Election Commission amends its bylaws, rules

BY ROGER GRAHAM
Multimedia Producer – @cp_rgraham
07/16/2018 12:00 PM
TAHLEQUAH - The Cherokee Nation’s Election commission held a special meeting on July 10 in the Cherokee Nation Election Commission building.

Commissioners revised various segments of the EC bylaws, rules and regulations.

The commission also discussed actions to be taken on the recent water damage to its headquarters. The commission then voted to allow EC Chairwoman Shawna Calico to vote on all motions. Before this decision, Calico only voted when votes ended in ties.

Later Commissioner Carolyn Allen motioned for the commission to go into executive session after attorney Harvey Chaffin told the five commissioners he saw no need for executive session.

Once the commission came out of the private discussion, Calico announced no action was taken during the executive session. The Cherokee Phoenix covered the event and produced the following video of the entire meeting, not including the executive session.
Video Frame selected by Cherokee Phoenix

Oklahoma advocates want amendment on medical marijuana

BY ASSOCIATED PRESS
07/15/2018 02:00 PM
TULSA, Oklahoma (AP) — Activists in Oklahoma are looking to entrench the right to use marijuana in the state's constitution by promoting a pair of ballot measures.

The Tulsa World reports that the first state question would classify marijuana as an "herbal drug" and amend the Oklahoma Constitution. The other initiative says a person 21 years or older can possess or consume up to two ounces of marijuana for personal use. Both were filed in April.

Voters in Oklahoma backed the medicinal use of the drug last month. Yet, Isaac Caviness with Green the Vote says the two state questions being promoted are an "insurance policy" to make sure State Question 788 is not over regulated.

Oklahoma sees more severe earthquakes, fewer overall

BY ASSOCIATED PRESS
07/15/2018 08:00 AM
TULSA, Okla. (AP) — Oklahoma's 4.0 earthquakes are up significantly this year, but the overall rate of earthquakes is declining.

Oklahoma has had six quakes of at least magnitude 4.0 halfway through this year, which is one more than all of last year. But the overall rate of earthquakes has declined, with 96 quakes of magnitude 3.0 or greater through June 30, compared with 144 at this point last year and 302 by the end of 2017, the Tulsa World reported. A magnitude 4.6 in April near Perry was the 12th largest in state history.

Scientists are largely seeing earthquakes on unmapped faults that were activated in 2014 by wastewater injection, said state seismologist Jake Walter. Scientists are researching specific mechanisms by which the state's ongoing seismicity is triggered, he said. Wastewater can trigger the initial earthquakes, but quakes themselves can lead to more quakes.

"So in some ways the wastewater injection has created a new paradigm that defies how we would categorize main shocks and aftershocks if this were a fault that had slipped in a more natural setting," he said.

Walter said that Oklahoma's seismic risk appears to be similar to the latest hazard forecast put out by the U.S. Geological Survey in March. The agency calculated Oklahoma's short-term hazard levels to be similar to active regions in California. The chance of earthquake damage in high-hazard areas of Oklahoma this year ranges from 1 percent to 14 percent, "much higher" than most parts of the U.S.
http://cherokeepublichealth.org/

Marijuana proponents file lawsuits over strict new rules

BY ASSOCIATED PRESS
07/14/2018 02:00 PM
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) – Civil lawsuits have been filed in two Oklahoma counties accusing state health officials of improperly imposing strict rules on the state's recently approved medical marijuana industry.

Separate lawsuits were filed Friday in Cleveland and Oklahoma counties over the policies that were adopted this week by the State Board of Health and then quickly approved by Republican Gov. Mary Fallin.

The board of Fallin appointees voted 5-4 on Tuesday to approve a ban on the sale of smokable marijuana and requiring pharmacists at dispensaries, infuriating activists who had worked for years to get medical marijuana on the ballot. The measure passed June 26 with nearly 57 percent of the vote.

Interim Commissioner of Health Tom Bates said July 10 his office anticipated legal challenges and was prepared to defend the new rules.

CN hosts training, banquet for community organizations

BY STAFF REPORTS
07/12/2018 08:15 AM
TAHLEQUAH – Nearly 500 representatives of the 25 at-large and 88 in-jurisdiction Cherokee organizations recently traveled to Tahlequah for the Cherokee Nation’s 14th annual Conference of Community Leaders.

The two-day conference hosted by the tribe’s Community and Cultural Outreach was held June 22-23 at Northeastern State University. Attendees attended workshops led by experts in sustainability and culture, and also met with tribal leaders, including Principal Chief Bill John Baker, Deputy Chief S. Joe Crittenden, Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin Jr. and Tribal Councilors.

The tribe concluded the conference with the Community Impact Awards banquet, which honors community organizations that do outstanding volunteer work, promote the culture and make other significant contributions.

“The community organizations, both in the 14 counties and at-large, are some of the tribe’s most valuable partners, because they allow us to reach and help our citizens more effectively and efficiently,” Hoskin said. “Whether it’s mentoring youth or offering cultural enrichment programs or providing housing through temporary shelters, these groups define the values of community and family that are important to us as Cherokee people, and that is something to be commended and recognized.”

Cherokee Citizens League of Southeast Texas, an official at-large Cherokee Nation organization based in Houston, was honored with the 2018 Organization of the Year award. After Hurricane Harvey struck the organization’s community, members stepped up to help neighbors recover from the flooding and coordinated efforts to take donations to those in need.
Trail of Tears Association Executive Director and former Cherokee Nation Supreme Court Justice Troy Wayne Poteete speaks during his “Treaty Party: Motivations and Considerations” history presentation at the tribe’s 14th annual Conference of Community Leaders. COURTESY Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin Jr. speaks during the closing banquet of the tribe’s 14th annual Conference of Community Leaders. COURTESY
Trail of Tears Association Executive Director and former Cherokee Nation Supreme Court Justice Troy Wayne Poteete speaks during his “Treaty Party: Motivations and Considerations” history presentation at the tribe’s 14th annual Conference of Community Leaders. COURTESY
https://www.facebook.com/CASA-of-Cherokee-Country-184365501631027/

Vinita firefighters successfully use CN-provided Naloxone in opioid overdose

BY STAFF REPORTS
07/11/2018 04:00 PM
VINITIA – Less than three months after the U.S. Surgeon General released a public health advisory urging more Americans to carry a lifesaving medication that can reverse the effects of an opioid overdose, Vinita firefighters used that medication, naloxone, to save a life.

In June, Vinita firefighters responded to a call about a female who had chewed a fentanyl patch. Vinita Fire Chief Kevin Wofford said when they arrived at the scene, firefighters found the patient unresponsive. After obtaining baseline vitals, they administered one dose of Narcan nasal spray, which is a brand name for naloxone.

Within minutes, Wofford said, the ambulance arrived and the EMTs helped the patient into the ambulance where her symptoms abated.

“In about three minutes after they had administered the Narcan, she was becoming more responsive and they got a reversal,” Wofford said.

Wofford said the Narcan nasal spray for helping save this patient and describes the medication as being “a big help” to area first responders as they deal with the growing crisis of opioid overdose deaths.

Cherokee Phoenix wins 4 NAJA media awards

BY STAFF REPORTS
07/11/2018 12:00 PM
NORMAN – The Native American Journalists Association announced the winners of its 2018 National Native Media Awards and the Cherokee Phoenix won four awards, which includes its ninth first place General Excellence award for a print publication.

The annual competition recognizes excellence in reporting by Native and non-Native journalists across the United States and Canada.

In addition to the General Excellence honor, the Cherokee Phoenix took first place in the Best Layout – Print category and Best TV Feature Story with former Reporter Stacie Guthrie’s “Remember the Removal” video, which can be viewed at http://www.cherokeephoenix.org/Article/index/11330. Former Reporter Brittney Bennett won a third place award in the Print/Online – Best Health Coverage category with her “CN health providers want higher base pay” story, which can be read at http://www.cherokeephoenix.org/Article/index/11450.

“As the editor of the Cherokee Phoenix I am beyond pleased and honored anytime we receive recognition from our peers,” Executive Editor Brandon Scott said. “Everyone on our staff takes our role in keeping the Cherokee people informed to heart. I would personally like to thank everyone on the Cherokee Phoenix staff for all their hard work, and the members of the Native American Journalist Association for recognizing our dedication to providing thorough and prompt news coverage to our tribe nationwide.”

Cherokee Phoenix staff members will have an opportunity to collect their hardware during a banquet at NAJA’s annual conference on July 18-21 in Miami, Florida.

No one tests positive for HIV after syringes reused

BY ASSOCIATED PRESS
07/10/2018 12:00 PM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. (AP) — Cherokee Nation officials in Oklahoma say more than 180 patients affected by a tribal hospital nurse improperly reusing syringes have been notified they can receive free blood tests and that no one has tested positive for HIV or hepatitis.

The Tulsa World reports 127 of the patients have been tested. Tribal officials said Thursday it's unclear whether the rest will get tested.

Experts have said the chance of infection is remote. The hospital CEO said patients were never directly in contact with a needle.

Officials said the nurse violated protocols by using the same vial of medication and syringe to inject multiple intravenous bags at W.W. Hastings Hospital in Tahlequah. The nurse no longer works for the tribe.

A panel reviewing the case plans to issue a report in August.

Tahlequah LBGTQ community holds annual pride event

BY ROGER GRAHAM
Multimedia Producer – @cp_rgraham
07/09/2018 12:00 PM
TAHLEQUAH – Local and regional members of the LBGTQ community on June 30 held the fifth annual TahlEquality Pride march and picnic. The march began at Choctaw Street and ended at Norris Park downtown.

Cherokee Nation citizen and Oklahomans for Equality: Tahlequah Chapter President Carden Crow said he was pleased with the turnout.

“We started in 2014. Now it’s 2018 and we’re going strong,” Crow said. “This is a chance for our LBGTQ community and our allies to come out and show our sense of camaraderie and community. This is an opportunity for our culture to celebrate themselves, celebrate their survival, celebrate who they are in this community.”

This year’s event consisted of the march, a daytime family drag show where performers dressed like Disney characters, vendors, speakers, a picnic and an adult drag show held later in the evening.
Video Frame selected by Cherokee Phoenix

Culture

Cherokee artists win at Eiteljorg Indian Market and Festival
BY STAFF REPORTS
07/10/2018 08:30 AM
INDIANAPOLIS – At the 26th annual Eiteljorg Indian Market and Festival held June 23-24, Native American artists, including Cherokees, were awarded nearly $16,000 in cash prizes, as well as ribbons for art works they entered into competition.

Cherokee artist Bryan Waytula, of Sand Springs, Oklahoma, received first place in the Painting Category and the “Best of Class” award for his painting titled “We Stand As One.” He also received first place for his drawing titled “A Cherokee Treasure,” which is a colored pencil piece with a piece of mat weaving placed at the bottom of the artwork.

Waytula said he used remnants from one of his mom’s traditional river cane baskets.

His mother, Vivian Garner Cottrell, and his grandmother, Betty Scraper Garner, are both Cherokee National Treasures, which means they have been honored by the Cherokee Nation for their basketwork and for sharing their knowledge of basket making with others.

“I’m trying to follow big footprints left my grandmother and mother, both treasures. Those two are rock stars to me,” Waytula said.

He said it was his first time visiting the Eiteljorg Indian Market and Festival and was “impressed” with the facility, the artwork and the staff.

“I was very impressed with how amazing the staff was towards all the extremely-talented artists I had the pleasure of meeting and seeing their amazing work,” he said. “My dad, who is now retired, came along and helped me drive so it was a fun bonding trip too.”

Cherokee basket artist and Cherokee National Treasure Mike Dart, of Stilwell, Oklahoma, also won first place and "Best of Class" for his basket titled “Four Winds.” And he won a first place ribbon in the Non-Native Materials Category, a third-place ribbon in the Traditional Basketry Category and second place in the Contemporary Basketry Category.

“Eiteljorg Indian Market is a top of the line show with some of the ‘Best of the Best’ artists from across the nation and Canada. Seeing my name among the list of division winners was an honor. I’m proud and honored to be able to represent the Cherokee Nation in these art markets,” Dart said.

Also, Cherokee artist Lisa Rutherford won third place in the Contemporary Pottery Category and third place in the Cultural Items Category.

The Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art in Indianapolis hosted more than 100 artists from 60 Native American tribes who showed their jewelry, pottery, baskets, beadwork, carvings, paintings and cultural items. The two-day market and festival drew thousands of visitors who met the artists, purchased their art and enjoyed music, food and performances on the museum’s grounds.

“The Eiteljorg Indian Market and Festival creates opportunities for collectors and artists to connect and it builds support for today’s Native American artists,” Eiteljorg President and CEO John Vanausdall said. “The beautiful art works the artists have created make a powerful impact on our market goers and have contributed to the success of the Indian Market and Festival during its 26 years.”

Images of the winning artworks in 11 categories are on the Eiteljorg Museum’s Facebook page, and a complete list of award recipients in all categories and prize sponsors is at www.eiteljorg.org/explore/festivals-and-events/indian-market-festival.

Education

Cherokee Nation College Resources serves college, concurrent students
BY LINDSEY BARK
Reporter
07/11/2018 08:30 AM
TAHLEQUAH – The Cherokee Nation’s College Resources continues to provide scholarships to concurrent, undergraduate and graduate students to help them continue their educational endeavors.

College Resources serves 147 high schools in the jurisdiction and surrounding counties. In the 2017-18 school yea, 4,325 undergraduate and graduates students and 417 concurrent students received financial aid.

“We’re primarily focused toward high school juniors and seniors and then the current students that we have trying to keep them in school and trying to make sure they meet the deadlines,” Jennifer Pigeon, CN Education Services’ fiscal management and administration manager, said.

College Resources provides concurrent enrollment scholarships, high school valedictorian and salutatorian scholarships, undergraduate scholarships, graduate scholarships and financial assistance for directed studies.

Concurrent students who are high school juniors receive financial aid for tuition, books and fees for up to six hours of general education courses. Seniors only receive financial aid for books and fees due to a state waiver that pays for tuition.

Senior valedictorians and salutatorians receive a one-time scholarship upon graduating high school. Valedictorians receive up to $1,000 and salutatorians receive up to $750.

Undergraduate and graduate students receive up to $2,000 per semester.

“Once they’re accepted, undergrads are required to maintain a 2.0, concurrent a 2.5, and our graduates just need to remain in good standing with the college that they’re in,” Pigeon said.

She said to renew their scholarships students must turn in their grades and community service hours. One hour of community service is required for every $100 received.

Pigeon said students taking part in directed studies are limited to a University of Oklahoma rate of an equivalent degree meaning. For example, if a student is studying to become a doctor, dentist, or lawyer and do not choose to attend OU, College Resources will pay up to whatever OU’s rate would charge by paying for the tuition, books, fees, any required equipment and a housing stipend.

CN citizens and citizens of federally recognized tribes are eligible to receive College Resources financial aid. However, federally recognized tribal citizens besides CN citizens are only awarded if they qualify for the federal Pell grant known as the Free Application for Federal Student Aid or FAFSA. The award varies based on the number of applicants.

College Resources also provides a computer lab at the W.W. Keeler Complex equipped with six computer stations, printers and scanners to help students with the application process, and College Resources staff also participate in college and career fairs such the tribe’s College and Career Night to promote scholarship opportunities to students.

Information, applications and deadlines for the 2019-20 school year can be found at www.cherokee.org/Services/Education/College-Resources or by calling 1-800-256-0671, ext. 5465 or emailing collegeresources@cherokee.org.

Council

Tribal Council approves $31M Indian Housing Plan
BY LINDSEY BARK
Reporter
07/12/2018 04:00 PM
TAHLEQUAH – At the July 9 Tribal Council meeting, legislators unanimously authorized the submission of the fiscal year 2019 Indian Housing Plan, estimated at more than $31 million, to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The FY2019 funds will be used for housing assistance such as $5.6 million for housing rehabilitation, nearly $4.5 million for the Rental Assistance Program and $3.4 million for the Mortgage Assistance Program.

Legislators also unanimously adopted revisions to the FY2018 IHP because the Cherokee Nation’s $31.8 million Indian Housing Block Grant allocation was higher than estimates provided. The CN’s submitted FY2018 IHP, as required by the Native American Housing Assistance and Self-Determination Act, had an original estimate of nearly $29 million.

“The actual appropriations are based on what Congress approves in the federal budget. For this year it was $655 million for NAHASDA and our part was the $31,856,007,” Housing Authority of the Cherokee Nation Executive Director Gary Cooper said. “The current two appropriations being considered, one in the House, the other in the Senate, both include amounts equal to 2018. Assuming that Congress does pass a budget or omnibus or other type of appropriations bill for next year at the same (amount), we should receive more than the estimate.”

Legislators also unanimously authorized the submission of a tribal soil climate analysis network, also known as TSCAN or a weather station. The weather station will be placed on tribal property near the buffalo ranch in Delaware County.

The resolution said the CN recognizes the importance of addressing food, agriculture and natural resource needs within the CN boundaries through the utilization of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Natural Resource Conservation Services, Department of Interior and Bureau of Indian Affairs.

“This is an NCRS project. It will give us more soil climate data, soil moisture information. It will be really helpful for researches and people who are really involved in agriculture. So it will be a good thing,” CN Natural Resources Sara Hill said in a June 11 Resource Committee meeting.

In other business, legislators:

• Authorized a grant application for an economic development feasibility study for FY2019 on creating a blackberry processing and marketing program utilizing organic blackberry growers who are CN citizens,

• Amending the comprehensive FY2018 capital budget with an increase of $8 million for a total budget authority of $260.2 million, and

• Amended the comprehensive FY2018 operating budget with an increase of $29.7 million for a total budget authority of $724.7 million. The changes reflecting the increase include increases in the General Fund budget of $312,725; the DOI-Self Governance budget of $388,958; the Indian Health Service Self-Governance Health budget of $24.6 million; and the IHS-Self Governance TEH budget of $4.5 million.

Health

Fallin signs emergency rules, infuriates marijuana advocates
BY ASSOCIATED PRESS
07/13/2018 12:45 PM
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin on July 11 signed into place strict emergency rules for medical marijuana that pot advocates say are intentionally aimed at delaying the voter-approved use of medicinal cannabis.

The term-limited Republican governor signed the rules just one day after her appointees on the state’s Board of Health adopted them at an emergency meeting after last-minute changes to ban the sale of smokable marijuana and require a pharmacist at every pot dispensary.

Those late additions to the rules infuriated longtime medical marijuana advocates who helped get the measure on the ballot in June, when nearly 57 percent of Oklahoma voters approved it. Her quick signature also came just as medical pot advocates were rallying supporters to urge her to reject them.

“People are completely angry. They voted for (State Question) 788 and now you have the health department and our governor pull these shenanigans?” said Isaac Caviness, president of Green the Vote, a marijuana advocacy group that pushed for the passage of the state question. “It’s a slap in the face to all activists. It’s a slap in the face to all Oklahomans who voted on 788.”

Groups that opposed legalizing medical marijuana – including ones that represent doctors, pharmacists, hospitals and chambers of commerce – earlier this week called for new restrictions on the industry, including a ban on the sale of smokable pot and the pharmacist restriction. The board approved the two provisions against the advice of the health department’s general counsel, who said the rules likely were beyond the agency’s legal authority. Marijuana advocates say they’re considering legal action against the board.

In a statement on July 11, Fallin said she thinks the rules were the best way to quickly set up a regulatory framework for medical marijuana.

“I know some citizens are not pleased with these actions,” Fallin said. “But I encourage everyone to approach this effort in a constructive fashion in order to honor the will of the citizens of Oklahoma who want a balanced and responsible medical marijuana law.”

Opinion

OPINION: Expanded laws allow CN to better enforce VAWA
BY BILL JOHN BAKER
Principal Chief
07/05/2018 12:00 PM
The Cherokee Nation remains committed to protecting our women and children from violence. As principal chief, I reinforced that dedication by creating the ONE FIRE program for survivors of domestic violence, and recently, the Tribal Council passed laws that strengthen our ability to protect Native women and children within our own jurisdiction.

The amended titles 21 and 22 of the Cherokee Code Annotated allow the tribe to better enforce the Violence Against Women Act tribal-jurisdiction provisions aimed at preventing domestic abuse and violence against women and children on tribal reservations.

These amendments authorize the CN to prosecute non-Indians for domestic violence, dating violence or violations of protective orders within our jurisdiction. The CN has the authority to hold offenders accountable for their crimes against women and children regardless of the perpetrator’s race. This law will apply to a spouse or partner of a CN citizen or other tribal citizen with ties to our jurisdiction.

Additionally, the Tribal Council also modified Title 12 of the Cherokee Code Annotated, which gives the CN’s District Court the expanded ability to issue and enforce protective orders for acts of domestic violence occurring within the CN. The amendments enable CN courts and CN marshals to combat domestic abuse more effectively.

Native American women suffer from violent crime at some of the highest rates in the United States. With non-Indians constituting a significant percent of the overall population living on tribal lands, it is imperative that we take this action to close the jurisdictional gap in the CN. This will have a significant impact on the health and wellbeing of women and children within the CN’s 14 counties.

I want to commend the CN attorney general’s office for working on this new law for more than two years, and the Tribal Council for taking this major step in flexing the CN’s sovereign muscle to bring justice to Native American victims.

We will continue to offer programs and services that curb the rate of domestic abuse. Our people deserve to live healthy and secure lives within the CN. We have always looked at how our decisions will impact the next seven generations, and providing a safe future for our children and grandchildren is an important part of securing that future.

People

3 Cherokee youths win golf tournaments
BY STAFF REPORTS
07/10/2018 04:00 PM
TAHLEQUAH – Three local Cherokee youths competed in the U.S. Kids Golf – Tulsa Spring Tour held between March and June that consisted of seven tournaments.

Kylie Fisher, Edwin Wacoche and Chase Jones also competed in the season-ending Tour Championship at the Cherokee Hills Golf Course at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Tulsa on June 10. They received points based on how they finished in each tournament with each player with the most points winning the division.

Fisher, of Tahlequah, competed in the Girls 7-Under Division and won all seven tournaments played at Tulsa-area golf courses, plus the championship on June 10 with a score of 36 for nine holes. Wacoche, of Tahlequah, won the Boys 6-under Division and Jones, of Park Hill, won the Boys 10 Division.

Fisher also recently won the U.S. Kids Golf Texas State Invitational for girl’s 7-under held June 18-19, by shooting 35 and 35 for a score of 70. The competitors in the tournament played 9 holes each day at the Brookhaven Country Club in Farmers Branch, Texas.

“We were surprised she won it. She shot her best score to date in that tournament,” her mother Shauna Fisher, said.
Click To Subscribe

Call Justin Smith 918-207-4975

Cherokee Phoenix Daily
Digital Newsletter