(L to R) Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker, Tommy Wildcat, Donald Vann, Martha Berry, Miss Cherokee Julie Thornton and Deputy Chief Joe Crittenden.
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. — Cherokee citizens who made significant contributions in the community, military and public service, as well as those keeping the Cherokee art and culture alive, received 2013 State of the Nation Awards by Principal Chief Bill John Baker Tuesday.
Fourteen Cherokee citizens and four organizations were honored at a dinner at the Tahlequah Armory Municipal Building.
Awards were given in five categories: Cherokee National Statesmen, National Medal of Patriotism, National Community Leadership for organizations and individuals, and National Treasure.
“Our awardees, whether an artist or a warrior or a preservationist, exemplify the values that we hold so deeply as a people and sovereign government—our community, our culture and our commitment to leaving our world a better place for today, tomorrow and the next seven generations,” Chief Baker said.
National Treasure awardee Martha Berry, of Tulsa, said the award is somewhat intimidating, but she’s deeply honored. Berry creates elaborately beaded moccasins, belts and purses and has won several awards for her beadwork. She travels throughout the country to lecture on the revival of pre-Contact Cherokee beadwork.
“I have always put my name on my work and tried to do a good job because it was my name, but now it’s everybody’s name on there,” Berry said. “It’s almost a rededication for me, to work even harder, do even better, teach even more and do a better quality of work because I represent the great people in this fantastic tribe. I’m thrilled.”
The 2013 State of the Nation Award winners are as follows:
Cherokee National Treasure Award
Martha Berry, of Tulsa, for her Cherokee beadwork and sharing her knowledge with audiences throughout the country;
Tommy Wildcat, of Park Hill, for sharing Cherokee culture and his river cane flute music with citizens across the United States;
Donald Vann, of Tahlequah, for his long and decorated career as a painter of cultural themes.
Cherokee National Statesman Award
The late Garland Eagle, of Stilwell, for serving the tribe and preserving the Cherokee language;
Crosslin Smith, of Vian, for being a cultural and spiritual resource for the tribe;
The late Charles L. Head, of Pryor, for protecting tribal interests and citizens affected by domestic violence;
Chrissi Nimmo, of Tahlequah, for giving tirelessly to represent Cherokee citizens Veronica and Dusten Brown in the case Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl that went to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Cherokee National Medal of Patriotism Award
Donald Vann, of Tahlequah, for his service in the Vietnam War and tribal representation in his art;
Dusten Brown, of Nowata, for his continued military service and fight to keep his biological daughter, Veronica;
The late Rogan Noble, of Wagoner, for serving fellow veterans on behalf of the Cherokee Nation;
Becky Wolfe, of Tahlequah, for more than three decades of Department of Veterans Affairs and Cherokee County Veterans Council work.
Cherokee National Community Leadership Award – Organization
The Vian Peace Center food pantry and clothing closet for serving Cherokees in Sequoyah County;
Brushy Cherokee Action Association for helping elderly and disabled residents;
Orchard Road Community Outreach Inc. for providing education opportunities for unwed mothers in Adair County;
Cherokees of Northern Central Valley for keeping Cherokee culture alive in northern California.
Cherokee National Community Leadership Award – Individual
Ray Dodgin, of Okay, for working with students, the elderly and his church family;
Jacquie Archambeau, of Oakland, Calif., for sharing the Cherokee culture as Leadership Council Chair for the Cherokee Society of the Greater Bay Area;
Rodslen Brown-King, of Muskogee, for helping disabled citizens and PROJECT A Association in Muskogee County;
Raymond Vann, of Chewey, for helping Cherokee veterans and Warpony Community Outreach Inc.
Cherokee Nation News Release
Julie Hubbard - 918-207-3896
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