Cherokee-Nation-News Newsen-usMon, 24 Jun 2019 4:38:50 CDTMon, 24 Jun 2019 4:38:50 CDT, Warner Name Glory-Jordan to Head Transition Team<p style="text-align: center;"><strong><em>Former Cherokee Nation Tribal Council Speaker to lead the transition team for a new administration</em></strong></p><br /> <p style="text-align: left;"> </p><br /> <p><strong>TAHLEQUAH, Okla.</strong><span> </span>— Cherokee Nation Principal Chief-elect Chuck Hoskin Jr. today announced former Cherokee Nation Tribal Council Speaker Tina Glory- Jordan to lead the transition team in preparation for his new administration.</p><br /> <p>“As I said over and over again on the campaign, this is a critical time for Cherokee Nation. We will be prepared for leadership the first day of the new administration,” Hoskin said.<span> </span>“We will hit the ground running to tackle the difficult things that will make our Nation better for future generations. Speaker Glory – Jordan’s involvement will help guide us as we prepare for the challenges ahead.”</p><br /> <p>Glory-Jordan was named as the first district court judge of the Cherokee Nation by the late Principal Chief Wilma Mankiller and was also a delegate to the 1999 Cherokee National Constitutional Convention. She served on the Tribal Council from 2007 to 2015. Glory Jordan was elected by her peers on the Tribal Council to serve as Speaker during her second term.</p><br /> <p>“I am honored to serve Chief-elect Hoskin in this important role,” Glory-Jordan said. “The first 100 days of an administration are crucial to making the progress that Cherokee Nation needs and our people deserve.<span> </span>I am honored to help put together a team that will make the next Chief’s administration a success.”</p><br /> <p>“Former Speaker Glory-Jordan knows the ins and outs of Cherokee Nation government better than most anyone,” said Deputy Chief-elect Warner.<span> </span>“Having her working with us as an important part of the team will help ensure this administration is prepared to achieve all that Cherokee citizens expect of us.”</p><br /> <p>The team will prepare the incoming administration to address a number of key issue areas, including but not limited to health care, environmental protection, economic development and preservation of language and culture.</p><br /> <p>“We don’t have time to wait,” Hoskin said.<span> </span>“De<span>puty Chief-elect Warner and I are so grateful that former Speaker Glory Jordan has agreed to help us get our team up and running well before inauguration day.”</span></p>Fri, 21 Jun 2019 0:00:00 CDTUPDATE: Cherokee Nation Supreme Court dismisses Lay, Frailey election appeals<p><span><strong>TAHLEQUAH –</strong> After two days of deliberation, Supreme Court justices on June 19 dismissed the appeals by principal chief candidate Dick Lay and deputy chief candidate Meredith Frailey against principal chief-elect Chuck Hoskin Jr., deputy chief-elect Bryan Warner and the Cherokee Nation Election Commission.</span><br /><br /><span>All five justices – Lee W. Paden, Lynn Burris, Mark L. Dobbins, John C. Garrett, and Chief Justice James G. Wilcoxen – signed the decision.</span><br /><br /><span>Hoskin said his only surprise with the hearing was the raising of issues previously examined and discharged by the EC and the attorney general’s office. </span><br /><br /><span>“The issue was nothing new, but that is part of due process,” Hoskin said. “That process is complete, and I am not at all surprised by the outcome, and Bryan Warner and I are ready to assume office and get to work.”</span><br /><br /><span>Warner expressed satisfaction with the hearing’s conclusion.</span><br /><br /><span>“I’m ready to get things going, and I’m preparing to transition into the new role and help the citizens of the Cherokee Nation,” he said. “I want to go to work and serve the people diligently.”</span><br /><br /><span>Lay called the decision “interesting” and said he was proud of his grassroots campaign.</span><br /><br /><span>“I’m happy we never resorted to mudslinging,” Lay said. “I’m happy we were honest and transparent enough not to have utilized an LLC. I’m proud that when it came time to be at the courthouse, I was there. I will continue to work for the best interest of the Cherokee Nation.”</span><br /><br /><span>Frailey said the hearing demonstrated the strengths of the Nation’s legal system but that there is room to improve the elections. She also commended the justices and all legal counsel for their professionalism.</span><br /><br /><span>“I’m disappointed with the decision in part because the facts were similar to the (David) Walkingstick disqualification case, and I think that was used (in the appellate case) as the standard,” Frailey said. “But I thank the justices of the Supreme Court for hearing our argument, and I think it shows that our democratic system of government does work. I believe the election laws need to be amended to eliminate doubt and confusion among the people. There is much improvement to be made, but we are also fortunate to have the government we have.”</span><br /><br /><span>In the opinion, Wilcoxen said the post-election appeals process is available as a challenge to the circumstances of the election itself and any attempts to usurp the will of the Cherokee people.</span><br /><br /><span>“Notwithstanding, Petitioners here did not make such allegations in their pleadings or their arguments but instead focus on alleged violations of election laws centered on campaign contributions and expenditures by Hoskin and Warner,” Wilcoxen wrote. “Article 5 also provides for this Court to consider the record of the Election Commission on appeal. Even though there is no record because the Commission did not hear this complaint, the Court considered the evidence offered by Petitioners.”</span><br /><br /><span>Wilcoxen wrote that campaign finance violation allegations are normally presented to the EC, often seeking a candidate’s disqualification based on conduct. He added that the appellants did not file until nine days after the election, leaving no proceeding for an appeal to the EC. He further stated that similar complaints were made before the election, but found to be without merit by the EC and attorney general’s office.</span><br /><br /><span>“Petitioners claim Cherokee Future, a professional campaign corporation, hired by the Hoskin/Warner campaign as a vehicle to pay vendors was acting as a front for other vendors,” Wilcoxen wrote. “Allegedly, Cherokee Future did not disclose the individual actual vendors other than generically and that there were large payments to Cherokee Future under the designation ‘miscellaneous.’ Granted there should be as much disclosure as reasonably possible but the Election Commission considered the changes made in later revised filings made by the Hoskin/Warner campaign and found that there was no evidence of a violation of the election law regarding the disclosure of expenses by the campaign. In fact, there is no evidence that Cherokee Future did anything but pay bills.”</span><br /><br /><span>The court also found no indication that Cherokee Future took or requested contributions, or that it funded in-kind contributions to the campaign and that campaign donation actually went to Cherokee Future to cover campaign-related costs. It also stated the campaign disclosed payments to Cherokee Future, which never received contributions and did not run afoul of corporate donation prohibitions.</span><br /><br /><span>“The Petitioners themselves are dissatisfied with the level of disclosure, however, those complaints should have been made with the Election Commission and they should have been made in a timely manner and where possible before the election,” Wilcoxen wrote. “A fair reading of the Election Laws indicate that challenges of this nature should be made pre-election as a practical matter to avoid the necessity and expense of a new election should a candidate be disqualified. It should be done to avoid the appearance that the complaining parties have waited to see how the election turned out before filing a complaint against their opponents. While this Court is not saying that is the case here, this Court is saying that there is not sufficient evidence in this record for this Court to order a new election after the fact. Therefore, it is the order of this court that this consolidated action is dismissed with all pending motions being deemed moot.”</span><br /><br /><span>The EC was expected to certify June 1 election results on June 20 in a special meeting.</span></p>Thu, 20 Jun 2019 0:00:00 CDTCherokee Nation to seek veterans cemetery funding<p><span><strong>TAHLEQUAH –</strong> Hoping to establish a Cherokee Nation veterans cemetery, tribal policymakers agreed June 10 to apply for federal grant funding.</span><br /><br /><span>“I have mentioned this to some veteran friends, and they’re very excited about it,” Dist. 13 Tribal Councilor Buel Anglen said. “They just want to know where it’s going to be.”</span><br /><br /><span>The Tribal Council unanimously approved a resolution authorizing the CN Office of Veterans Affairs to seek from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs grant funding to cover costs associated with design and planning of a cemetery. The tribe will express interest prior to a July 1 “planning phase” deadline, CN Veterans Affairs Director Barbara Foreman said.</span><br /><br /><span>“This is just preliminary,” she said. “It’s like a pre-app. The only thing they’re wanting from us is something from our council and chief.”</span><br /><span>An early site considered for the cemetery was near Cherokee Trails Golf Course, Sequoyah High School and the tribe’s Cultural Grounds in Tahlequah. Unimpressed with that site, councilors removed from the proposal any reference to a cemetery location.</span><br /><br /><span>“This is my district,” Dist. 3 Tribal Councilor David Walkingstick said. “I grew up in that area for my whole entire life. I’m not really excited about the location. I think it’s a great concept, a great idea. But, I can’t pass this with the location it’s in right now.”</span><br /><br /><span>At-Large Tribal Councilor Mary Baker Shaw agreed.</span><br /><br /><span>“I think this is a fantastic idea, but that was before I saw the location,” she said. “I’m horrified we’re going to put a cemetery possibly by our school where our kids go. I’m sorry, I think this is a terrible location.”</span><br /><br /><span>Councilors also amended the resolution to include only “Cherokee veterans,” a move Foreman said will likely lessen the tribe’s chance to receive a portion of the $45 million available in grant funding.</span><br /><br /><span>“We can apply for either way you choose,” she said. “But what they’ve told us so far is that if we apply for a national cemetery and we open it for all veterans, we would be higher on the priority list to be funded. If we just go to strictly tribal, it will drop us down quite a bit.”</span><br /><span>Councilors were adamant that a CN cemetery should be limited to Cherokees.</span><br /><br /><span>“I love the idea of us having a national cemetery,” Dist. 14 Tribal Councilor Keith Austin said. “I don’t love the idea of us committing ourselves to care for non-tribal citizens from now until eternity with tribal dollars.”</span><br /><br /><span>Tribal Speaker Joe Byrd acknowledged that limiting the cemetery could reduce grant chances, but like others, expressed concern over serving “all tribes, all non-tribal members.”</span><br /><br /><span>“I’m excited about this national cemetery for Cherokees with a different site,” he said.</span><br /><br /><strong>Cherokee veterans honored</strong><br /><br /><span>CN citizens and veterans honored in June with the tribe’s Medal of Patriotism were Billy Cecil, Ashley Rutherford, John Cochran, and Marvin Winton.</span><br /><br /><span>A U.S. Army veteran, Cecil, of Park Hill, served from 1966-69. He spent three years in Germany.</span><br /><br /><span>“I just want to thank the Cherokees for all their recognition,” Cecil said at the June 10 meeting. “I’m very proud to be a Cherokee.”</span><br /><br /><span>Vietnam veteran Rutherford, of Burleson, Texas, served in the Army from 1965-69. A military policeman and squad leader, he achieved rank as an E-5 sergeant.</span><br /><br /><span>“On behalf of my family – a large number of them who are members of the tribe – I thank you for this,” Rutherford said. “It’s an honor for them and me.”</span><br /><br /><span>Vietnam veteran Cochran, of Catoosa, served in the Army’s 4th Infantry Division from 1968-72.</span><br /><br /><span>“It’s a privilege to serve in the U.S. military,” Cochran said, “and a privilege to serve our tribe and nation.”</span><br /><br /><span>Winton, of Amarillo, Texas, served in the U.S. Marine Corps during peacetime from 1953-56.</span><br /><br /><span>“I go to a VA hospital in Amarillo named and dedicated to Thomas E. Creek, an 18-year-old who was killed in Vietnam and received the Congressional Medal of Honor for it,” Winton said. “We love our country. We will raise our hands and give our lives as a human sacrifice if necessary.”</span></p>Tue, 18 Jun 2019 0:00:00 CDTCherokee Nation Contributes $7.7M to Sequoyah County Road Project<p><strong>SALLISAW, Okla.</strong><span> </span>— Cherokee Nation is partnering with the Oklahoma Department of Transportation and Sequoyah County to continue improvements to Dwight Mission Road.</p><br /> <p>Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker, Deputy Chief S. Joe Crittenden, Tribal Councilor E.O. Smith, and Deputy Chief-elect Bryan Warner visited Sallisaw recently to present a check for $7.7 million to the Sequoyah County Commissioner for the second phase of the road project.</p><br /> <p>“We are proud to contribute to the improvement of roads in all parts of the Cherokee Nation, including this highly trafficked section of road in Sequoyah County,” said Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker. “Thanks to Cherokee Nation’s infrastructure investment, this project will make it safer for families and all travelers utilizing the roadway.”</p><br /> <p>Due to its size, the project was planned in a northern and a southern phase, covering a portion of a highly traveled road in the county.</p><br /> <p>“We are proud to continue our efforts here in Sequoyah County and across other counties in our jurisdiction to make sure that we build partnerships and make healthy efforts that benefit our citizens,” said Bryan Warner, District 6 Tribal Councilor.</p><br /> <p>The northern portion of the project includes 5.6 miles of new roadway and three new bridge structures and will span north from Interstate 40 to Pinhook Corners. This portion of the project is expected to cost $9 million.</p><br /> <p>The southern phase, spanning from Interstate 40 to Sequoyah Bay, was completed in 2017.</p><br /> <p>“We’re so grateful for this. It takes a group effort to make these kinds of projects happen and that’s the only way you make them happen,” Sequoyah County Commissioner Steve Carter said. “If Cherokee Nation wouldn’t have stepped up the project wouldn’t have been fully funded. There’s a lot of people who need to be thanked for this project.”</p><br /> <p>In the fiscal year 2018 Cherokee Nation replaced more than 57 miles of roadway in the tribe’s jurisdiction.</p>Tue, 18 Jun 2019 0:00:00 CDTNew campaign seeks to put Medicaid expansion up for a vote<p><span>OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) – A statewide coalition has launched a campaign to put the question of whether to expand Medicaid coverage to thousands of uninsured Oklahoma residents before voters.</span><br /><br /><span>A group of medical professionals, patients, business leaders, nonprofits and health care advocates launched the Oklahomans Decide Healthcare campaign on June 13, The Oklahoman reported.</span><br /><br /><span>“We’re normal, everyday Oklahomans that care about this issue and we’re growing every day,” said spokeswoman Amber England.</span><br /><br /><span>England said the group supports a plan for Oklahoma to obtain about $1 billion annually in federal dollars to expand the state’s Medicaid program to as many as 200,000 residents.</span><br /><br /><span>Expanding Medicaid eligibility under the Affordable Care Act would extend health insurance to those earning up to 133 percent of the federal poverty level, which is about $33,000 for a family of four. Oklahoma would join 36 other states that have expanded Medicaid.</span><br /><br /><span>Roughly 90 percent of the state’s Medicaid expansion would be funded with federal money, but Republican leaders have expressed concern that Oklahoma’s share would cost too much.</span><br /><br /><span>The coalition will need to collect nearly 178,000 voter signatures to put the issue on the November 2020 ballot.</span><br /><br /><span>England refused to disclose the coalition’s donors but said the group would do so when a ballot initiative clears all hurdles and the governor sets an election date.</span><br /><br /><span>A conservative think tank is already challenging an initiative petition to put Medicaid expansion up for a vote. The Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs argues that the ballot proposal unconstitutionally cedes state power to the federal government.</span><br /><br /><span>The Oklahoma Supreme Court will hear arguments on the issue next week</span></p>Mon, 17 Jun 2019 0:00:00 CDTCherokee Nation Businesses partners with Legends for Arkansas casino venture<p><span><strong>CATOOSA –</strong> As part of the Cherokee Nation Businesses’ efforts to expand into Arkansas, CNB officials announced on June 11 a partnership with Legends to propose a casino and entertainment venue in Pope County.</span><br /><br /><span>Legends was jointly established in 2008 by Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and the late New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner. It is a management consulting firm that helps clients direct the planning and branding of projects.</span><br /><br /><span>“Legends will manage the process for the design and development of the complex, conceive the culinary experience and help CNB to monetize the guest experience for non-gaming attractions,” a CNB release states.</span><br /><br /><span>Any casino in Pope County would be sited on about 135 acres in Russellville. The space is near Interstate 40 along Nob Hill Road, between Weir Road and Alaskan Trail. The CNB-Legends proposal calls for an initial design phase, followed by the incorporation of amenities that would include family-friendly options for entertainment, with a final phase adding concepts for dining, retail, and lodging.</span><br /><br /><span>“Entering into this partnership with the globally recognized team at Legends is a game-changer,” CNB CEO Shawn Slaton said. “They bring a wealth of experience having worked with premier venues across professional sports, live events and collegiate partners, including the University of Arkansas, AT&T Stadium in Dallas, Ultimate Fighting Championship and Live Nation amphitheaters. We are committed to earning the letters of support from local elected officials and look forward to unveiling our plans to the community in the near future.”</span><br /><br /><span>On May 30, Slaton addressed the Tribal Council’s Executive & Finance Committee, saying that CNB had filed for an Arkansas racing license in Pope County and analysis indicated such a venue in Russellville would be profitable without impacting the tribe’s Roland casino.</span><br /><br /><span>Slaton also said, “when (the Nation) goes outside the 14 counties, we enter the commercial gaming market.” He said the Choctaw Nation, Gulfside Casino Partnership LLC of Mississippi and Warner Gaming of Las Vegas were among those competing with CNB for rights to a facility in Pope County. Slaton did not give a construction cost estimate for a Cherokee casino in Russellville but said Gulfside and Warner proposals each eclipsed $200 million.</span><br /><br /><span>“The applications, ours as well as theirs will likely be ruled incomplete because the way the constitutional ballot question was set up, you had to have a letter of support from county officials,” Slaton said. “A quorum court judge or quorum court would issue a letter on behalf of the operator to the Arkansas Racing Commission.”</span><br /><br /><span>Whether a letter will be issued by Pope County remains cloudy, but Slaton said legal counsel advised CNB to file.</span><br /><br /><span>Scott Hardin of the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration replied on April 23 to a query by KFSM/KXNW Channel 5, wrote that the filing period was May 1-31.</span><br /><br /><span>The “Commission must decide whether to review or reject it based on the lack of the (approval) letter,” and no letter of support had been received from Pope County, Hardin wrote.</span><br /><br /><span>In Arkansas, the casino issue is not settled and awaits action by the state Supreme Court. On Nov. 6, Pope County residents voted to require voter approval of any county judge’s letter of support for a casino, but those backing Amendment 100 – approved the same day by voters statewide – say it doesn’t require any additional local balloting.</span><br /><br /><span>On June 11, the Pope County judge and quorum court discussed the measure passed by residents – Ordinance 2018-O-42.</span><br /><br /><span>Residents suggested the intent is to permit county residents to decide which of the proposed casino operators is best and that an election be held only if the court, judge or mayor identify such an entity.</span><br /><br /><span>However, quorum court Judge Ben Cross and other judges said they interpret the ordinance to apply to an operator, meaning Pope County residents who oppose a casino conceivably would need to reject five approval letters in five separate elections to eliminate each entity interested in moving into Russellville.</span><br /><br /><span>Cross said he believes Ordinance 2018-O-42 is inapplicable due to the primacy of state laws over local. He said Amendment 100 includes the mechanism – the letter of support – by which Pope County decides if anyone builds a casino.</span><br /><br /><span>“There are 3 million people in the state of Arkansas, and one person decides whether a casino comes here, and you’re looking at him,” Cross said.</span><br /><br /><span>Cross said he recognizes the gravity of his responsibility and maintains contact with the interested parties. He suggested as he has in previous statements, that he is disinclined to issue a support letter until he gets a different impression from county voters.</span><br /><br /><span>“We are in full acknowledgment that the state of Arkansas passed Amendment 100,” Cross said. “We are in full acknowledgment of the parameters of what Amendment 100 calls for. But the quorum court and I have made our position abundantly clear on this: that we’re going to honor the will of the people. The will of the people in Pope County voted this measure down by about a ratio of 60-40. And in doing that, they sent a sound message to us that they didn’t want me to write that letter of support. They didn’t want the quorum court to do a resolution.”</span><br /><br /><span>Russellville Mayor Richard Harris, speaking to Arkansas media, claimed he is also unmoved by conversations with gaming interests.</span><br /><span>“I’ve taken calls from Mississippi, Vegas and also Oklahoma,” Harris said. “They’ve come to our community and made presentations, but it hasn’t really changed my mind.”</span><br /><br /><span>In January, Slaton told the Tribal Council that Gulfside Casino Partnership had received a support letter from Jim Ed Gibson, the former quorum court judge, and former Russellville Mayor Randy Horton, just before their terms expired.</span><br /><br /><span>“The whole town of Russellville erupted and accused them of going around the process,” Slaton said. “The outgoing judge, the outgoing mayor really took it on the chin from the community. So did the casino operator that basically tried to backdoor the process.”</span><br /><br /><span>Pope County casino opponents sued and the letters were rescinded.</span><br /><br /><span>Pope was one of only four counties considered for gaming in the statewide vote. Crittenden and Garland counties are planning table gaming expansions at the Southland Racing and Oaklawn horse tracks. Pope and Jefferson counties were approved for new gaming facilities.</span></p>Fri, 14 Jun 2019 0:00:00 CDTUPDATE: Hoskin, Warner and Deere face Supreme Court appeals<p><span><strong>TAHLEQUAH –</strong> On June 10, the Cherokee Nation Supreme Court received appeals that seek to invalidate the elections of Principal Chief-elect Chuck Hoskin Jr., Deputy Chief-elect Bryan Warner and Dist. 13 Tribal Councilor-elect Joe Deere.</span><br /><br /><span>Former candidate Dick Lay filed a petition to invalidate the June 1 principal chief election, naming the Election Commission and Hoskin, the certified winner, as defendants.</span><br /><br /><span>Former deputy chief candidate Meredith Frailey entered a similar appeal, naming the EC and Warner, who the EC certified as that race’s winner, as defendants.</span><br /><br /><span>Buel Anglen, who was disqualified as a candidate for the Dist. 13 Tribal Council seat earlier this year, filed a petition challenging the validity of the district’s certified winner Joe Deere, who ran for the seat unopposed after Anglen was disqualified.</span><br /><br /><span>Lay and Frailey’s filings make largely the same allegations.</span><br /><br /><span>Lay’s filing alleges “Hoskin reported $28,524 as ‘Miscellaneous’ expenditures paid to Cherokee Future LLC (‘Cherokee Future’). However, Hoskin itemized as advertisement, printing, compensation, office expenses, travel, food, and miscellaneous $140,000 previously reported as Miscellaneous items as consulting fees to Cherokee Future. This Revised Financial Disclosure Report is an example of the violations that Hoskin accepted corporation in-kind contributions to his campaign, authorized illegal expenditures, and falsified his financial report.”</span><br /><br /><span>Lay’s appeal claims that Hoskin must be disqualified under the precedent set by principal chief candidate David Walkingstick’s removal from the race by the EC and Supreme Court.</span><br /><br /><span>The appeal claims Hoskin and Warner violated election code, did not report $500,000 in advertising and printing expenses, nor another $300,000 “of compensation campaign costs.” It also alleges that Cherokee Future LLC was under the control of Hoskin and Warner in violation of campaign law and that they falsified their financial disclosure report certifications.</span><br /><br /><span>Lay’s appeal also states a series of photos and stories in the CN Community Organization Training and Technical Assistance newsletter concerning Hoskin is an in-kind campaign expenditure that Hoskin should have reported.</span><br /><br /><span>Frailey’s filing claims Warner filed $21,902.84 as “Miscellaneous” expenditures paid to Cherokee Future, but Hoskin itemized $107,500 previously reported as Miscellaneous and claims the revised financial disclosure report supports violations of Warner accepting in-kind contributions to his campaign, approved illegal expenditures and falsified his report.</span><br /><br /><span>Anglen’s appeal claims the EC certified the Dist. 13 race with no candidate on the ballot, and therefore the election was invalid since no candidate was elected.</span><br /><br /><span>Anglen’s brief states no votes were counted for Deere in the June 1 election, and that the CN Constitution requires that a council member be elected, as do CN statutes. It states that since there is no mathematical certainty in the election’s outcome, a new election must be called by the Supreme Court. It further states that the EC may not “default” a candidate into office.</span><br /><br /><span>According to the court’s website, the hearings for all three appeals have been set for 10 a.m. on June 17.</span><br /><br /><a rel="noopener" href="" target="_blank">Click here to view</a><span> Dick Lay’s Supreme Court petition.</span><br /><br /><a rel="noopener" href="" target="_blank">Click here to view</a><span> Meredith Frailey’s Supreme Court petition.</span><br /><br /><a rel="noopener" href="" target="_blank">Click here to view</a><span> Buel Anglen’s Supreme Court petition.</span><br /><br /><a rel="noopener" href="" target="_blank">Click here to view</a><span> Buel Anglen’s brief to support the Supreme Court petition.</span></p>Thu, 13 Jun 2019 0:00:00 CDTStudi helping tell story of West in films<p><span>OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) – Wes Studi has played a cop in the crime thriller “Heat,” a superhero trainer in the comedy “Mystery Men” and as the patriarch of an alien tribe, the Na’vi, in the sci-fi epic “Avatar.”</span><br /><br /><span>Still, the Cherokee actor is best known for his work in Westerns, including the title role in “Geronimo: An American Legend,” as a tough Pawnee warrior in “Dances With Wolves” and, more recently, as a dying Cheyenne chief in “Hostiles.”</span><br /><br /><span>“You take a film like ‘Avatar,’ which is set off into the future, that’s essentially a Western, in terms of the way it’s built, the way it’s told and the subject matter. It’s a Western in outer space,” Studi told The Oklahoman with a chuckle.</span><br /><br /><span>“The American mythology is of winning the West, and Westerns are made up of that. Americans love Westerns, and I think that’s because they’re a mythologized development of the world that we live in today. That’s mainly what was available in my youth. I came to enjoy the parts of Westerns that made sense to me. As time went on, I began to think of Westerns in a different way due to my Native American part of my being. But Westerns, as far as my career goes, have been a very important part simply because that’s the easiest way for a Native American to be cast in any kind of film.”</span><br /><br /><span>The Oklahoma native, then, is a natural to host HDNET Movies “Summer of Westerns” Sunday film series, which will continue through Aug. 11. The series kicks off with Studi, 71, in his celebrated portrayal of the legendary Apache warrior in 1993’s “Geronimo: An American Legend.”</span><br /><br /><span>A 2003 inductee into the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum’s Hall of Great Western Performers, Studi was born in Nofire Hollow, near Tahlequah. He spoke only Cherokee until he was 5 when he was sent to Chilocco Indian School in northern Oklahoma, where he remained until high school graduation. He was drafted into the U.S. Army and served 18 months in South Vietnam with the 9th Infantry Division.</span><br /><br /><span>Studi arrested attention at the 90th Academy Awards last year when he spoke Cherokee while introducing a tribute to movies featuring military service members. His comments launched a #WhatDidWesSay hashtag on Twitter, with the Cherokee Nation’s Twitter account supplying the answer: “Hello. Appreciation to all veterans and Cherokees who’ve served. Thank you!”</span><br /><br /><span>“It was historical because it had never happened before. You’ve heard other languages from other places around the world on that stage, and this was the first time Cherokee itself was spoken on the Oscars stage,” said Studi, who now lives in New Mexico.</span><br /><br /><span>“A lot of people reacted strongly and rejoiced the fact that a Native language was spoken on that stage. It’s kind of a recognition of the fact that we’re still here, and it’s kind of a reminder. I think Native Americans and veterans are overlooked, and unfortunately in the kind of world we live in, perhaps used for whatever is the purpose at the time. To mention the veterans and speak my other language just was a shout-out to the fact that, ‘Hey, you’re not totally forgotten. You’re not totally just a part of the past.’ “</span><br /><br /><span>A 2014 deadCenter Film Festival ICON Award winner, Studi continues to work steadily, with his name attached to no less than a half-dozen movie projects, including, yes, some Westerns.</span><br /><br /><span>“As time has gone on, Westerns have developed to include other parts of the stories, which include Native Americans. And Native Americans have been able to sort of revitalize the Western in that you see a different aspect of what the great mythology was all about. It’s become a more true story as time has gone on, and I think it can still continue to develop,” he said. “I think the Western can prove to be an important part of our story, the American story, as told through film.” </span></p>Thu, 13 Jun 2019 0:00:00 CDTCherokee Nation Celebrates National Flag with New Exhibit<p align="center"><strong><em>“Where Your Flag Has Flown” opens June 14</em></strong></p><br /> <p style="text-align: left;" align="center"><strong>TAHLEQUAH, Okla.<span> </span></strong>— Learn about the history of the Cherokee Nation’s flag in a new exhibit at the Cherokee National Supreme Court Museum.</p><br /> <p>“Where Your Flag Has Flown” will be on display June 14 through Jan. 31.</p><br /> <p>The exhibit explores the history and symbolism of the 40-year-old flag and its use throughout history, utilizing photos and stories from Cherokee Nation citizens across the world.</p><br /> <p>“This exhibit pays tribute to the Cherokee Nation flag and the weight it bears with our citizens,” said Cady Shaw, interpretive manager for Cherokee Nation Cultural Tourism. “We hope this exhibit helps educate the public about the flag’s creation and the powerful symbolism behind its intricate design.”</p><br /> <p>The Cherokee National Supreme Court Museum is located at 122 E. Keetoowah St. It is open Tuesday – Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.</p><br /> <p>Originally built in 1844, the Cherokee National Supreme Court Museum is Oklahoma’s oldest public building. The 1,950-square-foot museum features exhibits in three historic aspects: the Cherokee National Judicial System, the Cherokee Advocate, and Cherokee Phoenix newspapers, and the Cherokee language, with a variety of historical items, including photos, stories, objects, and furniture.</p><br /> <p>For information on Cherokee Nation Cultural Tourism, including museum operations, please call (877) 779-6977 or visit <a rel="noopener noreferrer" href="" target="_blank" data-auth="NotApplicable"></a></p>Thu, 13 Jun 2019 0:00:00 CDTCherokee Medicine Keepers share land knowledge with college students<p><span><strong>TAHLEQUAH –</strong> Nearly a year after its inception, a mentorship program combining elders known as Cherokee Medicine Keepers and college students are working to preserve the culture and conserve natural resources vital to the Cherokee people.</span><br /><br /><span>In conjunction with a project called “Knowing the Land,” the mentorship program seeks to acquire land in the Cherokee Nation by obtaining data for future land conservation.</span><br /><br /><span>According to the project’s website, its purpose is to investigate the relationship between access to natural resources, language preservation, environmental knowledge, and biodiversity maintenance.</span><br /><br /><span>“This project came about by my relationship and ongoing work with the Cherokee Medicine Keepers. They’re a group of elders that formed in 2008 around the goal of perpetuating Cherokee environmental knowledge and practices. So it really spans from the cultural knowledge of wild plants, the uses of those plants for food and medicine. We’ve been working together since then and part of what they had wanted to do going forward is get the young people involved. Start looking at transmitting this knowledge to them,” CN citizen and project leader Clint Carroll said.</span><br /><br /><span>The group meets several times a year to discuss plants that are in season, and students learn how to identify the plants and their uses from elder mentors.</span><br /><br /><span>On June 4, the group met in the Tsa-La-Gi Community Room at the CN Tribal Annex. Elders taught students how to make cornbread from scratch by shucking corn, grinding it in a hand-cranked grain mill and adding ingredients.</span><br /><br /><span>“I really like talking about the plants, plants that are meant for different uses whether to eat or whether to be medicine. I can share what I know, and I like doing that. Because if we just keep it inside and not share, then it’s just going to die. After a while, we won’t know anything, and this younger generation that’s coming up they need to know something like that,” Medicine Keeper Anna Sixkiller said.</span><br /><br /><span>CN citizen and student Sky Wildcat said she applied for the program to become more in tune with her heritage.</span><br /><br /><span>“We’re just learning to cook our own foods traditionally, and it will just be kind of like a holistic thing like we’re learning the language at the same time. We’re learning medicine. We’re learning food sovereignty. Those are the kind of goals for us to have towards the end of this program,” Wildcat said.</span><br /><br /><span>Carroll has worked with CN environmental officials to administer the three-year program. He said the elders and students work with the Kenwood, Greasy and Marble City communities because it’s a community-based research program.</span><br /><br /><span>“We have the investment of the community in the project but also that the community is also able to direct the research in the areas they feel are important. So far we’ve had a really good reception from each of these communities as far as the goals of the project. I think it’s a worthwhile question to ask. The question is how are Cherokee people navigating the landscape? With the checker-boarded property ownership and places that are hard to get to whether it’s a land lock by private property or even thinking about the impacts of climate change,” Carroll said.</span><br /><br /><span>As part of the group’s purpose, an 830-acre tract of land in Adair County has been acquired and designated a tribal conservation area.</span><br /><span>Carroll said he hopes by the program’s end it has enough information and data to inform CN officials about tribal land conservation plans by obtaining local data on what areas need to be prioritized for conservation, protecting plants and ensuring Cherokee people can have access.</span><br /><br /><span>“This is a project that we’re really happy to see come to light as far as the broad goals of it. We’ve got younger people involved. It’s been a long time coming, and we’re all really excited to see this materialize or develop like it is. Again, just that ultimate goal of creating the next generation of Cherokee environmental leaders and the underscore of being connected to the land,” he said.</span></p>Tue, 11 Jun 2019 0:00:00 CDT