5 Stories From Indian Country This Week
Cherokee Nation To Restore And Preserve Schoolhouse
The Cherokee Nation and its businesses are donating $120,000 to restore and preserve a nearly 100-year-old schoolhouse. The schoolhouse was built in 1917 and was the main building at the Dwight Mission in Vian in eastern Oklahoma.
The Dwight campus is where missionaries provided education and instruction to Native American students. Dwight Mission was initially established in 1820 in Russellville, Arkansas, but was relocated to its present-day location in 1829. Cherokee Nation leaders will make their pledge during an event Friday at Dwight Mission. The Walton Family Foundation is matching the donation.
Congressman Seeks Federal Recognition for Chief Standing Bear Trail
A Nebraska congressman says he'll seek federal recognition and a special designation for the trail the Ponca tribe took during a forced march more than 135 years ago. The Lincoln Journal Star says Republican Rep. Jeff Fortenberry of Nebraska's 1st District plans to introduce a resolution that would create federal recognition for the Chief Standing Bear Trail.
The Nebraska Legislature has passed a resolution supporting the trail. The route taken in 1877 runs from the Niobrara River in Nebraska to near what now is Ponca City, Oklahoma, and back to the Omaha site of the 1879 trial of Chief Standing Bear.
The chief and his tribe became the first Native Americans to be recognized as “persons within the meaning of the law” and for the first time in U.S. history Native Americans could enjoy all the protections of the 14th amendment and pursue “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” They could leave Indian Territory and their reservations without threat of arrest and being held indefinitely without being charged.
University Receives Grant To Improve Cherokee Nation’s Child Welfare Services
Northeastern State University has received a five-year grant of $735,000 aimed at improving child welfare services in the Cherokee Nation. The university's Department of Social Work will partner with the tribe to enhance and support child welfare services.
The funding is from the National Child Welfare Workforce Institute, which is a service of the U.S. Children's Bureau. Northeastern State University is one of 11 universities nationwide to receive the funding. The funding also pays for eight internships for undergraduate students who are studying social work.
Casino Employee Sentenced For Embezzlement
Kimberly Dawn Logsdon, of Chickasha, Oklahoma, was sentenced today to 37 months in prison for embezzling from an Indian casino and failing to file a tax return, announced Sanford C. Coats, United States Attorney for the Western District of Oklahoma. Logsdon was employed as a cashier clerk at the Silver Buffalo casino in Anadarko, operated by the Apache Tribe of Oklahoma, from July 25, 2007, until her termination on December 3, 2008.
During five days of trial testimony in December 2013, a jury heard evidence that from January of 2008 through November of 2008, Ms. Logsdon double-counted certain winning cashout vouchers presented by casino customers for payment and kept a total of $174,472.56.
She duplicated payments by treating certain vouchers both as scanned by the computer system and as unscanned vouchers that were not entered into the casino’s computer system. The evidence also showed that she knowingly failed to file a federal income tax return for 2008, in spite of the fact that she and her husband had at least $144,800.00 in gross gambling winnings between May and December of 2008.
United States District Judge Timothy D. DeGiusti sentenced Ms. Logsdon to 37 months in prison, to be followed by two years of supervised release, and restitution of $174,472.56. The sentence was based in part on the court’s finding that Ms. Logsdon testified falsely at trial about what she was doing on video surveillance footage that showed incriminating hand movements. This case is the result of an investigation by the Bureau of Indian Affairs and IRS Criminal Investigation.
Vincent Logan Confirmed By Senate To Office Of The Special Trustee After Two Year Wait
Vincent Logan, a member of the Osage Nation, has been confirmed by the Senate to serve as Special Trustee, Office of Special Trustee for American Indians.
The office has been vacant since Ross Swimmer, Cherokee Nation member, resigned in 2009. Logan was nominated by President Barack Obama in September 2012. Secretary of the Interior, Sally Jewell said in a statement that Logan’s “asset management experience, legal experience and extensive network of professional relationships in Indian Country” will be put to good use as the Department of the Interior works to build a “stronger and more responsive trust asset management system for the Nation’s First Americans.”
Logan received his undergraduate degree from Oklahoma State University and his law degree from the University Of Oklahoma College Of Law. Logan re-located to New York in 1986 and attended the Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs. Logan was appointed to the Oklahoma State University Foundation Board of Governors in September of 2010.
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