“Chemotherapy is a really long process. It’s painful. It’s stressful. It’s really emotional because I lost all my hair,” Sanders said. “That was something I was really scared of right there, but the main thing that keeps me going is my mom. She’s like the only one that really keeps me going.”
This familial support is once more a shoulder for Sanders to lie on because while his hair has grown back, so too have the cancerous spots in his neck. It is a possibility that he had accepted after going into remission in October.
“I had prepared myself for it because there’s always that possibility that it could come back,” Sanders said. “Every three months I have a checkup, a PET scan, and we decided to do one in early March this year. We did it, waited about two weeks to get the results. We went back to my oncologist doctor, and he said that it came back, but it wasn’t as big as last time and not as bad. He said it was in the same spot and at the same stage, Stage 2.”
Sanders began undergoing 22 rounds of radiation on April 3 to again battle the cancerous disease, which starts in the white blood cells called lymphocytes. It causes uncontrollable cell reproduction that can potentially invade other tissues throughout the body and disrupt normal tissue function, according to the American Cancer Society.
Cherokee Nation citizen Shacotah Sanders, right, stands next to his mother, Tammie Simms. Simms shaved her head after watching her son struggle with losing his hair during chemotherapy treatments for Stage 2 Hodgkin Lymphoma. Sanders entered remission, but is now undergoing 22 radiation treatments to fight a reoccurrence of the disease. COURTESY
TAHLEQUAH – The Cherokee Nation’s Supreme Court on April 20 heard arguments regarding Attorney General Todd Hembree’s decision not to appeal the federal case of Cherokee Nation v. Nash and Vann v. Zinke, which allows Freedmen tribal citizenship and rights.
CN citizens represented by attorney Stephen Gray objected to Hembree not appealing the Aug. 30, 2017, ruling by Senior U.S. District Judge Thomas Hogan, saying it’s an “attack on the Nation’s sovereignty” comparable to the Five Civilized Tribes Act of 1906, which removed land and assets from the CN.
“Citizens’ motions and petition have become necessary because Hembree argues that he has the sole authority to appeal or not appeal the (Washington) D.C. case in his position as attorney general, without consultation with the council and is protected by sovereign immunity from citizens. His argument puts him not only above the law, but now he is the law,” states Gray’s submitted petition.
In August, Hogan ruled, “the Cherokee Nation can continue to define itself as it sees fit but must do so equally and evenhandedly with respect to native Cherokees and the descendants of Cherokee Freedmen.”
Several Cherokee Freedmen gather for the Dec. 11 Rules Committee meeting in Tahlequah. In the meeting the Tribal Council indefinitely tabled legislation by Tribal Councilor David Walkingstick that called for an appeal of a federal ruling that gives Freedmen tribal citizenship rights. Walkingstick and fellow legislator Harley Buzzard later filed suit against Attorney General Todd Hembree alleging he did not consult with the Tribal Council before deciding not to appeal the case of Cherokee Nation v. Nash and Vann v. Zinke, which grants Freedmen CN citizenship. The CN Supreme Court heard the case on April 20. BRANDON SCOTT/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
The annual event held at the Claremore High School gymnasium is the center’s biggest fundraiser and crucial to the center providing its services to clients, some of which are CN citizens.
RCADC Executive Director Wanda Inman said the night consisted of three games.
“The first game will be between Rogers State College and Claremore High School students. The second will be between Claremore Fire Department and Claremore Police Department. The winner of those two games will then play for the championship,” she said.
Inman added that CN citizens were part of all four teams. In the end, the Claremore PD won the championship.
The meeting will be the second in a series of meetings commemorating the 180th anniversary of the Cherokee removal. The guest speaker will be former association president, Leslie Thomas. Her presentation is titled “The Round-up and Life in the Encampments.” The meeting is open and free to the public.
The U.S. Army established Fort New Echota in 1836 during the Cherokee Removal period in present-day Calhoun, Gordon County, Georgia. It was later renamed Fort Wool in 1838 and abandoned later in 1838 after Cherokee people were rounded up and sent west.
The TOTA was created to support the Trail of Tears National Historic Trail established by an act of Congress in 1987. It is dedicated to identifying and preserving sites associated with the removal of Native Americans from the southeastern United States. The Georgia TOTA chapter is one of nine state chapters representing the nine states that the Cherokee and other tribes traveled through on their way to Indian Territory (now Oklahoma).
GCTOTA meetings are free and open to the public. People need not have Native American ancestry to attend GATOTA meetings, just an interest and desire to learn more about this tragic period in this country’s history.
During an April 5 reception, the public was invited to view Jackson’s work and speak with the artist.
“I’m honored to have him here. We try to make it a point to be a cultural destination and really represent culture in the area and the Cherokee people. So certainly having Mr. Jackson’s art on display here is an honor for us but it’s also in line with our mission,” NSU Director of Libraries Steven Edscorn said.
Edscorn added that NSU’s library is a “cultural repository” and the Special Collections focuses on American Indian studies and history, specifically on the tribes of Oklahoma.
Jackson, a NSU alumnus, began his love for art as a child with the ambition to become a painter. While in college in 1977, he was inspired by a ceramics class to learn pottery. It wasn’t until 2010 that he began to sculpt.
Cherokee Nation citizen and artist Troy Jackson talks with attendees at a reception of his art exhibit titled “The Arrival” at Northeastern State University’s John Vaughan Library on April 5 in Tahlequah. The exhibit is expected to run through May 4. LINDSEY BARK/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Deputy Attorney General Chrissi Nimmo submitted the appeal that states District Court Judge Luke Barteaux “erred” in his decision.
“The deputy chief has only served one four-year term and should be able to run for re-election in 2019. This court should reverse the District Court’s decision as to Deputy Chief S. Joe Crittenden’s eligibility to run for the same office as he now holds in 2019,” the appeal states.
Cherokee Nation officials declined to comment further on the proceedings.
Barteaux’s April 6 ruling, which also declared Principal Chief Bill John Baker eligible for re-election, cited the CN Constitution in ruling Crittenden ineligible. He wrote that Crittenden had “assumed the office of Principal Chief pursuant to Article VII, Section 4, in faithful discharge of his duties as Deputy Principal Chief” while Baker had to await the results of an appeal of the 2011 principal chief’s race.
Moore, an attorney from San Diego, filed the April 13 motion asking the court to allow him to “intervene” and for it to “dismiss” a Feb. 19 petition by CN citizen David Cornsilk.
Cornsilk’s petition asked the court to overturn Attorney General Todd Hembree’s 2016 opinion declaring Baker and Crittenden eligible for candidacy in 2019 because neither had served a full four-year term after being elected in 2011.
Crittenden took office on Aug. 14, 2011, and assumed principal chief duties until Baker was sworn in on Oct. 19, 2011, following a disputed principal chief’s race.
Hembree on March 1 motioned to dismiss Cornsilk’s petition, but on March 26 filed a motion in favor of the court handing down a ruling. District Court Judge Luke Barteaux on April 6 ruled that Baker was eligible for re-election but Crittenden was not.
The film depicts the struggle between peace and war and the fight to preserve tribal land in the 18th century.
“Sharing the story of Nanyehi has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my career and my life,” Becky Hobbs, “Nanyehi” co-writer, said. “There is so much we can learn from her story that we need in today’s world. Her message of peace is one that inspires change and one that I hope will make the world a better place.”
“Nanyehi” features Cherokee Nation citizen Winnie Guess Purdue in the title role, supported by a local cast of 44 from northeast Oklahoma, the vast majority being CN citizens.
“The film incorporated the families of our cast and created a truly magical environment watching them share the story not only of Nanyehi, but of their own ancestors as well,” David Webb, co-producer for the “Nanyehi” film, said. “This cast does an amazing job presenting a compelling story in a way that is both educational and engaging for audiences of all ages.”
The Inter-Tribal Council of the Five Civilized Tribes, whose mission is to unite the governments of the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Muscogee Creek and Seminole nations, has endorsed this first-of-its-kind conference.
“The Five Tribes have a shared history due to the creation of the Dawes Rolls at the turn of the last century,” Cherokee Heritage Center Executive Director Dr. Charles Gourd said. “The vast majority of our visitors at CHC are interested in researching their family heritage, but they just aren’t sure where to start. Working with the Five Tribes, we have created a one-of-a-kind conference that will provide a better understanding of genealogical methodology and introduce available records to aid individuals in their family research.”
The three-day event is expected to provide tools to research Native American ancestry and discussion topics with guest speakers, including keynote speaker Dr. Daniel F. Littlefield Jr., director of the Sequoyah Research Center at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.
“Archives, historical societies and other genealogical institutions, especially in the south-southeast, have all seen an increase in the number of people seeking information about their family ancestry,” Littlefield said. “The majority of researchers are focused on validating their family’s claim to Indian ancestry and, thus, tribal citizenship. It is our responsibility to assist these individuals to the best of our ability while educating the public about the realities of the search.”