Siyo and welcome to the official website of the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians in Oklahoma.

We invite you to take a look around and find out who we are and why we are known as the Traditional, Historic & Cultural Keetoowah Cherokees.


Tiger Crowned as the 2016-2017 Miss Keetoowah Cherokee


TAHLEQUAH - The United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians in Oklahoma kicked off its 66th Annual Keetoowah Cherokee Celebration on Thursday, September 29 by crowning the new 2016-2017 Miss Keetoowah Cherokee Chelsea Tiger and 2016-2017 Jr. Miss Keetoowah Cherokee Samantha Russell.


The pageant was held at the Jim Proctor Elder Center on the UKB Complex grounds south of Tahlequah.


The young ladies displayed their talents by introducing themselves and modeling of their tribal wear along with reading of their essays themed “Keetoowah Strong”.


For the talent portion of the pageant Miss Tiger sung in her beautiful voice “Amazing Grace” in the Cherokee language. Miss Russell played her Indian flute with her own creation “Keetoowah Wind”. Both young ladies gave outstanding performances.


Finally ending the pageant with a question and answer segment from questions regarding their UKB history.


United Keetoowah Band Chief Joe H. Bunch crowned the new Miss Keetoowah Cherokee and Jr. Miss Keetoowah Cherokee and presenting them with a plaque and flowers along with their gifts.


The role of Miss and Jr. Miss Keetoowah Cherokee is to serve as good will ambassadors for the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokees and to serve and to promote the culture, traditions, and heritage of the Keetoowah People.


“I feel very honored and I think it’s very special and feel blessed. I am very honored to represent my tribe,” said Chelsea Tiger.


Miss Chelsea Tiger attends Oklahoma State University, studying biology and micro-biology. She is the daughter of Carla and Chebon Tiger of Austin, TX. Her grandparents are Mary and Revis Girty, Marcie Tiger and T.J. Stand all of Tahlequah.


Miss Samantha Russell attends Grandview School and is in the 7th grade. She is in the Grandview honor band under the direction of Harvey Price and is the daughter of Tonya and Tim Russell of Tahlequah. Her grandparents are Juanita and Gary Russell of Oaks, and Dama and Sammy Still of Tahlequah. Samanth’s mother, Tonya Russell, is a former 1998-1999 Miss Cherokee and 2000-2001 Miss Indian Oklahoma.





Grant Awarded to John Hair Cultural Center and Museum


The United Keetoowah Band (UKB) John Hair Cultural Center & Museum (JHCCM) was recently awarded an Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) Native American/Native Hawaiian Museum Services Grant. The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 123,000 libraries and 35,000 museums. Our mission is to inspire libraries and museums to advance innovation, lifelong learning, and cultural and civic engagement. Our grant making, policy development, and research help libraries and museums deliver valuable services that make it possible for communities and individuals to thrive. To learn more, and follow IMLS on Facebook(link is external) and Twitter(link is external).


            The John Hair Cultural Center and Museum will lead the "Missing Pieces: Documenting Keetoowah Heritage" project to identify missing documents fundamental to Keetoowah heritage. Museum staff and advisory team members will visit three museum collections in Oklahoma and three major archival collections. The visits will provide opportunities to identify important Keetoowah heritage documents to copy for use or request for loan to include in future exhibits and programming, resulting in the creation of a resource list of heritage documents not in the museum's collection. Facsimiles and digital copies of documents obtained through the visits will be used to support a refreshed long-term exhibition; six travel briefcases for use in teaching students; and syllabary classes, focusing on the written representation of the Cherokee Keetoowah language.


            “The John Hair Cultural Center & Museum is grateful to IMLS for providing the JHCCM  the opportunity to recover documents important to the history of the Keetoowah people,” said Ernestine Berry, JHCCM Director. “We have waited a very long time to acquire documents or copies of documents that have been scattered in many different directions to various institutions over several decades,” said Berry. “We have now begun to reclaim the missing pieces of Keetoowah history that have for so long been lost to the people,” Berry said.


            A “Missing Pieces” Team will make trips to the Archive in Washington, D.C. and various other repositories to research Keetoowah documents and request quality copies or facsimiles. Collection activities began this month and will continue until February of 2017. Selected Keetoowah documents written in the Sequoyan Syllabary will be translated by the Missing Pieces Team into English. The transcriptions along with the original or copies of the documents will be the focus of a JHCCM exhibit scheduled for September 2017.


“Collecting and having the documents in our museum will make the JHCCM the only place in the world where people can come to learn the true history of the Keetoowah people. This will give our youth an opportunity to know their own history and to be proud of their Keetoowah Heritage,” said Barbara Girty, a UKB member.









Lakota Doublehead sings with Bacone Warriors


Eighteen year old Lakota Doublehead, tribal member of the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians and son of Loretta and Mark Doublehead of Stilwell, signed a letter of intent with the Bacone Warriors football team. Bacone head football coach, Lawrence Livingston, was on hand to witness the signing along with Lakota’s parents and his sister, Marissa.


The six-foot three inch right guard played for Sequoyah High School in Tahlequah. He was a four year starter for the Sequoyah Indians.


Lakota participated in the college combine held in Oklahoma City where several colleges took interest in his talent and skills. He chose to sign with Bacone College, located in Muskogee, OK.


As a young kid, Lakota had always told his mother, Loretta, that he wanted to attend Bacone College and play football for the school. His wishes became a reality as he signed with Bacone.


When asked, Lakota’s mother, Loretta, responded saying, “I proud of him, very proud of him,” as her face gleamed with a big smile.


His goals are to attend Bacone where he will play football for the Warriors and hopefully later transfer to a Division I school, preferably to the University of Oklahoma to play football with the Oklahoma Sooners.


While attending a higher educational school he plans to study sports medicine.


“He’s come a long way, we are both happy,” said Mark Doublehead, Lakota’s dad. “He’s had a lot of struggles in his life, his grandparents, and his aunt passing away. His mother being sick has put a lot on his mind. But with all the struggles he’s endured he has come through it,” added Mark.


While attending Sequoyah High School and playing football for the Indians, Loretta and Mark have always attended all his games for the past four years. Now they plan on attending all his games at Bacone.


“All I can say is how awesome he is,” says Loretta with a laugh.


The Doublehead family is thankful for all the support that everyone has given Lakota and their family.


“I was telling him (Lakota), how much the UKB tribe has supported him, along with the people at home. How grateful we are and how much we appreciate it,” added Mark.


Lakota’s late grandparents were Rev. Willie Pritchett, Shirley Bird, Hiner Doublehead, Josephine Delay and Papa Fred Delay.
In support of the cultural program, the Bon Credit Kredite has allocated the necessary funds for the work of this site.





American Academy of Nursing Recognizes Dr. John Lowe


The American Academy of Nursing today announced the designation of John Lowe, PhD, RN, FAAN, as an Academy Edge Runner for his Talking Circle Intervention, a model of care for the prevention of substance abuse by American Indian/Alaska Native and other Indigenous youth. Dr. Lowe is a Professor of Health Disparities Research and Director of the Indigenous Nursing Research for Health Equity Center at the Florida State University College of Nursing.  Edge Runners are part of the Academy's Raise the Voice campaign, which promotes new, evidence-based and nurse-designed models that better serve patients at lower costs and have measurable results.


"The Academy is delighted to recognize Dr. John Lowe for his work in creating a replicable framework for a group of individuals to support, and gain insights from one another in moving away from substance abuse, and toward positive goals," said Academy President, Bobbie Berkowitz, PhD, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN.  "Patient care models developed by Edge Runners show how nurses are leading the way in transforming America's health system for the better."


American Indian/Alaska Native and Indigenous youth begin alcohol use earlier and are more likely to have initiated substance use than other racial/ethnic groups. The death rate for American Indian/Alaska Native youth is double that of youth of other racial or ethnic groups. Early substance use is associated with antisocial behavior, conduct disorder, other mental health disorders, and school failure.


Dr. Lowe's Talking Circle Intervention employs a tradition among American Indian/Alaska Native and Indigenous people that is still in practice today. Because these communities consider the whole greater than the sum of its parts, and believe healing should take place in the presence of a group, Dr. Lowe applies the Talking Circle Intervention to create an environment where participants support one another. Through the Talking Circle intervention, the traditional sense of belonging is fostered and participants experience healing.


Dr. Lowe also has developed and tested video-conferencing to deliver the Talking Circle intervention. Through this technology, the model of care is now being delivered to multiple American Indian/Alaska Native n communities throughout the United States.


Using National Institute on Drug Abuse diagnostic evaluations to compare intervention methods, Dr. Lowe found that the Talking Circle is more effective than standard education for decreasing substance use among American Indian/Alaska Native and Indigenous populations. Furthermore, communities where the Talking Circle Intervention is being implemented have reported a positive impact on their economies due to the decrease in costs associated with substance abuse. The Talking Circle Intervention has been recognized by the U.S. Department of Justice's Office of Programs as an evidence-based program affecting juvenile well-being.


A full profile of the project can be read here:




United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians in Oklahoma.