KGOU

Cherokee Nation

A judge ruled Wednesday that the descendants of enslaved people who were owned by members of the Cherokee Nation — known as Cherokee Freedmen — have citizenship rights.

"The Cherokee Nation can continue to define itself as it sees fit," U.S. District Judge Thomas F. Hogan wrote in his ruling, "but must do so equally and evenhandedly with respect to native Cherokees and the descendants of Cherokee Freedmen."

Cherokee Nation historian Catherine Gray discusses the Stand Watie monument at the Cherokee Nation Courthouse in Tahlequah, Oklahoma.
Jacob McCleland / KGOU

Catherine Gray walks up to a big, grey stone monument, standing tall under a lush magnolia tree on the grounds of the Cherokee Nation Courthouse in Tahlequah.

It’s monument to General Stand Watie, the last Confederate general to surrender at the end of the Civil War.

As the nation’s opioid addiction and overdose crisis grows, the Cherokee Nation is launching the first-ever lawsuit against drug distributors that will be litigated in a tribal court.

The suit takes on companies including pharmacies CVS Health, Walgreens and Wal-Mart, and drug distributors Cardinal Health, Inc. and McKesson Corporation, alleging that they didn’t properly monitor prescription painkillers, which eventually “flooded” every Cherokee county.

RambergMediaImages / Flickr Creative Commons

The Cherokee Nation is seeking restitution for a drug abuse epidemic that has disproportionately affected members of its tribe.

The nation filed a lawsuit against major pharmaceutical companies and pharmacy retailers in tribal court on Thursday, alleging that these companies have unjustly profited off of selling medically unnecessary amounts of prescription opioids.

 

Moving to a rural Oklahoma town can be hard selling point for the state’s tribes, especially for high-demand, skilled professions like doctors and chefs.

The Journal Record newspaper released a special issue this week, Building Bridges, that looks at the tribal impact on Oklahoma’s economy. As part of the issue, reporter Catherine Sweeny noted that tribal healthcare facilities have to compete with metropolitan areas to attract doctors.

Biologist and Cherokee Nation Administrative Liaison Pat Gwin removes white eagle corn seeds from the seed bank freezer at Cherokee Nation headquarters in Tahlequah, Oklahoma.
Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

Before the Cherokee people were forced from their lands in the eastern U.S. along the Trail of Tears, the tribe grew varieties of crops now nearly lost. But at the Cherokee Nation Seed Bank in Tahlequah, Oklahoma, a vital part of the tribe’s history is kept frozen.

Deep underground on a Norwegian island in the remote arctic, the Global Seed Vault shelters seeds from around the globe, protecting them from natural disaster, nuclear catastrophe or any apocalypse that might bring humans to the brink.

Dawn McKinley, left, and Kathy Reynolds talk to reporters outside the Cherokee Tribal courthouse in Tahlequah, Aug. 2, 2005, where justices heard arguments in a case involving the couple's effort to have the tribe recognize their union.
AP

The Cherokee Nation now recognizes same-sex marriages under an opinion issued Friday by the tribe's attorney general.

As a sovereign nation, the Cherokees and other tribes weren’t bound by a 2015 U.S. Supreme Court decision that made same sex marriage legal in all 50 states.

Sara Hill, Cherokee Nation secretary of the environment and natural resources, stands outside the Cherokee Nation Courthouse in Tahlequah.
Kirby Lee Davis / The Journal Record

The Cherokee Nation has sued the federal government, and wants to know details about how it has managed its property throughout history.

Washington has historically overseen certain assets of recognized tribes, like property or money earned off leasing or selling that land.

Trout Unlimited's Scott Hood prepares to release this small trout he caught during the group's fishing trip to the Lower Illinois River near the Lake Tenkiller dam in eastern Oklahoma.
Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

State Question 777 — also known as ‘right-to-farm’ — would give agricultural producers in Oklahoma the constitutional right to raise livestock and grow crops without interference from future regulations by the state Legislature, without a compelling state interest.

Opposition to the state question comes from multiple sources, but a diverse coalition urging a ‘no’ vote is united by a shared concern: water.

 

Bison grazing
Sequoia Hughes / Flickr.com

The Cherokee Nation is set to receive a tractor-trailer load of bison to add to the tribe's herd on its 1,000-acre ranch in the unincorporated Kenwood community in northeastern Oklahoma.

The tribe is to receive about 50 bison from a national park in South Dakota on Thursday after acquiring the animals from the InterTribal Buffalo Council. The Cherokee Nation had gone 40 years without raising bison until last year and now has 68 head of bison on its ranch.

Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker delivers the annual State of the Nation address Sept. 5, 2015 in Tahlequah.
Cherokee Nation / Facebook

Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker delivered the annual State of the Nation address to the tribe Saturday as thousands turned out in Tahlequah for the three-day Cherokee National Holiday.

Baker touted his administration's success during the past four years, and said he promised to make healthcare a priority when he took office in 2011.

Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker
Cherokee Nation

Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker has been sworn in for his second, four-year term.

More than 1,000 people attended Friday's inauguration at Sequoyah High School in the tribal capital of Tahlequah to watch Baker and Deputy Chief S. Joe Crittenden sworn in.

Tribal councilors Rex Jordan, David Walkingstick, Shawn Crittenden, Dick Lay, Buel Anglen, Bryan Warner, Keith Austin and Wanda Hatfield also took office.

The seal of the Cherokee Nation
Cherokee Nation

A recount supervised by the Cherokee Nation Supreme Court has finalized the candidates in a runoff election.

The Cherokee Nation Election Commission on Friday announced the results of the Thursday recount, with Wanda Hatfield and Betsy Swimmer advancing to a July 25 runoff for an at-large tribal councilor position. The final results show Hatfield with 1,057 votes and Swimmer with 763.

Shane Jett, who came in third, finished 50 votes behind Swimmer. The general election results were certified Monday and Jett requested the recount on Wednesday.

"I voted" in the Cherokee language. / Cherokee Nation

The Cherokee Nation Election Commission certified results Monday showing Principal Chief Bill John Baker won a second term.

Baker earned roughly 53 percent of the vote. He needed 50 percent to avoid a runoff with any of the other four candidates, including his predecessor, former Principal Chief Chad Smith, state Rep. Will Fourkiller, and Charlie Soap, the widow of former Principal Chief Wilma Mankiller.

The seal of the Cherokee Nation
Cherokee Nation

The nonprofit Carter Center says it won't be observing this year's upcoming Cherokee elections as in past years.

The Atlanta-based center says the Cherokee Nation Election Commission decided against inviting the center to observe the June 27 elections.

The Carter Center observed elections for the Cherokee Nation in 1999 and 2011 — a controversial election that continued into the fall before a new chief of the Cherokees was known.

Schlüsselbein2007 / Flickr (Creative Commons)

Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin and Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker have signed a compact authorizing bulk purchases of Oklahoma hunting and fishing licenses for members of the tribe.

Under the new compact, the Cherokee Nation is expected to purchase more than 150,000 licenses from the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation for Oklahoma-based tribal citizens over the age of 16. The agreement is expected to generate up to $4 million for the state to be dedicated to wildlife conservation efforts.

Cherokee Nation officials are using cultural art to create a sense of comfort for health care patients and their families by adding prayer feather sculptures to the landscape at two of its health facilities.

Cherokee artists Bill Glass and Demos Glass placed the first of the culturally significant sculptures at the A-Mo Health Center in Salina. Recently, a second sculpture was installed at the Redbird Smith Health Center in Sallisaw.

The seal of the Cherokee Nation
Cherokee Nation

The Cherokee Nation has been awarded an Indian Health Service Joint Venture Construction Program project that will add a new facility to the tribe's W.W. Hastings Hospital in Tahlequah.

The agreement calls for the tribe to build the 250,000-square-foot facility and the IHS to provide up to $30 million a year for 20 years for staffing and operations.

The Cherokees were among the top three tribes selected from a pool of 37 applicants.

Gallery of the Five Civilized Tribes. The portraits were drawn or painted between 1775 and 1850.
Wikipedia Commons

The Inter-Tribal Council of the Five Civilized Tribes is holding a two-day meeting in Tulsa.

The Muscogee Creek Nation is hosting the Thursday and Friday sessions that includes the Cherokee, Choctaw, Chickasaw and Seminole Nations.

Muscogee Creek Nation Principal Chief George Tiger says he's also invited other tribes to attend and that about 400 people are expected.

The quarterly meetings are held to allow tribal officials to discuss ways they can cooperate on issues facing the tribes and to collaborate on projects.

-----

gambling man
Adrian Simpson / Flickr Creative Commons

The Cherokee Nation is marking 10 years since Oklahoma voters approved a constitutional amendment that allowed the state to negiated with Oklahoma tribes to operate Las Vegas-style gaming.

The Tahlequah-based tribe is preparing to mark the passage of State Question 712 at a ceremony Monday at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa.

Pages