Cherokee Phoenix Names Winners of Seven Feathers | New

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TAHLEQUAH – To recognize Cherokee citizens who make outstanding contributions to Cherokee language, culture, community, services, education, health and business, the Cherokee Phoenix has named the recipients for the fourth annual of the Seven Feathers Awards.

For language, the Cherokee Phoenix chose Ed Fields of Tahlequah. Fields, who is also a National Treasure of the Cherokee Nation, has taught the Cherokee language to students around the world online, in person, and through immersion programs. He shares history, stories, love of heritage and other facets of tribal culture through teaching the language to his students. He has been cited for his enthusiasm, humor, warmth and encouragement of his students by those who proposed him.

The Seven Feathers Culture Award goes to Nico Albert Williams of Tulsa. As a traditional Native American chef, Williams uses food and language to reconnect with her Cherokee heritage. She was the founding chief executive

for Duet Restaurant + Jazz, where she introduced diners to dishes such as Three Sisters Dip and Sumac-Crusted Wild Trout. She has since founded Burning Cedar Indigenous Foods and promotes healing and wellness among Native Americans through healthy traditional dining options and education. His work has been featured on USA Today, Hulu, BBC and the Smithsonian Museum.

The Seven Feathers community winner is Rachel Ray, DO, of Sand Springs. Ray is an emergency physician in Sand Springs and previously served at the Salina Indian Clinic. She is co-founder of Cura for the World, a nonprofit medical clinic serving uninsured and low-income households. The clinic, in Sapulpa, opened in 2018. Cura for the World has a team of volunteer pharmacists, nurses and community assistants. Ray is one of three volunteer doctors on staff. Cura also partners with Tulsa Girls Home to review monthly medication records, and Ray serves on the board and is treasurer of Isaiah 58, In His Service, a Tulsa nonprofit ministry that provides food. , clothing and furniture to those in need.

For service, the recipient of Seven Feathers is Lane Kindle, of Stilwell. Kindle has been a volunteer for his community since his high school days. He now sits on the Stilwell Town Council and is its chairman. He sits on several boards, including Parks & Recreation, and is known for helping organizations — even those he doesn’t belong to — with their community events. He is a longtime volunteer with Stilwell Little League baseball and served as an assistant coach for a team the previous two seasons. He received the Next Gen Under 30 award in 2018.

The winner of the Seven Feathers for Education is Dr. Angela Walden of Chicago. As Vice Chancellor of Diversity Initiatives at the University of Illinois at Chicago, she impacted how Native Americans are viewed on campus and led the administration to recognize the colonial heritage of the school as a land-grant university. She developed a bridge-to-faculty program that mentors students of color and hires them at competitive salaries. She also worked to get rid of the indigenous UIC mascot and was consulted for documentaries about the harms of such images. Walden is a licensed clinical psychologist with published research.

Christopher Taylor of Tulsa was selected as the recipient of the Seven Feathers for Health. Taylor established Therapeutic Life Choices LLC to provide mental health services to residents of Tulsa, Muskogee and Tahlequah. After working in behavioral health, he wanted to establish a “continuum of care” for the clients he worked with. TLC has actually expanded its operations during the COVID-19 pandemic and offers therapies, psychiatrist visits, medications, and telemedicine appointments for all ages. He volunteers as a chaplain for the Tulsa Police Department.

For business, the winner of the Seven Feathers is Heath Holmes, from Stilwell. Holmes began a career in the HVAC service in 2013 after earning his journeyman license. While at the Housing Authority of the Cherokee Nation from 2013 to mid-2021, he was a contractor providing HVAC services

to Cherokee citizens in all 14 counties. He also established Holmes Heating and Cooling LLC in 2013. Either individually or through Holmes Heating and Cooling, Holmes has provided time off and labor to elderly Cherokee citizens for urgent heating needs. HVAC matters, donated funds to several local organizations and Stilwell public schools, and volunteered as a tee-ball coach and softball umpire.

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