apprentice Program participants learn the language in their new classroom setting on the second story of the Cort Mall on Jan. 10 in Tahlequah. Graduates of CLMAP are expected to become instructors in the new 14th Generation Master Apprentice program. LINDSEY BARK/CHEROKEE PHOENIX Chris Holmes, a Sequoyah High School Cherokee language teacher, helps three students at the in January at the Tahlequah-based school. The Cherokee Nation has created a language program with select Cherokee Language Master Apprentice Program participants teaching Cherokee Immersion Charter School graduates as they enter Sequoyah High School. ROGER GRAHAM/CHEROKEE PHOENIX Sequoyah High School students study the Cherokee language during class on Jan. 18 in Tahlequah. Cherokee Immersion Charter School graduates who attend SHS can now continue learning the language from Cherokee Language Master Apprentice Program participants thanks to a new pilot project called the 14th Generation Master Apprentice Program. ROGER GRAHAM/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Cherokee Language Master Apprentice Program participants learn the language in their new classroom setting on the second story of the Cort Mall on Jan. 10 in Tahlequah. Graduates of CLMAP are expected to become instructors in the new 14th Generation Master Apprentice program. LINDSEY BARK/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
https://www.facebook.com/CASA-of-Cherokee-Country-184365501631027/

‘Killers of the Flower Moon’ author to present at NSU

BY STAFF REPORTS
01/22/2018 04:00 PM
TAHLEQUAH – David Grann, New Yorker writer and bestselling author of “The Lost City of Z” and “Killers of the Flower Moon,” has been named as the guest speaker for the 2018 Larry Adair Lectureship at Northeastern State University.

Grann will offer personal insight on his book “Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and Birth of the FBI,” at 2 p.m. on Feb. 28 in the Center for the Performing Arts.

“Killers of the Flower Moon” has spent more than 20 weeks on The New York Times nonfiction bestseller list, was the finalist for the National Book Award, a finalist for the Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction and was ranked No. 1 on both Shelf Awareness and Amazon’s Best Books of the Year in any category.

The “Killers of the Flower Moon” is set in the 1920s when the Osage Indians became the wealthiest people in the world after the discovery of oil beneath their lands in Oklahoma. The Osage people were murdered in one of the most sinister crimes in American history that became one of the FBI’s first major homicide investigations. The FBI team, which included one of the only Native Americans in the bureau, eventually caught one of the masterminds, but as Grann documents, there was a deeper and darker conspiracy that the bureau never exposed.

Following a bidding war for the film rights to “Killers of the Flower Moon,” a screenplay is now in development by Oscar winner Eric Roth, with Martin Scorsese as director and starring Leonardo DiCaprio.
David Grann “Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and Birth of the FBI”
David Grann

Reed adjusting to Ivy League school

BY KENLEA HENSON
Reporter
01/22/2018 12:00 PM
NEW YORK CITY – Cherokee Nation citizen Miriam Reed is in her second year at Columbia University, where she said she’s adjusting well to college life and New York City.

The 2016 Tahlequah High School graduate chose Columbia after attending its “Engineering Days.”

To pay for her higher learning, she received an annual scholarship of $73,000 for four years from the university and earned the Gates Millennium Scholarship. Receiving the two scholarships not only pay for schooling and books, it also covers living expenses. However, Reed still maintains a part-time job.

The transition to a big city and an Ivy League school was “surprisingly” smooth for Reed. She said she was part of an academic success program that introduced students to the campus and classes before their first semester began, which made adjustment easier.

“I was homesick at first. You miss trees more than you think you would and just little things that you wouldn’t think would be different,” Reed said. “I was part of a five-week program before classes even got started where there was fewer people, and they really took the time to introduce you to the campus and had crash course over the courses you were going to take before you took them for a grade. So it was a bit easier adjustment than it could have been if I didn’t have that.”
Cherokee Nation citizen Miriam Reed is a sophomore at Columbia University in New York City. At Columbia, Reed is involved in clubs and activities and is majoring in operational research. COURTESY Cherokee Nation citizen Miriam Reed, second from left, traveled to Morocco in North Africa this past summer to teach SAT prep to Moroccan high school students wanting to attend college in the United States. COURTESY Shown here with Colombia University mascot “Roar-ee” the lion, Cherokee Nation citizen Miriam Reed is a Columbia University dance team member. The team performs hip-hop, jazz and pom-style routines. It performs at home basketball and volleyball games as well as competes regionally and nationally. COURTESY
Cherokee Nation citizen Miriam Reed is a sophomore at Columbia University in New York City. At Columbia, Reed is involved in clubs and activities and is majoring in operational research. COURTESY

Sunchokes harvested at CN plant site

BY LINDSEY BARK
Reporter
01/22/2018 08:15 AM
TAHLEQUAH – On a cold and windy Jan. 9, Cherokee Nation cultural biologists and Environmental Resources specialists harvested sunchokes, also known as Jerusalem artichokes, at the Heirloom Garden and Native Plant Site on the Tribal Complex.

It is believed the sunchoke was a main food source for Cherokee people prior to European contact.

“The sunchoke is a very important cultural plant. So that was one of the plants that we really wanted to establish in the Seed Bank and the native plant site. We were lucky enough to be gifted some really nice specimens from the Eastern Band (of Cherokee Indians) several years ago. They brought us three really nice plants. The three plants have really expanded,” Environmental Resources Senior Director Pat Gwin said.

Gwin said the sunchoke is able to produce in mass amounts to harvest for the Seed Bank and as a food source.

“Sunchoke, it was an important plant for a reason. It grows an extremely large amount of product for the amount of space, time and effort that you put into it,” he said. “We produce lots and lots of seeds every year.”
Video Frame selected by Cherokee Phoenix
Jerusalem artichoke, also known as sunchoke, is harvested from the ground at the Cherokee Nation Heirloom Garden and Native Plant Site on Jan. 9 in Tahlequah. LINDSEY BARK/CHEROKEE PHOENIX A 5-gallon bucket is filled with Jerusalem artichoke, also known as sunchoke, at the Cherokee Nation Heirloom Garden and Native Plant Site. The sunchoke has a tuber root structure that resembles a potato. LINDSEY BARK/CHEROKEE PHOENIX Cooked sunchoke resembles fried potatoes although they can be cooked in various ways and have the flavor and texture of a potato or water chestnut. LINDSEY BARK/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Jerusalem artichoke, also known as sunchoke, is harvested from the ground at the Cherokee Nation Heirloom Garden and Native Plant Site on Jan. 9 in Tahlequah. LINDSEY BARK/CHEROKEE PHOENIX

Phoenix taking names for elder/vet subscriptions

BY STAFF REPORTS
01/20/2018 10:00 AM
TAHLEQUAH – The Cherokee Phoenix is now taking names of elders and military veterans to provide free subscriptions of its monthly newspaper.

In November, Cherokee Nation Businesses donated $10,000 to the Cherokee Phoenix’s Elder/Veteran Fund. The fund provides free subscriptions of its monthly newspaper to elders 65 and older and military veterans who are Cherokee Nation citizens. Subscription rates are $10 for one year.

“The Elder/Veteran Fund was put into place to provide free subscriptions to our Cherokee elders and veterans,” Executive Editor Brandon Scott said. “Some of our elders and veterans are on a very limited budget, and other items have a priority over buying a newspaper subscription. The donations we receive have a real world impact on our elders and veterans, so every dollar donated to the Elder Fund is significant.”

Using the Elder/Veteran Fund, elders who are 65 and older as well as veterans can apply to receive a free one-year subscription by visiting, calling or writing the Cherokee Phoenix office and requesting a subscription.

The Cherokee Phoenix office is located in the Annex Building on the W.W. Keeler Tribal Complex. The postal address is Cherokee Phoenix, P.O. Box 948, Tahlequah, OK 74465. To call about the fund, call 918-207-4975 or 918-453-5269 or email justin-smith@cherokee.org or joy-rollice@cherokee.org.
http://www.wherethecasinomoneygoes.com

Cherokee Art Market hosting Native youth art competition

BY STAFF REPORTS
01/19/2018 12:30 PM
PARK HILL – Native American youth are invited to participate in the 2018 Cherokee Art Market Youth Competition and Show, scheduled for April 7 through May 5.

All artists must be citizens of a federally recognized tribe, in grades 6-12, and are limited to one entry per person. There is no fee to participate in the competition.

Entries will be received between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. on March 29 at Cherokee Nation Businesses, 950 Main Pkwy., in Tahlequah. All submissions must include an entry form attached to the artwork, an artist agreement form and a copy of the artist’s Certificate Degree of Indian Blood card or tribal citizenship card.

Artwork is evaluated by division and grade level. Awards consist Best in Show - $250; first place - $150; second place - $125; third place - $100; Bill Rabbit Art Legacy Award - $100. The Best in Show winner will also receive a free booth at the Cherokee Art Market in October.

A reception will be held from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on April 6 at the Cherokee Heritage Center in conjunction with the 47th annual Trail of Tears Art Show. Winning artwork selected from the Cherokee Art Market Youth Competition will remain on display throughout the duration of the Trail of Tears Art Show.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield hosting enrollment support in Vinita

BY STAFF REPORTS
01/19/2018 10:00 AM
VINITA — Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Oklahoma’s Mobile Assistance Center is hosting an education and enrollment event from 1 to 6 p.m. on Jan. 22 at the Craig County Fairgrounds and Community Center located at 915 E. Apperson Road.

Tribal citizens and all individuals who attend this free come-and-go event are invited to visit with BCBSOK representatives to receive assistance with their health insurance questions and needs. Tribal citizens have the ability to enroll in coverage on the Health Insurance Marketplace at any time, outside of the standard Open Enrollment period. Tribal citizens can also visit to see if they qualify for available financial assistance to help lower the cost of monthly payments. In some cases, this financial assistance may cover the full premium cost. Customer service support will also be available for current members who may have questions about their coverage.

“The Affordable Care Act provides American Indians with opportunities to compare and buy health insurance in a new way,” said BCBSOK President Ted Haynes. “Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Oklahoma wants to help people understand their options so they have an opportunity to enroll and choose a plan that’s right for them.”

To learn more about how to protect their health and finances and save on monthly payments, individuals may attend one of the MAC events, contact an independent, authorized BCBSOK agent, or call BCBSOK’s dedicated customer service representatives and product specialists at 855-636-8702.

To see the full schedule of MAC events, click here. For additional information about health plans and pricing, visit BCBSOK.com

AG cites perjury in Freedmen case response

BY STACIE GUTHRIE
Reporter – @cp_sguthrie
01/19/2018 08:15 AM
TAHLEQUAH – The attorney general’s office cites perjury as a reason why it’s asking the Supreme Court to dismiss a petition from two Tribal Councilors and six Cherokee Nation citizens challenging Freedmen citizenship.

In a Dec. 29 filing in the Cherokee Nation v. Nash and Vann v. Zinke case, the attorney general’s office states five of eight citizens listed in a Dec. 11 petition committed perjury and because so the petition should be dismissed and “the Court should take other appropriate action, including sanctions.”

“Council Member David Walkingstick, in his individual capacity, Twila Pennington, Randy White, Norman Crowe and Vicki Bratton all swore in notarized statements they ‘voted in the 2007 referendum election…to only allow citizenship in the Cherokee Nation only to people who are Cherokee by blood.’ They did not (vote),” states the response.

The response states Election Commission records show Walkingstick, Pennington, White, Crowe and Bratton did not vote in the March 3, 2007, election in which voters amended the Constitution to require Indian blood for citizenship.

The Cherokee Phoenix contacted the attorney general’s office regarding the perjury allegation, but was told “there is no further comment on the perjury allegation other than what has already been filed.”

CNTS wins Army medical research contract

BY STAFF REPORTS
01/18/2018 04:00 PM
TULSA – Cherokee Nation Technology Solutions is one of six companies awarded a $249 million indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contract supporting research activities at four Army medical agencies during the next 10 years.

“We are proud to support the Army and to serve an integral role in maintaining and promoting the health and well-being of our service members and their families,” John Hansen, CNTS operations general manager, said. “This award builds on our existing relationship with the Department of Defense and our growing reputation as a premier provider in the field of medical research.”

Officials said CNTS will work to preserve and advance the health and well-being of soldiers and military retirees, their families and Army civilian employees. The four participating agencies — the U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research, the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Chemical Defense, the U.S. Army Public Health Center and the Extremity Trauma and Amputation Center of Excellence — can award task orders through the contract.

CNTS will have an opportunity to provide biomedical research and surveillance, information management, and business operations and information technology activities in support of burn, trauma and combat casualty care and rehabilitation, chemical warfare mitigation and public health services.

For more information on CNTS’ medical research support, email dawn.munoz@cn-bus.com.

Culture

Sunchokes harvested at CN plant site
BY LINDSEY BARK
Reporter
01/22/2018 08:15 AM
TAHLEQUAH – On a cold and windy Jan. 9, Cherokee Nation cultural biologists and Environmental Resources specialists harvested sunchokes, also known as Jerusalem artichokes, at the Heirloom Garden and Native Plant Site on the Tribal Complex.

It is believed the sunchoke was a main food source for Cherokee people prior to European contact.

“The sunchoke is a very important cultural plant. So that was one of the plants that we really wanted to establish in the Seed Bank and the native plant site. We were lucky enough to be gifted some really nice specimens from the Eastern Band (of Cherokee Indians) several years ago. They brought us three really nice plants. The three plants have really expanded,” Environmental Resources Senior Director Pat Gwin said.

Gwin said the sunchoke is able to produce in mass amounts to harvest for the Seed Bank and as a food source.

“Sunchoke, it was an important plant for a reason. It grows an extremely large amount of product for the amount of space, time and effort that you put into it,” he said. “We produce lots and lots of seeds every year.”

Though the harvest ran a little late this season, Gwin said he expected hundreds to thousands of sunchoke tubers to yield. The plant is commonly harvested in the winter and may have been a winter food source for Cherokee because of its ability to grow in cold weather.

Gwin said pre-European contact, the sunchoke was an important food source though it “fell out of favor” after contact. The plant has recently started to rise under the name of Jerusalem artichoke.

The sunchoke resembles a sunflower when in full bloom. When harvested, the tuber underneath the ground resembles a potato, or water chestnut, and has similar qualities and textures due to its root structure.

“When I have cooked these in the past, I’ve noticed that sort of eating them raw kind of tastes like a raw potato or even kind of like water chestnut. If you cook them, and don’t cook them at a high heat, they’ll kind of keep the texture of a water chestnut. They can mostly be cooked just the way that we would cook a potato,” Feather Smith-Trevino, CN cultural biologist, said.

She said sunchokes are not commonly found in a grocery store or produced commercially, possibly because of its inability to “keep” once it is out of the ground.

“With the potato, once we gather those, they can be stored for months and months at a time and they won’t go bad. But with Jerusalem artichokes, once they’re pulled out of the ground their usually only good for maybe about another week to two weeks. They don’t keep much longer than that,” Smith-Trevino said.

For this year’s Seed Bank, around 88 packages were created for Cherokees to grow and harvest their own sunchoke plants.

Education

Cherokee language program created for immersion school grads
BY LINDSEY BARK
Reporter
01/23/2018 08:00 AM
TAHLEQUAH – The Cherokee Nation and Cherokee Nation Businesses signed a memorandum of understanding on Jan. 10 to begin a Cherokee language pilot project called the 14th Generation Master Apprentice Program.

The program aims to have select Cherokee Language Master Apprentice Program participants teach the language to Cherokee Immersion Charter School graduates as they enter Sequoyah High School.

“We hope to make an opportunity for them to polish up their language skills and at the same time pass on the teaching techniques that we’ve developed in the adult master-apprentice program for the high school so they can be teachers one day or at least teach their family and friends,” Ryan Mackey, CLMAP curriculum supervisor, said.

The MOU states the “Cherokee Nation and CNB share a common interest in promoting and encouraging the continuous use of the Cherokee language. This requires trained and educated individuals who are prepared to further the proper use of the Cherokee language through instruction of others.”

The program is geared toward immersion school graduates attending SHS to continue learning the language in an after-school program and a 10-week summer intensive learning program.
CLMAP graduates will be selected and employed as instructors in the pilot project.

CNB is funding the program with $180,000 going toward salaries, materials and tools necessary to aid CLMAP instructors in conducting their teachings. Included in the funding is classroom space, meals for participating students, travel for natural language environment field trips, staff training, administrative costs and indirect costs where applicable.

“It’s a great day in the Cherokee Nation that we get the opportunity to take our language program to another level,” Principal Chief Bill John Baker said.

CLMAP first-year participant and CN citizen Jeromy Miller said he is participating in CLMAP to help his children, who attend the immersion school, continue learning Cherokee at home and bridge the language gap.

“I didn’t have the language myself. I wasn’t able to teach my kids growing up how to speak in their tribal language, their own Cherokee language,” Miller said. “Now that I am learning the language I can bring that home as well, and I can complete the circle in my house of communicating in our tribal tongue.”

The CLMAP began in 2015 to create Cherokee speakers and teachers from adult second-language learners. The program promotes the revitalization of the Cherokee language with participants spending 40 hours a week immersed in the language to become proficient speakers.

The program recently received new office and classroom space on the second floor of the Cort Mall above the Kawi Café in Tahlequah. The space is needed for the program’s expansion.

“It gives us enough space to have breakout classrooms as well as a main classroom. It also provides office space for our staff members, and that’s not something that we’ve had. We started as a very small program and so we needed a small space. But at this point we’ve expanded and we’ve been very successful and we want to make sure that people are accommodated,” Mackey said.

For more information about the 14th Generation Master Apprentice Program, call 918-207-4950.

Council

Council approves Sovereign Wealth Fund
BY STACIE GUTHRIE
Reporter – @cp_sguthrie
12/14/2017 08:15 AM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – Tribal Councilors on Dec. 11 passed an act that establishes the Cherokee Nation Sovereign Wealth Fund, a fund that is expected to “ensure the continuation of tribal operations and the general welfare of tribal citizens for future generations.”

Tribal Councilor Dick Lay spoke about the act’s importance during the Nov. 14 Rules Committee.

“So the idea was to take a small amount of funding from the businesses, set it aside for just extreme financial emergencies, and I think (Treasurer) Lacey (Horn) and her group have been working along the same lines, so we’re going to try and get those together,” Lay said.

Horn said creating a “permanent fund” was something she had wanted to do, and after working on Lay’s model with Controller Jamie Cole and Assistant Attorney General Chad Harsha they created an act to bring before Council.

“This act establishes a wealth fund, which shall be held by the treasurer in accordance with the act, and assets shall be maintained in an interest-bearing account or otherwise invested to promote growth of the fund's assets,” she said.

Within the fund, Horn said, there would be an Emergency Reserve Fund that would “receive a direct and continuing appropriation.”

“The Emergency Reserve Fund that receives the direct and continuing appropriation of 2 percent of the net income of our dividend-paying corporations as well as not less than 50 percent of funds received by the Cherokee Nation through judgment or settlement of legal claims,” she said. “That’s not to say that we couldn’t put 90 percent. That’s not to say that we couldn’t put some percent higher, but it’s just sort of setting that floor as to what’s going to go into this fund.”
The Motor Fuel Education Trust would also be moved to the new fund, which Horn confirmed would be an added “safety” measure.

“It had previously been collateralized in an interest-bearing CD that was used to borrow funds to build the Vinita (Health) Clinic, and that collateralization was removed whenever we entered into the loan with Bank of Oklahoma for the Tahlequah Joint Venture Project, and so these funds are…free and clear,” she said. “So this will take that fund, put that within the construct of the Cherokee Nation Sovereign Wealth Fund and allow us to invest that fund and continue to grow it.”

Horn said the fund could also have endowments, trusts or other funds incorporated within it periodically. “There’s often endowments, trusts that we receive from individuals that need to be invested for income-generating purposes, and this would be the perfect place to put (those) up underneath as well.”

Horn said all assets for the fund would be “reported and accounted” for separately and would support itself by not relying on any General Fund dollars.

“Expenses incurred and maintenance invested in the fund shall be paid for by the fund. So we won’t be utilizing any General Fund dollars to operate this fund it will be self-sustaining,” she said.

When it comes to distributing the fund’s money, there must be approval from two-thirds of the Tribal Council as well as the principal chief. According to the act, “a distribution from the Reserve Fund may only be made in the event that a financial emergency exists, the severity of which threatens the life, property or financial stability of the Nation.”

Also, according to the act, “a distribution from the Education Trust may only be made to satisfy a substantial need in higher education scholarships resulting from an unexpected funding loss or shortfall and distributions from all endowments, trusts or other funds held in the fund shall be made in accordance with any originating document or restriction applicable thereto, and subject to the appropriation laws of the Cherokee Nation.”

The act also notes that the fund “may not be used to finance or influence political activities.”

“I hope that you can see that we feel very strongly, very happy about this legislation that we put forward, and we hope the Tribal Council feels the same,” Horn said.

Councilors also passed an act relating to the adjustment of dividends known as the Corporation Emergency Dividend Reserve Fund Act, which is included within the Sovereign Wealth Fund.

Lay presented the act during the Oct. 26 Rules Committee meeting where he said it’s not an “original” idea but one that should be implemented as an “emergency fund.”

“It would cause the chief and the super majority of council to bring funding out of it to be used only for abject financial emergencies,” he said.

Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker was pleased to sign the Sovereign Wealth Fund into law.

“The idea of permanent fund was something we discussed within the administration several years ago. Having reached a number of major policy and legislative goals during the past six years, the time was right to focus our attention on this important safety net. I was pleased to sign this important act into law before year’s end, and appreciate the collaborative effort of my team and members of the Council in achieving this goal.”
According to the act, for-profit corporations that the tribe is the “sole or majority shareholder” and are under CN law “shall issue a monthly cash dividend in the amount of 30 percent” from a “special quarterly dividend” they “deem” appropriate. An additional 5 percent is set aside for Contract Health services for citizens. According to the act, another 2 percent would “be set aside exclusively for an unanticipated and extraordinary revenue or funding loss that creates a budget shortfall where appropriation from any other source would be unavailable.”

To view the Sovereign Wealth Fund Act, click here.

To view the Corporation Emergency Dividend Reserve Fund Act, click here.

Health

Blue Cross and Blue Shield hosting enrollment support in Vinita
BY STAFF REPORTS
01/19/2018 10:00 AM
VINITA — Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Oklahoma’s Mobile Assistance Center is hosting an education and enrollment event from 1 to 6 p.m. on Jan. 22 at the Craig County Fairgrounds and Community Center located at 915 E. Apperson Road.

Tribal citizens and all individuals who attend this free come-and-go event are invited to visit with BCBSOK representatives to receive assistance with their health insurance questions and needs. Tribal citizens have the ability to enroll in coverage on the Health Insurance Marketplace at any time, outside of the standard Open Enrollment period. Tribal citizens can also visit to see if they qualify for available financial assistance to help lower the cost of monthly payments. In some cases, this financial assistance may cover the full premium cost. Customer service support will also be available for current members who may have questions about their coverage.

“The Affordable Care Act provides American Indians with opportunities to compare and buy health insurance in a new way,” said BCBSOK President Ted Haynes. “Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Oklahoma wants to help people understand their options so they have an opportunity to enroll and choose a plan that’s right for them.”

To learn more about how to protect their health and finances and save on monthly payments, individuals may attend one of the MAC events, contact an independent, authorized BCBSOK agent, or call BCBSOK’s dedicated customer service representatives and product specialists at 855-636-8702.

To see the full schedule of MAC events, click here. For additional information about health plans and pricing, visit BCBSOK.com

Opinion

OPINION: Never too late to learn Cherokee Language
BY MARK DREADFULWATER
Multimedia Editor – @cp_mdreadfulwat
01/01/2018 02:00 PM
I am Cherokee. I know this because I have a Certificate of Indian Blood card that says so. I also have a blue card that says I’m a citizen of the Cherokee Nation. I have identified as Cherokee my entire life but I have not immersed myself enough in the culture, or most regrettably, the language.

I grew up hearing the Cherokee language, as my dad is a first-language speaker. Cherokee was the only language my paternal grandmother chose to speak on a daily basis. She knew English, but hardly ever spoke it. I heard it so often as a child I was able to understand what my grandmother and dad were saying but never learned to speak, read or write. My granny died when I was 11 and that’s when my knowledge of the language died for me. My dad still spoke it to my aunts and uncles, but for a reason I can’t remember, I stopped really listening to understand it. He would try to get me to learn by giving me directives or asking common questions in Cherokee, but I didn’t take the time to sit down and learn.

As an adult, when people ask if I know how to speak, I tell them I was too busy as a kid playing sports and doing other things to learn. I also took Cherokee I and Cherokee II while at Northeastern State University, but none of the teachings resonated with me. Hearing me say that, and now typing it, I’ve come to realize that is a lame excuse.

I’ll be honest and say I really didn’t see the need to learn the language. I didn’t think knowing Cherokee would get me any further in life. Other than speaking to a few people, I would rarely use it, so why learn. I’ve worked for the Cherokee Phoenix for 11 years. We publish Cherokee stories in our monthly paper and when time allows, we have the translators record audio of the stories in order for readers to hear it spoken by scanning a QR code from a smartphone. I’ve not paid as much attention to it as I should. It’s a great way to see and hear the language.

Now that I’m older, I regret not paying attention to the language growing up and taking the time to learn. I think my generation has made a huge contribution to the downfall of the language. But all is not lost. Although it’s more difficult, it’s not too late to learn. I realize how vital the language is to Cherokees as a people. It is more than a way to communicate. It’s embodies our identity and soul of our tradition, history and the Cherokee way of life.

With the New Year fast approaching, my resolution will be to learn Cherokee. The CN has several outlets as well as online options that are available to learn the language. I also know my dad and aunts will be eager to teach me and I believe they will say, “It’s about time.”

People

AARP Oklahoma opens Indian Elder Honors nominations
BY STAFF REPORTS
01/12/2018 12:00 PM
OKLAHOMA CITY – AARP Oklahoma is accepting nominations for its 10th annual Indian Elder Honors to celebrate 50 Native American elders who have positively impacted their respective communities, families, tribes and nation.

Since its inception in 2009, AARP Oklahoma has recognized 450 elders from all 39 tribal nations in Oklahoma.

“The AARP Indian Elder Honors recognizes the extraordinary contribution of Indian elders – many of whom have never been recognized before,” AARP Oklahoma Volunteer State President Joe Ann Vermillion said.

The 2017 honorees from 33 Oklahoma tribal nations included teachers, veterans, nurses, artists, tribal leaders, language and culture preservationists, champion archer and champion arm wrestler.

Cherokee Nation citizens Mary Rector Aitson, Dianne Barker Harrold, Marcella Morton and Joe T. Thornton, as well as United Keetoowah Band citizen Woody Hansen, were honored in 2017 and presented medallions by national and state AARP officials.

“This event celebrates a lifetime of service from these distinguished elders,” AARP State Director Sean Voskuhl said. “The common thread between the honorees, regardless of the contribution, is the commitment to community and service.”

This year’s Indian Elder Honors will be held Oct. 2 in Oklahoma City. Nomination applications are available at https://www.aarp.org/states/ok/stateeventdetails.eventId=671063&stateCode=OK/.
Nominations may be submitted electronically or mailed to AARP Oklahoma, 126 N. Bryant, Edmond, OK, 73034.

Nominees must be enrolled citizens of federally recognized Oklahoma tribal nations, at least 50 years old and be living. Nominees do not have to be AARP members. For more information, call Mashell Sourjohn at 405-715-4474 or email msourjohn@aarp.org. The deadline for submitting nominations is April 30.
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