Tulsa Indian commission honors 3 Cherokees
TULSA, Okla. – The Greater Tulsa Area Indian Affairs Commission honored three Cherokees at its 15th annual Dream Keepers Awards dinner on Nov. 6 in cooperation with the Tulsa Human Rights Department.
Tribal Councilor Cara Cowan Watts received the Charles Chibitty Family Community Award, which is given to someone with “overall community participation involvement, and caring are important attributes for citizens for any community.”
Cowan Watts serves as one of three Cherokee Nation District 5 Tribal Councilors.
“I had the honor of meeting Charles Chibitty several times. I was always touched by his sincerity and service to Indian Country and the United States,” Cowan Watts said. “I am humbled to be chosen by the Tulsa Indian Affairs Commission for an award in memory of such an incredible individual acknowledging my passion for community service.”
CN citizen Raymond Rogers received the Rennard Strickland Education Leadership Award. It’s given to one who “believes education is truly the key to the future and the cornerstone of every dream,” according to the TAIAC.
“Ray Rodgers is passionate and tireless in his ongoing work and concern for native students. He doesn't just do his job in Indian Education but works continuously with students, families, teachers and school administrators and staff to make the lives of the students the best possible,” TAIAC commissioner Ann Dapice said.
CN citizen James Ryals received the Lewis B. Ketchum Excellence in Business Award, which is awarded to one who shows that “leadership in business is vital for the community and for the survival of future generations.”
Ryals was hired as operations manager for Arnold Electric in 1995. In 2000, he became president of Arnold Electric Inc., and he now owns the company. AEI has experience in the federal, county and local government levels and the company holds certifications with the SBA, City of Tulsa and CN, according to Ryals’ biography.
The event was held at the University of Oklahoma-Tulsa Campus at the Schusterman Center.
The TAIAC presents awards to 12 local and former residents of Tulsa who have contributed to the local community. The commission holds the event to coincide with the National Native American Heritage Month, which celebrates and recognizes the accomplishments of the peoples who were the original inhabitants, explorers and settlers of the United States, the release states.Other recipients were:
· Jimmy and Eunice Wildcat - Kenneth Anquoe Lifetime Achievement Award
· Curtis Zunigha - Will Anquoe Humanitarian Award
· Justin Giles - Moscelyne Larkin Cultural Achievement Award
· Patty Beaston - Dr.Ralph Dru Career and Professional Award
· Teresa Runnels - Perry Aunko Indigenous Language Preservation Award
· Nancie Warrior Longacre - Jim Thorpe Sports Excellence Award
· Charles Diebold - Red Eagle Sacred Circle of Spirituality Award
· Richard Tilden - Roberta Gardipe American Indian Veterans Award