Cherokee Nation

Courtesy Cherokee Nation / Sequoyah High School

Sequoyah High School in Tahlequah, operated by the Cherokee Nation, reopened for in-person learning Monday after the tribal government received new, rapid test kits from the federal government, allowing school administrators to test all students and staff weekly before they enter the building.

Greater Tulsa Area Indian Affairs Commission

The city of Tulsa's fourth annual Native American Day was held remotely Monday due to the coronavirus pandemic, with streaming performances, speeches, presentations and even a virtual vendors' market.

"Four years ago, the Greater Tulsa Area Indian Affairs Commission, Mayor [G.T] Bynum and the city council made a commitment to celebrate and recognize Native America Day each year on the second Monday of each October," said Matt Roberts, the event's emcee. "We appreciate Mayor Bynum's progressive and inclusive leadership."

Cherokee Nation

Cherokee Nation announced Friday its plans to open a meat processing facility in Tahlequah funded at least partially with federal coronavirus relief money.

"During the COVID-19 pandemic, beef and other meat sources were harder to supply to elders through emergency food distributions, and opening a meat processing facility will help sustain foods for Cherokee citizens and bring in jobs and agricultural opportunities for the tribe," the tribe said in a written statement.

We are pleased to welcome Mark Dolph back to StudioTulsa. He's Curator of History at Gilcrease Museum here in Tulsa. He tells us about an exciting new exhibition at that museum presenting the work of Shan Goshorn, the late Tulsa-area artist.

Music of the Indigenous Peoples of North America

Oct 8, 2020

The Rhythm Atlas Celebrates Indigenous Peoples' Day
Sunday, October 11, 6 - 7 p.m. on KWGS Public Radio 89.5

U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Oklahoma

TAHLEQUAH, Okla. (AP) — U.S. Attorney Bill Barr promised more manpower and federal aid to Oklahoma on Wednesday to help tribal governments and federal prosecutors deal with an increase in criminal cases stemming from a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision.

During a visit to the Cherokee Nation headquarters, Barr said the U.S. Department of Justice plans to fund two federal prosecutor positions in the northern and eastern U.S. districts of Oklahoma to handle the increased caseloads.

Shane T. McCoy / U.S. Marshals

TAHLEQUAH, Okla. (AP) — U.S. Attorney General William Barr is planning a visit to Oklahoma on Wednesday with leaders of the Cherokee Nation and federal prosecutors from Tulsa and Muskogee.

Barr is expected to lead a roundtable discussion at the tribe’s headquarters in Tahlequah with Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr., the tribe’s Attorney General Sara Hill, and U.S. attorneys from the northern and eastern districts of Oklahoma.

Among the topics Barr is expected to discuss is funding for staff increases, according to a spokeswoman for U.S. Attorney Trent Shores.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

The latest tenant of the Cherokee Industrial Park has opened its doors.

Milo’s Tea has a 108,000-square foot production and distribution center there now. It’s the beverage maker’s first location outside its home state of Alabama.

It’s served by Tulsa’s municipal water supply, and the company famously took a tanker truck full back to Bessemer, Alabama, to test its quality in their products. Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum said he’s been asked why he’s so big on the Milo’s facility, which is in Owasso and is bringing 110 jobs there.

Courtesy Cherokee Nation

Cherokee Nation has begun distributing direct-assistance payments to Cherokee elders, Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. said Friday.

"I'm proud to announce that our Respond, Recover and Rebuild Elder Assistance Initiative has been a tremendous success," Hoskin said in a video announcement.

Courtesy Cherokee Nation Wildland Fire Program

The Cherokee Nation has deployed members of its Wildland Fire Management team to assist Indian nations in Western states battle this season's wildfires.

"The suppression program goes all over the United States helping with fires," said program coordinator DeWayne Chuckluck during a Friday phone interview. "They could be East Coast, West Coast, it really doesn't matter. When other tribes request help and we've got some people available, we'll actually send people there."

Cherokee Nation

Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. reflected on a year of difficulties and triumphs in his State of the Nation address.

A recorded speech was made available at noon Saturday during the Cherokee National Holiday. The 68th version of the annual event was held virtually because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The coronavirus, of course, has been the tribe’s primary challenge in 2020. Cherokee Nation has more than 1,500 cases, and 17 citizens have died. Hoskin said he is proud of their response.

National Park Service

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt recommended three Native Americans and two Black Oklahomans as national heroes who should be considered for inclusion in a new National Garden of American Heroes.

Cherokee Nation/Osiyo TV

The Cherokee Nation is mourning the loss of perhaps the greatest contributor to its language since Sequoyah.

Durbin Feeling died at the age of 74. He wrote the Cherokee dictionary and developed versions of the language for computers and smartphones.

Feeling spoke to Osiyo TV last year about his love for the Cherokee language and was asked whether he thought it could be saved.

"It can be, but there’s — there’s a lot of work behind it," Feeling said.

Courtesy

Students marked their entries into medical school on Friday in a white coat ceremony at OSU College of Osteopathic Medicine at the Cherokee Nation.

OSU Center for Health Sciences President and OSU School of Osteopathic Medicine Dean Dr. Kayse Shrum told them while their families and friends couldn’t be present because of the coronavirus pandemic, there’s still plenty of cause for celebration.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — A federal judge ruled Tuesday that Oklahoma’s tribal gaming compacts automatically renewed on Jan. 1, handing a victory to the tribes who sued Gov. Kevin Stitt to renew them.

U.S. District Court Judge Timothy DeGiusti rejected Stitt’s argument that the compacts — which define how much of their gambling revenue the tribes must pay to the state and which games are allowed — had expired.

Stitt expressed disappointment at the ruling.

Twitter / @FLOTUS

TAHLEQUAH, Okla. (AP) — First lady Melania Trump said she hopes to take the Cherokee Nation up on its invitation to visit the tribe’s headquarters in Tahlequah, Oklahoma.

The first lady made the comments Thursday after a meeting of the President’s Task Force on Protecting Children in the Indian Health Service System, which is co-chaired by Trent Shores, U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Oklahoma.

Joe Ravi / CC-BY-SA 3.0

The Muscogee (Creek), Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw and Seminole nations and the State of Oklahoma released an agreement on Thursday to help the state’s congressional delegation write legislation that would settle jurisdictional questions in the wake of last week’s McGirt decision.

Courtesy Cherokee Nation

The Cherokee Nation has announced the postponement of the reopening of its cultural sites, originally planned to begin this month, due to the current trends in the local coronavirus outbreak.

"In coordination with the tribe’s phased reopening plans and the recently announced delay of phase three, all tribal museums, welcome centers, retail operations and the Cherokee Heritage Center will begin to reopen in August," Cherokee Nation said in a statement.

The annual celebration of the signing of the Cherokee Nation Constitution will be a virtual one this year.

The tribe will stream online important events of the 68th annual Cherokee National Holiday, like Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr.’s state of the nation address. Hoskin said the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is behind the move.

Cherokee Nation

Tahlequah, Okla., the capital of Cherokee Nation, is the latest American city to remove statues honoring the Confederacy amid a widespread national clamoring for an end to systemic racism.

“A lot is going on in this country in terms of racial strife and the Cherokee Nation plays a role in healing, and this is one of the ways we can do that,” said Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr.

Courtesy

Cherokee Nation has started reopening its casinos and aims to have Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Tulsa open by the end of next week.

The tribe closed its 10 northeastern Oklahoma casinos March 17 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Properties in Tahlequah, Fort Gibson and Sallisaw reopened this week.

"As we entered phase three for Oklahoma and Tulsa this week, the trends seemed to indicate that it would be safe for us to open on a very strategic basis," said Cherokee Nation Businesses CEO Chuck Garrett.

On a videoconference with Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK) hosted by the Tulsa Regional Chamber on Wednesday, Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. asked the senator to consider allowing any future federal coronavirus aid packages to contain funding that can be used to cover lost revenue, a use currently prohibited in existing aid programs.

US Supreme Court

The U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments today in a case that has enormous implications for Oklahoma.

McGirt v. Oklahoma is the second case before the justices within the span of about 18 months that seeks to resolve whether eastern Oklahoma is still legally an Indian reservation and under the jurisdiction of the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek and Seminole nations,  a status that could upend decades of state criminal convictions of tribal citizens.

Anadisgoi / Cherokee Nation

In a donation spurred by what he called a "dire need of assistance," Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. ordered 5,000 protective facemasks to be sent to Navajo Nation, where COVID-19 rates continue to climb rapidly.

"Today it's the Navajo Nation that's in desperate need," Hoskin said on a Tuesday phone call from Tahlequah, Okla., the Cherokee capital. "The next time around, it could be the Cherokee Nation, and we would want other Indian nations to be there for us."

Tahlequah Area Habitat for Humanity

When Tahlequah Area Habitat For Humanity raised the first walls of its latest house on March 7th, executive director Linda Cheatham expected it to be finished by May. 

Then, the coronavirus pandemic hit.

"We had to stop building in the middle," Cheatham said, adding that when they shut down work, the house had four walls and a roof, but no doors, windows, or siding. The house, she said, had been intended for a Cherokee Nation citizen who is unable to work due to a disability and is considered "very low income." 

U.S. Treasury

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — Several Native American tribes sued the federal government Friday, seeking to keep any of the $8 billion in federal coronavirus relief for tribes kept out of the hands of for-profit Alaska Native corporations.

The U.S. Treasury Department is tasked with doling out the money by April 26 to help tribes nationwide stay afloat, respond to the virus and recover after having to shut down casinos, tourism operations and other businesses that serve as their main moneymakers.

Tribal leaders from across Oklahoma sent Gov. Kevin Stitt a letter on Friday urging him to issue a shelter in place order for the entire state.

A total of 26 tribal leaders signed the letter, including Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr., Chickasaw Nation Gov. Bill Anoatubby, Choctaw Nation Chief Gary Batton and Muscogee (Creek) Nation Chief David Hill.

Courtesy

Casinos operated by the Cherokee and Muscogee (Creek) nations will stay closed through April.

Both tribes shut down their casinos throughout Oklahoma on March 16 as part of their responses to the COVID-19 pandemic.

All casinos are closed, from the tribe’s flagship Hard Rock and River Spirit hotel-resorts in Tulsa to smaller operations, including those at travel stops. Employees are still being paid while the locations are closed.

Cherokee Nation museums and retail operations are also closed.

Jimmy Emerson on Flickr, licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Following the death of a tribal official, Cherokee Nation is preparing to face the coronavirus crisis head-on.

Our guest is the novelist Margaret Verble. Her new book, which she tells us about, is "Cherokee America." Set on the American frontier in the spring of 1875, and specifically in the Cherokee Nation -- which would later be part of Oklahoma -- this novel follows a series of complex family alliances and cultural and racial clashes in the aftermath of the Civil War. It's a vivid (and often funny) novel of blood relations and home lands, of buried histories and half-told truths, and of past grief and present-day harm.

Pages