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P.O. Box 908 Lawton, OK 73502-0908 December 2011 Comanche Code Talkers and George Red Elk are Inducted into Oklahoma Military Hall of Fame Comanche Code Talkers, front er, Larry Saupitty, Melvin ton Mihecody. Back row, left don Codynah Robert Holder, row, left to right: Roderick “Dick” Red Elk, Simmons ParkPermansu, Willie Yackeschi, Charles Chibitty and Willingto right: Morris Sunrise, Perry Noyebad, Ralph Wahnee, HadAlbert Nahquaddy, Clifford Ototivo and Forrest Kassanavoid. Story and photos by Paula Karty/ News Staff George Red Elk, is introduced as an Inductee of the Military Hall of Fame during the banquet held at the Oklahoma Christian University in Edmond Okla. Nov. 11 is a day to remember, not only was it Veteran’s Day, but it was day of history in the making. Comanche tribal member George Red Elk and the Comanche Code Talkers were inducted into the Oklahoma Military Hall of Fame in Edmond, Okla. Red Elk was born Jan. 29, 1948 in Lawton, Okla. After graduating from Lawton Eisenhower High School, he attended Cameron Junior College. In Sept. of 1967 he enlisted into the US Army. From Sept. 1968 to Aug. 1969 he served in Vietnam as Loader, Gunner and Tank Commander in Company D, 1st Squadron, 11th Armored Regiment at Xuan Loc and Zion Firebases. He was wounded in action on Mar. 18, 1969 and was awarded the Army Commendation Medal, Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm, and the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal with 60-devices for service in Vietnam. On Nov. 23, 1973 he was discharged from active duty. From March. 1982 to June. 1991 he served in the 158th Field Artillery Regiment, 45th Infantry Brigade, US Army Oklahoma National Guard. His organization was activated Nov. 21, 1990, and on Jan. 17, 1991 was deployed to Saudi Arabia in support of Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. He was awarded his second Army Commendation Medal for service in the Persian Gulf War. He returned to the United States during May 1991 and on Jun. 9, 1991 was discharged from the Oklahoma National Guard. The induction of the Comanche Code Talkers was long overdue, but rightfully appropriate. Many people know of the Navajo code talkers of World War II. However, 17 Comanches were also recruited specifically to serve as army Code Talkers during the same war. The Comanche Code Talkers were an elite group of young men who were fluent in the Comanche language and used that knowledge, along with the training they were given by the Army, to send critical messages that confused the enemy during World War II. 17 young men were trained in communications, but only See Vets, Page 2 Chef Brian Pekah Rises to the Top By Jolene Schonchin/ News Staff Chef Brian Pekah is busy in the kitchen of the elite international company, Troon Golf. He is putting the finishing touches on his signature dish, a portabella fillet, marinated and grilled, topped with a blue cheese crust fillet, ladled with a caramelized demi-glace. Pekah has come a long way from growing up outside of Indiahoma, Okla. (Camp Seven). He is now the Executive Chef at the Wausau Country Club in Schofield, Wis., making Fine Dining cuisine an art form. “I worked hard to get where I am at,” said Pekah. “I am proof you can achieve all of your goals, no matter what your past may be.” He remembers being around his grandmother, the late Dixie Wermy, in the kitchen, watching her create tasty dishes. As a child, he would walk to her house and help her make her famous biscuits and other dishes for the family. He says he owes all his accom- was killed in a motorcycle wreck, Pekah failed his classes. When Pekah was accepted into Southwest Indian Poly Tech Institute (SIPI) in Albuquerque, N.M., the Higher Education Director, Johnny Wauqua, had a stern talk with him about getting his priorities straight and to finish his higher education. “The talk Mr. Wauqua had with me worked,” said Pekah. “I was not going to come back to Oklahoma with my head down.” Courtesy Photo Pekah At 19, he began classes at SIPI, graduating with an Asplishments in the kitchen to his As a teenager, Pekah grandmother Wermy, who in- says he was mischievous, and sociate’s Degree in Culinary spired him to become a profes- was sent to Carter Boarding Arts. He received a full scholsional chef. His grandmother School for disciplinary rea- arship to go to New Mexico worked at the Lawton Indian sons. As he worked to get his State University in Las Cruces, Hospital as a cook and he can GED, he also was taking cu- NM. Pekah was accepted into remember going to work with linary classes and finished the the Phi Beta CAPA at SIPI and her and watching her cook for school with both a GED and a maintained his membership the patients in the hospital. He Culinary Certificate from SE throughout New Mexico State College. He graduated with a liked seeing his grandmother Oklahoma Vo-Tech. in her white hat and coat, and When Pekah finished at bachelor’s degree in Restauhe knew he would someday Carter, he went to Oklahoma See PEKAH, Page 4 wear that uniform. State, but after his roommate PR SRT STD US POSTAGE PAID Lawton, OK PERMIT NO 49 STIGLER, OK 74462 VOLUME 11 EDITION 12 US Congress Deals Major Setback to Tribal Justice Programs Cuts to funding sets back projected tribal law enforcement gains Thom Wallace, NCAI The US Congress has leveled a major setback to Indian tribes in need of critical resources to combat the highest crime rates in the country. A decision by Congress to cut over $90 million from proposed funding for essential Department of Justice measures in Indian Country leaves tribal law enforcement and federal personnel with far too few resources to fight crime on tribal lands. Signed into law last year with bipartisan support, The Tribal Law & Order Act (TLOA) set out to reduce crime in Indian Country by making improvements to the way criminal justice is administered on tribal lands and reauthorizing critical tribal justice programs. The recent funding cut will make the Act’s intended goals very difficult to attain. The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), the nation’s leading tribal advocacy organization, is calling this a failure of significant proportions. “We understand these are tight budget times but this is a failure of the worst kind. Tribes and the federal government were finally working together to tackle major crime and security issues. Now the House and Senate have irresponsibly cut crime fighting efforts in communities that need it the most,” said Jefferson Keel, President of NCAI and a member of the Indian Law and Order Commission – an independent commission established by the TLOA. “NCAI urges Congress to immediately restore tribal law enforcement funding levels and reinstate the 7% tribal set-aside of OJP programs.” Indian reservations nationwide face violent crime rates more than 2.5 times the national rate, and some reservations face more than 20 times the national rate of violence. Non-Native offenders, immune to tribal prosecution, are many times responsible for violent crimes, gang activity, and drug trafficking on tribal lands. The TLOA provides tribal and federal law enforcement officials the tools to work together to combat crime and prosecute these offenders. Initial programs are beginning to make significant reductions in crime but implementation of the law is in its early stages. These cuts slash core funding at a critical time and chip away at the gains made since the TLOA was passed. See LAW, Page 4

December 2011

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