Age is just a number for 3 ‘RTR’ cyclists

BY KENLEA HENSON
Reporter
06/22/2018 04:00 PM
COMPETITION, Mo. – As the 2018 “Remember the Removal” cyclists made their way to Tahlequah, Oklahoma, and the end of their three-week journey, one may have noticed the riders’ various ages.

Although Cherokee Nation cyclists range in ages 16 to 24, the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians gears its “RTR” bike ride towards improving its citizens’ health. The ages for EBCI cyclists this year ranged from 17 to 62.

After finishing day 12 of riding, the older EBCI riders reflected on the nearly 1,000-mile trek to Oklahoma and why they wanted to take it.

At age 62, Jan Smith said she took on the challenge to honor her ancestors. She said as an EBCI citizen she receives benefits that help her, and for that, her ancestors deserved some appreciation.

“There’s people that paid for that (benefits). They’re the ones that struggled, and if they hadn’t been resilient then I wouldn’t be able to reap those benefits I have,” Smith said. “It’s just a small, small way to pay them back.”
At age 62, Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians cyclist Jan Smith is the oldest rider to take part in this year’s “Remember the Removal” bicycle ride. WILL CHAVEZ/CHEROKEE PHOENIX

Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians cyclist Lori Owl, 47, right, says she appreciated the support of the younger riders during the three-week “Remember the Removal” bike ride. WILL CHAVEZ/CHEROKEE PHOENIX Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians cyclist Bo Taylor, 48, completes the “Remember the Removal” bike ride on his second attempt after suffering a serious injury in 2017 during a training ride. WILL CHAVEZ/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
At age 62, Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians cyclist Jan Smith is the oldest rider to take part in this year’s “Remember the Removal” bicycle ride. WILL CHAVEZ/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
https://www.facebook.com/CASA-of-Cherokee-Country-184365501631027/

CN opens Cherokee National Peace Pavilion

BY STAFF REPORTS
06/22/2018 12:00 PM
TAHLEQUAH – The Cherokee Nation on June 20 celebrated the opening of the Cherokee National Peace Pavilion, located just east of the Cherokee National Capitol building.

According to a CN press release, more than 200 guests joined tribal officials for a ribbon-cutting ceremony and reception commemorating the 175th anniversary of an 1843 intertribal peace gathering.

In 1843, a similar structure housed the intertribal peace gathering when then-Principal Chief John Ross saw the need for tribal governments to come together and stand united on issues that would ensure the survival of Native people. It is estimated 10,000 people attended the 1843 meeting.

“Now more than ever, it is important for our people and our community to have a place where we can join together in the name of peace,” Principal Chief Bill John Baker said. “It is an honor to dedicate this pavilion alongside our brothers and sisters from the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians, as we continue to work together, support one another and unify our voice for the good of our people.”

The Cherokee National Peace Pavilion is 4,600 square feet and can accommodate around 1,000 people. In addition to beautifying the downtown area, the multipurpose space will host community events, live music performances, markets and outdoor cultural classes.
People gather on June 21 under the Cherokee National Peace Pavilion for the return of the “Remember the Removal” Bike Ride cyclists in Tahlequah. The pavilion was opened to the public the day before. BRANDON SCOTT/CHEORKEE PHOENIX
People gather on June 21 under the Cherokee National Peace Pavilion for the return of the “Remember the Removal” Bike Ride cyclists in Tahlequah. The pavilion was opened to the public the day before. BRANDON SCOTT/CHEORKEE PHOENIX

June 22, 1839: a bloody day in Cherokee Nation

BY TESINA JACKSON
Former Reporter,
WILL CHAVEZ
Assistant Editor – @cp_wchavez &
JAMI MURPHY
Former Reporter
06/22/2018 08:00 AM
This is an archive story that the Cherokee Phoenix is publishing on the anniversary of the day that three prominent Cherokees were killed.

DUTCH MILLS, Ark. – On the morning of June 22, 1839, three small bands of Cherokees carried out “blood law” upon Major Ridge, John Ridge and Elias Boudinot – three prominent Cherokees who signed a treaty in 1835 calling for the tribe’s removal to Indian Territory.

Tribal Councilor Jack Baker said he believes “blood law” was the basis for the men’s assassinations.

“Although they did not follow all of the procedures, I do believe that was the basis for the executions,” Baker said. “I believe the proper procedure should have been followed. They should have been brought to trial and that was not done.”

The Cherokee General Council put the law, which had existed for years, into writing on Oct. 24, 1829.
Elias Boudinot The first editor of the Cherokee Phoenix, Elias Boudinot, is buried in the Worcester Cemetery in Park Hill, Okla., not far from where he was killed in 1839, and about a mile from where the Cherokee Phoenix is published today. COURTESY For signing the Treaty of New Echota, which called for the sale of all Cherokee lands east of the Mississippi River and the removal of all Cherokees to west of the river, John Ridge was assassinated at his home on June 22, 1839, in front of his family. WILL CHAVEZ/CHEROKEE PHOENIX John Ridge was buried about 500 yards to 1,000 yards from his home in Polson Cemetery, which is located southeast of Grove, Okla., in Delaware County. His father, Major, was later moved to the cemetery and buried next to him around 1853. WILL CHAVEZ/CHEROKEE PHOENIX Tribal Councilor Jack Baker points to where he believes the assassins of Major Ridge would have hidden to ambush him on June 22, 1839. WILL CHAVEZ/CHEROKE PHOENIX Major Ridge’s tombstone in Polson Cemetery in Delaware County. WILL CHAVEZ/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Elias Boudinot

Election Commission urges voter registration to eligible citizens

BY STAFF REPORTS
06/21/2018 08:15 AM
TAHLEQUAH – The Cherokee Nation’s Election Commission wants to ensure that eligible CN citizens register to vote in the tribe’s 2019 general election, which is set for June 1.

According to an EC press release, CN citizens who are at least 18 years old, or will be 18 on the day of the general election, must register to vote by midnight CST on March 29.

The release also states that people who have never registered to vote or who aren’t registered in the districts of their respective residences, as well as people who are registered but need to change their registration information, may register by completing and submitting CN voter registration applications on or before the voter registration deadline.

According to the release, voters with new 911 addresses will also need to complete voter registration applications, updating their address information on or before March 29.

“Now is the time to check and make sure you are registered to vote. Citizens are encouraged to check with the Election Commission office and to verify the information is correct,” Elections Director Connie Parnell said. “With Cherokee Nation Holiday fast approaching the Election Commission will be attending the holiday celebration. The Election Commission will provide voter registration stations for the visitors to check on their registrations.”

‘Remember the Removal’ cyclists find strength, develop leadership skills

BY WILL CHAVEZ
Assistant Editor – @cp_wchavez
06/20/2018 04:00 PM
WAYNESVILLE, Mo. – Autumn Lawless trained for the challenges she faced on June 15 as she fought the heat and hills of the Ozarks in south-central Missouri.

The 21-year-old from Porum, Oklahoma, said the training the 10 Cherokee Nation “Remember the Removal” cyclists endured from January to May prepared them for the rigors of riding for three weeks through seven states.

“Training was hard, but it was hard for a reason. We were all ready, and we’ve made it this far because of our training,” she said.

She said through the “RTR” program, which started in 1984 for youth leadership, she’s gained more courage and knows “she can do anything.”

“I saw a lot of our riders and how this ride changed them and how strong they were. They were more confident, they were better leaders, and I wanted to be a better leader. I know I can push myself...now. This ride has given me perseverance,” Lawless said. “The ride isn’t just what you see in videos. It’s not just people cheering you on and clapping for you. It’s the time you spend with your teammates on the road motivating each other to get up another hill or just checking on each other. It really is a family, and there’s a lot of behind-the-scenes work that goes into this ride.”
Cherokee Nation citizen and “Remember the Removal” cyclist Autumn Lawless leads the “RTR” group through Missouri. All participants take turns leading the ride to help develop leadership skills. WILL CHAVEZ/CHEROKEE PHOENIX Cherokee Nation citizen Daulton Cochran carries his bicycle as he walks part of the Trail of Tears near the Gasconade River in Missouri. Behind him is Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians citizen Ahli-sha Stephens and CN citizen Amari McCoy. WILL CHAVEZ/CHEROKEE PHOENIX Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians citizen Seth Ledford, right, reaches the top of a hill in Missouri with EBCI teammate Nolan Arkansas. Ledford said he’s learned teamwork and leadership skills during the three-week ride. WILL CHAVEZ/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Cherokee Nation citizen and “Remember the Removal” cyclist Autumn Lawless leads the “RTR” group through Missouri. All participants take turns leading the ride to help develop leadership skills. WILL CHAVEZ/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
http://cherokeepublichealth.org/

Young named Tahlequah Public School District Teacher of the Year

BY LINDSEY BARK
Reporter
06/20/2018 12:00 PM
TAHLEQUAH – Cherokee Nation citizen Crystal Young on May 4 was named the Tahlequah Public School District Teacher of the Year for the 2017-18 school year. She is a third grade teacher at Cherokee Elementary.

Young was first awarded Cherokee Elementary Teacher of the Year in April, which put her in the running for the district award.

“It’s just super humbling, I think, when you get something like that, that you know your peers chose you,” she said.

In the fall, Young will begin her seventh year at Cherokee Elementary and plans to teach fifth grade. Before joining Cherokee Elementary, she taught two years at the tribe’s Head Start. However, teaching wasn’t her first desire. She said she initially wanted to become a lawyer and work in juvenile justice.

“Growing up, we lived in poverty. My dad struggled with addiction and things like that. So some of these students that I see, I was right there. I know exactly what they’re going through, and I wanted to show kids that hard work will get you where you need to be, and perseverance and work ethic and all those attributes, honesty, integrity, those things matter,” she said.
Cherokee Nation citizen Crystal Young was recently named the Tahlequah Public School District Teacher of the Year for the 2017-18 school year. She is a third grade teacher at Cherokee Elementary. LINDSEY BARK/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Cherokee Nation citizen Crystal Young was recently named the Tahlequah Public School District Teacher of the Year for the 2017-18 school year. She is a third grade teacher at Cherokee Elementary. LINDSEY BARK/CHEROKEE PHOENIX

University of Arkansas holds agricultural summit for Native youth

BY LINDSEY BARK
Reporter
06/20/2018 09:45 AM
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Thirty-five high school and college students attended the University of Arkansas’s Indigenous Food and Agricultural Initiative fifth annual Native Youth in Food and Agricultural Leadership Summit June 7-14 at the university’s law school.

Representing 20 tribes from across the nation, each student studied in one of four educational tracks pertaining to agricultural business and finance, agricultural law and policy, nutrition and health, and land use and conservation planning.

“What we hope is that young people who are coming here are already leaders in their communities and tribes back home, and we hope what they take away with them are the skills they need to be that next generation of leaders and help develop their tribal food and agricultural systems in their own farms and ranches back home across the country,” Erin Parker, university research director and staff attorney, said.

Parker said the summit started five years ago via a U.S. Department of Agriculture grant to help youth who go into food and agricultural careers in Indian Country know the problems agricultural producers face, specifically Native American producers, and how to solve those problems.

“We know from our work at the Indigenous Food and Agricultural Initiative that Indian producers face legal barriers, financial barriers that no other producer in the country faces when it comes to agriculture. Obviously dealing with an additional regulatory system through the BIA (Bureau of Indian Affairs) around land usage and land management, it creates a lot of potential problems,” Parker said.
Thirty-five students from high schools and colleges representing 20 tribes take a group photo at the University of Arkansas’s Native Youth in Food and Agricultural Leadership Summit that took place June 7-14 in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Each student conducted an in-depth study in one of four educational tracks: agriculture business and finance, law and policy, nutrition and health, and land use and conservation. COURTESY University of Arkansas School of Law Dean and Cherokee Nation citizen Stacy Leeds, center, is honored by students Zach Ilbery (Cherokee) and Masewa Mody (Cochiti Pueblo) for support of the Native Youth in Food and Agriculture Leadership Summit after her session on tribal governance. COURTESY Native Youth in Food and Agriculture Leadership Summit students Zach Ilbery (Cherokee), left, Mackenize Martinez (Choctaw/Apache), Lauren Thompson (Cheyenne River Sioux), and Kiana Haskell (Fort Belknap) learn about the Quapaw Tribe’s dog training operation. COURTESY
Thirty-five students from high schools and colleges representing 20 tribes take a group photo at the University of Arkansas’s Native Youth in Food and Agricultural Leadership Summit that took place June 7-14 in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Each student conducted an in-depth study in one of four educational tracks: agriculture business and finance, law and policy, nutrition and health, and land use and conservation. COURTESY

Chief’s son ID’d as RN who potentially exposed patients to pathogens

BY TRAVIS SNELL
Assistant Editor – @cp_tsnell
06/19/2018 08:15 PM
TAHLEQUAH – After waiving his Cherokee Nation rights to employee privacy, John Ross Baker publicly admitted on June 18 that he was the nurse responsible for a lapse in protocol by incorrectly administering medications and potentially exposing patients to blood borne pathogens.

“I, John Baker, RN, am deeply sorry that my actions have caused such anxiety to these families. When I understood that I may not have been following proper procedures, I immediately began working with health care professionals to identify any mistakes that may have been made and cooperated in every possible way and then I resigned,” Principal Chief Bill John Baker’s 34-year-old son said in a written statement. “I love caring for patients and would never knowingly put anyone at risk. My late mother was a nurse and I feel as though I inherited her passion for caring for others. I believe I was called to the nursing profession and I hope to serve patients with the same concern and compassionate care as she did, and I’ve always hoped she would be proud of the man I am. She and my father always taught me to take responsibility for my actions.”

According to a CN press release, Hastings Hospital CEO Brian Hail was informed on April 29 of a protocol lapse involving the administration of medication for surgical patients. Health Services officials said the lapse occured from January to April and involved using the same vial of medication and syringe to inject more than one IV bag, potentially exposing patients to blood borne pathogens.

However, Health Services officials said patients were never directly in contact with any needle.

“In all instances, medication was administered into an IV bag, or tubing. The likelihood of blood borne pathogens traveling up the lines into an IV bag or IV tubing to cause cross contamination from using the same syringe is extremely remote,” officials said.

CHEROKEE EATS: The Kickin’ Taco Truck serves Mexican cuisine

BY BRITTNEY BENNETT
Reporter – @cp_bbennett
06/19/2018 04:00 PM
TAHLEQUAH – From fish salad to loaded tacos, customers can rest assured their food will be fresh when they place their orders with The Kickin’ Taco Truck.

“We’re trying to cater a little more to the people that may have diabetic problems, weight, just watching what they eat, with fresh food,” Paula Thompson, co-owner and Cherokee Nation citizen, said. “I think that fresh food is just something that most people are starting to look for in and on a menu, and it just tastes better.”

Co-owner and cook Denisse Ramos and her assistant shop each day, sometimes multiple times a day depending on demand, for supplies and ingredients.

“Everything you get for the day, we buy it that day,” Ramos said. “We order meat the day before, and they have it all cut fresh for us. There’s no leftovers from the day before.”

Thompson and Ramos began the business in 2014. Thompson said she focuses on the business side after growing up watching her mother own a restaurant, while Ramos focuses on cooking.
Denisse Ramos, left, and Cherokee Nation citizen Paula Thompson, right, are the co-owners of The Kickin’ Taco Truck. The two began the business in 2014 and serve various Mexican specialty cuisines, including quesadillas, burritos and tortas. ARCHIVE The Kickin’ Taco Truck has this menu item for customers –a steak-filled quesadillas with avocado, pico de gallo and melted cheese topped with sour cream in a flour or corn tortilla. Denisse Ramos is the head cook and buys the ingredients each morning, while Cherokee Nation citizen Paula Thompson manages the business and catering. ARCHIVE The Kickin’ Taco Truck takes Mexican cuisine on the road to Muskogee, Stilwell and Tahlequah each week. When not operating within the Cherokee Nation jurisdiction, co-owners Denisse Ramos and Paula Thompson travel the world getting food ideas and inspiration for their menu. ARCHIVE
Denisse Ramos, left, and Cherokee Nation citizen Paula Thompson, right, are the co-owners of The Kickin’ Taco Truck. The two began the business in 2014 and serve various Mexican specialty cuisines, including quesadillas, burritos and tortas. ARCHIVE

Culture

June 22, 1839: a bloody day in Cherokee Nation
BY TESINA JACKSON
Former Reporter,
WILL CHAVEZ
Assistant Editor – @cp_wchavez &
JAMI MURPHY
Former Reporter
06/22/2018 08:00 AM
This is an archive story that the Cherokee Phoenix is publishing on the anniversary of the day that three prominent Cherokees were killed.

DUTCH MILLS, Ark. – On the morning of June 22, 1839, three small bands of Cherokees carried out “blood law” upon Major Ridge, John Ridge and Elias Boudinot – three prominent Cherokees who signed a treaty in 1835 calling for the tribe’s removal to Indian Territory.

Tribal Councilor Jack Baker said he believes “blood law” was the basis for the men’s assassinations.

“Although they did not follow all of the procedures, I do believe that was the basis for the executions,” Baker said. “I believe the proper procedure should have been followed. They should have been brought to trial and that was not done.”

The Cherokee General Council put the law, which had existed for years, into writing on Oct. 24, 1829.

According to Thurman Wilkins’ “Cherokee Tragedy,” the law stated “if any citizen or citizens of this Nation should treat and dispose of any lands belonging to this Nation without special permission from the National authorities, he or they shall suffer death; Therefore…any person or persons who shall, contrary to the will and consent of the legislative council of this Nation…enter into a treaty with any commissioner or commissioners of the United States, or any officers instructed for that purpose, and agree to sell or dispose of any part or portion of the National lands defined in this Constitution of this Nation, he or they so offending, upon conviction before any of the circuit judges aforesaid are authorized to call a court for the trial of any such person or persons so transgressing. Be it Further Resolved; that any person or persons, who shall violate the provisions of this act, and shall refuse, by resistance, to appear at the place designated for trial, or abscond, are hereby declared to be outlaws; and any person or persons, citizens of this Nation, may kill him or them so offending, in any manner most convenient…and shall not be held accountable for the same.”

It is thought that John Ross Party members carried out this law in the killings of the Ridges and Boudinot.

Major Ridge

He was born in the Cherokee town of Great Hiwassee, later a part of Tennessee. He was initiated as a warrior early and known by several names including Nunnehidihi, meaning “He Who Slays The Enemy In His Path,” and Ganundalegi, which meant “The Man Who Walks On The Mountain Top” or “The Ridge.”

He received the name Major while fighting with U.S. Gen. Andrew Jackson at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend during the Creek War in 1814. He used Major as his first name the rest of his life.

According to the Oklahoma Historical Society, in the1820s gold sparked a demand to get rid of Cherokee titles to lands within Georgia.

“While the federal government tried to create inducements to convince the Southeastern Indians to leave their homes, the discovery of gold in Georgia led to more aggressive demands for immediate removal,” the OHS website states.

While Congress debated the issues with removal, several Cherokees negotiated a removal agreement with the United States, according to the OHS.

“Major Ridge, a Cherokee planter and soldier, his son John Ridge, and his nephew Elias Boudinot conducted these negotiations with the United States despite the expressed wishes of the majority of their nation. Most Cherokees, including Principal Chief John Ross, protested and tried to stop Ridge and his so-called Treaty Party,” the OHS site states. “On May 28, 1830, while Ridge and his supporters negotiated terms of removal with the United States, Congress passed the Indian Removal Act.”

This law provided $500,000 to establish districts west of the Mississippi River, to trade eastern tribal lands for those districts, to compensate the tribes for the cost of their removal and the improvements on their homesteads, and to pay one year’s worth subsistence to those who went west, the website states.

Armed with this authority, Andrew Jackson, who was now president, authorized agents to negotiate and enforce treaties.

Major and 56 other Cherokees signed the Treaty of New Echota on Dec. 29, 1835. Major, who could not write, made his mark on the treaty. That ultimately led to his death.

According to “Cherokee Tragedy,” one of three bands of Cherokees sought to kill Major on the same morning as John Ridge and Elias Boudinot.

“Having learned that he had left the previous day for Van Buren (Arkansas), where one of his slaves lay ill, they had followed him down the Line Road. They discovered where he had spent the night, beneath the roof of Ambrose Harnage, at Cincinnati, Arkansas, and they rode ahead to form an ambush,” the book states.

Five men hid in the brush of trees where the road crossed White Rock Creek, now Little Branch, near Dutchtown, now known as Dutch Mills.

“At ten o’clock, Major Ridge came riding down the highway with a colored boy in attendance. Several rifles cracked. The Ridge slumped in his saddle, his head and body pierced by five bullets,” according to the book.

Those thought to have fired upon him were James Foreman, Anderson Springston, Bird Doublehead, Isaac Springton, James Hair and Jefferson Hair.

Major’s body was recovered by nearby settlers and buried in a cemetery in what is now Piney, Okla. He was later moved and buried near his home on Honey Creek in northern Delaware County.

John Ridge

John was born in Georgia to Major and Susannah Wickett Ridge in 1802.

Growing up, John attended school at the Springplace Mission in Georgia and then Brainerd Mission in Tennessee. In 1819, he went to the Foreign Mission School in Cornwall, Conn., which existed until 1827.

While attending the Foreign Mission School, he met his wife, the daughter of the school’s steward, Sarah Bird Northrup. The couple married in 1824. The biracial union caused uproar from the town of Cornwall resulting in John and his wife leaving.

According to Robert J. Conley’s “A Cherokee Encyclopedia” later that year, John went with his father and Chief Ross to Washington, D.C. to protest the possible removal of Cherokees from all lands east of the Mississippi River.

In 1830, President Jackson pushed his removal bill through Congress and it passed into law. In 1832, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Rev. Samuel Worcester v. Georgia that Georgia’s laws over Cherokee territory were illegal and unconstitutional. It ruled that the Cherokee Nation had sovereign status, however Jackson refused to enforce the ruling in favor of the Cherokees, which caused John to change his position.

Feeling that the Cherokees had no other course of action, he began to speak in favor of negotiating a removal treaty with the United States and on Dec. 29, 1835, along with others known as the Ridge Party or Treaty Party, he signed the Treaty of New Echota.

Those who signed the treaty were Cherokee Nation citizens but were not elected officials. After signing, he moved with his family to present-day Oklahoma in 1837.

The U.S. Senate ratified the treaty and although Chief Ross and others protested it, it led to the removal in 1838-39 known as the Trail of Tears. The U.S. Army began forcing Cherokees and their slaves (for those who had them) out of their homes. On Aug. 23, 1838, the first removal detachment of Cherokees left, and on Dec. 5, 1838, the 13th detachment left. It arrived in Indian Territory on March 18, 1839. Approximately 4,000 Cherokees died along the trail.

According to the treaty, Cherokees who wished to remain in the East could do so but would be required to become U.S. citizens by giving up their tribal status, a provision that was ignored during the removal.

Because the treaty surrendered all Cherokee land, Ross supporters, the Ross or National Party, regarded the Treaty Party as traitors.
On June 22, 1839, John, his father Major and Boudinot were assassinated for having signed the treaty.

According to “Cherokee Tragedy,” 25 men reached John’s house in the morning and, while he was still in bed, fired a gun at John’s head. The gun failed to fire. He was then dragged outside and stabbed 26 times in the torso and neck. While still alive, he was then stomped on and kicked, all in front of his wife, mother and son, John Rollin Ridge.

John was buried about 150 yards to 500 yards from his home in Polson Cemetery, which is located southeast of Grove, Okla. near the Oklahoma/Missouri state line in Delaware County.

Elias Boudinot

The sentiments among the Cherokee people in June 1839 in Indian Territory could be said were of misery, mistrust and resentment.

The last detachment of Cherokees forcibly removed from the East had arrived three months before and they were attempting to rebuild their lives. However, Chief Ross wished to reunite the tribe’s three factions, which lived together in what is now northeastern Oklahoma.

He called a meeting at an Illinois River camp ground located a few miles southeast of where Tahlequah now sits, and tried to get the Old Settlers, Cherokees who had settled the territory in the early 1800s, and members of the Treaty Party, Cherokees who had signed away Cherokee lands in the East, to reunite with his party or faction.

Boudinot, the Cherokee Phoenix’s first editor, his uncle Major Ridge and Major’s son, John, were members of the Treaty Party.

The two smaller factions declined any union with Ross, and the meeting broke up on June 21. Based on an 1890 statement by Allen Ross, John Ross’ son, men who had signed the 1835 Treaty and opposed John Ross as chief caused the anti-union dissention.

“After several days of endeavor to get together and having failed, some of the leaders of the emigrants called a secret meeting without the knowledge or consent of my father John Ross at what is now known as Double Springs about four miles northwest of Tahlequah for the purpose of making plans to effect an act of union,” Allen’s statement reads.

The discussion turned to the blood law passed by the Cherokee National Council that stated that any Cherokee who agreed or signed an agreement to sell Cherokee lands should forfeit their lives.

“Believing that the same men who had made the Treaty of 1835 were responsible for the failure of the Cherokee people to get together, this meeting decided that these three men (Boudinot and the two Ridges) should be executed as provided by the law,” Allen wrote. “The meeting further decided that this meeting must be kept from their chief because he would prevent it as he had once before at Red Clay before their removal.”

A committee was appointed to arrange details. Numbers were placed in a hat for each person present. Twelve numbers had an X mark after them, which indicated the executioners. Allen wrote he was not allowed to draw and was tasked to go his father’s home the evening before the executions and to stay with him and if possible keep him from finding out what was being done.

According to a letter written on June 26 by Boudinot’s friend and confidant, Rev. Samuel Worcester, Boudinot was living with Worcester at Park Hill near Tahlequah and was building a home about a quarter mile away. Worcester was at the construction site the morning Boudinot was killed.

“There he was, last Saturday morning, when some men came up, inquiring for medicine. He set out with them to come and get it and had walked but a few rods when he was heard to shriek, and his hired men, at and near his house ran to his help, but before they could reach the spot, the deed was done,” Worcester wrote. “They seemed to have stabbed Mr. Boudinot in the back with a knife, and then finished their dreadful work with a hatchet, inflicting seven strokes, two or three of which sunk deep into his head. To me he was a dear friend, a most intimate companion, and a most valued helper.”

An act of union was formed the next month and the newly formed council pardoned all parties connected with the assassinations of the Ridges and Boudinot.

Boudinot is buried in the Worcester Cemetery in Park Hill, about a mile from where the Cherokee Phoenix is published.
The three assassinations are thought to have helped form the basis of the July 12, 1839, act of union that brought together the Old Settlers and the Ross and Treaty parties.

Baker said Emmet Starr’s “History of the Cherokee Indians and Their Legends and Folklore” states that the Eastern and Western Cherokees came together to form one body politic. This, Baker said, led to the CN constitution two months later.

Education

Young named Tahlequah Public School District Teacher of the Year
BY LINDSEY BARK
Reporter
06/20/2018 12:00 PM
TAHLEQUAH – Cherokee Nation citizen Crystal Young on May 4 was named the Tahlequah Public School District Teacher of the Year for the 2017-18 school year. She is a third grade teacher at Cherokee Elementary.

Young was first awarded Cherokee Elementary Teacher of the Year in April, which put her in the running for the district award.

“It’s just super humbling, I think, when you get something like that, that you know your peers chose you,” she said.

In the fall, Young will begin her seventh year at Cherokee Elementary and plans to teach fifth grade. Before joining Cherokee Elementary, she taught two years at the tribe’s Head Start. However, teaching wasn’t her first desire. She said she initially wanted to become a lawyer and work in juvenile justice.

“Growing up, we lived in poverty. My dad struggled with addiction and things like that. So some of these students that I see, I was right there. I know exactly what they’re going through, and I wanted to show kids that hard work will get you where you need to be, and perseverance and work ethic and all those attributes, honesty, integrity, those things matter,” she said.

While attending college, she realized she worked well with children and changed her career path from lawyer to educator.

Aside from teaching, Young is the Cherokee language bowl sponsor and Together Raising Awareness for Indian Life sponsor for Cherokee Elementary. She said she exposes her students to Cherokee culture and to diabetes awareness through the TRAIL’s 12-week curriculum.

“When they’re an adult, this is going to help them. I’m hoping that we’re setting a good foundation for them to be not only good readers, good writers, good mathematicians but just healthy, good individuals,” Young said.

She said there are struggles with being a teacher and that she was one of the many teachers who rallied at Oklahoma City in April for more education funding. She said she believes it’s important to show students that when faced with adversity sometimes not going with what has always been done is acceptable.

“It’s OK to be willing to stand up for what you feel like is right and standing together and being able to bond,” Young said.

She said the rewards and struggles of being a teacher go hand in hand when coming in every day and giving her best while at the same time knowing so many kids rely on her.

“I feel like everything I’ve done or wanted to do has been, at the root of it, has been I wanted to help people. I guess just to encourage people and motivate people to be the best they can be,” she said.

Winning the district award puts Young in the running for Oklahoma State Teacher of the Year, which will be announced in October at the Tulsa State Fair.

Council

Gaming compact amended to add ‘ball-and-dice’ gaming
BY KENLEA HENSON
Reporter
06/13/2018 04:00 PM
TAHLEQUAH – Tribal Councilors on June 11 unanimously passed a gaming compact supplement with Oklahoma to allow Cherokee Nation’s casinos to begin offering Las Vegas-style table games such as craps and roulette.

The resolution follows Gov. Mary Fallin signing House Bill 3375 into law on April 1o, making the state’s tribal casinos eligible to begin offering “ball-and-dice” games as soon as Aug. 2.

Tribal Councilor Mike Shambaugh said during a May 31 Rules Committee meeting that passing the resolution was important.

“I think we have been progressive as a council in many different ways in how we support gaming. This could be a good way for more revenue, obviously. If other casinos are going to be doing it, we need to stay progressive. We need to do what it takes to be the best casino and give our casinos the best opportunity to succeed. I think this is a good step forward for doing this especially if the state is going to allow it. We need to take advantage of it,” he said.

Cherokee Nation Gaming Commission Director Jamie Hummingbird also said during the Rules Committee meeting that the CNGC has been working on regulations for the new gaming since April. He said the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa would be the first Cherokee Casino property to offer “ball-and-dice” games and that the CNGC is working with casino operations on “where and when” the other casino properties would begin featuring the games.

Legislators on June 11 also authorized placing 39.2 acres of land in southern Delaware County into trust. The acreage, known as Beck’s Mill “has a rich history as a trading post with a grain mill being operated in the 1800s,” the resolution states. The property is located along Flint Creek just north of Highway 412.

Legislators also approved a resolution “agreeing to choice of law and venue and authorizing a waiver of sovereign immunity” so that the Cherokee Immersion Charter School can enter into a software agreement with Municipal Accounting Systems Inc. The agreement will allow the school to submit certain financial information to state officials in the required Oklahoma Cost Accounting System.

Tribal Councilors also increased the tribe’s fiscal year 2018 comprehensive operating budget by $1.8 million for a total budget authority of $694.9 million. The changes consisted of a decrease in the Indian Health Service Self-Governance Health budget by $93,962 and increases in the General Fund, Enterprise, Department of Interior – Self-Governance and Federal “other” budgets.

In other business, legislators:

• Authorized a donation of a modular office building to Project A Association in Muskogee County, and

• Authorized a grant application to the Department of Health and Humans Services, Administration for Children and Families, the Office of Child Care for Tribal Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program.

Health

Age is just a number for 3 ‘RTR’ cyclists
BY KENLEA HENSON
Reporter
06/22/2018 04:00 PM
COMPETITION, Mo. – As the 2018 “Remember the Removal” cyclists made their way to Tahlequah, Oklahoma, and the end of their three-week journey, one may have noticed the riders’ various ages.

Although Cherokee Nation cyclists range in ages 16 to 24, the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians gears its “RTR” bike ride towards improving its citizens’ health. The ages for EBCI cyclists this year ranged from 17 to 62.

After finishing day 12 of riding, the older EBCI riders reflected on the nearly 1,000-mile trek to Oklahoma and why they wanted to take it.

At age 62, Jan Smith said she took on the challenge to honor her ancestors. She said as an EBCI citizen she receives benefits that help her, and for that, her ancestors deserved some appreciation.

“There’s people that paid for that (benefits). They’re the ones that struggled, and if they hadn’t been resilient then I wouldn’t be able to reap those benefits I have,” Smith said. “It’s just a small, small way to pay them back.”

Like all cyclists who make the journey, a lot of preparation goes in months before the ride begins to ensure their physical endurance can stand against the strain they place on their bodies. Smith knew her age would work against her, so she started training early.

“The first training ride I went to was like 10 miles, and I did terrible, and I thought I have to get in better shape. So I started training and eating better,” she said. “I probably worked out five to six days a week. It takes a lot of hard work.”

The consecutive days of riding for hours at a time have been hard on Smith, but she said seeing some of the significant sites along the way have been worth it.

EBCI cyclist Lori Owle said she rode ride to learn about the Trail of Tears history firsthand. However, the 47-year-old admitted the physical aspect has been difficult.

“Before each ride I get knots in my stomach because of the unknown, but once you complete the day you get a sense of completion,” she said.

On day nine, a deer hit Owle and knocked off of her bike. After three hours in the emergency room and three stitches in her finger, she was back on her bike the next day.

She said being one of the “older riders” was hard, but that the younger riders were a “blessing.”

“My main thought was it was us older riders that would need to watch over the young riders and make sure they don’t get hurt, but then it was me that got hurt,” she said. “They take good care of me, and I think the ride has developed patience in them. It’s really good to know that the younger generation has that kind of compassion.”

For EBCI cyclist Bo Taylor participating in the ride had been a goal he worked toward for two years. The 48-year-old was selected for the 2017 ride, but a training accident two days before the ride began left him with nine broken ribs. He said he was determined to ride this year.

“What I’ve always said about Cherokees is that we always get back up no matter what happens,” Taylor said.

Once his ribs healed, he trained on spin bikes and eventually got back on his bike.

He said his favorite moment this year was climbing the Cumberland Gap in eastern mountainous Tennessee without stopping. “For an old dude, knowing I can still do things is good. Two years ago I couldn’t do what I am doing now, so it’s been an awesome journey. I’ve found out a lot about myself.”

Opinion

OPINION: Addressing food insecurity for veterans in northeast Oklahoma
BY BILL JOHN BAKER
Principal Chief
06/01/2018 12:00 PM
The Cherokee Nation is steadfastly committed to our military veterans, those men and women who have sacrificed so much for our tribe, our country and our collective freedoms. Recently, we established a formal partnership with the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma to help ensure these real-life heroes do not suffer from hunger and food instability. Nobody in Oklahoma, especially a military veteran, should go hungry.

This collaboration, which is the first time a tribal government has been involved with this local food bank program, means regular access to healthy and nutritious foods, and that will translate to better and fuller lives. It is a blessing that we are able to help, and it is the least we can do for those who have done so much for us.

This endeavor will create a quarterly mobile food pantry at the CN Veterans Center. Fresh produce, bakery items and nonperishable food items are available for about 125 veterans or widows of veterans through the collaboration. The first time we hosted the food pantry in late May, we distributed more than 10,000 pounds of food. The tribe will continue to help identify veterans in need, as well as provide volunteers to help staff the mobile pantry.

Today, the CN Veterans Center offers a wide array of activities for veterans. It serves as a place to sign up for benefits, play bingo or attend other activities, and now we have added the food pantry. It is just one more way we can meet the needs of our people.

The CN continues to look for ways to honor and serve our veteran warriors, and this partnership with the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma is another avenue to reach those in need. Food insecurity is a very real issue for families in northeast Oklahoma, and almost 20 percent of the households the Food Bank serves has a military veteran who resides there and utilizes the program. Additionally, national studies show veterans are affected more by hunger and food insecurity than the general population. Many struggle to put food on the table because of a myriad of issues, from employability after service to mental health and related trauma or an unwillingness to seek help.

Collaborating with the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma means we are increasing and expanding its coverage and furthering its mission. Just like CN, the food bank wants to provide for our veterans so that they have what they need to prosper.

The CN also offers a food distribution program, which some veterans may also qualify for. For more information on the CN Veterans Center and food pantry, call 918-772-4166.

People

4-year-old Keys jumps into motocross
BY ROGER GRAHAM
Multimedia Producer – @cp_rgraham
06/12/2018 08:30 AM
PARK HILL – Cherokee Nation citizen Cooper Keys is a 4-year-old with a passion for motocross. Born in 2013, Cooper began riding his 2004 Yamaha PW50 in February after finding tri-cycling slow and monotonous.

With half a dozen races under his belt on the peewee dirt track at Jandebeur’s Motor Sports Park in Okmulgee, he’s notched five third-place finishes and one second-place finish.

Cooper competes in the 50cc shaft drive/air cooled and 50cc beginner divisions and is the only 4-year-old racing against 5-to 7-year-olds.

“We got him a starter balance bike when he was about a year and a half old,” CN citizen and Cooper’s mother Emily Keys said. “Balance bikes don’t have pedals or training wheels, so he just kind of pushed himself around until he eventually got to where he could ride around without using his feet.”

Emily said Cooper soon began riding down hills, balancing perfectly on the bike that was designed for pushing around the yard.

“When he outgrew the balance bike, we got him a bicycle that resembled a dirt bike, which he mastered in no time,” she said. It was around then that Emily and her husband, Justin, began thinking that Cooper’s abilities” weren’t “normal.” Cooper’s agility was only surpassed by his constant request for a real (motorized) dirt bike,” she said.

“He was just gung-ho, and would not be quiet about it. My husband had a mini-bike when he was little but only rode it around the field, so we really knew nothing about dirt bikes or the sport,” Emily said.

She added that it was eventually her parents who sprang for Cooper’s first dirt bike, as a Christmas present. She said she thought he would just want to ride around the field with it. But that wasn’t the case. Cooper wanted to ride all the time.

“We were concerned about him racing at such a young age, so we just started at the bottom, learning everything we could on teaching Cooper how to ride safe and smart. We purchased every piece of safety gear a kid could have. Now the poor (child) looks like (a) mix between an astronaut and the Terminator when he’s all suited up to go,” Emily said. “He’s had some crashes but that hasn’t deterred him in the least.”

Cooper’s father and CN citizen Justin Keys said Cooper’s can-do attitude was only one of the qualities he noticed.

“It makes me really proud that he has such good sportsmanship and how he strives to make himself better. I mean he’s pushing himself more than anybody. He gets out there with a ride, ride, ride attitude and he never gives up. More than once, I’ve seen him fall down, get up and want to go again. You can’t teach that.”

“We don’t want him hurt, and it is scary putting him on such a fast bike, but we’ve done all we can,’ Emily said. “We continue to teach him about safety, and we can’t let our fears get in the way of something he’s that passionate about.”
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