http://www.cherokeephoenix.orgCherokee Nation citizen Kitana Foreman, center, has been dancing since she was 8 years old and was one of several powwow participants competing for prize money in the 65th annual Cherokee National Holiday Powwow on Sept. 1 in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. BRITTNEY BENNETT/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Cherokee Nation citizen Kitana Foreman, center, has been dancing since she was 8 years old and was one of several powwow participants competing for prize money in the 65th annual Cherokee National Holiday Powwow on Sept. 1 in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. BRITTNEY BENNETT/CHEROKEE PHOENIX

Cherokee Holiday Powwow brings families, traditions together

Head Lady and Cherokee Nation citizen Lindsey Ketcher-Williams leads dancers into the Cherokee Cultural Grounds arena for the 65th annual Cherokee National Holiday Powwow’s grand entry on Sept. 1 in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. BRITTNEY BENNETT/CHEROKEE PHOENIX Cherokee Nation citizen Kitana Foreman’s Jingle dress regalia features red beaded flowers and was made with the help of her mother over the course of three weeks for the 65th annual Cherokee National Holiday Powwow. BRITTNEY BENNETT/CHEROKEE PHOENIX Starr Morales, an Ojibwe citizen from southern California, says this year was the first time she participated in the Cherokee National Holiday Powwow, which is also inter-tribal. Her husband, Steven Morales, is a member of the Cherokee Color Guard. BRITTNEY BENNETT/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Head Lady and Cherokee Nation citizen Lindsey Ketcher-Williams leads dancers into the Cherokee Cultural Grounds arena for the 65th annual Cherokee National Holiday Powwow’s grand entry on Sept. 1 in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. BRITTNEY BENNETT/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
BY BRITTNEY BENNETT
Reporter – @cp_bbennett
09/13/2017 12:00 PM
Video with default Cherokee Phoenix Frame
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – After a year of preparation, organizers and dancers celebrated and honored traditions on Sept. 1-2 at the Cherokee Cultural Grounds in the annual Cherokee National Holiday Powwow.

“This just keeps to be getting a bigger powwow,” Rob Daugherty, powwow head staff emcee, said. “It just doesn’t happen overnight, you build it. Now this is a recognized powwow. We’ve often heard, I have often heard, we have one of the best dance arenas around.”

The powwow began with a gourd dance and concluded in the late night hours on Sept. 2, inviting toddlers, teens, adults and elders to participate.

Daugherty said the powwow is the culmination of a year’s worth of work, and when one powwow concludes the staff begins preparing for next year’s.

“The planning should be pretty quick. So right after you finish one you should be getting ready for the next year to secure your head staff and start working on every other phase of putting on a powwow. They’re one, two, three years booked in advance,” he said.

Daugherty has emceed powwows for nearly 36 years, including the Cherokee National Holiday Powwow for the past four years. His duties include coordinating with the other head staff members, keeping the powwow’s flow going and informing spectators of powwow etiquette.

He said while powwows are not historically Cherokee culture, it hasn’t prevented Cherokee people from hosting or participating.

“We all know that Cherokees don’t powwow,” he said. “Ours is more the Southeast culture, the stomp dance culture. A lot of the dancers that you see that are Cherokee that have been introduced to the ways of the Plains Southern or Northern Plains style of powwow. They’ve either been taken in by a family or they’re married into that family or sometimes simply taking that way. We adapt and adopt.”

Cherokee Nation citizen Lindsey Ketcher-Williams, who was part of the head staff, said Tribal Councilor Joe Byrd asked her to serve as the head lady dancer, calling it “an honor.”

“It’s a huge honor to bring in the whole powwow, all the other dancers and such and be in that lead. I’m the first lady out into the arena and then all the other women will follow me,” she said.

Ketcher-Williams began dancing at an early age and learned from friends and family. Now that she has her own family, she finds it more important than ever to carry on the tradition.

“I kind of tapered off after I started college, but then I started a new family, and now that my son is old enough to travel I’ve started back pretty regularly dancing,” she said. “A lot of powwow people, we call each other brothers and sisters because we see each other pretty much every weekend if we’re consistently dancing.”

Powwow spectators can count on seeing Ketcher-Williams annually in her signature red beadwork regalia, which signifies her Wolf Clan and holds sentimental value.

“My regalia was beaded by my aunt, and she’s no longer here so I think that’s extra special,” she said. “When somebody has either beaded (regalia) for me or has given it to me, whether it’s just a lapel pin or something like that, I wear that for them. If they’re no longer with me then I feel that I’m dancing for them since they are no longer here to do so.”

Family tradition and sentimental value are also behind the red- and flower-beaded regalia of CN citizen Kitana Foreman.

“I didn’t make my dress,” she said. “My mom made my dress, and I think she took about three weeks to do it and I helped her put on the jingles and we put it on together. It’s like family traditions passed down.”

Foreman, who began dancing at age 8, does traditional and jingle dress dancing at the powwow.

“We take this very sacred,” she said. “The jingles, when they clap, that’s just for the healing when we dance, when we move our feet. Whenever we dance, we dance for, I guess for my family’s healing and for any friends and family, the healing of our people.”

The inter-tribal nature of the annual powwow also draws in dancers from other parts of the country, including Starr Morales, an Ojibwe from southern California.

She participated in the Jingle dance. She said with her husband Steven Morales being a Cherokee Color Guard member her participation at the event was special for her family.

“This is my first time here at the Cherokee (National) Holiday, and I’ve heard a lot about it from other family. But now with my husband being part of it, I have to be here, but I’m really excited,” Starr said. “I’m very happy to be here amongst these beautiful people and these beautiful grounds.”

Dancers competed for more than $35,000 in prize money in various categories. The men’s dance categories consisted of Southern Straight, Northern Traditional, Fancy Grass and the Chicken dances. The women’s dance categories consisted of Cloth, Southern Buckskin, Northern Traditional, Fancy, Jingle and the Cherokee Tear Dress dances.
About the Author
Brittney Bennett is from Colcord, Oklahoma, and a citizen of the United Keetoowah Band.  She is a 2011 Gates Millennium Scholarship recipient and graduated from the University of Oklahoma in 2015 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and summa cum laude honors.
 
While in college, Brittney became involved with the Native American Journalists Association and was an inaugural NAJA student fellow in 2014. Continued mentorship from NAJA members and the willingness to give Natives a voice led her to accept a multimedia internship with the Cherokee Phoenix after college.  
 
She left the Cherokee Phoenix in early 2016 before being selected as a Knight-CUNYJ Fellow in New York City later that same year. During the fellowship, she received training from industry professionals with The New York Times and instructors at the City University of New York. As part of the program, she completed a social media internship with USA Today’s editorial department.
 
Now that Brittney has made her way back to the Cherokee Phoenix, she hopes to use the experience gained from her travels to benefit Indian Country and the Cherokee people.
brittney-bennett@cherokee.org • 918-453-5560
Brittney Bennett is from Colcord, Oklahoma, and a citizen of the United Keetoowah Band. She is a 2011 Gates Millennium Scholarship recipient and graduated from the University of Oklahoma in 2015 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and summa cum laude honors. While in college, Brittney became involved with the Native American Journalists Association and was an inaugural NAJA student fellow in 2014. Continued mentorship from NAJA members and the willingness to give Natives a voice led her to accept a multimedia internship with the Cherokee Phoenix after college. She left the Cherokee Phoenix in early 2016 before being selected as a Knight-CUNYJ Fellow in New York City later that same year. During the fellowship, she received training from industry professionals with The New York Times and instructors at the City University of New York. As part of the program, she completed a social media internship with USA Today’s editorial department. Now that Brittney has made her way back to the Cherokee Phoenix, she hopes to use the experience gained from her travels to benefit Indian Country and the Cherokee people.

News

BY STACIE GUTHRIE
Reporter – @cp_sguthrie
01/19/2018 08:15 AM
TAHLEQUAH – The attorney general’s office cites perjury as a reason why it’s asking the Supreme Court to dismiss a petition from two Tribal Councilors and six Cherokee Nation citizens challenging Freedmen citizenship. In a Dec. 29 filing in the Cherokee Nation v. Nash and Vann v. Zinke case, the attorney general’s office states five of eight citizens listed in a Dec. 11 petition committed perjury and because so the petition should be dismissed and “the Court should take other appropriate action, including sanctions.” “Council Member David Walkingstick, in his individual capacity, Twila Pennington, Randy White, Norman Crowe and Vicki Bratton all swore in notarized statements they ‘voted in the 2007 referendum election…to only allow citizenship in the Cherokee Nation only to people who are Cherokee by blood.’ They did not (vote),” states the response. The response states Election Commission records show Walkingstick, Pennington, White, Crowe and Bratton did not vote in the March 3, 2007, election in which voters amended the Constitution to require Indian blood for citizenship. The Cherokee Phoenix contacted the attorney general’s office regarding the perjury allegation, but was told “there is no further comment on the perjury allegation other than what has already been filed.” Walkingstick said he voted in the election and that the records are incorrect. “In (20)07 I ran for council. I remember voting in that election. I know the records in the Election Commission, you know, they’re not always accurate.” The 2007 general election in which Walkingstick’s name first appeared on the ballot was June 23. Walkingstick added that he didn’t perjure himself. “Perjury, the definition of perjury is getting up on the witness stand and putting your hand on a Bible and take an oath that you’re going to tell the truth and then getting up there and intentionally lying. That’s perjury,” he said. “This is a desperate attempt for (Attorney General) Todd (Hembree) to not face the consequences of him not adhering to his own AG Act. This has nothing to do with who voted or who didn’t vote in the (20)07 election. It has everything to do with the Cherokee Nation trying to uphold its Constitution.” According to Black’s Law Dictionary, perjury is the willful assertion as to a matter of fact, opinion, belief, or knowledge, made by a witness in a judicial proceeding as part of his evidence, either upon oath or in any form allowed by law to be substituted for an oath, whether such evidence is given in open court, or in an affidavit, or otherwise, such assertion being known to such witness to be false, and being intended by him to mislead the court, jury, or person holding the proceeding. In a Jan. 8 affidavit, Crowe states he voted in the election and that EC records are wrong. John Parris, the petitioners’ attorney, spoke on behalf of those alleged of perjury stating they all “remember voting” in the election. “The position of the interveners is that they remember voting and don’t know why the records are inaccurate,” he said. “The interveners hope that we get to the main issue and not deal with these side issues.” In regards to the EC records being “wrong,” EC officials said they do “not feel it would be appropriate to comment” on litigation before the Supreme Court. On Dec. 11, Tribal Councilor Harley Buzzard, Kathy Robinson, Marcus Thompson, as well as the five accused of perjury, filed a petition as individual citizens against the CN and Hembree. It stems from Hembree’s decision not to appeal the District of Columbia District Court’s ruling to bind the CN to the 1866 Treaty and provide Freedmen “all the rights of native Cherokees,” including the right to citizenship. Freedmen are descendants of slaves once held by Cherokees. The petitioners ask the Supreme Court to set aside its Sept. 1 order to enroll Freedmen as citizens and instruct the attorney general’s office to appeal the federal court ruling until the Tribal Council approves or disapproves of Hembree’s decision not to appeal. According to the attorney general’s response, the petition should also be dismissed because its grievances against the CN and Hembree do not have “any basis in law or fact.” “Movants fail to demonstrate a legally cognizable interest in the present action that establishes a right to intervene under Cherokee Law. Nonetheless, even if Movants can establish a right to intervene – which they cannot – the Court must dismiss the Writ of Mandamus because this Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction,” the response states. “Specifically, Movants fail to cite any jurisdictional statute which permits Movants to maintain a lawsuit against AG Hembree – an appointed official of the Nation that enjoys sovereign immunity from this type of suit. Moreover, Movants fail to establish standing to bring this action against AG Hembree and fail further to plead a claim for relief.” The attorney general’s office also asks the court to maintain its Sept. 1 order by stating the request to continue litigating the case is “simply not available under Cherokee law.” Walkingstick said, hypothetically, if the tribe doesn’t appeal the federal ruling the Constitution would still have to be amended. He said Cherokee voters could accept the ruling or “vote in contradiction to it.” “The consequences are if the Cherokee people vote in contradiction to (federal) Judge (Thomas) Hogan’s ruling, or opinion, then federal program dollars could be frozen. Those are the consequences, and it just kind of depends what our Cherokee people want and, you know, me as being elected official, I take the Cherokee people’s voice very seriously,” he said. According to the Sept. 1 order, the Supreme Court deemed the special election void and without effect. Walkingstick said he’s “never taken a stance” on citizenship rights for Shawnees, Delaware, intermarried whites or Freedmen but that he did take an oath to uphold the Constitution. “The disappointment in all of this is our Cherokee Supreme Court contradicted our own Constitution. That’s a catastrophe. The other catastrophe is our chief and our attorney general supports contradicting our Constitution,” he said. “If we were wanting to protect our Constitution to the highest degree possible we would appeal this decision, which that’s the highest degree we can go with in regards to what that outcome is. It may be favorable. It may not be favorable, but we can look our constituents in the face and say we did everything possible to uphold your voice.”
BY STAFF REPORTS
01/17/2018 04:00 PM
The Cherokee Phoenix and Cherokee Family Research Center at the Cherokee Heritage Center teamed up to create this series on Cherokee genealogy. Thanks to CFRC genealogists Gene Norris and Ashley Vann, we are able to show you the genealogies of the Cherokee Phoenix staff and the CFRC’s genalogy inner workings at the CHC as well as the people behind them. For the next several months, we will highlight Cherokee Phoenix staff members’ genealogies and bring you information regarding Cherokee genealogy. You may even spot an ancestor on a staff member’s genealogy chart. This month we spotlight Advertising Representative Danny Eastham and Advertising Specialist Samantha Cochran's genealogies Wado! <a href="http://www.cherokeephoenix.org/Docs/2018/1/11902__Samantha.pdf" target="_blank">Click here</a>to read Advertising Specialist Samantha Cochran's genealogy.
BY ASSOCIATED PRESS
01/17/2018 12:00 PM
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The first trial date has been set for a lawsuit by a state against pharmaceutical companies over the opioid epidemic, according to Oklahoma’s attorney general. Oklahoma, one of at least 13 states that have filed lawsuits against drugmakers, alleges fraudulent marketing of drugs that fueled the opioid epidemic in the lawsuit filed in June 2017, and seeks unspecified damages from Purdue Pharma, Allergan, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Teva Pharmaceuticals and several of their subsidiaries. “We appreciate the urgency Judge (Thad) Balkman saw in getting the case to trial,” Attorney General Mike Hunter said. “Oklahomans who have suffered immeasurably from the years of fraudulent marketing campaigns will see this case resolved sooner rather than later.” Hunter said Balkman scheduled the trial to begin May 28, 2019. The companies deny wrongdoing and say they complied with Federal Drug Administration requirements that include warning labels showing potential risks that come with using their drugs. “We are deeply troubled by the prescription and illicit opioid abuse crisis, and are dedicated to being part of the solution,” Purdue Pharma said in a statement. “We vigorously deny these allegations and look forward to the opportunity to present our defense.” Teva spokeswoman Kaelan Hollon said the company “is committed to the appropriate use of opioid medicines,” and complies with all state and federal drug regulations. “Teva also collaborates closely with other stakeholders, including providers and prescribers, regulators, public health officials and patient advocates, to understand how to prevent prescription drug abuse without sacrificing patients’ needed access to pain medicine,” Hollon said. Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine’s office said other states that have filed lawsuits are Alaska, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Ohio, South Carolina and Washington state. The state lawsuits are separate from pending lawsuits in Ohio by dozens of local governments, and lawsuits by Native American tribes in the Dakotas and Oklahoma. In Ohio, a federal lawsuit by local governments nationwide that makes similar allegations is pending. And in South Dakota, the Rosebud Sioux Tribe, Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe and the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate filed a federal lawsuit in January against 24 opioid industry groups. In Oklahoma, a federal judge has ruled that another similar lawsuit by the Cherokee Nation cannot be tried in tribal court, and CN Attorney General Todd Hembree siad the tribe would file the lawsuit in state court.
BY STAFF REPORTS
01/16/2018 04:00 PM
The Cherokee Phoenix and Cherokee Family Research Center at the Cherokee Heritage Center teamed up to create this series on Cherokee genealogy. Thanks to CFRC genealogists Gene Norris and Ashley Vann, we are able to show you the genealogies of the Cherokee Phoenix staff and the CFRC’s genalogy inner workings at the CHC as well as the people behind them. For the next several months, we will highlight Cherokee Phoenix staff members’ genealogies and bring you information regarding Cherokee genealogy. You may even spot an ancestor on a staff member’s genealogy chart. This month we spotlight Staff Writer Brittney Bennett and Former Intern Chandler Kidd's genealogies Wado! <a href="http://www.cherokeephoenix.org/Docs/2018/1/11898__ChandlerKidd.pdf" target="_blank">Click here</a>to read Former Intern Chandler Kidd's genealogy.
BY STAFF REPORTS
01/16/2018 03:30 PM
The Cherokee Phoenix and Cherokee Family Research Center at the Cherokee Heritage Center teamed up to create this series on Cherokee genealogy. Thanks to CFRC genealogists Gene Norris and Ashley Vann, we are able to show you the genealogies of the Cherokee Phoenix staff and the CFRC’s genalogy inner workings at the CHC as well as the people behind them. For the next several months, we will highlight Cherokee Phoenix staff members’ genealogies and bring you information regarding Cherokee genealogy. You may even spot an ancestor on a staff member’s genealogy chart. This month we spotlight News Writer Brittney Bennett and Former Intern Chandler Kidd's genealogies Wado! <a href="http://www.cherokeephoenix.org/Docs/2018/1/11895__BrittneyBennett.pdf" target="_blank">Click here</a>to read News Writer Brittney Bennett's genealogy.
BY ASSOCIATED PRESS
01/16/2018 12:00 PM
MUSKOGEE (AP) — Cherokee Nation leaders marked Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Jan. 15 by acknowledging the tribe needs to come to terms with its treatment of former slaves, known as Freedmen. The tribe — one of the country’s largest — recognized the King holiday for the first time with participation in a King parade and a visit to the Martin Luther King Community Center in Muskogee. Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin Jr. said Principal Chief Bill John Baker decided the tribe should honor the King holiday this year because of ongoing racial tensions nationwide and because the tribe is seeking to make amends with slavery. King’s writings spoke of injustices against Native Americans and colonization, but Hoskin said the tribe had its own form of internal oppression and dispossession. “The time is now to deal with it and talk about it,” said Hoskin. “It’s been a positive thing for our country to reconcile that during Dr. King’s era, and it’s going to be a positive thing for Cherokee to talk about that history as part of reconciling our history with slavery.” Such talk from tribal officials would have been surprising before a federal court ruled last year that the descendants of slaves owned by tribal citizens had the same rights to tribal citizenship, voting, health care and housing as blood-line Cherokees. One descendant of Freedmen, Rodslen Brown-King, said her mother was able to vote as a Cherokee for the first and only time recently. Other relatives died before getting the benefits that come with tribal citizenship, including a 34-year-old nephew with stomach cancer, she said. “He was waiting on this decision,” Brown-King, of Fort Gibson, said. “It’s just a lot of struggle, a lot of up and down trauma in our lives. It’s exciting to know we are coming together and moving forward in this.” Derrick Reed, a city councilman in Muskogee, and director of the King Community Center there, said the Jan. 15 event was the first attended by citizens of the CN in honor of the holiday. Baker later spoke at an after-party the tribe sponsored, and Hoskin served breakfast earlier in the day. “We have a wonderful story to tell but we need to tell the whole story,” Hoskin said.