Cherokee Messenger
August, 1998

Cherokee Cultural Society Meetings

Cherokee Cultural Society meetings are held at the Tracy Gee Community Center, 3599 Westcenter, Houston, Texas, 7:30 to 9:00 p.m., the first Thursday of each month.

Upcoming programs are:

Other Calendar Items:

Poetry Corner

"Hands of the Creator"
by Yellow Flower (Blackfoot)*
He sits,— bemused, —brown, luminous eyes aglow—

Depths never before experienced—
With connection to spirit—communion of souls—
Reverently he measures,—studies,— plans, —dreams—
Forming the first gleaming, silver feather, then another,

And another—
A mighty wingspan is created—noble head—savage beak—
Poised in thunderous flight—terrifying—inspirational—

Awesome—Tamed by no man—
Loyal companion to Grandfather—Champion of the gods—
Fierce eyes—behold the world—behold his domain.

He stands, —humble—amazed—brown, luminous eyes aglow—
What has the Creator chosen to create through his hands?
What wondrous world has deemed him "The one with the gift"
The one with the miraculous hands—that do the bidding of

Perform the sacred rites of creation—
Who is this man—this Cherokee—this spiritual warrior?
The old ones tell us that this is the man who listens—
—Listens to the inner voice—the Grandfather’s voice—
Creating the memories,—the passions,—the fantasies—

The sacred communion of souls.
This Cherokee—this solitary man—the hands of the Creator.

*Pen name of Carroll Cocchia, member of the Houston Area Professional Chapter of the Wordcraft Circle of Native Writers & Storytellers.
Special Note: This poem was inspired by CCS member and artist Charlie Strack, "Creator of Eagles". His work can be viewed at a special showing during the evening of Friday, August 7, 1998, at the Patchwork Blue, located at 605 Mason Street in Tomball, Texas; phone 281-351-5301.

New Art Council Formed

The American Indian Art Council of Houston, an organization to provide the first local American Indian Cultural Center, will kick off their emerging project with a Native American Music Festival. Mark your calendar for October 9, 1998, when the new pavilion at Traders Village will be the scene for a festival featuring Robert Mirabal, Keith Siccola, Blackfire, The Americas, and several local Native groups. Tickets are available at Cactus Music: $10, pre-purchased, or $15 at the door. The group welcomes more local musical talent, food and souvenir vendors, and logo designers for the festival and the Council. A major project of the new Council will be annual distribution of scholarships to local Native youth. Contact for more information: Carroll Cocchia, (days) 281-448-4000, or Judith Bruni, e-mail:

Chief Recovering After Surgery

Former Chief of the Cherokee Nation Wilma Mankiller successfully underwent a second kidney transplant in Boston July 22, 1998. With cancer in remission, she required the new organ after chemotherapy destroyed the kidney previously donated by her brother. Three days after the operation she was touring the halls of the hospital feeling "marvelous." This time her donor was niece Virlee Williamson, age 32, who was doing well and looking forward to returning to her home in Rogers, Arkansas. Ms. Mankiller is hoping to be back in Tahlequah, Oklahoma for the Cherokee National Holidays during the Labor Day weekend. She was released from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, on July 30, 1998, but was encouraged to remain in the Boston area for a while in case further treatments were needed.

Hearty Cherokees

Cherokee firefighters, funded and trained by the National Forest Service, were among those fighting the wildfires in Florida and Texas during June and early July. The Cherokee Firedancers numbered 70 in Florida and 23 in Texas, dedicating eight to 12 hour shifts, according to Don Greenfeather, Cherokee Nation employment manager. They would return to camp, eat, rest and go back to the fire lines. Virtually every available Cherokee Firedancer was committed to fire work by July 4, 1998.
- From an article in the TULSA WORLD On-Line, "Cherokee Crews Help Fight Fires in Two States," by Rik Espinosa, (July 4, 1998).

Worthy of a Dollar

The new dollar coin will have a Native American face, although the image will still be that of "Liberty", according to the U.S. Treasury Department. The features are said to be "inspired by Sacajawea", the young Shoshone guide who, with her baby in her arms, aided explorers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark in 1804 to reach the Pacific Ocean. By the spring of 2000, the newly designed coin will replace the Susan B. Anthony dollar. Artists at the U.S. Mint, with outside artists who will include Native Americans, are creating specific designs by this fall. A citizen advisory panel recommended the new design in June, which was then approved by Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin.
- Excerpted from the HOUSTON CHRONICLE article, "Liberty Chosen for New Dollar Coin," (July 30, 1998).

Genealogical Resource

HEART OF THE EAGLE: DRAGGING CANOE AND THE EMERGENCE OF THE CHICKAMAUGA CONFEDERACY, by Brent A. Cox, (1998), contains new genealogical information on the Cherokees, with focus on the pre-1800 period. It covers the genealogy of Dragging Canoe, Oconostota, Moytoy, Attakullakulla, Ostenaco, Bowles, Justice, Glass, Hicks, Doublehead, Old Tassell, among others. Serves as a reference guide to the period, 1700-1800. Over 500 Cherokee genealogical entries. This book also focuses on Cherokee resistance towards American imperialism during the early stages of the American Revolutionary War. 317 pages, softbound. Pre-publication price $15.00 plus 3.50 shipping and handling (text will be available in 6 to 8 weeks). Mail Order to: Chenanee Publishers, Yanusdi Cox, 2043 Algee Lane, Milan, TN 38358; phone 901-686-7097. CCS has no affiliation with nor does it endorse any enterprise listed as a resource. Inclusion is only for informational purpose and was provided by the vendor who contacted CCS. Readers are invited to share consumer feedback on such products.

Native Housing Success

Our friend Liz Pollard writes about the Apache Tribal Housing breaking ground for their Seniors Complex in Anadarko, Oklahoma, July 1, 1998. In the early 1990's the Housing Authority of the Apache Tribe of Oklahoma lost funding for a low-income housing project when Congress cut the budget and bids for construction of the project came in too late and too high. "The only thing saved from the lost project was a piece of land", says Duke H. Tsoodle, Executive Director of the Authority. Three years of frustration followed, with lost funding attempts while the waiting lists for all types of housing increased to over 200 families. The Apache Tribal Housing Authority applied to USDA Rural Development for a Section 515 Rural Rental Housing Loan. There would be monies for only one loan under this program in the entire state of Oklahoma for 1998, and there had never been a Housing Authority as an applicant. Charles P. Rainbolt, Oklahoma State Director, USDA Rural Development, recently presented a check for $974,728 toward the $1,047,575 project and approved 24 units of Rental Assistance for very low and low income elderly and disabled tribal members. The apartment complex will be called Koon-Kah-Na-I-Sha or "Apache Camp," and will be managed by the Housing Management Department of the Tribal Housing Authority. The success of the Apache Tribe in this comeback should offer encouragement to the other 557 federally recognized tribes and 200 Housing Authorities across the nation. The Tribe worked very hard to make this project a reality. The complex will also house a community center which will become the Apache Center For Creative Living, where family and friends can enjoy planned activities, gatherings, and continued education from the satellite link with educational facilities. Tenants will also enjoy a petting zoo, gardens and a greenhouse. Residents can grow plants that will be used to beautify the grounds of the complex. The petting zoo is the result of a partnership between the authority and the Little River Zoo in Norman, OK, plus private donations. The zoo will provide small animals on a rotating basis. "At-risk babies" will be given special attention and cuddling by the tenants of the center. Seed funds for the zoo came from McClain County Bank through Sharon Wise, tribal lending specialist, along with private donations. The Housing Authority is online at Contacts for information are Patsy Grumman, (USDA), 405-742-1070; Wayne Sims, (HUD), 405-553-7520; and Duke H. Tsoodle, (HOUSING AUTHORITY, APACHE TRIBE), 405-247-7305.

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