ACTIVE MEMBERSHIP MAINTENANCE FEE
To continue the steps towards Government recognition it is important we maintain the Nation's office and the membership files for the members of the Nation. In addition, we need to update membership information in a new data format that can easily be accessible and efficient. Therefore the Nation has established an annual fee to be paid by each member to the Nation’s office in Conway, Arkansas. There have been several members that have called about dues. There are no longer any "dues" associated with your membership. The yearly maintenance fee will replace the dues once collected. The Legacy Partners can at their discretion continue their financial support in addition to paying the fee. We have struggled for 2 years to try and reach the members and quite honestly it's a daunting task. Throw in the lack of consistent revenue and the problem intensifies. We have been without consistent office staff for over 8 months and the workload is hard to maintain. We have forms available for each member at the office. Simply call and we'll get one in the mail to you. When the forms are returned the information contained in the forms will be used to create an active membership list that will enable us to stay in contact more effectively and efficiently. If a member chooses to not participate they will remain on an inactive list. No member will be removed from the rolls. We are trying to streamline our effectiveness to the members who are engaged and interested in being a part of our pathway through their financial support.
_____ 3 years/$ 60.00 ($20.00/yr)
_____ 2 years/$ 44.00 ($22.00/yr)
_____ 1 year/$25.00 ($25.00/yr)
REPLACEMENT CARD INFORMATION:
We have received numerous calls to the office and several emails asking for information on how to receive a replacement card. There are two ways:
1. Send a check for $ 15.00 to the office. Include your name (for the card), address and date of birth. The replacement card will be processed in 7-10 business days after the receipt of the check.
2. Call the office and use your debit/credit card and the process takes 3-5 business days.
All replacement and membership cards come laminated from the office. If you have any additional questions please call the office @ 501-499-6418.
Clearing Up a Few Details;
I was recently forwarded an email that had been written and sent out by Annette Welch. Mrs. Welch is a part of the splinter group that in their words “separated from the corporation and set up a tribal office in Mena, Arkansas”.
For too long I have sat back and preferred to remain civil and diplomatic. However, the mistruths and the constant bashing of what we are trying to accomplish must logically be confronted.
In the latest email I received there were a number of misstatements, innuendos and complete exaggeration of facts. Therefore, over the next few paragraphs I will address each issue with the truth, and allow each member to logically decide their own opinion.
(1) “The Tribe” did not legally separate from the Corporation as stated. In fact, in her own email Mrs. Welch stated, “The judge did not rule on the tribe. He ruled on the Corporation”. Because 5 or 10 or in this case 21 individuals decide amongst themselves to take over a group doesn’t make it so. The group (corporation) has the right to protect its members. On the logical side of the argument, we started together because we were somehow linked together through blood. All of sudden there can exist a separation and if you don’t follow the rules you’re out. It doesn’t make common sense.
(2) If you have a membership card signed by Cary Kuykendall, you are a member of a corporation. That is why your card has “Inc.” on it. The cards issued by the office in Conway do not have “Inc.” on them. The cards issued from the Paragould office did not have “Inc.” on them. When you sent and/or send your information into the office you are receiving a membership card into a Non-Profit corporation, whose purpose as stated in the Articles of Incorporation, is to gather descendants of Western Cherokee to pursue the goal of Federal Recognition as an Indian Tribe (Nation).
(3) When Lola passed away in December 2008, the Board of Directors, voted to have Robbie become the President of the Board of Directors. He had previously been serving on the board and with her passing; the board moved him into the Presidency. He served in that capacity until November 2009. In November 2009, due to the lack of effectively and efficiently operating the office and the corporation, the Board of Directors stepped in, closed the office in Paragould, removed Robbie from his positions and obtained a court order to move the office to Conway, Arkansas. In December, 11 members and 2 non-members went to Paragould and retrieved the assets including the files and moved them to Conway. On that same Saturday a couple of men from Mena arrived in a U-Haul to take with them office furniture, display cases, as well as, some Western Cherokee artifacts to be used by Doyne Cantrell in a center he operated. In regards to the document found in one of the drawers, why wasn’t it used in court? Is it a legitimate document with legal precedent? Or is it just another smoke screen of false innuendos?
(3a) Also Mrs. Welch stated, “At a meeting, it was decided on to send the tribal files to Mena. This was voted on and passed.” Again, a complete exaggeration of the actual events. First of all, she didn’t attend the meeting, so her information is secondhand to begin with. Secondly the meetings I’ve attended, been in charge of, and/or led have all been videotaped to minimize this kind of trash. The following is an expansion of the details listed above in point 3:
In August the Board of Directors met in Conway, Arkansas in the conference room of State Farm Insurance. In addition to the members of the board, several other members joined us as we discussed the office operations, the lack of information coming out of the office and the due diligence lacking from the Paragould office. We discussed various options for closing the office while maintaining and securing the information in the office. If, we were going to close the office and leave it closed for a period time we would need the files to be secured. Later in the conference call, the board members voted to close the office effective August 28th. When the 28th of August passed, Robbie refused to follow the board directive and close the office. In fact he attempted to keep it operating through September, October & November. The Board of Directors met via teleconference and voted to use legal means and relocate the office and its assets to Conway, Arkansas. In the middle of December the Western Cherokee Nation obtained a court order and retrieved the known assets of the Nation including the members files located in the office at Paragould, Arkansas. When the office was to be moved to Conway by a vote of the Board of Directors, it once again seems logical to ascertain the files and paperwork would go to the location of the Nation’s office.
(4) Conway started charging members for meetings and cards. When we all signed up to be a part of the group controlled and administered by Lola Scholl, did we not pay a processing fee? In fact many of the current complaints and difficulties we face as a group can be tied back to the revenue created by Lola for application fees. In regards to our office, we’ve actually lowered the processing fee from $ 70 to $ 50 and lower if you have multiple applications at one time. As far as charging for our members to attend meetings, the nominal fee of $ 5.00 helps in offsetting the expense of going to cities closer to the vast numbers of our members. Isn’t it logical for a person living in Tulsa to pay a $ 5.00 fee to attend a meeting in their city, rather than drive 4 hours for a meeting in Conway, Arkansas? Again it just makes common sense. In addition, our office currently operates on the contributions and application fees of our members. We strive to be the best steward with the funds our members have entrusted to us.
(5) In regards to the files. The court order submitted by the judge said nothing about Mena having access to the files. It did state if you wanted your file returned to you, you could contact the office and request it. It further stated our office could charge a fee for the return of the requested file. That policy still exists and the fee established is $ 25.00
(6) Board Elections. The Board of Directors as described in the court order was instructed to submit to the courts an election plan to be held for the Board of Directors. Though it wasn’t part of the final agreement, the Board nevertheless submitted a plan.
(7) Many people have said the office is Conway is closed. A complete misstatement of actual facts. The office IS NOT closed. Office hours are Monday-Thursday 10:00 am – 2:00 pm. There are times we are out of the office and unable to take calls. I operate 3 businesses and my schedule sometime does not allow me to sit in the office. As the members continue to engage in the pursuit, we trust we will be able to bring in staff personnel to extend our office hours. Our current operating budget is less than $ 2,000 a month and it takes the members of our great Nation giving to support our pathway. I encourage each member who reads this on the website to consider giving $ 50 throughout the rest of the year. Some of you may be able to give $ 100, $ 500 or even $ 1,000. I simply ask you to do your best and let’s keep the steps moving forward.
(8) Location of Files. The files are safe, secured and in the same location they’ve been for the past 17 months. The constant scare tactics of private information, social security numbers and the files being vulnerable is getting old. I coordinate numerous projects throughout the weeks, been involved in other non-profits and I can confidently assure each member the safekeeping of their information.
(9) Court Cases. The only court case we are currently involved in is the one with the Mena splinter group. They sued us, they lost and they’ve appealed the decision. The additional expenses of their actions continue to cost the members of the Western Cherokee Nation unnecessary money. The cases she refers to in her email are nearly a decade old and apparently occurred when the last group of members tried to hijack the tribe. Be assured our membership is strong and the leaders are determined to protect our Nation. We will continue on the detailed plan outlined. What are they doing in Mena? What’s the plan? Is it to gather all the disgruntled Cherokee across the states? Is it to take all the embittered, power hungry individuals and put them in leadership to provide no guidance, direction or explanation of the next step? Be bold and ask for a detailed plan. Ours is provided in The Blueprint. Don’t take someone’s word as truth. Search it out, find the answer. It may not be want you want to hear, but if it’s the truth, there can never be a false sense of hope created by what might be!
This is merely a summary of some of the activities we have had to endure over the past 18 months. While we continue to take the necessary steps towards reinstatement we must deal with adversity from all sources. We face an uphill battle just by choosing to pursue our legacy it’s sad when we have to internally deal with these situations.
I encourage you to get the facts. Think logically about what you’re being told and ask the necessary questions. Rumors do not help us, they only hinder. We have a lot of work to do and we need each member doing their part. Sacrifice with your time and treasures and continue to pray for guidance.
Serving in the Pursuit,
Cary Kuykendall, President
Western Cherokee Nation
July 28, 2011