Choctaw Nation Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma http://choctawnation.com/rss/ en-us 40 Affordable Care Act Questions & Answers <h4>Affordable Care Act (ACA) Frequently Asked Questions<br/></h4> <p><b>Question: I am a member of the Choctaw Nation and I have always thought I had “insurance” through the tribe. Do I?</b><br/><br/> Answer: Unless you are an employee of Choctaw Nation you do not have “insurance” through the tribe. If you are Native American and have a Certificate Degree of Indian Blood (CDIB) card and/or a tribal membership card you are entitled to Native American health benefits. The term Native American Benefit of Indian Health Services is a health benefit which allows those eligible to seek health care services at an Indian Health Service (IHS), a Tribal or an Urban facility. This benefit is designed to allow health care services to be rendered under the umbrella of Indian Health. If you were to be seen in a health care setting outside of Indian Health, you would be asked if you had health insurance. Outside providers do not bill Indian Health, therefore would expect the patient to provide a source of insurance coverage for payment. This benefit could have limitations for the patient due to the geographic location of an Indian Health care facility. Being Native American allows you to have health benefits at one of the many Indian Health care facilities, but it is not considered health insurance.</p> <p><b>Question: If I’m a tribal member and can receive Indian health benefits how is this different from insurance?</b><br/><br/> Answer: An insurance plan can be purchased privately or received under an employer-sponsored insurance company and often allows the patient to be seen at any health care facility that will agree to submit a claim for services. This allows the patient the flexibility to be treated anywhere, with no or limited restrictions. Health insurance is a contract between you and the insurance company and the company agrees to pay part of the medical expenses when you are sick or get hurt. Under the insurance plan, there are monthly premium costs as well as varying deductibles (depending on the plan) but the insurance will cover the care you need. A standard health insurance policy also gives you access to preventive care to keep you healthy, like vaccines and check-ups. Many plans also cover prescription drugs.<br/> <br/><br/>   <b>Question: I do not have health insurance but, I am Native American and can be seen at any Indian Health clinic/hospital for care. <br/>Do I need to do anything in 2014 because of the new law that President Obama passed?</b><br/><br/> Answer: President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law which states everyone in the U.S. must have health insurance beginning January 1, 2014. Those that do not have health insurance could face a new health tax penalty that will be applied to the tax household when they file their income taxes. The tax penalty (per individual) for 2014 is $95.00 per person or 1% of annual income (whichever is greater) and this penalty will go up each year for those that remain uninsured. <br/> If you are Native American and can “prove” your Native American descendency, you do not have to do anything with respect to the new law. The law has several exceptions and Native American, member of a federally recognized tribe is one of those exceptions. When filing your taxes for 2014, you will need to answer several new questions on the income tax forms relating to health insurance coverage as well as submitting copies of your CDIB card and/or tribal membership card to the IRS. By sending “proof” that you are Native American you are letting the IRS know that you are exempt from having to purchase the mandatory insurance, because you are eligible for Native American health benefits. <br/><br/> <b>There will be some Native Americans/Alaska Natives that will have to take an extra step to prevent the IRS from charging a tax penalty. Some may not have documented proof they are a member of a federally recognized tribe.</b> Some examples might be: • Newborn child pending a Social Security card and/or tribal membership. • A Native American that is a member of a state recognized tribe. • A Native American with a CDIB card but no tribal membership due to tribal law limiting membership for various reasons such as blood quantum limitations. • Foster children of a Native American, step-children of a Native American, or a pregnant mom carrying a Native American child. Some will need to complete the Application for Exemption for American Indians and Alaska Natives application and send this request to the Marketplace to receive approval and exemption from the IRS tax penalty. <br/><br/> If you need help with this additional step, please come in and visit with one of our Benefit Coordinators at any one of our clinics for help with this process. This form is only needed in certain circumstances and all others that have a CDIB card and are current members of a federally recognized tribe do not need to do anything at this time. If you have questions or concerns you may call toll-free: (800) 349-7026 or visit any one of the Choctaw Nation health facilities and speak with a Benefit Coordinator for one-on-one help! </p> Wed, 09 Apr 2014 21:54:22 GMT http://choctawnation.com/news-room/press-room/media-releases/affordable-care-act-questions-answers/ http://choctawnation.com/news-room/press-room/media-releases/affordable-care-act-questions-answers/ Scholarship search, simplified <p><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/choctaw-msldigital/assets/2250/Scholarship_database_ad_short_original.jpg" alt='Scholarship_database_ad_short' /></p> <p><font size="5"><b><i>Choctaw Nation provides extensive scholarship database to members at no cost</i></font></b></p> <p>Higher education is expensive. Whether students are seeking enrollment in four-year universities, junior colleges or vocational training, funding is a constant obstacle. What if all the tools needed to overcome these roadblocks were put at your feet, for free?</p> <p>Recognizing the substantial benefits a degree of any persuasion can bestow upon the life of a graduate, Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma (CNO) has provided a valuable tool with which to combat rising tuition costs often deferring potential students from their school of choice, or even the pursuit of higher education in general.</p> <p>Choctaw Nation’s Scholarship Advisement Program (SAP) has created a scholarship search engine that debuted in 2009. This unique database is an exclusive research database pioneered by SAP available to each member of the Choctaw Nation, completely free.</p> <p>Operating much like popular scholarship search engines, the Choctaw <a href="https://www.choctawnation-sap.com/database.asp">scholarship database</a> will intake information about a user and tailor a list of scholarships applicable to their demographic information and desired field of study.</p> <p>What distinguishes this database from comparable mainstream services is it completely foregoes solicitation or ad-based funding. Once hopeful recipients create a username and complete a questionnaire allowing the program to customize the search results, all available funding is displayed and ready for the user to apply – no email ads, spam or selling of contact information to third-parties.</p> <p>A prime example of the database enabling a potential student to reach their goals is Jessie Kuykendall, a Tulsa native with a Master’s in Global Communication from George Washington University and Bachelor’s in International Studies from Baylor University. During her search for graduate programs at the 2009 Ivy League and Friends event hosted annually by SAP, Kuykendall learned of the newly created database.</p> <p class="alignright" style="margin-left:20px;"><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/choctaw-msldigital/assets/2251/Kuykendall_GW_Graduation_web_original.jpg" align="right" width="380" alt='Kuykendall_GW_Graduation_web' /><br><br><br><br><br><br><br><br><br><br><br><br><br><br><br><br><br><br><i><font size="2">Jessie Kuykendall with her brother, James<br> at her graduation from George Washington University.</i></font></p> <p>“I spent my Christmas break that year scouring through the database, which I found easy to use and helpful for locating opportunities,” Kuykendall stated. In her search, she discovered a Pickering Fellowship which would have otherwise gone unnoticed. “It is safe to say I would not have known about this incredible opportunity without the scholarship database.”</p> <p>The Pickering Fellowship granted Kuykendall considerable support in her graduate study. As a portion of the fellowship, she interned in Washington, D.C., in the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, and in the Political Section of the U.S. Embassy in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. She was also awarded $40,000 annually to cover tuition and various costs of her graduate degree.</p> <p>According to Kuykendall, the fellowship is a cooperative endeavor of U.S. Department of State and the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation designed to help bring in diverse groups to the Foreign Service who have been historically underrepresented and have financial need. The Pickering Fellowship is an exceptional opportunity cataloged by the database – where size and term-length of opportunities vary.</p> <p>The database is not only for those applying to graduate school, as it boasts all types of funding applicable to higher education. Choctaw high school students are encouraged to get a head start on funding; those in college can benefit from discovering money for the next semester and high school students can begin looking for continual funding. Parents are welcome to be involved in the search, as they can save notable opportunities to which the student can later apply.</p> <p>Since the beginning of SAP, the staff has recognized funding as a high hurdle for many students. “The scholarship database was created to help students overcome that obstacle by increasing the awareness of the opportunities available,” stated SAP Director, Jo McDaniel.</p> <p>“It has significantly streamlined the guidance process for scholarship searches with students because the database tailors its results to each student and allows them to search on their own terms,” continued McDaniel. “This is truly one of our most effective aspects of our program when it comes to offsetting financial burden of the student.”</p> <p>Illustrating McDaniel’s statements are the features and ease of use contained in the database. Choctaw students are able to search approximately 30,000 undergraduate and 20,000 graduate-level portable scholarships, grants, merit awards, loan repayment programs, internships, residency programs and much more from one web page in just minutes.</p> <p>The database is so extensive that, in some cases, opportunities found through SAP are not found elsewhere. Those curating the information are highly trained in the search for higher education funding. Even the most obscure funding can be found because those searching know exactly for what they are looking.</p> <p>Once a target list is created via the original questions, the lists are constantly updated and editable. For example, if a student took part a new extracurricular activity, they would be able to add this information and get financial aid leads pertaining to the activity.</p> <p>Once a streamlined list is prepared, users are able to view a description and all information about the opportunity, and then apply from the same page. For those looking to quickly browse and apply later, the save feature will allow a user to save several high interest leads for later application. This function can be particularly helpful to parents looking to highlight certain front-running programs.</p> <p>Currently, Choctaw Nation is the only entity providing scholarship search assistance on this scale, and has been since 2009. Over the past four years, SAP has witnessed a growing number of stories similar to Kuykendall’s. It is the hope of SAP that each tribal member seeking higher education will take advantage of this tool, as it can open life-changing doors to students.</p> <p>If you are a member of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma and wish to utilize the scholarship database, visit <a href="https://www.choctawnation-sap.com/">choctawnation-sap.com</a> to connect with SAP. If you have had success with SAP, please notify the SAP offices, as to share triumphs and motivate fellow tribal members.</p> <p>Follow SAP on <a href="https://www.facebook.com/pages/Scholarship-Advisement-Program-Choctaw-Nation-of-Oklahoma/101438812935">Facebook</a> and <a href="https://twitter.com/ChoctawSAP">Twitter</a>, as many opportunities and information provided are applicable to members of any Native tribe.</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> Tue, 08 Apr 2014 18:20:39 GMT http://choctawnation.com/news-room/press-room/media-releases/scholarship-search-simplified/ http://choctawnation.com/news-room/press-room/media-releases/scholarship-search-simplified/ My saltpork challenge <p><b><font size="5">My saltpork challenge</font></b></p> <p><i><b>By VONNA SHULTS Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma</i></b></p> <p>In my 40 years on this earth, I have had the pleasure of discovering salt pork and through trial and error I am now able to prepare it at home for my family without the need to call 911. Preparing salt pork to keep your immediate family happy would satisfy most folks and they would be content preparing it for special occasions, such as a holiday or loved ones birthday, but not for me. </p> <p>I wanted to know where my skills stood against those who have been cooking for the masses for decades. The only way to find out was to cook salt pork at an event where there would be lots of hungry Choctaws willing to eat what I had prepared. </p> <p>The solution came to me before I finished the thought in my head where I could find willing participants: wild onion dinner. </p> <p>Wild onion dinners are a staple during the springtime and are a favorite food amongst Choctaws. These tiny onions are picked by hand, individually cleaned and then prepared by sautéing with scrambled eggs. Sounds terrible, right? However, the mere mention of them in the wintertime will elicit “ooohs” and “ahhhs” from any Choctaw within earshot. </p> <p>Just like salt pork, everyone has a favorite chef that can prepare wild onions better than anyone else. I was not completely convinced anyone would allow me to cook alongside him or her but one Friday afternoon an opportunity presented itself to me.</p> <p>I had spent most of the day in Broken Bow learning Choctaw dances from a Mississippi group and on my way home I stopped at Sulphur Springs Methodist Church in Bennington to see one of my favorite Choctaw chefs, Lorene Blaine. </p> <p>It was the night of their annual wild onion dinner and gospel singing. Unfortunately, there were many church members that had attended a funeral many miles away and they were unable to help prepare the dishes until later that day. I offered to help and Lorene allowed me to help her son, Junior, prepare the salt pork. </p> <p>I felt like a Triple AAA pitcher who had just gotten “the call” for the big league. </p> <p>I became very nervous and immediately worried about everything that could potentially go wrong. Junior was outside the church and had a large cast iron Dutch oven ready for us to begin our task. </p> <p>We worked together for several minutes and I had expressed my trepidation of cooking salt pork for so many Choctaws. Junior assured me that everything would be just fine because they were coming for his mom’s wild onions in the first place. </p> <p>Shortly, we brought the Dutch oven into the kitchen of the church, as Junior needed the flame outside to begin frying catfish. </p> <p>So there I was, elbow to elbow, with one of the most respected Choctaw ladies I have had the pleasure to meet. </p> <p>Lorene had worked all day preparing batch after batch of wild onions and eggs. Her daughter, Teresa, had been frying potatoes in another room for several hours as well. I continued my careful watch over the salt pork; I refused to let it burn on my watch. </p> <p>I had become a little bit more comfortable knowing I had my mentor right beside me. Every so often I would peek over and watch her method of preparing wild eggs. I am positive I bothered her with my multitude of questions; however, Lorene answered each one with the true patience and grace not afforded to most folks. </p> <p>As the day wore on and evening approached, many church members came by with desserts, side dishes, fry bread, vegetables, and drinks for the annual event. Other members and guests had begun to gather outside the church fellowship hall to visit. </p> <p>That’s when I first noticed the amount of “FBIs” watching my every move in the kitchen. Yes, the “FBI,” otherwise known as the “Full Blood Inspector,” whom would be inspecting how good or bad I did with the preparation of the salt pork. </p> <p>I could see them peering through the screen door trying to figure out who I was. They did not know this person Lorene had allowed into her kitchen. I could sense their concerns about my cooking skills without them uttering a word. </p> <p>I knew then the task was either pass or fail and not only was my reputation on the line, but Lorene’s as well. </p> <p>Panic had set in and I wanted to run out the back door of the kitchen and pretend I was never there in Bennington, but I could not leave my friends and family there to finish the dinner alone. So I stayed to face my critics. </p> <p>Lorene knew every face that walked into the church and as they came by to say hello, she would take a minute from preparation to introduce me to them. Most people there had known my grandmother, Minerva Fobb. Several of my aunts had also came by that evening for the dinner and they were surprised to see me standing watch over the salt pork. </p> <p>My level of credibility had grown a little bit, but only a little. </p> <p>Time for dinner to begin and there was enough food in that kitchen to feed a small army. It never fails to amaze me the amount of hospitality and fellowship that presents itself whenever a group of Chahta come together. </p> <p>I would challenge anyone to look at a room full of Chahta people and find one person who is not having a good time visiting with friends and family. </p> <p>The food was placed buffet style and each person was able to make their own plate and many asked who had made the fry bread, beans, desserts and also, the salt pork. </p> <p>I stood brave and admitted that I had been the one to cook salt pork that afternoon and to please let me know how I fared. I promised not to get my feelings hurt if they told me they didn’t like the way I had prepared it for them. </p> <p>Finally, a man with the kindest face walked up to me, set his arm on my shoulder and said, “You cooked that meat just the way I like it. See you next year.” I asked Lorene if I passed the test and she told me to go look in the bowl that held the finished salt pork. I looked in the bowl and turned back to her and said, “It’s empty.” </p> <p>She just smiled and gave me a quick nod and I knew what she meant: I had passed. </p> Fri, 28 Mar 2014 17:55:40 GMT http://choctawnation.com/news-room/press-room/media-releases/my-saltpork-challenge/ http://choctawnation.com/news-room/press-room/media-releases/my-saltpork-challenge/ Making education his business <p><b><font size="5">Making education his business</font></b></p> <p><b><font size="3">Cole Palmer attends LeadAmerica’s Conference on Business Innovation</font></b></p> <p><i>By BRET MOSS Choctaw Nation Scholarship Advisement Program</i></p> <p><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/choctaw-msldigital/assets/2249/Cole_Palmer_original.jpg" height="300" border="0" align="right" alt='Cole_Palmer' /> DURANT, Okla. – Getting a head start on educational opportunities can be exciting. That was just the case for Cole Palmer, a 17-year-old junior at Durant High School, from Calera, Okla. </p> <p>During the summer of 2013, Palmer had the pleasure of attending LeadAmerica’s Conference on Business Innovation at Stanford University. He was specially nominated for this 10-day program purposed to expand horizons of students with an aptitude for business. “It is a competitive selection process – they are picking someone who demonstrates strong leadership qualities,” stated Choctaw Nation Scholarship Advisement Program’s (SAP) College Prep Coordinator Stephanie Gardner. </p> <p>“It was incredible,” Palmer stated as he reviewed his activities of the past summer. According to Palmer, the program focused on many aspects of business with an overarching project which divided the entire population into small teams.</p> <p>These teams were charged with conceiving and developing a product for which they would build a business. Palmer’s squad made the decision to build a business around a bike helmet composed of eco-friendly and cost-efficient material deemed the “Green Dragon.” In this plan, Palmer was designated the VP of management and was required to plan the work involving employees and manufacturing locations for the mock company.</p> <p>Palmer mentions that it taught him all the steps involved in creating a business, asserting that he can now see business models from a more complete view, identifying the inner-workings and the behind-the-scenes planning.</p> <p>Along with Palmer were over 100 U.S. and international students from countries such as Japan and Russia. This added a great deal of cultural learning to the experience Palmer stated. He noted it was interesting to learn about the various ways those from other nationalities view business and how it shaped the overall project. </p> <p>Along with the projects and new acquaintances, Palmer was also able to experience the campus life of a prestigious university, as well as the atmosphere of San Francisco. His group visited a large local flea market where they interviewed small business owners and discovered first-hand the work involved in starting a small business.</p> <p>Upon his return from the summer expedition, Palmer received a letter from Envision, the program responsible for the LeadAmerica conference, stating that he had been invited to the 2014 Global Young Leaders Conference.</p> <p>Palmer plans to attend this conference, learning leadership skills on a global scale. He will be traversing Europe, absorbing lessons from leaders in a multitude of countries. Notable locations such as Prague, Berlin and Vienna are on the 13-day itinerary, which begins June 29, 2014.</p> <p>Choctaw Nation SAP is proud to recognize Palmer’s accomplishments as he primes his resume for college. He mentions that he plans to attend a university with a distinguished business program upon graduation in 2015.</p> <p>To prepare for his graduation, Palmer has taken part in SAP’s ACT test prep and has been able to have his testing fees paid by SAP. “By providing testing assistance, SAP hopes to grant our members a strong advantage in the collegiate application process. We are glad to see Cole take advantage of this asset,” stated Gardner. </p> <p>If you would like to learn more about the Envision program, visit their website at envisionexperience.com. For information on more college prep services, visit SAP’s website at choctawnation-sap.com and follow on social media.</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, 27 Mar 2014 15:01:49 GMT http://choctawnation.com/news-room/press-room/media-releases/making-education-his-business/ http://choctawnation.com/news-room/press-room/media-releases/making-education-his-business/ Shutik Isht Ia, or Take to the Skies! <p><b><font size="5">Shutik Isht Ia, or Take to the Skies! </p> <p>Airfest returns to Durant</font></b></p> <p><b><font size="3"><i>Choctaw Code Talkers to be honored at airfest</i></font></b></p> <p>Take to the Skies AirFest gets ready for second annual show in Durant! Shutik Isht Ia!</p> <p>Durant welcomes back this Festival of Aviation featuring a full Aerobatic Air Show and family festival to be held at the Durant Regional Airport–Eaker Field on Saturday, March 29, presented by the Choctaw Casino. </p> <p>“Shutik Isht Ia” is the Choctaw translation for “Take to the Skies”! Debby Standefer, President of the Take to the Skies AirFest, stated “we are very exited to be returning and promoting the City of Durant and their beautiful airport as well as the unique opportunity to feature cultural information and education of the Choctaw Nation.” This will be the first Air Show of the season in Oklahoma and North Texas. Actually, this is not just an event; it is an experience that will affect all of your senses with something to offer every age.</p> <p>Standefer says, “We are proud to honor our military during our show and this year feature a Celebration of the Choctaw Code Talkers. The Choctaw were actually the original Code Talkers and we are honored to celebrate them.” Opening Ceremonies Saturday afternoon at the start of the air show will be action packed including Choctaw dancers and singers, honor guards, flybys, skydivers and more! </p> <p>“We are excited to sponsor the 2nd annual Take to the Skies AirFest at the Durant Regional Airport. This inspiring event is a perfect outing for the entire family. We expect this year’s event to be bigger and better than last year! It’s a must see!” stated Arlene Alleman, Corporate Director of Marketing for presenting sponsor Choctaw Casinos. Durant is home to the headquarters of the Choctaw Nation and the Choctaw Casino and Resort with its AAA 4 Star rating. Come join for the AirFest and stay for the weekend. There’s a lot to see and do! Durant, known as the City of Magnolias is a charming city. The airport boasts a beautiful new terminal and was named after General Ira Eaker, an aviation pioneer and war hero. Lake Texoma, the 12th largest lake in the US is only 15 minutes away. </p> <p>The event opens at 10 a.m. Saturday. Before and after the air show you will be entertained with helicopters, airplanes, warbirds, Commemorative Air Force, powered hang gliders and parachutes, skydivers, radio control aircraft and more, in static displays and demonstrations. Southeastern Oklahoma State University Aviation Sciences Institute is located at the airport. They have a phenomenal aviation program and a flight team who dominates their competitions. Flights for the public will be available throughout the day in helicopters, airplanes, warbirds and biplanes. Wander through concessions of delicious foods, exhibits and booths. The giant Kids’ Area has a variety of attractions for different ages. There are a lot of activities for the kids and Choctaw Nation cultural activities, reenactments, dancing and music. There is so much to see and do!</p> <p>The Air Show begins at 2 p.m. with a variety of airplanes performing dramatic flights and aerobatic performances, a thrilling sight for all! Mike “Spanky” Gallaway, announcer for the famous Red Bull Air Races and other prestigious events will have you jumping in excitement as he announces the show and flies as well! The stars of the show are the breathtaking Trojan Phlyers Demo Team with their astounding formation aerobatics that will keep you on the edge of your seat! Piloted by highly decorated combat veteran pilots performing exciting precision close formation aerobatic routines demonstrating the cutting edge performance of the Trojan T28 warbird and the flying expertise acquired in formal military training, the Trojan Phlyers demonstrate high speed action with the roar of the big engines as they fly their historic aircraft rich in military history in a unique and thrilling performance and salute the veterans or our great nation and the men and women who continue to serve and protect us today. Blue Skies Parachute team will perform and a great line up of performers are set to fly for you. We are still adding performers! </p> <p>Take to the Skies AirFest promises to provide something for everyone in an action packed day of fun for the entire family! The mission of the AirFest is to encourage young adults to become involved in aviation, thereby contributing to better future adults. Education, literacy and health are our focus. Bring the entire family and introduce them to the vast wonderful world of aviation and show them how they can become involved. You will love it! </p> <p>The AirFest looks forward to working with local services and organizations. Non-profit organizations are invited to participate to raise awareness and funds. We look for volunteers and groups to assist on show day and are still taking applications for vendors, exhibitors and sponsors. “Sponsorship is invaluable to an event. It enables the event to grow in every way. The Take to the Skies AirFest relies on sponsorships so that we can keep this a very low cost event to the public and to continue to grow the show each year. We work with our sponsors to develop active integrated programs not only to promote the sponsor and assist them in achieving their marketing goals, but to create a positive experience on site for the public. The attendance this event garners not only locally, but from spectators throughout the state, Lake Texoma, North Texas and Dallas gives us the ability to market not only our sponsors but to showcase and promote our growing airport and the wonderful city of Durant while at the same time becoming an important revenue source for the city through lodging, retail and food sales in town through the weekend. We are honored to have the support of Durant Regional Airport-Eaker Field, the City of Durant, to work with the Choctaw Nation and proud to promote these incredible entities, the Choctaw Casino Resort, and to showcase Durant as a destination location,” Debby Standefer said. </p> <p>Be sure to follow Take to the Skies AirFest on Facebook and Twitter for the latest information, and visit our website for our schedule and detailed information updated as new information comes available. Online discounted tickets for the festival are only $8 for 13 and up, $5 kids 6-12, Seniors 65+ and military with ID. Kids under 6 free. Truly an experience and one you won’t soon forget, the Take to the Skies AirFest will take off Saturday March 29th 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. We’ll look forward to seeing you there!</p> <p>For more information please visit our website, http://www.taketotheskiesairfest.com or Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/taketotheskiesairfest.</p> Mon, 10 Mar 2014 15:14:40 GMT http://choctawnation.com/news-room/press-room/media-releases/shutik-isht-ia-or-take-to-the-skies/ http://choctawnation.com/news-room/press-room/media-releases/shutik-isht-ia-or-take-to-the-skies/ Wilson-Hooper Veterinary Medicine Assistance Program sparks unique opportunities <p><b><font size="5">Wilson-Hooper Veterinary Medicine Assistance Program sparks unique opportunities </font></b></p> <p>By BRET MOSS Choctaw Nation Scholarship Advisement Program <br/><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/choctaw-msldigital/assets/2240/Wilson_Hooper_graphic_original.jpg" align="right" width="260" alt='Wilson_Hooper_graphic' /></p> <p>Dubai, UAE, and Glasgow, Scotland are locations seldom associated with the study of veterinary sciences, but are notable life experiences for members of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma (CNO) Scholarship Advisement Program (SAP).</p> <p>Along with a gathering of many scholarships, a multitude of connections to institutes of higher education and college-prep resources, SAP is the proprietor of the Wilson-Hooper Veterinary Medicine Assistance Program. This scholarship, named in memory of the sponsor’s parents, has assisted nearly a dozen students each semester since its implementation in the fall semester of 2012. </p> <p>“The Wilson-Hooper Scholarship has been a great blessing,” stated a recurring recipient who recently earned the title, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM). </p> <p>During the final clinical year of education, students were required to complete an externship. While others from class were limited, the recipient of the Wilson-Hooper was offered more freedom from financial constraints, resulting in a month of study “in one of the world’s most impressive equine hospitals in Dubai,” stated the recipient. “For that, I am forever grateful because it was the opportunity of a lifetime and it prepared me to better serve my future patients as a new graduate.”</p> <p>According to the sponsor, the program supports both students working toward a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine as well as those working toward an Associate’s Degree in Veterinary Technology.</p> <p>This designation is a nod to the value the sponsor places on the traditional familiarity Native Americans feel toward animals, noting the namesakes of the program had a great love for animals. </p> <p>As an illustration to this fact, the aforementioned recipient spoke of riding horses in younger years, stating, “I grew up riding horses, and as a high school student I was intrigued every time the equine veterinarian came out to treat a horse.”</p> <p>The Wilson-Hooper is awarded to several students each semester based on merit and overall passion for the field of study, with funds matched by SAP. “If money is holding them back, I will give them a leg up. But they have to ride the horse themselves,” stated the sponsor.</p> <p>The funds of the program are delegated among several students rather than a large sum to one recipient so as to encourage education among many, thus maximizing the impact. The monies, ranging from $1,000 to $4,000 when matched by SAP, awarded to the students each semester can relieve enough financial pressure for a student to devote full attention to academia. This can be the deciding factor in completing a degree program, commented the sponsor. </p> <p>Another recurring recipient, currently in the third year of study at the University of Glasgow [Scotland] Veterinary School stated that with the funds provided by the Wilson-Hooper scholarship, they were able to fund extramural study programs required by the university. </p> <p>These extramural studies include working in locations such as Malta and Ireland. “These experiences have not only made my education better at applying my knowledge, but also myself,” mentioned the recipient as they spoke of how learning foreign cultures and customs has shaped perceptions of education. “I would not be able to do this without funding.”</p> <p>“I have correspondence with [the sponsor] and I keep [them] updated with any places I visit and experience I get while I am out here,” stated the recipient. They also went on to inform that the sponsor arranged correspondence with the Kansas State Veterinary Diagnostic Lab in order for the recipient to speak on behalf of the Glasgow Pathology Club.</p> <p>As mentioned by the recipient, Wilson-Hooper’s sponsor is dedicated to not only financial assistance, but to the overall education of the scholars. The sponsor has provided each DVM student with a copy of Borror’s dictionary of Greek and Latin word roots and forms to assist in learning descriptions behind muscles, bones and behavior, as well as species’ names. Money and expectations can be barriers, but a little help can go a long way, the sponsor declared.</p> <p>Wilson-Hooper’s sponsor has been actively assisting Choctaws since 2006, as a benefactor to the Jones Academy, a school for Native Americans, located in Hartshorne. Through this connection, the sponsor met CNO Executive Director of Education Joy Culbreath, who introduced the sponsor to SAP in 2011.</p> <p>Learning of the considerable ways SAP assists Choctaws who desire higher education, Wilson-Hooper’s sponsor was determined to make a difference. </p> <p>“It’s always exciting for SAP to have the opportunity to work with a tribal member and create scholarships for other Choctaws. We are extremely grateful for the sponsor of this scholarship and the vision they have in creating a pipeline of Choctaw veterinarians,” stated Shauna Williams, donor and scholarship specialist.</p> <p>“The fact that someone wanted to help students focusing on veterinary medicine was very encouraging; it let me know that my hard work and dedication to veterinary medicine was important and was appreciated,” said the recipient who has become a DVM. “If someone from SAP hadn&#8217;t reached out to me and told me about the scholarship and what I needed to do to apply, I would have never known about it,” they continued.</p> <p>In efforts to project this opportunity into the foreseeable future, the sponsor and Choctaw Nation are working together to create an endowment. This will allow funds to renew over time, enabling continual funding. </p> <p>If you are Choctaw and would like to know about more scholarships geared toward Native Americans, or would like to know how SAP can assist you toward the goal of higher education, visit the <a href="http://www.choctawnation-sap.com">SAP website</a> or call 800-522-6170. Becoming a member of SAP is open to all Choctaws and provides numerous resources such as an extensive database of Native American Scholarships.</p> Tue, 04 Mar 2014 22:38:08 GMT http://choctawnation.com/news-room/press-room/media-releases/wilson-hooper-veterinary-medicine-assistance-program-sparks-unique-opportunities/ http://choctawnation.com/news-room/press-room/media-releases/wilson-hooper-veterinary-medicine-assistance-program-sparks-unique-opportunities/ South Central CSC three week undergraduate summer internship for minorities <p><b><font size="5">South Central CSC three week undergraduate summer internship for minorities</font></b></p> <p><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/choctaw-msldigital/assets/2237/SCCSC_original.png" align="right" width="260" alt='SCCSC' /> The <a href="http://southcentralclimate.org/">South Central Climate Science Center</a> is pleased to announce that they will be offering a summer undergraduate internship opportunity in 2014 for students of underrepresented minorities interested in science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields (for example, agricultural science, economics and environmental engineering). Interns will be involved in hands-on activities related to climate research that will allow them to see the direct impacts of climate variability and change on forest ecosystems in Oklahoma, coastal areas in Louisiana, and the Texas Hill Country. Internship participants will travel across the South Central United States to visit university campuses and field locations and interact with faculty conducting cutting edge research.</p> <p>The internship will take place from Sunday, July 20, 2014, to Saturday, August 9, 2014. Interns will spend one week with the University of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State University, one week with Louisiana State University and one week with Texas Tech University. All meals, lodging and travel will be provided during the three week period. In addition, interns will receive a $200/week stipend for the duration of the program. The program will not cover local travel between the participant&#8217;s home to their closest airport, personal equipment (clothing, cameras, etc.), or other personal expenses.</p> <p>The deadline to apply is 5:00 PM Central Time on Friday, March 14, 2014. For eligibility requirements and to access the application form, click <a href="http://goo.gl/ZXjkZL">here</a>.</p> <p>The South Central Climate Science Center is committed to encouraging diversity in the sciences. Please encourage your scientifically minded students to apply for this unique opportunity to experience climate research hands-on.</p> <p>Established in 2012 by the Department of Interior, the South Central Climate Science Center provides decision makers with the science, tools, and information they need to address the impacts of climate variability and change on their areas of responsibility. The Center supports big thinking, including multi-institutional and stakeholder-driven approaches to climate variability, change, impacts, mitigation, and adaptation research.</p> <p><font size="2"><i>Scholarship presented to you by Choctaw <a href="http://www.choctawnation-sap.com/">Scholarship Advisement Program</a>.</font></i></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, 13 Feb 2014 15:09:08 GMT http://choctawnation.com/news-room/press-room/media-releases/south-central-csc-three-week-undergraduate-summer-internship-for-minorities/ http://choctawnation.com/news-room/press-room/media-releases/south-central-csc-three-week-undergraduate-summer-internship-for-minorities/ Inter-Tribal Council holds first meeting of the year <p><b><font size="5">Inter-Tribal Council holds first meeting of the year</font></b></p> <p>The Inter-Tribal Council of the Five Civilized Tribes held its first meeting of 2014 on Jan. 10 in Shawnee, hosted by the Seminole Nation. Tribal leaders and members of the council passed resolutions pertaining to:<br></p> <ul> <li>Encouraging the Oklahoma State Legislature to enact legislation to protect Native American children and strengthen Oklahoma adoption laws.<br></li> <li>Endorsing Oklahoma Legislature designating the Oklahoma Native American liaison as the Secretary of Native American Affairs.<br></li> <li>Commending Congress for honoring 33 Native American Tribes with Congressional Gold Medals.<br></li> <li>Endorsing Oklahoma legislation modifying the American Indian Arts and Crafts Sales Act of 1974 to more specifically define “American Indian Tribe” and “American Indian.”</li> <li>Requesting advance appropriations for the Indian Health Service.<br></li> <li>Endorsing the Nunes Bill to promote the general welfare of Tribal Citizens.<br></li> <li>Commending Congressman Markwayne Mullin for his leadership and efforts regarding the Native American Veterans Memorial.<br></li> <li>Supporting the Food Distribution Programs of the Five Civilized Tribes Fiscal Year 2014 Food Distribution Program Nutrition Education Grants to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Services.</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> Wed, 12 Feb 2014 22:06:56 GMT http://choctawnation.com/news-room/press-room/media-releases/inter-tribal-council-holds-first-meeting-of-the-year/ http://choctawnation.com/news-room/press-room/media-releases/inter-tribal-council-holds-first-meeting-of-the-year/ Choctaw University prepping future leaders <p><b><font size="5">Choctaw University prepping future leaders</font></b></p> <p><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/choctaw-msldigital/assets/2231/CU_Seniors_original.jpg" width="550" alt='CU_Seniors' /><br> <i>Choctaw University Seniors</i></p> <p>The Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma has been preparing the future leaders of the tribe with the establishment of an aggressive program to train management personnel with the skills and knowledge needed to build a bright future for themselves and those they serve.</p> <p>Choctaw University was conceived in 2012 and the first group graduated recently in ceremonies held at the Choctaw Casino and Resort in Grant. University classes are offered to all employees of the Nation and are broken down into two components. Continuing education is designed to train employees in developing skills they will need to advance by learning business, management and computer applications. The Leadership Series centers around growing the knowledge and skills of supervisors, managers and directors.</p> <p>“Leadership Series is designed to develop skills for frontline managers,” said Jack Hedrick, program manager. “We have partnered with Southeastern Oklahoma State University to award college credits.”</p> <p>The establishment of the university will help educate and train a workforce to be better prepared to address issues in the future. The recent selection of the Choctaw Nation as one of five Promise Zones nationally, will provide an opportunity for well-trained professionals to use their skills to bring economic opportunity to the high-need communities.</p> <p class="alignright" style="margin-left:20px;"><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/choctaw-msldigital/assets/2232/CU_juniors_original.jpg" align="right" width="380" alt='CU_juniors' /><br><i><font size="2">The Choctaw University Junior class.</i></font></p> <p>The Continuing Education program is to provide all Choctaw Nation employees an opportunity to grow personally and professionally. “Our goal is to grow a highly skilled, qualified pool of candidates within the Nation to serve as a pipeline for the next 100 years,” said Hedrick. </p> <p>Choctaw Nation has an estimated 7,000 employees in the 10-1/2-county area it serves. Classrooms are located throughout the Nation’s area of operation. They currently have 160 students enrolled and 200 have completed the courses. </p> <p>Vonna Shults, director of Website Services, completed her junior year and was among the recent graduates. “The tools and knowledge I have gained through the different levels have enabled me to serve my co-workers and the tribal members the best way possible,” said Shults. </p> <p>“I am working toward a degree in communications with emphasis in leadership. These courses are genuinely supportive of my job at Choctaw Nation and I am very thankful for the opportunity for professional growth and education through this university.”</p> <p>Acceptance letters for 2014 have gone out and classes began recently with orientation. Students are selected by making an application and being approved by their manager. </p> <p>Approximately 160 students have enrolled for the new year. The first graduate to take advantage of the college credits offered by the University is expected to receive a diploma in May.</p> <p>While still in its infancy, the new program is expected to provide quality leadership training and better prepare employees to be more proficient in their jobs, according to Hedrick.</p> <p>“We hope to do a full-blown assessment of the effectiveness of Choctaw University,” said Hedrick. “People have been able to change career paths due to involvement in the program which is our goal.”</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> Tue, 11 Feb 2014 15:34:51 GMT http://choctawnation.com/news-room/press-room/media-releases/choctaw-university-prepping-future-leaders/ http://choctawnation.com/news-room/press-room/media-releases/choctaw-university-prepping-future-leaders/ Youth Summer Camp 2014 Applications available <p>The Cultural Events department conducts these camps during the summer to enrich the lives of Choctaw youth.<br/> Please make note the deadline dates for each camp. <br/> </p> <p>All first time applicants must include a copy of the CHILD&#8217;S OKLAHOMA CHOCTAW CDIB and MEMBERSHIP CARDS.</br></p> <p>APPLICATIONS WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED WITHOUT THESE DOCUMENTS.</br></br></p> <p>For more information call the Summer Youth Activity Camp Program at (800) 522-6170.</br></br></p> <p><a href="http://www.choctawnationculture.com/camps/special-projects-dept.aspx">Summer Youth Camp Applications</a></p> Mon, 10 Feb 2014 23:01:31 GMT http://choctawnation.com/news-room/press-room/media-releases/youth-summer-camp-2014-applications-available/ http://choctawnation.com/news-room/press-room/media-releases/youth-summer-camp-2014-applications-available/