http://www.cherokeephoenix.orgStudents and teachers pose in front of Tyner’s Valley School in 1907. Tyner’s Valley was located near Tyner Creek in present-day Proctor, Oklahoma. It eventually became known as Proctor School after being relocated. COURTESY
Students and teachers pose in front of Tyner’s Valley School in 1907. Tyner’s Valley was located near Tyner Creek in present-day Proctor, Oklahoma. It eventually became known as Proctor School after being relocated. COURTESY

Residents keep Proctor School’s history alive

This photo shows Proctor School in 1950. Community members say the school began its first school term in 1927 and operated until June 1968 when it consolidated with Westville Schools. COURTESY The Proctor Community Center stands in place of the Proctor School. The building was designed to match the school’s size and has the school’s original sandstone covering the front side. KENLEA HENSON/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
This photo shows Proctor School in 1950. Community members say the school began its first school term in 1927 and operated until June 1968 when it consolidated with Westville Schools. COURTESY
BY KENLEA HENSON
Reporter
11/30/2017 08:15 AM
PROCTOR, Okla. – Proctor School closed its doors in 1968 after years of providing children, mostly Cherokees, with education from primary school to eighth grade. Nearly 50 years later, local residents keep the school’s history alive in the form of a community building.

“A lot of people didn’t even know where Proctor was until we got the community center. So I know a lot of people probably don’t know there was a school here or that the school system dates farther back before statehood,” Cherokee Nation citizen Maxine Hamilton, of Proctor, said.

According to the book “History of Adair County,” the area known today as Proctor was a settling point for Cherokee Old Setters and Cherokees who arrived on the Trail of Tears. Once the CN government reformed, it divided its territory into districts with the area that would be known as Proctor being part of the Goingsnake District.

In 1841, the CN established public schools within the districts, and on March 1, 1867, the area received its first school, Tyner’s Valley. It was located on Tyner’s Creek in present-day Proctor.

It was one of eight CN schools established in the district. However, as statehood approached in 1907, and white settlers continued to move in, the tribe no longer controlled schools as they were placed under the secretary of Interior.

Tyner’s Valley caught fire twice during its occupancy. After it burned a second time, the school relocated and was named Proctor School.

Hamilton said her father sold the acreage for the school, which was built for $250.

“Tyner’s Valley didn’t have any glass windows. It just had shutters, and it was heated by a wood heater, and that is what caused both of the schools to burn down,” Hamilton said. “They didn’t want to build it back in same place a third time, so they looked for different place to put it. This land was my dad’s family’s allotted land, and he sold it for the school to be put here.”

It’s unclear exactly when Proctor School was built, but locals say the first term began in 1927.

The school started as a two-room schoolhouse, but as the town expanded and the Frisco Railroad moved in, the population grew and an additional room was needed. At one time the school educated nearly 100 students.

“In the middle room it was third through fifth grade, so the teacher had to teach third grade English, forth grade English then fifth grade English and it was the same with arithmetic. But on Friday afternoons we would have penmanship or spelling, and that’s when everybody would be learning the same,” Hamilton said.

When the Great Depression hit in the 1930s, small towns like Proctor began to die. However, the school continued until 1968 when it consolidated with the Westville School District.

CN citizen Ricky Kindle, of Proctor, was in the school’s last class to graduate the eighth grade. He said there were only four students in his graduating class, including him.

“I think it closed because there just wasn’t very many kids. That last year, there was only 26 kids in the school,” Kindle said. “Even though it was small I think being raised up with my classmates, playing ball and just growing up in a little community made us closer.”

To keep from losing the schoolhouse, residents used the lunchroom as a voting precinct and community events. They also sold meals on Saturdays, had pie auctions and quilt auctions to raise money to keep its electric.

“As long as we were using it for the community, Westville wouldn’t take it. See when the school closed, all the property went to Westville School, but as long as we used it, it was ours,” CN citizen Jake Scott, of Proctor, said.

By 2000, the school had been broken into, vandalized and began caving in. Residents once again banded together to find a solution.

“We decided we needed to tear down the old school house. So we raised money and got a grant to build a new one. We built the new building in the original size as the old schoolhouse, and we used the original sandstone rock that was on the school, not all the way around it, but we put them in front to incorporate something from the original structure,” Scott said.

Today, where the school once stood stands the Proctor Community Center. With original pieces of the school on the structure and pictures of the past covering the walls, the center not only serves as the community’s heart but as a historical reminder.

“There’s a lot of communities that were at one time a pretty good size community, but they don’t exist anymore because they don’t come together or have a place to come together,” Hamilton said. “I think if we didn’t have the community center for us to come together, our community wouldn’t exist, and if we didn’t exist, our history would never be remembered, so it’s important to have a place that can be both.”

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.