Page 1



14 17 3 Message from the Chief

11 Business • Lakeside attraction: Cherokee Nation bringing jobs, entertainment to Grand Lake

4 News • A new base of care: Health center expands range of services to community • The growth factor: Cherokee Nation’s main complex undergoes big changes • Healthy transformation: IHS health care agreement moves forward with health center expansion plans • Treasurer appointed to U.S. Treasury Tribal Advisory Committee • Real appreciation: Car tag program benefits public schools and Cherokee students • Range of possibility: New archery park to be named for Cherokee archery legend • Making dreams come true: Roland families to receive new homes through program • Lighting the way: Infrastructure improvements aimed at attracting more business to small town • Cherokees Vote initiative critical in 2016

Editor Executive Editor Managing Editor Designer Contributing Staff

Amanda Clinton Travis Noland Karen Shade Stephanie Remer Julie Hubbard Tyler Thomas Tim Landes Jason McCarty

19 Features • The Boys of Summer: Before the season of ballpark cheers disappears, Anadisgoi Magazine takes a look at how Cherokees have helped shape the national pastime

• Diversification key to new growth: Cherokee Nation Businesses builds on success, creates jobs

• Before Jackie: Native Americans joined the ranks of the MLB in its earliest years and left a unique mark on professional baseball

• Kawi Café named Education Program of the Year

• Cherokees at the plate: A new generation of Cherokee Nation citizens are rounding the bases in today’s pro baseball

14 Culture • Home for the Holiday: Head homeward for the fun and fanfare of the 64th Annual Cherokee National Holiday celebration • Art show honors: Artist Troy Jackson takes top honors at Trail of Tears Art Show

• A plan for the cure: Cherokee Nation takes big step to eliminate hepatitis C

25 Lifestyle

• Osiyo, Voices of the Cherokee People wins Emmy gold

• Gourmet on the go: LeGrubs’ food truck maestro Justin Phillips sets the pace of cuisine on wheels

• Embracing her culture: New curator connects at the Cherokee Heritage Center

• Recipe: LeGrubs’ bunless bison burger is positively perfect for your summer grill

• On history’s trail: 2016 Remember the Removal Ride cyclists complete their Trail of Tears journey


Whitney Dittman Leanna Reeder Alicia Buffer Ashley Beck Andoe

Anadisgoi (ah-nah-dee-sko-EE): Cherokee for "what people are saying."

Baseball cards of Robert Johnson (played 1933-45) and Dylan Bundy (2012-present) show the long line of Cherokee Nation citizens to play in the MLB. Background photo by Ffooter/ Topps® Baseball Trading Card used courtesy of The Topps Company, Inc.

Contact Anadisgoi magazine by email at The Official Cherokee Nation News




OSIYO. You may have caught a previous episode of “Osiyo, Voices of the Cherokee People” and learned about the 50 Natives known for breaking the color barrier in Major League Baseball. As a tribute to them, and since we are midway through this year’s baseball season, we found it fitting to share more about the experiences of several Cherokees who made a career out of hitting home runs or striking out batters.   These men made their way from small town America to the big leagues. Many played the sport with the likes of Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays. Throughout the history of MLB, Cherokee Nation citizens have played a part, and today several are having their day on the field.   We have numerous young men working their way up through the minor leagues to play on major league teams across the country. Ryan Helsley is one of these players. If you missed his story on “Osiyo, Voices of the Cherokee People,” you can find it online at Some of these players, like Jon Gray, are already showcasing their talent at the top level.

  Cherokee people have excelled at the most rigorous sports, dating back to the intense battles on the stickball field. Aside from baseball, we have numerous citizens serving as role models in a variety of professional sports, including basketball, boxing, martial arts, bass fishing, bull riding, trick riding, sky diving and even the NFL. We want the children living in some of the most rural areas of the Cherokee Nation to know that they, too, can follow their dreams.   The path to success is what you pave. Each and every day, children must understand that putting the work into reaching their lifelong dream is what they must focus on as they mature. Yes, many stray from the path, and that is OK. There are many important life lessons that can be learned through participating in sports.   For some, hard work and determination will lead them to great success, and one day we’ll be reading about their athletic accomplishments.


Bill John Baker

Cherokee Nation Principal Chief

make our story part of yours Take home “Osiyo, Voices of the Cherokee People” Season 1 on DVD. The 2-disc DVD set includes all the stories about Cherokee history, culture and people from the first season of the 2016 Telly Award winner hosted by Emmy-winning journalist and Cherokee Nation citizen Jennifer Loren.

Ava i l a b l e f o r $ 2 4 .9 8 o n ly a t C hero k ee N a t i o n G i f t Sho p locat ion s an d on lin e at Ch e roke e Gift S h op . com .


A new base of care New health center in Jay expands services

Cherokee Nation opened its new $14 million Sam Hider Health

Health Services. “With the combination of modern facilities and Center in Jay, Oklahoma, this spring. first-class health care providers, Cherokee Nation citizens can rest   The 42,000-square-foot health center replaces an aging assured they are receiving top quality care at Sam Hider Health 26,000-square-foot facility that was more than 80 years old. It Center and all Cherokee Nation medical facilities.” offers a physical therapy department for the first time in addition   The new Sam Hider Health Center is the fourth project comto adding space for primary care, dental, optometry, radiology, pleted under a $100 million health care capital improvement plan behavioral health, public health using casino profits. Also in Oklanursing, pharmacy, laboratory, homa, Cherokee Nation opened a nutrition, WIC and diabetes care new health center in Ochelata and services. expanded health centers in Sallisaw   “Dedicating the Sam Hider and Stilwell in 2015. Health Center means we’ve now   Cherokee Nation Construction opened four health care centers Resources, a wholly owned that have either been expanded or company of the Cherokee are brand new within our health Nation, served as contactor for system. This state-of-the-art facility the new health center. Selser in Delaware County will enable the Schaefer Architects designed the tribe to provide the kind of health facility. care our Cherokee people deserve,”   “The Sam Hider Health Center said Cherokee Nation Principal staff is very excited about the new Chief Bill John Baker. facility,” said Mike Fisher, clinic   In 2015, the health center had administrator. “This new center is more than 77,000 patient visits going to impact the community and issued nearly 154,000 prescrip- The new Sam Hider Health Center allows the Cherokee Nation to provide greater significantly.” access to health services for its citizens. BELOW: With 42,000 square-feet, the new tions. The new center allows staff   The building is named in honor health center opened in spring 2016. to more efficiently address and of the late Rev. Sam Hider, who better meet patient health needs. was pastor of the Piney Baptist   “The Cherokee Nation is the standard bearer in health care in Church, taught Cherokee language classes, led gospel singings not only Indian Country but throughout the United States, and and helped former Chief W.W. Keeler lay the foundation for the this new facility along with other projects only reinforces that present-day Cherokee Nation. status,” said Connie Davis, executive director of Cherokee Nation

The Official Cherokee Nation News




An artist’s rendering of the W.W. Keeler Tribal Complex’s second story addition, currently under construction.

The growth factor Changes coming to Cherokee Nation complex

Cherokee Nation’s tribal complex in Tahlequah, Oklahoma,

years, our staff has grown as we keep expanding programs and services that benefit Cherokee people.” is undergoing major changes, including a 31,550-square-foot   A canopy will be built over the main entry of the complex to second-story addition on the west end of the building to help shelter people as they enter and exit. Other renovations inaccommodate the tribe’s growing workforce. clude the installation of a more   The W.W. Keeler Tribal energy-efficient HVAC system Complex was last renovated in and a new pitched metal roof 1992. With the addition, the over the single-story portion building will be about 117,000 of the complex to match the square feet. Excluding health second-floor addition. centers, the Cherokee Nation   “Historically, the Cherokee employs 2,250 people. Only Nation has been a good steward about 400 employees work in of financial resources, and these the tribe’s main complex due to infrastructure upgrades are no space limitations. different. The expansion and   More than 150,000 visitors improvements are smart investalso pass through the complex ments because they will have each year for tribal services or a positive impact on so many to see the tribe’s government. Cherokee Nation citizens for   “We are investing in the years and years,” said Secretary future of our tribe by making of State Chuck Hoskin Jr. some long overdue improveAn artist’s rendering of the new entrance canopy at the complex main entrance.   Architectural firm Childers ments. It’s been more than 20 Architect designed the W.W. years since we made quality Keeler Complex renovation project. The company also designed improvements to our tribal headquarters, and it’s greatly needed,” Three Rivers Health Center and Vinita Health Center. The project said Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker. “Over the is expected to be complete by next summer. 5


The Official Cherokee Nation News


Healthy transformation Tribe and IHS move forward on health care agreement

Cherokee Nation has signed a deal with Indian Health Service to secure the largest joint

venture funding project ever among tribes. The agreement allows for IHS to fund a health center at an estimated $80 million or more per year. The funding would last a minimum of 20 years, or potentially for the life of the center.   IHS is the agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that funds and provides American Indians health care.   The historic agreement opens the door for the Cherokee Nation to pay more than $150 million for the construction of a 450,000-square-foot health center in Tahlequah, Oklahoma, that will be the largest ever built among tribes across the nation under IHS. Under the agreement, IHS will request funding for staffing and operating expenses each year for at least 20 years once the hospital reaches capacity.   “This agreement secured with IHS will be absolutely transformative for the Cherokee Nation and our ability to deliver world-class health care for future generations in northeastern Oklahoma,” Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker said. “IHS saw Cherokee Nation as a good partner to deliver quality care, and together we are making the health of Indian Country our top priority.”   Chief Baker, Chief of Staff Chuck Hoskin, Tribal Council Speaker Joe Byrd, Executive Director of Cherokee Nation Health Services Connie Davis, Deputy Director of Health Services Charles Grim, Chief Executive Officer at W.W. Hastings Hospital Brian Hail, IHS Principal Deputy Director Robert G. McSwain and IHS Director of Environmental Health and Engineering Gary Hartz signed the agreement at the IHS headquarters in Rockville, Maryland.   “For more than two decades, the competitive IHS Joint Venture Construction Program has strengthened partnerships with tribes across the country and ensured that comprehensive, culturally acceptable health services are available and accessible to American Indian and Alaska Native people,” McSwain said. “This new agreement with the Cherokee Nation for the facility in Tahlequah is an important step toward raising the health of our people to the highest level.”   The health center will be an addition on the existing 190,000-square-foot W.W. Hastings Hospital campus in Tahlequah. The new addition will create jobs and expand new specialty services, such as surgeons and endocrinology, which currently are not offered at Hastings.   “This agreement will provide the Cherokee Nation an opportunity to better meet the demand and needs of our Cherokee Nation citizens and other Native Americans who access our health system,” said Davis, who worked as a nurse in the original Indian Hospital in Tahlequah that was a five-room ward. “I’m so grateful for this partnership with IHS to ensure the future of health for our people and future generations.”   Other services to be housed in the new facility are ambulatory care, podiatry, a WIC program, audiology, dental care, eye care, primary care, specialty care, diagnostic imaging, a laboratory, a pharmacy, rehabilitation services, surgery, behavioral health, health education, public health nursing, public health nutrition and a wellness center.   Cherokee Nation has operated the hospital since 2008 and operates the largest tribal health system in the country, with more than 1.2 million patient visits per year.

Treasurer appointed to US Treasury’s Tribal Advisory Committee Cherokee Nation Treasurer Lacey Horn was recently appointed to the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Tribal Advisory Committee.   Horn, of Vian, will join two other Native representatives on the seven-person committee as they advise the secretary of treasury on taxation of American Indians, the training of Internal Revenue Service field agents, and training and technical assistance to Native American financial officers.   Horn’s nomination was endorsed by a resolution passed by the Inter-Tribal Council of the Five Civilized Tribes in April.   Horn has served as the tribe’s treasurer since 2011. While in office, she has helped upgrade the tribe’s bond rating, promoted financial disclosure and transparency, and received numerous “Excellence in Financial Reporting” awards from the Government Finance Officers Association.   She was named to Oklahoma Magazine’s “40 under 40” list in 2012 and “Executive of the Year” by the Native American Finance Officers Association in 2014. Horn also made the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development's Native American “40 under 40” list in 2015.

Cherokee Nation Treasurer Lacey Horn


Real appreciation

Tribal car tag program donations increased by 370 percent over past decade

Cherokee Nation awarded a record $4.7 million in donations

Vinson of Warner Schools in Muskogee County. “It’s meaningful because we get to choose how to spend it, and for the last to 106 school districts during the tribe’s annual Public School four years we have used it to employ staff that work directly with Appreciation Day. students in our reading assistance program.”   The tribe sells tribal car tags and uses 38 percent of revenue for   Claremore Public Schools had to curb spending for classroom education. The first full year that Cherokee Nation car tags were materials during the school year. sold statewide was in 2015. Car   “We are so short right now that tag revenues for education during we’ve put a block on supplies,” that time increased from $4 milSchool districts in the following counties received Claremore Superintendent Michael lion to $4.7 million. the following donation amounts during 2016 Public McClaren said. “This gracious award   “As the state allocates less each School Appreciation Day: from the Cherokee Nation will help year to public education, Cherokee our teachers and provide some of the Nation is making a record-breakAdair $412,260 Ottawa $73,452 routine resources they have not had ing contribution to area schools. Cherokee $780,516 Rogers $469,004 this year.” That’s something that our tribal Craig $137,309 Sequoyah $409,448   Since 2002, the tribe has awarded citizens can take great pride in. Delaware $337,319 Tulsa $788,291 2016million total in education $40.1 We are investing in our children, Mayes $411,764 Wagoner $132,181 donations from car tag revenue to investing in our communities and Muskogee $495,970 Washington $147,401 about 100 school districts in northeast investing in our future as CheroNowata $79,739 Osage $3,474 Oklahoma. In that time, donations kees and as Oklahomans,” said have increased 370 percent. Cherokee Nation Principal Chief    “With the success of car tag sales Bill John Baker. expanding statewide, the Cherokee Nation Tax Commission   School superintendents have no restrictions and can use the is so grateful to be able to make a positive impact in more funds at the district’s discretion, which is especially helpful as classrooms than ever before,” said Tax Commission Administrator schools struggle from state budget cuts. Sharon Swepston.   “In today’s funding climate, I don’t know what we would do without the support of the tag money,” said Superintendent David

Cherokee Nation














The Official Cherokee Nation News


Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker (L to R) and Deputy Chief S. Joe Crittenden visit with archery legend Joe Thornton at a groundbreaking ceremony for the tribe’s future archery range.

Watch Joe’s story on

Range of possibility Archery park being built on tribal land

Cherokee Nation is building a public archery range near the

  Thornton won the World Archery Championship in Oslo, Norway, in 1961 and the British National Championship in tribe’s main complex in Tahlequah. It is the first range to ever be 1962. He was a member of the USA World Champion Archery built on tribal lands and will become only the third public archery team. park in Oklahoma.   The Cherokee Nation is providing the   The Joe Thornton Archery Range, land for the archery range. Fifty thousand opening by Labor Day weekend in a field dollars to help build the park was provided just west of the tribe’s complex, will bear by the Archery Trade Association, which the name of Cherokee Nation citizen Joe helps states start archery parks. The OklaThornton, the 1961 World Archery Chamhoma Wildlife Department provides archery pion. kits to schools so they may attend the range.   The 100-year-old Thornton was surprised   “One of the popular features is a tower with the honor on April 20 at a ground​stand. A lot of hunters like to hunt off the breaking attended by Cherokee Nation and ground, and finding a place to practice in Oklahoma Wildlife Department officials. Tahlequah is not always easy,” said Okla  “The Cherokee people have a long and homa Department of Wildlife Education culturally significant history with archery, Cherokee Nation Management Resources Executive Director Supervisor Colin Berg. but no modern-day Cherokee is more Bruce Davis, Principal Chief Bill John Baker and Facilities   The park will feature a 70-meter Olympic famous with a bow than Joe Thornton,” Director Taylor Alsenay view the conceptual layout of the style range with a 125-foot awning to shield Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John future archery park. archers from the weather. There will also be Baker said.  a tower, restrooms and a 3D range.   Thornton learned to shoot a bow and arrow in high school at   The Cherokee Nation education services department offers Chilocco Indian School in north central Oklahoma. After serving archery camps each summer. The range will also be used for cornin the Army, he returned to Oklahoma, found several archery stalk shoot competitions. clubs and began competing.   “I’m very happy to see a good archery range here and would For more information on the archery park, call coordinator Brian Jackson like to see other archers come along and be world champions. I at 918-453-5000 ext. 7053. believe it is a possibility,” Thornton said. The Official Cherokee Nation News

Anadisgoi 8

NEWS ᎧᏃᎮᏓ Twenty-three new homes built in Roland, Oklahoma, are some of the latest houses under construction for Cherokee Nation citizens.

Making dreams come true

Roland families receive new homes through New Home Construction Program

The dream of homeownership will soon be a reality for 23

  CNB is also funding the construction of 29 homes in West Cherokee families in Roland, Oklahoma, a town of about 3,500 Siloam Springs and 30 homes in Vian, both inside the Cherokee in eastern Sequoyah County. Families will receive keys to the Nation’s 14-county jurisdiction in Oklahoma. new homes made available through the Housing Authority of   “It’s an honor to be in a position as a company to help the the Cherokee Nation’s New Home Construction Program. Cherokee Nation build safe, affordable housing for Cherokee   The 23 three-bedroom homes were built on property owned Nation citizens,” said Chuck Garrett, executive vice president of by Cherokee Nation Businesses for the housing construction Cherokee Nation Businesses. “Our expertise and financial posiprogram, implemented in 2012 by Cherokee Nation Principal tion have allowed us to build more homes quicker and fulfill the Chief Bill John Baker. Home recipients are selected from the dreams of homeownership for many Cherokee families.” housing authority’s waiting list of   Since the announcement of the applicants who do not already own program in April 2012, Cherokee land. Nation has built 343 new homes   “We are creating unprecedented and has another 125 under conopportunities for Cherokee famistruction throughout the tribe’s lies to have a brighter and better jurisdiction. future through homeownership,”   “The Housing Authority of the said Cherokee Nation Secretary of Cherokee Nation is very proud State Chuck Hoskin Jr. “Hundreds of this program and the positive of Cherokee youth will know the change it makes in the lives of our - Chuck Garrett, Executive VP, Cherokee Nation Businesses stability and security of growing up citizens,” said Gary Cooper, execuin a safe, quality-built home.   tive director of the Housing Author  The positive effects created by the Housing Authority of the ity of the Cherokee Nation. “This program is so special because Cherokee Nation over the past four years are historic and will it helps our citizens achieve the dream of homeownership and reverberate for generations of tribal citizens. Equally important creates stability for families throughout the Cherokee Nation.” is the number of good jobs we have developed for Cherokees   The program is not limited to low-income Cherokee citizens. and TERO-certified businesses by revitalizing the New Home Applicants must show they have an income level of at least Construction Program. It’s been a win-win for our tribe,” $15,000 per year, and applicants who own land receive Hoskin said. preference.

“It’s an honor to be in a position as a company to help Cherokee Nation build safe, affordable housing for Cherokee Nation citizens,”

For more information on the New Home Construction Program, call 800-837-2869 or visit 9


The Official Cherokee Nation News


Lighting the way

Infrastracture updates make industrial park safer

Cherokee Nation completed a $1.7 million road improvement project to help lure

more businesses into a Stilwell, Oklahoma, industrial park.   The project includes new, durable concrete lanes, asphalt repaving and 32 solarpowered streetlights at the Cherokee Nation Industrial Park, which houses Facet and the tribe’s food distribution center in Adair County.   “With so many Cherokee Nation citizens living, working and raising their families in and around the Stilwell community, making this upgrade ensures their safety and allows commerce to keep moving forward,” said Cherokee Nation Deputy Principal Chief S. Joe Crittenden. “Expansion of the road means we are able to better keep community drivers out of harm’s way and, in the long run, make it more attractive for future business development.”   Cherokee Nation Roads Department replaced the deteriorating Industrial Road near U.S. Highway 59 with 14-foot, curbed concrete lanes to accommodate the heavy truck traffic. The nearly mile-long project features repaved asphalt and wider lanes.   The project also features 32 solar-powered streetlights that are estimated to save $50,000 in lighting costs over 10 years. It is the first project completed by the tribe’s roads department using solar-powered lighting along the roadway.   The project was funded from the tribal transportation program budget.   “Improving this road is another smart investment the tribe has made in Adair County,” said Cherokee Nation Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin Jr. “It’s important that the Cherokee Nation partners with state, county and community governments to ensure our dollars are maximized and local citizens reap the benefits.”   Cherokee Nation completed more than 72 miles of roadway and two bridge projects in fiscal year 2015 at a cost of more than $7.1 million.

(L to R) Cherokee Nation Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin Jr., Tribal Council Secretary Frankie Hargis, Principal Chief Bill John Baker, Deputy Chief S. Joe Crittenden, Roads Director Michael Lynn and Infrastructure Data Coordinator Sherry Waters cut the ribbon on improvements at an industrial park in Stilwell, Oklahoma.

Cherokees Vote initiative critical in 2016

To better engage Cherokee Nation citizens in a big election year, Cherokees Vote will be active in the tribe’s 14-county jurisdiction as well as at Cherokee Nation community meetings across the country.   Since its inception three years ago as Project 320K, the voter engagement and participation program has registered more than 3,900 Cherokee Nation citizens to vote in tribal elections and more than 1,300 in state and federal elections.   “We continue to raise this conversation because so many people are still unregistered or do not cast a vote,” said Cherokee Nation Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin Jr. “If all tribal citizens in Oklahoma would vote in state and federal elections, there would be a profound shift in political power. As Indian people, our issues must be on the radars of candidates.”   Cohle Fowler, Cherokees Vote coordinator, said he expects an increase in voter participation as the program’s visibility and activity increase. In 2014, less than 30 percent of Oklahoma’s eligible voters went to the polls.   “Through this program, the tribe is sending a message to Cherokee people that voting is important, and so is teaching kids to one day play their role,” Fowler said. “We hope voting will become a family activity.”   Today, Cherokee Nation has more than 330,000 tribal citizens. For more on Cherokees Vote, contact Fowler at or 918-506-8963. The Official Cherokee Nation News




An artist’s rendering of Cherokee Casino Grove, now under construction.

Lakeside attraction

Cherokee Nation bringing 175 jobs, more entertainment to Grove herokee Nation and Cherokee Nation Entertainment continC ue work on a new casino that will bring 175 jobs to the Grove,

venue, a dance floor and complimentary non-alcoholic drinks. The rustic, lodge-style venue will offer event space for hosting private and community events and an outdoor patio.   “We’ve had an interest in the Grove area for years,” said Shawn Slaton, chief executive officer of Cherokee Nation Businesses, the parent company of Cherokee Nation Entertainment. “The lakeside community is attractive because of its leisure lifestyle, so the casino’s offerings and amenities will cater to that lifestyle as well as bring the best entertainment experience to the area.”   The tribe purchased the 24acre site in 2013. The casino is expected to be complete this winter at an approximate cost of $23 million.

Oklahoma, area. The new property will be the tribe’s 10th casino.   “As Principal Chief, nothing makes me prouder than providing quality jobs for the Cherokee people,” said Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker. “Our entertainment division consistently brings to the market the best jobs and the best entertainment options. The jobs created by this venue drive our economy, and the financial success of our businesses is reinvested throughout northeast Oklahoma to provide a better quality of life for the Cherokee people.”   The 39,000-square-foot facility will feature 400 electronic games, a restaurant, a full-service bar, a live music Construction crew hoists a beam to commemorate the topping out on the new Cherokee Casino Grove.



The Official Cherokee Nation News


Diversification key to new growth

CNB brings increased revenue, job growth to Cherokee Nation

Kawi Café named Education Program of the Year

by Leanna Reeder n 2008, while the United States faced what became the worst recession since the Great IDepression, Cherokee Nation Businesses was diversifying the Cherokee Nation’s

economic portfolio. This strategic move to leverage CNB’s increasingly successful gaming and hospitality business into new, diversified business efforts proved successful.   The tribe’s economic portfolio now includes industries such as environmental and construction, health care, manufacturing and distribution services, real estate, security and defense, technology, and gaming and hospitality.   Although the U.S. unemployment rate reached double digits by 2009, CNB’s diversified portfolio steadily increased its workforce. The diversified businesses team began with a handful of employees and now represents more than 20 percent of the tribe’s employment.   “Our diversified businesses have experienced tremendous growth and success over the past eight years,” said Steven Bilby, president of CNB’s diversified businesses. “Our steady increase in revenue and continued employment growth demonstrate the strength of our businesses and speak volumes to our team’s hard work and unwavering dedication to customer service.”   CNB’s diversified portfolio, which operates more than 40 companies, has increased revenues by more than $232 million since 2008. It has grown to represent more than 25 percent of the company’s overall revenue. The continued growth in revenue allows the tribe and its businesses to now employ more than 10,000 people and fund more services than ever for Cherokee Nation citizens. This growth means Cherokee Nation now has an annual $1.5 billion impact on Oklahoma’s economy.   CNB’s diversified businesses span multiple industries and include partnerships with clients and federal agencies such as the U.S. Department of Defense, AT&T, Ball Aerospace, Bell Helicopter, Boeing Co., U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs, Cisco, Lockheed Martin, Lucent Technologies, Sikorsky, Environmental Protection Agency, Federal Aviation Administration, Department of Homeland Security, the U.S. military and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.   “At CNB, the diversified businesses team has proven time and time again to be adept at providing superior services across multiple industries. That is a testament to our talented staff and its ability to keep evolving in a growing global economy,” said Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker. “The leadership at CNB continually finds opportunities that bring fiscal value to our clients and strengthen the tribe’s economic impact.” $250M $200M $150M $100M $50M 0









(L to R) Cherokee Nation Commerce Executive Director Anna Knight, Treasurer Lacey Horn, Tribal Council Speaker Joe Byrd and NAFOA President Bill Lomax.

Cherokee Nation’s Kawi Café, in downtown Tahlequah, was named Education Program of the Year by the Native American Finance Officers Association.   Kawi Café was started two years ago as a hands-on business training program for aspiring Native American entrepreneurs.   Nearly 50 Natives have completed the program, learning to write business plans, manage payrolls and run day-to-day operations of a company. Cherokee Nation’s Commerce team, in partnership with Cherokee Nation Career Services, developed the program. It’s funded through an Administration for Native Americans SEDS grant.   Kawi Café serves everything from breakfast panini to Cherokee blend brewed coffee and squash casserole made from the tribe’s heirloom seed garden.   The café rotates about nine trainees to work up to 40 hours per week for four months. Students work with Cherokee Nation business coaches to learn inventory tracking, staff management, cash handling, customer service, marketing a business, financial planning and business plan development.   Cherokee Nation Tribal Council Speaker Joe Byrd, Treasurer Lacey Horn and Commerce Executive Director Anna Knight accepted the award at the NAFOA’s 34th annual conference, held at Gila River Indian Community’s Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort in Arizona.

The Official Cherokee Nation News





H O M E S . H E A LT H . H O P E .


Home for the Holiday

Cherokee Nation celebrates history, heritage and culture at 64th Cherokee National Holiday ith more than 100,000 people expected to attend, the W Cherokee National Holiday is the Cherokee Nation’s chance to

showcase the tribe’s vibrant culture and rich history, while also reuniting family and friends.   “Stewards of Our Land” is the theme for the 64th Cherokee National Holiday, which runs through Labor Day weekend, Sept. 2-4, in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. The theme signifies how Cherokee people have, since time immemorial, protected the Earth and safeguarded its precious natural resources.   The yearly celebration commemorates the signing of the Cherokee Nation Constitution in 1839.   “The Cherokee National Holiday is a unique and wonderful experience of Cherokee history, heritage and culture,” said Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker. “From the powwow to the downtown parade, from the cultural activities to the traditional Cherokee games, and from the great food to the wonderful music, the Cherokee National Holiday offers something for everyone wanting to experience and enjoy Cherokee Nation history and heritage. We hope everyone is able to come to our tribe’s capital and enjoy the hospitality of the Cherokee Nation.”   Cherokee National Holiday attendees will get to participate in events such as traditional foods demonstrations and the Jason Christie Kids Fishing Derby hosted by Cherokee Nation citizen and pro bass angler Christie. Visitors will get to weave baskets and make clay medallions, cornhusk dolls and stickball sticks as part of the traditional and cultural activities offered.   Visitors are also able to experience such annual marquee events as the powwow, parade and State of the Nation address. The always popular Cherokee National Holiday parade travels down Muskogee Avenue in downtown Tahlequah and is the only parade in the state announced in both Cherokee and English.   It is followed by Principal Chief Baker’s State of the Nation address at the Cherokee Nation Capitol Square. The speech has been a tradition at this site since the mid-1800s for citizens who want to hear highlights from the tribe’s year of progress.   The Cherokee National Holiday Intertribal Powwow is one of the biggest draws of the annual celebration, with more than 15,000 people attending in 2015. The two-night event offers more than $35,000 in prize money for Southern straight, Northern traditional, fancy, jingle and other dance categories for men and women and all ages. A young grass dancer competes during the 2015 Cherokee National Holiday powwow.

To find a complete list of holiday events, visit and click on the Cherokee National Holiday link under “Quick Links.” The Official Cherokee Nation News





Art show honors The Cherokee Heritage Center named the winners of the 45th Annual Trail of Tears Art Show and Sale in April at the Cherokee Heritage Center. The 2016 Grand Prize was awarded to Troy Jackson, a Cherokee Nation citizen, for his sculpture, “The Building of a Nation.”   The longest-running Native American art show in Oklahoma features a variety of authentic Native American art. The show exhibit concluded in May.   “Art continues to play a vital role in the preservation and promotion of our native cultures,” said Dr. Candessa Tehee, executive director of the Cherokee Heritage Center. “It is an honor and privilege to recognize these talented artists and thank them for their dedication to their craft and, most importantly, their tribe.” For a list of winners by category, visit under the archive tab.

Trail of Tears Art Show Grand Prize: Troy Jackson, Cherokee Nation, “The Building of a Nation”

The winner is …

OsiyoTV wins Emmy for Best Cultural Documentary

The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences has honored “Osiyo, Voices of the

Cherokee People” with a Heartland Chapter Regional Emmy Award. The show’s special “Remember the Removal Ride” episode won for Best Cultural Documentary. The show was also nominated in four other categories.   “The Cherokee Nation has a rich, complex and powerful narrative, and the television program allows us to share our inspiring stories with the world. It is an excellent means of preserving our past and creating a historical record for future generations,” said Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker. “I am proud to see our episode on the bike ride being recognized for its efforts toward preserving our history and culture. This honor is well deserved.”   The episode documented the 2015 Remember the Removal Bike Ride, where 19 Cherokees retraced their ancestors’ forced trek more than 175 years ago on the Trail of Tears. Participants cycled more than 950 miles through seven states, testing their physical and mental endurance. “Osiyo, Voices of the Cherokee People” followed their journey from Georgia to Oklahoma, capturing the riders’ emotional and physical struggles.   The 30-minute series was conceptualized and created by CNB Vice President of Communications Amanda Clinton "Osiyo, Voices of the Cherokee People” team members picked up and is hosted and produced by Emmy Awards for their documentary on the Remember the Emmy-winning journalist Jennifer Removal Ride. Pictured are (L to R) Charles Elmore, lead editor; Loren. It features the people, places, Jennifer Loren, host and executive producer; Sterlin Harjo, director history and culture of the Cherokee and producer; and Jeremy Charles, director and producer. Nation. New episodes are produced Not pictured: Amanda Clinton, co-creator and producer monthly.   “It’s surreal to think how far we’ve come in just two years,” Clinton said. “It seems like yesterday I was asked to create a program that Cherokees would enjoy, while instilling pride in our people. As the team and the pieces came together, it was magical. At that time I never dreamed we’d bring an Emmy home to the Cherokee Nation. On a personal note, as a Cherokee from Mayes County, I feel very blessed to have such creative freedom to communicate to fellow Cherokees and am very grateful to Chief Baker and CNB for all the support.”   “As a Cherokee Nation citizen, I am honored to have this platform to finally show the world who we are, telling authentic stories about Cherokee people,” Loren said. “While awards like the Emmys are thrilling, I believe they are simply a reflection of the great people of the Cherokee Nation and a validation that we have unique and inspiring stories to tell. It’s an honor for our team who works on this show every day. We spent countless hours on the winning episode and poured our hearts into telling this story, a journey that will always hold a special place in our hearts and minds.”   FireThief Productions, co-owned by Native filmmakers Jeremy Charles (Cherokee) and Sterlin Harjo (Seminole), is the production studio behind “Osiyo, Voices of the Cherokee People.” Charles, Harjo and lead editor Charles Elmore shared in the honor for their outstanding documentary work on the series. To watch the Emmy-winning documentary on the Remember the Removal Ride or other episodes, visit



The Official Cherokee Nation News


Embracing her culture New curator has personal connection to Cherokee Heritage Center by Whitney Dittman

Cherokee Heritage Center Curator Callie Chunestudy is at home in the center’s art collections.

Growing up in California could have weakened her connection

to her tribe, but Callie Chunestudy was encouraged by family to explore and embrace her Cherokee heritage from an early age. She recently joined the Cherokee Heritage Center in Park Hill, Oklahoma, as its new curator and couldn’t feel more at home.   “My journey leading to this point has been nothing short of magnificent,” she said. “My Cherokee heritage played a vital role in my upbringing and is something I cherish wholeheartedly. Having the opportunity to share that connection with others and help them develop their own understanding and appreciation is something I am grateful for each and every day.”   When she was 16 years old, her family returned to Oklahoma from California, and she first began working at Cherokee Heritage Center through the Cherokee Nation Summer Youth Employment Program. A few years later, while still studying at nearby Northeastern State University, Chunestudy was offered a position in the center’s pottery department.   The Cherokee Heritage Center holds more than 60,000 items, including artifacts, furniture, weapons, crafts and Cherokee art. The popular Trail of Tears exhibit is a staple of the collection and one with which Chunestudy has a uniquely personal connection.   “We made a variety of items, and I fondly remember working on a collectible edition of pottery, replicating designs created at Sequoyah Indian boarding school that date back to when my Papaw was a student there. We also worked tirelessly to create more than 20,000 handmade clay beads for a wall to be installed in the Trail of Tears exhibit.”

  The wall remains part of the display and consists of 28 panels of clay beads woven together with copper wire. Chunestudy wove 10 of the panels herself.   After receiving her bachelor’s degree in fine arts from NSU, Chunestudy served as a cultural specialist at the Cherokee Arts Center and Spider Gallery in downtown Tahlequah for more than three years before accepting the curator position at the Cherokee Heritage Center.   Located near the heart of the Cherokee Nation near Tahlequah, the Cherokee Heritage Center houses valued Cherokee treasures from all three Cherokee tribes. As the curator, Chunestudy is responsible for sharing the history, art and culture of the Cherokee Nation, United Keetoowah Band of Cherokees and Eastern Band of Cherokees.   “Being able to rejoin the Cherokee Heritage Center in the role of curator is a dream come true for me,” said Chunestudy. “We have the most amazing staff in the world, with people who are genuinely passionate about what they do.”   The Cherokee Heritage Center holds a special place in the hearts of Cherokees and travelers alike. Its intimate and inviting atmosphere has a magical way of sharing the history of the Cherokee people and empowering visitors to explore and celebrate the Cherokee culture. The Cherokee Heritage Center is the museum of the Cherokee National Historical Society, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded in 1963. For more information on the Cherokee Heritage Center, visit The Official Cherokee Nation News





On history’s trail

Remember the Removal Bike Ride cyclists complete 950-mile journey he 2016 Remember the Removal Bike Ride cyclists rolled onto T the Cherokee Nation Capitol lawn this summer, officially ending

their 950-mile journey retracing the Trail of Tears.   Eight Cherokee Nation cyclists and seven Eastern Band of Cherokee Indian riders traveled seven states starting June 5 to honor their Cherokee ancestors, who were forced to make the trek on foot more than 175 years ago.   “When I look out at these fine young adults today, I see true leadership. I see a bond that has been formed that is like family, and I see Cherokee values like perseverance and fortitude. We are so proud of these young men and women,” said Principal Chief Bill John Baker.   The cyclists started in New Echota, Georgia, and traveled for three weeks across Tennessee, Kentucky, Illinois, Missouri and Arkansas to arrive in Tahlequah, Oklahoma.   “Because of this experience, I can also now tell others about what actually happened on the Trail of Tears. In school, you don’t learn about where they stopped along the trail or why they stopped or how many died, so now I can help further other people’s knowledge about the trail just as the ride helped further my knowledge,” said 2016 cyclist and Cherokee Nation citizen Blayn Workman.   The cyclists visited gravesites and historic landmarks significant to the history of the Trail of Tears, including Blythe Ferry in

Tennessee, the last piece of Cherokee homeland the ancestors stood on before beginning the trek to Indian Territory. Riders visited Mantle Rock in Kentucky, which provided shelter to the ancestors as they waited for the Ohio River to thaw in order to cross safely, and also stopped to pray at Shellsford Cemetery in Tennessee, where Cherokees who died on the route are buried in unmarked graves.   The cyclists were awarded medals by Chief Baker and Deputy Chief S. Joe Crittenden and welcomed by Cherokee leaders, family members and friends.   The Cherokee Nation started the ride in 1984 as a leadership program to remind Cherokee youth of the hardships their ancestors endured. Of the estimated 16,000 forced to make the journey to Indian Territory, approximately 4,000 died due to exposure, starvation and disease.   For the first time since the program began, participants received three hours of college credit from Northeastern State University after completion of the ride. Also, the U.S. National Park Service awarded a $15,000 grant to the Remember the Removal Bike Ride for cyclists to promote the national parks along the trail. The 2016 Remember the Removal Bike Ride is chronicled on Facebook at

The 2016 Remember the Removal Bike Ride included the following cyclists: Cherokee Nation Amicia Craig, 24, Tahlequah Stephanie Hammer, 24, Tahlequah Nikki Lewis, 23, Tahlequah Kelsey Girty, 21, Warner Amber Anderson, 23, Warr Acres Kylar Trumbla, 23, Proctor Blayn Workman, 16, Muldrow Glendon VanSandt, 16, Siloam Springs Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians Marisa Cabe, 49, Wolfetown, North Carolina Cole Saunooke, 16, Yellowhill, North Carolina Tom Hill, 57, Yellowhill, North Carolina Tosh Welch, 38, Wolfetown, North Carolina J.D. Arch, 49, Wolfetown, North Carolina Jack Cooper, 15, Birdtown, North Carolina Aaron Hogner, 31, Wolfetown, North Carolina Cherokee Nation citizens Stacy Leeds, dean of law at the University of Arkansas; Vietnam veteran Sammy Houseberg; and Kevin Jackson, Cherokee Nation marshal and trainer, also joined the ride.



The Official Cherokee Nation News


It’s called America’s pastime, but the grand tradition of baseball has been part of

Cherokee life for many years. Old-timers still tell stories of days when locals played teams from neighboring towns in church yards and country fields. And some of those players were so good they caught the attention of the big leagues.     We look at a few unsung heroes, Cherokees and players from other tribes, who played in baseball’s early years and made history before Jackie Robinson courageously stepped on the diamond in 1947. Then, we introduce you to a lineup of Cherokee Nation citizens counted in the ranks of the MLB today and carrying on the legacy.

ABOVE: Cherokee Nation citizens Ryan Helsley (left) of the St. Louis Cardinals organization and Justin Ferrell (right) of the Houston Astros organization met on the diamond this season. Helsley, a graduate of Sequoyah High School in Tahlequah, Oklahoma, and Ferrell, a graduate of Wagoner High School, are both current MiLB pitchers. LEFT: National Baseball Hall of Fame inductee Zack Wheat started his professional playing career in 1906 and moved into the MLB in 1909. RIGHT: Zachary Slade Heathcott was a first-round draft pick in 2009. He plays for the minor league Charlotte Knights. 19 19


TheOfficial OfficialCherokee CherokeeNation NationNews News The


Before Jackie

Native Americans shattering the MLB color barrier By Tyler Thomas

Fifty years before Jackie Robinson played his first game for the Brooklyn Dodgers,

a Penobscot Indian named Louis Sockalexis broke the color barrier in Major League Baseball.   Playing three seasons as an outfielder for the Cleveland Spiders from 1897-99, Sockalexis was the first of nearly 50 Native Americans to play in the MLB before Robinson. Many of them had sustaining careers on successful teams, including Allie P. Reynolds (Muscogee-Creek); brothers Robert “Indian Bob” Johnson and Roy Johnson (both Cherokee); Rudy York (Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians/Choctaw); and National Baseball Hall of Fame inductees Zack “Buck” Wheat (Cherokee) and Albert “Chief ” Bender (Ojibwe-Chippewa).   “If there is one sport other than traditional games like marbles and stickball that Cherokees and other Natives have excelled in, it is baseball,” said Rob Daugherty, director of Cherokee Nation Community and Cultural Outreach and an avid baseball memorabilia collector. “Baseball just seems to be a natural sport for Natives.”

Robert Daugherty, director of Cherokee Nation Community and Cultural Outreach, displays some of his Native American baseball memorabilia.

The Official Cherokee Nation News



FEATURES ᏗᎦᏎᏍᏙᏗ Sockalexis shatters color barrier   Sockalexis did not have the career numbers of Robinson, Reynolds, Wheat or Bender, but he did maintain a .313 batting average over his three seasons with the Spiders. There is speculation the franchise changed the name from Spiders to Indians in Sockalexis’ honor in 1915 after a naming contest in the local newspaper, but not all accounts are in agreement. Sockalexis, who died in 1913, was inducted into the American Indian Athletic Hall of Fame in 2000.

Other Natives before Jackie Robinson   Players who came later, like Reynolds, the Johnsons, York, Wheat and Bender, found success and made major impacts on their teams during their careers. Bender pitched 23 seasons (190325) with four teams and won three World Series championships. In 1911, he tied a MLB record by pitching three complete games in a single World Series. Bender ended his career with a 212-127 record, 2.46 earned run average and 1,711 strikeouts. He was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York, in 1953.   Wheat, also in the National Baseball Hall of Fame, played 19 seasons (1909-27) as an outfielder for two teams. He hit .317 throughout his career, with 2,884 hits, 132 home runs and 1,284 runs batted in.   The Johnson brothers from Pryor, Oklahoma, also played more than 10 seasons each in Major League Baseball. The younger brother, “Indian Bob,” experienced more success in the pros than his older brother, Roy. Robert Johnson was a seven-time All-Star during his 14 seasons (1933-45) and batted .296 with 288 home runs and 1,283 runs batted in. Roy Johnson played 11 seasons (1929-38) and also batted .296 with 58 home runs and 556 runs batted in.   Perhaps the most decorated and heralded Native American baseball player not in the National Baseball Hall of Fame is Allie P. Reynolds. Reynolds pitched 13 seasons (1942-54) with the

The Rundown Most of us know a home run from a foul ball, but to really understand a player’s history and where he’s going, you need to speak the language of baseball.

Earned run average (ERA): calculated average number of earned runs scored against the pitcher in every nine innings pitched. Career record: number of wins and losses a pitcher earns over the span of the pitcher’s career. Complete game: a game in which one pitcher pitches all innings without relief.



The Official Cherokee Nation News

Cleveland Indians and New York Yankees. Reynolds won six World Series with the Yankees and earned a career total of seven World Series wins, second only to Whitey Ford. He finished his career with a 182-107 record, 3.30 earned run average and nearly 1,500 strikeouts. Reynolds was inducted into the American Indian Athletic Hall of Fame in 1972. Oklahoma State University named the school’s baseball stadium in his honor.   Seven-time All-Star and World Series champion Rudy York had a stellar 13-year career from 1934 to 1948. He maintained a .275 batting average with 277 home runs and 1,152 runs batted in.   Another Cherokee, Austin Benjamin Tincup, played between 1914 and 1928 for the Philadelphia Phillies and the Chicago Cubs. Tincup’s career was interrupted when he served in the United States military during World War I. As a major league pitcher, Tincup compiled a career record of 8-11 with a 3.10 earned run average and 127 strikeouts. But soon he went to the minors where he wowed fans at the bat. He later served as a scout and coach for several MLB clubs and gained a reputation for molding young pitchers for the big league. He was inducted posthumously into the American Indian Athletic Hall of Fame in 1981.   Of course, no story on pioneering Native American baseball players would be complete without mentioning Jim Thorpe (Sac and Fox). Thorpe carved out a sports legacy that rivals any other athlete in American history. Perhaps more well known for his track and field and football accomplishments, Thorpe was also an outstanding baseball player who played for the New York Giants for three seasons (1913-15) and for the Cincinnati Reds, New York Giants and Boston Braves for three more seasons (1917-19). Thorpe drove in the winning run for the Reds in the 10th inning of the famous double no-hitter game between Fred Toney of the Reds and Hippo Vaughn of the Chicago Cubs in 1917. He was inducted into the American Indian Athletic Hall of Fame in 1972.   “Jackie Robinson’s achievements in 1947 and the years after were indeed heroic and should never be understated.” Daugherty said. “But Natives have been a force in Major League Baseball, and it is important to note that the 47 who played in the 50 years before his debut were equally heroic and groundbreaking.”

No-hitter: a game in which a team is not able to record a single hit against a pitcher or pitchers.

Run batted in (RBI): when a batter makes a play that allows a run to be scored.

Double: the act of hitting the ball and safely reaching second base without being called out.

Batting average: average performance of a batter, expressed as a ratio of a batter’s safe hits per official times at bat.

Triple: the act hitting the ball and safely reaching third base without being called out.


Cherokees at the plate By Tyler Thomas

  Native Americans have been making their names known in Major League Baseball since the late 1800s. Cherokees like Robert Johnson, Zack Wheat, Jimmie Marrujo and many others were baseball stars in the sport’s earlier years. Today is no different, with young Cherokee Nation citizens showcasing their skills in the big game and the minors.




Jon Gray was selected third overall by the Colorado Rockies in the 2013 MLB Draft. After pitching in the minors, Gray made his MLB debut on Aug. 4, 2015. He finished the season with nine starts and a 0-2 record with 40 strikeouts and 5.53 ERA. Experts expect a big year for Gray in his 2016 rookie season.

Dylan Bundy was selected fourth overall by the Baltimore Orioles in the 2011 MLB Draft. Promoted to the Orioles on Sept. 19, 2012, Bundy pitched limited innings that season due to injuries and a surgery to repair ligament damage to his pitching elbow. Now fully recovered, he is carving out a role in the Baltimore bullpen in 2016 before potentially returning to a starter role in 2017.

Robert Bundy, brother of Dylan Bundy, was selected in the eighth round by the Baltimore Orioles in the 2008 MLB Draft. He played all of the 2015 season with the organization’s minor league affiliate, the Bowie Baysox. Robert Bundy has a 21-23 career record in the minors, with a 4.41 earned run average and more than 300 strikeouts. Bundy started the 2016 season with the Baysox.



Justin Ferrell was selected in the 36th round by the Houston Astros in the 2014 MLB Draft. He finished his first two seasons in the minor leagues with a respectable 5-6 record and 76 strikeouts. But in Ferrell’s 2015 season, he posted a solid 1.95 ERA. He started the 2016 season with the Astros’ Single-A affiliate, the Quad Cities River Bandits.

Adrian Houser was selected in the second round by the Houston Astros in the 2011 MLB Draft. Part of a mid-season trade in 2015, Houser is now a member of the Milwaukee Brewers organization. He made his MLB debut with the Brewers on Sept. 26, 2015. Houser started the 2016 season with the Brewer’s Triple-A affiliate Biloxi Shuckers.

RYAN HELSLEY Watch Ryan’s story on Ryan Helsley was selected in the fifth round by the St. Louis Cardinals in the 2015 MLB Draft. Helsley finished his first season with the club’s minor league affiliate, the Johnson City Cardinals. He pitched in 11 games with nine starts and a 2.01 earned run average and 35 strikeouts. He is currently playing for the Cardinals Single-A affiliate Peoria Chiefs.

ZACHARY SLADE HEATHCOTT Zachary Slade Heathcoat was selected in the first round by the New York Yankees in the 2009 MLB Draft. He made his big league debut last season and played in 17 games for the Yankees. In 25 big league appearances, Heathcoat had 10 hits, two home runs, eight runs batted in and two walks. He currently is playing for the Chicago White Sox affiliate the Charlotte Knights. The Official Cherokee Nation News




A plan for the cure

Cherokee Nation program aimed at curing hepatitis C in Cherokee communities By Julie Hubbard ot long ago, Gaye Wheeler answered her cell phone while N at a conference in Oklahoma City, never expecting to hear the

  In the fall of 2015, the Cherokee Nation announced the launch of its Hepatitis C Elimination Project.   It’s the first of its kind among any tribe and unmirrored by any devastating news from the Cherokee Nation nurse on the other government or agency in the United States. end of the line.   Last year, the Cherokee Nation partnered with the U.S.   “She said, ‘I’m calling to tell you you’ve tested positive for Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which provided an hepatitis C,’” Wheeler recalled. “I didn’t even know I had been elimination plan and guidance on implementing it. The tribe also tested for it. It scared me because I didn’t know what stage I was teamed with the Oklahoma Department of Health and the Uniin or what was going to take place.” versity of Oklahoma to study the program’s progress. The Gilead   Wheeler, a Cherokee Nation citiFoundation donated $1.5 million to zen from Fort Gibson, Oklahoma, help with screening kits and training. is among more than 12,000 patients   The only other places the CDC who went in for visits at one of the offers the elimination plan are in tribe’s eight health centers or W.W. the country of Georgia in Eastern Hastings Hospital last year and were Europe and an area in Egypt. screened for the viral infection.   Hepatitis C is a contagious viral liver infection, usually contracted through the transfer of blood. According to the CDC, the virus can be spread through sharing needles used to inject illegal drugs, getting a tattoo or piercing with a needle with infected blood on it, or getting PBS News Weekend reporter Stephen Fee interviews Dr. Jorge Mera at W.W. a shot with a needle with infected Hastings Hospital about Cherokee Nation's efforts to eliminate hepatitis C among Cherokees. blood on it. People who had a blood transfusion before 1992 should also be tested. For about 70 percent of those who become infected, the condition becomes acute hepatitis C, a long-term chronic infection.   In 2015, Wheeler had a routine checkup at Cherokee Nation’s Three Rivers Health Center in Muskogee. Because she falls in the Cherokee Nation citizen Gaye 20-65 years age range, she was screened for hepatitis C with a Wheeler was among the first finger stick test, much like a blood glucose level test. cured of hepatitis C under tribe's   “We’re going beyond the CDC guidelines for screening, not Hepatitis C Elimination Project. because we decided to do it out of nowhere. If you look at the data, the new hepatitis C epidemic is not only affecting baby boomers, it is also affecting young people more and more. We decided to get ahead of the game,” said Jorge Mera, Cherokee Nation Health Services director of infectious diseases. “If we can detect it, then we can treat it, and we’ve been very successful so far.”   From 2002–2013, the incidence rate of acute hepatitis C remained higher for Native Americans compared to other ethnic groups, according to CDC data.   From 2011-12 alone, acute hepatitis C rates increased by 86 percent among Native Americans. Little research has been completed to explain this increase, but it has been speculated that many cases of infection went unreported until they became chronic.



The Official Cherokee Nation News


Principal Chief Bill John Baker signed a proclamation declaring Oct. 30 as “Hepatitis C Awareness Day” to show the Cherokee Nation’s dedication to work toward the prevention and cure of the hepatitis disease that affects thousands of Cherokees. Front Row (L to R): Deputy Principal Chief S. Joe Crittenden, Principal Chief Bill John Baker. Back Row (L to R): Cherokee Nation Health Services Executive Director Connie Davis, CDC Director of National Center for HIV/AIDS Jonathan Mermin, Cherokee Nation Health Services clinical staff Anna Miller, CDC Director of Viral Hepatitis Division John Ward, Cherokee Nation Director of Infectious Diseases Jorge Mera, OU Health Sciences Center Chief of Infectious Diseases Douglas Drevets and Cherokee Nation Medical Director Roger Montgomery.

Reported cases/100,000 population

  Mera says the Cherokee Nation estimates that 5 percent of tween $40,000 and $100,000 upfront. The tribe uses third-party the patients who access the tribe’s health system are positive for billing to offset much of those costs. hepatitis C. Posters   The Cherokee about the new initiaNation Hepatitis C tive adorn the walls Elimination Project has and hallways of every gained national atten2.5 Cherokee Nation tion and was featured health center, and in a segment of “PBS 2.0 nurses are trained on News Weekend” in American Indian/Alaska Native the project. February. Asian/Pacific Islander 1.5   Fortunately for   Wheeler, 62, is now Black, Non-Hispanic White, Non-Hispanic Wheeler, she is among a drug and alcohol Hispanic the more than 300 abuse counselor. Her 1.0 CN health system road to redemption has patients treated for inspired her to share 0.5 and now cured of her story of heroin hepatitis C. abuse and prison time 0   “I always wondered two decades ago with 2000 2002 2004 2006 2008 2010 2012 why everybody I had youth church groups. YEAR used drugs with in Both Mera and the past had been Wheeler encourage diagnosed with more Cherokee Nation hepatitis C but why I Research has shown that from 2011-12 alone, acute hepatitis C rates increased by 86 percent among Native Americans. citizens to be screened. was never diagnosed   “Before I was always with it,” she said. “I tired and had to drag don’t know if it just showed up or if I always had it and was never myself out of bed,” Wheeler said. “The treatment went fast, and I tested. I’m just thankful I was tested by the Cherokee Nation.” can feel a difference now. I’m so thankful for this program because   She was given the medication Harvoni over a 12-week period. I don’t know if I ever would’ve been tested. I think this program Cherokee Nation provided the medication, which can cost besaved my life in the long run.”

Incidence of acute hepatitis C by race/ethnicity United States, 2000-2013

The Official Cherokee Nation News




Gourmet on the go LeGrubs chef dares to be different By Tyler Thomas t 14, Cherokee Nation citizen Justin Phillips knew he had a A knack for cooking delicious food. Twenty years later, Phillips is

pursuing that passion with LeGrubs Catering Company, his food truck and catering service based in Tahlequah, Oklahoma.   Phillips describes his cooking style as “daring,” often using untraditional ingredients on his menu. He also uses locally sourced food either purchased at local farmers markets or grown in one of his four gardens.   The Le Grubs' menu includes such creations as blackened shrimp tacos with mango salsa, smoked fajita pork tacos, a bacon-crusted meatloaf sandwich with smoked cherry tomato ketchup and more.   Phillips has worked in the food service industry for more than 20 years. He studied at Oklahoma State University Institute of



The Official Cherokee Nation News

Technology’s Culinary Arts Program in Okmulgee, Oklahoma, in addition to serving under several award-winning chefs in Tulsa, Oklahoma.   Phillips said his education and experience working have given him the skills and knowledge to work toward his dream.   “I’ve been preparing to be my own boss and operate my own business for my entire life,” he said. “I am thankful for my experiences working for several talented chefs, but being my own boss allows my creativity and passion for cooking to really thrive.”   The LeGrubs food truck is usually parked at the corner of Downing Street and Water Avenue in Tahlequah on Monday through Saturday. For an updated schedule and menu, visit


LeGrubs Bunless Bison Burger Burger: 1 pound ground bison 5 cloves garlic, minced 2 tablespoons walnut oil Salt & freshly cracked pepper to taste 1 egg Topping: 3 eggs, organic 3 cups arugula 3 tablespoons red onion, julienned 3 tablespoons feta cheese, crumbled Fresh blackberries Blackberry Balsamic Reduction: ½ cup fresh blackberries 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 1/3 cups balsamic vinegar ¼ teaspoon salt Pinch of garlic powder Sugar to taste

To make burger: 1. Sautèe minced garlic in 1 tablespoon walnut oil until golden brown. Set aside to cool. 2. Mix bison, salt, sautéed garlic, oil from the pan, fresh cracked pepper and 1 egg thoroughly by hand. 3. Make 3 equal-sized patties. Cook in a skillet or on a griddle drizzled with 1 tablespoon of walnut oil on medium heat for 6-7 minutes or until cooked to preference. Set aside. 4. Use same pan to fry 3 eggs unitl cooked over medium. Set aside. To make blackberry balsamic reduction: 5. In a small saucepan heated to medium-low (about 250 to 324 degrees), combine blackberries, extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, garlic powder and a few pinches of sugar. Smash blackberries to harvest natural juices. 6. Bring sauce to a simmer and lower heat. Reduce mixture to desired thickness. 7. Strain sauce and set aside to cool. Once cooled, toss blackberry reduction with arugula. Plating: Place bison burger on a plate and top with 1 fried egg. Then, top with a small scoop of the arugula mixture. Garnish with crumbled feta cheese, red onion and a few fresh blackberries. Drizzle with remaining blackberry reduction. Recipe yields 3 servings.

The Official Cherokee Nation News



Anadisgoi - summer 2016  

The official publication of the Cherokee Nation.

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you