Choctaw Nation Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma http://choctawnation.com/rss/ en-us 40 Spotlight on Elders with Burnett C. James <p><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/choctaw-msldigital/assets/2564/7D52D2A2-5644-482C-9AE8-ECC63F78ECF0_original.jpg" alt='James Burnett' /><br> <em>SSgt. Burnett C. James (center, in uniform) with his family after the presentation of the French Legion of Honor in San Antonio this past November.</em></p> <h3>Spotlight on Elders with Burnett C. James</h3> <p><strong>Durant, Okla.</strong> - Few people embody the definition of Tvshka–a Choctaw warrior–as fully as Burnett C. James. This decorated Army veteran of the pivotal World War II Battle of the Bulge was one of 19 veterans bestowed with the French Legion of Honor at a ceremony in Texas this past November.<br></p> <p>The ceremony, where James was presented the medal by the Consul General of France, highlights the story of a man whose accolades were seldom told outside of the family circle.<br></p> <p>James, who goes by “Charlie,” attended Jones Academy as a youth. It was here that he received his draft papers in 1944. The Garvin native returned home to visit his mother before heading off to various military training camps and, eventually, England and France on the front lines of some of the biggest battles in history.<br></p> <p>“You’re just there and you do what you have to do,” James said of being drafted into the war. “I came up out in the country so I didn’t know much about what was going on in the world.”<br></p> <p>During basic training, he exhibited mastery as a machine gunner, so military officials assigned him to the task. It was a rocky relationship initially: Twice he lost the gun, once after losing his ammo while fleeing German tanks and another when a member of his crew fell asleep. The big gun was recovered both times.<br></p> <p>But it was this very task – spraying bullets at the German front line – which earned him a Silver Star for gallantry in action. His version of the incident is recounted in “Stalwart and Strong,” an unpublished history of his military service compiled by daughter-in-law Dorris Soule James.<br></p> <p>“We were marching through the woods on ‘Company Front,’ all moving forward at the same time. We came to a barbed wire entanglement, four or five feet high. We had to stop. We were pinned down,” James said. “I just happened to see a hole in the barbed wire where a shell had hit it. I had my machine gun on my hip and a belt of ammo over my shoulder. I thought I could make it through the hole….and I did. I was firing as I went through the hole, forcing the Germans to take cover. I was going on the old theory that ‘fire superiority rules.’ Two or three riflemen followed me. They weren’t firing, but were in position to do so. I started spraying the area in front of me from side to side.” Soon, the German unit surrendered – but not before James spotted a rifleman in a fox hole with his gun trained on the Choctaw. Turning to face him would force the German to shoot, so he played it cool for a minute until the final gunman surrendered as well.<br></p> <p>James also saw some of the Nazi concentration camps before his return to the U.S. He served another year in the Army after the war, finishing with the rank of Staff Sergeant.<br></p> <p>James settled in Arizona and his extended family includes two children, nine grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren. He now lives north of Dallas near his son.<br></p> <p>At the French Legion of Honor ceremony this year, held at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, James was joined not only by his family, but one of his best “wartime” friends, PFC Eldon B. Gracy. They had not seen each other in 60 years.<br></p> <p>Heroism runs deep within the James family. Jesse A. James, Charlie’s father, was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for an equally daring dead of “extraordinary heroism” in France during World War I, according to military records. Brother Sam James also was awarded a Silver Star, according to family.<br></p> <p>Also, James’s first cousin Owen Mambi was killed in the Battle of the Bulge around the same time that James was in action in the area in early 1945. Mambi’s name appears on the war memorial at Tvshka Homma.<br></p> <p>“I’m just proud to have been a part of it,” James said, adding that his father Jesse also received the French honor for his role in liberating that nation in World War I. “I’m proud of that, but I’ve never talked about it before. We were just trying to be patriotic like everyone else. It was just something that came along that you had to do.”<br></p> <p><!-- AddThis Button BEGIN --></p> <div class="addthis_toolbox addthis_default_style "> <a class="addthis_button_facebook_like" fb:like:layout="button_count"></a> <a class="addthis_button_tweet"></a> <a class="addthis_button_pinterest_pinit"></a> <a class="addthis_counter addthis_pill_style"></a> </div> <script type="text/javascript" src="//s7.addthis.com/js/300/addthis_widget.js#pubid=xa-51768a9b29d4b994"></script> <p><!-- AddThis Button END --></p> Mon, 15 Dec 2014 15:28:04 GMT http://choctawnation.com/news-room/press-room/media-releases/spotlight-on-elders-with-burnett-c-james/ http://choctawnation.com/news-room/press-room/media-releases/spotlight-on-elders-with-burnett-c-james/ Member’s business set to weatherize homes <p><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/choctaw-msldigital/assets/2554/Business_InsulationVan_original.jpg" alt='Blow Tight' /><br> <em>Billy Hamilton, Icy Conn, Codi Conn, and Boyd Miller pose for a photograph in front of the Blow ‘Em Tight business trailer.</em><br></p> <h3>“Blow ‘Em Tight” keeps ‘em warm</h3> <p><em>by Brandon Frye</em><br> <em>Choctaw Nation</em><br></p> <p><strong>Caddo, Okla.</strong> - In a meeting with representatives from Choctaw Nation departments aimed at helping businesses, Choctaw Codi Conn and his wife Icy Conn offered to help make homes more energy efficient and comfortable for the Nation and its people.<br></p> <p>Their business, Blow ‘Em Tight Insulating, based in Caddo, began in August of 2012. It grew from an interesting investment to being able to insulate barns, shops, houses, and everything in between with cutting edge equipment.<br></p> <p>Speaking of how the business started, Codi said “Icy’s father was a contractor for around 30 years. We got together and talked about the long haul.” He said he and his father-in-law decided the insulation business was a good field to get started.<br></p> <p>Icy said her husband Codi is an online trade enthusiast and likes doing swaps online. He was browsing Craigslist when he found the fiberglass and cellulose insulation machine he used to start Blow ‘Em Tight.<br></p> <p>But to get his business off the ground, Codi had to make a sacrifice. “We traded a toy for a business,” Icy said about Codi’s willingness to sell his four-wheeler to collect the funds to buy his first machine. She said she comforted him with the thought that, when the business takes off, it would pay for a new toy and more.<br></p> <p>With his new setup, Codi said, “I insulated a few houses and realized that the job market was moving toward spray foam. At the first of this year, we invested in a spray foam rig. Now we can do fiberglass, cellulose, and spray foam for houses, shops, and barns.”<br></p> <p>Mr. and Mrs. Conn explained the benefits of foam insulation as being practical and more energy efficient. In terms of application, the foam can be used to seal leaks and cracks in construction of buildings such as outside shops. It can be sprayed into enclosed spaces in the walls of houses and will expand to fit the area, and it is just not as messy as fiberglass or cellulose.<br></p> <p>“More people are spending a little bit more money on spray foam insulation because it is more energy efficient with long term use,” Icy explained. She added that the foam performs better the more extreme the weather gets. It keeps cold in when it is simmering outside and heat in when it is frigid, thanks to the better, air-tight seal. In time, she said, the investment pays for itself in energy bill savings.<br></p> <p>“It’s a part time business now. But I have always wanted to see him have his own business, do his own thing, be his own boss,” Icy said in support of her husband’s business venture. “We just want to be able to live comfortably while Codi has his own business. We really try to stick to old fashioned business standards.”<br></p> <p>Billy Hamilton, Small Business Services Manager with the Choctaw Nation’s Business Development Department, made himself available to help the Conns with their goals for Blow ‘Em Tight.<br></p> <p>Hamilton’s position allows him to develop a mentoring or coaching relationship with Choctaw business owners, guide them to plan for growth and take action on it.<br></p> <p>“We’re working with Blow ‘Em Tight one on one now, as far as setting goals on where they want to be. You could tell Codi had big dreams in his eyes, now it’s a matter of putting them on paper,” Hamilton said. “But when it comes to business planning, it is also something you live and breath by, not just something you write down and put on the shelf. We can set some long term goals, then see how to grow capacity.”<br></p> <p>Boyd Miller, Preferred Supplier Program Manager with the Nation, also offered aid to the Conns. “We want to promote all of our Choctaw businesses,” he said. Miller works to increase business opportunities for Choctaw tribal member-owned business enterprises.<br></p> <p>Miller, and the Preferred Supplier Program, help by registering businesses so that they will be shared and made available for selection when work needs to be done or products need to be bought.<br></p> <p>“Blow ‘Em Tight is enrolled and registered in the Preferred Supplier Program,” Miller said. He added as the program takes off, these business will be shared amongst other tribes, as well as any internal departments, and also Choctaw members, so they can access and be able to choose Blow ‘Em Tight for insulating services.<br></p> <p><!-- AddThis Button BEGIN --></p> <div class="addthis_toolbox addthis_default_style "> <a class="addthis_button_facebook_like" fb:like:layout="button_count"></a> <a class="addthis_button_tweet"></a> <a class="addthis_button_pinterest_pinit"></a> <a class="addthis_counter addthis_pill_style"></a> </div> <script type="text/javascript" src="//s7.addthis.com/js/300/addthis_widget.js#pubid=xa-51768a9b29d4b994"></script> <p><!-- AddThis Button END --></p> Fri, 12 Dec 2014 17:10:35 GMT http://choctawnation.com/news-room/press-room/media-releases/members-business-set-to-weatherize-homes/ http://choctawnation.com/news-room/press-room/media-releases/members-business-set-to-weatherize-homes/ Choctaw tags available beginning in January 2015 <p><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/choctaw-msldigital/assets/2553/ChiefShowsPlate2_original.JPG" alt='Chief Car Tag 2' /><br> <em>Chief Gary Batton announcing the Choctaw Nation car tags at the State of the Nation address during the Labor Day Festival.</em></p> <h3>New tags will continue to benefit state-run services</h3> <p>With the New Year comes a new way for Choctaw citizens to display their heritage.<br></p> <p>All Choctaw tribal members living in Oklahoma will be eligible to purchase the automobile tags starting Jan. 1, 2015.<br></p> <p>The agreement to sell the tags came after the Choctaw Nation negotiated an agreement, or in this case a car tag compact, with the state.<br></p> <p>All state programs will continue to be funded at the same rate as before per the negotiated compact. The compact will allow for revenue to go back into services for the state—services such as schools, roads, bridges, and law enforcement.<br></p> <p>The joint agreement aligns with Chief Gary Batton’s vision to promote Choctaw culture and to open paths of success for all Choctaws. “Doing what is best for Choctaws,” and to continue the Nation’s progress with a focus on jobs and heritage.<br></p> <p>“A Choctaw tag is much more than just saving money—it is a way to show our heritage,” said Chief Batton. “There is resurgence in interest of the culture within the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma. The new license plates are a great way for our members to display their pride in tribal heritage.”<br></p> <p>Choctaws will be able to visit any tag agency and present their tribal membership card to purchase the tag. The fees and taxes will be the same as a non-Choctaw would pay. However, tribal citizens should expect to receive a 20 percent rebate for new tag licensing, registration, and payment of excise taxes.<br></p> <p><strong>Tag Purchase for New Vehicle</strong><br></p> <ul> <li>Can purchase tags starting Jan. 1, 2015 at local tag agency<br></li> <li>Must present a Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma tribal membership card at the time of purchase<br></li> <li>Will pay regular fees and taxes at the time of purchase; the 20 percent rebate will be mailed to vehicle owner from the Choctaw Nation within 60 days<br></li> <li>Do not have to live within the 10.5 counties of the Choctaw Nation but must live in Oklahoma<br></li> </ul> <p><strong>Tag Renewal (non-commercial)</strong><br></p> <ul> <li>Must wait until current tag expires</li> <li>Purchase Choctaw Nation tag at tag agency, not by mail</li> <li>Must present a Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma tribal membership card at the time of purchase</li> <li>Will pay regular fees and taxes at the time of purchase; the $20 rebate will be mailed to vehicle owner from the Choctaw Nation within 60 days<br></li> </ul> <p>There is no limit on the number of tags sold per household as long as the tribal member is listed on the vehicle title. Motorcycle and motor home tags will be available.<br></p> <p>Tags for the physically disabled will be available for currently registered vehicles if the driver already has a disabled placard from the Department of Public Safety. There is no separate charge for a disabled plate. However, there is a $10 charge for an optional front plate and a $25 charge for the “in lieu of” plates for vehicles modified because of the owner’s disability.<br></p> <p>Vanity plates will also be available through the new program. A $20 fee will be charged to the owner of any currently registered vehicle requesting a personalized tag.<br></p> <p>Registration forms for either the disabled or vanity plates can be found at any tag agency or online <a href="www.tax.ok.gov/sp1.html">here</a>. For more detailed information regarding the new tags, see <a href="www.choctawnation.com">Choctaw Nation</a>.<br></p> <p><!-- AddThis Button BEGIN --></p> <div class="addthis_toolbox addthis_default_style "> <a class="addthis_button_facebook_like" fb:like:layout="button_count"></a> <a class="addthis_button_tweet"></a> <a class="addthis_button_pinterest_pinit"></a> <a class="addthis_counter addthis_pill_style"></a> </div> <script type="text/javascript" src="//s7.addthis.com/js/300/addthis_widget.js#pubid=xa-51768a9b29d4b994"></script> <p><!-- AddThis Button END --></p> Fri, 12 Dec 2014 16:14:41 GMT http://choctawnation.com/news-room/press-room/media-releases/choctaw-tags-available-beginning-in-january-2015/ http://choctawnation.com/news-room/press-room/media-releases/choctaw-tags-available-beginning-in-january-2015/ Choctaw Nation Youth Ambassador visits the White House <p><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/choctaw-msldigital/assets/2550/Washington_original.jpg" alt='Washington Monument Janway' /><br> <em>Kelsey Janway visits Washington D.C., as part of the inaugural class of White House Tribal Youth Ambassadors.</em><br></p> <h3>Choctaw Nation Youth Ambassador meets with the President</h3> <p><em>by Sara J. Smallwood</em><br> <em>Choctaw Nation</em><br></p> <p><strong>Durant, Okla.</strong> - Kelsey Janway, a sophomore at Heavener High School, was chosen to be part of the inaugural class of White House Tribal Youth Ambassadors.<br> </p> <p>Kelsey is President of the Choctaw Nation Youth Advisory Board. Due to her success in this leadership capacity, she was nominated by her tribe to represent Choctaw youth to the President’s annual gathering of tribal leaders from across the nation.<br> <img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/choctaw-msldigital/assets/2547/Kelsey_Desk_original.jpg" align="right" width="250" alt='Kelsey Janway Desk' /><br> </p> <p>2014 was the first year to have a youth component to the White House Tribal Nations Conference, and Kelsey was one of only 35 youth selected from around the country. In her weeklong adventures in DC, Kelsey met President Obama, Vice President Biden, Secretary Jewell, Attorney General Holder, tribal leaders, and other top executives from the White House and federal agencies. Additionally, Kelsey was given a personal tour of the United States Capitol by Representative Mark Wayne Mullin, one of only 2 Natives currently serving in Congress.<br></p> <p>Kelsey was chosen to serve in this national role because of her leadership skills and dedication to serving her community. In addition to the Choctaw Youth Advisory Board, Kelsey is a member of 10 different organizations. Her commitment to her community and her tribe is evident in all she does. While in DC, she was a vocal advocate for Choctaw and other Native youth, and a wonderful representation of Oklahoma, and the Choctaw Nation. Kelsey and the other youth ambassadors will reconvene with the White House in summer 2015 to continue the momentum of youth leadership in Indian Country.<br></p> <p><!-- AddThis Button BEGIN --></p> <div class="addthis_toolbox addthis_default_style "> <a class="addthis_button_facebook_like" fb:like:layout="button_count"></a> <a class="addthis_button_tweet"></a> <a class="addthis_button_pinterest_pinit"></a> <a class="addthis_counter addthis_pill_style"></a> </div> <script type="text/javascript" src="//s7.addthis.com/js/300/addthis_widget.js#pubid=xa-51768a9b29d4b994"></script> <p><!-- AddThis Button END --></p> Tue, 09 Dec 2014 16:21:05 GMT http://choctawnation.com/news-room/press-room/media-releases/choctaw-nation-youth-ambassador-visits-the-white-house/ http://choctawnation.com/news-room/press-room/media-releases/choctaw-nation-youth-ambassador-visits-the-white-house/ Lloyd family businesses support shopping local in McAlester <p><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/choctaw-msldigital/assets/2543/Business_CommonRoots_CoupleAndBug_original.jpg" alt='Common Roots' /><br> <em>Micky and Kristen Lloyd lean on a pink Volkswagen Beetle, the decoration which sets Dottie’s Children’s Boutique apart.</em><br></p> <h3>Choctaw-owned stores bring customers back to Common Roots</h3> <p><em>by Brandon Frye</em><br> <em>Choctaw Nation</em><br></p> <p><strong>McAlester, Okla.</strong> - Husband and wife Micky and Kristen Lloyd are at the front of the movement to shop locally in McAlester, and are the entrepreneurs of three successful businesses built up by their own hands and from their own ambition.<br></p> <p>The Lloyds have worked together for years. Their first downtown brick-and-mortar store, Studio 23 Photography, has served the McAlester area since 2000. When the two noticed a need for children’s clothes during photo shoots, the first business snowballed into a second business, Dottie’s Children’s Boutique. Now, the couple is helping revive local trade in downtown McAlester with a third business: Common Roots, an eclectic mercantile housing an assortment of local and unique gifts and treats.<br></p> <p>Being a Choctaw citizen, Micky says the new store in particular was their way of showing a “sense of being local, what ties us together, where we come from and where we go back.” He has deep roots to the local community and Choctaw people. His great-great grandfather Buck White founded the Oklahoma town of White Oak, Okla. And his uncle Rubin White is a former Speaker of the Choctaw Nation’s Tribal Council.<br></p> <p>“Common Roots has been open for two months now, and it’s been great,” Micky said. “I couldn’t have expected it to be any better than it has been.”<br></p> <p>Dottie’s Children’s Boutique and Common Roots now stand as side-by-side storefronts offering goods to interested customers, but in very different ways.<br><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/choctaw-msldigital/assets/2544/Business_CommonRoots_ShelfDisplay_original.jpg" align="right" width="250" alt='Common Roots Jars' /></p> <p>The children’s boutique is a bright, light-filled space, colored joyfully and inviting children to play and interact. “We just wanted to do something different,” Kristen said. “If you look around you can see how fun and funky it is.”<br></p> <p>The children have many reasons to remember and revisit the boutique. The Lloyds took apart an old Volkswagen Beetle, cut it down the middle, painted it pink, and placed it as a unique decoration. The shop has toys and an area for children to make their own perfumes and lotions. And according to the Lloyds, the little ones also enjoy running back and forth through the broken down wall connecting the two businesses like a portal.<br></p> <p>Next door the aesthetics of Common Roots take on a more serious, natural element. The urban and industrial break through and give way to the rustic. Throughout the store, holes in plaster uncover arrowed designs and logos, the painted black tin roof reflects light shining from the yellow bulbs spelling out the store name just inside the entryway, and wooden shelves hold hand-made items and Oklahoma treats.<br></p> <p>“We built all of the tables, the shelving, displays, the bar. We did everything ourselves,” Micky said. It took plenty of time and remodeling, and Micky said he and his wife let the building tell them what it needed as they uncovered it.<br> <img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/choctaw-msldigital/assets/2546/Business_CommonRoots_IndoorSign_original.jpg" align="left" width="300" alt='Common Roots Sign' /></p> <p>One of the more unique features of Common Roots is the bar with a countertop made entirely of pennies. They said it is where men tend to sit, drink, and eat chocolates as women shop around. Behind the bar, they keep 30 ice-cold beverages: root beers, cream sodas, and pops with pure cane sugar, all cold enough to develop ice crystals after leaving the ice box.<br></p> <p>Locals and travelers alike are welcome at Common Roots and Dottie’s Children’s Boutique, which can be found at 111 and 113 East Choctaw Avenue in McAlester, Oklahoma.<br></p> <p>The couple said McAlester is very important to them, and they want to support shopping local. “We thought we would do what we can to revitalize downtown, we just didn’t want to let it die. We do what we can to try to bring it back and inspire others to do the same,” Micky said.<br></p> <p><!-- AddThis Button BEGIN --></p> <div class="addthis_toolbox addthis_default_style "> <a class="addthis_button_facebook_like" fb:like:layout="button_count"></a> <a class="addthis_button_tweet"></a> <a class="addthis_button_pinterest_pinit"></a> <a class="addthis_counter addthis_pill_style"></a> </div> <script type="text/javascript" src="//s7.addthis.com/js/300/addthis_widget.js#pubid=xa-51768a9b29d4b994"></script> <p><!-- AddThis Button END --></p> Mon, 08 Dec 2014 20:55:20 GMT http://choctawnation.com/news-room/press-room/media-releases/lloyd-family-businesses-support-shopping-local-in-mcalester/ http://choctawnation.com/news-room/press-room/media-releases/lloyd-family-businesses-support-shopping-local-in-mcalester/ Choctaw Nation breaks ground for Broken Bow Food Distribution Center <p><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/choctaw-msldigital/assets/2535/BrokenBowFoodDistGroundBreak_original.jpg" alt='Broken Bow Food Distribution Center' /><br> <em>Tribal officials break ground on new food distribution center in Broken Bow.</em><br></p> <h3>Broken Bow Food Distribution Center coming in 2015</h3> <p><em>by Brandon Frye</em><br> <em>Choctaw Nation</em><br></p> <p><strong>Broken Bow, Okla.</strong> - Officials, dignitaries, and locals broke ground on the new Broken Bow Food Distribution Center, near the current community center in Broken Bow, marking the beginning of construction for the site on Nov. 20.<br></p> <p>Chief Gary Batton, Assistant Chief Jack Austin Jr., and Council Member Tony Messenger lead the event, as well as the group of shovel-wielding officials who first moved earth at 210 S. Chahta Road.<br></p> <p>“This has been needed in the Broken Bow area for a long period of time, food is very essential to us,” Batton said. He added the council this year passed a budget to build the Broken Bow Food Distribution Center as well as one in McAlester.<br></p> <p>“This will be your new commodity warehouse, you can come and get what you want,” Council Member Tony Messenger said. “You don’t have to get it all at one time, you can make another trip to come down, and it is all going to be right here.”<br></p> <p>The new food distribution center, a food market, will allow eligible tribal members to shop in a store, choosing their own food rather than having it supplied in bulk without option. The new method will also allow members to spread visits out over time, rather than receiving it all at once each month.<br></p> <p>Speaking on the shopping experience at these food markets, Jerry Tonubbee, Director of Food Distribution, said, “it will be just like any grocery store. They can shop for their own food and go through the check out counter. The only difference is, it doesn’t ask for money.”<br></p> <p>Tonubbee said how much a household can receive depends on family size, or the number of people living in the household, and eligibility is based on the following requirements: a member of the household must have a CDIB from any federally recognized tribe, the household must be within the 10.5 counties, and the household must be within the USDA established guidelines for income (a household of one cannot have more than a net income of $1,128 per month, while a household of 8 could make as much as $3,562).<br></p> <p>“We have tribal members trying to make ends meet, elders in need of assistance, and many do not have the gas to travel long distances,” Tonubbee said. “So strategically placing these centers in areas of need will serve the Choctaw people.”<br></p> <p>The McAlester and Broken Bow food markets, or food distribution centers, are projected to be completed by July 2015.<br></p> <p><!-- AddThis Button BEGIN --></p> <div class="addthis_toolbox addthis_default_style "> <a class="addthis_button_facebook_like" fb:like:layout="button_count"></a> <a class="addthis_button_tweet"></a> <a class="addthis_button_pinterest_pinit"></a> <a class="addthis_counter addthis_pill_style"></a> </div> <script type="text/javascript" src="//s7.addthis.com/js/300/addthis_widget.js#pubid=xa-51768a9b29d4b994"></script> <p><!-- AddThis Button END --></p> Fri, 05 Dec 2014 15:26:26 GMT http://choctawnation.com/news-room/press-room/media-releases/choctaw-nation-breaks-ground-for-broken-bow-food-distribution-center/ http://choctawnation.com/news-room/press-room/media-releases/choctaw-nation-breaks-ground-for-broken-bow-food-distribution-center/ Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma Holds First Miss Choctaw Nation Princess Reunion <p><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/choctaw-msldigital/assets/2532/DSC_2597_original.JPG" alt='Miss Choctaw Reunion Group' /><br> <em>Top row Left to Right: Nicole Billy 2003-04, Dayla Amos 2008-09, Barbara Moffitt 1978-79, Suzanne Heard 1957-58, Kristie McGuire 2010-11, Marsilla Dean Sampson Sadongei 1973-74</em><br> <em>Middle Row Left to Right: Anita Bohannon Baker 1984-85, Courtney Baker Welsey 2006-07, Stephanie Horn 2004-05, Khristy Wallace 1994-95, Kristy Willis 1992-93, Amber Tehauno 2011-12, Callie Cornutt 2013-14, Donna Watson Billy 1979-80</em><br> <em>Bottom Row: Currently Reigning Choctaw Royalty: Little Miss Choctaw Nation Kyra Wilson 2014-15, Miss Choctaw Nation Nikki Amos 2014-15, Junior Miss Choctaw Nation Summer Moffitt 2014-15, and on the right end, Teresa Blaine Jefferson, 1980-1981.</em><br></p> <h3>Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma Holds First Miss Choctaw Nation Princess Reunion<br></h3> <p><strong>Durant, Okla.</strong> - On Saturday, November 29, the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma hosted its first Miss Choctaw Nation Princess Reunion as part of the 10th Annual PowWow in Durant. Choctaw royalty holding the title of “Miss Choctaw Nation” from 1957 to present were honored with a reception, beading class, and dinner at the Choctaw RV Park.<br></p> <p>The Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma Princess Pageant is comprised of both district and tribal nation levels and requires each contestant to be a tribal member of the Choctaw Nation with at least 1/16th blood quantum, a resident of the tribal district she is competing in, a High School graduate, single, and between the ages of 18 to 23. Each contestant is judged on beauty, personality, traditional talent and knowledge, goals as a princess, and traditional Choctaw regalia. The winner of the “Miss Choctaw Nation” title becomes a goodwill ambassador for the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma and makes appearances on behalf of the Nation for one year. They work with youth, veterans, elders, dignitaries, and tribal members from across the United States.<br><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/choctaw-msldigital/assets/2533/DSC_2601_original.JPG" align="right" width="250" alt='Miss Choctaw Reunion Award' /><br></p> <p>From the inception of the pageant, thirty-three former Miss Choctaw Nation’s were located and invited to the reunion. Sixteen Miss Choctaw Nations were present, along with family and friends as the group celebrated and reminisced about being tribal royalty and all of the adventures of their reigns. This was the first time in tribal history that former Miss Choctaw Nations were assembled together. Many were further recognized in the Grand Entry of the Choctaw Nation PowWow on Saturday evening.<br></p> <p><!-- AddThis Button BEGIN --></p> <div class="addthis_toolbox addthis_default_style "> <a class="addthis_button_facebook_like" fb:like:layout="button_count"></a> <a class="addthis_button_tweet"></a> <a class="addthis_button_pinterest_pinit"></a> <a class="addthis_counter addthis_pill_style"></a> </div> <script type="text/javascript" src="//s7.addthis.com/js/300/addthis_widget.js#pubid=xa-51768a9b29d4b994"></script> <p><!-- AddThis Button END --></p> Tue, 02 Dec 2014 21:43:57 GMT http://choctawnation.com/news-room/press-room/media-releases/choctaw-nation-of-oklahoma-holds-first-miss-choctaw-nation-princess-reunion/ http://choctawnation.com/news-room/press-room/media-releases/choctaw-nation-of-oklahoma-holds-first-miss-choctaw-nation-princess-reunion/ Choctaw Nation Christmas in the Park at Tvshka Homma Tribal Grounds <p><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/choctaw-msldigital/assets/2530/Christmas_2014_Blue_3x3_original.jpg" alt='Christmas in the Park Story' /><br></p> <h3>Christmas in the Park</h3> <p>The Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma would like to invite all to attend “Christmas in the Park” at the Choctaw Nation Tribal &amp; Capitol Grounds in Tvshka Homma, OK.<br> Each Friday and Saturday evening from December 5 – 20 the park is alive with festive lights and holiday décor. Enjoy a scenic drive through the grounds, free hot chocolate, and a complimentary gift from the Choctaw Nation between 6 – 9 pm.<br> This event is free and open to the public.<br> For more information, please contact Shelley Garner, cultural Services Department, at 1-800-522-6170, Ext. 2377 or sgarner@choctawnation.com<br></p> <p><!-- AddThis Button BEGIN --></p> <div class="addthis_toolbox addthis_default_style "> <a class="addthis_button_facebook_like" fb:like:layout="button_count"></a> <a class="addthis_button_tweet"></a> <a class="addthis_button_pinterest_pinit"></a> <a class="addthis_counter addthis_pill_style"></a> </div> <script type="text/javascript" src="//s7.addthis.com/js/300/addthis_widget.js#pubid=xa-51768a9b29d4b994"></script> <p><!-- AddThis Button END --></p> Tue, 02 Dec 2014 21:32:55 GMT http://choctawnation.com/news-room/press-room/media-releases/choctaw-nation-christmas-in-the-park-at-tvshka-homma-tribal-grounds/ http://choctawnation.com/news-room/press-room/media-releases/choctaw-nation-christmas-in-the-park-at-tvshka-homma-tribal-grounds/ Choctaw Nation Going Green Team Wins Environmental Excellence Award <p><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/choctaw-msldigital/assets/2524/Choctaw_Nation_Going_Green_Team_original.jpeg" alt='Keep OK Beautiful Going Green Team' /><br> <em>Pictured left to right: Kelly Danner, KOB Board President; Vonna Shults, Jon Hotubbee, and Tracy Horst, Director of Environmental Sustainability Going Green Team.</em><br></p> <h3>Sustainability Programs Recognized by Keep Oklahoma Beautiful</h3> <p>Choctaw Nation Going Green Team was honored in November for its various sustainability programs with an award from Keep Oklahoma Beautiful (KOB).<br></p> <p>Choctaw Nation’s Director of Environmental Sustainability, Tracy Horst, is spearheading the Choctaw Nation Going Green Team that is working to advocate environmental practices and recycling. Most recently, the Choctaw Nation hosted its annual Labor Day Weekend Festival where the Going Green Team provided presentations on waste stream assessment and water conservation, and informational recycling displays.<br></p> <p>“Recycling was initially promoted by having three types of cans distributed throughout this annual event for trash, for aluminum, and for paper,” said Lynn Malley, OK State University Extension Educator - Solid Waste Management. “The waste stream sorting that took place this year was one step along the way to including the composting of food scraps during this annual event.”<br><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/choctaw-msldigital/assets/2525/Luksi_and_recycling_original.jpg" align="right" width="250" alt='Luksi Keep OK Beautiful ' /><br></p> <p>The Going Green Team’s project impact in clear in the materials collected and recycled at the 2014 event: 3,565 lbs of cardboard, 2,758 lbs of plastic, 1,126 lbs of aluminum, 45 lbs of tin, 86 lbs of paper totaling nearly 4 tons of materials. “We will continue to add each year. Next year we hope to add composting of excess food from vendors and cafeteria areas, while pushing recoiling still, placing even more recoiling containers and increasing awareness of where to recycle,” said Horst.<br> </p> <p>Choctaw Nation Going Green Team was announced a winner of the Government Programs State/Tribal award at KOB&#8217;s 24th annual Environmental Excellence Awards Celebration on November 20, 2014 at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum. Over five hundred guests from across Oklahoma cheered on the evening&#8217;s winners who make up the best of Oklahoma&#8217;s environmental best.<br> </p> <p>Keep Oklahoma Beautiful is a statewide nonprofit whose mission is to empower Oklahomans to keep the state clean, enhance its natural beauty and sustain a healthy environment.<br> </p> <p>For more information on Choctaw Nation Going Green team, please contact thorst@choctawnation.com<br> </p> <p>For more information regarding the awards celebration, please visit <a href="www.keepoklahomabeautiful.com">Keep Oklahoma Beautiful</a><br></p> <p><!-- AddThis Button BEGIN --></p> <div class="addthis_toolbox addthis_default_style "> <a class="addthis_button_facebook_like" fb:like:layout="button_count"></a> <a class="addthis_button_tweet"></a> <a class="addthis_button_pinterest_pinit"></a> <a class="addthis_counter addthis_pill_style"></a> </div> <script type="text/javascript" src="//s7.addthis.com/js/300/addthis_widget.js#pubid=xa-51768a9b29d4b994"></script> <p><!-- AddThis Button END --></p> Tue, 02 Dec 2014 13:49:43 GMT http://choctawnation.com/news-room/press-room/media-releases/choctaw-nation-going-green-team-wins-environmental-excellence-award/ http://choctawnation.com/news-room/press-room/media-releases/choctaw-nation-going-green-team-wins-environmental-excellence-award/ Meet the Artist - Evangeline Robinson <p><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/choctaw-msldigital/assets/2523/MTA_Evangeline1_original.jpg" alt='Evangeline Robinson' /><br> <em>Evangeline Robinson presses designs into a new clay pottery project using a wooden stamp during the Meet the Artist event Nov. 15 in Colbert.</em><br></p> <h3>Meet the Artist - Evangeline Robinson</h3> <p><em>By Brandon Frye</em><br> <em>Choctaw Nation</em><br></p> <p><strong>Durant, Okla.</strong> - Evangeline “Vangie” Robinson, Choctaw artist from Boswell, got her start in 2009 as a student attending classes offered by the Choctaw Nation and worked her way up to actively teaching her skills and selling her wares.<br></p> <p>“Pottery is my forte,” Robinson said. “I wanted to have something to do, get out of the house, and making pottery was appealing. It was a hobby, but it is getting to be a business.”<br></p> <p>Robinson said she enjoys the entire process of creating traditional pottery, from digging the clay out of the ground and collecting shells from the shores of local lakes, to the smell of the clay itself, which she says reminds her of fresh rain on the earth.<br></p> <p>With her work, alongside traditional design work, Robinson likes to use objects found around her&#8211;like drawer handles or wheels from old toy cars&#8211;to make unique designs for the pottery she forms.<br></p> <p>“Using the materials at hand is something our ancestors have always done. It’s just kind of Vangie’s way of adapting a very ancient art to the present time period,” Ian Thompson, Director of Historic Preservation for the Choctaw Nation, said.<br></p> <p>Thompson helped Vangie Robinson develop her appreciation for the art form. Thompson taught his first pottery class in Oklahoma in 2009, a class which Robinson attended and, according to Robinson, was when she first fell in love with the craft.<br></p> <p>“We demonstrated the techniques and got input from people on how to set up classes which would be beneficial to the Choctaw people,” Thompson said. “As the meetings went on, we started to teach the skills involved in the process of Choctaw pottery, with the hope that people would be interested and some would eventually want to become Choctaw teachers.”<br></p> <p>Thompson said the class would go out and dig clay from tribal trust land, bring it back, then clean it. They would go out to local lakes and collect freshwater mussel shells and burn them, crush them up, and mix them with the clay. Then they would shape traditional styles of Choctaw pottery by hand and fire them in an open wood fire. At the time, the class would also make trips to museums and learn from master potters.<br></p> <p>“Vangie was present for all of that. It’s five years later and we are still teaching classes, and she is still coming.” Thompson said.<br></p> <p>Vangie Robinson is also branching out to other traditional arts like beadwork, and even teaches pottery classes herself. “I want to teach others who want to learn. This is important to me, because it makes sure our culture is passed on,” she said.<br></p> <p>Robinson said pottery is very unique. It covers many forms, like storage, dishes, eating utensils, and music. “Over time, metal will rust, but with pottery, archaeologist can date it and know what tribes were in the area. Even if it breaks, or is thrown away, it will still be there if it is fired, it will stand the test of time,” she said.<br></p> <p>Speaking on Robinson’s success with Choctaw art, Ian Thompson said, “It was ultimately her interest level. She had a lot of interest in learning how to do pottery. Over time she became very proficient at it. She’s also a personable individual, so she interacts well with the community and people who come to class. It was a natural progression for her to become a teacher.”<br></p> <p>“If I can do it, anybody can do it,” Robinson said. “I didn’t think I could ever do anything like this, especially at the beginning.”<br></p> <p><!-- AddThis Button BEGIN --></p> <div class="addthis_toolbox addthis_default_style "> <a class="addthis_button_facebook_like" fb:like:layout="button_count"></a> <a class="addthis_button_tweet"></a> <a class="addthis_button_pinterest_pinit"></a> <a class="addthis_counter addthis_pill_style"></a> </div> <script type="text/javascript" src="//s7.addthis.com/js/300/addthis_widget.js#pubid=xa-51768a9b29d4b994"></script> <p><!-- AddThis Button END --></p> Mon, 01 Dec 2014 17:09:56 GMT http://choctawnation.com/news-room/press-room/media-releases/meet-the-artist---evangeline-robinson/ http://choctawnation.com/news-room/press-room/media-releases/meet-the-artist---evangeline-robinson/