TAHLEQUAH – The Cherokee Phoenix staff has selected the recipients for its inaugural Seven Feathers Awards Gala set for 6 p.m. on Nov. 23 in the Cherokee Casino Tahlequah Chota Center.
The winners are Janelle Adair for Culture, Cindy Irwin for Business, Howard Paden for Language, Kaitlyn Pinkerton for Health, Zachary Self for Education, Richard Tyler for Service and Kirby Williams for Community.
Adair, of Tahlequah, is a former Miss Cherokee who works for Cherokee Nation Businesses as a story teller and sharing her vast knowledge of the Cherokee culture and history.
Irwin, of Gore, owns Gambinos Pizza and holds an annual Easter egg hunt in which she pays for prizes, eggs and candy for children. She also donates profits from her business to aid local causes and residents.
Paden, of Leach, is the Cherokee Nation’s Cherokee Language Master-Apprentice Program manager. Described as a “language warrior,” Paden perpetuates the Cherokee language by being active in Cherokee communities and promoting its everyday use.
Pinkerton, of Claremore, is a former Junior Miss Cherokee who advocates for mental health issues in Indian Country. She has presented at national medical conferences about erasing the mental health stigma in Native Americans and plans to attend medical school to study psychology.
Self, of Stilwell, is a prevention specialist with the Chain Breakers Coalition of Adair County. He works in communities to educate youths on the dangers of opioid abuse. He also works with law enforcement, government agencies and businesses to implement community prevention strategies.
Tyler, of Vian, owns Native Oklahoma Aquaponic Harvest, an aquaponic greenhouse that grows chemical-free produce. Tyler donates produce to his nonprofit food pantry, the Vian Peace Center, and the Northeastern Oklahoma Food Bank.
Williams, of Omaha, Nebraska, is the outreach coordinator of the Legal Aid of Nebraska’s Native American Program. As coordinator, she raises awareness and promotes prevention of domestic violence, sexual assault, human trafficking and stalking against Native Americans.
“We received many outstanding nominations in the inaugural year of the Seven Feathers Awards Gala, and it is truly exciting for the Cherokee Phoenix to recognize these seven Cherokees for their work in the areas of language, culture, community, service, education, health and business,” Cherokee Phoenix Interim Executive Editor Tyler Thomas said. “Please join the staff and I in congratulating these seven award recipients and join us as we honor them at a special dinner in November.”
Each recipient will receive a stained-glass feather by Cherokee artist Brandi Hines of Agitsi Stained Glass in Tulsa. The feathers are approximately a foot long and 3 inches wide. Each feather is mounted on a cedar plank with a plaque displaying the recipient’s name and award category.
Tickets for the event are $20 each. All proceeds will go to the Cherokee Phoenix’s Elder/Veteran Subscription Fund, which provides free annual subscriptions to CN citizens who are 65 or older, as well as veterans and active military personnel.
For more information about tickets or sponsoring the event, call Samantha Cochran at 918-207-3825 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.