Mitchell’s metalwork finally hits its stride

BY BRITTNEY BENNETT
Reporter – @cp_bbennett
02/23/2018 08:00 AM
YUKON – Though it’s taken several years for Cherokee metal artist Tommy Roe Mitchell to find his stride, his distinctive style is now giving him the opportunity to pursue his passion while stepping out from his father’s shadow.

He grew up close to the art business, as his father Ron is a well-known Cherokee artist who began his career in the 1970s. While both have experience in metal art, Tommy said he’s now setting his work apart with painting and grinding techniques.

“Dad was doing metal artwork, but he wasn’t doing it to the extent that I am now, not with the color,” Tommy said. “He would actually cut the piece out, grind the edges and heat-treat it, but he wasn’t putting the grinding marks in it like I have. Dad never even thought about using the grinder the way I was doing, so already this was out of his league.”

Tommy said he usually draws inspiration from things he sees on television and YouTube. Once he completes a design on sketchpad, he transfers it onto poster board and then onto 14- to 18-gauge sheet metal with a magic marker.

The design is then cut with a plasma cutter before he uses a grinder to smooth jagged edges and polish out imperfections. Once satisfied, he grinds grooves into the metal to give the illusion of feathers and depth.
Video Frame selected by Cherokee Phoenix
Cherokee Nation citizen Tommy Roe Mitchell uses a grinder to create feather effects into his metal artwork on Jan. 30 in his studio in Yukon. BRITTNEY BENNETT/CHEROKEE PHOENIX Cherokee Nation citizen Tommy Roe Mitchell says he grinds his metalwork to create 3-D shapes, including feathers on birds of prey. He then either paints the piece or heat-treats it to bring out colors in the metal. BRITTNEY BENNETT/CHEROKEE PHOENIX Cherokee Nation citizen Tommy Roe Mitchell’s metalwork piece “Dance of the Phoenix.” Mitchell first sketched the design on paper before transferring it to metal to be cut out and smoothed down with a grinder. Once polished, it was painted and sealed with an automotive clear coat. BRITTNEY BENNETT/CHEROKEE PHOENIX Cherokee Nation citizen Tommy Roe Mitchell also creates “Phoenix Spirit Feathers,” which are his interpretation of what feathers on the mythical bird would look like. BRITTNEY BENNETT/CHEROKEE PHOENIX Each piece that Tommy Roe Mitchell creates is also signed and comes with information about its origin on the back so that buyers can understand its significance. BRITTNEY BENNETT/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Cherokee Nation citizen Tommy Roe Mitchell uses a grinder to create feather effects into his metal artwork on Jan. 30 in his studio in Yukon. BRITTNEY BENNETT/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
https://www.facebook.com/CASA-of-Cherokee-Country-184365501631027/

Rocky Mountain hosting Cherokee language classes

BY STAFF REPORTS
02/22/2018 12:00 PM
ROCKY MOUNTAIN – The Rocky Mountain Cherokee Community Organization will host Cherokee language classes beginning March 17 at its community building near Stilwell.

The classes will last eight weeks and will have alternating sessions or hours. The first Saturday class will last from 10 a.m. to noon, and the following Saturday the class will be from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. This will continue until the eights weeks are completed.

Lawrence Panther, a Cherokee Nation Cherokee Language Program translator, will instruct the classes. He said his objectives are for his students to learn how to read and write the Cherokee syllabary and how to speak Cherokee.

“These classes will primarily focus on the syllabary chart, thus helping the students enhance their reading, writing and speaking skills. There will be activity materials to progress their learning skills. Classroom setting will require speaking Cherokee, worksheets will be provided, and I will lecture as well,” he said. “At the end of the eight sessions, they will have a better understanding of the syllabary chart. Lecture and understanding the syllabary chart will further their reading, writing and speaking skills.”

The community building is located about 5 miles west of Stilwell. From Stilwell, travel on Hwy 100 west for 3 miles and then turn onto Rocky Mountain School Road and continue about 2 miles. The RMCCO Community Building is located across the road from the school’s softball field.

CHC offers cultural classes promoting traditional Cherokee art

BY STAFF REPORTS
02/21/2018 12:00 PM
PARK HILL – The Cherokee Heritage Center is hosting a series of cultural classes designed to preserve, promote and teach traditional Cherokee art.

The Saturday workshops are held once a month and provide hands-on learning opportunities of traditional art forms.

Registration is open for the March 10 class on round reed basketry and the April 7 class on Cherokee moccasins. Both classes are from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and cost $40 each.

Early registration is recommended as class size is limited. For more information or to RSVP, call Tonia Weavel at 918-456-6007, ext. 6161, or email tonia-weavel@cherokee.org.

The CHC is located at 21192 S. Keeler Drive.

Missouri lawmakers try to define real Native American art

BY ASSOCIATED PRESS
02/16/2018 08:00 AM
ST. LOUIS (AP) – Kathy Dickerson worries about the future of the Kiowa culture.

Dickerson is a St. Louis artist and citizen of the Kiowa Tribe of Oklahoma. She said she does bead work, some silversmithing and brain tanning, where she takes the brain of an animal and uses it to tan the hide.

Each tribe’s crafts are a part of its identity, she said. The Kiowa moccasins she makes are different from those made by other tribes, even neighboring tribes. Her work isn’t creative, she said, she’s reproducing art from Kiowa tradition.

“We still do things that our ancestors did, and I’m still teaching my grandchildren what I was taught,” Dickerson said.

People who are not part of federally recognized American Indian tribes fabricate their artwork and their history, she said. They fool people who don’t know much about American Indians, skewing their understanding of tribes. She said the problem is apparent in St. Louis, where non-Native people are brought in to give cultural presentations at community festivals.
Chief Grey Elk of the Northern Cherokee Nation says all the work of his tribe is “authentic dating back to antiquity,” and the tribe’s artisans follow styles and patterns passed down through generations. The Missouri House Special Committee on Small Business has unanimously approved a bill that would ban people who are not citizens of federally recognized American Indian tribes from selling their arts and crafts as authentic American Indian work. COURTESY A screenshot of the Northern Cherokee Nation’s website. The Northern Cherokee Nation claims to be Missouri’s only state-recognized tribe. COURTESY Rocky Miller, a Missouri congressman and Cherokee Nation citizen, says a 1983 proclamation does not make the Northern Cherokee Nation a state-recognized tribe and that its members shouldn’t be allowed to sell their artwork. COURTESY
Chief Grey Elk of the Northern Cherokee Nation says all the work of his tribe is “authentic dating back to antiquity,” and the tribe’s artisans follow styles and patterns passed down through generations. The Missouri House Special Committee on Small Business has unanimously approved a bill that would ban people who are not citizens of federally recognized American Indian tribes from selling their arts and crafts as authentic American Indian work. COURTESY

Sorell receives First Peoples Fund fellowship

BY STAFF REPORTS
02/15/2018 12:00 PM
RAPID CITY, S.D. – The First Peoples Fund recently welcomed a new cohort of artist fellows who embody the “Collective Spirit” and whose lives reflect the traditional values at the heart of FPF’s mission - generosity, wisdom, respect, integrity, strength, fortitude and humility. And one of the 15 artists selected to receive the ABL fellowship is writer and Cherokee Nation citizen Traci Sorell of Olathe, Kansas.

“I am humbled to receive this fellowship. I hadn’t initially realized all the marketing costs related to the launch of a debut picture book. My friend suggested that I apply for the First Peoples Fund’s Artist in Business Leadership fellowship because it provides training, support and financial resources to artists wanting to grow their business,” Sorell said. “I am so grateful to be selected and look forward to the professional training that First Peoples Fund will provide me and the other fellows when we gather in Santa Fe, New Mexico, next month (March).”

Sorell said the fellowship will help her launch an author website and design and print promotional materials for her book “We Are Grateful: Otsaliheliga,” which is set for release on Sept. 4.

The fellowship also will create a free downloadable curriculum guide for teachers and anyone else to download from Sorell’s website and pay for travel to book-related events.

“These costs would be very difficult for me to cover without the fellowship’s help,” she said. “Having this support also allows me to focus my time on writing more books and getting them ready for submission because that’s what is required to grow my business as a children’s book author.”
Traci Sorell
Traci Sorell

Barlow works to add Cherokee language at Walmart

BY KENLEA HENSON
Reporter
01/30/2018 08:00 AM
TAHLEQUAH – Cherokee Nation citizen Brian Barlow was awarded a $10,000 Dreamstarter grant in 2017 to make a difference in his community. Since then, he’s been working to integrate the Cherokee language into the town’s Walmart.

Growing up in the CN capital, Barlow said he’s seen less and less of the Cherokee language being used, especially among the youth. Through language classes in high school and tribal activities such as the CN Youth Council and “Remember the Removal” bicycle ride he said learning the Cherokee language has become important to him. So when he heard about the Dreamstarter grant he knew it would be the perfect opportunity to put forth his vision to engage more youth with the language.

His idea was to integrate the language into Tahlequah’s Walmart by translating the produce section into Cherokee and placing Cherokee phonetics, community level phonetics and the syllabary on produce labels.

“You can grow up in Tahlequah and not know any Cherokee, and I don’t think that should be acceptable. You should at least know some words,” Barlow said. “So the idea is to revitalize the language by putting it into the grocery store where like grandma can take grandbaby to the grocery store and use it as a teaching tool.”

He said using phonetics rather than just the syllabary simplifies it and make words easier to learn.
Cherokee Nation citizen Brian Barlow holds a squash in a Walmart store in Tahlequah. Barlow is integrating the Cherokee language into the store by translating the produce section into Cherokee and placing Cherokee phonetics, community level phonetics and the syllabary on produce labels. KENLEA HENSON/CHEROKEE PHOENIX The word for plums is written in the Cherokee language in the produce section of Walmart in Tahlequah. Cherokee Nation citizen Brian Barlow has worked with a Cherokee language specialist to translate Walmart’s produce into the Cherokee syllabary, phonetic and community level phonetic. KENLEA HENSON/CHEROKEE PHOENIX Cherokee Nation citizen Brian Barlow stands next to a bank window that has words written in Cherokee on it. Barlow says the Cherokee language has become more and more important to him since being involved with the tribe more in the past several years. COURTESY Cherokee Nation citizen Brian Barlow squats next to produce in the Walmart in Tahlequah. He is using a $10,000 grant to integrate the Cherokee language into the store’s produce section. KENLEA HENSON/CHEROKEE PHOENIX Cherokee Nation citizen Brian Barlow sits at a desk with a computer showing types of produce in English, Cherokee phonetics, community level phonetics and the Cherokee syllabary. Barlow hopes to revitalize the Cherokee language by putting it Walmart so it can be used as a teaching tool. COURTESY
Cherokee Nation citizen Brian Barlow holds a squash in a Walmart store in Tahlequah. Barlow is integrating the Cherokee language into the store by translating the produce section into Cherokee and placing Cherokee phonetics, community level phonetics and the syllabary on produce labels. KENLEA HENSON/CHEROKEE PHOENIX

Sunchokes harvested at CN plant site

BY LINDSEY BARK
Reporter
01/22/2018 08:15 AM
TAHLEQUAH – On a cold and windy Jan. 9, Cherokee Nation cultural biologists and Environmental Resources specialists harvested sunchokes, also known as Jerusalem artichokes, at the Heirloom Garden and Native Plant Site on the Tribal Complex.

It is believed the sunchoke was a main food source for Cherokee people prior to European contact.

“The sunchoke is a very important cultural plant. So that was one of the plants that we really wanted to establish in the Seed Bank and the native plant site. We were lucky enough to be gifted some really nice specimens from the Eastern Band (of Cherokee Indians) several years ago. They brought us three really nice plants. The three plants have really expanded,” Environmental Resources Senior Director Pat Gwin said.

Gwin said the sunchoke is able to produce in mass amounts to harvest for the Seed Bank and as a food source.

“Sunchoke, it was an important plant for a reason. It grows an extremely large amount of product for the amount of space, time and effort that you put into it,” he said. “We produce lots and lots of seeds every year.”
Video Frame selected by Cherokee Phoenix
Jerusalem artichoke, also known as sunchoke, is harvested from the ground at the Cherokee Nation Heirloom Garden and Native Plant Site on Jan. 9 in Tahlequah. LINDSEY BARK/CHEROKEE PHOENIX A 5-gallon bucket is filled with Jerusalem artichoke, also known as sunchoke, at the Cherokee Nation Heirloom Garden and Native Plant Site. The sunchoke has a tuber root structure that resembles a potato. LINDSEY BARK/CHEROKEE PHOENIX Cooked sunchoke resembles fried potatoes although they can be cooked in various ways and have the flavor and texture of a potato or water chestnut. LINDSEY BARK/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Jerusalem artichoke, also known as sunchoke, is harvested from the ground at the Cherokee Nation Heirloom Garden and Native Plant Site on Jan. 9 in Tahlequah. LINDSEY BARK/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
http://www.wherethecasinomoneygoes.com

Cherokee Art Market hosting Native youth art competition

BY STAFF REPORTS
01/19/2018 12:30 PM
PARK HILL – Native American youth are invited to participate in the 2018 Cherokee Art Market Youth Competition and Show, scheduled for April 7 through May 5.

All artists must be citizens of a federally recognized tribe, in grades 6-12, and are limited to one entry per person. There is no fee to participate in the competition.

Entries will be received between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. on March 29 at Cherokee Nation Businesses, 950 Main Pkwy., in Tahlequah. All submissions must include an entry form attached to the artwork, an artist agreement form and a copy of the artist’s Certificate Degree of Indian Blood card or tribal citizenship card.

Artwork is evaluated by division and grade level. Awards consist Best in Show - $250; first place - $150; second place - $125; third place - $100; Bill Rabbit Art Legacy Award - $100. The Best in Show winner will also receive a free booth at the Cherokee Art Market in October.

A reception will be held from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on April 6 at the Cherokee Heritage Center in conjunction with the 47th annual Trail of Tears Art Show. Winning artwork selected from the Cherokee Art Market Youth Competition will remain on display throughout the duration of the Trail of Tears Art Show.

CFRC shines light on Cherokee genealogy

BY BRITTNEY BENNETT
Reporter – @cp_bbennett &
STACIE BOSTON
Reporter – @cp_sguthrie
01/16/2018 08:30 AM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – The Cherokee Family Research Center located within the Cherokee Heritage Center has been assisting individuals with tracing their family genealogies since the 1980s.

“We educate people,” Gene Morris, CFRC genealogist, said. “We’re here to promote our mission, which is preserve, promote and teach Cherokee history and culture. That’s what we do on a daily basis with genealogy.”

The CFRC is one of two locations in Oklahoma specializing in Native American genealogy and should not be confused with the Cherokee Nation Registration Department.

“We (CFRC) have no right to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ that someone is Cherokee,” Ashley Vann, CFRC genealogist, said. “What we are able to tell them is ‘yes’ or ‘no’ about a paper trail to back up that family’s story that’s been handed down from generation to generation.”

Morris and Vann can be hired to help individuals complete their genealogies for a fee of $30 per hour, or $20 per hour for Cherokee National Historical Society members. For those wishing to conduct their own research, the CFRC resources area and the genealogy library are accessible from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday with paid admission into the museum.
Video Frame selected by Cherokee Phoenix
The library at the Cherokee Family Research Center contains books, periodicals, archives and other material available for visitors to use as resource material for tracing Cherokee ancestries. LINDSEY BARK/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
The library at the Cherokee Family Research Center contains books, periodicals, archives and other material available for visitors to use as resource material for tracing Cherokee ancestries. LINDSEY BARK/CHEROKEE PHOENIX

Culture

Cherokee Speakers Bureau to meet Jan. 11
BY STAFF REPORTS
01/08/2018 02:30 PM
TAHLEQUAH – The Cherokee Speakers Bureau will be held Thursday Jan. 11 from 12:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. We will meet in the Community Ballroom that is located behind the Restaurant of the Cherokee. All Cherokee speakers are invited to attend. If you want to bring a side dish or a dessert, feel free to bring it. Come speak Cherokee and enjoy food and fellowship.

For further information about the event, please contact: the Language Program at 918-453-5151; John Ross at 918-453-6170; or Roy Boney Jr. 918-453-5487.

Tsalagi aniwonisgi unadatlugv dodvnatlosi Nvgineiga Unolvtani 11 ganvsulvi 12:30 p.m. adalenisgi 4 p.m. igohida. Na Anitsalagi tsunalisdayetiyi tsigotlv unaditli wayvsdi onadilvyvi utani kanvsula dodvnatlosi. Naniv Anitsalagi aniwonisgi otsitayohiha uniluhisdii. Alisdayvdi ayohisdi yodulia. Dodayotsadatlisani ale dodayotsalisdayvna hilutsvi.

Ugodesdi tsadulihesdi tsadelayohisdi hiina wigehiyadvdi: Tsalagi Gawonihisdi Unadotlvsv 918-453-5151; John Ross 918-453-6170; or Roy Boney Jr. 918-453-5487.

Education

Hoskin earns NSU Centurions honor
BY STAFF REPORTS
02/22/2018 04:00 PM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. — Cherokee Nation Chief of Staff Chuck Hoskin is being honored as one of nine Northeastern State University 2018 Centurions.

Centurions are individuals whose leadership and commitment, in the course of helping others, have made a significant impact during NSU’s history. Honors are given to university alumni, faculty, staff, students or any member of the NSU community, past or present, who impacted the NSU community or the public at large.

Hoskin graduated from NSU in 1982 with a bachelor’s degree in social sciences and earned his master’s degree in education in 1998. Along with his service to the CN as chief of staff, Hoskin served 12 years on the Tribal Council, between 1995 and 2007, and is now serving his sixth term as an Oklahoma State Representative for Dist. 6.

“Like so many Cherokees in northeast Oklahoma, my experience at NSU helped define my personal life, as well as my professional career as an educator and administrator. I am profoundly honored to be recognized as a Centurion by my alma mater, an institution where I earned both undergraduate and graduate degrees,” Hoskin said. “One of the most important lessons I learned at NSU is the value of public education. As a member of the Oklahoma House of Representatives and as a former Cherokee Nation Tribal Councilor, I have endeavored to make life-changing educational opportunities more accessible. I am proud of NSU, whose rich history is tied directly to the education of Cherokee Nation citizens, and hope its mission continues to flourish.”

Hoskin is a U.S. Navy veteran and a former Ironworkers Union Local 584 member. He also spent nearly two decades working in public education as a high school teacher and school administrator for Locust Grove Public Schools.

As chief of staff, Hoskin oversees Education Services and is an advocate for the tribe’s continued support of NSU. He is a member of the leadership team that contributed funding to restoration and enhancement efforts for NSU’s historic Seminary Hall.

“Chuck Hoskin’s selfless devotion to serving others is a model that few of us can match,” NSU President Dr. Steve Turner said. “He continues to impress me with his humility and tireless effort to improve the lives of Cherokee citizens and all Oklahomans. He embodies all the values of an NSU Centurion. I am honored to call him my friend and to participate in the ceremony of recognition for this honor.”

Hoskin resides in Vinita with his wife, Stephanie. He has three children, Amy, Chuck Jr. and Amelia, along with three grandchildren.

He and eight other new NSU Centurions will be honored during a March 6 luncheon at 11:30 a.m. at the NSU Event Center in Tahlequah. The luncheon is open to the public, and tickets are $25 per person. To reserve a seat, visit www.nsualumni.com/centurions or call the NSU president’s office at 918-444-2000.

Council

Hastings Hospital lease with OSU med school approved
BY KENLEA HENSON
Reporter
02/19/2018 02:30 PM
TAHLEQUAH – During its Feb. 12 meeting, the Tribal Council unanimously authorized a lease with Oklahoma State University’s Center for Health Sciences to put a medical school in the current W.W. Hastings Hospital after the new Outpatient Health Center opens.

“Cherokee Nation is joining with Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences, an entity within the Oklahoma State System of Higher Education, to bring health care education to W.W. Hastings Hospital in Tahlequah,” the resolution states.

The lease will encompass part of Hastings’ floor space and parking space.

Earlier in the day during the Resources Committee meeting, Dr. Charles Grim, Health Services interim executive director, said the leased portion would be located where the current physical therapy, diabetes, orthopedics and optometry locations are. Those departments will move to the new primary health care facility, which is expected to be finished in 2019.

Grim said because OSU is a state university the medical school would not have a Native American preference. However, he said the architecture within the remodeled facility for the school would highlight Cherokee culture. He also said officials would ask Indian Health Service to set aside scholarships and/or loan repayment for Native students wishing to attend the school.

“Its not really an Indian medical school per se, but it will be the first college of medicine campus on Indian land in the country,” Grim said.

Grim said the lease would be for seven years with the option to renew.

In other business, Cherokee Nation Businesses CEO Shawn Slaton told Tribal Councilors that CNB is preparing to break ground on April 1 on additional “projects” in the Cherokee Springs Plaza in Tahlequah.

In 2014, CN and CNB officials announced plans to build the plaza with venues for dining, shopping and gaming. In a previous Cherokee Phoenix article, officials said the plaza is anticipated to be 1.3 million square feet of mixed-use space, developed at an estimated cost of $170 million. Officials also said it was to be completed in three phases.

The tribe completed Phase 1 of the project in 2016,which included road construction and pad sites where businesses would be developed. Since then Taco Bueno, Buffalo Wild Wings, Sonic and Stuteville Ford have opened businesses at the site.

The next phase is the construction and relocation of Cherokee Casino Tahlequah, officials said. The new casino is expected to feature a resort hotel, convention center and golf clubhouse. The final phase includes the creation of a retail strip.

CNB has not confirmed a completion date as of publication.

Legislators also:

• amended the Concurrent Enrollment Scholarship Act of 2011 to revise the eligibility requirements,

• reappointed T. Luke Barteaux as a District Court judge,

• confirmed Dr. Charles Grim as a Cherokee Nation Health Partners board member,

• authorized the Vocational Rehabilitation Program to donate surplus equipment to the United Wrestling Entertainment Foundation in Cherokee County.

Health

CN receives Indian Health Services settlement funds
BY MARK DREADFULWATER
Multimedia Editor – @cp_mdreadfulwat
02/23/2018 04:00 PM
TAHLEQUAH – At the Jan. 17 Rules Committee meeting, Deputy Attorney General Chrissi Nimmo reported that the tribe was to receive settlement funds from the federal government. The settlement between the Cherokee Nation and Indian Health Service recoups contract support cost totaling more than $8.2 million.

The money was for unpaid support costs for 1998 in correlation to underpayments of more than $31 million, including interest and underpayments, between 2005 and 2013 and as a result of the Supreme Court case Cherokee Nation, et al v. Leavitt.

According to the 2004 Supreme Court opinion, the “Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act authorizes the Government and Indian tribes to enter into contracts in which tribes promise to supply federally funded services that a Government agency normally would provide.”

It also states the act “requires the government to pay…a tribe’s ‘contract support costs’ which are ‘reasonable costs’ that a federal agency would not have incurred, but which the tribe would incur in managing the program…”

However, in that timeframe the opinion states the reasoning the government did not pay the contract support costs as promised is because Congress had not appropriated enough funds.

“In the first case, the Tribes submitted administrative payment claims under the Contract Disputes Act of 1978, which the Department of the Interior (the appropriations manager) denied. They then brought a breach-of-contract action,” the opinion states. “The District Court found against them, and the Tenth Circuit affirmed. In the second case, the Cherokee Nation submitted claims to the Department of the Interior, which the Board of Contract Appeals ordered paid. The Federal Circuit affirmed.”

Nimmo said the tribe had to cover the IHS contract costs that were denied by using CN General Fund dollars.

“There were questions about whether or not half of it will go to the newly created Sovereign Wealth Fund because that law says that half of all settlements will go there,” Nimmo said. “This money…the reason it all goes to the General Fund is because it was improperly expended. And I say improperly not in the sense that we did anything wrong, but we should have, in 1998, we should have gotten this money from the federal government to support IHS contracts. Because we didn’t, we had to spend general tribal dollars to support those IHS contracts. So this money goes into basically replenish tribal dollars that were spent to support federal contracts.”

Nimmo added that the Tribal Council is able to appropriate the recouped funds however it deems necessary.

“The $8.2 million settlement will go into the tribe’s General Fund, where it will help provide the expanded and improved health care services our citizens deserve.” Nimmo said. “Going forward, we expect contract support costs to be funded in full as designated by treaty and federal trust responsibility.”

Opinion

OPINION: CNB investment expands Cherokee language program
BY BILL JOHN BAKER
Principal Chief
02/01/2018 10:15 AM
Preserving the Cherokee language is preserving Cherokee identity, as the heritage and traditions of the tribe are rooted in our language. Our language allows us to pass along traditional Cherokee knowledge and values to our children and grandchildren. That is why I am so proud that Cherokee Nation Businesses has pledged unprecedented financial support to the Cherokee Language Master Apprentice Program.

Through a signed memorandum of understanding, CNB is providing $180,000 to cover the costs of a language program called the 14th Generation Master Apprentice Program, a pilot program designed for students who originally learned to speak Cherokee at the tribe’s Cherokee Immersion Charter School. We hope it encourages language usage as they progress through junior high and high school. CNB’s monetary commitment will further advance the preservation and usage of the Cherokee language, as graduates of the adult master apprentice program are placed in supervised teaching and mentoring roles.

The new endeavor can be a bridge that unites the mission of our Cherokee Immersion Charter School and the Cherokee Language Master Apprentice Program, which has graduated six students since it began three years ago and is expected to graduate six more students in 2018 and another eight students in 2019. Both programs have proven successful in their respective area, and now we can connect their goals and participants.

This multigenerational effort will help preserve and promote the use of the Cherokee language for generations to come and fill the gap between the immersion school and high school. Our youth, who have been educated in the immersion school, are among the most valuable Cherokee language assets going forward. We have made significant investments in these children, and we must keep exposing them to language-learning opportunities after completing the sixth grade. Now that we have graduates of the Cherokee Language Master Apprentice Program, we have developed an expert pipeline and grown the personnel to keep our youth engaged after immersion school graduation. That means language lessons can be utilized at Sequoyah High School as well as within community settings. Creating new Cherokee speakers, and in turn letting them pass along what they have learned, will keep our language flourishing for generations to come.

Supporting cultural education and growing the language curriculum will help Cherokee children succeed on their lifelong journey and allow them to reach their God-given potential in school, in life and as Cherokee speakers. The 14th Generation Master Apprentice Program already has about a dozen Sequoyah High School students gathering for lessons after school. Plans are in place for a summer program with participants gathering from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. for 10 weeks. Those students, if they participate over multiple summers, could potentially get about 2,000 hours of language education just through summer participation. CNB continues to support the tribe in its pursuit of preserving Cherokee culture and heritage. Without the aggressive commitment from our tribal government and our business endeavors, the future of the Cherokee language would be in jeopardy.

People

Dreadfulwater continues loom-weaving tradition
BY LINDSEY BARK
Reporter
02/22/2018 08:15 AM
TAHLEQUAH – For the past 15 years, Cherokee Nation citizen Janice Dreadfulwater has been perfecting the craft of loom weaving that she learned from her sister-in-law and Cherokee National Treasure, Dorothy Dreadfulwater Ice.

Since she was 5 years old, Dreadfulwater said she’s always “dabbled” in some type of craftsmanship.

“I was sewing when I was like 5 years (old), making doll clothes. My first (craft) was sewing. Then I went over to crochet and cross-stitch. I’ve done some silversmithing, and I’ve done some beadwork. You know, I’ve dabbled in a lot of areas,” Dreadfulwater said.

Once she learned how to loom weave, she said she thoroughly enjoyed it.

“My first attempt was awkward, of course. But once I got the hang of it, it started going really fast,” she said. “It was just addictive.”

In a two-month span, she said she made approximately 20 loom-woven blankets.

Aside from making blankets, she makes scarves and shawls, but blankets are her specialty.

To loom weave, Dreadfulwater said she uses Ice’s loom. However, she’s making her own loom.

“One of my projects is to get my big loom together and hopefully have a place that I can put it. You’ve got to have the space in order to do it,” she said. “I’m in the process of putting one together. I’ve got the frame made, but as far as the hardware, that’s hard to locate for a larger loom.”

She said loom weaving one quilt can take anywhere from a day to a day and a half. “It takes (time) to get it all set up to start weaving, which I don’t like that part, but it’s necessary. The fun part is actually weaving.”

Dreadfulwater said she uses diamond, herringbone and non-traditional patterns in her work and different-sized yarn. She also said she’s never marketed her creations and has only sold one blanket. She said she mostly makes them for “enjoyment.”

“I’m proud to carry on the traditions that the Cherokee people have established and to be creative,” she said. “I just hope that whoever receives the blanket respects what labor of love that went into the project.”

Her donation to the Phoenix is a blanket with a diamond pattern. The drawing will be held April 2. For every $10 spent on elder fund donations, subscriptions or merchandise, one entry is entered in the quarterly giveaway drawing.

For more information, call Justin Smith at 918-207-4975 or email justin-smith@cherokee.org, or Samantha Cochran at 918-207-3825 or email samantha-cochran@cherokee.org.
Click To Subscribe

Call Justin Smith 918-207-4975

Cherokee Phoenix Daily
Digital Newsletter