Friday, May 31, 2013

Cherokee Nation employee named Oklahoma Special Olympics Coach of the Year

I’m so happy for Bea Dougherty being named 2013 Special Olympics of Oklahoma Coach of the Year in Oklahoma.

It is well-deserved recognition. She inherently embodies the values we hold in such high regard at the Cherokee Nation: dedication and commitment to youth, community and family. I respect the time and energy Bea invests in her athletes, encouraging them to set individual goals and train with them to attain their dreams.

Bea, who works as a family social worker for the Cherokee Nation Child Development Center in Tahlequah, received the title in front of a standing ovation of more than 4,000 Special Olympic athletes, coaches, families and friends earlier this month during the opening ceremony of the Special Olympics of Oklahoma’s Summer Games.

Read more.

"Remember the Removal" riders leave for Georgia

The 2013 Remember the Removal Bike Ride commemorates the 175th anniversary of the Trail of Tears. 15 young Cherokee nation citizens will spend the next three weeks on bikes retracing their ancestors’ footsteps along the northern route, which passes through seven states.

These men and women will retrace our tribal nation’s route to Oklahoma – from our ancestral homelands in the east to our current capital city. It will be a personal and life-changing journey for them. As a student of history, and specifically Cherokee history, I am envious of the journey they are undertaking and the understanding they will attain by travelling the route of removal.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Cherokee Nation on standby to help Moore tornado victims

Words simply cannot describe how heartbreaking the scene in Moore and the surrounding area is, and will continue to be. Our hearts, minds and prayers are with all those affected by this terrible tragedy, especially the two dozen victims and their families, a number which includes at least nine innocent children. The Cherokee Nation is in constant contact with emergency management teams in the area, and we have offered every available resource to assist with rescue, recovery and ongoing support. Teams of volunteers, including the Cherokee Nation Marshal Service, first responders, Cherokee Nation employees and our Cherokee Nation Businesses entities, are ready and standing by. However great the need, it will be met. We stand committed to our fellow Oklahomans and will do everything in our power to help lift them up during this time of immense tragedy. As our neighbors in central Oklahoma begin to rebuild, our support will not waver as we look forward—together—to brighter days for all.

The Cherokee Nation has offered immediate and ongoing support to victims in the Moore area, following yesterday’s devastating tornadoes. The Cherokee Nation’s emergency management team is organizing tribal resources and is on standby for further direction from those managing the crisis that continues to unfold in central Oklahoma. The Cherokee Nation will deploy at the discretion of emergency management teams in the area and will be notifying Cherokee citizens and employees of ways to help.   

Friday, May 17, 2013

A Message for New High School Graduates

All across America, Oklahoma and the Cherokee Nation, high school seniors are preparing to graduate, and are busy making plans for their futures, whether they go directly to work or choose to continue their education. It is an exciting time, and life offers a series of options. I remember my graduation from Tahlequah High School like it was yesterday, even though it has been a little bit longer than that. It was a time of both possibility and uncertainty.

Like many high school graduates, I didn't know for sure what I wanted to do or what my future would hold. I certainly didn’t think I would someday be the principal chief of the largest tribal government in the nation. I didn’t think I would testify before Congress or meet with the President of the United States. But I always hoped that I could somehow make a difference for my people.

I attended Northeastern State University and followed the path that has deep roots in my family: history and education. Eventually, I settled into a career as a small business owner, but never wavered on my commitment to public service and helping others.

To all of our Cherokee graduates, I encourage you to do the same. Pursue your passions – and always remember, you're allowed to have more than one. If I could impart a short list of advice to my then 17 year old self, I would offer these ideas as a road map:

·        Find work that you love, commit yourself to it and excel. Invest in yourself every day. Invest in your spiritual and physical health.
·        Explore new ideas and opportunities. Always expand your horizons and knowledge.
·        Accept and embrace change. Most things are fleeting, enjoy them in the moment and know change is always around the corner.
·        Don’t worry too much about what others think of you. Your opinion of yourself is what’s most important; Make good decisions and always be proud of them.
·        Talk to people from all walks of life. People of all ages and all levels in society can be your teacher. Ask them questions and listen to their answers – they just might hold the key to unlocking your imagination or your future.
·        Take full advantage of all your resources. Your family, your tribe, and your circle of friends all want you to succeed.  Lean on them and us – we are all here to help you be all you can be and reach your dreams. 

This time is a time of growth and change, embrace it and always remember who you are and lead with your Cherokee heart. 

Thursday, May 9, 2013

See You at the Stilwell Strawberry Festival

The 66th Annual Stilwell Strawberry Festival will be held this weekend and the Cherokee Nation will be in the parade and have info booths set up. Every year, crowds of thousands come to Stilwell to sample the local berries. Go to for more information.

Did you know....Cherokee Female Seminary Hall history

Did you know...

The original Cherokee Female Seminary Hall was destroyed by fire on Easter Sunday of 1887. On May 7, 1889, the rebuilt site was dedicated from the second story porch behind the east wing of the building.

The Cherokee Female Seminary was the one of the first institutions for higher learning for women west of the Mississippi. Its original site was located where the Cherokee Heritage Center is today. Pillars that survived the fire remain standing in front of the cultural center.

Seminary Hall stands as a testament to the Cherokees’ dedication to education. The reconstructed Seminary Hall serves as an historic center point for Northeastern State University and classes continue to be held there today.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

New Inter-Tribal Council President

(Left) Assuming the duties of Inter-Tribal Council of the Five Civilized Tribes President today from Chief George Tiger of the Muscogee Creek Nation. We hosted the meeting at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino.

I look forward to working for this organization as chairman in the upcoming year. I think together we can achieve great things for our collective tribal nations. It is the spirit of cooperation that fuels our mission as an Inter-Tribal Council.

Together, we can better protect our tribal sovereignty and do more good for our people, our governments and our state.

As tribal leaders and senior staff working for our respective Nations, I think we all benefit from this time together - sharing best ideas and practices. It strengthens our tribal sovereignty when we are able to partner with other tribal governments to promote an agenda at both the federal and state level.

Cherokee Nation hosts U.S. Sen. Tom Udall

The Cherokee Nation recently hosted New Mexico Sen. Tom Udall in Tahlequah and showed him the successes of our housing, education and health care programs. As a member of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, Senator Udall has earned a well-deserved reputation as a principled leader who has the integrity to do what is right for sovereign tribal governments. Without a doubt, Sen. Udall is one of the biggest champions for Indian Country in Congress.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

One Fire Center Launched

The Charles L. Head ONE FIRE Center was created to immediately wrap our arms around women and children who have survived domestic violence and child abuse. We will provide our Cherokee women and children a safe haven from dangerous situations.

And we will help them begin the healing process through our Cherokee Nation programs. We will work to meet their needs for health care, jobs, housing, legal counsel and other services.

It is a basic human right to live a healthy life - free from fear and intimidation.

The late Secretary of State Charles L. Head was determined to protect victims of violence. The ONE FIRE Center will protect the right of Cherokee citizens and carry on his vision.

Read more about the One Fire Center here