Tour Tahlequah brings Bassmaster College Series to town

BY ASSOCIATED PRESS
02/20/2018 04:00 PM
TAHLEQUAH (AP) – Bassmaster has officially announced the 2018 Carhartt Bassmaster College Series National Championship presented by Bass Pro Shops will take place in Tahlequah.

Tour Tahlequah, more formally known as the Tahlequah Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, is the local sponsor and will partner with Northeastern State University, the Cherokee Nation and local businesses to bring the college fishing tournament July 19-21 to Lake Tenkiller and the city.

“What an honor it is to have the city of Tahlequah chosen for the 2018 Bassmaster Collegiate Fishing Tournament,” said Aubrey Valdez, Tour Tahlequah assistant director. “We are gearing up for this event and are excited to show our Oklahoma hospitality to fishermen and spectators. We already have an enormous amount of support from Northeastern State University, Cherokee Nation, city officials and many others, and know July will be here in a flash. We hope to make this a memorable occasion for everyone involved.”

Presented by Bass Pro Shops, the Carhartt Bassmaster College Series National Championship provides the opportunity for college anglers from across the country to compete at a national level. Anglers participating in the championship tournament must first qualify by competing in qualifying tournaments during the 2017-2018 season. At the national championship, one college angler will earn a berth in the biggest tournament in bass fishing: the Bassmaster Classic.

“Competing in a national championship tournament is the ultimate goal,” said Tyler Winn, Tahlequah sophomore and NSU fishing team member. “To think this tournament will be here in Tahlequah is unreal. Anglers from all over the country will fish on the lake I’ve grown up on.”
An angler holds a smallmouth bass he caught out of Lake Tenkiller in this 2016 photo. The 2018 Carhartt Bassmaster College Series National Championship presented by Bass Pro Shops will be held at the lake July 19-21 as part of a collaboration with Tour Tahlequah, Northeastern State University, the Cherokee Nation and local businesses. COURTESY
An angler holds a smallmouth bass he caught out of Lake Tenkiller in this 2016 photo. The 2018 Carhartt Bassmaster College Series National Championship presented by Bass Pro Shops will be held at the lake July 19-21 as part of a collaboration with Tour Tahlequah, Northeastern State University, the Cherokee Nation and local businesses. COURTESY

Blue Star Mothers donate memorial stone

BY ROGER GRAHAM
Multimedia Producer – @cp_rgraham
02/20/2018 12:00 PM
TAHLEQUAH – Cherokee Nation citizens and members of the Tahlequah Chapter of the Blue Star Mothers on Feb. 8 dedicated a memorial stone honoring military veterans at the Cherokee Warrior Memorial adjacent to the Tribal Complex.

The stone reads: “Honoring our Military Sons and Daughters, Blue Star Mother’s OK21, Tahlequah, OK.”

BSMOK21 President Billie Walker and Founder Melody Parker dedicated the stone before a small group consisting of Principal Chief Bill John Baker, Deputy Chief and U.S. Navy veteran S. Joe Crittenden, Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin Jr., Tribal Councilor Joe Byrd and CN Veterans Center Director Barbara Foreman.

“It took a year to make this memorial a reality,” Walker said. “There are sons and daughters deployed now. This stone will be here long after they get home.”

The stone was Parker’s idea. “Each month our chapter sends boxes of items to our soldiers. Items like gloves, socks, anything we can afford that make their time away easier. It let’s them know we’re thinking of them. One hundred percent of the Blue Star Mother’s funding comes from donations.”
Blue Star Mothers Chapter OK21 President Billie Walker and Founder Melody Parker stand near a memorial stone honoring military veterans at the Cherokee Warrior Memorial on Feb. 8 in Tahlequah. The Tahlequah Chapter of the Blue Star Mothers organization dedicated the stone reads: “Honoring our Military Sons and Daughters, Blue Star Mother’s OK21, Tahlequah, OK.” ROGER GRAHAM/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Blue Star Mothers Chapter OK21 President Billie Walker and Founder Melody Parker stand near a memorial stone honoring military veterans at the Cherokee Warrior Memorial on Feb. 8 in Tahlequah. The Tahlequah Chapter of the Blue Star Mothers organization dedicated the stone reads: “Honoring our Military Sons and Daughters, Blue Star Mother’s OK21, Tahlequah, OK.” ROGER GRAHAM/CHEROKEE PHOENIX

Key makes difference as pediatrician

BY KENLEA HENSON
Reporter
02/20/2018 08:00 AM
MOORE – Cerissa Key, a Cherokee Nation citizen and osteopathic medicine doctor, learned at an early age how much of a difference doctors can make in a child’s life. Now Key is making a difference in children’s lives as a pediatrician.

As a child, Key underwent eye surgeries, which sparked her interest in medicine.

“I really loved math and science, and I really loved kids, so at first I thought I wanted to be a teacher. Then in high school I joined the pre-med society, and I thought ‘this is what I am going to do,’” Key said.

She graduated in 2005 with a bachelor’s degree in biology from Northeastern State University. In 2009, she graduated from Oklahoma State University’s College of Osteopathic Medicine.

Key then began a three-year residency at Oklahoma State University Medical Center and St. Francis Children’s Hospital in Tulsa in which she spent “many long hours” learning pediatrics.
Cherokee Nation citizen Dr. Cerissa Key has been practicing medicine for nearly eight years. Key received her doctorate of osteopathic medicine from Oklahoma State University’s College of Osteopathic Medicine in 2009. She is also a board-certified pediatrician. COURTESY Dr. Cerissa Key
Cherokee Nation citizen Dr. Cerissa Key has been practicing medicine for nearly eight years. Key received her doctorate of osteopathic medicine from Oklahoma State University’s College of Osteopathic Medicine in 2009. She is also a board-certified pediatrician. COURTESY
https://www.facebook.com/CASA-of-Cherokee-Country-184365501631027/

Greater Tulsa Indian Art Festival hits 31 years

BY BRITTNEY BENNETT
Reporter – @cp_bbennett
02/19/2018 04:00 PM
GLENPOOL – Native artists from Oklahoma and out-of-state tribes gathered to show their works and educate the public about their crafts Feb. 9-11 at the 31st Greater Tulsa Indian Art Festival.

The festival, the largest inter-tribal fine art show in the Tulsa area, also ranks among the best fine art shows for genuine Native art in the country. Chairman Robert Trepp said the event began in 1987 and was inspired by the cast of the 1984 American Indian Theater Company production “Black Elk Speaks.”

“It was really inspired by a lot of the cast from ‘Black Elk Speaks’ that was put on here in Tulsa, and it’s just grown through the years,” Trepp said. “It’s nationally known. It’s got a big emphasis on Eastern Woodlands cultures, which most shows do not have.”

Volunteers largely run the festival as it draws various artists including painters, potters and jewelers.

“We have artists from all over the country,” Trepp said. “I think for local artists it’s an opportunity for them especially to see each other again and to have that fellowship to share ideas, compare notes as to what they’ve been up to. And for our people out of state, it’s an opportunity for them to come and meet with our local artists.”
Video Frame selected by Cherokee Phoenix
A group of girls view artwork from Native American artist at the Greater Tulsa Indian Art Festival, which took place Feb. 9-11 at the Glenpool Conference Center in Glenpool. BRITTNEY BENNETT/CHEROKEE PHOENIX Cherokee National Treasure Jane Osti was the 2018 Greater Tulsa Indian Art Festival Featured Artist.  Here she holds her a pottery piece titled “Woodland Song.” BRITTNEY BENNETT/CHEROKEE PHOENIX Cherokee National Treasure Jane Osti had several pieces of pottery on display at the 2018 Greater Tulsa Indian Art Festival, including a turtle with traditional artwork and the Cherokee syllabary. BRITTNEY BENNETT/CHEROKEE PHOENIX Cherokee Nation citizen Ryan Lee Smith conducts a painting demonstration at his booth on Feb. 9 at the Greater Tulsa Indian Art Festival in Glenpool. BRITTNEY BENNETT/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
A group of girls view artwork from Native American artist at the Greater Tulsa Indian Art Festival, which took place Feb. 9-11 at the Glenpool Conference Center in Glenpool. BRITTNEY BENNETT/CHEROKEE PHOENIX

Hastings Hospital lease with OSU med school approved

BY KENLEA HENSON
Reporter
02/19/2018 02:30 PM
TAHLEQUAH – During its Feb. 12 meeting, the Tribal Council unanimously authorized a lease with Oklahoma State University’s Center for Health Sciences to put a medical school in the current W.W. Hastings Hospital after the new Outpatient Health Center opens.

“Cherokee Nation is joining with Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences, an entity within the Oklahoma State System of Higher Education, to bring health care education to W.W. Hastings Hospital in Tahlequah,” the resolution states.

The lease will encompass part of Hastings’ floor space and parking space.

Earlier in the day during the Resources Committee meeting, Dr. Charles Grim, Health Services interim executive director, said the leased portion would be located where the current physical therapy, diabetes, orthopedics and optometry locations are. Those departments will move to the new primary health care facility, which is expected to be finished in 2019.

Grim said because OSU is a state university the medical school would not have a Native American preference. However, he said the architecture within the remodeled facility for the school would highlight Cherokee culture. He also said officials would ask Indian Health Service to set aside scholarships and/or loan repayment for Native students wishing to attend the school.
Tribal Councilor Sean Crittenden, left, reads a resolution during the Feb. 12 Tribal Council meeting at the W.W. Keeler Tribal Complex in Tahlequah. Legislators passed a lease with the Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences to place a medical school in part of the current W.W. Hastings Hospital after the new Outpatient Health Center is completed. KENLEA HENSON/CHEROKEE PHOENIX Shown is an artist’s rendering of the Cherokee Springs Plaza layout in Tahlequah. Provided by city officials, the map shows a proposed hotel “tru” by Hilton to be located in Lot 7. Cherokee Nation Businesses CEO Shawn Slaton reported that CNB is preparing to break ground on additional “projects” in the plaza on April 1. COURTESY
Tribal Councilor Sean Crittenden, left, reads a resolution during the Feb. 12 Tribal Council meeting at the W.W. Keeler Tribal Complex in Tahlequah. Legislators passed a lease with the Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences to place a medical school in part of the current W.W. Hastings Hospital after the new Outpatient Health Center is completed. KENLEA HENSON/CHEROKEE PHOENIX

CN judicial branch moves to Tribal Complex

BY LINDSEY BARK
Reporter
02/19/2018 12:00 PM
TAHLEQUAH – The Cherokee Nation’s judicial branch has moved from its downtown location inside the CN Capitol Building to space in the recently built second story of the W.W. Keeler Tribal Complex.

The Capitol Building was built after the Civil War, completed in 1869 and occupies the center of Tahlequah’s town square. In 1991, the Tribal Council re-established the District Court to utilize the Capitol Building to hear civil, juvenile and adoption cases.

After 27 years and several attempts at a new facility, the CN court system has moved to a new and more modern location.

“We’ve been in the Capitol Building since 1991, whenever the council passed legislation allowing us to continue doing our District Court. We started out there and we pretty much outgrew this building as our caseload started growing,” Court Administrator Lisa Fields said.

The new location encompasses 15,385 square feet of more space and “state-of-the-art” equipment.
The Cherokee Nation Capital Building in Tahlequah has served as the tribe’s courthouse since 1991. On Feb. 16, the CN court system saw its final court docket in the building and has moved to the W.W. Keeler Tribal Complex. ARCHIVE The Cherokee Nation court system now has a new and larger courtroom on the second floor of the W.W. Keeler Complex in Tahlequah. The complex is the judicial branch’s new home. On Feb. 16, the court system saw its final court docket in the CN Capitol Building. LINDSEY BARK/CHEROKEE PHEONIX
The Cherokee Nation Capital Building in Tahlequah has served as the tribe’s courthouse since 1991. On Feb. 16, the CN court system saw its final court docket in the building and has moved to the W.W. Keeler Tribal Complex. ARCHIVE

First Oklahoma Cherokee immersion students to graduate

BY ASSOCIATED PRESS
02/19/2018 08:30 AM
TAHELQUAH (AP) — Thirteen years ago, in an unguarded moment on her first day of kindergarten, Emilee Chavez spoke a single word of English. And a classmate immediately ran to tell the teacher.

“Hey,” the teacher raised her voice harshly, “you can’t use English here. Speak Cherokee, or don’t say anything at all.”

Chavez’s parents would have gotten in trouble if a teacher had caught them speaking a word of Cherokee, which is one reason the language began plummeting toward extinction. Schools banned it, so nearly an entire generation stopped speaking it.

For Chavez and her classmates, however, the Cherokee Immersion Charter School turned the tables. They were punished for speaking English.

Launched in 2001 on the grounds of the tribal headquarters, the school started with 23 students. But Cherokee is a hard language. Only nine made it all the way through the program.
From left to right are Sequoyah High School seniors Emilee Chavez, Maggie Sourjohn, Alana Harkreader, Lauren Hummingbird, Cambria Bird and Lauren Grayson. In the middle of them is Principal Chief Bill John Baker. The seniors are the first Cherokee Immersion Charter School students to graduate. WILL CHAVEZ/CHEROKEE PHOENIX This 2012 photo shows, from left to right, Cheyenne Drowningbear, Cree Drowningbear, Lauren Grayson and Emilee Chavez as they graduate from the Cherokee Immersion Charter School in Tahlequah. This May they will graduate high school. WILL CHAVEZ/CHEROKEE PHOENIX  Cherokee Immersion Charter School teacher Curtis Washington, left, finishes shaking hands with Emilee Chavez after giving her a diploma during the Cherokee Immersion Charter School’s graduation ceremony in 2012. Chavez is one of nine students from the school’s initial class who graduated from the school. This year she graduates Sequoyah High School. WILL CHAVEZ/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
From left to right are Sequoyah High School seniors Emilee Chavez, Maggie Sourjohn, Alana Harkreader, Lauren Hummingbird, Cambria Bird and Lauren Grayson. In the middle of them is Principal Chief Bill John Baker. The seniors are the first Cherokee Immersion Charter School students to graduate. WILL CHAVEZ/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
http://www.wherethecasinomoneygoes.com

Report shows funding gaps for Native causes?

BY STAFF REPORTS
02/18/2018 02:00 PM
LONGMONT, Colo. – A new First Nations Development Institute report highlights that community foundations often fall short when it comes to philanthropic giving to Native American organizations and causes.

In its report titled “Community Foundation Giving to Native American Causes,” First Nations researchers find that on average only 15/100ths of 1 percent of community foundation funding goes to Native American organizations and causes annually.

The report looks at giving by 163 community foundations in 10 states. In all of the states studied, except Alaska, which was an outlier, the dollar amount of grants given to Native American organizations and causes was lower than might be expected given Native American population size and levels of need.

“Our data suggest that there is very little funding interaction between Native communities and local community foundations,” First Nations Vice President Raymond Foxworth, who was the lead researcher on the project, said. “Obviously we think that’s a problem that can be addressed, so we conclude the report by highlighting strategies and practices we think can expand collaboration between community foundations and Native nonprofits. Overall, we hope that community foundation giving can, in the long term, become more reflective of the rich diversity within states, and this includes supporting Native American organizations.”??

The states studied were Alaska, Arizona, California, Michigan, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon and South Dakota. The full findings and recommendations can be downloaded at https://firstnations.org/knowledge-center/strengthening-nonprofit/reports. If you don’t already have one, you will need to create a free online account to download the report.

OKCIC supports teens to build healthy relationships

BY STAFF REPORTS
02/18/2018 10:00 AM
OKLAHOMA CITY – February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month and the Oklahoma City Indian Clinic, a nonprofit clinic providing services to American Indians in central Oklahoma, wants people to know that there’s a lot parents can do to prevent teen dating violence and abuse.

About one in 10 teens were physically, sexually, emotionally or verbally abused on a date by a boyfriend or girlfriend in the past year. One of the most important things parents can do is keep the lines of communication open with their children, OKCIC officials said.

Officials said parents can be a role model and treat their kids and others with respect. They can start talking to their kids about healthy relationships early before they start dating, and they can get involved with efforts to prevent dating violence at their teen’s school, officials said.

If parents are worried about their teen, they can call the National Dating Abuse Helpline at 1-866-331-9474 or text “loveis” to 22522.

“Conversations about healthy relationships and teen dating violence and abuse need to happen early, before teens are experiencing it,” Robyn Sunday-Allen, CEO of OKCIC, said. “Although there aren’t many current studies that identify the rate of dating violence in Native communities, we do know that Native women in the United States experience some of the highest rates of sexual assault in the country. Because of this, OKCIC offers a variety of cultural activities and after-school educational events to prevent domestic violence and promote healthy relationships for American Indians in central Oklahoma.”

Culture

Missouri lawmakers try to define real Native American art
BY ASSOCIATED PRESS
02/16/2018 08:00 AM
ST. LOUIS (AP) – Kathy Dickerson worries about the future of the Kiowa culture.

Dickerson is a St. Louis artist and citizen of the Kiowa Tribe of Oklahoma. She said she does bead work, some silversmithing and brain tanning, where she takes the brain of an animal and uses it to tan the hide.

Each tribe’s crafts are a part of its identity, she said. The Kiowa moccasins she makes are different from those made by other tribes, even neighboring tribes. Her work isn’t creative, she said, she’s reproducing art from Kiowa tradition.

“We still do things that our ancestors did, and I’m still teaching my grandchildren what I was taught,” Dickerson said.

People who are not part of federally recognized American Indian tribes fabricate their artwork and their history, she said. They fool people who don’t know much about American Indians, skewing their understanding of tribes. She said the problem is apparent in St. Louis, where non-Native people are brought in to give cultural presentations at community festivals.

“They get the person that has dreamcatchers and tom-toms,” Dickerson said. “Things that are China-made and look like stereotypical American Indian stuff. These non-Natives that are not in a community, they don’t understand what Indians are.”

The Missouri House Special Committee on Small Business has unanimously approved a bill that would ban people who are not citizens of federally recognized American Indian tribes from selling their arts and crafts as authentic American Indian work. Under federal law, members of state- and federally recognized tribes can sell their work as authentic.

Chief Grey Elk of the Northern Cherokee Nation said all the work of their tribe is “authentic dating back to antiquity,” and the tribe’s artisans follow styles and patterns passed down through generations.

“All we do is reproduce that,” he said.

Grey Elk said the proposed legislation grew out of the animosity between the Northern Cherokee and the Cherokee Nation in Oklahoma, a federally recognized tribe. The CN has long disputed the legitimacy of the Northern Cherokee Nation.

“We’ve never got along, and it’s because we call them ‘Treaty Cherokees,’ and they call us ‘Wannabes,’” Grey Elk said. “We refused to sign any treaties, and they signed 50.”

The Northern Cherokee Nation is a nonprofit group that states it is an American Indian tribe recognized by the State of Missouri, not the federal government. Then-Gov. Kit Bond issued a proclamation in June 1983, where he acknowledged the existence of the Northern Cherokee Tribe “as an American Indian Tribe within the State of Missouri,” and declared June 24, 1983 “Northern Cherokee Recognition Day.”

Some, including Rep. Rocky Miller, the bill’s sponsor and a CN citizen say that proclamation does not make the Northern Cherokee a state-recognized tribe. Missouri has no established process for recognizing state tribes, and a list of state-recognized tribes will vary, depending on who you ask.

The Indian Arts and Crafts Board, which enforces federal law regulating the sale of American Indian art, doesn’t keep a current list of state-recognized tribes but was informed in 2014 by the Attorney General’s office that Missouri had no state-recognized tribes. The Attorney General’s office directed the Missourian to the Secretary of State’s office, which provided a list of 11 federally recognized tribes with a presence in Missouri, including the Absentee Shawnee of Oklahoma and the Sac and Fox Nation of Missouri in Kansas and Nebraska.

The tribes on the Secretary of State’s list are centered in surrounding states of Kansas, Oklahoma and Nebraska, and used to live on land in what is now Missouri. The Northern Cherokee Nation was not on the list.

Grey Elk said he asked Gov. Eric Greitens to check to see if the proclamation is legitimate recognition.

Miller, a Lake Ozark Republican, said any move to formally recognize the Northern Cherokee would be “ridiculous.” He said all tribal recognition should come from the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs.

CN Assistant Attorney General Alayna Farris testified in support of the bill at a small business committee hearing on Jan. 24. At that hearing, she said the Northern Cherokee Nation and other tribes that are not federally recognized are appropriating authentic Cherokee culture and erode trust in the American Indian art market.

Most American Indian art is regulated by the federal Indian Arts and Crafts Act of 1990, which allows artisans from federally and state-recognized tribes to advertise their work as American Indian-made. That would exclude the Northern Cherokee if they are not state-recognized, but Miller said the law is still necessary to give local law enforcement the ability to prosecute.

“It’s just a much quicker and easier way to stop this theft of our heritage,” Miller said.

Cases taken on by federal authorities can take a long time, Miller said, like the case of Terry Lee Whetstone, a Missouri man who pleaded guilty to violating the federal law in 2015, several years after he was reported to the Indian Arts and Crafts Board. Whetstone was eventually sentenced to three years of probation and ordered to stop selling his art or playing his flute unless he makes it clear that he is not a member of an American Indian tribe.

The bill is similar to one passed in the Oklahoma legislature in 2016. That bill amended Oklahoma’s 1974 Indian Arts and Craft Sales Act to protect artists from federally recognized American Indian tribes. Peggy Fontenot, who is a member of the state-recognized Patawomeck Tribe of Virginia, sued Oklahoma soon after the bill was passed. She is arguing the law infringed on her right to truthfully describe her art as American Indian-made when she sold her art in the state.

Oklahoma halted enforcement of the law in January 2017, pending the results of the case. Pre-trial motions have delayed the case in the Western District Court of Oklahoma, so the law is still not being enforced.

Grey Elk said he has an antagonistic history with Miller, stemming from a dispute over the proposed placement of a sewage treatment facility at the headwaters of the Blue Springs Creek, which is in Miller’s district. Grey Elk also said he thinks Miller is against the Northern Cherokee because he is a CN citizen.

“Rocky, I’m sure, could care less whether we label our stuff we make for powwows ‘Native American made,’” Grey Elk said. “Somebody down there has undoubtedly put a burr in his saddle.”

Miller said he didn’t want the treatment plant on that creek, either. He said his issue was with Grey Elk making that land “fake holy ground” in order to stop the plant.

“He’s basically a fraud, and he’s stealing my family’s heritage, and the people who join him are doing the same,” Miller said.

Miller said he’s pushing the bill because he doesn’t like people who break the law, and he doesn’t like people who take his heritage. His family was forced out of their home and to the Indian Territory in what is now Oklahoma, Miller said.

“For someone to come along and make light of that by making fake arts and crafts, it angers me,” he said.

Dickerson said that when people don’t know much about American Indians, they’ll gravitate toward people who fit their idea of what an American Indian should be. Much of that is influenced by Hollywood portrayals of American Indians, and isn’t accurate.

“When we go out, people ask, ‘Can you glam it up a bit, can you throw a little bit of Hollywood into it?’” Dickerson said. “And it’s like, no, this is what it is. We’re showing you our culture. We don’t want to create something that’s glamorous over what’s real.”

Those watered-down and stereotypical perceptions of what an American Indian is take away from unique tribal identities, she said, and people posing as Native Americans do the same.

“They copy off of different tribes and they kind of make a hodgepodge of these works that you cant tell who it belongs to,” Dickerson said. “But these non-Natives, they’re taking it and they’re bastardizing the culture because they’re not going by anything but what they feel the American Indian is about.”

Grey Elk said the Northern Cherokee’s works aren’t made just to be sold. The group’s website advertises several works, including jewelry and paintings, with contact information for the artists listed, but Grey Elk said they mostly sell at powwows. If someone is interested in a work, they’re happy to sell it and make another.

Grey Elk said most American Indian tribes consider the powwow a chance to show off their culture, skills and wares.

“And maybe it makes them a little money to boot,” he added.

Education

Key makes difference as pediatrician
BY KENLEA HENSON
Reporter
02/20/2018 08:00 AM
MOORE – Cerissa Key, a Cherokee Nation citizen and osteopathic medicine doctor, learned at an early age how much of a difference doctors can make in a child’s life. Now Key is making a difference in children’s lives as a pediatrician.

As a child, Key underwent eye surgeries, which sparked her interest in medicine.

“I really loved math and science, and I really loved kids, so at first I thought I wanted to be a teacher. Then in high school I joined the pre-med society, and I thought ‘this is what I am going to do,’” Key said.

She graduated in 2005 with a bachelor’s degree in biology from Northeastern State University. In 2009, she graduated from Oklahoma State University’s College of Osteopathic Medicine.

Key then began a three-year residency at Oklahoma State University Medical Center and St. Francis Children’s Hospital in Tulsa in which she spent “many long hours” learning pediatrics.

“I rotated through many pediatric specialties like cardiology, pulmonology, surgery and ER, just learning everything there is to know about pediatrics,” Key said.

As part of her Indian Health Services scholarship obligation, Key worked in pediatrics for the Absentee Shawnee Health Center in Norman for four years. After that, she worked for Kids First Urgent Care in Oklahoma City. She said working for Kids First allowed her to spend more time with her family.

Key and her husband, Stephen, have three children. She said having a family and a career as a physician is challenging, but it’s all about “balance.”

“It’s hard. I am not going to lie. But it’s about balance being a full-time working mom and being able to separate that and know that I am doing my best on both ends and not feeling guilty or selfish if I need that time with my family, or guilty or selfish if I need that time to finish my charts and be the best doctor,” she said. “I just think it is important to be able to compartmentalize work and home. So when I am home I am mom, and when I am at work I am doctor.”

Although being a physician comes with challenges and sacrifices, she said helping children reminds her why she chose her career.

“While I was working at the urgent care I actually saw a kiddo and she looked really good. But something about her was off to me. So I got a chest X-ray on her and she ended up having a huge heart issue, and had I not gotten that chest X-ray taken care of she would of likely died. But now she is alive because I caught that, and that really is a proud moment,” Key said.

Key now works in pediatrics at Mercy Clinic Primary Care in Moore.

“I am in a great group of physicians. We get along really well, and everyone is nice here. They’re also Catholic, and I am Christian, so it’s nice here at my front work place because they pray before we eat and they’ll pray before a meeting,” she said. “So its nice that here I am allowed to share my faith with my patients and not fear getting in trouble over it.”

She also said her Cherokee heritage is important, and working for Mercy she is able to express that and connect with her patients.

“I love being Native, and my heritage is very important to me. Even my stethoscope is beaded, which I love, and everyone asks me about it, so I get to tell them that I am Cherokee,” she said. “And I think that kids are really interested in that and there are a lot of Natives in this area, too. Even though I am working for Mercy I think they are able to relate to that, and it’s a proud thing to see a doctor that is also Native.”

Council

Hastings Hospital lease with OSU med school approved
BY KENLEA HENSON
Reporter
02/19/2018 02:30 PM
TAHLEQUAH – During its Feb. 12 meeting, the Tribal Council unanimously authorized a lease with Oklahoma State University’s Center for Health Sciences to put a medical school in the current W.W. Hastings Hospital after the new Outpatient Health Center opens.

“Cherokee Nation is joining with Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences, an entity within the Oklahoma State System of Higher Education, to bring health care education to W.W. Hastings Hospital in Tahlequah,” the resolution states.

The lease will encompass part of Hastings’ floor space and parking space.

Earlier in the day during the Resources Committee meeting, Dr. Charles Grim, Health Services interim executive director, said the leased portion would be located where the current physical therapy, diabetes, orthopedics and optometry locations are. Those departments will move to the new primary health care facility, which is expected to be finished in 2019.

Grim said because OSU is a state university the medical school would not have a Native American preference. However, he said the architecture within the remodeled facility for the school would highlight Cherokee culture. He also said officials would ask Indian Health Service to set aside scholarships and/or loan repayment for Native students wishing to attend the school.

“Its not really an Indian medical school per se, but it will be the first college of medicine campus on Indian land in the country,” Grim said.

Grim said the lease would be for seven years with the option to renew.

In other business, Cherokee Nation Businesses CEO Shawn Slaton told Tribal Councilors that CNB is preparing to break ground on April 1 on additional “projects” in the Cherokee Springs Plaza in Tahlequah.

In 2014, CN and CNB officials announced plans to build the plaza with venues for dining, shopping and gaming. In a previous Cherokee Phoenix article, officials said the plaza is anticipated to be 1.3 million square feet of mixed-use space, developed at an estimated cost of $170 million. Officials also said it was to be completed in three phases.

The tribe completed Phase 1 of the project in 2016,which included road construction and pad sites where businesses would be developed. Since then Taco Bueno, Buffalo Wild Wings, Sonic and Stuteville Ford have opened businesses at the site.

The next phase is the construction and relocation of Cherokee Casino Tahlequah, officials said. The new casino is expected to feature a resort hotel, convention center and golf clubhouse. The final phase includes the creation of a retail strip.

CNB has not confirmed a completion date as of publication.

Legislators also:

• amended the Concurrent Enrollment Scholarship Act of 2011 to revise the eligibility requirements,

• reappointed T. Luke Barteaux as a District Court judge,

• confirmed Dr. Charles Grim as a Cherokee Nation Health Partners board member,

• authorized the Vocational Rehabilitation Program to donate surplus equipment to the United Wrestling Entertainment Foundation in Cherokee County.

Health

Less sodium, altered recipes can lead to healthier life
BY STACIE BOSTON
Reporter – @cp_sguthrie
02/09/2018 08:00 AM
TAHLEQUAH – Making meal alterations such as using less salt or taking it out completely can lead to a healthier life for most people. Even making simple changes to old favorites such as mashed potatoes can lead people down a healthier path.

Mark Keeley, a clinical dietitian and 34-year Cherokee Nation employee, said while working with Native Americans he’s stressed that salt doesn’t need to be added to food and could adversely affect a person’s health.

“Salt will retain fluid on your body…that fluid is going to take up lung space. So now you’re trying to breathe around lungs that are trying to fill up,” he said. “If your heart’s not able to pump as well as it used to then the slower your blood stream moves the more some of that salty water will leak off into your ankles and legs, and so now you’re carrying weight around and it kind of waterlogs your system.”

Keeley said he’s had people tell him that they salt their food even before tasting it.

“People have told me, ‘Here’s what I used to do. I use to salt food before I even tasted it and salt it heavy and then taste it.’ Then they say, ‘I don’t do salt anymore.’ I come across a lot more people that tell me that. Those folks are becoming more common, but there’s room for work,” he said.

For people who monitor their blood sugar levels, Keeley said he recommends mashed cauliflower potatoes.

“As a dietitian that’s been working around diabetes for a long time, people want food to taste good, but they don’t want it to blow their blood sugar out of the water, so the cauliflower is basically a…non-starchy, low-carbohydrate vegetable,” he said.

By combining the cauliflower and potatoes, Keeley said a healthier version of mashed potatoes is created. “It actually has…a slightly different flavor. So cooking them up together and mashing them together, a little butter in there for seasoning and…it’s still satisfying, still has potatoes in it, but it doesn’t have the effect after the meal that you don’t like seeing.”

Keeley said the dish typically takes 30 minutes to make, which includes preparation and cook time, and consists of a head of cauliflower, two potatoes and a small portion of salted butter. The butter acts as the dish’s only form of salt.

“It’s not a high time investment meal,” he said. “You do need enough water to pretty near cover the vegetables. It’ll get them soft quicker, ready for the mashing. You could drain it completely or just leave a small amount of water in the bottom. The butter was salted butter. It was the salt (for the recipe) in this case. There was no other salt in it.”

When changing a recipe such as adding cauliflower and removing a bulk of the potatoes, Keeley said the first step is to “decide” if this is something that people want to pursue for a healthier lifestyle.

“The tricks of the trade is one thing, but the first step is to decide. To make the decision, ‘I’m going to do what it takes to get better and stay better,’” he said. “Once people are determined they’ll figure it out. They’ll come up with their own ways to do it.”

Keeley suggests another way to get on a healthier eating track is portion control. “One thing we can always do is we can down portion anything. So if something is pretty stout, pretty sweet, pretty salty, you can eat less of it.”

For more information on meal alterations, visit http://cherokeepublichealth.org/about-cherokee-nation-public-health/

Recipe for turkey stew or minestrone soup

Ingredients:

2 pounds of ground dark turkey meat

3 cloves of crushed and minced garlic

2 tablespoons of Italian seasoning

3 carrots, thinly sliced

1 large chopped onion

1 small head of chopped cabbage

2 14-ounce cans dies tomatoes

1 14-ounce can of kidney beans

1 14-ounce can of great northern beans

1 32-35 ounce container of chicken broth

Directions:

1. Brown meat in a heavy pot on high heat, stirring constantly

2. Add garlic, Italian seasoning, carrots and onions. Stir until vegetables start to soften

3. Add tomatoes, beans and broth

4. Bring to a boil, lower heat and let simmer for 10-15 minutes

5. Serve

Cherokee Nation clinical dietitian Mark Keeley suggests when adding the canned products it’s best to drain them to reduce the amount of salt in the meal.

Opinion

OPINION: CNB investment expands Cherokee language program
BY BILL JOHN BAKER
Principal Chief
02/01/2018 10:15 AM
Preserving the Cherokee language is preserving Cherokee identity, as the heritage and traditions of the tribe are rooted in our language. Our language allows us to pass along traditional Cherokee knowledge and values to our children and grandchildren. That is why I am so proud that Cherokee Nation Businesses has pledged unprecedented financial support to the Cherokee Language Master Apprentice Program.

Through a signed memorandum of understanding, CNB is providing $180,000 to cover the costs of a language program called the 14th Generation Master Apprentice Program, a pilot program designed for students who originally learned to speak Cherokee at the tribe’s Cherokee Immersion Charter School. We hope it encourages language usage as they progress through junior high and high school. CNB’s monetary commitment will further advance the preservation and usage of the Cherokee language, as graduates of the adult master apprentice program are placed in supervised teaching and mentoring roles.

The new endeavor can be a bridge that unites the mission of our Cherokee Immersion Charter School and the Cherokee Language Master Apprentice Program, which has graduated six students since it began three years ago and is expected to graduate six more students in 2018 and another eight students in 2019. Both programs have proven successful in their respective area, and now we can connect their goals and participants.

This multigenerational effort will help preserve and promote the use of the Cherokee language for generations to come and fill the gap between the immersion school and high school. Our youth, who have been educated in the immersion school, are among the most valuable Cherokee language assets going forward. We have made significant investments in these children, and we must keep exposing them to language-learning opportunities after completing the sixth grade. Now that we have graduates of the Cherokee Language Master Apprentice Program, we have developed an expert pipeline and grown the personnel to keep our youth engaged after immersion school graduation. That means language lessons can be utilized at Sequoyah High School as well as within community settings. Creating new Cherokee speakers, and in turn letting them pass along what they have learned, will keep our language flourishing for generations to come.

Supporting cultural education and growing the language curriculum will help Cherokee children succeed on their lifelong journey and allow them to reach their God-given potential in school, in life and as Cherokee speakers. The 14th Generation Master Apprentice Program already has about a dozen Sequoyah High School students gathering for lessons after school. Plans are in place for a summer program with participants gathering from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. for 10 weeks. Those students, if they participate over multiple summers, could potentially get about 2,000 hours of language education just through summer participation. CNB continues to support the tribe in its pursuit of preserving Cherokee culture and heritage. Without the aggressive commitment from our tribal government and our business endeavors, the future of the Cherokee language would be in jeopardy.

People

Cherokee Casino employee advocates for Tulsans in need
BY STAFF REPORTS
02/11/2018 02:00 PM
WEST SILOAM – Tulsa resident Elizabeth “Beth” West manages an hour and a half commute to Cherokee Casino West Siloam Springs each workday but still makes time to give back to her community. The YMCA of Greater Tulsa recently awarded West with an award for her dedication to the organization.

“I started off as a contributor but quickly realized that I wanted to do more to help children and families in my community,” West, a food and beverage manager at Cherokee Casino & Hotel West Siloam Springs and Cherokee Nation citizen, said. “The Y helps people in the community in so many different aspects, from early education and after school programs to families affected by cancer.”

West is originally from Colcord, where she graduated high school. She received a bachelor’s degree from Oklahoma State University in 2008. She then started her career at Cherokee Casino & Hotel West Siloam Springs, accepting positions at various Cherokee Casinos through the years, including Cherokee Casino Ramona, Cherokee Casino South Coffeyville and Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa.

“Beth has been an asset to our department since returning to the property in 2015,” Don McClellan, property director of food and beverage at Cherokee Casino & Hotel West Siloam Springs, said. “She explains to newly hired employees that she started here in 2008, and that if they want additional responsibilities and to be able to be promoted, the opportunities are available. It has been a pleasure working with Beth and watching her navigate her career path. We are very proud of her dedicated work in the community.”

West began supporting the YMCA of Greater Tulsa as a donor but quickly grew into the role of campaigner by helping to raise awareness of the organization’s cause and by finding those willing to help support. West was honored as the 2017 Goal Buster Campaigner of the Year for the YMCA Community Services Campaign.

The annual campaign unites volunteers, donors and participants to build upon the strengths of each individual in our community. Financial assistance is made available from the annual support campaign to any individual or family who wants to participate in YMCA programs or activities but may not be able to afford the fee.

“As we move into our 2018 campaign season, we are thankful to have Beth’s big heart and passion for change. Our community services goal this year is $15,000, and we are confident the funds will be raised to ensure programs continue to be available to those who need them most,” Emma Sikich, senior director for community initiatives at YMCA of Greater Tulsa, said.

“Beth is a great example of someone who works hard, plays hard, but gives more. She is a key player in ensuring the YMCA’s Community Services campaign is a success,” Sikich said.

The staff at YMCA of Greater Tulsa is passionate about making a difference in their communities and bettering the lives of the people around them, and that has inspired West and the other 16 campaigners to do more.

“I feel it’s my responsibility to ensure that others are afforded chances and opportunities to do more, to grow and learn, to be everything they hope,” West said. “Strength of character comes from helping people succeed, not in holding anyone down.”

For more information about YMCA of Greater Tulsa, visit www.ymcatulsa.org.
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