Council of the Cherokee Nation recognizes Claremore student for success in national, regional Braille Challenge

Deputy Principal Chief S. Joe Crittenden, Tribal Councilor Keith Austin of Claremore, National Braille Challenge competitor Hunter Kelly of Claremore, and Principal Chief Bill John Baker.

TAHLEQUAH, Okla. — The Council of the Cherokee Nation recognized a young Cherokee from Claremore Monday night for his accomplishments at the National Braille Challenge in Los Angeles and on the regional level in Oklahoma.

Hunter Kelly, 10, was one of 50 students selected to compete at the National Braille Challenge in June. The Braille Challenge measures students’ proficiency in braille reading and comprehension, speed and accuracy, spelling, proofreading and tactile graphics.

Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker, Deputy Chief S. Joe Crittenden and Tribal Councilor Keith Austin presented Hunter with a certificate in honor of his hard work.

“Hunter is an inspiration to everyone he meets,” said Councilor Austin, of Claremore. “In recent years he has been recognized as one of the best young braille readers in the United States. I am thrilled Chief Baker recognized his accomplishments in front of his tribe at Tribal Council.”

Hunter began learning braille at age 3 and began competing in regional challenges when he was in first grade. A year later, he made his first trip to the national challenge in Los Angeles. In regional competition, Hunter has won overall top scorer in the elementary and middle school categories the past three years.

During Monday night’s meeting, the Council of the Cherokee Nation also took the following actions:

• Confirmed the reappointment of Tommye Sue Bradshaw Wright as a board member of Cherokee Nation Businesses.

• Approved donations of surplus equipment to Cherokee County Rural Water District No. 8, Washington County Cherokee Association, Calvary Indian Baptist Church in Cherokee County and Native American Fellowship Inc.

• Authorized a grant of easement for right-of-way on a tract of land in Vinita to the Board of Craig County Commissioners.

The next meeting of the Council of the Cherokee Nation is scheduled for Monday, Sept. 16, at 6 p.m. at the W.W. Keeler Tribal Complex in Tahlequah.