Council confirms Barteaux as District Court judge

BY STACIE BOSTON
Reporter – @cp_sguthrie
05/18/2017 12:00 PM
Main Cherokee Phoenix
T. Luke Barteaux, center, is sworn in as a Cherokee Nation District Court judge by Supreme Court Chief Justice John Garrett while Barteaux’s wife, Sarah, holds the Bible. Barteaux is completing the late Bart Fite’s term, which expires on Feb. 10, 2018. STACIE GUTHRIE/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – At the May 15 Tribal Council meeting, Supreme Court Chief Justice John Garrett swore in T. Luke Barteaux as a District Court judge after legislators confirmed his appointment.

Barteaux is completing the late Bart Fite’s term, which expires on Feb. 10, 2018.

Fourteen Tribal Councilors voted to approve the appointment, while Tribal Councilors Shawn Crittenden, Harley Buzzard and Buel Anglen opposed it.

Barteaux, 33, of Bixby, said he considers the appointment the “pinnacle” of his career.

“It’s something that I never thought would happen within this amount of time, but I’m extremely honored to have been appointed by (Principal) Chief (Bill John) Baker and confirmed by the Tribal Council. I look forward to helping protect our Nation through the legal process,” he said.

He said prior to the appointment his only experience as a judge was serving on the Oklahoma Trial Advocacy Institute.

“I’m a faculty member at the Oklahoma Trial Advocacy Institute, which trains attorneys, and I have, basically judging their performances and things like that,” he said. “I’ve been a panel member for judging the mock trial competitions for, I think it’s out of Pryor, the last two years.”

Barteaux said he has been licensed and acting on his own as an attorney since 2012, with his legal career officially starting in 2009.

“My legal career started back in 2009, and I think around 2011 I started basically practicing under the supervision of another attorney here at my current firm (Fry & Elder),” he said.

Barteaux also addressed concerns about discrepancies on his résumé with dates regarding his time acting as an attorney.

“My current position, I believe it said the dates were June of 2011 to current, and underneath it it said attorney or trial attorney, and there was a question regarding whether or not I was an attorney that entire time,” he said. “The reason it had been worded that way, and kind of stepping back, the jobs underneath were done the same way and it was just the main job. I work at Fry & Elder now and those are the dates that I have worked here, and the position underneath it is the main job I’ve had and the current job. So it was more of me trying to fit a resume on one page and someone brought up, I guess, wanting more of a full job history instead of just what the final job or main job while I was there.”

Legislators also unanimously authorized the establishment of a CN conservation district.

Bruce Davis, management resources executive director, brought the resolution to the May 15 Resource Committee meeting after a trip to the United States Department of Agriculture where he and others learned of 47 programs available to the tribe and its citizens that are not being utilized.

“The first thing we’ve got to do before we can apply for these programs are pass this resolution to start our own conservation district, the Cherokee Nation Conservation District, before we can apply for these monies,” he said.

According to the Oklahoma Conservation Commission’s website, a conservation district serves “as the primary local unit of government responsible for the conservation of the renewable natural resources.”

Bryan Shade, CN chief special project analyst, said the resolution would “authorize” Principal Chief Bill John Baker to establish the conservation district that would allow tribal citizens to visit it rather than the state’s conservation district. He added that establishing the district would help the tribe “streamline” certain operations.

“It’s the exact same thing the state of Oklahoma’s doing, but this district will exist in our 14-county area,” Shade said. “By taking on this function, right now the Cherokee Nation has to go through those state offices, get our lands put in the database, in the system, before we can take advantage of these programs. By establishing this conservation district we’ll be able to do this ourselves and help us streamline things.”

In other business, legislators:

• Increased the tribe’s fiscal year 2017 concurrent enrollment fund by $87,000,

• Increased the FY 2017 capital budget by $857,848 to $279 million,

• Reappointed Amber Lynn George to the Cherokee Nation Foundation board,

• Approved Wilfred C. Gernandt III to the Cherokee Nation Comprehensive Care Agency governing board,

• Reappointed Dan Carter as a Cherokee Nation Businesses board member,

• Approved a resolution for Tribal Council to receive a confidential report monthly of all charitable donations and surplus equipment donations from all CN subsidiaries,

• Granted a right-of-way easement on an existing natural gas line to the Oklahoma Natural Gas Company for Cherokee Heights Addition in Pryor, and

• Authorized a sovereign immunity waiver for software agreement between Sequoyah Schools with Municipal Accounting Systems.

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