(L to R) Cherokee Nation Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin Jr., Miss Cherokee Sky Wildcat, Orchard Road Community Outreach representatives Reba Bruner and Raven Bruner and Junior Miss Cherokee Lauryn Skye McCoy.
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. — Nearly 500 representatives of the 24 at-large and 136 in-jurisdiction Cherokee organizations traveled to Tulsa for the Cherokee Nation’s 13th Annual Conference of Community Leaders.
The two-day conference hosted by Cherokee Nation Community and Cultural Outreach was held June 9-10 at the Wyndham Tulsa Hotel and Resort. Attendees attended workshops led by experts in sustainability and culture, and also met with tribal leaders, including Principal Chief Bill John Baker and Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin Jr.
The tribe concluded the conference with the Community Impact Awards banquet, which honors community organizations that do outstanding volunteer work, promote the culture and make other significant contributions.
"These Cherokee Nation citizens deserve to be recognized for the critical work they are doing to improve the lives of others in their cities and communities," Hoskin said. "Whether it's mentoring youth or creating greater cultural awareness or volunteering to help elders in need, these individuals and groups define the values of community and family that are so important to us as Cherokee people."
P.O.T.L.U.C.K. Society, a Cherokee organization based in Rogers County, provides a place for all ages to come together once a month to socialize, learn about different programs available to them, hear special guest speakers, receive wellness checks and eat. The group also provides items to Blue Star Mothers and the local women's shelter, and helps with groups at the local schools and the veterans center.
The Cherokee Nation honored the organization with the Elder Care Award.
“It is a great honor to receive the Elder Care Award. We feel overwhelmed by the support the Cherokee Nation has given us,” said Jacalyn Cook, board president of P.O.T.L.U.C.K. Society. “The real award goes to the Cherokee Nation for helping so many in this area.”
Orchard Road Community Outreach, based in Stilwell, was honored with the Mary Mead Volunteerism Award. The nonprofit organization is focused on serving the needs of people in Adair County and surrounding areas. The organization's services include Turning Point Transitional Housing, which provides temporary housing to individuals or families displaced from their home due to natural disaster, fire or other circumstances. ORCO is also currently constructing a shelter for victims of domestic violence.
“The ORCO board is comprised of individuals who have a heart for our community; all of their time is volunteered. The work we do is to make a difference in the lives of the people of our community. To be recognized with the Mary Mead Volunteerism Award is a huge honor,” said Reba Bruner, ORCO board president.
Below are other organizations honored by the Cherokee Nation with a Community Impact Award:
Newcomer of the Year Award – Mid County Community Organization
Newcomer of the Year At-Large – Cherokees of the Greater Central Valley
Mary Mead Volunteerism Award – Orchard Road Community Outreach
Most Improved Award – Family Support Center of Oaks
Best in Technology Award – Adair County Historical & Genealogical Association
Best in Technology At-Large – Cherokees of Northern Central Valley
Continuing Education Award – Boys & Girls Club of Adair County
Elder Care Award – P.O.T.L.U.C.K. Society
Hunger Fighters Award – Fairfield Community Organization
Hunger Fighters Award – Marble City Food Pantry & Youth Services
Best in Reporting Award – Native American Association of Ketchum
Best in Reporting At-Large – Cherokees of the Inland Empire
Technical Assistance Award – Cherokees for Black Indian History Preservation Foundation
Grant Writer of the Year Award – Grand Nation, Inc.
Strong Hands Award – Native American Fellowship, Inc.
Cultural Perpetuation Award – Indian Women’s Pocahontas Club
Cultural Perpetuation At-Large – Valley of the Sun Cherokees
Historical Preservation Award – Cherokee National Historical Society
Historical Preservation At-Large – Cherokee Citizens League of Southeast Texas
Lifetime Achievement Award – Ollie Star (Indian Women’s Pocahontas Club)
Lifetime Achievement Award – Carol Sonenberg (No-We-Ta Cherokee Community Foundation)
Community Partnership Award – Stilwell Public Library Friends Society
Community Partnership At-Large – Mt. Hood Cherokees
Community Leadership Award – Brushy Cherokee Action Association
Community Leadership At-Large – Mt. Hood Cherokees
Above & Beyond Award – Encore! Performing Society
Youth Leadership Award – Spavinaw Youth Neighborhood Center
Youth Leadership At-Large – Kansas City Cherokee Community
Mission Accomplished Award – No-We-Ta Cherokee Community Foundation
Community Inspiration Award – Cherokee Nation Treasures Association
Organization of the Year Award – Cherokee’s for Black Indian History Preservation Foundation
Organization of the Year At-Large – Capital City Cherokees
Sponsor Award – Cherokee Nation Businesses
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