Monday, October 26, 2015

Updated information ensures timely delivery of Cherokee Nation hunting and fishing licenses

Fall is here, which means many Cherokees look forward to the yearly ritual of hunting deer and other game for both sport and for sustenance. For decades, confusion about jurisdiction and treaty rights has lingered, meaning some Cherokee Nation citizens purchased a hunting and fishing license to exercise their inherent rights as Cherokees, rather than risk possible prosecution from state wildlife officers. Starting Jan. 1, the confusion ends.

Last summer I signed a hunting and fishing compact with Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin that both upholds our inherent treaty rights to freely hunt and fish our own lands, and extends those rights across all 77 counties in Oklahoma. Cherokee Nation is the first tribe to enter into a compact with the state to properly recognize our long-held treaty rights to hunt and fish the lands within our jurisdictional boundaries and beyond.

Beginning in January, Cherokee Nation citizens 16 and over will be issued a license and receive one deer tag and one turkey tag. You will also be reinforcing your inherent, sovereign rights as Cherokees. About half of our Oklahoma Cherokees live outside our 14-county jurisdiction, so this allows Cherokees living in central, southern and western Oklahoma to freely hunt on local land.
In two months we will begin mailing Cherokee Nation hunting and fishing licenses to all Cherokees in Oklahoma over 16 years old. In order to do that, it is vital that we have your correct information on file.

There are several ways to assist in this effort. In the latest issue of Anadisgoi magazine, which should be showing up in your mailboxes soon, we’ve included an updated information form. If you do receive the magazine, please use the form to update complete information for yourself and other Cherokee Nation citizens over the age of 16 in your household.

If you do not receive the magazine or there are multiple people in your household who need updated addresses, the good news is it takes only a few minutes to update online with our registration department. Visit and click on “services,” then “tribal citizenship,” then “update information.” You can print the form, fill it out and return via mail, fax or email. You can also call the Cherokee Nation Tribal Registration Department at (918) 453-5000 to make sure your information is complete and correct.

Maintaining a current address with the Cherokee Nation registration office also ensures your household receives other important news about tribal services and programs. From time to time we will share tribal publications such as the Anadisgoi magazine and other important information like annual reports, expansion of programs and more.

We look forward to issuing licenses early next year, so that hunting and fishing remain a vital part of our survival and will continue to be a way of life for Cherokees for generations to come.

Wado and happy hunting.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

New Secretary of Natural Resources will ensure our habitats and environments remain clean and vibrant

At the Cherokee Nation we are committed to protecting our air, water, land and wildlife for future generations. That’s why I recently announced the first ever appointment to an important cabinet level position in my administration. This position was originally established by the 1999 Constitutional Convention. Unfortunately, it was never filled, but this key advisory role cannot go vacant any longer.

I have appointed attorney Sara Hill as the new Secretary of Natural Resources, and this week she was confirmed by the Cherokee Nation Tribal Council and took her oath of office. In her role as secretary she will ensure our natural resources are properly preserved for the future of the Cherokee Nation and our people. I am so proud to say we are finally making our natural and environmental resources a priority. Our natural habitats and environment must be a factor in every decision we make. We have a responsibility to leave this land, this water and this air pure and clean for future generations.

Sara previously served as the Deputy Attorney General of the Cherokee Nation, with expertise on environmental issues, water rights and natural resource protection. Her hard work has helped the Cherokee Nation maximize our inherent sovereign rights, and she has been critical in developing preservation programs that benefit our citizens.
Sara Hill is sworn into office 
by Supreme Court Justice Angela Jones 
as her husband, Jerry Starkey, holds the Bible.

She chairs the Cherokee Nation Interdisciplinary Water Work Group and is working on the feasibility of a potential hydroelectric project on the Arkansas River. Sara has long served the Cherokee Nation in many ways, successfully representing our interests before the Oklahoma Supreme Court in Cherokee Nation v. Nomura – a case that successfully upheld full compliance of the Oklahoma Indian Child Welfare Act for out-of-state Indian child adoption cases. Additionally, she is a dedicated Special Assistant United States Attorney for the Northern District of Oklahoma.

Part of her mission will be ensuring that sustainability is a part of every conversation we have and every decision we make at the Cherokee Nation. Since time immemorial Cherokees have considered the impact of our actions on our environment and our surroundings. Our elders teach us about our connection to plants, animals and all natural elements.

We must be steadfast in the stewardship of our natural resources. We have an obligation to protect these precious resources for the next seven generations. As our teachings tell us, that is the Cherokee way.

We cannot leave today’s environmental issues for our children and grandchildren to solve. That is an unfair burden. The Secretary of Natural Resources will work at the highest level of my administration, assuring that we are protecting and preserving our natural resources and environment. We have a better vision of preservation, and we must take action to ensure we reach our goals.

With the Secretary of Natural Resources in place, coupled with the leadership of the Cherokee Nation Tribal Council, we have the ability to develop laws that will truly enhance the sustainability of our land, water and air for generations to come. The Cherokee people deserve that. Clean air, safe water and a fertile land will always be our foundation for long-term health as a tribe and a people.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Cherokee Art Market returns to Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa for the 10th straight year

Cherokee artists and artisans are among some of the most diverse and talented in all of Indian Country, and you’ll find the best of the best all in one place this weekend. The Cherokee Art Market is returning to Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa for its 10th year Oct. 10 and 11.
What started as a modest show in the parking lot of the resort 10 years ago has grown into one of the most celebrated shows in the nation. There will be sculptures, woodworking, jewelry, ceramics and glass, photography, mixed media, paintings and drawings, basketry, gourd art and every other type of artwork you can imagine.
When this show began 10 years ago, it was to fill a void in the Native art community. Too many Southeastern artists like Cherokees, Chickasaws, Choctaws, Creeks and Seminoles were being overlooked for what was then the more popular Southwestern artwork. Prestigious art shows like Santa Fe Indian Market were competitive, and many Southeastern artists were not given a second look.
We knew our artists deserved a place to showcase our rich and colorful culture, so we decided to create our own market for Cherokee and other Southeastern artists. Now, 10 years later, the show has grown into one of the most popular and respected juried art shows in the nation. The Cherokee Art Market is now held in the 15,000-square-foot Sequoyah Ballroom at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa, and Native artists from around the country clamor to enter the show.
The Cherokee Art Market is a place for artists to sell their art, of course, but also it’s a competitive venue with talented artists and artisans from around the country hoping to win the title of Best of Show. In all, there are 22 categories and $75,000 in prize money up for grabs.
Many of our artists still compete in prestigious shows like Santa Fe Indian Market and others, which have been around for decades. We’re grateful they are able to share their art with the world in those venues, but our own Cherokee Art Market is now competitive with those shows, now even drawing in Southwestern and Plains artists. We feel there’s something special about that — being able to provide another prominent venue, right here in our own backyard.
So I encourage all of you to visit the Cherokee Art Market Oct. 10 and 11 at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa and take in the fine artwork of our talented Cherokees and other artists from around the country. I hope to see you there.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Recognizing the life and achievements of Jess Sixkiller

The Cherokee Nation and tribal citizens throughout the country lost a true champion with the tragic passing of Jess Sixkiller. He was the first Native detective on the Chicago Police Force and in Phoenix he continued to champion the rights of Indian people. He was a warrior and advocate for Native rights, especially urban-based Indian people. Throughout Indian Country, Jess will be forever known as a man committed to his Native brothers and sisters who suffered as a result of Federal relocation and assimilation policies. As the leader of the National Urban Indian Organization, he fought tirelessly for the rights of those he said faced a different kind of crisis than Indians living close to their community or on the reservation. Jess was a man who led by example and I was proud to have met and known this iconic activist. He was proud to be Cherokee and we are proud of him. He will be missed immensely, and we are holding his family in our thoughts and prayers.