“We’re trying to cater a little more to the people that may have diabetic problems, weight, just watching what they eat, with fresh food,” Paula Thompson, co-owner and Cherokee Nation citizen, said. “I think that fresh food is just something that most people are starting to look for in and on a menu, and it just tastes better.”
Co-owner and cook Denisse Ramos and her assistant shop each day, sometimes multiple times a day depending on demand, for supplies and ingredients.
“Everything you get for the day, we buy it that day,” Ramos said. “We order meat the day before, and they have it all cut fresh for us. There’s no leftovers from the day before.”
Thompson and Ramos began the business in 2014. Thompson said she focuses on the business side after growing up watching her mother own a restaurant, while Ramos focuses on cooking.
TAHLEQUAH – From fish salad to loaded tacos, customers can rest assured their food will be fresh when they place their orders with The Kickin’ Taco Truck.
Spears Travel CEO and Cherokee Nation citizen Greg Spears said he started in the business when his parents opened their first agency in Bartlesville. Now he and his brother run the business, which consists of the Bartlesville office and a Tulsa location.
“I grew up basically filing brochures and delivering tickets, which is what we did back in those days. Just kind of got in the business that way,” Spears said.
After graduating from the University of Tulsa, Spears said he continued to work and now heads the Tulsa office.
“People are very happy and in a good mood when they’re getting to travel. So we kind of help them navigate through all that and have a great experience,” he said.
TULSA – Since 1958, the Cherokee-owned Spears Travel has provided travel services to the people of Tulsa, Bartlesville and surrounding communities.
Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa
From its modern hotel to the gaming floor, this 1.3 million-square-foot resort offers guests rock star treatment. Guests can play more than 2,300 electronic games, 34 table games and 14 poker tables while being surrounded by some of the world’s greatest rock memorabilia. The facility also has it 51-TV sports bar, Cherokee Hills Golf Course, as well as the musical venues Riffs, Center Bar and The Joint – a 2,500-seat theater. Guests can choose from eight dinning options from dine-in establishments such as Tobey Keith’s I Love This Bar & Grill and McGill’s on 19 to grab-and-go options such as Slice and Flip Side. The hotel, rated No.2 on the 2018 Best Tulsa Hotels list, features 454 rooms and suites with modern amenities. In addition, the resort features a luxury spa, two swimming pools and more than 75,000 square feet of convention space and meeting rooms. It’s located at 777 W. Cherokee St. in Catoosa.
Cherokee Casino Ramona
Cherokee Casino Ramona offers guests nearly 500 electronic gaming machines to play, and its Ramona Grill serves foods from specialty burgers to homemade Indian tacos. For guests on the go, The Ramona Grill also offers a “grab n’ go” option that includes fruit cups, salads and sandwiches. For a cocktail or brew, The Watering Hole features a drink menu and offers live entertainment on Friday and Saturday nights. The 31,974-square-foot property is at 31501 U.S. Highway 75.
CATOOSA – From electronic games and card tables to live entertainment and dining, Cherokee Nation Entertainment offers 10 casinos in northeast Oklahoma that offer their own special mixture of fun.
Native Uniques is a women’s clothing store that has handmade Native American-style jewelry including bracelets, necklaces and earrings.
“We are a boutique that features our beadwork. The beadwork comes from our Native American heritage (Cherokee/Delaware). A lot of our designs comes from our heritage,” Barnes said. “And our clothing, it goes well with our jewelry. They complement each other.”
Barnes, who operates her store with the help of Kelly McCracken and Naomi Park, is an artist who enjoys beading and sharing her beading knowledge.
“One thing we are doing right now is we are starting to reach out to women to help them to learn how to bead. For me, it was extra income, beading. I had to teach myself everything, so, it’s nice for me to be able to show them the shortcuts, and I can tell them where to find supplies. I teach individual classes, too,” Barnes said. “We are reaching people who don’t have the means, so we can help supply them. Hopefully it takes off.”
BARTLESVILLE – After nearly two years of business, Native Uniques owner Samantha Barnes is working on more outreach in her community for women interested in making beadwork items.
of animals through hands-on experi- ences on a nearly 4-acre ground.
From farm animals such as goats, pigs, chickens and ducks to exotic species such as salamanders, geckos, iguanas and chinchillas, the petting zoo provides an array of animals to see. Cherokee Nation citizen and owner Jillian Gates said the zoo, located 25 miles south of Tahlequah, carries up to 50 different animal species.
It got its start in 2011 when she and her husband bought a travel- ing petting zoo and put it on their land, which provides an ideal mix of space, trees and shade for the animals.
When visitors come to the zoo, they pay an entrance fee and are pro- vided a cup of feed for the animals.
PARADISE HILL – For the past seven years, the Peek-A-Boo Petting Zoo in Sequoyah County has pro- vided a way for visitors to learn about different types
“I have the same wait staff. Some have been here five, six, seven years. The kitchen staff is exactly the same. Everybody has pretty much stayed on since I’ve taken over,” she said. “Everything has just been really smooth and a good transition from the previous (owner) to me, and it’s just been great.”
Scott said she always dreamed of owning a restaurant, and once Harmony House became available, she approached the previous owner without hesitation. “I’ve always kind of wanted my own restaurant, and this was a perfect opportunity for me, just for its history here. It’s a very prestigious landmark for the city of Muskogee. I’m a dreamer, and I believe if it’s something you want to do, you at least need to try it.”
Scott said the building is more than a century old and functioned as a home, bank and church before being converted into a tearoom lunch spot. “It’s a tearoom where ladies from all ages come in and have lunch with their best friend or mothers or daughters. It’s definitely a woman’s atmosphere, but we have a lot of men that come in here too because our food is just so good.”
Harmony House is known for menu items such as hot chicken salad and its namesake club sandwich, though Scott said the “top” item is the grilled chicken sandwich made with chicken, cheese and homemade honey mustard dressing on homemade pita bread.
MUSKOGEE – When Cherokee Nation citizen Mandy Scott took ownership of the Harmony House tearoom in 2017, she kept things business as usual.
“We thought we would build a couple of cute little cabins here because there’s a marina next door, and we thought, ‘it’s for people who can’t spend the night on their boat.’ Everybody wanted a place to stay,” owner June Box said. “We’re the only log cabins on Grand Lake. Other places say they’re cabins, but it’s not true log.”
The Cherokee Nation citizen and her husband, Art, began building the resort in 1997 and have expanded to 10 log cabins, 18 mobile homes and 27 recreational vehicle slips. The resort also features a clubhouse with a pool, laundry services, a kitchenette and table games.
It’s open year round and located minutes from hiking, a beach, the South Grand Lake Regional Airport and Arrowhead South Marina. The resort also has a membership with the marina that allows guests access to a limited number of boat slips and fine dining. It’s these amenities, and the resort’s location, that draw visitors from across Oklahoma, Arkansas, Kansas and Texas.
“We’re just about making special memories for people,” June said. “We’ve done so many honeymoons that they come back for anniversaries. It’s a nice getaway for a couple. We also do family reunions, and a lot of people that have companies or their branches, they bring them here for sales meetings or whatever they need.”
AFTON – Just a short walk away from the Grand Lake o’ the Cherokees sits Pine Lodge Resort, a cozy getaway spot with hot tubs, wood-burning fireplaces, charcoal grills and lakefront views.
The eatery is known for its culinary-driven menu, open kitchens and blue-ribbon ingredients, the release states.
“Newk’s brings a fresh take on fast casual dining that emphasizes authentic, flavorful ingredients and dishes prepared in-house the same way we’d make them at home,” Newk’s co-founder and CEO Chris Newcomb said. “We look forward to serving the Tahlequah community and introducing Newk’s to the state of Oklahoma.”
The restaurant will be locally owned by franchisees Jim Lynch and Jim White and operated by Brett Lynch, according to the release. The Tahlequah location joins three other Newk’s Eateries in northwest Arkansas – Fayetteville, Rogers and Siloam Springs (opening in June) – owned and operated by the Lynch/White franchise group, the release states.
The release states that Newk’s Eatery serves made-from-scratch sandwiches, salads, soups and handcrafted pizzas for lunch and dinner. “Every dish is prepared in Newk’s open-view kitchens with premium ingredients, such as petite tenderloin steak, Atlantic salmon, all-white meat chicken breast and sushi-grade ahi tuna, to give guests a flavor-rich dining experience,” it states.
TAHLEQUAH – According to a Cherokee Nation Communications press release, a Newk’s Eatery is expected to open its first Oklahoma location in November in the tribe’s Cherokee Springs Plaza.
“Ever since I was a kid I’ve enjoyed fishing, and I’ve developed different techniques and different ways of fishing that I can relay to my customers when they come in,” Larry Fulton, who has owned and operated the business for 22 years, said.
The Cherokee Nation citizen has compiled fishing knowledge extending back to the 1960s and is happy to share it with customers.
“I relay to customers how to fish during certain times of the year,” he said. “There’s different ways in the springtime and in the fall, and when they’re running water and when they’re not running water at the dam. I spent a lot of time learning and knowing about fish.”
Fish are more active depending on water temperature, he said. “Mother Nature, her way of letting the fish know about the different seasons is through water temperature. That’s what fish have to go by, is water temperature, for them to do their active things. Once that water temperature gets warmer and starts coming up, you’ll see more activity in the water.”
FORT GIBSON – When customers stop at Larry’s Bait and Tackle on their way to the Grand-Neosho River or Fort Gibson Dam, they can walk away with fishing wisdom that goes beyond worms and bobbers.
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
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.”
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.
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.