San Diego Cherokee Nation citizen also TV personality
PhilKonstantin (Photo by Will Chavez)
SAN DIEGO, Calif. – As San Diego Cherokee Community Councilor Phil Konstantin addressed fellow SDCC members during a picnic in October it was obvious he was comfortable with a microphone.
That comfort stems from working at KUSI, a local independent television station. Konstantin recently became the evening assignment editor after being the station’s traffic reporter for more than four years.
“What I liked was that I got to work with a really nice bunch of people. We were in the early morning news so we could be a little more light hearted and didn’t have to be quite so serious,” he said. “I got to meet a lot of interesting people. We got a lot of TV personalities, movie stars, government officials and lot interesting local folks, and I had a chance to sit down and talk and interact with those people.”
Before landing his KUSI job, Konstantin served with the California Highway Patrol giving traffic reports for the ABC affiliate KGTV for nearly nine years.
Prior to moving to southern California, he lived in Houston for 27 years. There he worked at NASA from 1972-75 and assisted with the last two Apollo moon flights, Apollo 16 and 17.
Konstantin said he met and fell in love with a girl from Houston whose family moved to California. He followed her there after her father helped him get a job in construction. After two years, he said he wanted a more stable job and joined the CHP in 1985. His first patrol assignment was in Los Angeles, but he eventually transferred to San Diego to be closer to his children.
“I spent three and a half years here in San Diego patrolling the roads, and then I spent another 15 years being the public affairs officer for this division of the highway patrol, so I was on TV a lot,” he said.
He retired from the CHP in 2005 and began working with KUSI four days later.
While in San Diego he became active with the SDCC, despite the fact that it took his family 40 years to obtain Cherokee Nation citizenship cards because his maternal Cherokee grandfather left the family when his mother was 7 years old and was not heard from again.
“We had a hard time proving that the person on the rolls was my grandfather. So, it almost became a matter of pride to prove somewhere on paper that I was Cherokee,” he said. “I’m mostly European American, but I grew up with a great and deep respect for being a Cherokee. My mother was very proud of that particular part.”
He said he has spent much time learning about Cherokee culture and history and was eager to join the SDCC to learn more.
“This chance to participate in this organization has really made me more aware and educated of what it is to be a Cherokee in this community and this day and age,” he said.
His study of Native American culture and history led him to write the book “This Day in North American Indian History.” He also wrote six of the 24 chapters for “Native America History for Dummies,” and contributed an article and appendix items for “Treaties with American Indians.” His latest book is titled “The Wacky World of Laws” and details “crazy laws around the country,” Konstantin said.
San Diego ᏣᎳᎩ ᎠᏰᎵ ᎨᎳ ᎠᎴ ᎠᏓᏴᎵᏛᏍᎩ ᎦᏬᏂᏍᎩ
San Diego, ᎠᏕᎳ ᏧᏢᎢ.--ᎾᎿ San Diego ᏣᎳᎩ ᎤᏂᏚᎲ ᏗᎦᎳᏫᎩ Phil Konstantin ᏚᏟᏃᎮᏔᏁ SDCC ᎠᏁᎳ ᎾᎿ ᎤᎾᏓᏟᏌᎮ ᏚᏂᏃᏗ ᏥᎧᎸᎢ ᎠᎴ ᎠᏕᎶᎰᎯᏍᏗ ᎨᏒ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏄᏕᏯᏔᏁᎲᎾ ᎨᏒ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏍᏓᏯ ᏗᎦᏬᏂᏍᎩ ᎦᏬᏂᏍᎬᎢ.
ᎾᏍᎩᏃ ᎯᎠ ᏄᏕᏯᏔᏁᎲᎾ ᎨᏒ ᏗᏓᎴᎲᏍᎨ ᏚᎸᏫᏍᏓᏁᎲ KUSI, ᎾᎥᎢ ᎤᏅᏌ ᎤᎾᏙᏢᎯ ᎠᏓᏴᎳᏗᏍᎩ ᎨᏒᎢ. Konstantin ᎾᏞᎬ ᏒᎯᏰᏯ ᎠᏂᏬᏂᏍᎩ ᏗᎪᏢᏍᎩ ᎠᎴ ᏗᏎᎮᎯ ᎾᏍᎩᎾ ᏧᏩᎦᏔᏅᏍᏔᏅ ᎤᏙᏢᏒ ᏕᎦᏅᏅ ᎠᎴᏂᎦᎵᏍᏔᏅᏍᎬ ᏗᎦᏃᏣᏢᏍᎩ ᎨᏒᎢ ᏅᎩ ᏧᏕᏘᏴᏓ.
“ᎾᏍᎩᎾ ᎠᎩᎸᏉᏛ ᎾᎿ ᏓᎩᎸᏫᏍᏓᏁᎲ ᎤᏂᎪᏓ ᎠᎴ ᎤᎾᏓᏅᏘ ᎨᏒ. ᏌᎾᎴᏃ ᎣᏥᏃᎮᏍᎩ ᎨᏒ ᏝᏙ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎢᎦ ᏍᏓᏯ ᎠᏓᏅᏖᎸᏗ ᏱᎨᏎᎢ,” ᎠᏗᏍᎬᎢ. “ᎤᏂᎪᏓ ᎤᏂᏍᏆᏂᎪᏗ ᎠᏂᏴᏫ ᏙᎦᏙᎵᏨ. ᎤᎪᏓ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎠᏓᏴᎵᏛᏍᎩ ᏧᏂᎸᏫᏓᏁᎵᏙ, ᎠᎴᏗᏍᏊ ᎠᎾᏓᏴᎵᏛᏍᎩ, ᏩᏥᏂ ᏗᎾᏓᏘᏂᏙ ᎠᎴ ᎤᏂᎪᏓ ᎤᏍᏆᏂᎪᏗ ᏧᏂᎸᏫᏍᏓᏁᎯ ᎾᎥᎢ ᎠᏁᎲᎢ, ᎠᎴ ᎡᎵᏊ ᎦᎦᏥᎵᏃᎮᏙᏗ ᎨᏒ ᎯᎢᎾ ᏧᏂᎸᏫᏍᏓᏁᎯ.”
ᎾᏍᎩᎾ ᏂᏚᎸᏫᏍᏓᏁᎲᎾ ᏥᎨᏒ Ꮎ KUSI, Konstantin ᏓᏍᏕᎵᏍᎬ ᎠᏕᎳ ᏧᏢᎢ ᏅᏃᎯ ᏧᎾᎦᏎᏍᏗ ᎬᏂᎨᏒ ᏂᎬᏁᎲ ᏂᎦᎵᏍᏔᏅᏍᎬ ᏅᏃᎯ ᎯᎠ ABC ᏧᎾᎵᎠᎯ KGTV ᎾᎡᏂᎩᏍᏓ ᏐᏁᎳ ᏧᏕᏘᏴᏓ.
Ꮟ ᎾᎿ ᏫᏂᎦᎷᎬᎾ ᏥᎨᏒ ᎤᎦᎾᏭ ᎢᏗᏢ ᎠᏕᎳ ᏧᏢᎢ, Houston ᎦᏁᎸ ᏔᎵᏍᎪ ᎦᎵᏉᎩ ᏧᏕᏘᏴᏓ. ᎾᎿ NASA ᏧᎸᎳᏍᏓᏁᎯ ᎨᏒ ᎯᎠ ᎠᏓᎴᏂᏍᎩ ᏐᏁᎳᏚ ᎢᏍᎪᎯᏧᏈ ᎦᎵᏆᏍᎪ ᏔᎵ ᏩᏍᏘ ᏐᏁᎳᏚ ᎢᏍᎪᎯᏧᏈ ᎦᎵᏆᏍᎪ ᎯᏍᎩ ᎠᎴ ᎤᎵᏍᏕᎸᏓ ᎨᏒ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏔᎵ ᎢᏳᏩᎪᏗ ᏴᏫ ᏓᏂᏌᎳᏗᏍᎬ ᏅᏙ ᎠᏁᏙᎯ, Apollo ᏓᎳᏚᏏᏁ ᎠᎴ ᎦᎵᏆᏚᏏᏁᎢ.
Konstantin ᎤᏛᏅ ᎠᎨᏳᏣ ᏚᎾᏓᏩᏛᎲ ᎠᎴ ᏚᎾᏙᎸᏤ ᎾᎿ Houston ᎠᏁᎮ ᎾᏍᎩᎾ ᏏᏓᏁᎸ ᎠᏎᏍᎩᏂ ᎤᎾᏓᏅᏎ ᎠᎴ ᎠᏕᎳ ᏧᏢᎢ ᏭᏂᎶᏎᎢ. ᎤᏍᏓᏩᏛᏎ Ꮎ ᎠᎨᏳᏣ ᎤᏙᏓ ᎤᏍᏕᎸᎮ ᏧᎸᏫᏍᏓᏁᏗ ᎤᏩᏛᎡᎴ ᎠᏃᏢᏅᏍᎬᎢ.
ᏔᎵ ᏫᏄᏕᏘᏴᎯ, ᎤᎪᏕ ᎤᏚᎸᎮ ᎤᏩᏛᏗ ᏧᎸᏫᏍᏓᏁᏗ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎢᎦ ᎤᏪᏙᎵᏓᏍᏗ ᏂᎨᏒᎾ ᎠᎴ ᏚᏖᎳᏕᎴ ᎾᏍᎩCHP Ꮎ ᏐᏁᎳᏚ ᎢᏍᎪᎯᏧᏈ ᏁᎳᏍᎪ ᎯᏍᎩ ᏧᏕᏘᏴᏌᏗᏒᎢ. ᎠᎬᏱ ᎠᏥᏁᏤᎸ ᏧᎸᎳᏍᏓᏁᏗ ᎾᏍᎩ Los Angeles, ᎠᏎᏍᎩᏂ ᎣᏂ ᎤᏓᏅᏎ ᏧᎸᏫᏍᏓᏁᏗ ᎬᏱᎯ San Diego ᏩᏥᎧᏁ ᎾᎥᏂᎨᏍᏗ ᏗᏂᏲᏟ ᎠᏁᎲᎥ.
“ᏦᎢ ᎠᎴ ᎠᏰᎵ ᏧᏕᏘᏴᏓ ᏓᎩᎸᏫᏍᏓᏁᎸ San Diego ᏅᏃᎯ ᏓᏆᏎᏍᏛ, ᎠᎴ ᏐᎢ ᏍᎩᎦᏚ ᏧᏕᏘᏴᏓ ᏓᎩᎸᏫᏍᏓᏁᎸ ᎾᏂᎥᏊ ᎠᏂᏴᏫ ᎦᏥᏍᏕᎸᎯᏙ ᎯᎠ ᎤᏗᏠᏯᏍᏗ ᏅᏃᎯ ᏧᎾᎦᏎᏍᏗ, ᎾᏍᎩᏃ ᎤᎪᏛ ᎢᏳᏩᎪᏗ ᎠᏓᏴᎵᏛᏍᎬ ᏧᏬᏂᏍᎬ ᏴᏫ ᎬᎩᎠᏘᏍᎬ,” ᎤᏛᏅᎢ.
ᏙᎢ ᏄᏛᏁᎸ ᏚᎸᏫᏍᏓᏁᎲᎢ ᎾᏍᎩ CHP ᏚᎸᏫᏍᏓᏁᎲ ᏔᎵ ᏯᎦᏴᎵ ᎯᏍᎩ ᎤᏕᏘᏴᏌᏗᏒᎢ ᎠᎴ ᎤᎴᏅᎲ ᏚᎸᏫᏍᏓᏁᎲ KUSI ᏅᎩᏊ ᏫᏒᏒᏝ. ᎾᏍᎩᎾ Ꮟ San Diego ᏤᎲ ᎨᎳᏗᏙ ᏄᎵᏍᏔᏁ Ꮎ SDCC, ᏁᎳᎦ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏅᎩᏍᎪᎯ ᏧᏕᏘᏴᏓ ᏚᏟᎢᎵᏙᎴ ᎨᎳ ᎢᏳᎵᏍᏙᏗ ᏣᎳᎩ ᎠᏰᎵ ᎠᎴ ᎠᏆᎾᏲᏍᏗ ᎤᏁᏍᏗ ᎾᏗᎦᎵᏍᏙᏗᏍᎬ ᎤᏥᏏᏗᏢ ᎤᏚᏚ ᏚᏕᏤ ᏚᏓᏘᎾᎥ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎤᏥ ᎦᎵᏉᎩ ᎢᏳᏕᏘᏴᏓ ᎨᏎ ᎠᎴ Ꮭ ᎢᎴᎯᏳ ᏳᎾᏛᎦᏁᎴᎢ.
“ᏍᏓᏯ ᏃᎦᎵᏍᏓᏁᎸ `ᎾᏍᎩ ᎯᎠ ᏣᎦᏎᏍᏗ ᏥᎪᏪᎳ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎡᏚᏚ ᎨᏒᎢ. ᎠᎴᏃ ᎠᏆᏢᏈᏒ ᎠᏎᏊ ᏄᎵᏍᏓᏅ ᎠᏙᎯᏳᎲᏍᎩ ᎪᏪᎸ ᎪᏬᎵ ᏥᏣᎳᎩ ᎨᏒᎢ,” ᎤᏛᏅᎢ. “ ᎤᎪᏛᏃ ᎨᏒ ᎠᏯ ᎾᎿ ᎤᎪᏛ ᏥᏲᏁᎦ, ᎠᏎᏍᎩᏂ ᎠᏆᏛᏒ ᎠᎩᎸᏉᏓ ᎨᏒ ᏥᏣᎳᎩ ᎨᏒᎢ. ᎡᏥ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎤᎨᏳᎯ ᎨᏒ ᎠᏣᎳᎩ ᎨᏒᎢ.”
ᎤᏛᏅ ᎤᎪᏓ ᎤᎦᏎᏍᏔᏅ ᎠᏂᏣᎳᎩ ᎢᏳᎾᏛᏁᎵᏓᏍᏗ ᎨᏒ ᎠᎴ ᏄᎾᏛᏁᎸᏍᏔᏅ ᎠᎴ ᎤᏚᎵᏗ ᏄᎵᏍᏓᏁᎲ ᎤᏕᎳᏗᏍᏗ SDCC ᎤᎪᏛ ᏧᏕᎶᏆᎡᏗᎢ.
“ᎯᎢᎾ ᎠᏆᏝᏅᏓᏕᎸ ᎠᏆᏖᎳᏗᏍᏗ ᎯᎢᎾ ᎤᎾᏓᏡᎬ ᎠᎴ ᎾᏍᎩᎾ ᎠᏆᏨᎶᏆ ᎤᎪᏛ ᎠᏆᏎᏍᏙᏗ ᎠᎴ ᎠᏆᏕᎶᏆᏍᏗ ᎢᏳᏍᏗ ᎨᏒ ᎠᏣᎳᎩ ᎾᎿ ᏍᎦᏚᎩ ᎨᏒ ᏃᏊ ᎨᏒᎢ,” ᎤᏛᏅᎢ.
ᎤᎦᏎᏔᏅᏃ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎠᏁᎯᏯ ᎠᎹᎵᎧ ᎠᏁᎯ ᎢᏳᎾᏛᏗ ᎨᏒ ᎠᎴ ᏄᎾᏛᏁᎸᏍᏔᏅ ᏄᎾᏛᏁᎸ ᎠᎴ ᎪᏪᎳ ᎤᏬᏪᎳᏅ “ᎯᎠ ᎢᎦ ᎾᎿ ᎤᏴᏢ ᎠᎹᎵᎧ ᎠᏴᏫᏯ ᏄᎾᏛᏁᎸᎢ.” ᎠᎴᏗᏍᏆ ᏑᏓᎵ ᏓᏯᏙᏢ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏔᎵᏍᎪ ᏅᎩ ᏓᏯᏙᏢ ᏚᏬᏪᎳᏁᎸ “ ᎠᏁᎯᏯ ᎠᎹᎵᎧ ᏂᏧᎵᏍᏔᏅᏍᏔᏅ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎾᏂᎾᎦᏔᎲᎾ,” ᎠᎴ ᎤᎵᏍᎪᎸᏔᏅ ᎯᎠ ᎪᏪᎸ ᎠᎴ ᎦᏟᏌᏅ ᎨᏒ ᎾᏍᎩ “ᏚᎾᏓᏁᏤᎸ ᎠᎹ ᎠᏰᏟ ᎠᏂᏴᏫᏯᎢ.” ᎣᏂᏃ ᏗᎪᏪᎵ ᎯᎠ ᏚᏬᎡ “Ꮎ ᏂᎦᎵᏍᏗᎬ ᎡᎶᎯ ᏗᎧᎾᏩᏛᏍᏗ” ᎠᎴ ᏄᎵᏍᏓᏅᎢ “ᏂᏧᏓᏅᏛᏂ ᏗᎧᎾᏩᏛᏍᏗ ᎠᏕᏲᎸ ᏙᏱᏗᏢ ᎦᏚᎲ,” ᎠᏗᏍᎬ Konstantin.