Natural Resources secretary earns Towering Spirit Award

12/11/2018 10:00 AM
Main Cherokee Phoenix
From left to right are Keep Oklahoma Beautiful President Shanon Phillips, Keep Oklahoma Beautiful Executive Director Jeanette Nance, Cherokee Nation Secretary of Natural Resources Sara Hill and Oklahoma Secretary of Energy and Environment Michael Teague. Hill received the Towering Spirit Award on Nov. 30 in Edmond. COURTESY
TAHLEQUAH – Secretary of Natural Resources Sara Hill was honored with the Towering Spirit Award during the Keep Oklahoma Beautiful 28th Annual Environmental Excellence Celebration on Nov. 30 in Edmond.

Principal Chief Bill John Baker appointed Hill in 2015 as the tribe’s first secretary of Natural Resources, a cabinet position. According to a CN press release, since then she has championed reducing the tribe’s carbon emissions in innovative ways such as building the state’s first tribal solar canopy car charging station and securing grants that allowed the CN to be the first tribal government in the U.S. to buy all-electric transit buses.

The release states Hill has also led efforts that resulted in 10,000 tons of nuclear waste recently being removed from the former Sequoyah Fuels Corp. site near Gore. It states she also helped establish the Coordinating Council on Poultry Growth with the state and launch the Cherokee Fish and Wildlife Association.

“I am very honored to have received this recognition from Keep Oklahoma Beautiful. I believe protecting our natural resources is tied directly to protecting our Cherokee language, our culture and our history,” Hill said. “Natural resources don’t respect any boundaries, they don’t understand any political ideologies, and so we need to leave these ideas behind when we talk about protecting the environment. What's good for Cherokee Nation is good for Oklahoma, and the reverse is true. After all, it’s the same land, it’s the same air, it’s the same water. I’m proud to be a part of protecting the Cherokee Nation and our state in ways that will have an impact for many generations to come.”

Baker said Hill has passion for the environment, and she gets to take her passion to work every day to do great things for future generations of not only Cherokees, but for Oklahomans and people of the region. “She is always on the lookout for anything that will help our environment and reduce our carbon footprint. She is very deserving of this honor, and I’m proud to see her hard work is being recognized by Keep Oklahoma Beautiful.”

The Towering Spirit Award is given to a person, program, business or organization that is upholding the mission of Keep Oklahoma Beautiful in a unique way while garnering public acclaim and having a far-reaching, positive impact.

Keep Oklahoma Beautiful is a statewide nonprofit recognizing Oklahomans who help preserve and enhance the state’s natural beauty while ensuring a healthy, sustainable environment.

“Here at Keep Oklahoma Beautiful, we are about communities, not profit,” Executive Director Jeanette Nance said. “When disconnected people come together as a community with a cause, we change the face of Oklahoma. I absolutely love this event where we can honor so many deserving individuals and groups for the good they do all across our state.”

For more information about Keep Oklahoma Beautiful, visit


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