Front row (L to R) No-we-ta Cherokee Community Foundation Treasurer Tim Kilpatrick, Vice President Kent Foster, Secretary Elsie Hurt, President Carol Sonenberg, Spiritual Leader Crosslin Fields, Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker, foundation member Carolyn Foster, Cherokee Nation Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin Jr. Back Row: contractor Kenny Foreman, Parliamentarian Charlotte Dausses, Cherokee Nation Tribal Councilor Dick Lay, foundation member Diana McLean and Registrar Mary Kilpatrick.
Published October 10, 2016
TAHLEQUAH– More than 150 residents attended the grand opening of the new Cherokee Nation Community Center in Nowata on Saturday.
The Cherokee Nation donated funds to build the center at 1003 Lenape Dr. and held a fish fry Saturday to celebrate its grand opening.
The 2,800-square-foot building is available for the public to rent for family reunions, birthdays or other gatherings and will house the No-we-ta Cherokee Community Foundation’s monthly meetings and events.
“It’s exciting to see our tribal dollars invested in a project that not only helps the Cherokee citizens of Nowata, but also the entire community of Nowata,” Tribal Councilor Dick Lay said. “I’m very pleased to see this new building finished and its doors now open for future gatherings.”
Tribal Councilman Lay and the Cherokee Nation administration approved $110,000 from Tribal Council special project funds over the past two fiscal years to purchase land and build the community building. Councilman Lay and the administration worked together to earmark an additional $120,000 in discretionary road funding for the parking lot.
“Any time the Cherokee Nation can provide new infrastructure and give the community a new opportunity is a success,” Cherokee Nation Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin Jr. said. “This new community center will have a lasting impact in Nowata County, and I’m proud that our Tribal Council and administration could work jointly to provide such a wonderful space.”
Before the community building opened, the No-we-ta Cherokee Community Foundation, a group of Cherokee citizens living in Nowata, met monthly in the hallway at the Will Rogers Health Center.
“We didn’t have a place to gather until now,” said Carol Sonenberg, president of the foundation. “We plan to offer genealogy, Cherokee language, history and art classes. At some point, we’d love to have a stickball field or cornstalk shoot area. We are just really proud of this new community center.”
The community building was built using Cherokee-owned and -operated companies, Foreman Ambler, Lucas Metal Works, Thomas Septic and Bell Construction.
The No-we-ta Cherokee Community Foundation’s monthly meetings are on the second Tuesday of the month, starting at 6 p.m. for the potluck dinner followed by the meeting at 6:30 p.m.