Haggard and his teammate Cody Metzger of Wagoner, Oklahoma, caught their five-bass limit for a winning weigh to 19 pounds, 4 ounces.
The victory earned the Riverhawk bass club $2,600 and a spot in the 2019 FLW College Fishing National Championship.
The duo said that they spent the day targeting smallmouth bass on main-lake points, about 5 to 8 miles away from the takeoff ramp at Highport Marina.
“We focused on the points where the wind was blowing the hardest, fishing the mid to southeastern areas of the lake,” Haggard, a sophomore majoring in cellular and molecular biology, said. “We had five or six points that we rotated through that all looked very similar, fishing in 4 to 10 feet.”
DENISON, Texas – Cherokee Nation citizen Blayke Haggard of Gans, Oklahoma, made up one half of the winning fishing team from Northeastern State University to win the YETI FLW College Fishing event on Lake Texoma on April 8.
Lady Indians head basketball coach Larry Callison admitted he was unsure about the team’s chances after losing three seniors last year, but he said the team came together late in the 2018 season and peaked before the playoffs.
“It’s been kind of like a dream. I knew we were going to be talented, but I just didn’t know if they would come together, but they did,” he said.
Callison said something clicked after the team’s win over Beggs High School late in the season.
“I knew then we had something special. And when the playoffs got here, there was a light in their eyes that showed me they were ready to go,” he said.
TAHLEQUAH – Cherokee Nation officials held a reception on March 27 for the Sequoyah High School Lady Indians basketball team who won the 3A girl’s basketball championship for the third time in four years.
After graduating from Jay High School in 1993, Phillips started officiating for extra money while attending Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, where he received a teaching degree.
“I started in football and basketball for gas money to go to college. I did high school and junior high and little league from probably (19)93 to 2006. Then in 2007 I started officiating junior college football,” Phillips said.
In 2009, he began a whirlwind of officiating jobs at the college football Division 1 level by working in the Mid-American Intercollegiate Athletics, Southland, Mountain West and Big 12 conferences.
In 2015, he got a phone call from New York to interview for a NFL job.
GROVE – Cherokee Nation citizen Jerrod Phillips has made a career on the football field at the professional level, not as a player but as a National Football League official.
After winning state in 2017, they started the 2017-18 campaign ranked No. 1, with pressure to reach state again. Head coach Larry Callison said he expected this year’s team to qualify for state.
“We had the nucleus of our team back,” he said. “We just felt like we had that chance to have a good year. As the year went on, it just seemed like it got better and better.”
For a team of mostly underclassmen, getting better as the season went along was not easy considering the schedule.
“We play a tough schedule. We do that on purpose,” Callison said. “We just think if you’ve got good kids, you need to play good people. I think it definitely helps us for when it gets to playoff time.”
OKLAHOMA CITY – The Sequoyah High School girls basketball team defeated Kingston 53-51 to win the Class 3A girls state championship at the State Fair Arena. It’s the Lady Indians’ second-straight state title and third in the past four years.
The Cherokee Phoenix spoke with the pop punk band as it practiced. It’s comprised of singer and bassist Daniel Basden, guitarist Steven Walker and drummer Blake Westerby. Basden and Walker are Cherokee Nation citizens.
All three began playing their respective instruments as teenagers, and bands such as Blink-182, Fall Out Boy and My Chemical Romance have influenced their style.
“We try to make our melodies as accessible as possible so people can sing along and just enjoy it,” Basden said.
He added that the band’s love of video games has also influenced its music.
MUSKOGEE – Pop punk. Video games. Friendships. What do they all have in common? The band When the Clock Strikes, which released its EP “Overnight” on March 16 and was set to play it the next day at The Vanguard in Tulsa.
Hannah primarily umpires softball and called his first game in 1979 as a college freshman. He said it was to earn extra money, and he’s called at least one game per year since.
“I never thought I would still be doing it nearly four decades later,” he said.
When he began umpiring, there was one major softball association, the Amateur Softball Association, and everyone played by the same rules. Today, he said, there are different associations with different standards and rules. He said once those associations appeared, the game’s spirit began to deteriorate.
“I feel the game has degraded some since I first began. By that I do not necessarily mean the game itself, but more the spirit of the game. More accurately, it’s those who should be invested in the spirit of the game,” he said, “Respect for the officials began to degrade. Respect for the game began to disintegrate. I officiated probably 10 years before I had to eject anyone, and as I recall it that was also the first time I was verbally assaulted as an official.”
TAHLEQUAH – With the warmer weather and longer days, parents and children are preparing for softball and baseball, and Cherokee Nation citizen Leslie D. Hannah is doing the same. However, he’s getting ready to umpire.
“It’s crazy. It’s insane. I was a little kid just wanting to do this, so it was just fun for me,” he said. “It’s so surreal, and I’ve met some people that I never thought I would meet. It’s just one of those things you can’t really explain it.”
The Cherokee Nation citizen began wrestling three years ago after contacting friends who ran a show in Tulsa, but it wasn’t until meeting Colt Killbane that Osburn crafted a persona that connected with fans.
“My tag team partner now, Colt, he did like a high school jock-type gimmick with a letterman jacket and everything,” he said. “We were talking one day and I was like, ‘why don’t I break out my old letterman jacket and we’ll just team up and we’ll do this thing.’ So we started out, I had my blue and white, my Colcord (jacket) and we just started from there and now we got our own gear. We got matching letterman jackets.”
Delta Delta Theta, or DDT, formed in 2017, and Osburn said the name “is a play” on the DDT, a wrestling move in which a wrestler traps an opponent in a headlock and falls to push the opponent’s head into the mat. The team is known for its “Delta Driver” move, which Osburn describes as “a double-package DDT.”
WAGONER – Each time Lance Osburn climbs into the ring as part of the wrestling tag team Delta Delta Theta it’s an opportunity for him to live his childhood dream of championship title matches and pinfalls.
The sophomore won the 132-pound weight division by lifting a total of 695 pounds in squat, bench press and deadlift. The Cherokee Nation citizen also set a state record in girls powerlifting in bench press at 165 pounds and deadlift at 315 pounds.
“I was very excited to win. There was a girl who was very close. We were battling out the whole time. She beat me in squat and she beat me in bench and she is 30 pounds ahead of me, so I knew I had to do something on deadlift. I beat her by 5 pounds so it was a really close run the whole way,” she said.
Pennington said she’s always been into weightlifting. Her father, Nathan Pennington, was a crossfit coach, and she started participating in crossfit at age 10.
As a freshman she got involved in powerlifting, competing alongside the boys. She’s now in her second year, and now that she’s won state in girls powerlifting, she said she hopes to win another state championship and compete in the boys state powerlifting meet.
DICKSON – Sequoyah High School’s Laynee Pennington won her weight class at the Oklahoma High School Girls Open State Meet on March 5, making her Sequoyah’s first state champion in girls powerlifting.
“Identity issues are a big part of this book for Sequoyah, the main character,” Hobson said. “I think that’s a very common question that we see among teenagers is who am I? Is it okay that I feel this way? What do I identify as? I think these are all questions that relate to identity.”
Released Feb. 20 via New York City-based publisher Soho Press, the book tells of 15-year-old Sequoyah as he navigates his way through the foster care system in the fictional town of Little Crow, Oklahoma. While living with the Troutt family he meets 17-year-old Rosemary and develops deep bonds and “dangerous obsessions” with her.
“He becomes strangely obsessed with Rosemary,” Hobson said. “Not so much in a way that he’s attracted to her, but in a way that he wants to, in a sense, become her. He wants to look like her and dress like her and that leads to some problems with identity and sort of dangerous obsessions between Sequoyah and Rosemary. There’s so much about Rosemary that he likes and is attracted to, that he sees in himself.”
Hobson said the book is the result of nearly two years of work and that its inspiration stemmed from his questions concerning his Cherokee heritage.
TULSA – Gender and Native American identity struggles are at the forefront of Cherokee Nation citizen Brandon Hobson’s coming-of-age story “Where The Dead Sit Talking.”
CHATSWORTH, Ga. – The next meeting of the Georgia Chapter of the Trail of Tears Association will begin at 10:30 a.m. on May 12 at the Vann House.
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.
For more information, email Walter Knapp at firstname.lastname@example.org
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) – Stephen C. has been taught only math and English at a U.S.-run elementary school for Native American children deep in a gorge off the Grand Canyon. Teachers have left midyear, and he repeatedly faces suspension and arrest for behavior his attorneys say is linked to a disability stemming from traumatic experiences.
The 12-year-old is among children from Arizona’s remote and impoverished Havasupai Reservation who are a step closer to their push for systematic reform of the U.S. agency that oversees tribal education, alleging in a lawsuit it ignored complaints about an understaffed school, a lack of special education and a deficient curriculum.
The students’ attorneys say they won a major legal victory recently when a federal court agreed that childhood adversity and trauma can be learning disabilities, a tactic the same law firm used in crime-ridden Compton, California. They say the case could have widespread effects for Native children in more than 180 schools nationwide overseen by the U.S. Bureau of Indian Education and in schools with large Native populations.
“Education is our lifeline and our future for our kids – and all students, not just down here, but nationally,” Havasupai Chairwoman Muriel Coochwytewa said. The BIE has “an obligation to teach our children. And if that’s not going on, then our children will become failures, and we don’t want that.”
Havasupai students face adversity and generational trauma from repeated broken promises from the U.S. government, efforts to eradicate Native culture and tradition, discrimination and the school’s tendency to call police to deal with behavioral problems, attorneys say.
U.S. District Judge Steven Logan wrote in a late March ruling that the students’ lawyers adequately alleged “complex trauma” and adversity can result in physiological effects leading to a physical impairment. He moved the case forward, denying Justice Department requests to dismiss some of the allegations but agreeing to drop plaintiffs from the lawsuit who no longer attend Havasupai Elementary School.
Noshene Ranjbar, an assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of Arizona, said medical literature has expanded in the past 20 years to include trauma that isn’t linked only to singular events.
In Native communities she’s worked with in the Dakotas and Arizona, “they agree the root of everything they suffer with is this unresolved grief, loss, trauma, anger, decades of disappointment on a huge scale,” she said.
When students act out, schools too often turn to suspension, expulsion or arrest instead of finding what’s driving the bad behavior, she said. Usually, it’s “a hurt human being that is using the wrong means to cope,” Ranjbar said.
The Public Counsel law firm pressing the Havasupai case also sued the Compton Unified School District – which is majority black and Latino – in 2015 over disability services for students with complex trauma. A judge said students with violent and traumatic pasts could be eligible for such services but didn’t apply the ruling to all who experience trauma.
The U.S. Justice Department did not respond to a request for comment on the Havasupai ruling.
Government attorney Cesar Lopez-Morales said at a hearing in 2017 that while trauma could result in a disability, federal agencies cannot assume every Native student with shared experiences is disabled. They would need specifics of individuals’ impairments and how those affect their lives.
He said attorneys also failed to show the students were denied benefits solely because of disabilities.
Havasupai Elementary School has three teachers for kindergarten through eighth grade on a remote reservation home to about 650 people and world-renowned for its blue-green waterfalls.
The village of Supai can be reached only by mule, foot or helicopter, making it the most isolated of the BIE’s schools in the Lower 48 states. The reservation doesn’t have a high school.
The students’ attorneys say the area is beset with high levels of poverty, unemployment, substance abuse, family violence and low literacy levels. All 70 elementary school students qualify for free or reduced lunch and most are limited in English and math proficiency, and have special education needs.
“What we know from the science is that, particularly unaddressed, the impact of trauma can impact the ability to learn, read, think, concentrate and communicate,” public counsel attorney Kathryn Eidmann said.
The lawsuit seeks to force the government to provide services for special needs, a thorough curriculum, culturally relevant education and staff training to respond to trauma.
Stephen C., whose full name is not listed in court documents, enrolled as a kindergartner but can hardly read or write now that he’s in seventh grade. His attorneys say he has an attention deficit disorder and experiences trauma from witnessing alcohol abuse at school and from his relatives being forced into boarding schools.
At one point, he pulled a plug out of a computer monitor and faced a federal indictment, the lawsuit says.
Some Havasupai parents have sent their children to boarding schools off the reservation rather than deal with inadequate educational services.
Stephen’s guardian has considered it, too. But he said in a statement that tribal members want children with them in the canyon, to watch them grow and be a part of the community.
TAHLEQUAH – The Cherokee Nation honored U.S. Army and Navy veterans with the tribe’s Medal of Patriotism during the March 12 Tribal Council meeting.
Principal Chief Bill John Baker and Deputy Chief S. Joe Crittenden acknowledged Fields Smith, 84, of Vian, and Kenneth Golden, 68, of Stilwell, for their service to the country.
Sgt. Smith was born in 1933 and drafted into the Army in 1955. He completed basic training at Fort Chaffee in Arkansas and trained to become an infantryman. Later, he completed Fire Directing Control School and was sent to Fort Polk in Louisiana where he spent the remainder of his two-year service term. During his service, Smith completed non-commission school and received a sharpshooter medal for his rifle skills. Smith received an honorable discharge in 1957.
“I want to thank the Chief, the Deputy Chief and the Tribal Council for all of the good work that they do for our people,” Smith said.
Sgt. Golden was born in 1949 and enlisted in the Navy in 1968. Golden completed basic training in Chicago. After basic training, he was transferred to the Naval Air Station Cecil Field in Jacksonville, Florida, where he served as an aviation boatman mate. During his service, Golden was awarded the National Defense Service Medal and received an honorable discharge in 1972.
Each month the CN recognizes Cherokee service men and women for their sacrifices and as a way to demonstrate the high regard in which the tribe holds all veterans.
To nominate a veteran who is a CN citizen, call 918-772-4166.
TAHLEQUAH – Northeastern State University’s Oklahoma College of Optometry goes back 39 years in its relationship with the Cherokee Nation and in providing Cherokees eye care.
NSUOCO works with nine CN clinics, also known as Rural Eye Programs, in Tahlequah, Sallisaw, Stilwell, Jay, Salina, Vinita, Nowata, Muskogee and Ochelata and services 40,000 to 60,000 patients annually.
Its first graduating class was in 1983 and has since averaged 28 graduates annually from its four-year doctorate program.
The NSU campus clinic contains 20 exam rooms and specialty clinics for dry eye, contact lenses, low vision, vision therapy and infant vision clinic. If a REP is unable to provide a type of eye care, patients are sent to the NSU clinic for further evaluation and treatment.
Nate Lighthizer, NSUOCO Continuing Medical Education director and doctor of optometry, said the college has seen patients from 2 months old to 102 years old.
“We all have different vision needs. That’s one of the beauties of having a college is we have 35 faculty members that are either here, in (W.W.) Hastings (Hospital) or in the REPs, and a lot them have different interests. We have doctors that specialize in infant vision and vision therapy. They’re the expert in the 6-month-old and the 2-, 3-, 4-, 5-year-old. Other doctors, they’re the expert in the 80-year-olds,” Lighthizer said.
He said students begin in “didactically heavy” classes, building foundations and learning about systemic diseases, eye diseases, procedures when giving primary care, looking at the eye with microscopes and other program aspects.
He said students begin seeing patients at the end of the second year and into the third year.
CN citizen and fourth-year student Seth Rich said he applied for the NSU program because of the experience it would give him treating patients by the time he graduates.
“I’m from this area, so I wanted to serve basically in the population that I grew up in. Here at NSU we see more patients compared to any other optometry school by the time we graduate. We have more patient interactions that any other optometry school is going to have and more clinical experience because we start seeing patients a year early than most other schools,” he said.
Rich said he also has experience using the REPs and seeing the eye care needs among Cherokees.
“We deal with a lot of diabetic patients here at Cherokee Nation, and that has a really large effect on the eyes. Being able to be in this area and serve a population that has a huge need for us is a big deal because I personally have a lot of family ties to this area want to be in a community where I feel like I’m going to be contributing and giving back and helping the overall health of the population with health and exams,” he said.
Rich said the program prepares students to “go out into the real world” and treat patients of any need. “I feel very confident going out into the population and serving basically anybody that walks in the door.”
CN citizen Tara Comingdeer Fields, who is in her first year at NSUOCO, said she chose the program because of her area ties. “It’s not specifically just Cherokee Indians that I want to serve, but overall Native Americans. My background is I grew up in a traditional family, so the medicines and traditions that we did just kind of stuck with me, and now I want to help people.”
Comingdeer Fields and Rich are recipients of Indian Health Services scholarships for optometry and will work under an IHS contract upon graduation.
Lighthizer said CN citizens make up between 10 to 15 percent of the NSUOCO’s students and that it’s usually rewarding for a Cherokee to grow up using CN eye care services and then go through the program and become a provider. “It’s just a very mutually beneficial relationship between Cherokee Nation to be able to have all of these patients seen and then obviously for the education for students to be able to see patients and hone their skills.”
In today’s world, the term “information super highway” refers to the internet. While this term is modern, the idea behind it is as old as civilization. The idea is to create the shortest and most efficient route to move information. For as long as a thousand years, Indigenous people have used a route of travel not far from here because it was the most efficient route to deliver information and supplies. This route has been referred to at various times as the Osage Trail, the Seminole Trail, the Texas Road and the Military Highway.
A decade before the Trail of Tears, the Cherokee Nation’s first Supreme Court Justice, John Martin, brought his family from their home in New Echota, Georgia, to Indian Territory. His son, Joe, was only 8 years old in 1828 when they settled on the Grand River. He took to his new home quickly. In 1840 when he was just 20, he had already established a ranch that would become known as Greenbrier near the community of Strang.
To call Greenbrier a ranch is a bit of an understatement. By the time the Civil War started in 1861, the Martin family ranch and the river beside it both could be referred to as Grand. It consisted of around 100,000 acres of leased Cherokee land, about the size of what is now Mayes County. On this land was a good portion of the route then referred to as the Texas Road or the Military Highway. Before the war, the route saw many cattle drives from Texas to Kansas.
As the war progressed, it was described as “a critical route for information and supplies” for troops of both the North and the South. It was the shortest route from Fort Scott, Kansas, to Fort Gibson, Indian Territory, and Fort Worth, Texas. Two battles during the war were fought on the route. The North was the victor of the first battle. A year later the South had a much bigger victory by capturing hundreds of mules and wagons. This victory also interrupted supplies bound for Fort Gibson valued at over $1.5 million.
After the War Between the States ended, Greenbrier never regained its former glory. Today there is little more than a few historical markers to prove it once was there. Within a few years of the end of the war, the KATY Railroad followed the route from Kansas to Texas. In the early years of statehood the route developed into what is now known as U.S. Highway 69 and remained a critical route for information and supplies.
In recent years, technology giant Google established a data center complex in Mayes County. This data center could be described as a key component of the “information super highway.” It is fitting that the data center sits a short distance from the Grand River, within sight of Highway 69 and the railroad once known as the KATY. Now, as then, this route can accurately be described as “a critical route for information and supplies.”
CHECOTAH – Cherokee Nation citizen Glenn Clarkson started his retirement learning how to craft fishing lures. His creativeness led to his craft being featured in the History of Fishing Museum in Branson, Missouri.
Growing up in Checotah, Clarkson learned how to fish from his mother, Glenna.
At 63 years old, Clarkson formerly worked as a heavy equipment operator and foreman in Houston. While there he bought a book on how to make fishing lures from a sporting goods store, brought it back home to Oklahoma and began attempting to make lures.
“I got that book out and started reading and decided ‘well, I might as well be making these.’ So that’s when started whittling and started making them,” Clarkson said.
His top-water and underwater lures are made with whittled pinewood, acrylic paint, a polyurethane finish and other materials such as treble hooks, clevises, hook hangers, propellers, and eye screws.
Each lure has a unique paint design and can take two to three days to complete. “It’s just something to keep me busy,” he said.
Clarkson said he’s caught many bass while testing out his lures and that there is no need to buy new ones when he can use his.
In 2017, while in Branson, Clarkson visited the History of Fishing Museum, which houses the fishing collection of Karl and Beverly White.
Karl White was a former tournament fisherman in the 1960s, and for the past 70 years has amassed more than 40,000 items related to fishing worth nearly $5 million. His collection includes historic items such as a 1730s Spike Reel, known to be the first reel to exist; the first casting reel made in 1840; antique lures; rods; boats; and motors that were made until the 1970s.
Clarkson talked with curator Bill Bramsch about his handmade lures and brought them for Bramsch to look at. Bramsch agreed to add a few of Clarkson’s lures to the collection.
Clarkson’s lures were added to an exhibit called Karl’s Korner, which includes a collection of lures made by people trying to break into the fishing lure business.
“If you had a good idea and it caught fish and nobody stole your idea, you could make a lot of money in the industry. His lures are in that case,” Bramsch said. “Lures are made to catch fish or men, and they looked good. They caught me.”
Clarkson said he is proud to be Cherokee and do what he does. He said his lures are not made for financial means, just for the love of craftsmanship. His collection at home includes brightly, multi-colored, top-water and underwater fishing lures.
He’s also entered his craft in a McIntosh County Fair competition and proudly displays his ribbon-winning lures. “It is a big honor to me to do this and be a Cherokee,” he said.
For more information about the History of Fishing Museum, visit www.historyoffishingmuseum.org