Choctaw Nation Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma http://choctawnation.com/rss/ en-us 40 We Never Lose Hope <p><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/choctaw-msldigital/assets/2804/Isabelle_sGarden_Photo_01_original.jpg" alt='Isabelle's Garden 4/20/15' /><br></p> <h3>The Inspirational Message behind Isabelle&#8217;s Garden</h3> <p><em>By Amadeus Finlay</em><br> <em>Contributing Writer</em><br></p> <p>The world of cinema has long been the realm of immense budgets and computer generated animation, but in a small corner of southeastern Oklahoma a pair of native filmmakers have successfully challenged the status quo. Debuting to critical acclaim at the Sundance Film Festival, Isabelle&#8217;s Garden is a moving, eight-minute film detailing how one young Choctaw girl works through poverty to ensure that her society can benefit from the produce of her vegetable patch.<br> </p> <p>&#8220;My husband, Jeffrey, and I were inspired to make a film about uplifting stories in our communities,&#8221; explains the film&#8217;s producer, Lauren Palmer.<br> </p> <p>&#8220;Far too often do you see negative stories surrounding Indian Country. We wanted to overturn that perception by allowing a young girl to be the catalyst for change and lifting up her people from poverty and supporting the community.&#8221;<br></p> <p>The film opens with the familiar sounds of dawn, &#8220;weary voices of the crickets and the frogs&#8221; as Isabelle describes it, played over a moody summer morning bruised by an irritable tumult of rainclouds. Isabelle wakes up in a lonely house – we see no other people – her dirty feet poking out the end of her bedclothes, the austere surroundings of her bedroom in direct contrast to the abundance reflected in the vegetable patch outside her window.<br></p> <p>The house is dusty and untended, the cobwebbed corners sprinkled with dried garden mud. But nothing is by chance in Palmer&#8217;s statement piece; all the imagery is intentional, everything deliberately planned to submerge the audience in the reality of Isabelle&#8217;s world. Hers is an existence that is focused on the garden, and the few possessions she owns are singularly designed to help to nurture her plants. And it is here that we find the crux of the film, the basis upon which the allegory is formed. Isabelle, despite living in less than favorable circumstances in which she dreams of a world &#8220;where poverty doesn&#8217;t exist,” is committed to being a symbol of hope, advocating strong social values in a community that needs them most.<br></p> <p>She writes words of encouragement on scraps of brown paper, &#8220;ahni&#8221; (hope) na-yimmi (believe in something) hvpi kvnia kiyo (we will never lose) i-hullo (love), and attaches them to the baskets of vegetables she gives to her neighbors. They are &#8220;to lift people&#8217;s spirits,” she says, each note as much a cultural marker as a kind gesture.<br> </p> <p>The film concludes with Isabelle providing her neighbors with their gifts, commentating throughout on the value of community and the promise of cooperation. It is a simple, yet devastatingly effective use of the visual arts to convey a message relevant to so many. Isabelle is a refreshingly honest character, and in 14-year-old Isabelle Cox, the actress who plays the lead character, both film and reality have an icon in the making.<br></p> <p>Isabelle has an impressive resume. She has attended the Shakespearean Festival at Southeastern Oklahoma State University on several occasions, and recently served as Little Miss Choctaw Nation. But for all her star-struck experiences, Isabelle Cox is more affected by the stories and issues that have the greatest impact on her people.<br></p> <p>&#8220;The film is indicative of Native life in many tribes throughout the United States,&#8221; explains her father, Nate. &#8220;Poverty produces several unfortunate circumstances that Native people struggle with on a daily basis, and this includes accessibility to sufficient food resources.&#8221;<br></p> <p>&#8220;Isabelle loves representing the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma in any capacity she can, and when she was approached to star in the film, it seemed to be a perfect combination of two of the things closest to her heart.&#8221;<br></p> <p>Isabelle&#8217;s Garden is a marker upon which future social film projects can only be judged. Free from convoluted storylines or secondary distractions, here is a film with a clear message that can speak to the generations. This acclaim is a sentiment felt by many, yet the impact that it brought came as a surprise to some, not least of which was Lauren Palmers.<br> </p> <p>&#8220;We did not know how successful the film would be,&#8221; she explains, &#8220;Our idea from the beginning was to tell a story about poverty that transcended many audiences.”<br> </p> <p>She pauses for a moment, reflecting on the content of her masterpiece.<br></p> <p>&#8220;These,&#8221; she stresses, &#8220;these are the stories we need to hear today.&#8221;<br></p> <p>Isabelle’s Garden can be viewed in full at <a href="https://vimeo.com/116907675">here</a>.</p> <p><!-- AddThis Button BEGIN --></p> <div class="addthis_toolbox addthis_default_style "> <a class="addthis_button_facebook_like" fb:like:layout="button_count"></a> <a class="addthis_button_tweet"></a> <a class="addthis_button_pinterest_pinit"></a> <a class="addthis_counter addthis_pill_style"></a> </div> <script type="text/javascript" src="//s7.addthis.com/js/300/addthis_widget.js#pubid=xa-51768a9b29d4b994"></script> <p><!-- AddThis Button END --></p> Mon, 20 Apr 2015 13:58:04 GMT http://choctawnation.com/news-room/press-room/media-releases/we-never-lose-hope/ http://choctawnation.com/news-room/press-room/media-releases/we-never-lose-hope/ TELI Partners Collaborating on Early Childhood Services <p><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/choctaw-msldigital/assets/2803/MOU_signed-1_copy_original.jpg" alt='MOU Signed TELI' /><br></p> <h3>TELI Partners Collaborating on Early Childhood Services</h3> <p><em>By Lisa Reed</em><br> <em>Choctaw Nation</em><br></p> <p><strong>Durant, Okla.</strong> - Choctaw Nation Tribal Early Learning Initiative (TELI) members signed a memorandum of understanding during a conference on Friday, April 17, as part of an early childhood “systems of care” effort as part of Autism Awareness Month. This MOU outlines a non-binding plan to provide more opportunities for tribal members in regard to early childhood services. Tribal programs include a home visitation program, Head Start and various tribal child care programs. Rebecca Hawkins is signing the document surrounded by other Choctaw Nation early childhood leadership team members Angela Dancer, B.J. Robinson-Ellison, Barbara Moffitt, Patti Rosenthal, Brandi Smallwood, Lisa Blackmon, Katy Pruitt, and Monona Dill.<br></p> <p>The conference, focusing on Tribal Early Learning Special Needs, featured speakers Lori McCoy, director of special needs at Durant Public Schools, and Amanda Walker, the autism structured learning teacher for Lamar Elementary. Participants attended from throughout southeastern Oklahoma.<br></p> <p>“The Choctaw Nation is one of only four tribes who have received the TELI grant,” said Angela Dancer, Better Beginnings senior director. “We have the infrastructure needed with our child care programs, Head Starts, and the tribal maternal/infant early home visiting program. The directors of each program want to continue to build collaboration and develop a unified application and information system to share.”<br></p> <p>Lisa Blackmon, Dallas regional director for the Administration for Children and Families, said the conference is helping meet the needs of providers with education and materials, empowering them to work with parents and children. “They have all focused their efforts on trying to identify and meet special needs. The Choctaw Nation has taken a successful simple approach of learning what they have available within their own programs and from there working as a network and referral source for those families.”<br></p> <p><!-- AddThis Button BEGIN --></p> <div class="addthis_toolbox addthis_default_style "> <a class="addthis_button_facebook_like" fb:like:layout="button_count"></a> <a class="addthis_button_tweet"></a> <a class="addthis_button_pinterest_pinit"></a> <a class="addthis_counter addthis_pill_style"></a> </div> <script type="text/javascript" src="//s7.addthis.com/js/300/addthis_widget.js#pubid=xa-51768a9b29d4b994"></script> <p><!-- AddThis Button END --></p> Mon, 20 Apr 2015 13:49:22 GMT http://choctawnation.com/news-room/press-room/media-releases/teli-partners-collaborating-on-early-childhood-services/ http://choctawnation.com/news-room/press-room/media-releases/teli-partners-collaborating-on-early-childhood-services/ Financial Planning, Business Planning,and Food Safety for South & East Oklahoma <h3>Financial Planning, Business Planning,and Food Safety for South &amp; East Oklahoma<br></h3> <p>The University of Arkansas School of Law Indigenous Food and Agriculture Initiative has joined with the Farm Credit of East Central Oklahoma, the Wallace Center at Winrock International (Washington DC), Morse Marketing Connections (MMC), and the Choctaw Nation and Muscogee Creek Nations to offer an important set of “bootcamp” workshops in southern and eastern Oklahoma during 2015. You will hear the latest on food safety regulations and GAP certification, crop insurance and risk management tools, and will be given hands on experience in what are called “one page” financial, risk assessment and business plan tools. We will also provide information on new markets in the region and how your operation can participate in food hubs that are growing in number across the country as a way to link small, beginning, mid-sized, remote and new producers and their operations into new markets.<br></p> <p><strong>In-Person Workshop Locations and Dates:</strong><br> All workshops will begin at noon with light refreshments and conclude by 5 p.m.<br></p> <p>April 30 Broken Bow, OK Choctaw Nation Community Center May 21 Durant, OK Choctaw Nation Community Center<br> June 11 McAlester, OK Choctaw Nation Community Center<br> July 9 Poteau, OK Choctaw Nation Community Center<br> August 13 Okmulgee Muscogee Creek Nation Community Center<br></p> <p><strong>Each in-person workshop will cover the following information:</strong><br></p> <ul> <li>“One Page” Financials<br></li> <li>“One Page” Business Planning<br></li> <li>“One Page” Risk Assessment<br></li> <li>Food Safety Regulations Update and GAP Overview<br></li> <li>Risk Management and Crop Insurance Policy Updates<br></li> <li>Choctaw Nation Update on Promise Zone, Food and Agriculture Plans<br></li> <li>Muscogee Creek Nation Update on Food and Agriculture Plans<br></li> <li>Food Hubs &amp; Other New Markets<br></li> <li>New and Old Legal Issues Facing Producers<br></li> </ul> <p><!-- AddThis Button BEGIN --></p> <div class="addthis_toolbox addthis_default_style "> <a class="addthis_button_facebook_like" fb:like:layout="button_count"></a> <a class="addthis_button_tweet"></a> <a class="addthis_button_pinterest_pinit"></a> <a class="addthis_counter addthis_pill_style"></a> </div> <script type="text/javascript" src="//s7.addthis.com/js/300/addthis_widget.js#pubid=xa-51768a9b29d4b994"></script> <p><!-- AddThis Button END --></p> Thu, 16 Apr 2015 16:23:51 GMT http://choctawnation.com/news-room/press-room/media-releases/financial-planning-business-planningand-food-safety-for-south-east-oklahoma/ http://choctawnation.com/news-room/press-room/media-releases/financial-planning-business-planningand-food-safety-for-south-east-oklahoma/ Wild Onions: A Choctaw Tradition <p><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/choctaw-msldigital/assets/2798/WildOnionDish_original.jpg" alt='Wild Onion Dish' /><br> <em>Wild onion pancakes</em><br></p> <h3>Wild Onions: A Choctaw Tradition</h3> <p><em>By Lindsey Bilyeu</em><br> <em>Choctaw Nation</em><br> Spring has finally arrived in Choctaw Nation. The weather is getting warmer, the landscape is finally starting to look green again, and wild onions are waiting to be gathered. Soon Choctaw Nation tribal members will begin gathering and preparing these wild onions in preparation for family gatherings, church events, and community functions. Today we know these events as wild onion dinners. In this month’s Iti Fabvssa we will look closely at wild onion dinners, why they are held and their significance to the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma.<br></p> <p>Wild onion dinners are held among the southeastern tribes that are living in Oklahoma today. These tribes, known as the 5 Civilized Tribes, consist of the Choctaw, Chickasaw, Cherokee, Creek, and Seminole. Each tribe will have their own way of carrying out the wild onion dinners. Today in the Choctaw Nation you will frequently see the dinners being used as church fundraisers. Wild onions may also be served at family gatherings, stickball games, and gospel singings.<br></p> <p>The first step in the process of wild onion dinners will be the actual gathering of the wild onions. This is a skill that takes time and practice to master. <br></p> <p>Wild onions are typically gathered in February or March. Gatherers use small shovels to dig the onions out of the ground. When choosing wild onions, the gatherer must pay close attention and be careful not to pick onions that are too large, as they tend to get tough. The wild onions are usually best when they are small, around 4 to 5 inches tall. Once the wild onions have bulbs on the ends they are no longer good. It is also easy to confuse wild onions with different plants that closely resemble them. A gatherer must pay close attention so that they don’t gather a different plant that looks like the wild onions, but can be poisonous. It is also easy to confuse wild onions, which have a flat leaf, with garlic, which has a round leaf. It will take several gallons of the wild onions to feed a large number of people. For example, to feed a group of 20 people you will need about two gallons of wild onions. <br></p> <p>Once the wild onions have been gathered, it is time to prepare them. When performing this second step, it is important that the onions be trimmed and cleaned very well. You must wash the onions until all the dirt is gone, which can sometimes be tricky as the dirt can get inside the layers of the onion. Cleaning and trimming the wild onions is similar to the process used when cleaning green onions.<br></p> <p>Once the onions are cleaned and trimmed, you can move on to the third step which is cooking the onions. The onions will need to be boiled in water until they become tender. To add flavor, you can always add the drippings from bacon or the ever-loved Choctaw favorite, salt pork. Once the onions are tender, you can eat them as is or add them to scrambled eggs. Most often the wild onions are served up with scrambled eggs.<br></p> <p>While the scrambled eggs and wild onions are the star of the wild onion dinners, many other Choctaw traditional foods will be served as well. Many times you will find tanchi labona, salt pork, pinto beans, and fry bread served. The traditional Choctaw dessert, grape dumplings, will be served along with pies, cakes, and cobblers. <br></p> <p>While the wild onion dinners take a great amount of time and preparation from talented Choctaw cooks, they are worth the effort. These dinners have become a part of the life that the Choctaws have established in Oklahoma. They bring together families, friends, and communities. The dinners provide an environment in which our traditional Choctaw songs, dances, stories, and games can be carried out. Wild onion dinners contain elements of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma’s culture that must be carried on. Through these dinners we have the ability to pass on Choctaw cooking, stories, spirituality, history, and pride to our future generations. So this spring let’s get out and enjoy not only the season, but also help preserve and ensure the survival of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma wild onion dinners.<br></p> <p><em>A special thanks to Mary Frazier, Vangie Robinson, and the Blaine family for the information that was shared for this article.</em><br></p> <p><!-- AddThis Button BEGIN --></p> <div class="addthis_toolbox addthis_default_style "> <a class="addthis_button_facebook_like" fb:like:layout="button_count"></a> <a class="addthis_button_tweet"></a> <a class="addthis_button_pinterest_pinit"></a> <a class="addthis_counter addthis_pill_style"></a> </div> <script type="text/javascript" src="//s7.addthis.com/js/300/addthis_widget.js#pubid=xa-51768a9b29d4b994"></script> <p><!-- AddThis Button END --></p> Thu, 16 Apr 2015 16:01:52 GMT http://choctawnation.com/news-room/press-room/media-releases/wild-onions-a-choctaw-tradition/ http://choctawnation.com/news-room/press-room/media-releases/wild-onions-a-choctaw-tradition/ Choctaw Nation Head Start Centers recognized as Certified Healthy Early Childhood Program <p><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/choctaw-msldigital/assets/2797/HeadStart_original.jpg" alt='Choctaw Nation Head Starts Early Childhood' /><br> <em>Center Supervisors above from left to right: Marie Cravens (Poteau); Gwen Martin (Idabel); June Dobbins (Bennington); Jennifer Helt (Wilburton); Lindsay Sistrunk (McAlester); Jackie Anna &amp; Kathy Tisho (Broken Bow); Staci Sawyer (Coalgate); Lauren Scott (Durant); Michael Gills (Bethel). Not pictured: Sharon Carter (Antlers); Anita Zurline (Atoka); Natasha Hudson (Hugo); and Rebecca Good (Stigler).</em><br></p> <h3>Choctaw Nation Head Start Centers recognized as Certified Healthy Early Childhood Program</h3> <p><em>By Katy Pruitt</em><br> <em>Choctaw Nation</em><br></p> <p><strong>Durant, Okla.</strong> - Choctaw Nation Head Start centers received recognition as a Certified Healthy Early Childhood Program as follows: (1) Excellence: Antlers, Bennington, Broken Bow, Coalgate, Durant, Hugo, Idabel, McAlester, Poteau, Stigler and Wilburton (2) Merit: Atoka, Bethel. The certification program is administered by the Oklahoma Turning Point Council and the State Department of Health, Center for the Advancement of Wellness.<br></p> <p>The three levels of certification (basic, merit, and excellence) are based on the percentage of total criteria met in the following categories: (1) Health Education; (2) Nutrition; (3) Physical Activity; (4) Screen Time; (5) Safe and Healthy Environment; (6) Counseling, Psychological, and Social Services; (7) Community and Family Involvement; (8) Health Promotion for Staff and, (9) Professional Development. To qualify for any level of certification, Head Start programs are held to the highest standard in the Early Childhood Category.<br></p> <p>“The Certified Healthy Early Childhood Program is in its pilot year and recognizes Early Childhood Programs that are working to improve the health of children, families, and staff by providing wellness opportunities and implementing policies that lead to healthier lifestyles. Early Childhood Programs that advocate for health are recognized as leaders in the community!”<br> <a href="http://certifiedhealthyok.com/early-childhood-program/">Certified Healthy Oklahoma</a><br></p> <p><!-- AddThis Button BEGIN --></p> <div class="addthis_toolbox addthis_default_style "> <a class="addthis_button_facebook_like" fb:like:layout="button_count"></a> <a class="addthis_button_tweet"></a> <a class="addthis_button_pinterest_pinit"></a> <a class="addthis_counter addthis_pill_style"></a> </div> <script type="text/javascript" src="//s7.addthis.com/js/300/addthis_widget.js#pubid=xa-51768a9b29d4b994"></script> <p><!-- AddThis Button END --></p> Thu, 16 Apr 2015 15:50:30 GMT http://choctawnation.com/news-room/press-room/media-releases/choctaw-nation-head-start-centers-recognized-as-certified-healthy-early-childhood-program/ http://choctawnation.com/news-room/press-room/media-releases/choctaw-nation-head-start-centers-recognized-as-certified-healthy-early-childhood-program/ Poteau Family Embraces Athletics and Tribal Culture <p><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/choctaw-msldigital/assets/2796/HornbuckleWrestlers_original.jpg" alt='Hornbuckle Wrestlers' /><br> <em>Three generations of wrestlers: Jack Hornbuckle, grandson Roderick and son Dewayne pose for a photo at the Oklahoma wrestling tournament earlier this year. Photo Provided</em><br></p> <h3>Tough, Tough Choctaws</h3> <p><em>By Zach Maxwell</em><br> <em>Choctaw Nation</em><br></p> <p><strong>Poteau, Okla.</strong> - Success is piling up for the Hornbuckle family of Poteau.<br></p> <p>The Hornbuckles claim both Choctaw and Cherokee descent, as well as three generations of award-winning wrestlers. The Hornbuckle children, Roderick and Kyra, are both athletes at Poteau High School and participate in stickball as well as Choctaw cultural activities.<br></p> <p>As another season of youth stickball gets under way, Dewayne Hornbuckle is one of the coaches for the new Yvnnvsh Homma (Red Buffaloes) team. Son Roderick, a Poteau junior, plays center defense for the new team. Kyra is on the squad as well.<br></p> <p>Roderick also just completed a third-place finish at the 4A state wrestling tournament, going 3-1 to complete his second straight 30-plus win season at 39-9.<br></p> <p>But it’s in the blood: Dewayne and his father Jack are both wrestling coaches at Poteau, and Jack is still winning world titles in 50-plus competitions in Europe.<br></p> <p>Wrestling fans will recall Jack’s accolades at OSU, where he was part of a wrestling team that won two national titles and made it to Olympic trials.<br></p> <p>“He’s the one with all the credentials,” Dewayne said of his dad. “And he started the wrestling program at Poteau in 1977.” Now, Roderick is following in the footsteps with his award-winning moves on the mat. Not only did he make it to State this year, but he also made the all-conference list and is a three-time wrestling champion at the Jim Thorpe Games.<br></p> <p>“It’s fun, but it takes commitment and determination,” Roderick said. “It takes mental strength, too.”<br></p> <p>Some of the skills help him with tackling in adult-level stickball games; tackling is frowned upon at the youth level. His dad grew up playing the Cherokee “fish game,” a softer, one-pole version of the sport known as a social game throughout most of the Choctaw Nation.<br></p> <p>Roderick is looking forward to taking his wrestling talent to the next level, perhaps at a small school such as Bacone College. He wants to stay close to home. And, he is not confining his native cultural interests to the stickball field. “I’m starting to learn social dance songs,” he said, adding that he has a CD of songs by B.L. Joe that he keeps playing. “I jam out to those in my truck.”<br></p> <p>He is also trying his hand at artwork, inspired by art classes at school. He is sampling beadwork as well as sculpting, in a style his dad describes as “abstract art.”<br></p> <p>Dewayne has taken his children to see artists including Bunkie Echo-Hawk (Pawnee-Yakama) and exposed them to music from native groups such as A Tribe Called Red.<br></p> <p>“This lets them explore as much of these things as we can,” he said. “It’s so kids can have more pride and not be ashamed to learn their native culture and language.”<br></p> <p><!-- AddThis Button BEGIN --></p> <div class="addthis_toolbox addthis_default_style "> <a class="addthis_button_facebook_like" fb:like:layout="button_count"></a> <a class="addthis_button_tweet"></a> <a class="addthis_button_pinterest_pinit"></a> <a class="addthis_counter addthis_pill_style"></a> </div> <script type="text/javascript" src="//s7.addthis.com/js/300/addthis_widget.js#pubid=xa-51768a9b29d4b994"></script> <p><!-- AddThis Button END --></p> Thu, 16 Apr 2015 15:41:39 GMT http://choctawnation.com/news-room/press-room/media-releases/poteau-family-embraces-athletics-and-tribal-culture/ http://choctawnation.com/news-room/press-room/media-releases/poteau-family-embraces-athletics-and-tribal-culture/ Layne creates children’s apparel <p><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/choctaw-msldigital/assets/2784/Cuddlestar_original.jpg" alt='Adrian Cuddlestar' /><br> <em>Adrian Layne, Choctaw business owner, shows off a bit of her western style.</em><br></p> <h3>Layne creates children’s apparel</h3> <p><em>By Brandon Frye</em><br> <em>Choctaw Nation</em><br></p> <p><strong>Austin, Texas</strong> - Five years ago, after bringing her first child into the world, Choctaw entrepreneur Adrian Layne started making unique custom baby apparel in Texas, an endeavor which would lead to a successful business called Cuddlestar.<br></p> <p>At first, Layne’s creations were practical and driven by an enjoyment of the craft. She made clothes for her own newborn son, Eli. She also expanded her selection to include things like bags and purses.<br></p> <p>“I got my start by doing artist markets in Austin,” Layne said. “I handmade everything on a borrowed sewing machine, my grandmother’s sewing machine.”<br></p> <p>With the stylish fruits of her labors in hand, Layne learned about the various artist markets in the Austin area, then set up shop in a tent. She said these markets were similar to farmers’ markets, parking lots of local businesses sometimes set aside for creative folks to sell their goods.<br></p> <p>“I would spread my stuff out and sell it that way. There might be 20 or 30 local artists selling their stuff in a busy area of the city,” she said.<br></p> <p>The baby apparel took off, according to Layne. Demand grew, and kept growing. Layne’s mother even started pitching in, helping sew for free to meet the demand.<br></p> <p>What was popular then were the same items, with the same style, as what makes Cuddlestar unique today: practical and stylish baby clothes with western and Native influences.<br></p> <p>“A cute, functional cowboy boot for baby is hard to find,” she said. But with her design, “elastic around the ankle keeps them snug while the Velcro on both sides makes them easy to take on and off.”<br></p> <p>She says her moccasins have a similar and equally functional design, and just like the rest of her line of clothing, are made from high quality materials like genuine suede and leather.<br></p> <p>She said it took the right kind of support and inspiration to get where she is, which she received from a number of sources. Her husband, who is a professional musician, enjoys being creative and supports a creative environment. And Layne’s father, who she says is a big part of her inspiration, is a cowboy boot designer, rancher, and according to Layne, a handsome Marlboro Man kind of guy. She said her father is to thank for the western and Native style of Cuddlestar.<br></p> <p>Cuddlestar has grown to require Layne’s original patterns and designs be crafted on new sewing machines, with the help of a number of seamstresses. Layne’s items are also now available online for purchase, and are sold in nearly 100 brick-and-mortar storefronts and boutiques.<br></p> <p>Feeling like she was successfully serving parents looking for western-themed clothing for their children, Layne has now set in motion a new business and line of children’s apparel aimed at parents with a different need.<br><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/choctaw-msldigital/assets/2785/Cuddlestar_Baby_original.jpg" align="right" width="250" alt='Cuddlestar Baby' /><br></p> <p>This new business is called Cat and Dogma. It is a trendy and earth-friendly response to a pitfall Layne found in today’s popular baby apparel.<br></p> <p>“I found there is a problem with babies who wear cloth diapers, rather than disposable diapers,” Layne said. “Disposable diapers are very thin, and cloth diapers are pieces of cotton fabric you put inside the diaper, so baby’s clothes can end up ill-fitting.” <br></p> <p>Layne designed Cat and Dogma’s line of clothing to have extra space in the bottom, for the eco-minded families who use cloth diapers. She says the clothes will be for every parent and child as an organic and affordable option, but she made a special effort to give parents who use cloth diapers a solution.<br></p> <p>“What is most important to me about the Cats and Dogma brand is what I have done to make it sustainable from farm to store, with organic cotton,” Layne said. “It will also be fun, playful, and comfortable.”<br></p> <p>Do not expect to see “mommy’s little man” or similar sayings on Cat and Dogma clothes. Layne kept this line completely original, with cute designs on fabric made without any bleaches, dyes, or finishes.<br></p> <p>Cat and Dogma will launch with the help of an Indiegogo campaign, which will begin in mid-April and run for 30 days. According to Layne, around six weeks after the campaign with the well-known crowdfunding website, she says around July 1, she can begin shipping her new clothing line.<br></p> <p>One of Layne’s goals with her businesses is to represent who she is with her products and services. Cuddlestar is very western, much like a good portion of her childhood and her relationship to her father. Cat and Dogma shows off Layne as a self-confessed earth-hippie-momma. She said feels like these businesses represent her, and she has a lot of fun with them. You can find Cuddlestar online at <a href="http://cuddlestarbaby.com">cuddlestarbaby.com</a> and Cat and Dogma at <a href="http://catanddogma.com">catanddogma.com</a>. You can also look to get involved with the indiegogo campaign later this month.<br></p> <p><!-- AddThis Button BEGIN --></p> <div class="addthis_toolbox addthis_default_style "> <a class="addthis_button_facebook_like" fb:like:layout="button_count"></a> <a class="addthis_button_tweet"></a> <a class="addthis_button_pinterest_pinit"></a> <a class="addthis_counter addthis_pill_style"></a> </div> <script type="text/javascript" src="//s7.addthis.com/js/300/addthis_widget.js#pubid=xa-51768a9b29d4b994"></script> <p><!-- AddThis Button END --></p> Wed, 08 Apr 2015 18:23:08 GMT http://choctawnation.com/news-room/press-room/media-releases/layne-creates-childrens-apparel/ http://choctawnation.com/news-room/press-room/media-releases/layne-creates-childrens-apparel/ Helping Choctaw Citizens take the Next Step <p><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/choctaw-msldigital/assets/2769/NSI_Promo_original.JPG" alt='Next Step Program' /><br></p> <h3>Choctaw Nation’s Next Step Initiative launches April 1, 2015<br></h3> <p>This supplemental food voucher program is meant to assist tribal members in reaching the next step of self-sustainment through supplemental food vouchers as well as achieving financial fitness and healthy living.<br></p> <p><strong>Eligibility Requirements:</strong><br></p> <ul> <li>One Choctaw tribal member in household<br></li> <li>Reside in the Choctaw Nation service area<br></li> <li>No one in household can be participating in SNAP<br></li> <li>Must be a working household (unless on Social Security or Disability)<br></li> <li>Over Income Requirements for Food Distribution<br></li> </ul> <p>To sign up for the Next Step Initiative, participants should call a social worker to arrange an interview and bring all required documentation with them to the scheduled interview. Eligibility cannot be determined without all documentation present.<br></p> <p><strong>Offices and Social Workers are located at the following locations:</strong></p> <ul> <li>Durant Food Distribution Center<br> (580) 924-7773, Michaele Williamson (Social Worker)<br></li> <li>Antlers Food Distribution Center<br> (580) 298-6443, Amanda Heath (Social Worker)<br></li> <li>McAlester Food Distribution Center<br> (918) 420-5716, Nikki Heath (Social Worker)<br></li> <li>Poteau Food Distribution Center<br> (918) 649-0431, Hank Harris (Social Worker)<br></li> <li>And Coming Soon: Broken Bow Outreach Services Building<br></li> </ul> <p>This social worker is not in place at this time. For questions regarding this area, please call (800) 522-6170 ext. 2334.<br></p> <p>Eligible households will be required to complete training set by the initiative guidelines to help them reach the next step. Training includes, but is not limited to, financial and budget training, food demonstrations, holiday spending webinars, and other training or webinars best suited to household needs.<br></p> <p>The Next Step Initiative begins April 1. If you have any questions, please call a Choctaw Nation office in Durant, Antlers, McAlester, or Poteau. <br></p> <p><!-- AddThis Button BEGIN --></p> <div class="addthis_toolbox addthis_default_style "> <a class="addthis_button_facebook_like" fb:like:layout="button_count"></a> <a class="addthis_button_tweet"></a> <a class="addthis_button_pinterest_pinit"></a> <a class="addthis_counter addthis_pill_style"></a> </div> <script type="text/javascript" src="//s7.addthis.com/js/300/addthis_widget.js#pubid=xa-51768a9b29d4b994"></script> <p><!-- AddThis Button END --></p> Wed, 01 Apr 2015 18:07:25 GMT http://choctawnation.com/news-room/press-room/media-releases/helping-choctaw-citizens-take-the-next-step/ http://choctawnation.com/news-room/press-room/media-releases/helping-choctaw-citizens-take-the-next-step/ Oklahoma State University to supply student teachers for POSSE summer school program <p><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/choctaw-msldigital/assets/2768/EDUC_SummerSchool_KDMoody_original.jpg" alt='KD Moody POSSE' /><br> <em>K D Moody teachers a group of students during a summer school session in Durant. The POSSE summer school program is expanding this summer, with classes like this one in every district.</em><br></p> <h3>Oklahoma State University to supply student teachers for POSSE summer school program</h3> <p><em>By Brandon Frye</em><Br> <em>Choctaw Nation</em><br></p> <p><strong>Durant, Okla.</strong> - The Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma Partnership of Summer School Education (POSSE) program teamed up with Oklahoma State University (OSU) to offer a better learning experience for students this upcoming summer.<br></p> <p>The joint venture is being called “Educate and Collaborate.” Education experts from OSU and the Choctaw Nation crafted the program to provide classroom settings in Choctaw Country for OSU education majors.<br></p> <p>POSSE is designed to provide summer intervention in reading and math for both Choctaw and non-Choctaw students in kindergarten through third grade who are attending public school within Choctaw Country. This summer POSSE is expanding to provide a summer learning site in each of the 10 ½ counties. The selection of eligible students is based on the end-of-year math and reading assessment benchmark scores, or teacher recommendation.<br></p> <p>The practical benefit of this for young students attending summer school this year is there will be more available classrooms across the Choctaw Nation, as well as more teachers ready to guide their learning.<br></p> <p>“We are getting to work with people who are experts in the field,” Larry Scott, Director of POSSE said. “We are talking about a major university’s education department. The resources they have will benefit the children of the Choctaw Nation.”<br></p> <p>The relationship between the Choctaw Nation and OSU began roughly two years ago when officials from the university&#8211;including the Dean of the College of Education, Pamela “Sissi” Carroll&#8211;were introduced to leaders of the Choctaw Nation during a lunch meeting in Durant. “Listening to Mrs. Joy Culbreath, Mrs. Stacy Shepherd, Mrs. Paula Harp, Mr. Jim Parrish, Mr. Larry Scott, Neal Hawkins, and Lori Wells at that meeting, I began to understand how deeply the Choctaw Nation is committed to education, especially the education of its children,” Carroll said. “In my role at the College of Education, and as a former teacher of middle and high school students, I was drawn to the wonderful opportunities for teaching, research, and service that a partnership with the Choctaw Nation offers the faculty and students of the College of Education.”<br></p> <p>In addition to providing more teachers for our students, a partnership with a major research university like OSU opens up possibilities to better understand and research the success of programs like POSSE. <br></p> <p>For example, according to research by the Education Department of the Choctaw Nation, students who attended the 2014 summer school demonstrated significant improvement in reading and math. The results from a parent survey also indicated that over 90 percent of parents surveyed were very satisfied with the summer school program. A partnership with a research university could help better uncover the specifics of statistics like these.<br></p> <p>Scott said cooperative projects like “Educate and Collaborate,” bring student teachers into our schools for a summer, and could also help bring more teacher applicants to work an entire career in the schools within the Choctaw Nation.<br></p> <p>Both parties aim to sustain and improve young children’s learning, as well as reinforce the students’ interest in learning.<br></p> <p>“We take very seriously our goal of working with communities to identify and address needs&#8211;to be involved at the local level, and learn with the community as we develop approaches to address needs through teaching, research, and service,” Carroll said. “We will learn alongside the teachers of the summer school classes. We anticipate that children who participate in summer school will continue to demonstrate increased growth in mathematics and reading, as they did in 2013-2014.”<br></p> <p><!-- AddThis Button BEGIN --></p> <div class="addthis_toolbox addthis_default_style "> <a class="addthis_button_facebook_like" fb:like:layout="button_count"></a> <a class="addthis_button_tweet"></a> <a class="addthis_button_pinterest_pinit"></a> <a class="addthis_counter addthis_pill_style"></a> </div> <script type="text/javascript" src="//s7.addthis.com/js/300/addthis_widget.js#pubid=xa-51768a9b29d4b994"></script> <p><!-- AddThis Button END --></p> Mon, 30 Mar 2015 15:23:36 GMT http://choctawnation.com/news-room/press-room/media-releases/oklahoma-state-university-to-supply-student-teachers-for-posse-summer-school-program/ http://choctawnation.com/news-room/press-room/media-releases/oklahoma-state-university-to-supply-student-teachers-for-posse-summer-school-program/ Kim accomplishes her diner dream <p><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/choctaw-msldigital/assets/2772/Kim-Diner_original.jpg" alt='Kim Diner 4/8/15' /><br> <em>Owner and operator of Kim’s Diner, Kimberly Jones, stands outside her establishment. Since the grand opening of the restaurant on Mar. 1, Jones has been preparing food, waiting tables, conversing with customers, and leading employees every day but Sunday.</em><br></p> <h3>Kim accomplishes her diner dream</h3> <p><em>By Brandon Frye</em><br> <em>Choctaw Nation</em><br></p> <p><strong>Denison, Tx</strong> - After working for other people most of her life, Choctaw Kimberly Jones recently achieved a personal dream by opening her very own restaurant, Kim’s Diner, just outside of Denison, Texas.<br></p> <p>She has worked in the restaurant industry for 20 years, serving hungry and thirsty customers as a waitress and bartender for local restaurants as well as big franchises. Now, Jones is using everything she has learned to make home-style meals served up with a smile. It has all happened quickly, Jones said. In January, she was made aware of an appealing empty building east of Denison on Highway 69. Lightly stained wood is present throughout the location, the walls are painted a soft cream, and there is plenty of room to move around. She found the location on a Wednesday, and Kim’s Diner had a soft opening the following weekend. Finding success there, she decided to have the grand opening for her restaurant on March 1.<br></p> <p>“We prepare and serve country cooking, home cooking. Most everything that comes out of our kitchen is made from scratch,” Jones said. “It is going to be like your mom and pop diner. Yesterday’s special was meatloaf, today is goulash.”<br></p> <p>The menu is something Jones is still perfecting, but she said its development comes from working in the restaurant industry in the area, and knowing what sold and what didn’t sell.<br></p> <p>One of the most popular things on the menu at Kim’s Diner is her cheeseburger. “I’ve come up with an excellent cheeseburger that just sells,” she said. “It is a special meat that I worked and worked on, and then there is also a special bun that you won’t find anywhere else around this area.”<br></p> <p>Locals stop in to eat and chat with Jones and her wait staff during lunch, the busiest time for the diner. But she also makes it easy for workers on a tight schedule to quickly drive up and grab a home-cooked meal for lunch.<br></p> <p>“One thing to overcome is the fear of failure when starting your own business,” Jones said. “You have to change your outlook, because you are responsible for all of it now. It’s very challenging, but it’s also very exciting. I have all of the knowledge it takes to make this work.”<br></p> <p>Kim’s grandmother and grandfather Linda and Aaron Bully were full blood Choctaws, as well as her mother who is an active member of the Durant Choctaw Community Center. She said her grandmother made a frybread she has yet to have seen matched, and could make a meal out of whatever was available.<br></p> <p>“As a Native American, there are so many things that I’ve bounced back from. You know, a lot of Native Americans can,” Jones said. “The Choctaw Nation helped me and guided me. I am currently in school and about to graduate. They helped me with school, gave me a clothing allowance, things like that.”<br></p> <p>Jones said this is all a dream coming true, despite some obstacles in life which had hindered her. “I overcame them all. Here I am today, and I never dreamed that would happen,” she said.<br></p> <p>To visit Kim and her Diner, come through downtown Denison and take Highway 69 east toward Bells, after 2.2 miles, look for the sign on the right. The address is 2419 US Highway 69, Denison, Texas 75021. <br></p> <p><!-- AddThis Button BEGIN --></p> <div class="addthis_toolbox addthis_default_style "> <a class="addthis_button_facebook_like" fb:like:layout="button_count"></a> <a class="addthis_button_tweet"></a> <a class="addthis_button_pinterest_pinit"></a> <a class="addthis_counter addthis_pill_style"></a> </div> <script type="text/javascript" src="//s7.addthis.com/js/300/addthis_widget.js#pubid=xa-51768a9b29d4b994"></script> <p><!-- AddThis Button END --></p> Mon, 30 Mar 2015 15:14:16 GMT http://choctawnation.com/news-room/press-room/media-releases/kim-accomplishes-her-diner-dream/ http://choctawnation.com/news-room/press-room/media-releases/kim-accomplishes-her-diner-dream/