http://www.cherokeephoenix.orgThe Cherokee Nation’s Early Childhood Unit Tahlequah (Oklahoma) facility, also known as the Children’s Village, is one of seven ECU facilities to receive a safe room unit through an Indian Community Development Block grant provided by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The safe rooms will provide another layer of safety for children during tornado season. LINDSEY BARK/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
The Cherokee Nation’s Early Childhood Unit Tahlequah (Oklahoma) facility, also known as the Children’s Village, is one of seven ECU facilities to receive a safe room unit through an Indian Community Development Block grant provided by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The safe rooms will provide another layer of safety for children during tornado season. LINDSEY BARK/CHEROKEE PHOENIX

CN Head Starts to get safe rooms

BY LINDSEY BARK
Reporter
10/26/2017 08:15 AM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – The Cherokee Nation received an $800,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to install safe room units at seven Early Childhood Unit Head Start campuses in the tribe’s jurisdiction.

The safe rooms will be add-ons to existing buildings and used during tornado season.

“We want to provide the utmost safety for our children because that’s that highest priority. Having the storm shelters is a dream come true because we’ve always wanted to add another layer of safety for our children because we are in tornado alley in Oklahoma,” ECU Director Verna Thompson said.

Construction is slated to begin in May and must be completed in 24 months for all seven sites: Children’s Village in Tahlequah, Cherry Tree facility in Stilwell, Redbird facility in Stilwell, Jay facility, Kenwood facility, Wauhillau facility in Nowata and Pryor facility.

Six of the units will be 233 square feet each, with the largest being 1,300 square feet at the Children’s Village. All units will be constructed to withstand an EF-5 tornado, which is the highest rating on the Fujita scale used to measure a tornado’s intensity.

The shelters will service approximately 536 people, including children ages 6 weeks to 4 years old, teachers, staff and parents.

“It includes parents that might have siblings with them as they are picking up or dropping off if there’s a threat of a tornado then they can join the existing folks in the facilities,” Thompson said.

She said the current safety measures are “basic” and include tornado drills and moving children to a room with no windows. “Just like most houses around here don’t have the availability of storm shelters, they would go to a room with no windows like a closet.”

She said the drills are required and would be continued once the safe rooms are installed.

ECU lead teacher B.J. Garcia said in teaching young children he has to be repetitive with practicing drills so if the time comes to get to safety they won’t be so apprehensive or scared.

“One of the things that we have to remind our kiddos on a daily basis is if this does happen this is what we’re going to do,” he said.

Thompson said the safe room at the Children’s Village would double as a learning unit for gross motor development.

“In preparation to get the children comfortable with the routine, those facilities, this one especially, will be used as a gross motor. So when it’s constructed they can go over there comfortably, walk over there and be familiar with the facility so that it’s not a scary thing when they actually need to go,” she said.

The safe room units are a result of an effort between the ECU, CN Emergency Management and Marshal Service to apply for the grant. The CN was one of 77 tribes to receive a part of a $55.2 million award from HUD on Sept. 14 as part of an Indian Community Development Block Grant.

“This grant is providing a great opportunity to keep our students out of harm’s way during severe weather,” Education Services Deputy Executive Director Ron Etheridge said. “I can think of no better investment than in the safety of our children and the staff charged with teaching those students on a daily basis.”
About the Author
Lindsey Bark grew up and resides in the Tagg Flats community in Delaware County. She graduated from Northeastern State University in 2012 with a bachelor’s degree in mass communication, emphasizing in journalism. She started working for the Cherokee Phoenix in 2016.
 
Working for the Cherokee Phoenix, Lindsey hopes to gain as much knowledge as she can about Cherokee culture and people. She is a full-blood Cherokee and a citizen of the United Keetoowah Band.
 
Her favorite activities are playing stickball and pitching horseshoes. She is a member of the Nighthawks Stickball team in Tahlequah and enjoys performing stickball demonstrations in various communities. She is also a member of the Oklahoma Horseshoe Pitchers Association and competes in sanctioned tournaments throughout the state.
 
Previously a member of the Native American Journalists Association, she has won three NAJA awards and hopes to continue as a member with the Cherokee Phoenix.
lindsey-bark@cherokee.org • 918-772-4223
Lindsey Bark grew up and resides in the Tagg Flats community in Delaware County. She graduated from Northeastern State University in 2012 with a bachelor’s degree in mass communication, emphasizing in journalism. She started working for the Cherokee Phoenix in 2016. Working for the Cherokee Phoenix, Lindsey hopes to gain as much knowledge as she can about Cherokee culture and people. She is a full-blood Cherokee and a citizen of the United Keetoowah Band. Her favorite activities are playing stickball and pitching horseshoes. She is a member of the Nighthawks Stickball team in Tahlequah and enjoys performing stickball demonstrations in various communities. She is also a member of the Oklahoma Horseshoe Pitchers Association and competes in sanctioned tournaments throughout the state. Previously a member of the Native American Journalists Association, she has won three NAJA awards and hopes to continue as a member with the Cherokee Phoenix.

Education

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 <a href="http://www.nsualumni.com/centurions" target="_blank">www.nsualumni.com/centurions</a> or call the NSU president’s office at 918-444-2000.
BY KENLEA HENSON
Reporter
02/20/2018 08:00 AM
MOORE – Cerissa Key, a Cherokee Nation citizen and osteopathic medicine doctor, learned at an early age how much of a difference doctors can make in a child’s life. Now Key is making a difference in children’s lives as a pediatrician. As a child, Key underwent eye surgeries, which sparked her interest in medicine. “I really loved math and science, and I really loved kids, so at first I thought I wanted to be a teacher. Then in high school I joined the pre-med society, and I thought ‘this is what I am going to do,’” Key said. She graduated in 2005 with a bachelor’s degree in biology from Northeastern State University. In 2009, she graduated from Oklahoma State University’s College of Osteopathic Medicine. Key then began a three-year residency at Oklahoma State University Medical Center and St. Francis Children’s Hospital in Tulsa in which she spent “many long hours” learning pediatrics. “I rotated through many pediatric specialties like cardiology, pulmonology, surgery and ER, just learning everything there is to know about pediatrics,” Key said. As part of her Indian Health Services scholarship obligation, Key worked in pediatrics for the Absentee Shawnee Health Center in Norman for four years. After that, she worked for Kids First Urgent Care in Oklahoma City. She said working for Kids First allowed her to spend more time with her family. Key and her husband, Stephen, have three children. She said having a family and a career as a physician is challenging, but it’s all about “balance.” “It’s hard. I am not going to lie. But it’s about balance being a full-time working mom and being able to separate that and know that I am doing my best on both ends and not feeling guilty or selfish if I need that time with my family, or guilty or selfish if I need that time to finish my charts and be the best doctor,” she said. “I just think it is important to be able to compartmentalize work and home. So when I am home I am mom, and when I am at work I am doctor.” Although being a physician comes with challenges and sacrifices, she said helping children reminds her why she chose her career. “While I was working at the urgent care I actually saw a kiddo and she looked really good. But something about her was off to me. So I got a chest X-ray on her and she ended up having a huge heart issue, and had I not gotten that chest X-ray taken care of she would of likely died. But now she is alive because I caught that, and that really is a proud moment,” Key said. Key now works in pediatrics at Mercy Clinic Primary Care in Moore. “I am in a great group of physicians. We get along really well, and everyone is nice here. They’re also Catholic, and I am Christian, so it’s nice here at my front work place because they pray before we eat and they’ll pray before a meeting,” she said. “So its nice that here I am allowed to share my faith with my patients and not fear getting in trouble over it.” She also said her Cherokee heritage is important, and working for Mercy she is able to express that and connect with her patients. “I love being Native, and my heritage is very important to me. Even my stethoscope is beaded, which I love, and everyone asks me about it, so I get to tell them that I am Cherokee,” she said. “And I think that kids are really interested in that and there are a lot of Natives in this area, too. Even though I am working for Mercy I think they are able to relate to that, and it’s a proud thing to see a doctor that is also Native.”
BY ASSOCIATED PRESS
02/13/2018 04:00 PM
TAHLEQUAH (AP) – Projects ranging from lizard analysis to recyclable materials, and even a tin can telephone, took center stage at Northeastern State University on Feb. 1 for the 12th annual Cherokee Nation Science and Engineering Fair. The fair was open to all tribal citizens – in and outside of the tribe’s 14-county jurisdiction – from grades 5-12. The rules follow International Sustainable World Project Energy Engineering Environment Project Olympiad guidelines. “It’s got the whole kind of green theme to it,” said Daniel Faddis, school community specialist. “There’s whole long list of subcategories. Robotics is a category, reuse and recycle is a category, water quality is a category, and so is noise pollution.” Participants could choose to work on projects as individuals or in pairs. Faddis said team projects are graded on stiffer criteria, with more ways to lose points than individuals. “Obviously, if you have two kids working on it, you would expect it to be better than one,” he said. “So the way ISWEEEP sets it up, there’s a whole other set of categories that the teamwork has to meet.” Caitlyn Luttrell, eighth grader from Westville, centered her project on paper domes. “It’s basically about the structural integrity of different types of paper to use for these domes,” said Luttrell. “I made two different type of domes: a construction paper one and a notebook paper one. I was trying to see which one was stronger and by how much it was stronger. The construction paper dome held 170 percent of its own weight and the notebook paper held 146 percent of its own weight.” Luttrell’s hypothesis was correct in that the construction paper would hold more weight, even though it costs less to purchase. The young science enthusiast’s the project took several hours to accomplish over the course of a few days, but Luttrell said she didn’t mind because the science fair is something she has come to enjoy. “Last year, it was introduced to me and I got pretty interested in it,” she said. “Now, I’m going to be doing it probably until I graduate. I really enjoy this a lot.” More and more jobs are becoming available for those who work in STEM – Science, Technology, Engineering and Math – and Faddis said the younger students can get involved, the better. “STEM is the evolution of the future,” said Faddis. “Everything you see and every different discipline is focusing around STEM. So it’s really good for them to learn the proper, academic scientific method. And it’s good prep for college research, because they’re going to have to do it when they get to graduate school and undergraduate school.” Not all of the projects at the fair came without a trial-and-error phase. Breeze Ward, sixth grader from Rose, was among that group. “I wanted to see if I could blow up a balloon with baking soda and vinegar, and it can,” said Ward. “It was kind of messy. The first time I made it, it exploded on me. I think I added too much baking soda.” The overall high school winner was Kevin Guthrie, of Westville High School. Guthrie also won the High School Engineering division, as well as the “Live an Honest Day” Paul Bickford Memorial Award, which comes with a $1,000 scholarship to Rogers State University. Keysha Kendall, Westville, won the High School Environmental division. The middle school Outstanding Scientist Award went to Crystal Maggard, of Westville, and Hayden Faddis, also of Westville, won the Energy division. Leach School students Neveah Zuniga and Zylee Ward won the Middle School Engineering division and Environmental division, respectively. “The Cherokee Nation Science and Engineering Fair is a great opportunity for students to learn about the fields of science, technology, engineering and math while they also interact and network with their peers and professionals,” said Ron Etheridge, Education Services deputy executive director. “This is a healthy challenge that engages Cherokee students, and I’m positive those who participate could one day use the skills they learn to give back to the Cherokee Nation.”
BY STAFF REPORTS
02/13/2018 10:00 AM
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Each summer the Sequoyah National Research Center hosts three tribally affiliated student interns for June and July. Interns are required to work a minimum of 25 hours per week in the center doing basic archival and research work under the direction of SNRC staff. The SNRC at the University of Arkansas-Little Rock houses the papers and special collections of tribal individuals and organizations and holds the world’s largest archival collection of newspapers and other periodicals published by tribal individuals and organizations. The goal of the American Indian Student Internship Program is to provide students an experiential learning environment in which to acquire an understanding of the value of archives and the research potential of the collections of the center and to engage in academic research and practical database building activities related to tribal culture, society and issues. Interns are expected to demonstrate the value of their experience by either a summary report of work, finding aids for collections or reports of research or other written work that may be shared with their home institutions. To qualify for an internship students must be tribally affiliated, have completed at least 60 college hours and be in good standing at their home institutions of higher learning. Applications should include a unofficial copy of the student’s academic transcript, a recommendation letter from the head of the student’s major department or from another relevant academic official and a statement of at least 250 words expressing why the intern experience would likely be beneficial to the student’s academic or career goals. To assist the student in meeting expenses during the two-month tenure of the internship, SNRC will provide on-campus housing and $2,000 to defray other living expenses. Students interested in applying should send applications or inquiries by email to Daniel F. Littlefield or Erin Fehr at Sequoyah@ualr.edu. The SNRC must receive applications by March 15. SNRC staff will select three applicants and three alternates. Staff will notify students of their decision by April 3. For information regarding UALR and its guest housing facilities, visit <a href="http://www.ualr.edu/housing" target="_blank">www.ualr.edu/housing</a>. For information on the SNRC and its work, visit <a href="http://www.ualr.edu/sequoyah" target="_blank">ualr.edu/sequoyah</a>.
BY STAFF REPORTS
02/09/2018 03:00 PM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – GateHouse Media has launched its first ever-national scholarship competition for college-bound students. In order to participate, students must select one of four words - impact, trusted, community or local - and submit an essay of up to 500 words describing what the word means to them. The competition will award five $1,000 scholarships and one $3,000 grand prize scholarship. According to Alain Begun, vice president of marketing, the contest grew out of the company’s national branding campaign, which focuses on the role that GateHouse journalists play and the service they provide in local markets across the country. “Each ad in that campaign revolves around one of the key words that describe what we do and how we feel about our role in the community. We thought it would be a great way to give back to students in the communities we serve by creating a scholarship competition,” he said. “And tying it into our brand campaign was a way to hear from students about what those words, which are so important to our journalists, mean to them.” Deadline for essay submissions is Feb. 16. For more information, visit <a href="http://www.GateHouseScholarship.com" target="_blank">GateHouseScholarship.com</a>.
BY STAFF REPORTS
02/08/2018 12:00 PM
TULSA – The Cherokee Nation is accepting grant applications for its spring education tours. The sponsored tours provide an exclusive look at the Nation’s rich history and culture. Applications will be accepted Feb. 5 through March 23. Cherokee Nation Cultural Tourism awards the grants in the spring and fall to elementary public schools within the tribe’s 14-county jurisdiction. Complimentary curriculum is provided to schools that receive the grant and is available to teachers upon registration. Curriculum includes a teacher’s guide to prepare students for the education tour as well as a student activity. The tour options are: • Cherokee History consisting of Tahlequah’s historic Capitol Square and Cherokee National Supreme Court Museum, Cherokee National Prison Museum, Murrell Home, Cherokee Heritage Center and ancient Cherokee village, Diligwa. • Will Rogers consisting of the Will Rogers Memorial Museum and Dog Iron Ranch. • Civil War consisting of Tahlequah’s historic Capitol Square, Murrell Home and Fort Gibson Historic Site. Grants are available for grades third through sixth and funding is provided on a first-come, first-served basis. Minimum requirements for eligibility for schools include being located within the Nation’s jurisdiction, a majority of the school’s students must hold Certificate of Degree of Indian Blood cards, the school’s class size may not exceed tour capacity and the majority of the school’s students must be eligible for free and/or reduced school lunches. Schools that do not meet the requirements or miss the deadline may experience the program for a small fee. Special rates are available for seventh through 12th grade and college students. Applications are available at <a href="http://www.VisitCherokeeNation.com" target="_blank">www.VisitCherokeeNation.com</a>. For more information or to book a tour, call 918-384-7787.