Cherokee Nation honors longest-serving employee


(L to R) Front Row: Cherokee Nation Deputy Chief S. Joe Crittenden; Principal Chief Bill John Baker; and Tribal Councilors Don Garvin, Julia Coates, Cara Cowan Watts and Joe Byrd recognize T.J. Stand for 43 years of service. Tribal Councilors David Walkingstick and Tina Glory-Jordan, along with Cherokee Nation Treasurer Lacey Horn and Tribal Councilors Frankie Hargis, Janees Taylor, David Thornton and Janelle Fullbright, also congratulate Stand. (L to R) Back Row: Tribal Councilors Harley Buzzard, Lee Keener, Jack Baker, Dick Lay and Victoria Mitchell Vazquez.

TAHLEQUAH, Okla. —This week the Cherokee Nation honored its longest-serving employee, T.J. Stand, who is retiring Friday after 43 years of service.

Stand, 66, of Tahlequah, began working for the tribe on Oct. 14, 1970, in the employment assistance department, now known as career services. She transferred to finance and eventually worked her way up to accounting manager.

During the December Tribal Council meeting, Tribal Councilors showered Stand with a personalized letter, traditional pottery and a Cherokee Nation Pendleton blanket to say thanks.

“T.J. is the only remaining Cherokee Nation employee from the very beginning,” Tribal Council Speaker Tina Glory-Jordan said. “She feels that one of the greatest accomplishments is working through periods of great change, having worked with every elected chief and official of the Cherokee Nation since W.W. Keeler.”

When Stand started at the Cherokee Nation, which was housed at that time in the current Human Resources building, it had 50 employees but has since grown to more than 3,500.

“I’m blessed to be able to retire from a career of working for the tribe and the Cherokee people,” Stand said. “I’m thankful for a job that has afforded me to remain in my beautiful hometown of Tahlequah.”

Stand plans to work around the house, do a lot of gardening and spend quality time with her family in her retirement.

Also during the Tribal Council meeting, Cherokee Nation Entertainment employees were recognized by Cherokee Nation Businesses CEO Shawn Slaton and Principal Chief Bill John Baker for helping an elderly Cherokee citizen from Muskogee.

The elder lives just outside the tribe’s 14-county jurisdiction and needed a new roof, so the employees took their own tools and materials on their day off to repair his home on Veteran’s Day.

“Our employees and company do things all the time that go above and beyond the call of duty,” Slaton said. “These employees saw the need of a Cherokee elder and addressed it. This unselfish act and generosity helped a family through a difficult time.”

Those recognized were Larry Vance, Terry Crow, Jeff Hogan, Chris Suger, Tommy Linch, Mika John Calico, Tony Baker, Mark Swaim and Austin Bryan.

The Tribal Council also approved adding $12 million in grants and carryover funds to the tribe’s 2014 general fund, which is $585 million.

The next Tribal Council meeting is slated for Jan. 13 at 6 p.m. at the W.W. Keeler Complex in Tahlequah.

Cherokee Nation News Release
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