CN youth shelter turns 40 in 2018
The CN Youth Shelter opened in 1978 in Stilwell before moving in 1981 to Tahlequah. A new shelter was built in 1992 in Tahlequah and named the John A. Ketcher Youth Center. COURTESY
The Cherokee Nation’s John A. Ketcher Youth Center is named after the late Tribal Councilor and Deputy Chief John Ketcher. ARCHIVE
TAHLEQUAH – After nearly 40 years, the Cherokee Nation’s John A. Ketcher Youth Center still strives to provide emergency services to a myriad of youth in Oklahoma.
Named after the late Tribal Councilor and Deputy Chief John Ketcher, it offers 24-hour, year-round emergency refuge, and its 12 beds are available to adolescents between the ages 12 and 17.
Though there is no mandatory duration for admittance, the average stay is around 30 days, Jennifer Kirby, youth services and special projects director, said.
The center admits adolescents who are runaways, troubled or simply need a place to stay to avoid family disputes, Kirby said. Though it is a CN subsidiary, it is free and open to all races. Kirby said the shelter also accepts adolescents when they need “a safe place that’s within our parameters of service.”
It also receives referrals from different organizations, including the Oklahoma Department of Human services, Indian Child Welfare and the Office of Juvenile Affairs, Kirby said.
“I don’t want to paint the picture that all of the youth within the shelter are troubled, so to speak,” Linda Vann, youth shelter director, said. “(The shelter) is not just for kids whom have been abandoned and things like that.”
The shelter sees youth during short-term issues such as a fight with a parent. It is where they can come to avoid escalating the conflict and receive some “cooling down time,” Kirby said.
However, there are some cases in which youth are not eligible for admission, Kirby said. For instance, if they have been accused of sexual abuse, if they have a disability that cannot be accommodated, if their medical needs are too extensive for the shelter to handle or if they have behavioral issues that require more help than the shelter can provide.
The CN Youth Shelter opened in November 1978 in Stilwell, but outreach services had been around since the early 1970s, Vann said. It was moved to Tahlequah in 1981. The current facility was built in 1992 and named after Ketcher.
Vann said these days more adolescents are coming to the shelter, and many of them have serious behavioral issues, which require a higher level of care than the shelter had previously provided. This means shelter staff have to be able to handle situations if they arise. There has also been an increase in medicated youth, meaning the staff has to be able to make sure the youth are taking their medicines properly, Vann said.
The shelter also serves the community in other ways. It partners with the Office of Juvenile Affairs in Cherokee County and offers a First-Time Offender Program, in which youth who have been charged with a misdemeanor crime for the first time can take classes and do community service. The program is intended to divert these people from committing further crimes, Kirby said.
The shelter also has a Community Outreach and Prevention program, which educates communities on prevention of family violence by giving out literature, conducting one-on-one cases and teaching coping and protective skills. Shelter staff also visits schools to educate students on issues such as dating and domestic violence and how to prevent them.
For more information, call 918-458-4440 or toll free at 1-877-696-8890 (Oklahoma only) or visit http://www.cherokee.org/Services/Human-Services/Children-Youth-Family-Services
ᏓᎵᏆ – 40 ᎾᏘᏯ, ᎾᏍᎩᏃ ᏣᎳᎩᎯ ᎠᏰᎵ John A. Ketcher ᏗᎾᏛᏍᎩ ᎠᏰᎵ ᎤᏢᏒᎢ ᎠᏏᏃ ᎤᎰᏢᎭ ᎠᎵᏍᏆᏟᏗᎭ ᏰᎵᎢ ᎦᎨᏥᏍᏕᎸᎡᏗᎢ ᎤᏂᏣᏘ ᏗᎾᏛᏍᎩ ᎣᎦᎳᎰᎹ ᎠᏁᎯ.
ᎾᏍᎩᏃ John A. Ketcher ᎠᏂᏍᏓᏢᎢ ᏗᎦᎳᏫᎩ ᎠᎴ ᏔᎵᏁ ᎠᏓᎴᏁᎯ ᎤᎬᏫᏳᎯ ᏥᎨᏒᎢ ᎾᏍᎩᏃ ᏧᏙᏍᏔᏅᎢ ᏚᏃᎡᎢ ᎤᏙᏢᏒᎢ, ᎾᏍᎩᏃ ᎠᎵᏍᎪᏟᏗᎰᎢ 24-ᎢᏧᏟᎶᏓ ᏩᏥ ᎤᏪᏅᏍᏗ, ᎢᏧᏕᏘᎯᎶᏓ ᎨᏥᏍᏕᎸᏗᎢ, ᎠᎴ 12 ᏱᎦᎢ ᏕᎦᏂᏟ ᏓᏛᏅᎢᏍᏓ ᎾᏍᎩᏃ ᏗᎾᏛᏍᎩ ᏢᏃ 12 ᎠᎴ 17 ᎢᏳᎾᏕᏘᏴᏓ.
ᎥᏝᏃ ᏯᎭ ᏱᎪᎯᏓ ᎬᏩᏂᏴᏍᏗ ᎥᎿ, 30 ᎢᏧᏙᏓᏩᏛ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏩᎪᎯᎸᏃ ᎬᏩᏁᏓᏍᏗ, Jennifer Kirby, ᏗᎾᏛᏍᎩ ᏗᏂᏍᏕᎵᏍᎩ ᎠᎴ ᎤᏤᎵᏓ ᎢᏯᏛᏁᏗᎢ ᏄᎬᏫᏳᏌᏕᎩ, ᎢᎧᏃᎮᏍᎬᎢ.
ᎾᏍᎩ ᎤᏙᏢᏒᎢ ᏓᏂᏯᏂᏍᎪᎢ ᏗᎾᏛᏍᎩ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎤᎾᏓᏂᏴᎢ, ᏧᎾᏓᎴᏤᎯ ᎠᎴᏱᎩ ᎤᏂᎬᎬᎢ ᎢᎸᏂᏢᎢ ᎬᏩᏁᏓᏍᏗ ᎠᎾᏓᏅᏍᎬᎢ ᎥᎿ ᏄᎾᏛᏅᎢ ᎠᏂᏏᏓᏁᎸᎢ. ᏓᎾᏓᎴᎬᎢ, ᎠᏗᏍᎬᎢ Kirby. ᎾᏍᎩᏰᏃ ᎾᏍᎩ CN
ᏔᎵᏁ, ᎠᏎᏭᏃ ᎠᎴ ᎠᏍᏚᎢᏓ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏂᎦᏓ ᎦᏙᏍᏊ ᎤᏍᏗ ᏴᏫ ᏱᎩ ᎬᏪᏓᏍᏗ. Kirby ᎢᎧᏃᎮᏍᎬᎢ ᎾᏍᏊ ᏓᏂᏯᏂᏍᎪᎢ ᏗᎾᏛᏍᎩ ᎾᎯᏳ ᏳᏂᎬᎬᎦ “ᏙᎯ ᎠᏕᏗᎢ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎥᎿᎾᏂ ᎢᎬᎾᏕᎾ ᏰᎵ ᏗᎬᏩᏂᏍᏕᎸᏗ.”
ᎾᏍᎩᏊᏍᎩᏂ ᏓᏂᏯᏂᏍᎪᎢ ᎢᎸᏂᏢ ᎢᏣ ᏂᏓᏳᎾᏓᎴᏅ ᎤᏣᏘᎾ ᏚᏙᏢᏩᏗᏒᎢ, ᎾᏍᎩ ᎬᏩᏠᏯᏍᏓ Ꮎ ᎣᎦᎳᎰᎹ ᎤᏙᏢᏒᎢ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏴᏫ ᏗᏂᏍᏕᎵᏍᎩ, ᎠᏂᏴᏫᏯ ᏗᏂᏲᏟ ᏗᏂᏍᏕᎵᏍᎩ ᎠᎴ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏗᎦᎸᏫᏍᏓᏁᏗ ᏗᎾᏛᏍᎩ ᏄᎾᎵᏍᏓᏁᎲᎢ ᏧᎾᎦᏎᏍᏗ, ᎠᏗᏍᎬᎢ Kirby.
“ᎥᏝ ᏯᏆᏚᎵᎭ ᏗᏩᏟᎶᏍᏙᏗ ᎾᏍᎩᏃ Ꮎ ᏂᎦᏓ ᎦᎾᏛᏍᎩ ᏥᎩ ᏣᏕᏙᎭ ᎥᎿ ᎤᏙᏢᏒᎢ ᏧᎾᏓᏢᏤᎯ ᏱᎩ, ᎬᎧᏃᎮᏗ,” Linda Vann, ᎤᏙᏢᏒᎢ ᎤᏁᏓᏍᏗᎢ ᏄᎬᏫᏳᏒᎢ, ᎢᎧᏃᎮᏍᎬᎢ. “(ᎾᏍᎩ ᎤᏙᏢᏒᎢ) ᎥᏝ ᏗᏂᏲᏟ ᎨᏥᎧᎯᏴᎢ ᎠᎴ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎥᏍᎩᏭ ᎢᏳᏍᏗ ᎤᏅᏌ ᏱᎩ.”
ᎾᏍᎩ ᎤᏙᏢᏒᎢ ᏓᏂᎪᏩᏘᏍᎪᎢ ᏗᎾᏛᏍᎩ ᏞᎦᏭ - ᏱᎪᎯᏓ ᏚᎾᏓᎴᏤᎸᎢ ᏧᏂᎦᏴᎵᎨ. ᎾᏍᎩ ᎤᏙᏢᏒᎢ ᎬᏩᏂᎷᎯᏍᏗ ᏓᎾᏓᏅᏓᏗᏍᏗᎲᎢ ᎤᏟ ᏧᎾᏓᎴᏤᏗ ᏂᎨᏒᎾ ᎠᎴ “ᎤᎾᏓᏅᏘᏏᏐᏗᎢ,” ᎠᏗᏍᎬᎢ Kirby.
ᎠᏗᎾ, ᏳᏓᎵᎭᏃ ᎢᎦᏓ ᏗᎾᏛᏍᎩ ᎥᏝ ᎬᏩᏂᏴᎯᏍᏗ, ᎠᏗᏍᎬᎢ Kirby. ᏂᎬᏂᏏᏍᎩ, ᏱᎨᎫᎢᏍᏗ ᎤᏂᏐᏢᎢᏍᏔᏅ ᎩᎶᎢ, ᏰᎵ ᎾᏍᎩᏊ ᎦᏳᏂᏍᏕᎸᏗ ᏂᎨᏒᎾ ᏱᎩ, ᎠᎴ ᎨᎦᎦᏎᏍᏙᏗ ᏅᏬᏘ ᎤᏂᏂᎬᎬᎢ ᏍᏈᏯ ᏧᎬᏩᎶᏗᎭ ᏱᎩ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎤᏙᏢᏒᎢ ᎤᎾᎦᏎᏍᏙᏗ ᎠᎴᏱᎩ ᎢᏳᎾᏛᏁᎵᏓᏍᏗ ᏱᏓᏓᎴᎦ ᎾᏍᎩᏍᎩᏂ ᎤᎪᏗ ᎨᏥᏍᏕᎸᏗ ᏱᎩ ᎤᏙᏢᏒᏃ ᏰᎵ ᎾᎾᏛᏁᎲᎾ ᏱᎩ ᎤᏂᏍᏕᎸᏗᎢ.
ᎾᏍᎩ CN. ᏗᎾᏛᏍᎩ ᎤᏙᏢᏒᎢ ᎤᎵᏍᏚᎢᏌ ᎾᎯᏳ ᏅᏓᏕᏆ 1978 ᎥᎿᎾᏂ ᏝᏬᏚᎭ ᏗᎦᏚᎲᎢ, ᎠᏎᏃ ᎤᏙᎴᏒᎢ ᎤᎾᏓᏍᏕᎸᏗ 1970s, ᏂᏛᏓᎴᏂᏍᎩ ᏂᎪᏢᏐᎢ, ᎠᏗᏍᎬᎢ Vann. ᎤᏂᎲᏒᏃ 1981 ᏓᎵᏆ Ꮓ ᎢᏴ ᎪᏢᎭ ᎾᏊ. ᎾᏍᎩᏃ ᏥᎪᏢᎭ ᎾᏊ 1992 ᏥᎨᏒ ᎤᎾᏁᏍᎨᎲᎢ ᎠᎴ Ketcher Z ᏚᏃᏍᏔᏁᎢ.
Vann Z ᎢᎧᏃᎮᏍᎬᎢ ᎪᎯᏃ ᏥᎩ ᎤᏂᎪᏗ ᏗᎾᏛᏍᎩ Ꭰ.ᎷᎪᎢ ᎨᎥᎿ ᎤᏙᏢᏒᎢ, ᎠᎴ ᎤᏂᎪᏗ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏧᎾᏓᎴᏤᎯ ᎢᎩ, ᎾᏍᎩᏃ ᎠᏎ ᎤᏣᏘᎾ ᏙᏧᏙᏢᏒᎢ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏰᎵ ᏗᎬᏩᏂᏍᏕᎸᏗ ᎨᏐᎢ. ᎯᎠᏃ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎤᏙᏢᏒᎢ ᏧᏂᎸᏫᏍᏓᏁᎯ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏰᎵ ᎬᏩᎾᎦᏎᏍᏙᏗ ᏱᎩ ᎪᎱᏍᏗ ᏳᎵᏍᏔᏅᎾ ᎠᎴ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎤᏁᏉᎠ ᏅᏬᏘ ᎠᏅᏗᏍᎩ ᏗᎾᏛᏍᎩ. ᎾᏍᎩᏃ ᏥᏂᎦᎵᏍᏗᎭ ᏧᏂᎸᏫᏍᏓᏁᎯ ᎠᏎ ᎨᎧᎵᏬᎯ ᎤᎾᏂᏘ ᎢᏳᎵᏍᏙᏗ Ꮎ ᏗᎾᏛᏍᎩ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏚᏳᎪᏛᎢ ᏯᏅᏗᎭ ᏅᏬᏘ, ᎠᏗᏍᎬᎢ Vann.
ᎠᎴ ᎾᏍᎩ Ꮎ ᎤᎾᏙᏢᏒᎢ ᎢᏧᏓᎴᏅᏓ ᏱᎬᏛᏁᏗ ᏓᏂᏍᏕᎵᏍᎪᎢ ᎥᎿ ᏍᎦᏚᎩ. ᏓᎾᎵᏍᏕᎵᏍᎪᎢ ᎥᎿ ᏓᏂᏍᏕᎵᏍᎬᎢ ᏗᎾᏛᏍᎩ ᏄᎾᎵᏍᏓᏁᎸᎲᏍᎬᎢ ᎥᎿᎾᏂ ᏣᎳᎩ ᏍᎦᏚᎩ ᎠᎴ ᎠᎾᎵᏍᎪᏟᏗᎭ ᎢᎬᏱᎢ ᎪᎱᏍᏗ ᎤᏂᏍᎦᏅᏨᎢ ᎤᏙᏢᏒᎢ, ᎾᏍᎩ ᏗᎾᏛᏍᎩ ᎪᎱᏍᏗ ᏧᎾᏚᎪᏓᏁᎸᎢ ᎤᏂᏍᎦᏅᏨᎢ ᎢᎬᏱᎢ ᎾᏍᎩᏃ ᏰᎵᎢ ᏱᏓᎾᏕᎶᏆ ᎠᎴ ᏍᎦᏚᎩ ᏱᏚᏂᎸᏫᏍᏓᏏ. ᎾᏍᎩᏃ ᎤᏙᏢᏒᎢ ᏧᏄᎪᏔᏅᎢ ᏧᏂᏁᏟᏴᏍᏗ ᏄᏍᏛᎢ ᏓᏄᎪᏔᏂᏙᎲᎢ ᏅᏍᎩ ᎥᏝ ᎤᏩᎫᏗᏗᏒᎢ ᎪᎱᏍᏗ ᎤᏂᏍᎦᏅᎢᏍᏗ, ᎠᏗᏍᎬᎢ Kirby.
ᎾᏍᎩᏃ ᎤᏙᏢᏒᎢ ᎾᏍᎩᏊ ᎤᏃᏢᎭ ᏍᎦᏚᎩ ᏧᏂᏍᏕᎸᏗ ᎠᎴ ᎠᏲᏍᏗ ᎪᎱᏍᏗ ᏂᏓᏤᏢᎾ ᏱᎬᏩᎵᏍᏙᏗ ᏂᎨᏒᎾ. ᏚᏙᏢᏒᎢ ᏓᏂᏍᏕᎵᏍᎬᎢ, ᎾᏍᎩᏍᎩᏂ ᎤᏁᏲᎲᏍᎪᎢ ᏍᎦᏚᎩ ᏄᎾᏛᏅᎢ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎢᏳᎾᏛᏁᏗ ᎠᎴᏫᏍᏙᏗ ᏏᏓᏁᎸᎢ ᏚᎾᏓᎴᏤᎲᎢ ᏓᏂᏅᏁᎰᎢ ᏗᎪᏪᎵ ᏧᏂᎪᎵᏰᏗ ᎤᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᏙᏗ, ᏗᏟᏃᎮᏙᏗ ᏏᏴᏫᎭ - ᏌᏉᎭ ᏗᎨᏯᏗ ᎤᎾᏟᏂᎬᏁᏗ ᎠᎴ ᎪᎱᏍᏗ ᏓᏤᏢᎢ ᏱᎬᏩᎵᏍᏙᏗ ᏭᏟᎠᎶᎯᏍᏗᎢ. ᎤᏙᏢᏒᎢ ᏧᏂᎸᏫᏍᏓᏁᎯ ᏓᏂᏩᏛᎯᏙᎰᎢ ᏧᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᏗ ᏓᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᎬᎢ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏧᏁᏲᏗ ᏗᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᎩ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏂᎦᎵᏍᏔᏅᏍᎬᎢ ᏓᎾᎵᏩᏘᏍᎬᎢ ᎠᎴ ᎥᎦᏁᎸᎢ ᏱᏙᏓᎴᏤᎭ ᎠᎴ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎠᎴᏫᏍᏙᏗ .
ᎾᏍᎩ ᎤᎪᏗ ᏲᏚᎵ ᎠᏕᎶᎰᎯᏍᏗ, ᏱᏫᏛᏟᏃᎲᎵ 918-458-4440 ᎠᎴᏱᎩ ᎠᏎᏭ ᏩᏟᏃᎮᏗ 1-877-696-8890 (ᎣᎦᎳᎰᎹ ᎤᏩᏌ) ᎠᎴ ᏩᏩᏛᏗ http://www.cherokee.org/services/Human-services/children-youth-family-services.
– TRANSLATED BY DAVID CRAWLER