http://www.cherokeephoenix.orgIn this archive photo, Natasha Bell, right, smiles at her son while Cherokee Nation Women, Infants and Children specialist Teresa Tackett records his weight at the W.W. Hastings Indian Hospital in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. ARCHIVE
In this archive photo, Natasha Bell, right, smiles at her son while Cherokee Nation Women, Infants and Children specialist Teresa Tackett records his weight at the W.W. Hastings Indian Hospital in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. ARCHIVE

WIC continues tradition of helping families

BY BRITTNEY BENNETT
Reporter – @cp_bbennett
12/27/2017 08:00 AM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – Since 1977, the Cherokee Nation Women, Infants and Children Program has assisted more than 6,700 Native and non-Native American individuals each month with food, wellness and health services.

“Cherokee Nation WIC is unique in that we are located and operate within our health clinics and hospital operations and offer a more one-stop-shopping to health care,” CN WIC Director Brenda Carter said.

The federally funded program began in 1974 and extended to CN clinics and hospitals in 1977 to help pregnant and nursing women, as well as infants and children from birth to 5 years old living in the tribe’s jurisdiction.

It seeks to improve the well-being of mothers, infants and children by helping predict future and public health challenges for families, communities and the health care system.

“Studies have shown that the WIC Program is effective in protecting or improving the health and nutrition status of low-income women, infants and children,” Carter said.

Enrollment in WIC has led to “fewer premature births and low-birth weight infants, fetal deaths, and infant mortality,” as well as a decreased incidence of iron deficiency in children, Carter said.

Nutrition education is one of the program’s main services. Eligible families receive an Electronic Benefits Transfer card, or eWIC, to shop for healthy foods at authorized grocery stores, and it allows them to complete nutrition counseling.

“Nutrition education is offered primarily through one-on-one nutrition counseling,” Carter said. “WIC nutrition education is participant-centered, designed to meet the needs of each participant. Through WIC nutrition education, families can learn to make healthy food and lifestyle choices.”

Nutrition counseling discusses topics such as best feeding practices for children and how women can eat healthy during pregnancy.

WIC also assists new and expecting mothers by promoting and providing breastfeeding support. Whether through education or giving free breast pumps to eligible participants, Carter said all WIC employees undergo breastfeeding training and “have a role” to play.

Additionally, WIC can assist women and children through its ability to make referrals.

“Partnerships with other public health and social services programs are a key to WIC’s success,” Carter said. “WIC encourages all participants to receive complete health care and does make participant referrals to health care services…”

For individuals who identify as Native American, public health service referrals can be made in areas such as drug and alcohol counseling, smoking cessation counseling, behavioral health, family planning, immunizations and general medical care.

Referrals to social services programs can also be given regardless of Native American descent to programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, SoonerCare, emergency shelters, housing assistance, food banks and domestic violence programs.

“Cherokee Nation WIC also works within the communities to offer our non-Indian participants with referrals to health and social services programs available in local areas,” Carter said.

For more information, call 918-453-5000, ext. 5589 or visit any WIC clinic. Individuals interested in applying will need an appointment to determine nutritional risk and must provide an address, proof of identification and income statements.

Click here to readthe WIC Income Eligibility Guidelines.

Cherokee Nation WIC eligibility criteria

1. To be categorically eligible, a WIC applicant must be a/an:

• Women who are pregnant (through pregnancy and up to 6 weeks after birth or pregnancy ends),

• Breastfeeding woman with an infant under the age of 12 months,

• Non-breastfeeding woman up to 6 months postpartum,

• Infant under 12 months of age, or

• Child 1 to 5 years of age.

2. Meet the CN WIC Program’s residency requirements.

3. Have an income that is at or below the WIC income guidelines.

4. Meet identification requirements.

5. Be physically present at the eligibility screening appointment or meet one of the exceptions.

6. Have a nutrition risk – a health condition or diet problem that can be helped with nutritious WIC foods and nutrition education.

Cherokee Nation WIC locations

Claremore Indian Hospital
101 S. Moore Ave.
Claremore, Oklahoma

Cherokee Nation W.W. Hastings Hospital
100 S. Bliss
Tahlequah, Oklahoma

Sam Hider Health Center
859 E. Melton Drive
Jay, Oklahoma

A-MO Salina Health Center
900 Owen Walters Blvd.
Salina, Oklahoma

Redbird Smith Health Center
301 S. J.T. Stites Ave.
Sallisaw, Oklahoma

Wilma P. Mankiller Health Center
Hwy 51 East
Stilwell, Oklahoma

Indian Health Care Resource Center
550 S. Peoria Ave.
Tulsa, Oklahoma

Will Rogers Health Center
1020 Lenape Drive
Nowata, Oklahoma

Three Rivers Health Center
1001 S. 41st St. East
Muskogee, Oklahoma

Westville WIC Office
Bushyhead Heights
Community Building
Westville, Oklahoma

Cherokee Nation Vinita Health Center
27371 S. 4410 Road
Vinita, Oklahoma

Kansas WIC Office
211 N. Hwy 10
Kansas, Oklahoma
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.

Services

BY STAFF REPORTS
06/21/2018 08:15 AM
TAHLEQUAH – The Cherokee Nation’s Election Commission wants to ensure that eligible CN citizens register to vote in the tribe’s 2019 general election, which is set for June 1. According to an EC press release, CN citizens who are at least 18 years old, or will be 18 on the day of the general election, must register to vote by midnight CST on March 29. The release also states that people who have never registered to vote or who aren’t registered in the districts of their respective residences, as well as people who are registered but need to change their registration information, may register by completing and submitting CN voter registration applications on or before the voter registration deadline. According to the release, voters with new 911 addresses will also need to complete voter registration applications, updating their address information on or before March 29. “Now is the time to check and make sure you are registered to vote. Citizens are encouraged to check with the Election Commission office and to verify the information is correct,” Elections Director Connie Parnell said. “With Cherokee Nation Holiday fast approaching the Election Commission will be attending the holiday celebration. The Election Commission will provide voter registration stations for the visitors to check on their registrations.” Parnell said the registration stations would be located in the W.W. Keeler Tribal Complex during open house and the Courthouse Square during the parade and State of the Union Address. Voter registration forms can be requested or submitted in person, by U.S. mail, email or fax. Forms are available online at <a href="http://www.cherokee.org/elections.aspx" target="_blank">www.cherokee.org/elections.aspx</a> or in the Election Commission Office at 17763 S. Muskogee Ave. To mail a request, send the request to Cherokee Nation Election Commission, P.O. Box 1188, Tahlequah, OK 74465-1188. To submit an email request, email <a href="mailto: election-commission@cherokee.org">election-commission@cherokee.org</a>. For a fax request, dial 918-458-6101. According to the release, the EC responds in writing to every person who submits a voter registration application. The response is either a voter notification card listing the new voter’s district number or a letter explaining why the application for voter registration was not approved. Any person who has submitted a voter registration application and has not received a response within 30 days should contact the EC, the release states. Parnell said the EC also plans to provide voter outreach efforts at events and locations such as community meetings, health clinics, high schools and technology centers within the tribe’s jurisdiction. For more information, call 918-458-5899 or toll free at 1-800-353-2895.
BY STAFF REPORTS
06/19/2018 08:45 AM
TULSA – Cherokee Nation Management & Consulting, a subsidiary of Cherokee Nation Businesses, has secured two indefinite-delivery contracts with the U.S. Army. “We are pleased to continue growing our relationship with the Department of Defense and the U.S. Army,” Steven Bilby, CNB’s diversified businesses president, said. “It is a great honor and privilege to serve the brave men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces who serve our country so bravely.” Through the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the tribally owned company will provide the U.S. Army with professional support to ensure sustainable and ready operational services and enhance the ability of the U.S. military forces to fight and meet the demands of the national military strategy. CNMC will provide a skilled team of analysts and specialists to support the OASA IEE and its Energy and Sustainability Directorates in focus areas such as environment, safety and occupational health, strategic integration, installations, housing, and partnerships. “We are proud to have these opportunities,” Scott Edwards, CNMC operations general manager, said. “As a company, we are dedicated to providing first-class service, and we’re looking forward to deploying the expertise and skills of our team to support the vital mission of the U.S. military.” CNMC is fulfilling a $10 million, four-year contract with the Department of Defense and a $15 million, three-year contract supporting the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Installations, Energy and Environment. CNMC formed in 2013, provides technical support services and project support personnel to its defense and civilian agency partners. It’s headquartered in Tulsa and is part of the CNB family of companies. For more information, visit <a href="http://www.cherokeenationbusinesses.com" target="_blank">www.cherokeenationbusinesses.com</a>.
BY STAFF REPORTS
06/18/2018 04:00 PM
HULBERT – Cherokee Nation officials recently distributed $138,400 to 27 law enforcement agencies that patrol within the tribe’s jurisdictional area. CN officials recently gave $15,000 and $10,000 to the Hulbert and Okay police departments, respectively. According to a CN press release, the Hulbert funds were provided through the Tribal Council’s annual law enforcement funds. Tribal Councilors Joe Byrd, Rex Jordan and David Walkingstick each dedicated a portion of their allocated funds. “This donation means a great deal to me and my department,” Hulbert Police Chief Casey Rowe said. “Our budget is so short and it’s such a small department that having this extra $15,000 helps us make it through the year. I don’t think our department could make it without it. It’s a great thing.” Okay Mayor Bradley Mathews said the $10,000 donation helps fund a contract with the Wagoner County Sheriff’s Office for law enforcement service in the community. “When we get assistance like this, it goes toward meeting our goals and what our community expects to be provided,” Mathews said. “Without the help of the Cherokee Nation, there are a lot of things we wouldn’t be able to do, and this is just one more example of that.” Aside from monetary donations provided to agencies, the tribe frequently donates surplus equipment, including vehicles, to police departments and sheriff’s offices. Tribal Councilors Keith Austin and Janees Taylor also recently distributed more than $55,000 to 16 Rogers and Mayes counties law enforcement agencies. Austin distributed $3,500 each to Rogers State University police, Oologah police, the Rogers County Sheriff’s Department, Chelsea police, Claremore police and the 12th District Attorney’s Office. He also contributed $1,750 each to Collinsville, Verdigris and Talala police departments. Taylor distributed $3,500 each to Locust Grove police, Pryor police, Mayes County Sheriff’s Department, Rogers County Sheriff’s Department, Salina police, Inola police and Chouteau police. She also contributed $1,750 each to Verdigris police and Claremore police, as well as $1,000 to the Cherokee Nation Marshal Service. Rogers County Sheriff Scott Walton said his department is using the donation to purchase a canine officer that would benefit not only the sheriff’s office but also other area departments. “County law enforcement is kind of at the bottom of the food chain when it comes to funding for our needs, so I don’t visualize being able to make it without partners like the Cherokee Nation,” Walton said. “With the Cherokee Nation’s donation, we are able to purchase some of our core, fundamental needs. We’re so blessed to have these kinds of community partners, and the tribe is always there for us and listening to us.” Mayes County Sheriff Mike Reed said his agency is upgrading its communications equipment by purchasing 800 megahertz radios for deputies. “It means a lot to us to receive Cherokee Nation’s support,” Reed said. “We appreciate what the tribe provides us.” Tribal officials also distributed $58,400 to law enforcement agencies in Tribal Council districts 5 and 6, which encompass all of Sequoyah County and part of Muskogee County. Of the $58,400 distributed, the Sequoyah County Sheriff’s Department received $12,000, and the Braggs, Gore, Marble City, Muldrow, Roland, Sallisaw, Vian and Webbers Falls police departments each received $5,800. For Sequoyah County Sheriff Larry Lane, partnerships with the CN are an important resource. “Anything we need, we know we can call the tribe, and they are always great to work with,” he said. Twenty percent of the revenue from the tribe’s motor vehicle tax is used to fund the annual law enforcement donations.
BY STAFF REPORTS
06/17/2018 10:00 AM
TAHLEQUAH – The Cherokee Phoenix is now taking names of elders and military veterans to provide free subscriptions of its monthly newspaper. In November, Cherokee Nation Businesses donated $10,000 to the Cherokee Phoenix’s Elder/Veteran Fund. The fund provides free subscriptions of its monthly newspaper to elders 65 and older and military veterans who are Cherokee Nation citizens. Subscription rates are $10 for one year. “The Elder/Veteran Fund was put into place to provide free subscriptions to our Cherokee elders and veterans,” Executive Editor Brandon Scott said. “Some of our elders and veterans are on a very limited budget, and other items have a priority over buying a newspaper subscription. The donations we receive have a real world impact on our elders and veterans, so every dollar donated to the Elder Fund is significant.” Using the Elder/Veteran Fund, elders who are 65 and older as well as veterans can apply to receive a free one-year subscription by visiting, calling or writing the Cherokee Phoenix office and requesting a subscription. The Cherokee Phoenix office is located in the Annex Building on the W.W. Keeler Tribal Complex. The postal address is Cherokee Phoenix, P.O. Box 948, Tahlequah, OK 74465. To call about the fund, call 918-207-4975 or 918-453-5269 or email justin-smith@cherokee.org or joy-rollice@cherokee.org. No income guidelines have been specified for the Cherokee Phoenix Elder/Veteran Fund, and free subscriptions will be given as long as funds last. Tax-deductible donations for the fund can also be sent to the Cherokee Phoenix by check or money order specifying the donation for the Cherokee Phoenix Elder/Veteran Fund. Cash is also accepted at the Cherokee Phoenix offices and local events where Cherokee Phoenix staff members are accepting Elder/Veteran Fund donations. The Cherokee Phoenix also has a free website, <a href="http://www.cherokeephoenix.org" target="_blank">www.cherokeephoenix.org</a>, that posts news seven days a week about the Cherokee government, people, history and events of interest. The monthly newspaper is also posted in PDF format to the website at the beginning of each month.
BY BRITTNEY BENNETT
Reporter – @cp_bbennett
06/15/2018 12:00 PM
TAHLEQUAH – The United Keetoowah Band is finalizing building plans and will soon move forward with its Elder Home Project, a pilot program to construct small, energy efficient homes for low-income elders ages 55 and older. “There was a need for housing for some of our elders who lived in substandard housing conditions, but we didn’t necessarily want to put them in a big two-bedroom, three-bedroom house because they really can’t afford to live in a house that big,” Charles Deason, UKB Housing Department development manager, said. “We got to researching different housing options and it was kind of born from there.” Deason said the project is expected to begin within “60 to 90 days” using approved contractors via a bidding process. He described the homes as “cottages” on permanent foundations ranging from 500 to 1,000 square feet. “It will have insurance ratings, and it will be built to the national building codes, and it will be a standard home. They’ll be fully equipped when we give you the keys, minus the furniture. It will have all the appliances and all the amenities of a regular home. It’ll just be a small home. We’re looking to do two to three this year and next year, depending on the amount of applications and the participation that we have. We hope to maybe increase that.” The homes are intended for one to two occupants. “That’s like a single elder who may have a caregiver that stays with them part-time or an elder that has just been displaced and maybe having to live with family members and they just kind of want to be independent, but still be close to their families,” Deason said. Applicants must own land in the UKB’s operating area and will be selected based on a point system that relies on various factors to determine eligibility and need. “The basic requirements are that you have to be Native American. Another that you have to have is a minimum income amount with HUD (U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development),” Deason said. “We also give preference to exclusive Keetoowahs. We give preference to elders. The program is for 55 and up, but we give more points to those that are 62 and older. We also give preference to those that are full blood. We take all of those things into consideration.” Deason said once all applications have been received, the UKB Housing Department would evaluate them before passing recommendations to the UKB Housing Committee. The homes will take approximately 45 days to complete once building starts, and the budget would vary depending on the occupant’s needs. “We’re looking at somewhere around $50,000 as the total,” he said. “It could be more. It could be a little less, but that’s our target budget for each home. Each one will have a different value depending on the amount of work that is having to be done. We’re wanting to do cost-effective and energy efficient housing.” The homes will be primarily funded through the Native American Housing Assistance and Self-Determination Act. “It is NAHASDA monies. It’s set aside. We’ve also realigned some budget items, and we’re using acquisition funds in acquiring homes for these particular individuals. Funds are limited,” Deason said. Occupants will own their homes after making income-based monthly payments on a 10-year loan, though the UKB will cover any applicable taxes and insurance for the duration, Deason said. “We’re still kind of learning as we go,” he said. “We hope to have it streamlined one of these days, but right now we’re still trying to figure out all the bugs that might be in it. Our elders are what we’re all about. If it wasn’t for the elders, none of us would be here.” Applications are available at the UKB Housing Department and upon request by phone by calling 918-871-2773. The deadline for applications is July 2. Completed applications may be delivered or mailed to the UKB Housing Department at P.O. Box 746, Tahlequah, OK 74465.
BY ROGER GRAHAM
Multimedia Producer – @cp_rgraham
06/01/2018 02:00 PM
TAHLEQUAH – Cherokee Nation leaders on May 3 signed an agreement with the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma to create a mobile food bank at the tribe’s Veterans Center for qualified veterans, their families and their widows on a quarterly basis. “We had a wonderful signing ceremony with (Principal) Chief (Bill John) Baker, signifying our partnership,” CFBEO Executive Director Eileen Bradshaw said. “The program focuses on veterans and their food security.” The CFBEO is a member of the national Feeding America network and delivers food to clients in eastern Oklahoma’s 24 counties through its network of 465 partner programs. However, the partnership didn’t get into full swing until May 29 when Veterans Center staff, CN administrators and employees, as well as federal officials, bagged and distributed approximately 10,000 pounds of food to qualified veterans. Cherokee veteran Allan Johnson said he’s grateful for the assistance. “I have to live within a limited budget from disability and, this program is going to help my quality of life.” Veterans Center Executive Director Barbara Foreman said she was pleased with the program’s first food distribution. “The event was a wonderful success, which assisted 117 veteran families who received tickets. With the extra food after the event, we assisted about eight more veterans who heard about the program but were unaware of the process,” she said. “The feedback was good, and we know the veterans appreciated our efforts very much. We will continue with our efforts to assist our veterans with this food outreach program every 90 days.” The next mobile food pantry is scheduled for August. Foreman said the Veterans Center compares schedules with the food bank and that it would try to schedule distributions every 90 days. She said the center would contact veterans and widows of veterans regarding the next distribution. Foreman also said the center doesn’t receive a list of food items and that she doesn’t know what food they will be distributing until they take it off the truck. “The food is based on the donations received at the food bank warehouse,” she said. She added that the Veterans Center receives 125 tickets for veterans and widows on a first-come, first-serve basis. Foreman said if a veteran or widow has five or more people in the household, they receive two tickets. For more information on the Veterans Center and mobile food bank, call 918-772-4166. For more information about the CFBEO, visit <a href="http://www.okfoodbank.org" target="_blank">okfoodbank.org</a> or call 918-585-2800.