Nearly 130 Cherokees enter CN Rodeo

BY ROGER GRAHAM
Media Producer – @cp_rgraham
07/25/2017 04:00 PM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – Cherokee people make up the majority of contestants in this year’s Cherokee Nation All-Indian Rodeo set for July 29 at the Cherokee County Arena.

Of the 190 contestants, 129 of them are Cherokee, and competitors must be citizens of federally recognized tribes. Prize money, jackets and custom saddles will be given to winners in the rodeo’s three divisions.

One division consists of team roping and senior team roping. Another division consists of bareback, saddle bronc, breakaway, senior breakaway, calf roping, steer wrestling, bull riding, junior team roping and barrel racing. The third division consists of junior bull riding, junior breakaway and junior barrel racing. Also, peewee barrel racing for children 8 years old and under and mutton busting for children 6 years old are slated.

The slack – which is for the “overflow” contestants of calf roping, team roping, barrel racing and steer wrestling who wouldn’t fit in the nightly rodeo performance, will begin at 8 a.m.

The evening rodeo will begin at 7 p.m. and is free to the public. The arena is located 3 miles west of Tahlequah on Highway 62.
Video with default Cherokee Phoenix Frame
Cherokee Nation citizen Feather Smith models a jacket that will be given to winners in the three divisions of the Cherokee Nation All-Indian Rodeo set for July 29 in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. ROGER GRAHAM/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Cherokee Nation citizen Feather Smith models a jacket that will be given to winners in the three divisions of the Cherokee Nation All-Indian Rodeo set for July 29 in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. ROGER GRAHAM/CHEROKEE PHOENIX

CN Summer Youth Employment Program finds jobs for 726 participants

BY STAFF REPORTS
07/25/2017 12:00 PM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – The Cherokee Nation has helped 726 Cherokee youths earn a collective $1.6 million in potential summer wages via its Summer Youth Employment Program.

The tribe placed the youths at jobs in June and July, helping them gain work experience and income for high school, college and other needs.

The program, administered by the tribe’s Career Services, helped the youths, ages 16 to 24, work 40 hours a week for eight weeks. The program was expected to wrap up on July 28.

Each youth earned $7.25 per hour for a total potential income of $2,320 each, and a collective $1.6 million in summer wages.

While many participants work within CN departments across the tribe’s jurisdiction, the program also found opportunities for youths in the public and private sectors, including in schools and businesses.
Cherokee Nation citizen and Summer Youth Employment Program participant Madison Shoemaker visits with Zomac School of Music owner Jeffrey Jones. COURTESY
Cherokee Nation citizen and Summer Youth Employment Program participant Madison Shoemaker visits with Zomac School of Music owner Jeffrey Jones. COURTESY
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Camp Cherokee triumphs over ‘Zombie Apocalypse’

BY ROGER GRAHAM
Media Producer – @cp_rgraham
07/25/2017 08:45 AM
WELLING, Okla. – Cherokee campers not only survived but won over the “2017 Camp Cherokee Zombie Apocalypse” held July 16-21 at the Heart of the Hills campsite.

Cherokee Nation Education Services officials said “a virus” spread during the camp days across the campsite requiring campers to learn survival skills while searching for a cure.

Camp Cherokee Director Mark Vance called the zombie-themed program a success.

“Everyone is enjoying the classes. Everyone is engaged. The kids are having a blast...the staff worked hard, which made for a successful camp,” he said.

Officials said electronic devices were not allowed during camp week, although educational tools like iPads and drones were provided in individual classes. This year 150 campers attended the camp, and the camp was open to students who are CN citizens entering eighth through 12th grades for the 2017 school year.
Video with default Cherokee Phoenix Frame
Camp Cherokee participants practice the art of blowgun shooting under the watchful eye of camp counselor Corey Still on July 21 at one of the camp’s activity areas in Welling, Oklahoma. ROGER GRAHAM/CHEROKEE PHOENIX Camp Cherokee staff member Wrighter Weavel, left in cap; instructs campers how to make baskets with at the Heart of the Hills campsite in Welling, Oklahoma. ROGER GRAHAM/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Camp Cherokee participants practice the art of blowgun shooting under the watchful eye of camp counselor Corey Still on July 21 at one of the camp’s activity areas in Welling, Oklahoma. ROGER GRAHAM/CHEROKEE PHOENIX

Election Commission certifies Smith, Shambaugh as runoff winners

BY STACIE GUTHRIE
Reporter – @cp_sguthrie
07/24/2017 04:00 PM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – At a July 24 meeting, the Election Commission certified E.O. Smith as the Dist. 5 Tribal Council winner and Mike Shambaugh as the Dist. 9 Tribal Council winner from the July 22 runoff elections.

Dist. 5

Smith won his first term as Tribal Councilor by getting 52.26 percent of the vote with 347 votes. His opponent Uriah Grass received 317 votes for 47.74 percent.

Smith said thanked his supporters and that it has been a “long campaign.”

“I would just like to thank everybody. It’s been a very long campaign. Uriah is a good guy. I will ask his advice on some things, and I want him to know he can come to me anytime with a suggestion, and I will listen to him,” Smith said. “First thing I want to do is see our community pull together and be one. I’m going to work for everybody. I am going to be everybody’s councilman, and I am going to make the people glad they voted for me. I can’t wait to get started.”
Video with default Cherokee Phoenix Frame
http://www.cherokeecasa.org/

Bad Company returns to The Joint on Oct. 26

BY STAFF REPORTS
07/24/2017 12:00 PM
TULSA, Okla. – Rock’s super-group Bad Company will perform its legendary hits on Oct. 26 at The Joint inside Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa.

Tickets start at $75 and go on sale July 27.

Bad Company’s stop at The Joint: Tulsa is the band’s only U.S. appearance before heading to Mexico for a series of performances.

Bad Company was formed by Free’s Paul Rodgers (vocals/multi-instrumentalist) with Mott The Hoople’s Mick Ralphs (guitar) plus Free’s Simon Kirke (drums) and King Crimson’s Boz Burrell (bass), who passed away in 2006.

Six albums in nine years yielded tens of millions of copies sold and massive success in both the United Kingdom and the United States. The band is known internationally for hits like “Can’t Get Enough,” “Bad Company,” “Feel Like Makin’ Love,” “Rock ‘n’ Roll Fantasy” and “Shooting Star.”

Tahlequah native helps preserve art of Cherokee storytelling

BY CHANDLER KIDD
Intern
07/24/2017 08:30 AM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. - Since 2014, the Cherokee Nation has hosted “Stories on the Square” to provide the Tahlequah community with traditional oral storytelling shared by Cherokee and other Native storytellers.

This event helps pass down Cherokee oral traditions in downtown Tahlequah each Wednesday morning during the summer months.

Tahlequah native Candice Byrd, 28, is Quapaw, Osage and Cherokee. She helps preserve Cherokee storytelling by participating in the event and telling stories such as “Mockingbird” to children and other regular attendees.

Byrd earned a bachelor’ degree in film, drama and television from Oral Roberts University in Tulsa and earned a master’s degree at Savannah College of Art and Design in Savannah, Georgia. She has been performing in theater productions since high school, and the subject of her thesis was Native American storytelling.

“I created a one-woman show with three stories based on traditional Native American cultures. I took the Cherokee Spider Story, Osage Spider Story and the Wyatt people’s Spider Story,” she said.
Cherokee storyteller Candice Byrd interacts with children during the “Stories on the Square” event on July 19 in downtown Tahlequah. CHANDLER KIDD/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Cherokee storyteller Candice Byrd interacts with children during the “Stories on the Square” event on July 19 in downtown Tahlequah. CHANDLER KIDD/CHEROKEE PHOENIX

Oklahoma Dept. of Human Services announces program cuts

BY ASSOCIATED PRESS
07/23/2017 02:00 PM
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The Oklahoma Department of Human Services is reducing services to children, senior citizens and residents with disabilities as it deals with what its director says is $30 million in budget cuts to the agency.

DHS officials announced the cuts on July 11.

Although the Legislature increased appropriations to the agency by $18 million over last year's spending level, Director Ed Lake says the cumulative effects of previous cuts and increasing fixed costs led to the $30 million shortfall.

Lake says a freeze on child care subsidies will eliminate assistance to about 1,000 children and their families. Also, senior citizens and adults and children with disabilities will see a reduction in the number of hours of services that they receive each week.

The agency also is reducing reimbursement rates to foster families.

Cherokee Phoenix Elder Fund now available to veterans

BY STAFF REPORTS
07/23/2017 10:00 AM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – The Cherokee Phoenix recently made a change to its Elder Fund to make U.S. military veterans eligible for free yearlong subscriptions to the Cherokee Phoenix.

Thanks in part to a donation from Cherokee Nation Businesses, as well as donations from Cherokee Phoenix individual subscribers, it was possible to expand the fund to include Cherokee veterans of any age.

“The Elder Fund was created to provide free subscriptions to Cherokee elders 65 and older,” Executive Editor Brandon Scott said. “Due to an influx of recent donations, we had the ability to extend the Elder Fund to include Cherokee veterans. We will continue to give free subscriptions to our elders and veterans as long as we have money in our Elder & Veteran Fund.”

Using the newly renamed Elder & Veteran Fund, elders who are 65 and older and Cherokee veterans of any age 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 Elder & Veteran Fund, call 918-207-4975 or 918-453-5269 or email justin-smith@cherokee.org or joy-rollice@cherokee.org.

Smith wins Dist. 5 runoff election

BY KENLEA HENSON
News Writer
07/23/2017 01:45 AM
VIAN, Okla. – Candidates E.O. Smith and Uriah Grass vied for the Cherokee Nation Tribal Council’s Dist. 5 seat in a runoff election on July 22.

Smith won the seat by receiving 52.26 percent of the vote or 347 votes out of 664 total votes, according to the unofficial results from the CN Election Commission.

“I would just like to thank everybody. It’s been a very long campaign. Uriah is a good guy, I will ask his advice on some things, and I want him to know he can come to me anytime with a suggestion, and I will listen to him,” said Smith. “First thing I want to do is see our community pull together and be one. I going to work for everybody, I am going to be everybody’s councilman, and I am going to make the people glad they voted for me. I can’t wait to get started.”

Smith said he has always been a “people person” so working for the people is his main goal as the district’s councilman.

“I’m going to open an office in Vian from 9 a.m. to noon, five days a week so if you have a problem come see me and I will try to get you an answer and go to work on your problems right then,” he said. “If you can’t come during those times you can call me and we will make an appointment and I’ll meet with you. I am going to be with the people so they know that I am genuinely interested in their problems.”

Culture

Cherokee Phoenix calls for 2018 homecoming T-shirt concepts
BY TRAVIS SNELL
Assistant Editor – @cp_tsnell
07/22/2017 10:00 AM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – With its 2017 annual homecoming T-shirt now for sale, the Cherokee Phoenix is calling for Cherokee artists to submit design concepts for the news organization’s 2018 T-shirt.

In 2016, the Cherokee Phoenix staff introduced a T-shirt to differ from the tribe’s Cherokee National Holiday T-shirt. Phoenix staff members contracted with artist Buffalo Gouge for the shirt’s initial design.

For this year’s homecoming shirt, Phoenix staff members selected Daniel HorseChief’s concept out of approximately 10 designs from artists. The Cherokee Phoenix then contracted with HorseChief to create the 2017 shirt.

HorseChief said his concept comes from a four-panel painting that features Selu, the Corn Mother in Cherokee lore.

The image shows the bust of Selu, who is looking down into a Southeastern art pattern. Behind her on the left side are seven ears of corn with water under it. Behind her on the opposite side is a phoenix with fire below it. Above the phoenix is the Cherokee seven-pointed star. Above the image, written in Cherokee, are the words “Cherokee Phoenix.” Below the image, in English, is “2017 CHEROKEE HOMECOMING.”

The limited-quantity, black shirts are short-sleeved, ranging in sizes small to 3XL and sell for $20 plus tax. The shirts are available at the Cherokee Phoenix office in Room 231 of the Annex Building (Old Motel) on the Tribal Complex. For more information, call 918-453-5269.

They are also available at the Cherokee Nation Gift Shop, als0 on the Tribal Complex, or online at http://cherokeegiftshop.com.

Phoenix staff members will also have shirts available at the Cherokee Phoenix booths at the W.W. Keeler Tribal Complex and Capital Square during the Cherokee National Holiday in September.

The Cherokee Phoenix is accepting concept ideas from artists who are Cherokee Nation, United Keetoowah Band or Eastern Band citizens until midnight on Jan. 1. Artist can email detailed concepts to travis-snell@cherokee.org.

For artists contemplating submitting design ideas, please note that if your concept is chosen and you sign a contract, the Cherokee Phoenix will own the artwork because we consider it a commissioned piece. As for what Phoenix staff members look for in a concept, we ask that artists “think Cherokee National Holiday” and include a phoenix.

Education

Northeastern State University welcomes Native American Support Center
BY STAFF REPORTS
07/21/2017 04:00 PM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – A newly created Native American Support Center has arrived at Northeastern State University.

The NASC is a federally funded program seeking to increase Native American students’ retention and completion of higher education. The center is open with services available on all three campuses in Tahlequah Muskogee and Broken Arrow.

An official opening will be held at the beginning of the fall semester.

With a five-year funding grant from the U.S. Department of Education, Title III office, the NASC was created to help Native American students combat barriers to a successful educational journey. The NASC is under the authority of the Division of Academic Affairs.

Though based within the Center for Tribal Studies, NASC branches are located in the John Vaughan Library in Tahlequah and on the Broken Arrow and Muskogee campuses.

Under the leadership of Director Mary L. Nordwall, the NASC will offer personal, academic and career coaching, peer tutoring and advisement, research and graduate school preparation, college success workshops, peer mentoring and cultural activities.

Joining Nordwall are Marsey Harjo, academic intervention specialist; Jade Hansen, advisement and career specialist; and Shelly Dreadfulwater, outreach coordinator for all three campuses.

With the center’s guidance, Native American students can embrace the challenges that can make their college journey a success and help them become successful professionals.

“All students can learn, but it depends on the faculty to stimulate and challenge them in their academic work,” Nordwall said. “The NASC will work to model, facilitate and enhance student motivation and support through preparing them for research and finding their own answers or solutions to their goals.”

Motivational speakers, both Native and non-Native will also be a part of the inspirational mix for students thanks to collaborations with faculty, staff and local, state and national American Indian leaders.

“Our cultural component includes traditional artistry in two- and three-dimensional arts, music, language (Cherokee/Creek) classes for credit, tribal law/politics, song, drumming and dance,” Nordwall said. “Being Native myself inspires me to share this with all American Indian students. I want them to research their own cultures’ richness and to share with other tribes and non-Natives on the three campus settings of NSU.”

For more information, email nordwall@nsuok.edu.

Council

2 Cherokee vets honored at July council meeting
BY STAFF REPORTS
07/14/2017 12:00 PM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – The Cherokee Nation honored a grandfather and grandson with Medals of Patriotism on July 10 at the Tribal Council meeting.

Jack De Vera, 74, of Independence, Kansas, and Sean Hutchinson, 25, of Catoosa, were acknowledged their service and sacrifices to their country.

Petty Officer 3rd Class De Vera was born Jan. 30, 1942, in Corona, California. De Vera enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1960 and arrived at the Naval Training Center in San Diego only three days after he graduated from high school. In September 1960, he attended Hospital Marine Corps School at the Naval Hospital where he received medical training in electrocardiographs. After completing school, he was stationed at the 11th Naval District Medical Office. De Vera received an honorable discharge from the Navy in 1964. After discharge, De Vera attended the San Francisco College of Mortuary Sciences and later graduated from Fullerton Community College in 1967, California State University in 1969 and, finally, Pittsburgh State University where he received a master’s degree in administration. In addition to his military career, De Vera served as a principal at schools in Caney, Kansas, and Towanda, Kansas, and worked as a teacher in California for a total of 26 years before retiring to Kansas in 2007 with his wife. De Vera is a member of American Legion Post 139.

“I just want to say thank you very much, but my grandson is the war hero here, not me,” said De Vera.

Sgt. Hutchinson was born June 17, 1991. He enlisted in the U.S. Army in June 2009. Hutchinson completed his basic and infantry training at Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri. Hutchinson was stationed in Fort Lewis in Washington. He was deployed to Afghanistan in 2011 and attached to a MARSOK/Marine Corps, Special Forces team where he served on route clearance with the 571 Sapper Company. From August to December 2011, Hutchinson cleared roadway explosives and Improvised Explosive Devices, eventually suffering from eight direct IED blasts during his time in southern Afghanistan. Due to the extent of his injuries, Hutchinson was restricted from combat and spent the remainder of his service working as a driver and mechanic. Hutchinson received a Purple Heart and several additional honors for his bravery and service. He received an honorable discharge in 2012 and now works for Cherokee Nation Businesses.

Each month the CN recognizes Cherokee service men and women for their sacrifices and as a way to demonstrate the high regard in which the tribe holds veterans. To nominate a veteran, call 918-772-4166.

Health

CN surgical tech graduates give back to program
BY BRITTNEY BENNETT
News Writer – @cp_bbennett
07/21/2017 09:00 AM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – Since its 2009 inception, several of the 41 W.W. Hastings Hospital Surgical Technology Program graduates have returned to the Cherokee Nation, committed to helping provide fellow Cherokees health care.

One graduate is Rochelle Lewis, a certified surgical technologist who completed the program in 2011. She spent four years at Northeastern Health Systems, formerly Tahlequah City Hospital, before returning in 2015 to teach the program.

“I think it’s imperative for me to be able to go back and help my fellow Cherokees, to be there in a time where they are most vulnerable,” Lewis said. “We are the eagle eye to make sure that a patient has the most healthy outcome possible. I think being able to do that for fellow Cherokees is a great responsibility and a great privilege.”

The CST’s responsibilities are providing patient support in the operating room, gathering operating supplies, keeping count of supplies used, overseeing the operating room’s sterilization and handing surgeons surgical tools.

The program is 9-1/2 months and conducts two classes annually. Each class admits five students.
“It’s really nice to have that size of class,” Lewis said. “If they get into this program, it’s an extreme privilege because of how hard it is to get in. We don’t have a lot of space, but we get lots of one-on-one with them.”

Entrance is based upon points earned by taking a dexterity test, completing an entrance exam, writing an essay, completing a personal interview and attending a skills lab “boot camp.”
Once admitted, students earn a $7.25 hourly stipend and spend the first five months in the classroom before moving to clinicals. During clinicals, they see patients at 10 sites in Oklahoma and Arkansas for two to three weeks at each site.

“When they go to clinicals, the first day we say to them ‘you can watch one surgery to get the feel of it,’ and then we expect them to start being as hands on as possible,” Lewis said. “They should be scrubbing in and setting up cases the first week. For accreditation they have to get so many cases in different specialties.”

The final month is spent preparing for the national certification exam, which is four hours and has 200 questions. To become certified, 118 questions must be answered correctly.

“You need to be dedicated,” Cheryl Gullett, a fellow CST and program instructor, said. “This has to be a number one priority. Students have to treat it as a job, if not a little more seriously.”

Gullett graduated in 2010 and worked for Northeastern Health Systems and St. John’s Hospital before returning to instruct in 2015.

She said the program’s financial impact on graduates is also important.

“I think the program in general is an amazing thing because you’re not only providing health care to people, but you’re providing a substantial amount of income to yourself,” Gullett said. “When these students graduate, they have a job that can provide for their families. You don’t need subsidies to help you survive anymore.”

That was the case for CN citizen Baron O’Field, a CST who graduated in 2013.

“Before I was a surgical tech, I worked as an intern for the Cherokee Nation,” he said. “I was in that position for about three years, so there was really no place for me to advance. I was kind of just stuck at that minimum wage gap.”

When O’Field neared graduation, he had job offers from Northeastern Health Systems and Hastings, where he worked for nearly two years before working as a traveling CST.

“It was a great experience to leave and come back and share some of my knowledge. I think it has helped me a lot. Situations that I would have gotten into early on in my career here, I would have been nervous and kind of intimidated. Now, it’s not that big of a deal,” he said.

He said his time as a traveling CST in Missouri, Kansas and Ohio also helped illustrate the need for more Native Americans in health careers.

“I know whenever I left I never came across another Cherokee as a traveler, or just another Native American period,” he said. “I know I did go to a place where there was a high population of Native Americans, but I never bumped into (a CST).”

As the profession grows, O’Field hopes more Cherokees will serve in it. “If you have a good work ethic and you’re willing to learn and adapt, I think any hospital in America is going to hire you.”

For more information, call Patricia Sumner at 918-453-5000, ext. 4186 or Lewis at 918-453-5000, ext. 4178.

Opinion

OPINION: Fighting for justice in Cherokee Nation
BY BILL JOHN BAKER
Principal Chief
06/30/2017 12:00 PM
When the U.S. Surgeon General visited with Oklahoma tribal leaders last May, he declared that the “prescription opioid epidemic that is sweeping across the U.S. has hit Indian country particularly hard.” This statement especially applies to the Cherokee Nation, where opioid-related overdoses have more than doubled in recent years and more and more Cherokee Nation citizens suffer from opioid addiction. The opioid epidemic has affected every facet of our society: from our economy and our hospitals to our schools and our homes. Our children’s health and well-being is especially threatened by the epidemic, putting the future of the Cherokee Nation itself at risk.

When I was elected Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation in 2011, I made a commitment to protect the health and welfare of our nearly 350,000 citizens about half of whom live inside our sovereign tribal boundaries in northeast Oklahoma. We are made up of many small communities and we feel the impacts of the opioid epidemic every day, as we watch our friends, neighbors, children and parents grapple with the consequences of opioid addiction. That’s why I take this epidemic so seriously and why we have taken proactive measures to fight it. To curb abuse at the point of care, our doctors and hospitals implemented a prescription monitoring program (“PMP”). Long before it was required, our healthcare system also adopted information technologies to stop illegal distribution of prescription opioids.

Despite our best efforts, the crisis is still raging through our community. This is a matter of life and death, which is why we are doing everything in our power to prevent bad actors from flooding the Cherokee Nation with prescription opioids. Large distributors and retailers operating in the Cherokee Nation—McKesson Corporation, Cardinal Health, Inc., AmerisourceBergen, CVS Health, Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc., and Walmart Stores, Inc.—have fueled this epidemic by saturating our society with these highly-addictive painkillers, ignoring obvious warning signs that these drugs are not landing in the right hands. We pay for our citizen’s health care from cradle to grave and this epidemic has cost us hundreds of millions of dollars, not to mention the thousands of lives lost and ruined. That’s dollars we could be using for our schools, hospitals, roads or new housing projects. I cannot stand by as Cherokee Nation citizens suffer while these companies continue to make huge profits at our expense.

We must act now to protect our future – the next generation. No one has felt the impact of the opioid crisis more than our children. For children born into families struggling with opioid addiction, their tragic story is one of a cycle of abuse and neglect. According to a recent study, pregnant Native American women are up to 8.7 times more likely to be diagnosed with opiate dependency or abuse. This translates to a high volume of Cherokee babies born with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome – a disease with lifelong physical, mental, and emotional impacts on the child. Many of these babies must stay in the hospital for weeks and some must be immediately transferred to Tulsa-area hospitals via emergency helicopter to receive life-saving care. These infants are then immediately placed in our foster system. Cherokee families are torn apart before they have a chance to succeed and our children, families, and communities suffer as a result.

Enough is enough. The opioid epidemic is ripping apart families, straining our society’s resources, and wreaking havoc across the Cherokee Nation. That is why we’ve taken matters into our own hands, and are going to make sure distributors and retail pharmacies are held accountable for their negligence and greed. If the drug distributers and retailers in our communities fulfilled their duty to act as a “check” on the system by monitoring, reporting, and preventing illegal opioid activity, the epidemic could have been stopped. My hope is that this case will bring justice to our Nation and serve as an example to other communities dealing with the social and financial strains of the opioid epidemic.

People

Wilson releases ‘The Clockwork Dynasty’ novel
BY CHANDLER KIDD
Intern
07/18/2017 09:15 AM
PORTLAND, Ore. – Robots and Native Americans usually don’t come to mind as a foundation for novels, but Cherokee Nation citizen and Oklahoma native Daniel H. Wilson has made this possible in his books.

Wilson said he enjoys writing science fiction because it allows consistent motifs such as Native Americans, robots and technology to appear in new and creative ways. With his latest novel, “The Clockwork Dynasty,” he said he emphasizes ancient and new technologies.

“Growing up in Oklahoma, I have always been fascinated by this idea of cultures clashing and how technology affects the outcome when cultures collide,” he said. “That novel (‘The Clockwork Dynasty’) is about countries and people that are modernizing and adopting new technological ideas on how to survive.”

According to its overview, the book “weaves a path through history, following a race of human-like machines that have been hiding among us for untold centuries.”

“Present day: When a young anthropologist specializing in ancient technology uncovers a terrible secret concealed in the workings of a three-hundred-year-old mechanical doll, she is thrown into a hidden world that lurks just under the surface of our own. With her career and her life at stake, June Stefanov will ally with a remarkable traveler who exposes her to a reality she never imagined, as they embark on an around-the-world adventure and discover breathtaking secrets of the past…,” the overview states.

The book was set for release on Aug. 1 for $26.95 in hardback.

Born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Wilson earned a bachelor’s degree in computer science from the University of Tulsa and a doctorate degree in robotics from Carnegie Mellon University.

He wrote “Robopocalypse” and other stories that utilize his childhood experiences in Oklahoma and in the CN. “What I find is my experiences with growing up and where I came from come into my writing naturally. You write what you know. I know Oklahoma because that is the experience I had growing up.”

The novel “Robopocalypse” has a strong emphasis on incorporating references to Native Americans and their government, Wilson said.

“The novel is basically robots and Indians who end up fighting in central Oklahoma in the Osage Nation, but there are Cherokee characters as well. I wrote it that way because if the federal government failed, there are sovereign governments who might not fail during a robot uprising,” he said.

His interest in writing and science fiction novels began while attending Booker T. Washington High School in Tulsa. During high school, he wrote and submitted science fiction stories to pulp magazines.

“While studying computer science at the University of Tulsa, I was lucky to gain arts exposure through the honors college,” Wilson said.

With “Robopocalypse,” which had its movie rights purchased by director Steven Spielberg, the robots were often futuristic, he said. Wilson changed this in “The Clockwork Dynasty” by looking at history. “Everyone associates robots with cutting edge and new technology, and I was sick of that because human beings have always been obsessed with building machines that replicate ourselves.”

Wilson also has an upcoming short story novel called “Guardian Angels and Other Monsters” that contains 15 short stories that have never been published. The theme of the stories is technology being a protector and destroyer, he said.

For more information about Wilson, view his social media accounts at Twitter (@danielwilsonpdx), Facebook (facebook.com/officialdanielwilson) or his website at danielhwilson.com.
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