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The tribe’s Supreme Court sets Dist. 3 Tribal Councilor David Walkingstick’s appeal hearing for 9 a.m. on May 24. The Election Commission disqualified him as a principal chief candidate on May 17 for violating election law.
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Principal chief candidate David Walkingstick greets supporters outside the Election Commission Office on May 17 in Tahlequah. CHAD HUNTER/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Dist. 3 Tribal Councilor David Walkingstick was ousted from the principal chief race on May 17 by the Election Commission following an all-day hearing.
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In its natural state, poke can be recognized by its wide green leaves and thick stalks. Many Cherokees traditionally gather poke each spring. LINDSEY BARK/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Cherokee Nation citizen Tad Dunham demonstrates how to gather poke by only picking the leaves off the stalk. Though a poisonous plant, the poke leaves are edible when cooked correctly. LINDSEY BARK/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Poke, which is classified as a nightshade weed, grows among the previous year’s stalks. LINDSEY BARK/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Poke leaves are boiled whole up to two or three times to rid them of toxins to make them edible. LINDSEY BARK
When fully cooked, poke can resemble spinach but has a more distinct smell and taste. Whole leaves shrink and change color when done. LINDSEY BARK/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Poke, a leafy green plant, is a favorite among Cherokees. Though poisonous, traditional poke gatherers know how to prepare the plant to make it edible.
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Former Republican House Speaker Kris Steele, right, addresses a group of criminal justice reform advocates on April 16 at the state Capitol in Oklahoma City. Supporters of changes in Oklahoma’s criminal justice system say court fines and fees are levied on people unable to pay them in order to support government functions. SUE OGROCKI/ASSOCIATED PRESS
TULSA (AP) – Fines, dues and court expenses assessed to Oklahoma defendants have spiked since fiscal year 2007 and government agencies are increasingly relying on them as an income source, criminal justice advocates said.

Citations, fees and costs have risen 27 percent since 2007, the Tulsa World reported. State lawmakers have also imposed two administrative charges that collectively require defendants to pay an additional 25 percent of all fees amassed by the courts for the executive branch.
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Principal chief candidate David Walkingstick, right, answers a question posed by Deputy Attorney General Chrissi Nimmo, left, during an Election Commission hearing on May 17 in Tahlequah. CHAD HUNTER/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Election Commissioner Rick Doherty, left, listens to testimony on May 17 against principal chief candidate David Walkingstick, right, during an Election Commission hearing regarding allegations against Walkingstick. CHAD HUNTER/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Principal chief candidate David Walkingstick greets supporters outside the Election Commission Office on May 17 in Tahlequah. The EC voted 4-0 to disqualify him from the tribe’s June 1 election. CHAD HUNTER/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
The attorney general’s office claims David Walkingstick worked with Cherokees for Change LLC to illegally funnel donations into his campaign.
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Junior Miss Cherokee Kaitlyn Pinkerton, left, and Miss Cherokee Whitney Roach toss plastic hoops from a float in the Stilwell Strawberry Festival parade on May 11. CHAD HUNTER/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Draydon Butler, 7, of Stilwell, watches a strawberry-themed float pass at the 72nd annual Stilwell Strawberry Festival on May 11. CHAD HUNTER/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
New Stilwell Strawberry Festival Queen Sydney Ritter waves to parade-goers on May 11. CHAD HUNTER/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Allie Dart, 8, of Grove, tries to stay dry while watching the parade during the annual Stilwell Strawberry Festival held May 11. CHAD HUNTER/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Traden Johnson, 6, of Grove, watches the Stilwell High School marching band approach during the parade at the Stilwell Strawberry Festival on May 11. CHAD HUNTER/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
STILWELL – This year’s Stilwell Strawberry Festival was a damp yet successful affair packed with parade-goers, vendors, entertainment and umbrellas.

“I would like to say thank you to all the people who came to the festival on this rainy day,” newly-crowned festival queen Sydney Ritter said during the May 11 event. “I know that it’s kind of miserable, but I think if everybody comes together they can still have a good time.”
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SALLISAW – The Cherokee Nation is postponing its annual Sequoyah Day celebration because of weather concerns.

The family-friendly day of activities was scheduled for 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on May 18 at Sequoyah's Cabin Museum. A new date has not been set at this time.

The museum is located at Highway 101, 7 miles east of Highway 59 in Sallisaw. For more information about Sequoyah’s Cabin Museum, visit www.VisitCherokeeNation.com.
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TAHLEQUAH – The Cherokee Nation Election Commission voted unanimously on Thursday to grant a continuance of the hearing into allegations of electoral fraud by Dist. 8 Tribal Council candidate Jodie Fishinhawk.

The hearing was rescheduled for 9 a.m. on May 23 in the EC meeting room.
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The bill adds language to regulations concerning the placement of children in foster care.
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TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – The next meeting of the Tahlequah Writers group is 2 p.m., May 18 in the Rawls Room of the Tahlequah Public Library on College Street.

The Rawls Room is the left as you enter the library. Writers are encouraged to bring a work in progress to share with the group.

Everyone is welcome to the meeting. Also, attendees will be able to report on what they are up to regarding writing and reports will be provided on writing activities in the area.

Attendees include poets, fiction writers, historians, essayists, humorists, playwrights, scriptwriters, and more. Meetings discuss the art of writing as well as the business of publishing and promotion.

For information, visit Tahlequah Writers on Facebook.
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On May 1, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced a proposal to downgrade the American Burying Beetle’s status from “endangered” to “threatened.” The beetle buries carcasses next to its eggs so the larva can feed when they hatch. The activity enhances soil quality. ASSOCIATED PRESS
The beetle has been listed as endangered since it was first included on the list of protected fauna in 1989 under the Endangered Species Act.
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