TAHLEQUAH, Okla. --- The 64th Annual Keetoowah Cherokee Celebration begins Friday, September 12 with a stomp dance at dusk.
On Saturday, September 13, there will be a kid’s fishing derby, dignitary breakfast, parade, state of the nation ceremony, hog fry, gospel singing children’s activities, turtle races, make and take crafts along with crafts and food vendors. There will also be a traditional games including a cornstalk shoot, blowgun shoot, marbles exhibition, and stickball exhibition.
A special highlight this year is a tent which features the UKB Tradition Keepers, who will demonstrate and sell their crafts. There will also be a health information tent and health screenings provided by a group of nurses from Florida Atlantic University.
The theme for the 64th Annual Keetoowah Cherokee Celebration is “We Shall Never Give Up Keetoowah, until all of us join hands and fall to the ground (until we all die).
This is more than a theme, it has been a way of life for the Keetoowah people since time immemorial. Given the trials and challenges to the tribe even to this day, it is as meaningful as ever.
The United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians in Oklahoma is a tribe steeped in tradition, and one that is committed in preserving the history, culture and language of its people. What is most important to the attendees of the celebration is not the events, the food or the games. People come to have fellowship and to be together as a tribe.
For more information on the Keetoowah Cherokee Celebration, call 918-431-1818 or 918-456-6533.
The United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians in Oklahoma is accepting applications for the Miss, and Jr. Miss Keetoowah Cherokee. The application deadline is Friday, July 18th, 2014. The pageant will be held on Friday, August 15th, 2014 at 6:00 p.m. at the Tahlequah Armory Municipal Center, 100 North Water Street, Tahlequah, OK.
Miss and Jr. Miss Keetoowah Cherokee will represent the tribe as a good-will ambassador during her reign. Education Scholarships will be awarded to the winner, first, second and third runner ups of $1,500, $1,000, and $500 for Miss Keetoowah Cherokee and $300, $200, and $100 for Junior Miss Keetoowah Cherokee.
The theme for the 64th Annual United Keetoowah Band Celebration will be, “We Shall All Hold Hands”. Contestants must be between the age of 13 and 17 years old by August 15, 2014 to compete for Jr. Miss, and 18 to 21 by August 15, 2014 to compete for Miss Keetoowah Cherokee. Contestants must be an exclusive UKB Tribal Member and present a copy of Tribal enrollment, show proof of school enrollment, provide two references, must not have been married or cohabitated, no children, and never convicted of a felony.
Pageant applications may be downloaded from the UKB Tribal website at www.unitedkeetoowahband.org beginning July 1st or picked up at the Federal programs building. For any questions on the competition, categories or if assistance is needed please call Georgia Dick at (918) 456-8698 or 1-800-259-0093.
The United Keetoowah Band Human Services Department will begin distributing school clothing vouchers the fourth week of July. The school clothing voucher program is for UKB children who are attending school in grades Kindergarten to 12th grade. UKB membership ID and proof of school attendance must accompany each child in order to pick up voucher.
Enrollment is pre-verified. If enrollment is not active, parents must turn in all missing documents to the enrollment department before a voucher will be issued.
Vouchers will be issued in the amount of $100 for school children Kindergarten through 8th grade, and $125 for students in grades 9 – 12.
Listed below are the distribution sites for each district:
Flint and Goingsnake Districts
Monday, July 21 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Stilwell Satellite Office
Cooweescoowee, Saline, and Delaware Districts
Tuesday, July 22 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Kenwood Community Building
Wednesday, July 23 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
UKB Wellness Center
Illinois and Sequoyah Districts
Thursday, July 24 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Sallisaw Satellite Office (918-775-0920)
Friday, July 25, 2014 10 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Civitan Park, Muskogee, Oklahoma
All others who miss district distribution dates or need to finish enrollment process may come in on Friday, August 1, to the UKB Wellness Center to pick up vouchers, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
For more information, call the UKB Health and Human Services Department at 918-456-8698 or toll free at 800-259-0093.
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – The John Hair Cultural Center & Museum invites everyone to come enjoy cool refreshments while learning more about the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokees Indians in Oklahoma. Ernestine Berry, Museum Director, presents Cherokee History as you’ve never heard it! Have you ever wondered why there are two Cherokee Tribes in Tahlequah? Is there really any difference between UKB and CNO? After this presentation, you will have a greater understanding of these two most commonly asked questions. Presentation will be held on June 26, 2014 at the UKB Wellness Center from 5:30-7:30 p.m. A fee of $20 per person and advance registration is required. UKB members are free (must present UKB membership card). Registration fees help support museum and cultural programs.
The JHCCM opened in October 2011 with a mission to educate the public about the history, customs and traditions of the Keetoowah Cherokee people. The museum is open Tuesday-Saturday from 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
For more information about the Keetoowah Cherokee culture or to register for a class, call 918-772-4389 or visit us at www.ukb-nsn.gov.
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. -- Space is still available for the popular Day of Champions football camp sponsored by the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians in Oklahoma on Saturday, June 7. The camp is open to all area youth, ages 8 to 18 years of age; however, the camp will be limited to the first 150 youth that sign up.
The Day of Champions football camp is led by Coach Ken Heupel and features instruction from current and former college and NFL coaches and players.
The Day of Champions football camp experience is beyond just athletic skill enhancement, it provides one-on-one mentoring and coaching in athletics, health, fitness, life choices and the four principles of leadership - Discipline, Respect, Trust, and Hard Work.
Character, Responsibility, Goal Setting, Dedication, and Integrity are themes throughout the camp and serve to motivate each camp member to reach their full potential on and off the field.
The camp will build football skills for boys. Football skills instruction includes position-specific drills, strength and conditioning, nutritional instruction and individual competitions.
The camp will build also build sports skills for girls, including hand-eye coordination, speed and agility training, strength and conditioning, nutritional instruction, and individual testing on these concepts.
Each position is taught and supervised by the Day of Champions football staff, made up of some of the top Division I, II, and III collegiate coaches in the country, along with past OU football players, and past and current NFL players.
Players from experienced athletes to youth just learning the game will enhance their skills and learn basic fundamentals geared to their age and skill level. The camp is devoted to helping young people believe in themselves and live a healthy and active lifestyle.
The participants will be given water breaks every 30 minutes and lunch will be provided. Applications are available at all UKB offices. For more information, call 918-456-6533. Download the application.
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. -- The John Hair Cultural Center & Museum will host a series of monthly spring and summer classes on Keetoowah Traditions. Classes will be held on the fourth Thursday of each month from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at the UKB Wellness Center. Participants will learn about traditional arts, foods, games, history, and Keetoowah life ways through a series of hands-on workshops, lectures and demonstrations. A fee of $20 per person and advance registration required. UKB members are free (must present UKB membership card).
The JHCCM opened in October 2011 with a mission to educate the public about the history, customs and traditions of the Keetoowah Cherokee people.
The museum is open Tuesday-Saturday from 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. For more information about the Keetoowah Cherokee culture or to register for a class, call 918-772-4389 or visit us at www.ukb-nsn.gov.
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. -- The Sequoyah Alumni Association Re-union is set for May 2 and 3, 2014. All former students, staff and their families are invited to attend.
The Sequoyah Alumni Association will conduct a Scholarships Benefit, May 2, beginning at 5 p.m. in the Tsa La Gi Community Meeting room. Fundraising activities include an Indian Taco sale, three auctions, and a cake walk. All benefit proceeds provide scholarships to three Sequoyah High School graduating seniors each academic year.
A Benefit Golf Tournament is set for Saturday, May 3rd at Cherokee Trails Golf course. The team format will be a four-man scramble. At least one of the team members must be an alumnus. The entry fee is $240 per team.
First, second and third place prize money (based on the number of teams) will be awarded. Registration is from 8 to 8:45 a.m. The shotgun start is at 9 a.m.
The annual meeting and picnic is scheduled for 11 a.m. on Saturday, May 3, in the recreation room at the Place Where They Play. The annual banquet will be held at 5 p.m. Saturday evening at the cafeteria.
Inductees into the Sequoyah Alumni Hall of Fame will be announced during the banquet. Doors open at 4:30 p.m.
For more information on the golf tournament, contact Jefferson Adair at 918-458-0878 and for other information, contact Susan Adair at 918-456-8698.
By Marilyn Craig
Public Relations Coordinator
WASHINGTON, D.C. --United Keetoowah Band employees Ernestine Berry, Executive Director of the John Hair Museum and Cultural Center and Della Wolfe, Education department intake specialist and language instructor traveled to Washington, D.C. during the first week of April to participate in Cherokee Days at the National Museum of the American Indian, an active and visible component of the Smithsonian Institution, the world’s largest museum complex.
The event featured all three Cherokee tribes – the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians in Oklahoma, the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, and the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. It featured Cherokee language, art, culture, films and history.
Live performances included a traditional dance performance by the Eastern Band of Cherokees and a musical performance by the Cherokee National Youth Choir, as well as flute music, piano music and storytelling.
Educational sessions included Cherokee genealogy, language, and history. Demonstrations included pottery making, basket weaving, carving and textiles. Those attending had the opportunity to ask questions of the demonstrators in order to gain a better understanding of the skill involved. UKB Tradition Keeper Dorothy Ice was in attendance and demonstrated textile weaving. Della Wolfe and Ernestine Berry provided history and language lessons, syllabary charts, language booklets, and John Hair Cultural Center & Museum information booklets.
“It was surprising. Everyone who came to our table was very interested in the language and the history. Most of the people there knew nothing about the United Keetoowah Band,” said Berry. “I was very gratified to share the history of the UKB with the visitors.”
"I want to thank the United Keetoowah Band for sending me as an ambassador to the "Cherokee Days" event at the National Museum of the American Indian. I enjoyed giving information to the patrons about who the Keetoowah are and what we stand for. While at the museum I gave mini Cherokee lessons. It was a joy to hear all the Patrons attempt to say the Cherokee words. I feel that our time at the museum was a success. I cannot say enough of how proud I am to have been a part of that gathering of Cherokees with all three Cherokee tribes coming together to share our pride in our strong heritage. I met so many wonderful people, said Wolfe.
There were several craft making hands on activities that attendees could participate in such as cornhusk dolls, clay medallion making, and mini-stickball sticks.
NMAI director Kevin Gover (Pawnee) said, “We are honored to host this historic joint endeavor of the Cherokee here at the museum. Their contributions to the national story and history are legendary, but their legacy continues with events like this to teach others about their contemporary tribal successes and how they maintain their culture in the face of a changing cultural landscape.”
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. –The John Hair Cultural Center and Museum will host a Storytelling event and reception to celebrate former Chief John Hair’s 82nd birthday. The event will be held Saturday, April 5, 2014, from 1 p.m. - 3 p.m. at the UKB Wellness Center located at the United Keetoowah Band Tribal Complex. Storytelling will be presented by the Turtle Island Liar’s Club.
“We are looking forward to a fun time with the Turtle Island Liar’s Club and visiting with family, old friends, new friends, and the public at the reception. Everyone is welcome—family, friends, UKB members and the public to celebrate,” said Ernestine Berry, Museum Director.
The Cultural Center and Museum is named in honor of former Councilman and Chief, John Hair, who served the Tribe for twenty-two years, eight of which he served as chief (1983-1991). When Chief Hair served, neither the Council nor the Chief were paid for their services. Chief Hair worked in the Avionics Department of American Airlines in Tulsa and spent much of his own earnings to support the activities of the Tribe and sustain the Keetoowah Government. During Chief Hair’s tenure, his focus was on economic development for the tribe. He advanced the tribe economically with the initiation of a bingo hall and smoke shops. Chief Hair’s devotion to and focus on the advancement of the Keetoowah People never wavered. His influence and compassion for the wellbeing of his people is acknowledged and appreciated at the Cultural Center and Museum that bears his name.
The John Hair Cultural Center & Museum opened in October 2011 with a mission to promote awareness, knowledge, and understanding of the history, culture, and traditions of the Keetoowah Cherokee people from the earliest times to the present through exhibits, educational and cultural classes, archival collections, and special events.
The museum is open Tuesday-Saturday from 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. General Admission is $3; Seniors and Youth $2; and, children age 11-6 is $1. Children 5 years and under are free. UKB members also receive free admission with their tribal enrollment card. For more information about the Keetoowah Cherokee Culture Center & Museum or the Storytelling event, call 918-772-4389 or visit us at www.ukb-nsn.gov
3/24/2014 - The United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians in Oklahoma mourns the passing of Assistant Chief Charles Locust. Mr. Locust passed away Saturday, March 22, 2014 at Stilwell Memorial Hospital after a lengthy illness.
Services have been set for the late assistant chief of the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians.
Visitation for Charles Locust, 57, will be from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday, March 25, at Reed-Culver Funeral Home in Tahlequah, with services taking place at 1 p.m. Wednesday, March 26, at the Cherokee Baptist Association Tabernacle in Briggs.
01/16/2014 - Tahlequah, OK --- The United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians in Oklahoma has achieved another victory in its fight to right a long-standing historical wrong responsible for the Tribe’s right to acquire trust land within the bounds of the historic Cherokee reservation being controlled by the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma. This victory came on January 6, 2014, when the Interior Board of Indian Appeals dismissed the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma’s appeal of a May 24, 2011 decision of the Acting Eastern Oklahoma Regional Director, Bureau of Indian Affairs to acquire a seventy-six acre parcel of land, located in Tahlequah, Oklahoma, in trust for the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians in Oklahoma Corporation. The January 6, 2014 IBIA decision follows years of challenges by Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma aimed at preventing the Keetoowah people from enjoying the benefit of tribal trust land within the reservation of their ancestors, and a series of favorable decisions by the Assistant Secretary-Indian Affairs recognizing the rights of the UKB as equal to those of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma.
The parcel of land now set to be acquired in trust for the UKB Corporation, known as the “Community Services Parcel,” serves as a village center for the Keetoowah people and is home to the Tribe’s sacred dance grounds, elder center, museum, and other governmental offices. UKB Chief George Wickliffe explained that he and the Tribal Council have worked tirelessly to see that the Keetoowah Cherokee people are recognized and treated by the federal government as equal to the members of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, and stated “It is our sincere belief that the Keetoowah people are ready to enjoy the benefits of tribal trust land, including the exercise of responsible jurisdiction over the lands that embody the traditional spirit of our people.” While it is anticipated that the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma will appeal to the federal court to further its effort to permanently extinguish the Keetoowah fire, the UKB will pursue all legal remedies to protect the rights of the Tribe and its people and will continue seeking justice, fairness, and equality for the Keetoowah people.
Read the IBIA Ruling (PDF)
For more information, go to http://www.indianz.com/News/2014/012249.asp
The UKB Human Services office hours will change starting 12/23/13. The new office hours will be from 8:30-4:00 pm Monday-Friday. Currently, the Human Service Department offers LIHEAP assistance, this is limited to one visit every 6 months. The Human Service office also offers health assistance in the form of eye glasses, dentures, medication, and gas voucher assistance, as well as necessary medical equipment as prescribed by a physician. All programs are income-based.
Applications are accepted at the UKB Community Services building.
Thank you for your cooperation.
As you know, the Keetoowah Cherokee Casino has been closed by the state until the Bureau of Indian Affairs is successful in getting our land in trust. We believe this will happen in the coming months. Right now, our budgets have been greatly reduced, and many of our programs are on hold at this time. We have always been an elderly-led tribe and we wanted to continue the elder assistance checks even though we had to reduce the amount given to each elder. Therefore the elders winter 2013 assistance program will continue but $100 is the amount provided for each elder.
TAHLEQUAH—The United Keetoowah Band LIHEAP is switching to winter heating after Oct. 1, 2013.
This means that LIHEAP can assist with gas, propane, wood and electric only if the house is all-electric.
The qualifications remain the same as the summer program. This is a federal program so all documents are needed for this service—three paystubs, Workforce registration if unemployed and over 18, social security cards for everyone in household, photo ID and address verification.
If the applicant receives LIHEAP from DHS, then they do not qualify for LIHEAP from the UKB.
Also, the utility bill must be in the UKB member’s name.
The UKB Human Services Department is seeking wood vendors for the winter. Interested parties need to contact Human Services for an application.
The Human Services Department takes General Assistance applications on Tuesdays and Thursdays in the Tahlequah office.
This program is for those having a hardship from the loss of a job or those unable to work due to documented health related reasons. The household must have zero income to be eligible.
For more information, call Human Services Director Carrie Haney at 918-456-8698.
TAHLEQUAH, Oklahoma -- The United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians in Oklahoma’s John Hair Cultural Center and Museum will host a Basket weaving class, October 24, at 6:00 p.m. UKB Tradition Keeper Cindy Hair will provide instruction in the craft of basket making at the UKB Wellness Center, located at the UKB Tribal Complex on Keetoowah Circle, south of Tahlequah off West Willis Road.
The cost is $20 per person, which includes all materials. UKB members will receive a 50% discount if they present their tribal membership card.
Hair was named the very first UKB Tradition Keeper at the 55th Annual Keetoowah Cherokee Celebration in 2005. The Keetoowah Cherokee Tradition Keepers award is designed to honor Keetoowah Cherokee craftspeople, artisans, and elders who are committed to education and cultural preservation.
While basket weaving is one of the widest spread crafts in the history of any human civilization, it is hard to say just how old the craft is because natural materials like wood, grass, and animal remains decay naturally and constantly. Therefore, without proper preservation, much of the history of basket making has been lost and is simply speculated upon.
The technique of weaving has been passed along, re-discovered, and expanded upon throughout the years, and is still being expanded upon today. Baskets were at one time used simply for storage and transportation of goods. Today, functional baskets are still in use, but many are made for more decorative purposes.
For more information or to register for the class, call JHCCM at 918-772-4389.
In response to the lawsuit filed by the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians in Oklahoma releases the following statement:
“In its never ending quest to destroy its Cherokee brothers and sisters, the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma (CNO) has this day filed a request that the United States District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma enter an order to prohibit the Department of Interior from taking land, presently owned by the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians in Oklahoma, into Trust.
The effect of this injunction, if granted, would immediately throw some 300 Keetoowahs out of work. We trust that the federal court, upon hearing all of the evidence, will decline to issue an injunction and permit the Department of Interior provisionally to take the land into Trust.”
--James C. McMillin, attorney at McAfee & Taft, for the UKB
The UKB Department of Health & Human Services are taking applications for LIHEAP assistance. Tribal member must meet income guidelines. Documents to bring are the most recent three paycheck stubs, social security cards for everyone in the household, if no income and over the age of 18 must register with workforce, and the utility bill.