Cherokee Phoenix calls for 2018 homecoming T-shirt concepts

Assistant Editor – @cp_tsnell
09/23/2017 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.”
Cherokee artist Daniel HorseChief’s Selu, or Corn Mother, concept was selected as the Cherokee Phoenix’s 2017 homecoming T-shirt artwork. The shirt is on sale at the Cherokee Phoenix office and Cherokee Nation Gift Shop in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. ARCHIVE Cherokee artist Buffalo Gouge models the Cherokee Phoenix’s 2016 homecoming T-shirt, which sold out during the Cherokee National Holiday. The Cherokee Phoenix is currently seeking ideas from Cherokee artists for the 2018 homecoming T-shirt. LINDSEY BARK/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Cherokee artist Daniel HorseChief’s Selu, or Corn Mother, concept was selected as the Cherokee Phoenix’s 2017 homecoming T-shirt artwork. The shirt is on sale at the Cherokee Phoenix office and Cherokee Nation Gift Shop in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. ARCHIVE

HHS Secretary Price visits Cherokee, Pawnee nations

News Writer
09/22/2017 12:00 PM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – U.S. Department of Human and Health Services Secretary Tom Price made his first visit to Oklahoma on Sept. 19 to meet with tribal officials from the Cherokee and Pawnee nations as part of a three-day tour of health care facilities and to address tribal health care needs.

Following a tour of the Jack Brown Treatment Facility, a facility for treating Native American youth with substance abuse problems, Price and Principal Chief Bill John Baker held a press conference to address health care issues sweeping Indian Country and the United States.

With the opioid crisis as the main topic, Baker talked about how hard the CN is being hit by the epidemic.

“Pain medications are saturating the Cherokee Nation. In our Indian Child Welfare office, about 40 percent of our foster care cases involve families torn apart by opioids. We have babies being born in our hospital on a monthly basis having to be life-flighted to Tulsa because they entered the world, at no fault of their own, with these powerful drugs in their system,” he said. “Opioid is crippling Indian Country, and the Cherokee Nation is certainly feeling the negative effects. It is literally destroying lives and wrecking families.”

Baker said the CN has filed a lawsuit against the largest distributors of opioid drugs in America, and the case is pending in tribal court.
Tom Price, U.S. Department of Human and Health Services secretary, speaks about the overdose and opioid epidemic sweeping the nation with Principal Chief Bill John Baker during a Sept. 20 press conference at the Jack Brown Treatment Facility in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. KENLEA HENSON/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Tom Price, U.S. Department of Human and Health Services secretary, speaks about the overdose and opioid epidemic sweeping the nation with Principal Chief Bill John Baker during a Sept. 20 press conference at the Jack Brown Treatment Facility in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. KENLEA HENSON/CHEROKEE PHOENIX

4th annual Cherokee Warrior Flight to depart Monday

09/22/2017 10:00 AM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – For World War II veteran Jack Shamblin, being on this year’s Cherokee Warrior Flight is more than a trip. It’s another chance to visit the grave of his grandson, Master Sgt. Joshua Wheeler, who was killed by ISIS and laid to rest at Arlington Cemetery in 2015.

He is among eight Cherokee veterans who will leave for the nation’s capital to visit several war memorials and tour the Capitol building as part of the Cherokee Nation’s fourth annual Cherokee Warrior Flight.

At 5 p.m. on Sunday at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa a special dinner in the Sky Room will honor the veterans. The three World War II veterans, three Korean War veterans and two Vietnam veterans will be presented with vests and hats with Cherokee Warrior Flight patches from Principal Chief Bill John Baker and Deputy Chief S. Joe Crittenden.

“It’s quite an honor to be recognized by the Cherokee Nation, and I look forward to sharing this trip with Joshua’s brother, Zack,” Shamblin, 90, of Roland, said. “I love this country, and I am thankful to the Cherokee Nation for everything they have done for my family and for so many other veterans.”

The flight departs at 6:30 a.m. from Tulsa International Airport for Washington, D.C., on Monday.

Cherokee Art Market returns to Hard Rock

09/22/2017 08:00 AM
CATOOSA, Okla. – The 12th annual Cherokee Art Market, featuring more than 150 elite Native American artists from across the nation, returns Oct. 14-15 to the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa.

The Cherokee Art Market is one of the largest Native American art shows in the state and one of the finest Native art markets in the country.

More than 50 tribes are represented at the event that includes artwork available for purchase. Pieces include beadwork, pottery, painting, basketry, sculptures and textiles.

As part of the two-day event, there will be cultural demonstrations open to the public from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day. Demonstrations include shell jewelry, screen printing, kachina dolls, sculptures, Native fashion, gourd art, painting, storytelling and music.

Artists are competing for their share of $75,000 in prize money awarded across 25 categories.

CNTS helps highlight 70 years of Air Force civil engineering

09/21/2017 04:00 PM
TULSA, Okla. – In honor of the U.S. Air Force’s past seven decades of service, Cherokee Nation Technology Solutions recently partnered with the Air Force Civil Engineer Center to honor its branch’s contributions to civil engineering.

The effort is part of a broader Air Force anniversary campaign to highlight multiple generations of Airmen and their service to our country.

“Civil engineers have been positioning the Air Force to fly, fight and win for 70 years,” John Hansen, CNTS operations general manager, said. “We are honored to have the opportunity to help showcase their achievements and heritage through our support of AFCEC’s ‘70 Years of Civil Engineers Leading the Way’ campaign.”

CNTS, a company within the consulting sector of Cherokee Nation Businesses, designed commemorative posters, artwork and web pages highlighting significant eras in Air Force civil engineering history.

The campaign highlights airfield support for the Korean conflict, establishment of highly mobile, heavy-construction squadrons known as Rapid Engineer Deployable Heavy Operational Repair Squadron Engineer or RED HORSE, construction of the Vandenberg Space Launch Complex and support for the Gulf and Afghanistan wars.
In honor of the U.S. Air Force’s past seven decades of service, Cherokee Nation Technology Solutions recently designed commemorative posters, artwork and web pages highlighting significant eras in Air Force civil engineering history. COURTESY
In honor of the U.S. Air Force’s past seven decades of service, Cherokee Nation Technology Solutions recently designed commemorative posters, artwork and web pages highlighting significant eras in Air Force civil engineering history. COURTESY

Beginning FY 2018 budget set at $895M

News Writer
09/21/2017 12:00 PM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – The Tribal Council unanimously passed the Cherokee Nation’s $895 million comprehensive budget for fiscal year 2018 at its Sept. 11 meeting.

The comprehensive budget is comprised of the operating budget, used for tribal expenses and costs, approved at $648.3 million, plus the capital appropriations budget, which includes land purchases and construction of facilities and roads, approved at $246.7 million.

In 2016, the Tribal Council’s Executive & Finance Committee approved its largest-ever beginning budget at $934.2 million for FY 2017.

“The fiscal year 2018 budget has decreased by $39,209,252 primarily in the capital budget due to the ongoing construction of the Cherokee Nation Hastings joint venture project,” CN Treasurer Lacey Horn said.

The W.W. Hastings Hospital joint venture project with Indian Health Services broke ground in February. Construction of the 469,000-square-foot addition in Tahlequah is expected to be completed in 2019.

HUD investigates CN’s use of housing funds

CNHI News Oklahoma
09/21/2017 10:00 AM
MUSKOGEE, Okla. – Questions on whether the Cherokee Nation has been misusing housing funds for college scholarships has led to an investigation by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

HUD is investigating whether the CN misused funds when it used Native American Housing and Self Determination Act money for the tribe’s Cherokee Promise Scholarship recipients since 2010, said Patricia Campbell, a regional public affairs officer for HUD.

“SWONAP (Southwest Office of Native American Programs) office in OKC has not determined whether or not the funds were improperly used,” Campbell said in a recent email. “They have put the Nation on their list to audit in FY (fiscal year) 2018 (which starts Oct. 1). They do not have a scheduled date at this time. They tell me the tribal leaders have been very cooperative and are reviewing the situation themselves.”

Amanda Clinton, CN Communications director, said CN officials have looked at the situation and believe that the funds used were allowable.

“The Cherokee Nation Higher Education Department funds a portion of their scholars program out of the NAHASDA program identified in Section 18.2 of the Indian Housing Plan. The NAHASDA funding is specific to what is outlined in the IHP,” she said in a written statement.

Health provider pay package set for Oct. 1

News Writer – @cp_bbennett
09/21/2017 08:15 AM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – Health Services officials were expected to implement a new provider compensation package on Oct. 1 after soliciting feedback from Tribal Councilors and the Health System Provider Compensation Committee.

“That’s what were pushing for,” Health Services Executive Director Connie Davis said of the projected implementation date. Oct. 1 marks the beginning of fiscal year 2018. “We’re prepping the contracts right now anticipating everything going through.”

Davis declined to share details of the new compensation package, but said the plan was supposed to have been finalized in a Sept. 13 meeting with Principal Chief Bill John Baker, Treasurer Lacey Horn and Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin Jr.

Compensation Committee member Dr. Johnson Gourd, a physician at Three Rivers Health Center in Muskogee, said as of Sept. 19 providers had not received an official document with the changes.
“We have not got official word on that,” he said. “I don’t know what the package entails or what the final numbers are. I don’t know even what to expect. Everything is just hearsay at this point.”

Health Services Executive Director Connie Davis addresses the Tribal Council on Sept. 11 at the W.W. Keeler Tribal Complex in Tahlequah, Okla. Davis said that Health Services would implement a new provider compensation package on Oct. 1. COURTESY
Health Services Executive Director Connie Davis addresses the Tribal Council on Sept. 11 at the W.W. Keeler Tribal Complex in Tahlequah, Okla. Davis said that Health Services would implement a new provider compensation package on Oct. 1. COURTESY

CHC invites students to experience Cherokee culture

09/20/2017 04:00 PM
PARK HILL, Okla. – Area students have two opportunities to learn knowledge of Cherokee history and culture with an interactive day at the Cherokee Heritage Center.

Ancient Cherokee Days is set for Oct. 5-6, and Cherokee Heritage Festival is set to run Nov. 2-3. Both events feature similar curriculum for school-age children and are presented inside Diligwa, the CHC’s authentic re-creation of Cherokee life in the early 1700s.

“While we understand that public education is in a budget crisis, we can’t lose sight of the importance of programs like these,” CHC Executive Director Dr. Charles Gourd said. “We offer this experience at a low cost in hopes that students are able to get out of the classroom and experience Cherokee history and culture firsthand. It is the best way to ensure that they develop a thorough understanding and appreciation for the history and culture of the Cherokee people.”

Admission for each event is $5 per student and accompanying adults are only $2. Teachers and bus drivers are free. Admission includes entrance to the Cherokee National Museum, the Trail of Tears exhibit and Adams Corner Rural Village.

The outdoor cultural classes feature interactive curriculum and games based on Cherokee lifestyle in the early 18th century, including craft demonstrations in pottery making, basket weaving, food grinding, weapons or tool making and language.


3 Cherokees win at Native American Heritage Festival Art Show
09/14/2017 08:00 AM
CUSHING, Okla. – Three Cherokee Nation citizens performed well on Sept. 8 at the third annual Native American Heritage Festival Art Show at the Cushing Community Theater.

Mike Dart, a 2017 Cherokee National Treasure, won Best of Show and first place in basket weaving for his burden basket titled “The Burdens We Carry.” He also won first place in the Cultural Crafts category for his “Hunter’s Arrow Quiver.” His Best of Show award came with $1,000, while he earned $300 each for his first-place finishes.

CN citzen Rene Hoover took second place in basket weaving for her piece titled “My Mother’s Basket.” The award earned her $200. Also earning $200 with a second-place finish in textiles was CN citizen Julie Brison for her “Earth Meets Rust” piece.

The art show’s categories consisted of painting, graphics, photography, sculpture, pottery, jewelry and cultural crafts.

The Native American Heritage Festival Art Show abides by the Indian Arts and Crafts Act of 1990 and Oklahoma’s American Indian Arts and Crafts Act of 1974 and 2016 Amendment.


Sequoyah issues policy for free, reduced-price meals
09/15/2017 11:00 AM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – As required by the Oklahoma Department of Education’s Child Nutrition Program, Sequoyah Schools has announced its policy for free or reduced-price meals for children served under the National School Lunch, School Breakfast and the After-School Snack programs.

The policy is for Sequoyah School and the Cherokee Immersion Charter School.

Due to regulations, all school food authorities or institutions must submit annually a public release to the informational media, local unemployment office, any companies contemplating layoffs in that district’s area, grassroots organizations and interested individuals upon request.

Click hereto read the policy document.


Byrd builds on 18-year legacy of serving CN
News Writer
08/22/2017 12:00 PM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – With 18 years of experience serving the Cherokee people, Tribal Councilor Joe Byrd looks forward to serving another four years as the representative for Dist. 2, which consists of most of northern Cherokee County.

“I love serving the Cherokee people. They’ve got somebody that’s going to work for them again for the next four years, and I’m really looking forward to that,” said Byrd.

Originally from Belfonte/Nicut, Byrd was the youngest Cherokee Nation legislator to be elected. He served on the Tribal Council from 1987-95, followed by term as principal chief from 1995-99. In January 2012, he won a special election to replace Bill John Baker on the Tribal Council. Baker had taken office as the principal chief on Oct. 19, 2011, after a contentious and lengthy principal chief’s race against incumbent Chad Smith.

In 2013, Byrd was re-elected to serve his first full term under the tribe’s 1999 Constitution, which limits elected officials to two consecutive four-year terms before having to sit out a term. He was also named speaker of the Tribal Council in 2015 after then-Speaker Tina Glory Jordan termed out.

When he first ran for office in 1987, Byrd said he felt the need to help the Cherokee people with the issues they were facing.

“Our government didn’t begin serving our people until the 1970s. When I first moved to Northeastern (State University) in 1972 to get an education, it really opened my eyes to a lot of the issues our people were facing,” he said. “In the rural areas there were a lot of people who weren’t self-efficient, and I saw right then we still had many people out in the rural areas that needed help and needed an awareness that there is a tribe out there that should have a responsibility to take care of our people.”

As for his current term, deciding to run again for the Dist. 2 seat was an easy decision, he said, because of his love for serving the Cherokee people and because of his constituents who asked him to continue.

He spoke of elderly women who continues to set an example of how his constituents have not forgotten their Cherokee culture or who they are as a people.

“When people like that come up to me and ask me to run, it’s a real honor to have people with that kind of stature to say, ‘you need to run another time,’” he said. “The people will let you know when it’s time to run. You don’t have to consult them, they’ll let you know.”

During his time as Dist. 2 representative, Byrd has helped with projects to improve services for CN citizens, including the passing of a $900 million budget, a $100 million investment in Cherokee health care as well as a $200 million dollar expansion of the W.W. Hastings Hospital.

For this term, Byrd said he would continue working with the tribe to ensure rural area schools have shelter for inclement weather and that elders and veterans are taken care of.

“Our veterans seem to not be taken care of like they should,” he said. “When we give speeches and talks we all say, ‘we respect our elder’s and we respect our veterans,’ but we have many that are still homeless and not being served. I want to do anything I can to assist in making sure our elders and veterans are taken care of.”


Claremore Indian Hospital to host VA benefits fair
09/20/2017 11:30 AM
CLAREMORE, Okla. – The Claremore Indian Hospital will sponsor a Veterans Affairs Enrollment Fair on Sept. 21 in the hospital’s Conference Room 1.

Hospital officials said the fair is set for 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. to assist their Native American veteran patients in applying for eligibility for health care services through the VA.

“We will have Claremore Indian Hospital benefit coordinators and representatives from the VA and Disabled American Veterans to assist with the application processes,” Sheila Dishno, Claremore Indian Hospital patient benefit coordinator, said. “Please make plans to attend and bring your financial information (income and resource information) and DD-214 (military discharge) papers.”

If already enrolled, call 918-342-6240 or 918-342-6559 so a hospital official can update your file.


OPINION: Leading the way in environmental preservation
Principal Chief
09/01/2017 12:00 PM
Preserving and defending our culture and values is important to all of us as Cherokees. One of our biggest responsibilities is protecting the air, water, land and habitat of our natural world. All Cherokees should feel an innate desire to protect these resources for our current and our next seven generations. It’s our sacred obligation.

Instead of being part of the problem that contributes to more global climate change and decay, we are taking the lead in becoming part of the solution and looking for forward-thinking ways to preserve our natural resources. I recently signed two new executive orders that will take steps toward better protecting our natural resources.

The first will reduce the carbon emissions of our tribal operations by 25 percent by the year 2027. Scientific evidence tells us that global climate disruption is threatening our very existence. Continuing to put more pollutants in the air is devastating to Mother Earth. As part of our efforts to lower carbon emissions, we have entered into a major wind energy project that will provide 200 megawatts of clean energy.

We are also constructing a solar energy canopy at the tribal headquarters that will provide clean energy to the W.W. Keeler Tribal Complex, and it will allow visitors and employees the opportunity to charge electric vehicles.

The second executive order limits the use of Styrofoam. Styrofoam is a source of trash that has long-term negative effects for our environment, including our waters. Going forward, we will use recyclable or compostable materials whenever we can so that we’re not leaving today’s problems for future generations to solve.

We will never stop looking for ways to protect this beautiful earth that our Creator gave us. Almost two years ago I appointed Sara Hill, our first-ever secretary of Natural Resources, to proactively protect the future of our water and all of our natural resources. I encourage everyone to put more thought into their daily actions. One way to do that is to look for ways to avoid using Styrofoam at home and at work, and take the pledge to avoid using it whenever you can. I hope our partners will follow our lead and join us in making this commitment.

Cherokee Nation remains a leader in Indian Country when it comes to environmental programs. We will use a $300,000 grant from the Environmental Protection Agency to create a national tribal mentoring program that focuses on the development and reporting of water quality assessments.

CN staff will help tribes across the country use a new EPA reporting tool. This online system allows states, territories, tribes, the EPA and other partners to submit water quality data using an integrated reporting process.

During the past year, we have been active within our 14 counties and across Indian Country when it comes to the conservation of water. Now, with this grant from the EPA, a new door has been opened for our environmental programs. Tribes across the country will have a strong mentor and partner in the CN. Not only does the CN depend on the technical ability and excellence of our Environmental Programs staff, but tribes across the country depend on them, too.

Our environmental programs will play a vital role in educational efforts and outreach to tribal water programs. We are looking forward to working with various EPA regional water programs and tribal water staff across the nation.

Remaining a leader in environmental preservation supports CN’s economic, social and cultural well-being and balance. This charge will always remain one of our greatest obligations.


Hardbarger selected for JET Program
News Writer – @cp_bbennett
09/20/2017 08:00 AM
OSAKA, Japan – Cherokee Nation citizen Martha Hardbarger is putting together her inherent love for Japan with her newfound love for education so she can teach English for the Japan Exchange and Teaching Program.

“I am going to be paired with a Japanese teacher of English, so hopefully we will be able to cover each other’s weaknesses,” Hardbarger said of the yearlong program that began in August. “Ideally what will happen is we will team teach, the Japanese teacher giving explanations in Japanese when necessary, and me speaking only English to give them exposure to what native English speakers sound like and to get them to use the language in class more.”

The Sequoyah High School and Stanford University graduate first entertained the idea of living abroad after two visits to Japan, during one in which a host mother mentioned the JET Program.
After seeking her advice and that of a friend who had applied, Hardbarger completed the program’s three-phase application process.

The first phase requires the applicant to write a personal statement detailing what he or she would bring to the program and two recommendation letters. The second phase encompasses personal interviews that must be conducted at Japanese embassies or consulates around the United States. The final phase is acceptance and placement before orientation in Tokyo.

Hardbarger said that while the process takes nearly 10 months, it “makes sense” because of the program’s reputation and the responsibilities of being a participant.

“The JET Program is pretty competitive as they offer some of the greatest benefits for teaching abroad and are often employed by local governments,” she said. “Not only are JET participants expected to teach English, but they need to also expose students to different cultures and countries. I have had to do a few introduction PowerPoints and usually talk about my family camp at Stokes (ceremonial ground in Sequoyah County in Oklahoma), show pictures of me and my family at powwows, my graduation photos where I have beaded caps and a feather, traditional foods, our flag, what the Cherokee written language looks like and how it is on street and store signs around Tahlequah (Oklahoma) and pictures from Diligwa at the (Cherokee) Heritage Center.”

Though Japan and the CN are more than 6,000 miles apart, Hardbarger said her third visit abroad is revealing surprising similarities between the two cultures.

“Both lifestyles are more interdependent-oriented compared to independent,” she said.

“Relationships and working together are highly valued. Both cultures also have a high respect and honoring of nature. Another thing is the respect and value of elders. Something else that I’ve recently noticed is that during spring and summer, we have a lot of powwows and gatherings, and Japanese people have festivals and Cherry Blossom viewings, all of which are very social gatherings and celebrations.”

Hardbarger encourages anyone interested in teaching abroad to apply for the program and reach out to past participants for application help.

“Teaching abroad is one of the most rewarding, challenging experiences you can go through,” she said. “You will grow so much as a person, but you will also more than likely have some really difficult rough patches. The short times I had been to Japan before have been so memorable and life-changing that I am excited to see what happens when I have a whole year to spend here. Also, get as much help as you can with your application if you want to apply to a competitive program like the JET Program.”

Hardbarger earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology in 2016, but hopes that the JET experience will help determine if a teaching career is in her future instead.

“If I really enjoy teaching and am able to develop and grow that skill set while here, then I would consider doing a master’s program to get certified to teach in the U.S.,” she said. “If I do decide to become a teacher, then this experience will be great to share with students and show them that they can do more and explore the world if they work towards that goal.”
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