(L to R) Front Row: Cherokee Nation Supreme Court Justice Angela Jones, Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin Jr., Tribal Council Speaker Joe Byrd, Tribal Youth Council members Julie Thornton, Abigail Shepherd, Jori Cowley, Laurel Reynolds, Camerin James, Treyton Morris, Destiny Matthews. Back Row: Education Services Program Liaison Lisa Trice-Turtle, Education Services Executive Director Ron Etheridge, Government Relations Executive Director Kim Teehee, Tribal Council member District 14 Keith Austin, Tribal Youth Council members Austin Jones, Jackson Wells, Taylor Armbrister, Bradley Fields, Sarah Pilcher, Chelbie Turtle, Sunday Plumb, Principal Chief Bill John Baker and Jr. Miss Cherokee Madison Whitekiller. Not pictured were Amy Hembree, Emily Messimore and Sky Wildcat.
Published November 29, 2015
TAHLEQUAH, OKLAHOMA – The new 2015-16 Cherokee Nation Tribal Youth Council members were sworn into office Saturday to begin serving a one-year term volunteering and helping potentially shape future tribal policy.
The leadership program started in 1989 and has 184 alumni, many who now work for the tribe.
The 17-member youth council learns the Cherokee Nation Constitution and bylaws and identifies issues affecting Cherokee youth to pass on to the Tribal Council and administration.
Students meet monthly and also serve as tribal ambassadors.
During a short inauguration ceremony at the W.W. Keeler Tribal Complex Saturday, Principal Chief Bill John Baker thanked the Cherokee youth for taking their first step in helping make the tribe bigger and better.
“The best days of the Cherokee Nation are in front of us and we need leaders in every field imaginable from doctors, lawyers, engineers, teachers, administrators and business people. Leadership starts with young people like you, who are willing to serve,” Chief Baker said. “The Tribal Youth Council is an opportunity for young Cherokees from all over the 14-county tribal jurisdiction to gain exposure to our tribal government, get to know the elected officials and have a voice in the discussions that will impact the Cherokee Nation today and in the future.”
Tribal Council Speaker Joe Byrd gave the invocation and stressed the importance of following one’s calling in life.
“I think it is so important to know who you are,” Speaker Byrd said. “One of my favorite Bible verses comes from Ephesians ‘I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received’ Follow your path and true calling.”
Supreme Court Justice Angela Jones gave the official oath of office to the youth council members.
“It’s going to be a good opportunity to get involved and make a difference and build relationships within the tribe,” said Claremore High School sophomore Laurel Reynolds, 16.
The 2015-16 Tribal Youth Council members are: Taylor Armbrister, of Kansas, Sequoyah High School; Jori Cowley, of Vinita, Vinita High School; Bradley Fields, of Locust Grove, Locust Grove High School; Amy Hembree, of Tahlequah, Stanford University; Camerin James, of Fort Gibson, Fort Gibson High School; Austin Jones, of Hulbert, Tahlequah High School; Destiny Matthews, of Watts, Colcord High School; Emily Messimore, of Claremore, Verdigris High School; Treyton Morris, of Salina, Salina High School; Sarah Pilcher, of Westville, Sequoyah High School; Sunday Plumb, of Tahlequah, Oral Roberts University; Laurel Reynolds, of Claremore, Claremore High School; Abigail Shepherd, of Ochelata, Caney Valley High School; Julie Thornton, of Gore, Northeastern State University; Chelbie Turtle of Tahlequah, Briggs School; Jackson Wells, of Tahlequah, Sequoyah High School and Sky Wildcat, of Tahlequah, Northeastern State University.