Snell expands career with office opening

Multimedia Editor – @cp_mdreadfulwat
02/24/2016 08:00 AM
Main Cherokee Phoenix
Cherokee Nation citizen Lisa Snell works on a project for the Native American Times. Snell recently moved her publishing business to downtown Tahlequah, Oklahoma. Within it, she sells Native American art on consignment. MARK DREADFULWATER/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Main Cherokee Phoenix
Certified Native located at 306 N. Muskogee Ave. in Tahlequah, Oklahoma, houses the Native American Times, Native Oklahoma Magazine and Native American artwork on consignment. MARK DREADFULWATER/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – Writer, designer, editor, art consignor…the list goes on for Cherokee Nation citizen Lisa Snell. The Native American Times and Native Oklahoma Magazine owner recently moved her home-based operation to a quaint, downtown shop called Certified Native.

Snell started working out of her home as a part-time employee with the Native American Times in 2006. She said she and her husband just had a baby and working from home allowed her to raise their child and work. Once she purchased the publication, she operated it from home.

“When I bought the Native Times, I basically had a desk set up on the dining room table and I did my work there,” she said. “It took about six months when the advertising money started coming in and I was able to get caught up and push it into the black. By the end of the first year, I was able to take our one-car garage and make that into an office space.”

Snell said once her daughter was old enough for school, she looked into getting an office outside of the home. However, that plan was halted because of her second child.

“I stayed at home again and was able to stay home with my son and work,” she said. “In my office, he’d be lying in my lap or in the floor playing, but I was able to take breaks throughout the day.

“Working at home I was always at work. Some people think it’s great, you just roll out of bed and you walk over to your desk and you’re fine,” she added. “I did that, but also at 10 o’clock at night, I’d think of something I needed to do. I’d be in the office doing that instead of spending time with my family. It was distracting for me to work from home.”

She said after her son started attending pre-school in August, she again started looking for an office.

“We’d drive down main street in Tahlequah and I’d see this little building that had been empty for a while,” she said. “I thought, you know, that would be a good spot to have an office because it’s just the size I need. I was ready to get out of the garage. It’s nice to be able to get out and separate my home environment from my work environment.”

The 245-square-foot facility is located at 306 N. Muskogee Ave. and houses the Native American Times and Native Oklahoma Magazine. Also, Snell said since she had some extra space, she opened it up to sell art provided by Native American artists.

“Through the course of my work, I’ve met so many artists that don’t have the resources, money or time to market themselves or they are up and coming and don’t have a place to show their work,” she said. “So they are trying to do art shows that get cost prohibitive.”

She said travel and other expenses lead to artists losing money while attending shows.

“I thought I could open this and let some of these artists that I talk to…put their artwork here,” she said. “At least people can come by and see it.”

She sells the artwork on consignment but at a lower fee than regular art galleries. She said she does that because selling art is not her primary business.

“I’m a writer. That’s what I do,” she said. “I’m a writer and publisher. This is just something I thought would be neat to try and to help some people out. There are so many talented artists here and they just need a place to be seen.”

Snell said selling artists’ works benefit them, but she benefits from it, too, and that it’s more than financial.

“If someone comes and buys something it gets replaced and I get to have new office décor all the time,” she said. “So it’s a win-win. They sell some stuff and I get a nice office to sit in.”

For more information on Certified Native email or call 918-708-5838.

For more information on the Native American Times and Native Oklahoma Magazine go to and, respectively.
About the Author
Mark Dreadfulwater has worked for the Cherokee Phoenix since 2006. He began as a graphic designer, a position that exposed him to all factions of the organization. Upon completing his j ... • 918-453-5087
Mark Dreadfulwater has worked for the Cherokee Phoenix since 2006. He began as a graphic designer, a position that exposed him to all factions of the organization. Upon completing his j ...


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