Cherokee Phoenix selects Standingcloud as holiday T-shirt artist

BY TRAVIS SNELL
Assistant Editor – @cp_tsnell
07/21/2018 02:00 PM
TAHLEQUAH – The Cherokee Phoenix has selected Cherokee artist Nathalie Standingcloud’s design for its 2018 holiday T-shirt, which goes on sale July 1 at the Cherokee Phoenix’s office and Cherokee Nation Gift Shop.

In 2016, the Cherokee Phoenix commissioned Cherokee artist Buffalo Gouge to design its initial T-shirt, one that differed from the tribe’s Cherokee National Holiday shirts. For the 2017 T-shirt, the Cherokee Phoenix sought entries from Cherokee artists and chose Daniel HorseChief’s concept. This year, the Cherokee Phoenix selected Standingcloud’s design, which she said features a southeastern-style phoenix shield with a seven-pointed star surrounded by seven gourd masks that represent the tribe’s clans.

Above the design in the Cherokee syllabary are the words “Cherokee Phoenix.” Below the image in English are the words “CHEROKEE HOMECOMING” as well as “2018” and Standingcloud’s signature. Also, the Cherokee Phoenix logo will be on a sleeve.

“I hope when someone looks at this, whether they’re Cherokee or not, that they acknowledge the symmetry and symbolism that makes up the entire design. And if they are Cherokee they can find their clan and feel like they are being represented,” Standingcloud said. “When I started this design I had to draw a phoenix to represent our strong Cherokee people overcoming all that they went through during colonization. I also kept in mind the sacred numbers and symbolism that we use in our culture like the masks and seven-pointed star. I chose simple colors so I could use others to bring out the uniqueness of each clan.”

She said the fact her submission was chosen made her feel “accomplished” and brings “honor” to her family. She added that she plans to submit another concept for the 2019 T-shirt and encourages up-and-coming Cherokee artists to do the same.
The Cherokee Phoenix’s 2018 holiday T-shirt was designed by Cherokee artist Nathalie Standingcloud. This is the third year the news organization has issued a T-shirt around the Cherokee National Holiday. MARK DREADFULWATER/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
The Cherokee Phoenix’s 2018 holiday T-shirt was designed by Cherokee artist Nathalie Standingcloud. This is the third year the news organization has issued a T-shirt around the Cherokee National Holiday. MARK DREADFULWATER/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
http://www.cherokeephoenix.org/Article/index/42330

Phoenix taking names for elder/vet subscriptions

BY STAFF REPORTS
07/21/2018 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.

Oklahoma sorority chapter bring home national award

BY STAFF REPORTS
07/20/2018 04:00 PM
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Two Oklahoma chapters picked up top honors as Alpha Pi Omega announced its national award winners on July 14.

The sorority’s newest chapter, the Iota Pi Chapter in Cherokee County was named the 2017-18 Professional Chapter of the Year.

To be considered for the award, the chapter submitted a portfolio, highlighting its members’ community involvement, individual awards and commitment to community service. The chapter’s current roster features a 2018 “Remember the Removal” bike ride participant, a current member of Leadership Tahlequah and one of UNITY’s 25 Under 25 Native Youth Leaders.

“It’s an honor to have the national recognition from our other sisters,” Iota Pi Chapter president and Cherokee Nation citizen Haley Noe said. “Hopefully we can continue to show more involvement both in the community and for our area sisters.”
Iota Pi Chapter members Haley Noe, left, Jordan McLemore and Holly Noe accept Alpha Pi Omega’s Professional Chapter of the Year award from board member Cho Werito during the sorority’s recent national convention in Nashville, Tennessee. Haley and Holly are Cherokee Nation citizens and McLemore is a United Keetoowah Band citizen. COURTESY
Iota Pi Chapter members Haley Noe, left, Jordan McLemore and Holly Noe accept Alpha Pi Omega’s Professional Chapter of the Year award from board member Cho Werito during the sorority’s recent national convention in Nashville, Tennessee. Haley and Holly are Cherokee Nation citizens and McLemore is a United Keetoowah Band citizen. COURTESY
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Earn credits at NSU by taking Cherokee Humanities

BY STAFF REPORTS
07/20/2018 12:00 PM
PARK HILL – The Cherokee Heritage Center is accepting applications for the fall semester Cherokee Humanities Course. The deadline to receive applications is Aug. 13 and classes begin Aug. 20.

Students may take the course in the fall and spring semesters for a total of six college credit hours in Cherokee studies at Northeastern State University.

Through a grant from the Inasmuch Foundation, the CHC is providing tuition, books, child care and a mileage stipend at no cost to qualified students. Priority is given to nontraditional Cherokee students not enrolled in a university and those considering returning to college.

The course is designed to develop critical, reflective and creative skills that empower students to develop a better understanding and appreciation of their tribal culture.

The late Dr. Howard Meredith, a former professor and head of the American Indian Studies program at the University of Science and Arts Cherokee Humanities Course, established the course that replicates the original Clemente course offered in New York City by academic scholar Dr. Earl Shorris in 1995.

Cherokee Nation secures future for Oaks property

BY KELLY BOSTIAN
Tulsa World
07/20/2018 08:30 AM
OAKS – The future of a historic parcel of land appears secure as the Cherokee Nation closed on the purchase of the Delaware County property, where clearing had already begun for construction of a chicken farm.

The effort not only saved the property from development but helped galvanize a community that is concerned about poultry operation expansion in the area.

The 60.81-acre parcel, adjacent to the Oaks Indian Mission at Oaks, was purchased to help preserve and protect the area, which also abuts a historic cemetery known as God’s Acre.

The CN closed on the purchase July 2. The tribe said there are no immediate plans for what will be done on the property.

“The tribe believes in protecting sites that are historically significant as well as preserving it for the betterment of our tribal citizens and environment,” Principal Chief Bill John Baker said. “The Cherokee Nation is also stronger for the future when we add land within the jurisdiction of the tribe to our land base.”
Susan Humphrey, president of the Oaks Indian Mission board, and Russ Hays, an employee and alumnus of the Oaks Indian Mission, pass the original spring house foundation on the mission’s property in Oaks. Plans for a larger chicken farm near the historic site were canceled after locals objected. MIKE SIMONS/TULSA WORLD Russ Hays, an employee and alumnus of the Oaks Indian Mission, leans on the original spring house foundation on the mission’s property in Oaks. Plans for a nearby chicken house were canceled after locals objected. MIKE SIMONS/TULSA WORLD
Susan Humphrey, president of the Oaks Indian Mission board, and Russ Hays, an employee and alumnus of the Oaks Indian Mission, pass the original spring house foundation on the mission’s property in Oaks. Plans for a larger chicken farm near the historic site were canceled after locals objected. MIKE SIMONS/TULSA WORLD
https://www.facebook.com/CASA-of-Cherokee-Country-184365501631027/

Oklahoma Medicaid approved for drug pricing experiment

BY ASSOCIATED PRESS
07/19/2018 04:00 PM
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) – The federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has approved Oklahoma’s Medicaid program for a first-in-the-nation drug pricing experiment that supporters say could save taxpayer dollars and provide patients with the most effective medications for their ailments.

Under the “value-based purchasing” program approved in late June, the state and a pharmaceutical company would agree to a set payment if its medication works as advertised, but only a fraction of that if the drug is not as effective as promised.

“When a company signs an agreement, we hope that they’re going to agree to only have us pay for the therapy that works .... and if it doesn’t work we should get a rebate on it,” said Nancy Nesser, pharmacy director for the Oklahoma Health Care Authority, which administers the Medicaid program in the state.

“One thing we’ve learned is that some companies don’t really stand behind their drugs, and it’s kind of scary,” Nesser said. “We’re paying a premium for them and they’re not willing to say that they will work.”

The companies are not required to take part, but Nesser said several, which she declined to identify, have shown interest and discussions are underway with three. She said she hopes the program can begin by Aug. 1.

Cherokee National Treasures host art show

BY ROGER GRAHAM
Multimedia Producer – @cp_rgraham
07/19/2018 12:00 PM
TAHLEQUAH – The Cherokee National Treasures hosted their first Children’s and Student Art Show on July 7 in the Tsa-La-Gi Community Ballroom featuring artwork made by youth and adult students who were mentored and trained by Cherokee National Treasures.

Some student artists who presented are already accomplished artists but wanted to learn another artistic medium. Such was the case with Cherokee Nation citizen Harry Oosahwee.

“I’ve been carving stone and wood for years, and I’ve been painting for years” he said. “And so I decided I wanted to do something different. And when (Cherokee National Treasure) Bill Glass’s class came along, I decided to take it. I’ve really enjoyed working with ceramics, and think it might be a new medium I’ll start really working on.”

Oosahwee wasn’t the only adult Cherokee looking for a new artistic avenue. CN artist Tana Washington and Oosahwee’s daughter, Sedelta, along with several other CN citizens, signed up for the mentorship program. That is fine with CNT Committee Chairwoman Jane Osti, who said the mentorship program is crucial for developing future artists.

“Every treasure…has from two to 10 students.” Osti said. “The mentors who are teaching are experts in their field. In many cases, some of them have taught for 40 and 50 years, and they have knowledge that we’re going to lose if we don’t teach someone. This program is teaching a lot of people and they’re doing very well. In some instances, we have students who could actually go out and teach. And whether they teach the next generation or a daughter or grandchild, it’s going to produce more people practicing our cultural arts.”
Video Frame selected by Cherokee Phoenix
Cherokee Nation citizen and inaugural Cherokee National Treasures Children’s Art Show participant Alexis Rietman displays her award-winning basketry under the mentorship of Cherokee National Treasure Mike Dart on July 7 in the Tsa-La-Gi Community Ballroom in Tahlequah. ROGER GRAHAM/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Cherokee Nation citizen and inaugural Cherokee National Treasures Children’s Art Show participant Alexis Rietman displays her award-winning basketry under the mentorship of Cherokee National Treasure Mike Dart on July 7 in the Tsa-La-Gi Community Ballroom in Tahlequah. ROGER GRAHAM/CHEROKEE PHOENIX

Cherokee National Treasures Dart, Hummingbird pass on knowledge

BY KENLEA HENSON
Former Reporter
07/19/2018 08:30 AM
TAHLEQUAH – Each year before the Cherokee National Holiday, a chosen few Cherokee Nation citizens who have shown exceptional knowledge of Cherokee art and culture receive a Cherokee National Treasure designation. In 2017, Mike Dart and Jesse Hummingbird earned that honor, joining 94 others who have earned the title since 1988.

Dart was named CNT for his traditional and contemporary basketry. A resident of Fairfield in Adair County, he began weaving baskets at age 16, but developed an interest in it earlier in life watching his grandmother construct baskets with native materials she found. In his baskets, Dart uses commercial and traditional reed, including honeysuckle, buck brush and wood splints. He also uses natural dyes such as black walnut, bloodroot and bois d’arc wood. He said even in his contemporary baskets he still implements traditional Cherokee elements.

Being mostly self-taught, Dart spent years perfecting his technique, and in 2005 he entered his first art show. Since then he’s won numerous awards, including Best of Show at the 2016 Artesian Arts Festival in Sulphur with a replica of a Southeastern Burden Basket woven from wood splints and colored with natural dye. The basket also appeared in the book “Oklahoma Cherokee Baskets.” Other awards include Best of Show at the 2017 Native American Heritage Festival in Cushing, third place and judges’ choice at the 2017 Cherokee Art Market in Catoosa and first place at the 2018 the Trail of Tears Art Show in Tahlequah. Along with winning awards, his baskets can are in private collections and museums, including the Briscoe Museum of Western Art in San Antonia, Texas, and the Cherokee National Museum in Tahlequah.

Dart said he’s dedicated to the preservation of Cherokee basketry and teaches the art. He said the most important thing is to make sure it continues to the next generation and generations to come.

“My main goal I have right now is focusing on my students. I want them to be able to, you know, if something happened to me, I want them to be able to continue doing this and pass it on. I want them to be successful more than me, and I think if they’re successful then I am successful.”
Cherokee Nation citizen and 2017 Cherokee National Treasure Mike Dart stands with, right to left, Junior Miss Cherokee Danya Pigeon, Deputy Chief S. Joe Crittenden, Principal Chief Bill John Baker and Miss Cherokee Madison Whitekiller during an award ceremony in Tahlequah. COURTESY Cherokee Nation citizen and 2017 Cherokee National Treasure Jesse Hummingbird stands with, right to left, Junior Miss Cherokee Danya Pigeon, Deputy Chief S. Joe Crittenden, Principal Chief Bill John Baker and Miss Cherokee Madison Whitekiller during an award ceremony in Tahlequah. COURTESY Cherokee Nation citizen and 2017 Cherokee National Treasure Mike Dart’s “Burden Basket.” COURTESY Cherokee Nation citizen and 2017 Cherokee National Treasure Jesse Hummingbird’s “Ceremony for the New Fire.” COURTESY
Cherokee Nation citizen and 2017 Cherokee National Treasure Mike Dart stands with, right to left, Junior Miss Cherokee Danya Pigeon, Deputy Chief S. Joe Crittenden, Principal Chief Bill John Baker and Miss Cherokee Madison Whitekiller during an award ceremony in Tahlequah. COURTESY

Dartmouth student interning in tribe’s garden

BY ROGER GRAHAM
Multimedia Producer – @cp_rgraham
07/18/2018 03:00 PM
TAHLEQUAH – Taylor Armbrister, a Cherokee Nation citizen and summer intern for the CN Environmental Resources Department, enjoys nature and plants so much that he earned a scholarship to Dartmouth, an Ivy League school.

How he arrived in Tahlequah, via his hometown of Kansas, Oklahoma, by way of Hanover, New Hampshire, is nearly as impressive as the higher education institute he attends.

“How I got here was by hearing from other Cherokees. I’m interested in environmental studies and Native American studies, and I needed something to do this summer. So I checked out Cherokee Nation’s Environmental Resources Department and spoke with Secretary Sara Hill,” Armbrister said. “She then got me in touch with Senior Director Pat Gwin and cultural biologist Feather Smith Trevino. They told me what I’d be doing, and it sounded interesting. I mean this would be a good first step learning what Cherokee Nation is doing when it comes to the environmental aspect of it.”

He said the then drafted a proposal to the Dartmouth Native American Studies Department because it funds unpaid internships, which includes paying for housing, travel and food.

“Anyway, they decided to fund it, so now I’m out here working with Feather until the end of August,” Armbrister said.
Video Frame selected by Cherokee Phoenix
Nineteen-year-old Cherokee Nation citizen and Dartmouth College student Taylor Armbrister works in the CN Seed Bank garden on July 2 as an Environmental Resources summer intern. ROGER GRAHAM/CHEROKEE PHOENIX Taylor Armbrister
Nineteen-year-old Cherokee Nation citizen and Dartmouth College student Taylor Armbrister works in the CN Seed Bank garden on July 2 as an Environmental Resources summer intern. ROGER GRAHAM/CHEROKEE PHOENIX

Culture

Cherokee National Treasures host art show
BY ROGER GRAHAM
Multimedia Producer – @cp_rgraham
07/19/2018 12:00 PM
TAHLEQUAH – The Cherokee National Treasures hosted their first Children’s and Student Art Show on July 7 in the Tsa-La-Gi Community Ballroom featuring artwork made by youth and adult students who were mentored and trained by Cherokee National Treasures.

Some student artists who presented are already accomplished artists but wanted to learn another artistic medium. Such was the case with Cherokee Nation citizen Harry Oosahwee.

“I’ve been carving stone and wood for years, and I’ve been painting for years” he said. “And so I decided I wanted to do something different. And when (Cherokee National Treasure) Bill Glass’s class came along, I decided to take it. I’ve really enjoyed working with ceramics, and think it might be a new medium I’ll start really working on.”

Oosahwee wasn’t the only adult Cherokee looking for a new artistic avenue. CN artist Tana Washington and Oosahwee’s daughter, Sedelta, along with several other CN citizens, signed up for the mentorship program. That is fine with CNT Committee Chairwoman Jane Osti, who said the mentorship program is crucial for developing future artists.

“Every treasure…has from two to 10 students.” Osti said. “The mentors who are teaching are experts in their field. In many cases, some of them have taught for 40 and 50 years, and they have knowledge that we’re going to lose if we don’t teach someone. This program is teaching a lot of people and they’re doing very well. In some instances, we have students who could actually go out and teach. And whether they teach the next generation or a daughter or grandchild, it’s going to produce more people practicing our cultural arts.”

Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin Jr. said he was pleased with how the mentoring program is reaching communities. He said it’s another example of how the CNTs are helping save traditional Cherokee arts.

“Primarily their jobs have been to nominate or recommend new National Treasures, but they’ve been doing a lot of other things in the last few years. This student art competition is just a great example of how they’re getting artwork into the communities and inspiring new artists to get involved,” Hoskin said.

For more information on the CNT mentorship program, call 918-453-5728.

Education

Oklahoma sorority chapter bring home national award
BY STAFF REPORTS
07/20/2018 04:00 PM
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Two Oklahoma chapters picked up top honors as Alpha Pi Omega announced its national award winners on July 14.

The sorority’s newest chapter, the Iota Pi Chapter in Cherokee County was named the 2017-18 Professional Chapter of the Year.

To be considered for the award, the chapter submitted a portfolio, highlighting its members’ community involvement, individual awards and commitment to community service. The chapter’s current roster features a 2018 “Remember the Removal” bike ride participant, a current member of Leadership Tahlequah and one of UNITY’s 25 Under 25 Native Youth Leaders.

“It’s an honor to have the national recognition from our other sisters,” Iota Pi Chapter president and Cherokee Nation citizen Haley Noe said. “Hopefully we can continue to show more involvement both in the community and for our area sisters.”

Council

Tribal Council approves $31M Indian Housing Plan
BY LINDSEY BARK
Reporter
07/12/2018 04:00 PM
TAHLEQUAH – At the July 9 Tribal Council meeting, legislators unanimously authorized the submission of the fiscal year 2019 Indian Housing Plan, estimated at more than $31 million, to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The FY2019 funds will be used for housing assistance such as $5.6 million for housing rehabilitation, nearly $4.5 million for the Rental Assistance Program and $3.4 million for the Mortgage Assistance Program.

Legislators also unanimously adopted revisions to the FY2018 IHP because the Cherokee Nation’s $31.8 million Indian Housing Block Grant allocation was higher than estimates provided. The CN’s submitted FY2018 IHP, as required by the Native American Housing Assistance and Self-Determination Act, had an original estimate of nearly $29 million.

“The actual appropriations are based on what Congress approves in the federal budget. For this year it was $655 million for NAHASDA and our part was the $31,856,007,” Housing Authority of the Cherokee Nation Executive Director Gary Cooper said. “The current two appropriations being considered, one in the House, the other in the Senate, both include amounts equal to 2018. Assuming that Congress does pass a budget or omnibus or other type of appropriations bill for next year at the same (amount), we should receive more than the estimate.”

Legislators also unanimously authorized the submission of a tribal soil climate analysis network, also known as TSCAN or a weather station. The weather station will be placed on tribal property near the buffalo ranch in Delaware County.

The resolution said the CN recognizes the importance of addressing food, agriculture and natural resource needs within the CN boundaries through the utilization of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Natural Resource Conservation Services, Department of Interior and Bureau of Indian Affairs.

“This is an NCRS project. It will give us more soil climate data, soil moisture information. It will be really helpful for researches and people who are really involved in agriculture. So it will be a good thing,” CN Natural Resources Sara Hill said in a June 11 Resource Committee meeting.

In other business, legislators:

• Authorized a grant application for an economic development feasibility study for FY2019 on creating a blackberry processing and marketing program utilizing organic blackberry growers who are CN citizens,

• Amending the comprehensive FY2018 capital budget with an increase of $8 million for a total budget authority of $260.2 million, and

• Amended the comprehensive FY2018 operating budget with an increase of $29.7 million for a total budget authority of $724.7 million. The changes reflecting the increase include increases in the General Fund budget of $312,725; the DOI-Self Governance budget of $388,958; the Indian Health Service Self-Governance Health budget of $24.6 million; and the IHS-Self Governance TEH budget of $4.5 million.

Health

Oklahoma Medicaid approved for drug pricing experiment
BY ASSOCIATED PRESS
07/19/2018 04:00 PM
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) – The federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has approved Oklahoma’s Medicaid program for a first-in-the-nation drug pricing experiment that supporters say could save taxpayer dollars and provide patients with the most effective medications for their ailments.

Under the “value-based purchasing” program approved in late June, the state and a pharmaceutical company would agree to a set payment if its medication works as advertised, but only a fraction of that if the drug is not as effective as promised.

“When a company signs an agreement, we hope that they’re going to agree to only have us pay for the therapy that works .... and if it doesn’t work we should get a rebate on it,” said Nancy Nesser, pharmacy director for the Oklahoma Health Care Authority, which administers the Medicaid program in the state.

“One thing we’ve learned is that some companies don’t really stand behind their drugs, and it’s kind of scary,” Nesser said. “We’re paying a premium for them and they’re not willing to say that they will work.”

The companies are not required to take part, but Nesser said several, which she declined to identify, have shown interest and discussions are underway with three. She said she hopes the program can begin by Aug. 1.

“This is a good thing,” said Matt Salo, executive director of the nonpartisan National Medicaid Directors Association, which represents state programs. “It paves the way for states and other payers to start really thinking about how to do value-based purchasing for prescription drugs.”

The federal waiver would allow Oklahoma to get around a potential obstacle to value-based contracts.

A possible pitfall is Medicaid’s “best price” requirement, which says if any purchaser gets a really good deal on a drug, then Medicaid has to get that lower price too.

Some interpret that to apply to value-based deals as well, Salo said. That means that if a drug didn’t work too well, and a state paid only 10 percent of the original price, then every other Medicaid program could get the drug for that rock-bottom price, too.

“This seems to allow for paying less for a failed treatment without triggering the ‘best price’ requirement,” Salo said.

Oklahoma spent about $650 million on prescription drugs in the fiscal year that ended June 30, Nesser said, and the change could save “a couple of million, maybe.”

Medicaid patients, primarily children who do not pay for prescriptions and the elderly, whose costs are fixed, would see no pocketbook impact, according to Oklahoma Health Care Authority spokeswoman Jo Stainsby.

“The change we’re looking for is improved health outcomes,” Stainsby said.

Oklahoma is “taking the lead” in working to bring down the cost of medications, the AARP director for the state, Sean Voskuhl, said.

“It is a great example of how states can implement change in the absence of reform at the federal level,” Voskuhl said.

Opinion

OPINION: Expanded laws allow CN to better enforce VAWA
BY BILL JOHN BAKER
Principal Chief
07/05/2018 12:00 PM
The Cherokee Nation remains committed to protecting our women and children from violence. As principal chief, I reinforced that dedication by creating the ONE FIRE program for survivors of domestic violence, and recently, the Tribal Council passed laws that strengthen our ability to protect Native women and children within our own jurisdiction.

The amended titles 21 and 22 of the Cherokee Code Annotated allow the tribe to better enforce the Violence Against Women Act tribal-jurisdiction provisions aimed at preventing domestic abuse and violence against women and children on tribal reservations.

These amendments authorize the CN to prosecute non-Indians for domestic violence, dating violence or violations of protective orders within our jurisdiction. The CN has the authority to hold offenders accountable for their crimes against women and children regardless of the perpetrator’s race. This law will apply to a spouse or partner of a CN citizen or other tribal citizen with ties to our jurisdiction.

Additionally, the Tribal Council also modified Title 12 of the Cherokee Code Annotated, which gives the CN’s District Court the expanded ability to issue and enforce protective orders for acts of domestic violence occurring within the CN. The amendments enable CN courts and CN marshals to combat domestic abuse more effectively.

Native American women suffer from violent crime at some of the highest rates in the United States. With non-Indians constituting a significant percent of the overall population living on tribal lands, it is imperative that we take this action to close the jurisdictional gap in the CN. This will have a significant impact on the health and wellbeing of women and children within the CN’s 14 counties.

I want to commend the CN attorney general’s office for working on this new law for more than two years, and the Tribal Council for taking this major step in flexing the CN’s sovereign muscle to bring justice to Native American victims.

We will continue to offer programs and services that curb the rate of domestic abuse. Our people deserve to live healthy and secure lives within the CN. We have always looked at how our decisions will impact the next seven generations, and providing a safe future for our children and grandchildren is an important part of securing that future.

People

Tehee named Muskogee police chief
BY STAFF REPORTS
07/17/2018 04:15 PM
MUSKOGEE – As of July 14, Cherokee Nation citizen Johnny Tehee, of Vian, was expected to take over as the new chief for the Muskogee Police Department.

Tehee has been with the MPD for more than 30 years. For the past 15 years he’s been the deputy chief to Chief Rex Eskridge, who was to retire on July 13. For about 10 years on the force, he’s specialized in investigating child abuse. Before the promotion, Tehee served as the deputy chief of the Investigation Division.

Tehee said he believes the most important thing to concentrate on is community relations. He wants the community more involved on what the police are doing, and the police more involved on what the community is doing.

“Back about 20 years I ran the Muskogee Police Athletic League, which means all the police officers would coach young kids’ football, baseball and basketball,” Tehee said. “We quit doing that about five or six ago, and I definitely want to get that back in place. I just think it’s a big asset for the community if you have officers involved in young kids’ lives.”

In the 1990s, Tehee said Muskogee had a problem with drugs and gangs with the murder rate high going into the 2000s. Since that time, he said the MPD has put more officers on the street and crime rates have gone down.

“We went from having double digits homicides to one or two a year. For the most part it’s a matter of keeping things going in the right direction,” Tehee said.

He added that he’s “excited and looking forward to the challenges” of being the police chief.

“I want to continue to move the Muskogee Police Department forward and carry on the legacy that was created by Chief Eskridge to remain one of the top law enforcement agencies in Oklahoma,” he said.

Tehee graduated Vian High School in 1982 before studying criminal justice at Northeastern State University. He also graduated from the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s National Academy in Quantico, Virginia. He said he’s been a member of First Baptist Church of Muskogee for more than 30 years and has spent years travelling the world on mission trips. He also said he’s been a long-time teacher in the church’s youth department.

“Deputy Chief Tehee has the experience, the community relationships and leadership skills needed to be an outstanding chief of police,” Muskogee City Manager Mike Collier said. “He has big shoes to fill, but I know he’s more than capable and will do great things in our community.”
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