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December 16, 1996
Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma
Tribal Council Meeting Minutes

Transcribed by Franklin Mclain
Assistant Editor for the Cherokee Observer

DECEMBER 16, 1996 - 6:00 p.m.


President Eagle called the meeting to order at 6:10 p.m. in the Tribal Council Chambers, W.W. Keeper Complex.


The invocation was given by Councilmember Watie.


Roll call was given by Gina Blackfox, Legislative Aide. The following members were present:

  1. Bill John Baker
  2. Mary Cooksey
  3. Harold DeMoss
  4. Paula Holder
  5. Nick Lay
  6. Harold Phillips
  7. Barbara Scott
  8. Dora Mae Watie
  9. Sam Ed Bush
  10. Don Crittenden
  11. Harley Terrell
  12. Charles Hoskin
  13. Barbara Conness
  14. Troy Poteete
  15. William Smoke

A quorum was established with fifteen members present.


With no corrections or additions to the minutes of November 12, Councilmember Watie moved for the approval. Councilman Crittenden seconded. Minutes adopted as presented.


Chief Byrd recognized Ms. Newell, an individual who made a contribution to Cherokee Nation. She contributed a speech given by her grandfather to the U.S. Senate in 1912. This document will remain with Cherokee Nation for preservation purposes. Her grandfather was one-half Cherokee and was a strong advocate for the Cherokee people.

The 1997 tribal budget has been submitted to the Tribal Council for review and approval. The Cherokee Nation Enterprises continues to do very well. Members of the newly formed Housing Committee attended a conference in Arizona to review programs which are available for housing and other social programs which can be incorporated under the new housing law. Chief Byrd recently attended meetings in Washington, D.C. Cherokee Nation continues to build relationships with the Department of Agriculture, Department of Army, and other agencies to develop resources. While in Washington he attended a reception at the White House. He met with President Clinton and top cabinet officials. On December 19, the Cherokee Nation will host an open house at the tribal headquarters. On December 20, an employee reception will be held at the Sequoyah High School Gym. Chief Byrd reported an independent review will be conducted within the Health Department. The review is expected to be very timely and he will provide an update as the review progresses.

In reference to the Eagle case, Chief Byrd stated for the record he has worked with Deputy Chief Eagle during the eight years while serving as Council member. He commented that Deputy Chief Eagle's priorities are with the Cherokee people and he has always tried to improve the ability to serve the people and provide them with the best opportunities possible. Often individuals have disagreements when trying to do well for others and uncontrollable emotions may occur. During these many years of working together, he feels Deputy Chief Eagle's heart is in the right place. It is time to resolve the differences and look for what's best for the Cherokee Nation and its citizens while carrying out their respective duties. He supports Deputy Chief Eagle and desires to leave this issue behind and move forward.

As of December 17, the Security Division will report for duty equipped with firearms. The CNE has requested armed security for the Outpost, Gift Shop and Restaurant facilities.

Chief Byrd presented a gift to Michael Killer for his leadership skills and for his excellent role model for youth. Michael has served as President of the Tribal Youth Council for three consecutive terms. He is a member at large of the United National Indian Tribal Youth and recently spoke in Atlanta at the Native American consortium sponsored by former President Carter. He has also spoken before the U.S. Senate Sub-Committee on Indian Affairs.

Chief Byrd commented the position of Dwight W. Birdwell will expire this month. He stated he will bring this order of business forward during the January meeting. Councilman Poteete requested ten working days notice on the nominations for this position. Chief Byrd agreed.


Councilman Crittenden recognized George Cameron for this dedicated services to the Sequoyah High School Veterans Memorial project. In other business, Councilman Crittenden requested contribution toward an individual who has been selected by the Professional Scouts to compete in the baseball World Series game in Australia. Eighteen boys from the U.S. were chosen and Jason Akin, tribal member, will represent Oklahoma as we


Mr. Thompson provided additional comments on the Home ownership Summit held in Arizona. The process has begun with negotiated rules and forming of committees. The new housing legislation allows the flexibility to be more creative and alleviates Housing Authority from the competitive grant situation. It will provide more with less by allowing them to leverage what they have with private investment. The new legislation will authorize appropriations as necessary.


Mr. Wickliffe reported on and distributed copies of the delegation of authorities. He has once again assumed the responsibilities as self-governance specialist. The Self-Governance Conference was recently held in New Orleans. The conference was a success. He stated there are 205 tribes involved in self-governance representing 62 compacts. Within these 62 compacts there are eight organizations with compacts. He announced Ben Nighthorse Campbell, Colorado Senator, has been named as the Chairperson of the Senate Select Committee. A representative has been selected to the Self Governance Advisory Council, a national council consisting of a representative from each area office. The Muskogee Area Representative will be Deputy Chief Greg Pyle of the Choctaw Nation His alternate will be David Brown, Lieutenant Governor, of the Chickasaw Nation. The Muskogee Area Office is considering a revamping of the Personnel Office. This will involve approximately 600 employees throughout the Anadarko, Muskogee and eastern office. They have been instructed to combine the efforts into one office.

In other business, Councilman DeMoss recognized the individuals who represented the Cherokee Nation during the International Rodeo Finals last month in Canada. Steve Meredith, representing the Cherokee tribe in the bareback event, did very well. Dee Keener, won the world championship in team roping. Lisa Arnold, won the girls senior division barrel racing and all-around cowgirl. In appreciation of the sponsorship a trophy will be displayed for thirty days at the tribal headquarters.


Mr. Taylor reported CNI will finish this quarter with a profit. CNI began the year with many problems but much progress has been made throughout the year. Many of those bayed off earlier in the year have been rehired. He reported they are working on a contract with the Corps of Engineers. Because of the affiliation with the Small Business Administration, they will be making changes to the Board. There are rules and regulations which require Council members to serve as advisory members or ex-officio members only.

He contributed much of the success of CNI to the current administration and leadership of Cherokee Nation.


President Eagle commented that CNE will provide an update at the next Executive & Finance Committee. Councilman Poteete requested the report be provided during the Council meetings. President Eagle stated CNE will be informed of the request.

Councilman Poteete commented there are revisions to the legislation concerning the CNE which provides for council oversight in any major creation of debt. He reported this legislation will be provided at a later time.


None pending.


1) Youth Council Swearing In Ceremony - Justice Ralph Keen

Justice Keen performed the swearing in of the newly elected Tribal Youth Council officers. A reception was held honoring the new officers.

2) JAT Annual Report- Justice Dwight Birdwell

Justice Birdwell provided the annual report regarding the Cherokee Nation Judicial System. The annual judicial conference was held on November 20 at the Cherokee Nation Courthouse. Those present at the meeting were Judge Wilcoxen, Judge Jordan, and Justices Viles, Keen, and Birdwell. A comprehensive survey of the condition of business in the District Court and the Judicial Appeals Tribunal. Both Judges from the district court reported that business conditions were satisfactory in their Court, with two exceptions. The first concern involves the compensation presently paid to Associate Judge Wilcoxen. During the past two years, his case load has increased dramatically. His present compensation is $450.00 per month, which is inadequate for the service he renders. Based on this factor, it the recommendation that his compensation be increased to $1500.00 per month. This adjustment is reflected in the proposed budget for the next fiscal year. The second issue concerns a recommendation by Judge Wilcoxen that jury trials be dispensed with in certain juvenile matters. Judge Wilcoxen feels that in some instances that the process is being abused. He would appreciate an opportunity to appear and be a part of any process which takes into consideration his concerns. The caseload for the JAT remains about the same in 1996 as was in 1995. Many have been resolved. Much progress has been made in the renovation of the Courthouse. With regard to the proposed legislation, the following recommendations were offered in the areas of Employee Rights, Council Resources, Veterans Assistance, and Juvenile Facilities. Councilman Baker made a motion to accept the annual report and Councilman Crittenden seconded the motion. Motion carried. The report will remain on file in the Tribal Council office. Following the report, Paul Thomas, Representative of the Chief Elders Council, presented Justice Birdwell with a gift honoring him for his service to the Cherokee people.

3) A Resolution Supporting Full Tribal Consultation by HUD in the Development of Funding Formulas and Regulation to Implement the Native American Housing and Self-Determination Act of 1996/R#113-96

Councilman Phillips made a motion to approve the resolution supporting action by the Bureau of Indian Affairs to implement a formula that fairly allocates HIP funds and opposes the formula proposed in the legislation as discriminatory to members of larger tribes. Councilman Bush seconded the resolution. Motion carried.

4) A Resolution Authorizing the Employment and Training Division to Prepare and Submit a Notice of Intent to the Department of Labor for Designation of JTPA Service Area Within Cherokee Nation Jurisdictional Boundaries/R#114-96

Councilman Phillips made a motion to approve the resolution authorizing the submission of a Notice of Intent which is required by legislation for the JTPA program. The area requested for designation is the Cherokee Nation traditional jurisdictional boundaries. The JTPA funding is based on the Native American population of the designated area. Councilman Baker seconded the motion. Motion carried.

5) A Resolution Designating UAM Retirement Plan Services to Serve as Successor Record keeper for Cherokee Nation 401(K) Retirement Plan and Trust/R#115-96

Councilman DeMoss made a motion to approve the resolution designating UAM Retirement Plan services to serve as successor record keeper. The resolution authorizes the Chief to enter into negotiations to complete the transaction. Councilmember Conness seconded the motion. Motion carried.

6) A Resolution Designating Fleet National Bank to Serve as Successor Trustee for Cherokee Nation 401(K) Retirement Plan and Trust/R#116-96

Councilman DeMoss made a motion to approve the resolution designating Fleet National Bank to serve as successor trustee.

The resolution authorizes the Principal Chief to enter into negotiations to complete the contract. Councilmember Conness seconded the motion Motion carried.

7) A Resolution Authorizing the Approval of Oil and Gas Lease on the Winslow Estate/R#117-96

Councilman Crittenden made a motion to approve the resolution authorizing the approval of an oil and gas lease on the Winslow Estate in Grady County, Oklahoma containing 80 acres more or less of which the Cherokee Nation owns a 3/8 mineral interest. The oil and gas lease is for a three year term, 3/16 royalty payment, and $100.00 per mineral acre cash bonus or $3,625.20 The said lease is in favor of the T.S. Dudley Land Company. Councilman Phillips seconded the motion. Motion carried.

8) A Resolution Authorizing a Request for Surety Bonds to be Waived on Cherokee Tribal Lands/R#118-96

Councilman Crittenden made a motion to approve the resolution authorizing the Department of the Interior, Bureau of Indian Affairs to waive surety bonds on Cherokee Nation Tribal Land leases. According to 25 CFR 162.5(c) a satisfactory surety bond is required in an amount that will reasonably assure performance of the contractual obligations under the lease.

Such bond may be for the purpose of guaranteeing not less than one year's rental for the term of contract. Councilmember Cooksey seconded the motion. Motion carried.

9) A Resolution Authorizing a Surety Bond for Tribal Members/R#119-96

Councilman Crittenden made a motion to approve the resolution authorizing surety bonds for Cherokee Nation Tribal Members leasing tribal land during this lease cycle, which begins January l, 1997 and terminates on December 21, 2001. Councilman Bush seconded the motion. Motion carried.

10) An Act Relating to Foreclosure of Mortgages/LA#21-96

Councilman Poteete presented the legislation relating to foreclosure of mortgages. The purpose of the legislation is to establish laws and procedures which are necessary in order to obtain governmental funding for tribal housing programs or loan guarantees for private or tribal housing construction, purchase, or renovation. Councilman Poteete made to approve the legislation and Councilman Baker seconded the motion.

Roll call as following:

              Bill John Baker  YEA      Don Crittenden   YEA 
              Harley Terrell   YEA      Harold Phillips  YEA
              Dora Watie       YEA      Mary Cooksey     YEA
              Sam Ed Bush      YEA      Paula Holder     YEA
              Troy Poteete     YEA      Barbara Conness  YEA
              Barbara Scott    YEA      William Smoke    YEA
              Harold DeMoss    YEA      Nick Lay         YEA
              Charles Hoskin   YEA
The legislation was approved unanimously by fifteen (15) yea; and none (0) opposing.

11) A Resolution Notifying HUD of Designation of the Cherokee Nation Housing Authority as the Recipient for Funding Under Phi. 104-330 the Native American Housing Assistance and Self-determination Act of 1996/R#120-96

Councilman Lay presented the resolution notifying HUD of the designation of the Cherokee Nation Housing Authority as the recipient for funding under P.L. 104-330. The legislation further recognizes the trust responsibility of the U.S. to the Indian nations and Indian people in making housing assistance funding available directly to tribes to establish the right of Indian self-determination and self-governance. Councilman Lay made a motion to approve the legislation and Councilman DeMoss seconded the motion. Motion carried.

In other business, Phil Givens came forward to express his concerns. He provided a brief background of the numerous trips made to Washington, D.C. Through his TERO certified company, he has had an opportunity to visit with the Secretary of Transportation and Secretary of Agriculture and other Washington officials. They all recognize TERO as Indian preference. He stated this is not the case at Cherokee Nation. He expressed his concern that some type of procedures should be in place for TERO vendors, suppliers, or builders to exhaust their administrative remedies when there is an adverse decision or problem with Cherokee Nation. He also expressed his gratitude to Councilmembers Bush, Baker, Scott, Watie, and Deputy Chief for their assistance.

Councilman Poteete addressed some questions to Mr. Givens on his personal background, assistance provided to Cherokees and cost involved, and whether he was officially designated as a representative of the Cherokee tribe in connection with the Department of Agriculture. After a brief response by Mr. Givens, he concluded his comments.

Councilman Hoskin clarified that CNE's lack of report tonight was a vote by the Cherokee Nation Enterprise Board and not just a request by Gerald Cantrell. It was a Board decision simply because the report was repetitious. If the Council feels it necessary to have this report repeated during the Council meeting it is no problem.


With no further business presented, Councilman Bush moved for adjournment. The meeting concluded at 8:00 p.m. The next regular meeting will be held on Monday, January 13, 6:00 p.m. at the tribal headquarters.

James Garland Eagle, President
Cherokee Nation Tribal Council

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Jay, OK. 74346-1301
Phone/FAX: (918) 253-8752

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