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February 1997
Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma
Tribal Council Meeting Minutes

Transcribed by Franklin Mclain
Assistant Editor for the Cherokee Observer

Tribal Council Meeting
February 10, 1997 - 6:00 p m.


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


The invocation was given by Councilman Phillips.


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

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

A quorum was established to conduct business


Councilmember Scott moved to approve the January minutes as submitted. Councilmember Conness seconded the motion. Motion carried


Chief Byrd reported several staff members and elected officials participated in the Presidential inauguration ceremony Representatives from the Department of Agriculture, U.S. Corps of Engineers, Department of Health & Human Services, Department of Interior, White House Staff from Tom Coburn's and Don Nickles' attended a reception hosted by Cherokee Nation. Issues discussed included funding, Joint partnerships, and how to strengthen the relationship with each entity This meeting further strengthens the government to government relationship the Cherokee Nation shares with the United States. The staff members are currently working on follow up with each representative in January, the Cherokee Nation also began exploring the necessary renovations to re-open the Lodge of the Cherokees Staff members met in Dallas with the Regional Director of the Job Corps program to discuss cooperative efforts between the Department of Labor and Cherokee Nation The regional office stands committed to assist the Cherokee Nation in taking a new and more productive direction regarding the Talking Leaves Job Corps Center.

Chief Byrd attended a press conference in Oklahoma City last week to accept the first payment of the motor gels dollars through the agreement with the State of Oklahoma. Governor Keating and the Oklahoma Tax Commission presented a check to each of the three participating tribes. Cherokee Nation's portion was approximately 1.1 million dollars. The tribes are expected to receive these dollars each quarter over the next twenty years. The Tribal Council has approved the funds to be deposited in an interest bearing account for the next ninety days. The Cherokee Nation Judicial Appeals Tribunal recently ruled to dismiss the case filed by David Cornsilk which could have delayed or prohibited the tribe from using these funds for much needed services. Since the ruling, funds will be appropriated by the Tribal Council in accordance with the motor fuels agreement. This partnership will prove to be one of the most beneficial agreements that Cherokee Nation has entered into throughout history. He expressed his appreciation to the Tribal Council who approved the resolution and the staff who spent many hours during negotiations.

Chief Byrd, Deputy Chief, Dr. Robinson Dr. Sly, and Mr. Qualls of Sequoyah High School visited several preparatory schools in Albuquerque to continue looking at ways to improve Sequoyah High School. While in Albuquerque, Chief Byrd has the opportunity to participate as key note speaker at the National Association for Bilingual Education conference.


Chief Byrd nominated Rex Earl Starr, an attorney from Stilwell, to serve as the General Counsel for the Cherokee Nation. He provided a brief background on his credentials. Councilman Phillips moved for confirmation and Councilman Crittenden seconded the motion. Motion carried.

Councilmember Scott inquired if Mr. Starr has any background on Indian law. Chief Byrd responded that Mr. Starr has been involved in litigation concerning Indian law and has knowledge not only in Indian law but also the Cherokee Nation constitution. Councilmember Scott expressed the importance in obtaining an individual who is well versed in Indian law due to the Delaware issue and for the fact that tribal sovereignty is being attacked on every issue. Councilmembers opposing the confirmation were Barbara Starr-Scott, Barbara Conness, and Troy Poteete.

On behalf of the Cherokee Nation, Chief Byrd expressed his appreciation to Jim Wilcoxen, who has served as General Counsel for the past eleven years Because of his knowledge of the corporate world, Jim will continue to work with the Cherokee Nation Enterprises. Jim was very instrumental in accomplishing the Motor Fuels Agreement.


President Eagle acknowledged Miss Cherokee Lyndsey Houston, who presented a brief report before the Tribal Council. She stated that March is recognized as Women's History Month and this years theme is a fine and long tradition of community leadership. The Miss Cherokee Advisory Board will be hosting Women's History Month program honoring native American women and highlighting the Miss Cherokee scholarship pageant. This event will be held on Saturday, March 1 from 1:00-3:00 at the Cherokee Restaurant Ballroom. This program is designed to recognize the native American women who are and have been leaders of their community and to recruit young women for the Miss Cherokee scholarship pageant.

Council members Smoke, Phillips and Watie recognized individuals within their districts. Lance England, student at Peavine School, was recognized for his participation in the Healthy Nations running program sponsored by Cherokee Nation. Council member Watie recognized Ginger England for her support and participation in the Healthy Nation program. Rabon Bolin, a Salina student, was also recognized for his participation in the Healthy Nation program by Councilman Smoke. Council members Watie and Phillips also presented a contribution to Guy Hawk, Jr., who has been invited for tryouts with the St. Louis Cardinals. The Cherokee Nation Enterprises contributed $300.00 for financial assistance as well as personal contributions made by Council members.

Councilman DeMoss reported the Executive & Finance Committee are in the budget review process. In a recent meeting the committee approved the employee raises retroactive to October 1, 1996. He brought this business forward for full Council consideration. He moved to approve this action and Council member Scott seconded the motion. Motion carried.


Joel Thompson, Executive Director, stated the first meeting of the negotiated rules committee was held on January 14-16 in Denver. Failure to publish the names committee members in the federal register has delayed confirmation. The notice was published on January 16 and there is a thirty day comment period requirement. Therefore this committee will be official until February 26. Nevertheless, they were able to develop a charter and protocols to handle meetings. This will become official after confirmation of committee members. The negotiated rules committee will consist of 48 members serving as one committee. It is possible this committee will separate into two subcommittees composed of rules and formula funding. The next meeting is tentatively scheduled for February 25-27 in Denver. The time line has not changed to have the rules completed by June 1, 1997.

He has received a copy of the President’s FY1998 budget on block grants under the new PL104-330. The block grants are only funded at 485 million dollars. This is 165 million less than what was included in the original bill last summer. A detailed analysis will be provided to Council members. A very long budget process is anticipated in reaching a compromise for the amount.


Dennis Wickliffe introduced elm Fields, MAO Area Director. Ada Deer as accepted a 120 day detail as the Chairperson of the Indian Gaming Commission. Her schedule remains as half-time with the BIA and one-half time with the Gaming Commission. There are six contenders for the position of Assistant Secretary. The position of Commissioner of Bureau of Indian Affairs has been vacant for several years. Hilda Manuel has submitted her name for consideration of this position. The Muskogee Area Office has begun a strategic plan to cover the next five years. The Governance Performance Results Act, legislation which requires that a plan must be submitted to Washington by April is being prepared by MAO. The spring Self-Governance conference will be held in April.

Jim Fields offered comments on activities at the Muskogee Area Office. He stated the assistant secretary indicated that during the first administration the Presidential appointed position took eight months for confirmation. Ada Deer will continue half-time as Assistant Secretary until confirmation has been completed. Mr. Fields presented a brief personal background to the council. He expressed his philosophy is to work on a government to government relationship with the tribes. His desire is to be an advocate for the tribes and since his appointment as Area Director last May he has revisited the policies and past practices of the bureau hoping to improve the relationship with tribes. The issues involving the Cherokees are the amendments to the 1947 Act. The five tribes have had discussions to amend the law and legislation is being prepared. He commented that work groups have been established to address issues that are particular to particular tribes. He has delegated the authorities to deal with the Cherokees to Dennis Wickliffe, the Self-Governance Specialist


Mike Watkins provided financial consolidated reports through December 31. Councilman Poteete inquired about the accuracy of the reports and have adjustments been made to inventory. Mr. Watkins responded they were to his knowledge. The auditors will finalize their findings this week. This report will be provided to Council. Councilman Poteete also inquired about the accounts payable which tripled over the previous year and the accrued Liabilities have increased to $800,000 dollars. Mike stated the increase includes accrued payroll, expenses, accounts payable, and they trying to improve on the accruals to bring them current. The accounts payable is the $283,000 according to the reports given. Councilman Poteete inquired about the Internet bingo proposals. Mike commented requests have been made for both groups to submit proposals.

Council member Scott made inquires about recent reports provided to the Executive & Finance Committee concerning the $15,000 loss from the restaurant during the month of December. She also requested an explanation on a $75,000 dollar loss at the restaurant. Mr. Watkins explained that the majority of the loss was due to payroll and renovations. Councilman Poteete also inquired about the assets from the Cherokee Gift Shop and how the funds will be appropriated once the sale is consummated.

Mike provided financial reports on the gaming facilities. Attendance has increased 40% in all bingo halls. The smoke shop deposits have increased about 15% over the previous year. He reported that Cherokee Nation has received $136,000 dollar rebate from the Oklahoma Tax Commission. The restaurant is over running on costs at this time and they are trying to cut back on payroll as they possibly can. They have cut back on payroll by $14,000 dollars this month and will also try closing Monday through Thursday evenings. The architectural plan have been drawn up and bids are expected to open up within three or four week on the Catoosa travel plaza. The Cherokee Nation Enterprises provides employment to 531 individuals and are maintaining approximately 95-97% tribal membership. He also reported that CNE has filed an extension with the NIGC, this report is due within 120 days after the first year end, September 30. Council member Scott requested the Director of Finance attend the council meetings in order to provide information


In the absence of Hiram McFarland, no report was given. Council member Scott requested that Mr. McFarland send someone to represent CNI in his absence.


(None pending).


1) A Resolution Authorizing the Children, Youth and Family Services Department to Prepare and Submit an Application for Funding of a Victims of Crime in Indian Country Program From the State of Oklahoma District Attorney’s Council (VAIC)/R#6-97

Councilman Phillips moved to approve the resolution to submit an application requesting $30,000 dollars to be used to provide a staff position to assist victims of crime in Indian country access available services Council member Conness seconded the motion. Motion carried.

2) A Resolution Authorizing the Employment and Training Department to Prepare and Submit an Application for Funding of Vocational Rehabilitation Services to the Department of Education/R#7-97

Councilman Phillips presented the resolution to submit an application requesting $200,000 dollars to be used to increase services to individuals with disabilities, as well as to increase the number of individuals served each program year. The current Vocational Rehabilitation Program is vastly under funded; these funds would be used to expand its services to additional individuals. There are no matching funds required. Council member Conness moved to approve the resolution. Councilman Baker seconded the motion. Motion carried.

3) A Resolution Supporting an Application for a Discretionary Grant for Library Services from the Department of Education, Application #84.163AIR#8-97

Council member Watie moved to approve the resolution supporting the application for discretionary grant for library services from the Department of Education in the amount of $5,000 dollars which will encompass the fourteen counties This grant application is requested on a yearly basis and is funded contingent upon the continued operation of the library. Approximately $5,000.00 will be requested and will be utilized for program operations. Council member Holder seconded the motion. Motion carried.

4) A Resolution Approving Receipt of Funds of the Loyal Shawnee/R#9-97 Councilman Crittenden presented the resolution approving the receipt of funds for the Loyal Shawnee. The funds are set aside through the Intertribal Bison Association via the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service in the Dept. Of Interior for the Loyal Shawnee Bison Project. The funds will be transmitted via check to Cherokee Nation for the Loyal Shawnee if the Cherokee Nation agrees to receive the funds for the Loyal Shawnees. The resolution requests approval of receipts of these funds for contract to the Loyal Shawnees.

Councilman Hoskin moved to approve the resolution. Council member Holder seconded the motion. Motion carried.


With no further business presented, Councilman Baker moved for adjournment. The meeting concluded at 7:40 p.m. The next regular meeting will be held on Monday, March 10, 6:00 p.m. at the tribal headquarters.

James Garland Eagle

Provided by:

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

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